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City of Lakeland’s Monthly Newsletter

December 2013

Lakeland Electric eServices: What's New

Meet Emma Molina: LPD Motorcycle Officer

Swan Roundup: Caring for an Icon

LPD K-9 Team: National Champions, Again!

Deck The\ Halls

IN THIS ISSUE

It’s a fifty-year tradition that brings holiday spirit to thousands of Lakelanders each year. Beginning on November 1, festive holiday light displays start appearing around Lakeland. Munn Park comes alive with holiday glitz. Lake Mirror, Lake Morton and other areas surrounding downtown also get a holiday makeover. Each year, through the combined efforts of Lakeland Electric and the Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Lakeland brightens up for the holidays with thousands of lights—but it doesn’t happen easily. Beginning October 1, a group of Parks and Recreation Department employees evaluate the existing inventory of display pieces. It is then decided which need repairs, refurbishment or replacement. This group decides, based on the budgeted funds, if new lighting display acquisitions are necessary. This year, a 51-foot Christmas tree will be added to the Lake Mirror Displays. Each piece is then inspected, repaired if necessary and defective bulbs are replaced. The decorating begins on November 1 while other pieces are still being inspected and repaired. Last year, half of the Munn Park displays were completely refurbished before installation. This year, the remaining half will get the same treatment. During this process, each piece is stripped down to its frame, repainted, rewired and, beginning last year, reconfigured with LED lights. The conversion to LEDs provides for a longer lifespan for the individual bulbs, conserves electricity and decreases the likelihood of vandalism. Lakeland Electric leases some of the larger display pieces including the toppers on the Lakeland Electric building, the display in front of Lakeland Fire Department Station 1 and the display in front of City Hall. The goal, each year, is to have all of the lights ready to illuminate on Thanksgiving Night. This year, that includes 32 newly purchased pole lights for Martin Luther King Avenue (which were added to the 500+ pole lights already installed downtown). All combined, the City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department installs nearly 1,000 light pole decorations each year. They even hang 25 decorations on Lakeland Electric poles in Polk City (a long-time tradition provided by Lakeland Electric and the City of Lakeland). During the holiday season, displays are illuminated 5pm-2am. If you’re looking to enjoy all of the City’s light displays, check out all of the other City facilities around Lakeland. On January 2, however, it’s “lights out.” It takes the Parks and Recreation crew over a month to take it all down and pack it away. Then, the planning process for next year begins again.

FROM ALL OF US

228 S. Massachusetts Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000 www.lakelandgov.net

KELAND,

A AT THE CITY OF L

SEASON Y A ID L O H A U O Y WE WISH

! T H G I L H T I W D FILLE

Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates

Source: Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Monthly Utility Bill Comparison • July 2013

www.lakelandelectric.com

$38,570 DONATED TO PROJECT CARE

HELP US HELP OTHERS BY ROUNDING UP YOUR UTILITY BILL TO THE NEXT DOLLAR.

*per 1,200 kWh usage

page 4

OCTOBER 2012-SEPTEMBER 2013

Academy Topics Include: Electricity Explained Power Plant & Substation Tours Accessing your “Smart Meter” information on the web Energy Efficiency Utility Financials & Rate Structures

We may not have basted the turkey or mashed the potatoes, but we we'll be there to help you serve up one of the best holiday feasts ever. When it comes to power quality and reliability, we understand the important role that energy plays in your everyday life. Lakeland Electric has one of the highest reliability ratings for all utilities. In fact, you can count on Lakeland Electric for quality services that

CLASS 1 BEGINS JANUARY 7, 2014 The Lakeland Electric Customer Academy is a free, interactive informational program that allows you, our customer, the opportunity to gain insight into your communityowned electric utility and discuss energy industry “hot topics” with subject matter experts. The academy will consist of six (6) two (2) hour evening sessions, with sessions held on every other Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. Refreshments will be served prior to each session between 5:30-6:00 p.m. Participants are highly encouraged to attend all six sessions to get the most from the program. Class size is limited to the first thirty (30) Lakeland Electric customers who sign up, under Education & Careers at:

www.lakelandelectic.com

benefit your quality of life. We’ll even stay around to help with the dishes.

