City News Blog


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

Assistant City Manager Stanley Hawthorne recently accepted a new position with the City of Fort Lauderdale as Assistant City Manager effective July 5, 2011.  Hawthorne joined the City of Lakeland team on January 17, 2005 as Assistant to the City Manager.

Hawthorne said, “I welcome this new opportunity and I look forward to the challenges that may lie ahead but it has been a great honor serving the Citizens of Lakeland.”  He added, “This past year has been exceptionally rewarding as we continued our strategic operation process, we implemented a new budgeting system, we concentrated on new public outreach initiatives and we focused on our organization’s most valued resource – our employees.  I am very glad to have been a part of these initiatives.”

Before coming to Lakeland, Hawthorne had a very illustrious career in municipal government that started in Saginaw Michigan where he worked for seven years, advancing to Assistant to City Manager. In 1992, he was able to return to his home state of Florida, accepting the position as Budget Director for Hollywood, Florida.  Since then, other opportunities have included Assistant City Manager and Director of Finance for Tamarac, City Manager for the City of Lauderdale Lakes, and as General Manager for the Sun ‘N Lake of Sebring Improvement District.

City Manager, Doug Thomas said, “We wish Stanley well in his new endeavor as Assistant City Manager in Fort Lauderdale and I will truly miss him as an integral member of my management team.”  Thomas added, “He led the Performance Excellence Division that focused on developing operating efficiencies and was tasked with aligning the City’s budget priorities with our Strategic Operating process.  Additionally, he played a key role on the City’s negotiation team for the inaugural collective bargaining agreement with the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA).  I am confident his skills will serve him well in his new position as part of the newly appointed municipal management team in Fort Lauderdale.”

Hawthorne is a native of Highlands County, born in Sebring and raised in Lake Placid.  He received his undergraduate degree at Troy State University in Alabama and he earned his Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of Virginia.  He is a certified government financial manager and a graduate from the Senior Executive Institute at the Darden Business School.  Hawthorne has been active in the Government Finance Officers Association, National Forum for Black Public Administrators and the International City Management Association. 

Lakeland Electric has recently partnered with Culver Company in producing educational DVD’s that provide a solid curriculum support Florida’s Sunshine State Standards in the area of science for elementary students that are in second through the fifth grade. 

The Culver Company has over 30 years of experience working exclusively with utility public outreach and hundreds of utilities across North America partner with Culver Company to produce educational materials.

There are five video lessons that cover the following topics:

Electricity Basics: How does electricity get to my lights?

Conductors & Insulators: Why are power cords covered in plastic-like stuff?

Outdoor Electrical Safety: What’s up with kites near power lines?

Indoor Electrical Safety: Why can’t I put a fork in the toaster?

Fallen Power Lines: What if a power line falls on my car?

Jim Stanfield, General Manager for Lakeland Electric said, “Our partnership with the Polk County School Board is very important.  We have a strong commitment to education that is evident with our efforts at the Power Academy at Tenoroc High School.  We are pleased to spread our focus to include electrical safety in the elementary schools.”

On Tuesday, June 14th Lakeland Electric presented 100 DVD’s to the Polk County School Board to be used for elementary schools throughout the Lakeland Electric Service Territory.


Leah Lauderdale, Senior Director, Community Relations for Polk County Public Schools greeted Jim Stanfield, General Manager of Lakeland Electric in front of the Polk County School Board and accepted the DVD’s along with District 2 School Board Member Lori Cunningham.


Lauderdale said, “Our business partnerships are so vital and the important lessons introduced in the DVD’s parallel what our students are learning in the classroom.” 


A total of 46 elementary schools within the Lakeland Electric service territory will receive the DVD’s.








Juvenile gun violence is a growing national concern and our local law enforcement officers indicate that we are seeing an increase in violent crimes conducted by younger members of society.  Statistics prove that more and more juveniles are committing crimes including violent gun crimes.  This rise in juvenile crime corresponds with increased gang activity.

