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City of Lakeland’s Monthly Newsletter

July 2012 30290-I-0113



Storm Season: Are You Ready?

Meet Dwayne Goostree: Lakeland Electric Supervisor

City Employees Honored For Heroism

Get Updated with Nixle

228 S. Massachusetts Ave Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000

national NIGHT OUT The Lakeland Police Department would like to invite you to participate in the 29th Annual National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7, 2012. National Night Out is an annual event where neighborhoods, businesses, churches and law enforcement come together to show solidarity in the ongoing fight against crime and drugs. This event is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, generate support and participation in local anticrime programs as well as strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. This is a great opportunity to send a message to criminals letting them know that local neighborhoods are organized and fighting back! Along with the traditional outside lights and front porch vigils, your neighborhood can celebrate National Night Out with a variety of activities such as block parties, cookouts, parades, festivals and visits from local officials and police officers. To ensure that members from the Lakeland Police Department stop by and celebrate with you, register your neighborhood or community group today! It’s free to participate and the benefits your community will derive from participating in this event could extend well beyond this one night. Applications are available online at www.

For full details, contact Dr. Greg Robinson at (863) 834-6912 or at

Those using Lake Hollingsworth Drive will see a new three-way stop at Ingraham Avenue and something entirely new in Central Florida – a bike box. A bike box is a green colored area at a signalized or signed intersection that allows bicyclists to pull in front of waiting traffic in order to make a turn. The box is intended to reduce car-bike conflicts, increase cyclist visibility and provide bicyclists with a head start after coming to a stop. The three way stop on Lake Hollingsworth Drive was installed to assist pedestrians crossing the street at this location. The City of Lakeland has been exploring pedestrian and bicycle safety enhancements for Lake Hollingsworth Drive. A safety committee was put together that included recreational stakeholders as well as members from Florida Southern College, the Lakeland Yacht & Country Club and the City of Lakeland. Chuck Barmby, City of Lakeland Transportation Planner said, “A number of recommendations made by the safety committee will be put into place around Lake Hollingsworth. They include the installation of new green bike boxes at intersections and colored bicycle lanes at locations where bicycle-automobile conflicts are more likely.” He added, “Some of these same safety enhancements being installed (continued page 4)

Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates

MARCH 2012

Source: FMEA Monthly Utility Bill Comparison 2.

STORM SEASON: ARE YOU READY? Florida’s summer storms are upon us and we have already experienced named storms early in the hurricane season. Lakeland Electric works very hard at providing reliable power to our customers and the utility takes great pride in restoration efforts during storm season. We all hope for a mild hurricane season but we need to be prepared for the possibility of several storms. Lakeland Electric acts in the event of an emergency and we urge our customers to do the same. Lakeland Electric publishes a Hurricane Guide that helps customers prepare before, during and after a storm. The publication is available at the Lakeland Public Libraries and other City facilities. The publication can also be downloaded from the City’s website by clicking on the Hurricane Guide highlight button on the bottom of the home page. The Hurricane Guide provides much more extensive information but here are some Hurricane Season Tips to help Lakeland Electric Customers during this year’s storm season. 1.

Following a power outage, unplug all of your large appliances and electronics to prevent power surges when electricity is restored, which can often damage equipment and create fire hazards.


Remember the “three don’ts” when using generators: DON’T run a generator in the house; DON’T run a generator in the garage; and, DON’T plug the generator directly into your home’s main electrical system. The first two can lead to asphyxiation and the third can send an electrical charge back into the power grid, posing an electrocution hazard to utility workers. DO run the generator outside in a wellventilated area and DO plug individual appliances directly into the generator.


Make sure that you have current identification. In very bad storm situations, you may have to pass through identification check points before being allowed access to your home or neighborhood.


Utilities often cannot respond to individual customers with special needs during or immediately after a storm. When warned of an incoming storm, make an early decision to evacuate people with special needs. Know the location of special needs shelters in case you are unable to evacuate. If you or someone in your family has special electrical medical equipment needs, notify Lakeland Electric prior to a storm’s arrival.


