City News Blog


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City of Lakeland
City of Lakeland
City of Lakeland's Blog

The Lakeland Public Library System will host performance artist and poet Phyllis McEwen on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m in the Main Library (100 Lake Morton Drive). 

Phyllis McEwen is a poet, Chautauqua scholar who portrays Zora Neale Hurston for the Florida Humanities Council, performance artist, librarian for Tampa Hillsborough County Public Library System and instructor in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of South Florida.

Ms. McEwen co-founded of the Black Madonna Artists Collective and has been artist-in-residence at the Atlantic Colony for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach and Escape to Create in Seaside.  She is currently a member of Cave Canem, a North American Black poets' colony founded by Toi Derricotte.  She is author ofHystery and Other Tools for Women (American Studies Press, 1983).  Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry and is featured on the CD, Poets of Tampa Bay (Xeximian, 2000).

The programs and events at the Lakeland Public Library are free and open to the public.  There are no reservations for performances at Lakeland Public Library.  It is open seating. Doors open 10 -15 minutes before the program begins.  For more information, call Brenda J. Patterson at 863-834-4276 or send e-mail to

For upcoming events and programs, visit Lakeland Public Library's website and Facebook page at and  Follow our Twitter feed at!/lakelandpublib.



On Thursday April 5th 10:30am crew 372 from Lakeland Electric was dispatched to Lakeland Hills Blvd. at the entrance to Tiger Town where a driver had lost control of his vehicle and knocked over a utility pole.

The pole housed street light power lines, phone service cables and fiber optic cables and equipment belonging to the City of Lakeland.

In response to the accident, City of Lakeland employees from the fire department, police department, and information technologies department along with Lakeland Electric were sent to the scene.

The first responders from the police department noted downed cables and called for all four lanes of traffic on Lakeland Hills Blvd. to be rerouted. This action involved the use of multiple LPD units.

The Lakeland Fire department dispatched engine 31, manned by, Lt. Dan Faviere, Driver/Engineer, Mark Olivenbaum, and Firefighter/Paremedics Jason Vickers and Chris Farina. Battalion Chief, Jeff Wharton also responded.

The first responder from Lakeland Electric, Troubleman, Edgar Willis, insured that the downed lines were safe. After surveying the damage, he requested assistance from the Energy Delivery Division.

This allowed the paramedics to treat the driver who was transported to the hospital by Polk County EMS.

Information Technologies technicians were sent to the scene because the accident had severed the City's computer network lines that connect Joker Marchant Stadium and the Parks Department operations at Tiger Town.

Those technicians, Robert Smith and David Tate, were tasked with replacing the damaged equipment cabinet and splicing the fiber optic cables that were damaged.

Lakeland Electric crews, dispatched to the sight, included Linemen, Christopher Hodges, Cody Sherrouse, Doug Bergwall, Douglas King, John Barefoot, Matthew Thomas and Todd Walker. They worked for 4 1/4 Hours erecting a new pole, re-attaching the street light and reactivating the power lines.

Two LPD personnel remained on the scene to block traffic from entering the work area.

All city services were restored at 8pm.

LAKELAND, FL (April 6, 2012) — A utility line is damaged by digging once every three minutes nationwide. It affects your safety, your family’s safety, and your neighborhood’s safety. But most important, it’s preventable.

April is Safe Digging Month in Florida.

“Throughout the month,” explains Cheryl Ritter, Sunshine 811 damage prevention manager, “we’re running the 811 Promise campaign to make Florida’s residents aware of the requirement to call 811 before digging – even for smaller projects like landscaping or installing a fence or mailbox.”

Calling 811 gets underground utilities in your yard located and marked with paint and flags.

The consequences of not calling can be inconvenient, like no‐cable‐tv‐for‐the‐weekend inconvenient. But if you cut into a line carrying phone service to your neighborhood, the neighbor up the street won’t be able to reach 911 when he begins having chest pains.

Making the 811 Promise and then carrying through with it every time you dig will keep you and your neighbors safe.

“Making the 811 Promise doesn’t cost you a dime,” Ritter said, “but it does give you peace of mind when you’re working outside.”

To make the promise, visit and click on the 811 Promise button. Then, share the 811 Promise with your friends and family through Facebook, Twitter or email using the share tools at the top of the page.

“The more people who make the 811 Promise,” Ritter concluded, “the more we can realize our mission: to make Florida the safest place to dig.”

Sunshine 811 is a statewide organization that raises awareness and educates Florida’s communities on the legal requirement to call 811 before digging. Its goal is to eliminate digging damages to underground utilities through a series of five steps that begin with “Call 811 Before You Dig.” Visit for more information on the five steps.


Lakeland, Fla. – Lakeland Electric won big in the Twelfth Annual Florida Lineman Competition, in which 18 lineman teams and 33 apprentices from Florida’s municipal electric utilities, electric cooperatives, and Patrick Air Force Base demonstrated the skills involved in one of America’s most dangerous jobs.

The Lakeland Electric journeyman team of Dwayne Goostree, Justin Devaisher, and Matt Thomas won first place in the Cut-out and Arrestor Change, the Cross Arm Change out, and the Conductor Tie-In, capturing a second place overall finish. In addition, Lakeland Apprentices Samuel Brown and Doug Bergwall won first and third place respectively in the overall apprentice competition.

Linemen competed on two levels:  journeyman and apprentice.  Journeyman teams included three people – two climbers and a ground person, while apprentice line workers competed on an individual basis.  A qualified journeyman has more than four years experience within the electric utility trade.  Apprentice line workers have four or fewer years of experience.

Designed to highlight safe utility operations, the event – presented by Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) and hosted by Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) – put the technical and physical skills of utility workers to the test in a crowd-pleasing display of skill and teamwork. Hundreds gathered at the GRU Eastside Operations Center and watched as journeyman teams and apprentices competed in challenges simulating day-to-day operations. 

Electric line work is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and a lapse in judgment or a physical slip-up can mean serious injury or even death.  Prior to the competition, lineworkers participated in a series of technical training workshops.

The annual event gives highly trained linemen teams and apprentices statewide the opportunity to learn more about their trade in specialized workshops, while interacting and sharing ideas with their peers by observing safety skills and techniques used by other linemen during the competition.

About FMEA:  The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) represents the unified interests of 34 public power communities across the state, which provide electricity to more than three million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.