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City of Lakeland’s Monthly Newsletter


Storm Season Is Here... Are You Ready?

Refuse to Lose

Meet Jami VanHorn: Human Resources Clerk

Lakeland Receives Walk-Friendly Community Designation

228 S. Massachusetts Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000


June 2014


The City of Lakeland is pleased to announce that the T.Mims Corp. Red,White & Kaboom Independence Celebration will take place with live music at Lake Mirror along the Frances Langford Promenade on Wednesday, July 3rd from 6:00 p.m. - 9 p.m. with a breathtaking fireworks display dazzling the crowd at 9 p.m. A live concert featuring the energetic DA Smith and the Soul Injectors will entertain the crowd. This multi-piece R&B Band features an extremely talented and charismatic front man, three amazing female support singers and a formidable group of highly talented and seasoned professional band members that are ready to light up the stage! DA Smith and the Soul Injectors will serve up a steady diet of hit song after hit song of dance-able Classic Soul, Funk, and R & B with hits from yesteryear and today. This act will please everyone from the youngest kids to the oldest adults. Bandleader, Derik Smith said, “The entire repertoire and performance is carefully selected and geared to make sure the audience is up dancing, enjoying themselves, singing along and having a great time!” He added, “We will play the best of Motown - James Brown-70's Funk-and some Classic Rock & Roll...It's a good Time!” Tom Mims, President of T. Mims Corporation said, “We are very excited to sponsor Red, White & Kaboom again this year. It is an excellent opportunity for our community to come together in celebration of our great country and it is free to the public." Mims added, "We will be continuing our Chow for Now canned food drive to benefit Volunteers in Service to the Elderly so we want each spectator to bring at least one can of food for VISTE." There will be Chow for Now volunteers with grocery carts circulating through the park collecting canned goods. Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) is a community-based, non-profit organization serving Lakeland, Bartow, Mulberry and Ft. Meade. Established in 1983, the primary goal of VISTE is to enable elderly persons to continue living independently and safely in their own home. During Red, White & Kaboom there will be a variety of food trucks around Lake Mirror so bring a blanket, bring your appetite and enjoy the festivities in celebrating our great nation. The event will conclude with a dramatic display of fireworks over the lake. The evening is free to the public and everyone attending is encouraged to bring at least one food item to benefit Chow for Now. All City parking garages will be open for the T.Mims Corp. Red, White & Kaboom.

JULY 3, 2014 • 6-9PM Frances Langford Promenade At Lake Mirror

Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates

Source: Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Monthly Utility Bill Comparison • February 2014

*per 1,200 kWh usage

Getting Ready for Storm Season

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecasted an active hurricane season this year. Lakeland Electric wants our customers to be prepared and most importantly safe during storm season so we have prepared a “Dozen Hurricane Season Tips,” outlining important yet often overlooked safety tips that customers can follow before, during and after a hurricane hits. “While we hope for a mild hurricane season, we need to be prepared for the possibility of storms,” said Joel Ivy, General Manager of Lakeland Electric.

One Dozen Storm Season Tips 1.

Following a power outage, unplug all of your large appliances and electronics to prevent power surges when electricity is restored.


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.


If your home is flooded, turn off your electrical power until a professional inspects it thoroughly.


If you smell gas, evacuate immediately and contact your gas company’s emergency number.


Make sure that you have current identification.


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.


Visit to determine your hurricane evacuation route.


Capture water in your water heater by turning off power to the unit and closing the water valves. If you lose water pressure, you will have about 40 gallons of fresh water stored in the tank. Store additional water in your bathtub and fill the washing machine with water. This water supply can be used for cleaning or to operate your toilets.


If a storm is approaching, 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.

10. 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. 11. After the storm, check to see if your home’s weatherhead is damaged – it is located above the electric meter. Utility workers cannot reconnect service if this piece of equipment – which is the homeowner’s responsibility – is damaged. If your weatherhead needs repair, please contact a licensed electrician. 12. Create a storm 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. If a storm hits, cordless phones and even mobile phones may not work because of outages and cell tower damage.