And that’s something to be thankful for!

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LIKE US ON

JUST KEEP SWIMMING!

Lawton Chiles Middle School Students Partner with the City of Lakeland to Recycle Fishing Line Just Keep Swimming is an environmental project developed by students at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy to properly dispose and recyclemonofilament fishing line. The thin, clear, and flexible material not only ensnares marine and terrestrial wildlife but can last up to 600 years in anecosystem. The students have been working hard this year to not only educate the public about the hazards of discarding the material in and around our lakes but also come up with solutions to ensure the material is collected and recycled properly. At the recent Cardboard Boat Race event, employees with the City of Lakeland’s Lakes and Stormwater division saw the student’s educational display and offered to help with their project. A plan was set in motion to construct eleven monofilament recycling containers and place them at area lakes known for their fishing activity. The containers were made from 4” PVC pipe and stand about 2 feet tall. Students took time to decorate the pipes with stickers bearing different recycling messages. It is their hope for the future that a monofilament recycling container will be placed at all of the lakes here in our beautiful city. As part of the project the students also developed a video and website to highlight the project and bring awareness to the problem. Once on the site you will find photo galleries, educational Powerpoint displays and even a public poll.You can view the site at http://jksmonofilamentrecoveryproject.weebly.com/index.html. Great job Lawton Chiles Middle School!

G OV E R N M E N T E M P L OY E E S AT WO R K

Meet EMMA molina Meet Emma Molina, a motorcycle officer with the Lakeland Police Department. She has been with the Lakeland Police Department for over six years and she has been assigned to the motorcycle unit for almost three years. Molina said, “I know this sounds cliché but I’ve always wanted to be a police officer. In fact, I was a member of the Police Explorers while growing up in Orlando and as early as the sixth grade, I knew what my career was going to be.” Molina loves a challenge and that is one of the reasons she was drawn to the motorcycle unit at the Police Department. “Women are rare in motorcycle units and one of my goals is to promote the fact that women can do what men do and sometimes we are better at it”, she said. Molina recently competed in a law enforcement motorcycle rodeo. During this competition for motorcycle officers, Molina’s skills were tested against some of the best. When asked how she did, Molina smiles and says, “Out of 118 officers I came in 50th but next year I’m bringing home a trophy.” When asked about what she likes best about her job, Molina quickly responded, changing people’s driving habits. She said, “We recently held an Open House at the Lakeland Police Department and during the event a child came up to me and said look dad this is the lady motorcycle cop that gave you a ticket. The dad came up to me and thanked me for what I do and he said that he has changed his driving behavior.” She added, “That’s the kind of thing that makes me feel good inside.”

Molina said, “The thing I like least about my job is notifying families that a loved one died during a traffic accident. It doesn’t get any easier as time passes on and my advice to everyone is please wear your seatbelt.” Molina has to handle a motorcycle that weighs over 900 lbs. and that has helped her as a powerlifter. She still holds the record in the powerlifting event that is part of the Florida Police & Fire Games. In the female power lifting event, Molina competed in the bench press, squat and dead lift where she had a combined weight of 645 lbs. In her spare time, Molina loves to cycle and she recently participated in the Police Unity Tour that honors fallen officers. She said, “During that event we rode 250 miles from Virginia to Washington DC in three days. I trained for that event by riding about 36 miles a day but right now I’ve trimmed my mileage down and I’m just riding for recreation and fitness.” Molina also likes to spend time with her family during her off hours. She is engaged to a detective and she has two children, a son who is in college and a daughter who is in high school. Molina says that she is a huge movie buff and when asked about her favorite movie she said, “I’m a sap for love stories and The Notebook has to be my all time favorite movie.” She lists Dean Koontz as her favorite author but she said her most memorable book is one she read as a child, the Bridge to Terabithia about two lonely children who create a magical forest kingdom.

Molina recently started playing golf and she is very interested in taking up off-road motorcycling. “My fiancé loves golf and that is one recreational activity that we can do together,” she said. “I just purchased a new set of clubs and we play everywhere but one of my favorite courses is Southern Dunes in Haines City.” Molina said her favorite color is black because it is a slimming color. Molina enjoys to cook and one of her favorite meals is tenderloin roast served with French onions, rice and buttered corn. However, she said, “I’m Puerto Rican and I love anything served with yellow rice and beans.” Molina was born in New York but moved to Orlando in the 3rd grade. She was an athlete in school, playing basketball and she participated in track. Molina has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and she is five classes away from completing her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University.