Capture water in your water heater by turning off power to the unit and closing the water valves.


Clear your patio and yard of lawn furniture, toys, potted plants, and other debris that could blow around in high winds and cause damage or injury.


Prior to the storm, identify the places around your home where you can shut off your gas, water and electricity. In an emergency, you’ll want to be able to turn them off quickly.


Create a hurricane survival kit that includes: first aid supplies, water, batteries, flashlights, battery powered radio, manual can opener, prescriptions, baby food and diapers, pet food, canned foods, cash, tarps, rope, bleach, trash bags, charcoal or gas grill with plenty of fuel, wooden kitchen matches, and a portable cooler. Don’t forget a hardwire phone. Cordless phones will not work during a power outage.


Lakeland High School Green Team (Pictured Above) challenged George Jenkins High School to find out which school could reduce their monthly energy consumption the most. Brandy Clark, AP Environmental Science Teacher at LHS said, “Our energy competition took place the entire month of April.” Both schools promoted energy conservation to help raise awareness for the event. Clark is the club leader for the Green Team at Lakeland, a group of environment conscious students who promote a sustainable lifestyle. “During the month of April, Green Team students created posters detailing ways to reduce electricity consumption and posted them in every classroom,” Clark said. Students came up with clever ways in promoting their energy saving message. One message reminded students to turn off electricity vampires. The list of vampires include: computers and computer-related equipment such as modems, routers, printers, fax machines, TVs, and cable boxes. Vampires also include any electronic item that maintains some type of clock such as microwaves, programmable coffee makers and DVD/DVR machines. The Green Team sent the message that these devices are constantly draining electricity even when they are not on. Clark said, “The Green Team pushed the electronic vampire message throughout the school and they made signs for common areas to remind people to turn off lights when not in use.” LHS created a video challenging George Jenkins and it was played on GJ’s news program for the entire school to see. “Both schools reduced their April energy consumption by more than $7,000 for the month and that’s incredible savings,” said Alan Shaffer, Interim General Manager for Lakeland Electric. “We are very glad to see these two schools promoting conservation and they have proved to us that real savings are obtainable by following a simple course of action.” Lakeland Electric offered a $250 reward to the school that was able to conserve energy by reducing their energy consumption by the largest dollar amount. George Jenkins reduced its average monthly electricity bill by $7,841.83 while Lakeland reduced its average by $7,341.89. “I thought it would be a good to educate the students and staff at both campuses about the importance of sustainability and energy usage,” Clark said. “It also gave us a chance to compete in another arena outside of sports and in this competition we are all winners.”

MULTIMODAL ENHANCEMENTS The Lakeland Area’s Newest Trail Network

East Main Street Transportation Enhancements sidewalk and transit stop improvements in the

In March, more than seven miles of new bicycle paths opened to the public, improving connections to the General Van Fleet National and Auburndale Trail systems. These bicycle paths are located on the south side of the recently-completed University Boulevard and Research Way Road projects constructed with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds awarded in 2009 to provide access to the new polytechnic university campus in Lakeland. The University Boulevard/ Research Way Trails continue east through the new Polk Parkway/Pace Road interchange and along the south side of Pace Road to CR 655/Berkley Road. Polk County constructed the Pace Road Trail with Federal Transportation Enhancement Program funds, which includes benches and enhanced landscaping in the project design. Access to this new trail network from Lakeland is provided via State Road 33 to University Boulevard or the Polk Parkway to Pace Road. Ample on-street parking can be found along Research Way, just west of the Polk Parkway/Pace Road interchange.