Last year, several anti-crime marches were held to raise awareness that something needs to be done.  This year’s focus is to develop strategies that are proven to work.  These strategies include but are not limited to empowering schools, churches, non-profits, parents, local government organizations and social agencies to stand united and work together to eliminate crimes committed by our youth. 

The Lakeland Police Department has joined with The Education & Enlightenment Group, Inc., Stand Up Speak Out Foundation, as well as several church and community organizations to sponsor a weekend of youth anti-crime activities in Lakeland.  The weekend activities include:

The Refuse 2 Lose Youth Summit: Thurs., June 23rd from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

New Mt. Zion M. B. Church, 1321 N. Webster Avenue

The Refuse 2 Lose Summit will feature a myriad of workshops geared toward grades K-12th with a concentrated focus on teens.  These prevention and intervention workshops are designed to promote awareness and teach youth the consequences of their actions. The Keynote Speaker is Darrell Daniels, Executive Director of Derrick Brooks Charities. 

Enough is Enough Youth Anti-Crime Rally: Fri., June 24th from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

The Freedom Center – 635 W. 5th Street

The program will include a march in the streets with highlights from community and City of Lakeland officials. Post-rally entertainment will include Sho Nuff Sounds, The Wilson Boyz, Leegit of 360 Entertainment Corporation, Crystal’s World of Dance, and Taken By Surprise Step Team. Also, youth organizations and Church youth groups will be asked to set up vendor booths to provide information about their programs. Prizes will be awarded to the youth groups that bring the largest delegation to participate in the rally.

The Stand Up Speak Out 3 on 3 Youth Basketball Tournament: Sat., June 25th from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Word Alive Ministries Vision Center - 1019 N. Tennessee Avenue

Crystal Brown founded the Stand Up Speak Out Foundation in honor of her father who was murdered almost two years ago.  She is the owner of Crystal’s World of Dance and she is a Juvenile Probation Officer.  This tournament will feature exhibits and speakers that will provide youth with information about the juvenile justice system and how it works.  The basketball tournament is designed to promote teamwork.

For more information, please contact Lynne Simpkins at or by phone 863/513-2712 and Deidra Joseph at or by phone 863/934-0786. 


The City of Lakeland is pleased to announce that the T.Mims Corp. Red, White & Kaboom Independence Celebration will take place at Lake Mirror on Friday, July 1, 2011 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. with music and a breathtaking fireworks display dazzling the crowd at 9 p.m.

Tom Mims, President of T. Mims Corporation said, “We are pleased to sponsor Red, White & Kaboom again this year.  It is an excellent opportunity for our community to come together in celebration of our great country and it is free to the public." Mims added, "We will be continuing our Chow for Now canned food drive to benefit Volunteers In Service to the Elderly so we want each spectator to bring at least one can of food for Viste."

The evening’s main entertainment will include live music from Channel Z Band.  The Channel Z Band has been in existence since 1997 and is a five piece band with a current member compliment that has been in force for nearly eight years.   A culmination of many diverse and augmenting talents allows Channel Z to be a notch or two above your average Pop Rock Cover Band.  The Channel Z Band continues to perform numerous events in Central Florida.  They are sure to be a crowd pleaser with their diverse song list that spans from the 60’s to current pop favorites and includes hits from the Beatles to the latest from Katy Perry.

There will be a guest appearance from Derik Thomas.  Thomas is a talented student at Lakeland’s Harrison School for the Arts.  He first began playing shows in early 2009 and in 2010 he won the Earthday Networks “Song for Earth” competition.  He got to perform at the 2010 Earthday Climate Rally on the National Mall in Washington DC alongside Sting, John Legend and The Roots. 

The evening will also include a showcase performance from the award winning 2011-2012 Taken By Surprise Step Team.  This talented group of young ladies have performed at many Central Florida venues and continue to dazzle the crowds at step competitions.

There will be a variety of food and drink vendors around Lake Mirror so bring a blanket and enjoy the live music and a dramatic display of fireworks over the lake.  The evening is free to the public and everyone attending is encouraged to bring at least one food item to benefit Chow for Now. All City parking garages will be open for T.Mims Corp. Red, White & Kaboom.