ROUND

HELP

SUPPORT FOR YOUR COMMUNITY

PROJECT CARE

2,423 $38,570

As a City-owned utility, our goal is to provide Lakeland with reliable electric service but we also feel it is our responsibility to help improve the quality of life for our customers. To help our fellow citizens in need, a program called Project Care was developed to assist people with paying their electric bills. Lakeland Electric customers who are 60 and older and/or disabled are eligible for assistance. Lakeland Electric is pleased to offer a convenient program that provides assistance to those less fortunate. Round Up for Project Care is a voluntary program that allows Lakeland Electric customers an opportunity to help lowincome senior and disabled members of the community. Through the Round Up program, Lakeland Electric customers can choose to automatically round up their utility bills to the next highest dollar amount. For example, a participating customer’s monthly bill of $153.75 would be automatically rounded up to $154.00, with the additional 25 cents going to Round Up for Project Care. Each month the donation will vary, depending on the amount of your electric bill. There will be a separate line on your utility bill indicating the amount donated to Round Up for Project Care for that particular month. The minimum amount you contribute each month is one cent, and the maximum is 99 cents. The maximum any customer can contribute in a year is $11.88 ($0.99 times 12 months). If you are interested in participating in the Round Up program, please call Customer Service at 834-9535 or visit www.Lakelandelectric.com and fill out the quick form.

LAKELAND ELECTRIC CUSTOMERS CURRENTLY ENROLLED. THAT'S ONLY 2%.

DONATED LAST FISCAL YEAR. THIS MONEY HELPED 253 CUSTOMERS PAY FOR ELECTRICITY.

IMAGINE IF 25% OF CUSTOMERS DONATED ON A MONTHLY BASIS TO PROJECT CARE. THAT NUMBER COULD INCREASE TO OVER 3,OOO. HELP US REACH OUR GOAL OF 25% PROGRAM PARTICIPATION FOR THIS UPCOMING YEAR. ROUND UP YOUR UTILITY BILL TO THE NEXT DOLLAR.

your small change can make a big difference.

SINGLE-STREAM RECYCLING NEW RECYCLING CARTS: RECYCLE MORE — PAY LESS ALLOWS YOU TO

RECYCLE MORE! NO MORE SORTING! NO MORE BUNDLING!

JUST TOSS IT IN!

¢¢ GLASS ¢¢ PLASTICS 1-7 ¢¢ ALUMINUM & TIN CANS ¢¢ STYROFOAM ¢¢ ALUMINUM FOIL ¢¢ PIE PANS ¢¢ JUNK MAIL ¢¢ FLATTENED CARDBOARD BOXES ¢¢ CEREAL & FOOD BOXES ¢¢ SMALL APPLIANCES ¢¢ AEROSOL CANS ¢¢ NEWSPAPER ¢¢ MAGAZINES ¢¢ OFFICE PAPER ¢¢ PAPERBACK BOOKS ¢¢ POTS & PANS ¢¢ PLASTIC CHILDREN’S TOYS ¢¢ OLD PLASTIC LAWN FURNITURE ¢¢ SHREDDED PAPER (BAGGED IN PAPER BAGS) ¢¢ THIS COPY OF ACCESS (AFTER READING)

Last month the City of Lakeland implemented Automated Recycling Collection within the City limits of Lakeland. Based on your cart selection, you either recieved a new easy-to-use wheeled 65 gallon or 35 gallon cart.

To ensure that you have the right cart that fits your household needs, the City of Lakeland is offering a two month period where you can test drive your new recycling cart.  If at any time between now and January 3, 2014, you decide that you would like to swap out your recycling cart for a different size, call our Solid Waste Office at 863.834.8773. There is no charge for exchanging to a different size now thru January 3rd. (All requests that are received after January 3, 2014 will be subject to a $25 exchange fee.) If you do request to swap out your recycling cart, your new cart will be delivered some time in January. With the new larger recycling containers you can now recycle more which may allow you to change the size of your EZ Can Garbage container. During this test drive period you may call to request a smaller EZ Can garbage container at no charge.

