City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

On Friday, August 17th there will be a Free concert at theLake Mirror Promenade from 6 p.m.-9:00 p.m. featuring live music from twobands, the eclectic Brian Sutherland Trio and the folksy Americana act BillyNeeds a Beard.

Brian Sutherland is a local favorite and his trio consists of three individuals whobecame friends while attending Florida Southern College where Sutherland graduated with a degree in Cello Performance.  The band has a uniqueability to craft great pop/folk/rock songs and the band uses cello, doublebass, ukulele, and even the odd kazoo.  They play melodic and interesting originals influenced by artists like Ray LaMontagne, Damien Rice and Jason Mraz. The trio is rounded out with vocalist Adrienne Kneebone and bassist Zachary Rogers.  Kneebone possesses a distinctive quality in her voicethat is reminiscent of 60’s and early 70’s Rhythm & Blues singers. Roger’s solid tempo anchors the Brian Sutherland Trio but don’t be surprised to hear him take a distinctive solo every now and again. 

Billy Needs a Beard is a band celebrating their 10th year of making music together.  The band hasfound a niche in harmonizing around folk, country, blues, Americana and rockand roll music.  Their influences range from Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, the Eagles, Hank Williams and the Band. Billy Needs a Beard is comprised of four band members. Billy Lippy playsguitar, mandolin and sings. Jimmy Bassham plays bass, vocals and cowbell. BenGraffam plays guitar and sings. Steven Glick plays guitar, banjo,mandolin, and harmonica. They are currently working on their third CD.

The music series takes placeat the Lake Mirror amphitheater which is between Hollis Garden and the LakeMirror Center. The event is FREE to the public and families are encouraged toattend so bring a blanket and enjoy the lake setting with music under thestars. Music on the Promenade is proudly sponsored by the City ofLakeland.  Parking is available at the Lake Mirror Center's parking lot and in the Iowa Avenue parking garage.  No glass bottles within the park please.  For more information regarding the series, contact Kevin Cook at863/834-6264.

Two homicide cases from the Lakeland Police Department case files will be highlighted on the Discovery Channel "Show Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets". This is a true crime show where a murder is described in first person of the victim. Viewers must piece together the who-dunnit based on clues from investigators and family/friends. The first local case featured is the homicide of Teresa Comfort. Her story will be retold in the episode "Hook, Line and Sinker". 

Hook, Line, And Sinker – Air date – July 16th at 10:00pm

For Teresa Comfort, growing up in a small Florida town was ideal. Teresa just knew she would live in her hometown all her life. The sunshine, beaches and getting together with friends made her smile. But after one night on the town with friends, her life is cut short. The next morning, Teresa's body was found in her car, submerged in a lake. She has been brutally attacked. Immediately family and friends suspected Teresa's boyfriend. However, when his alibi checked out, investigators were left fishing for clues. Then an unexpected tip came in, leading investigators to their biggest catch of the day.

The second episode, "Morning Ambush", retells the story of Robert Taylor. 

Morning Ambush -  Air Date - September 10th at 10:00pm

Growing up in the North Carolina countryside, Robert Taylor loved nothing more than being outdoors and working with his hands. But when work dried up, Robert headed to sunny Florida and made a whole new life for himself.

But his life was cut short during his routine bike ride to work. Robert was ambushed and shot multiple times. Weeks passed in the investigation as detectives followed up on all tips, but they lead nowhere. Two years later, family and friends wondered if they would ever find out who killed Robert, until a guilty conscience drove his killer to make a shocking confession.

Police Captain John Thomason and Sargent Gary Gross served as liaisons to the producers of the show while they were shooting episodes here in Lakeland. They along with several other members from the Lakeland Police Department will appear in both episodes.

You can find the Discovery Channel show on the following local networks:
Brighthouse - Channel 135
Fios - Channel 123
Fios HD - Channel 623

During the week of June 24, 2012 the Lakeland Police Department Explorers competed with 31 other groups from across Florida at the Florida Association of Police Explorers State Competition in Crystal River, Florida.  The competing teams were tested in 13 law enforcement scenario events including traffic stops, crime scene investigation, active shooter, crisis intervention and traffic crash investigation. The six member team of Jonathan Stephens, Kaylyn Wheeler, Kaitlyn Lally, Joshua Dorofy, Joshua Collins and Shelby Griffith from the Lakeland Police Department took first place honors in the Crisis Intervention category and placed 9th place overall.  

The Explorer Program is designed for young adults between the ages of 14 and 20 who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement. Participants train alongside law enforcement officers each week at the department's training center. Meetings are held every Monday from 5:00PM – 8:00PM.  For more information on the program and how you can sign up, call 863.834.6975.


LAKELAND, FL  (June 26, 2012) – As evident with Tropical Storm Debby, Florida’s summer storms are upon us and we have already experienced a number of named storms early in the hurricane season.  Lakeland Electric works very hard at providing reliable power to our customers and the utility takes great pride in restoration efforts during storm season.  We all hope for a mild hurricane season but we need to be prepared for the possibility of several storms.  Lakeland Electric acts in the event of an emergency and we urge our customers to do the same.

Lakeland Electric publishes a Hurricane Guide that has very useful information that helps customers prepare before, during and after a storm.  The publication is available at the Lakeland Public Libraries and other City facilities such as City Hall, Simpson Park, Kelly Recreation Complex and Gandy Pool.  The publication can also be downloaded from the Lakeland Electric homepage ( or the City’s website ( by clicking on the Hurricane Guide highlight button on the home page.

The Hurricane Guide provides extensive information in preparing for a storm but here are five essential hurricane season tips to help Lakeland Electric customers during this year’s storm season.


1.           Following a power outage, unplug all large appliances and electronics to prevent power surges that may occur when electricity is restored.  These surges can often damage equipment and create fire hazards.


2.                  Remember the “three don’ts” when using generators:  DON’T run a generator in the house; DON’T run a generator in the garage; and, DON’T plug the generator directly into your home’s main electrical system.  The first two can lead to asphyxiation and the third can send an electrical charge back into the power grid, posing an electrocution hazard to utility workers. DO run the generator outside in a well-ventilated area and DO plug individual appliances directly into the generator.


3.                  Clear your patio and yard of lawn furniture, toys, potted plants, and other debris that could blow around in high winds and cause damage or injury.


4.                  Prior to the storm, identify the places around your home where you can shut off your gas, water and electricity.  In an emergency, you’ll want to be able to turn them off quickly.


5.                  Create a hurricane survival kit that includes:  first aid supplies, water, batteries, flashlights, battery powered radio, manual can opener, prescriptions, pet food, canned foods, cash, bleach, trash bags, charcoal or gas grill with plenty of fuel, wooden kitchen matches, a portable cooler and tarps with ropes.  Don’t forget a hardwire phone because cordless phones will not work during a power outage.

 Lakeland Electric is the third largest public power utility in the State of Florida.  The utility is also one of the first utilities established in Florida having started operation in 1889.  Today, power is generated at Lakeland Electric’s two primary base load plant sites, the 785-megawatt McIntosh Power Plants and the 93-megawatt Larsen Power Plant. For additional storm season tips or to view a 2012 Hurricane Guide please visit