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

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.



 FL (April 2, 2012) -- On Friday, April 2Oth there will be a Free Green Celebration in honor of Earth Day with a concert & showcase at the Lake Mirror Promenade from 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. There will be live music from the Sofa Kings along with a variety of exhibits promoting green living initiatives.

The Sofa Kings provide an entertaining mix of dance, pop and rock with groovy antics to entertain. The band grooves audiences into a soulful mood like no other and they are a perfect fit to celebrate the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day.  Their music includes songs from the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Buffett intertwined with the hits from the 70’s, 80’s and the 90s.

The Green Celebration honors Earth Day, a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for theEarth's natural environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970.  Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and it is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.  In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day.

There will be a number of exhibits and vendors that will have displays at the event.  The Polk County School Board will also participate showcasing various school programs and earth friendly initiatives designed to promote a greener more sustainable future.

The Green Celebration invites the Lakeland community to attend the free event.  Bring a blanket, a picnic basket and enjoy the festivities as we celebrate Earth Day.  Participants are encouraged to recycle, reclaim, reuse and ride a bike. 

The event is sponsored in part by the City of Lakeland, Magnify Credit Union, Greenovative Design & Engineering/Greenovative Homes and American Compliance Technologies.


At the City Commission meeting held April 2, 2012 the Lakeland City Commission presented Beautification Awards to the residence at 3304 Innisbrook Dr. and the commercial property at 719 N. Massachusetts.

Employee Service Awards were presented to:

  • Jacquelyn Adkinson, Chad Hotchkiss, Christopher Leggett, Heath Seeber, James Tanner Jr. for 10 Years of service.
  • Timothy Keeney, and Melinda Morris for 20 years.
  • David Brice, David Doty, Tracy Grice, Robert Guion Jr., Terry Hamilton, Valerie Highsmith, Lloyd Holmes, Robert Jaroszeski, Michael Platt, Douglas Riley and David Smith for 25 years.
  • William LePere for 30 Years.

Proclamations were presented in recognition of :

Child Abuse Prevention Month, Community Development Week, Donate Life Month, Fair Housing Month, National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, National Volunteer Week. Sertoma Month, Volunteer Appreciation Month and Water Conservation Month.

Michael Simms and Richard Vick were appointed to the Beautification Board.

Todd Baylis was appointed to the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency Board.

An amendment to the city code establishing fees for reviewing petition signatures was defeated.

An amendment to the city code affecting the police officers’ defined benefit retirement fund was postponed.

The section of Providence Road which is on the North side of I-4, just east of the Sports Authority, was renamed Betz Place.

The one year action plan for CDBG and HOME grant programs was approved.

A total of $27,348.80 in assessments for Lot Clearings at 93 properties throughout the city were approved.

Properties at 609 and 613 N. Vermont Avenue and 728 Peachtree Street which are owned by the City Community Redevelopment Agency were conveyed to Parker Street Ministries, Inc. for rehabilitation and sale as single family affordable housing.

The voluntary annexation of 24.33 acres located north and east of the current city limit line, south of Old Tampa Highway and west of Wilkerson Road was postponed.

Public Hearings were scheduled for the April 16th City Commission meeting for a daycare on property located at 1030 Olive Street , a Banquet Hall and an Alcoholic Beverage License on Property Located at 215 East Main Street, conditional use for the Boys & Girls club at 950 Pinewood Avenue, and at Girls Incorporated at 1220 West Highland Street and amendments to the Land Development Regulations for building bulk, fences and walls, and landscaping.

In final action a portion of Crevasse Street, east of N. Rd 98 was renamed “Lakeland Park Center Drive”.