East Main Street has been identified as a street that could benefit from bicycle and pedestrian improvements for neighborhood residents. It will also provide connectivity to future facilities such as the Fort Fraser Trail. East Main Street has also been identified as an important route between Lake Mirror and Lake Bonny that could benefit from beautification enhancements such as landscaped medians. The Lakeland Community Redevelopment Area (LCRA) has partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to implement the following improvements that are scheduled to begin this fall: • Conversion of East Main Street (US 98/Bartow Road to Lake Bonny Drive West) from the current four-lane, undivided roadway section to a two-lane roadway section with intermittent turning lanes, medians and bike lanes. • Construction of decorative brick crosswalks at the East Main Street/Ingraham Avenue intersection. • Construction of landscaped medians to guide turning movements on East Main Street and to beautify the project corridor. • Installation of decorative benches and trash receptacles at recently improved transit stops. • Removal of traffic signal at East Main Street/Gary Road/Tyler Avenue intersection and conversion of intersection to “four-way stop” operations.

Pace Road

In early 2012, City of Lakeland’s Public Works Construction and Maintenance Division completed

project corridor and has constructed a new 10 foot wide asphalt path on the south side of Main Street between Fern Road and West Lake Bonny Drive to further improve pedestrian and bicycle convenience and safety in the project area.

Research Way Trail


Meet Dwayne Goostree Dwayne Goostree is a T&D Supervisor for Lakeland Electric where he plays an important role in the transmission and delivery of electricity to Lakeland Electric customers. Goostree has three lead linemen that report directly to him with a total of 21 employees that he oversees within his workgroup. A typical day will find him helping coordinate daily activities, employee hiring and evaluations, conducting job checks, meeting with engineers and delivering materials or personnel to work sites. In December, Goostree will celebrate 23 years with Lakeland Electric. He first started his career at Lakeland Electric as a Tree Trimmer with the Line Clearance Division and in 1993 he became a Lineman Helper. Goostree quickly became a Lineman Apprentice in 1996 and in 2000 he was promoted to First Class Lineman. He continued to grow in his profession, becoming a Lead Lineman in 2007 and in 2009 Goostree was promoted to T&D Supervisor. As a Lead lineman he managed an eight man crew that constructed transmission and distribution lines for new line projects, road construction and system reliability upgrades. Goostree said, “One of the most satisfying things about my job is knowing that I’m able to help people and give them a better quality of life.” He added, “As a lineman I have worked in all kinds of weather conditions, all hours of the day and night so

those in the dark could have their power restored.” Last year a group of 17 Lakeland Electric employees travelled to Huntsville, Alabama to assist an area that was ravished by a series of tornados. The deadly tornado outbreak ripped across northern Alabama leaving destruction in its path and hundreds of thousands without power. Goostree was one of the 17 who travelled to the area to help restore power. “There were so many who lost everything and we worked diligently for 11 straight days helping them rebuild their system,” he said. “It was amazing to see that community come together; helping those in need is the thing that I enjoy most about my job.” During a storm restoration, lineman must approach downed lines and equipment with caution and ensure that they follow all the proper safety procedures. “During storms there is a definitive safety factor, you can’t let your guard down and you can’t take anything for granted,” Goostree said. “There is the possibility of having a personal generator back feeding energy into what we thought was a deenergized line. There are downed trees, broken poles and mangled wires that we have to contend with during a restoration.” Goostree enjoys hunting and fishing during his time away from work. He hunts in Georgia and Ohio during different parts of the hunting season. This past year he harvested a 260 pound,

eight-point buck in Ohio while bow hunting. When asked about memorable fishing moments, Goostree shared that he caught a rainbow trout while fly fishing in Missouri during a recent trip. He also enjoys attending and competing in linemen competitions during his spare time. He said, “I have been competing in linemen competitions since 1999 and I’ve been part of a Lakeland Electric team that has won 1st place overall in 2001, 2004 and 2005. We’ve had a number of individual first place showings and at this year’s Florida event we placed second overall just shy of first place.” Goostree has also competed in American Public Power Association competitions in all parts of the country including Colorado, Georgia, California, Tennessee and Texas. Goostree is married to his wife Janis who works for the City of Lakeland in the Parks & Recreation Department. They actually met through the City and they have been married for 12 years. He has a daughter from a previous marriage Amber who is attending college in Iowa on a soccer scholarship.

