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City of Lakeland’s Monthly Newsletter

October 2012


Please Alert Lakeland Electric of any Medically Essential Usage

City Mobile App Now Available

Meet Ruby Williams: Food Supervisor






Did you know that the practice of Trick-or-Treating has been around for hundreds of years? Peasants in the Middle Ages would dress up in costumes during the holidays and travel from door to door, begging for treats. Originating in Ireland and Britain, people would pray for the souls of the dead in exchange for a treat. Wearing costumes and masks at Halloween goes back to Celtic traditions in which people would try to placate the evil spirits by dressing up like them. Although the art of Halloween has not changed drastically over the centuries, in the last few decades, the fun behind the holiday has been supressed by danger. What used to be a night of frivolity and care-free attitudes now needs to be enjoyed with caution. By following a few simple tips, though, you and your family can still have a great Halloween and your dentist can still have a great fourth quarter!

or responsible adult should y Aalwaysparent accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.

a flashlight to help you see and to help y Use others see you. in a group, walk slowly and communicate y Stay where you are going. trick-or-treat in well-known neighborhoods y Only at homes that have a porch light on. on well-lit streets and always use the y Remain sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic. Never cut across yards or use alleys.

City of Lakeland Employees Host 2ND Annual Give-Back Concert

y Never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat. y Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations. walk. Never run across a street. y Always Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks.

any mask or item that will limit eyesight y Remove before crossing a street, driveway or alley. assume the right of way. Motorists may y Don’t have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will.

228 S. Massachusetts Ave Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000

consume unwrapped food items or open y Never beverages that may be offered. not eat any candy or treats until they are y Do thoroughly checked by an adult at home.

Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates

Source: Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Monthly Utility Bill Comparison • July 2012



At Lakeland Electric, we know that electric service is important to all customers. For those individuals with a medical condition that requires the use of life-sustaining equipment, reliable power is a vital necessity. That’s why we’ve established the Medically Essential Service Program. What Does the Medically Essential Service Program Provide? This program is designed to provide Lakeland Electric customers with reasonable prior notice of power interruption due to scheduled service maintenance which in turn, will allow them time to secure back-up power for their medical equipment. To help customers manage their utility expenses, this program also provides information on energy efficiency and a list of social service agencies. For more information, contact us at 863.834.1555. *Lakeland Electric voluntarily complies with Section 366.15, Florida statutes


Lakeland Electric gives support to many of our local community-based organizations that strive to work, build and maintain balanced neighborhoods through quality-of-life initiatives. Annually, we offer an application period for those organizations who strive to support our communities through assistance, educational opportunities, and are aligned with the goals of the community. Open enrollment for our local organizations is from October 1st through March 1st. Online applications are available at


• Run your washing machine only when you have a full load. You’ll save on the electricity that heats the water and runs the appliance. • Wash clothes in cold water. • Reduce drying time by making sure excess water has been removed from clothes before transferring them to the dryer. • Use the sensor setting to make sure clothes are not over dried. • Clean the lint filter after each load to maintain full air flow and maximize drying efficiency. • Dry clothes in consecutive loads when possible. The dryer will be warm already and you will save on initial energy consumption. • Make sure the outside dryer exhaust vent is clean and that the flapper on the outside hood opens and closes freely. • Vent dryers externally or least have doors open to let moist air out of the laundry room.

to save energy! Did you know that if you replace five incandescent light bulbs with Energy Star Compact Fluorescent light bulbs you will save 62 kWh in a month? This is a savings of about $8 on your monthly electric bill and if you replace them with LED lights the savings is even greater. Turn off lights, ceiling fans, appliances, television sets, stereos and computers when not in use and save about 58 kWh or $7 per month. Keep your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher during the summer months when you are at home and 85 degrees when you are away from home or at work. In Florida, the cost to cool a home is about 50% of a typical energy bill. A typical home uses 250-1000 kilowatt-hours for air conditioning. To be more energy efficient with air conditioning throughout your home follow these tips: • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or as high as comfort permits. • Close your blinds or curtains during the hottest part of the day. • Check and clean or replace air filters every month. • Clean the outside condenser coil once per year. Lakeland Electric offers free energy audits conducted at your home by our very own Energy Analyst. A Lakeland Electric Energy Analyst will survey your home’s insulation, duct work, water heater and cooling & heating systems to measure the overall efficiency. You’ll then be provided with energy-saving recommendations and other cost-effective measures. Call 863.834.6789 to schedule an appointment or you can take an online energy audit by going to and click on the residential tab.