Questions? Call us!

863.834.8773 www.lakelandgov.net

2013 Swan Roundup NATIONAL CHAMPS CaRING FOR LAKELAND'S ICONS

LPD K-9 TEAM COMES OUT ON TOP

For more than 30 years, the Parks and Recreation staff, along with volunteers, has taken part in the “Annual Swan Round-up” at Lake Morton. This year’s two-day event began in the early morning hours with teams of two setting out on the waters of Lake Morton in small motor boats equipped with large nets to capture the 80 plus swans that call the lake home. Swan wrangler Steve Platt has been a part of the event for the past 17 years. “This is the best day of our year. It is awesome.” Said Platt. “We take great pride in making sure these swans are healthy and safe.” Once caught, each swan was placed in one of the pens overnight to await their check-up scheduled for the next morning. On the second day, veterinarian Patricia Mattson From Companion Animal Hospital, along with several assistants performed thorough physicals on each and every one of the graceful birds. As part of their check up each swan was identified through a microchip, weighed, checked for disease, and if necessary, vaccinated against a variety of pathogens. After each swan passed their physical, they were released back onto the lake. New to the process this year were the 16 cygnets (baby swans) that were hatched earlier this year. “This is the largest number of baby swans that we have had in one year that I can remember.” said Platt. Platt credits the improved security measures that included placing cameras around Lake Morton and an off-site swan nursery with the successful number of baby swans. “It’s so rewarding to know that we helped raise the next generation of Lakeland’s adopted icons.” said Platt.

Congratulations once again to the members of the Lakeland Police Department K9 Unit on repeating as National Champions at the recent United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) National Trials held this past October just outside our nation’s capital in Maryland. The five men and five canines that make up the team competed in team and individual events. FIRST PLACE TEAM MEMBERS: • Rob Manrow with K9 Qanto • Ted Sealey with K9 Bruno • Team Leader/ alternate Jeff Barrett with K9 Echo • Aaron Peterman with K9 Charief • Chad Whitaker with K9 Bane In addition, Officer Ted Sealey and his partner Bruno captured the coveted “Top Patrol Dog” in the nation for the second year in a row. Bruno is a German Shepherd that has been with the department for 5 years and Sealy joined the force in 1998. He and Sealey seem unstoppable at competitions, even setting a record at the 2012 National Competition when they scored 697 out of 700 points to win the individual title of Top Dog. We are very proud of all the officers, both two-legged and four-pawed, who represent our City not only in competitions, but in their day-to-day duties protecting our community.

STAY CONNECTED ONLINE www.lakelandgov.net

IN PERSON City Hall is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday PUBLIC MEETINGS City Commission Meetings First and Third Monday 9:00 a.m. Utility Committee Meetings First Monday 1:00 p.m. Watch the live broadcast on:

Channel 615 (Brighthouse) or Channel 43 (Verizon FiOS) IMPORTANT NUMBERS City Hall 863.834.6000 Lakeland Electric Customer Service 863.834.9535 Power or Water Outages 863.834.4248

Did YouKnow?

Queen Elizabeth gave the first pair of swans to Lakeland in 1957.

CITY OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED For The Observance of CHRISTMAS TUESDAY, December 24 WEDNESDAY, December 25

New Year's WEDNESDAY, January 1

NO SOLID WASTE COLLECTION ON 1/1. NO CHANGE IN COLLECTION DAYS.

MLK MONDAY, JANUARY 20

NO SOLID WASTE COLLECTION ON 12/25. NO CHANGE IN COLLECTION DAYS. NO CHANGE IN COLLECTION DAYS.

L O G O N. T U N E I N. G E T C O N N E C T E D.

www.lakelandgov.net

Stormwater Hotline 863.834.3300 PAYING YOUR UTILITY BILL ONLINE www.lakelandelectric.com BY PHONE 863.834.9535 IN PERSON Lakeland Electric has partnered with over 50 local businesses including area AMSCOT offices to accept your utility payment.


December 2013 - Access Lakeland