heroes among us

City Workers Help a Child Return Home Safely

On Tuesday, March 20, 2012 a 3-man crew from the Solid Waste Division were driving their route servicing yard trash, when they noticed a toddler at the intersection of Edgewood and Maplewood Avenue. The child was apparently trying to make his way to Handley playground across Edgewood Avenue. Lorenzo Edwards, Lewis Gainers, and Jermaine Wynn immediately stopped and blocked the intersection with their vehicle to protect this little child. The crew went door to door, attempting to locate the child’s home. With their experience and knowledge of the area, they were able to determine the location of the child’s home and speak with the child’s parents, who were unaware of the disappearance of their child. Their quick actions were directly responsible for safe return of this child. Follow up investigations showed Lorenzo, Lewis and Jermaine were true heroes.

BIKE BOXES... (continued from page 1)

around Lakeland Hollingsworth will be used at other multimodal corridors.” Parkview Place recently received some modifications as part of a resurfacing project that includes bike boxes at the intersections of North Florida Avenue and Lakeland Hills Boulevard. Barmby said, “Cyclists will be very glad to hear that we have plans to install additional bike boxes at busy intersections that have defined bike lanes.” Motorists approaching an intersection with a bike box must come to a complete stop at the white stop bar located prior to the green painted area. Vehicles should not stop in the bike box area. The box typically extends the width of one or more travel lanes and provides room for several bicyclists. Bike boxes are used in conjunction with bike lanes, from which bicyclists pedal directly into the box.The boxes have no intended function when traffic is already in motion at signalized intersections.


IN PERSON City Hall is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday

New Bike Box at Lake Hollingsworth Dr. and Ingraham Ave.

On March 22, 2012 off-duty Lakeland Firefighter Harvey Ries was working out at a local gym in south Lakeland when he heard a thump and someone say “Call 911!” Ries ran over and found a man collapsed on the treadmill. He immediately identified himself as an off-duty firefighter and took control of patient care. After quickly assessing the patient, Ries found him to be unresponsive with no pulse. Ries then began CPR followed by use of the facility’s Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). The patient began breathing on his own and regained consciousness. Ries remained with the patient until emergency responders arrived on scene and passed on patient information for a rapid transport.


GET YOUR LAKELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT UPDATES THROUGH The Lakeland Police Department is now a registered contributor to the Nixle® community notification service. The web-based service, provided by Nixle LLC, is a geographic-based public notification system available free of charge to residents of Lakeland. By signing up for Nixle, you will be able to receive timely and accurate information via email or text messaging directly from the Lakeland Police Department.


Simply log on to and click on the “Sign Up Free” button to begin your registration.You will be asked for your name, home address or closest intersection, e-mail address, and/or cell phone number. The address is required as the basis for sending messages relevant to your neighborhood. You will also be able to register additional addresses in order to receive alerts based on more than one location. Once registered, you will receive e-mail alerts and text messages from authenticated agencies like ours who serve your community.You always have the option to define what notifications you receive and you may opt out of receiving messages from any participating agency. Nixle has been used around the country to help find missing persons, track down dangerous criminals and provide updates in emergency situations.


PUBLIC MEETINGS City Commission and Utility Committee meetings occur the first and third Monday of every month. The public is invited to attend or watch live on Channel 615 (Brighthouse) or Channel 43 (Verizon FiOS) CITY COMMISSION 9:00 a.m. UTILITY COMMITTEE 1:00 p.m. IMPORTANT NUMBERS City Hall 863.834.6000 Lakeland Electric Customer Service 863.834.9535 Power or Water Outages 863.834.4248 Stormwater Hotline 863.834.3300 PAYING YOUR UTILITY BILL ONLINE 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.

July 2012 Access Lakeland  

Access Lakeland is the City of Lakeland's citizen newsletter that is distributed each month with Lakeland Electric utility bills.

July 2012 Access Lakeland  

Access Lakeland is the City of Lakeland's citizen newsletter that is distributed each month with Lakeland Electric utility bills.