CITY E MP L OY EE TALENT SHOWCA SE City of Lakeland employees have long been recognized for their service to the citizens “on the job” and now a group of performers will be known “off the job” for their talent with the 2nd Annual Lakeland Employees Give Back Talent Showcase being held in conjunction with the Downtown Lakeland Partnership’s First Friday event on November 2nd. The show is scheduled from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. in Munn Park. In addition to the talented performing acts, a special City employees’ show choir, under the direction of Eric Holseth, will perform the finale. The showcase is free and open to the public as part of the First Friday event. The Lakeland Employees Give Back Talent Showcase was originally created to serve as a venue for City of Lakeland employees to share their talents with the community. City of Lakeland employees are known for their charitable activities including their annual contributions to the United Way totaling over $1.1 million over the past 10 years. “City of Lakeland employees have a compassion that runs deep because they live, work and play in the community,” said City Manager Doug Thomas. “They see this event as another opportunity to give back to the community.” Each participating act contains at least one City of Lakeland employee, a family member of an employee or a City of Lakeland retiree. Acts will be judged and winners will be selected for both a Judge’s Choice Award and a People’s Choice Award. Attendees will have a chance to vote for their talent choice by donating $1 per ballot. All monies raised from the People’s Choice Award will be donated to the local United Way. Over $500 was raised at last year’s event with all proceeds going to the United Way. “The employees have been working very hard to put together an awesome night of entertainment for their fans – you are really in for a treat.The highlight of the evening will be the finale performance with the employee choir. You won’t want to miss seeing some of Lakeland’s finest performers take the

stage,” said event coordinator and Lakeland Center employee Billy Bures. First Friday is one of the most popular recurring events that takes place in downtown Lakeland. Every month, on the first Friday of the month (hence the name), people from all over the community converge in Downtown Lakeland for an evening of FREE family friendly entertainment, activities, live music, art receptions, a car show, and, of course, the chance to check out a great, locally-owned restaurant or retail establishment. Each month, First Friday has a different theme, and special activities are provided to complement the theme. The City of Lakeland is proud to partner with First Friday for the Employees Give Back Talent Showcase and we hope to see you downtown on Friday, November 2nd.





Annual Red Ribbon Run and Kids Health & Wellness Carnival Saturday, November 3, 2012 Joker Marchant Stadium at Tigertown in Lakeland

7:00 AM – Registration Check-In 8:00 AM – First Race Over 1,800 K-5 students will participate in the Red Ribbon Run, the largest youth running event in Polk County. Registration is FREE for ages K-5 and all pre-registered children will receive a FREE T-SHIRT! Students in grade 6 & up and adults may race in Open Run for $10 registration fee. Festivities include the Kids Health & Wellness Carnival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Wristbands will be sold for $5 admission for kids age 3 & up to enjoy healthy activities. NEW! This year, participants can take advantage of early check-in for the Red Ribbon Run at First Friday in Downtown Lakeland on November 2nd, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and avoid long lines at the event the following morning. Please wear a Red Ribbon during the month of October to show your commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. For a free satin Red Lapel Ribbon, please call InnerAct Alliance at 863.802.0777. Visit our website at


••••••••••••••••••• MUNN PARK

(In Conjunction With First Friday Celebration)


