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Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Lakeland voters rejected a change to a strong mayor form of government.

Nearly 69 percent of voters said no to the amendment to the city charter, which means that the city will continue to be governed by an elected city council and an appointed city manager.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Lakeland voters will soon decide  on whether to change their form of government, and the heated campaign has pitted the grandson of Publix founder George Jenkins against  city leaders and establishment.

Florida Hospital has purchased about 100 acres along Interstate 4 in Lakeland where it plans to build a freestanding emergency room and eventually a 200-bed hospital.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Hurricane Irma left the congregation of an area synagogue homeless just as the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah begins Wednesday evening. But a local church has stepped forward with help.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Polk County took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, with the storm hitting Lakeland just after midnight Sunday night.

The winds caused widespread damage -- but no reported injuries -- throughout the county, toppling massive trees onto houses and power lines.

About 80 percent of Polk is without power, and towering piles of debris line the roads.

Photo Courtesy The Ledger

One of the longest-serving mayors in Lakeland's history has died. Mayor Ralph "Buddy" Fletcher passed away Tuesday at the age of 84.

Cathy Carter/WUSF News

For baseball fans, spring training means winter is almost over and pennant dreams can be renewed.  But in Florida, baseball’s six week warm-up means big business.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to a crowd of several thousand at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on Wednesday, but made no mention of the controversy that has plagued his campaign since Friday.

Meet the Non-Voters - in Lakeland

Dec 7, 2015

A reporter from the National Journal takes a journey to Lakeland - considered one of the buckles in the belt of the nation's largest swing state - to find out why some people vote, and others don't. He finds out it boils down to income levels, and a distrust of government.

George Jenkins High School

There's growing concern about the risks of concussions in young athletes. For years, high school coaches have had to take courses on the dangers of head injuries. This year, for the first time, all high school athletes in Florida are required to educate themselves about concussions before they can compete.

Reececliff Family Diner in Lakeland has been turning out its award winning pies since the 1930s, and lots of families rely on them every year for their Thanksgiving dessert. The restaurant has been operating in the Dixieland neighborhood since 1934.

Residents in Sebring and Lakeland are less likely to own a computer or have high-speed Internet compared to other parts of Florida.

A report released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week shows that those interior parts of the state lag behind coastal parts of the state when it comes to computer ownership and fast Internet service.

Only about three-quarters of Sebring households have a computer, and only about two-thirds of Lakeland households have high-speed Internet.

Open House Seat Creates Polk County Battle

Aug 13, 2014

With powerful House budget chief Seth McKeel leaving office this fall because of term limits, the vacancy has created a hotly contested Republican primary in a GOP-leaning Polk County district.

Former non-profit executive Colleen Burton and attorney John Hugh Shannon are battling for the nomination in a race that has included attacks accusing Burton of being "just too liberal" and reports about Shannon having longstanding tax problems.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE at 8:30 p.m. May 27: Law enforcement officials now say David Eugene Smith, a suspect in a triple murder in Lakeland, has died at a Tennessee hospital from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

UPDATE at 2:55 p.m. May 27: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says police in Knoxville, Tennessee, have taken David Eugene Smith, a suspect in a triple murder in Lakeland, into custody.

The Lakelander

You often hear that print media is out -- or going digital.  So when an upmarket, city magazine  with big  production values suddenly appears in a mid-sized town like Lakeland, can it succeed? Publishers of the new magazine, The Lakelander, are banking on it.

Polk County commissioners approved Tuesday almost $14.6 million in tourist tax funds to renovate and expand the Detroit Tigers' spring training complex.

The Detroit Tigers have made Lakeland their spring training home for 77 years. That relationship is the longest of its kind in Major League Baseball.

To keep that relationship going past the agreement end date of 2016, Polk County commissioners approved the money to renovate and expand the Tigertown complex.

Lakeland's Ray Lewis Thanks City for Life Lessons

Mar 3, 2013

The city of Lakeland set aside Saturday to honor Polk County's champions as the city set out to pay tribute to the trio of Ray Lewis, Albert McClellan and Jah Reid, who were members of the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens football team.

Publix Super Markets

Grocery customers can now avoid the dreaded deli line by going online.

Publix Super Markets just announced the launch of an Internet-based deli ordering system.

Publix Deli Online Easy Ordering will debut at one Lakeland store on Aug. 3 and should be in 50 stores by the end of this year, including "a handful in the Tampa Bay area," said spokeswoman Shannon Patten.

The service will enable shoppers to order custom sub sandwiches and wraps, as well as sliced meats and cheeses, for in-store pickup.

The Ledger/Michael Wilson

The City of Lakeland has a message about its bus system this week: buses aren't just for those who can't afford a car. They're teaming up with artists to make riding the bus a little more fun, and on Tuesday WUSF's Robin Sussingham went along for the ride with Bev Hendricks, who is one of the event's organizers.

As part of "Art on the Bus" week, Hendricks brought her violin to Lakeland's downtown bus station, and prepared to play on the bus. She's the former executive director of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra and now does mostly volunteer work for several arts organizations.

Tampa-Based Company to Bring 600 New Jobs to Lakeland

May 31, 2012
Dreamstime.com

The Tampa-based Sykes Enterprises CEO Chuck Sykes announced that a new customer service call center is going to bring 600 new jobs to Lakeland.

The company's call center will be located on Griffin Road at the former FedEx National LTL facility and Sykes said it would start operating in the third quarter.