Meet Ruby Williams Ruby Williams is an icon around the commercial kitchens of Lakeland. She has over 50 years experience as a cook and for the past 11 years she has been Food Supervisor at Cleveland Heights Golf Course. Her responsibilities include supervising the kitchen, training employees, conducting inventory, establishing pricing and scheduling staff. She has been with the City’s Cleveland Heights Golf Course since 2001 and if you have eaten a meal there then you most likely experienced her handy work. Ruby said, “I love my job, I’ve spent most of my life in a kitchen and this is the best job I’ve ever had.” She added, “From the top down, the City of Lakeland is like a family and I try to explain that to people all the time. I truly love what I do.” When asked about her favorite dish to make, Ruby responded with a resounding “anything sweet”. She said, “My favorite thing to make is dessert especially cakes, cobblers and pies.” That’s ironic because Ruby is best known for her fried chicken. On Wednesdays at Cleveland Heights the

lunch special is Ruby’s fried chicken and she has been cooking it the same way for decades. She says the secret is in the crisp crust cooked with a lot of care. “I learned a long time ago the secret to great fried chicken is to wash the cut pieces of chicken in ice cold water before the battering process,” she said. “I really don’t use any special spices but I follow the same procedure every time and the result turns out great chicken.” Ruby was born in Lineville, Alabama and her family moved to Lakeland when she was six-yearsold. Ruby was 15 years old when she first learned how to cook. She said, “There were 14 of us and I cooked for the whole family. At age 16, I got my first real job cooking in a kitchen.” Ruby has a big heart. In fact, she has raised her 14-year-old niece Johnnie since she was two-weeksold and she took care of her stepfather until he passed away. Ruby says, “I see everyone as a friend and I enjoy helping people.” Ruby says she is retiring in about four years and

she looks forward to volunteering during that time. “I would like to work until I’m 100, just not in a kitchen. But, I still plan to be active when I retire,” she said. “There is so much need in the community and I’m one of those people that must be involved.” Ruby really enjoys watching old movies. She said, “I love the suspense thrillers.” That explains why she enjoys reading anything by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Ruby’s favorite food is fried chicken and French fries and her least favorite thing is snakes. Ruby said, “I work at a golf course and I have never even thought about walking around out there because I’m petrified of snakes.” So, the next time you are at Cleveland Heights Golf Course stop in and say hello to Ruby and don’t forget that Wednesday’s lunch menu includes her famous fried chicken.



Lakeland Fire Department Urges Residents to “Have Two Ways Out!”

CITY OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED For The Observance of Veterans Day Monday, November 12 Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 22 Friday, November 23


• November 2-4 — Wings ‘n Things - Camping, aviation exploration geared to scouting badges, open to church groups, general public. And the best part 150 kids get “first flights” for free. • November 9-10 — Red White and Blue Veterans Salute • November 9 — Hangar Door Canteen: A MASH (Make Aviation Scholarships Happen) themed fundraising event. • November 10 — Imperial Symphony Orchestra Red White & Blue Veterans Tribute Concert with mini airshow and aircraft displays. • December 1 ­— “When Pigs Fly South” This first year will see motorcycles, antique cars and vendors as additions to pilots and their aircraf arriving for the world’s largest fly-in BBQ. We anticipate this to be an annual event that will start the Christmas season for everyone that day!

If you woke up to a fire in your home, how much time do you think you would have to get to safety? According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), onethird of Americans households believes they have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home becomes lifethreatening. Unfortunately, the time available is often less. That’s why the Lakeland Fire Department is joining with NFPA to to urge residents to “Have Two Ways Out!” as part of Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2012. This year’s theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and the power of prevention. The Lakeland Fire Department will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, October 13, 2012 during Fire Prevention Week to promote “Have Two Ways Out!” Through these educational, family-oriented activities, residents can learn more about the importance of fire escape planning and practice, as well as the power of prevention. In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage. In 2011, Lakeland Fire Department had a total of 17,031 calls for service. Of those, 439 were fire related. Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize. “One home structure was reported every 85 seconds in 2010,” says Hope Warren, Public Education Officer for the Lakeland Fire Department. “Having a tried and true escape plan with two exit strategies is essential to ensuring your family’s safety in the event of a fire.” Lakeland Fire Department recommends the following tips for planning your family’s escape: • Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room. • Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they’ve escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan. • Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan. • Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home. • Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday. To learn more about “Have Two Ways Out!” visit

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

October 2012 Access Lakeland  

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

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