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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT The Community Development Department focuses on planning and implementing standards and initiatives that maintain Lakeland’s exceptional quality of life as the City continues to develop and mature. With each new project, a focus is kept to encourage a balance of inviting and safe residential communities, vibrant commercial centers, and a variety of manufacturing areas for continued job growth.The 54 employees working within the Department are responsible for managing a wide range of services including longrange strategic and land use planning, site and building plan review, construction permitting and inspection, local business tax receipt issuance, economic development and annexation programs, municipal code enforcement, housing assistance and rehabilitation programs, neighborhood improvement programs, pedestrian connectivity and construction project management. The Department's hard work is often recognized at both state and national levels. Recently, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center designated the City of Lakeland as a Bronze-level Walk Friendly community. Lakeland was one of only 47 communities in the United States to receive the designation. In 2012 the League of American Bicyclists designated Lakeland as a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community for its commitment to supporting cycling by improving conditions and creating more pedestrian opportunities. To learn more about Community Development Department visit

? $69.5M 1,223 NEWJOBS

did you know


In response to a number of recent gang influenced shootings, a Community Task Force has been established to help find solutions to combat growing concerns about gang activity. Commissioner Philip Walker, Chair of the Gang Task Force said, “The purpose of the task force is to identify the steps needed to help curb gang membership within the community.” He added, “In an effort to help the community stay informed, we have developed the Refuse to Lose microsite on the City’s website.” The site is a very informative reference that outlines the signs to look for regarding gang activity, gang identifiers and tips for parents. The Refuse to Lose site also has an area that lists youth programs so parents can get their children involved in a summer or after school activity. Refuse to Lose will include mentoring initiatives for the upcoming school year that will introduce positive role models and a reasoning voice to those that may be recruited to participate in a gang. According to law enforcement records, there are approximately 300-documented gang members and associates in the Lakeland area. There are 46 listed gangs with four very active gangs operating within the community For more information on gang activity in Florida, please visit and visit RefusetoLose.aspx to get more information on community youth programs and gang related topics.


Meet Jamie Vanhorn Meet Jami VanHorn, a 20-year employee with the City of Lakeland. VanHorn began her career with the City in the Customer Service Division of Lakeland Electric. The majority of her time in Customer Service was spent working on special projects, like the surge protection and internet programs. In 2005, VanHorn became an Administrative Assistant and then was promoted to a Human Resources Clerk where she enjoys the interaction with all of her internal customers. As a Human Resources Clerk,VanHorn’s primary duty is assisting employees with FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act. Asked about her other duties, she launches into a long list of other responsibilitiesissuing and updating employee badges, posting new information and policy changes to Insite- the City’s employee only website, managing the computer purchasing program, managing service awards for employee longevity, updating reports and forms for the timekeepers, inputting payroll for 35 employees and the list goes on. VanHorn would like to be with the City for 10 more years. Three months after meeting her future husband, he proposed in a unique way. While they were at Burger King, Roger placed a ring on her finger. This wasn’t just any ring, it was an onion ring! Asked what VanHorn did with the ring, she says, “I ate it,

I was hungry!” Three months after this proposal, they were married and have been so for 30 years. A daughter, a son and five grandsons later VanHorn’s face lights up when she talks about her family. While Facebook is one of VanHorn’s hobbies, playing with her grandsons and spending time with her husband are her most favorite things to do. She said, “I like to hang out with my husband in our backyard under the oak tree sitting around the fire pit where we enjoy the quiet.” When they have had enough quiet time and want to feel energized, they like to take their grandsons to the movies. The last movie they saw was The Lego Movie in 3D. When asked what her favorite movie is, with no hesitation, VanHorn said, “The Notebook.” The movie touched her because years ago she and her husband decided they were going to leave this world together holding pinkies. Until that time comes, VanHorn relishes all the time she gets to spend with her family. A close second to spending time with her family, is shrimp. Yes, shrimp.Whether it’s peel and eat, scampi style, fried or tossed in pasta, VanHorn has never meet a shrimp she has not liked. Her favorite restaurant is Red Lobster and you can often find her there with a shrimp on her plate and a side of cheddar bay biscuits. When asked what her second favorite restaurant is, Olive Garden

took that honor. When asked why Olive Garden? VanHorn jokingly replied,“For the breadsticks, I didn’t get this figure from eating vegetables.” VanHorn’s goal is to make it to Las Vegas in the very near future. She loves those penny and nickel slot machines. More than that, she loves the chingching-ching noise as winnings come out of the machine. She also loves the all you can eat buffetsthe ones with shrimp! A memorable trip that she has taken was to Pigeon Forge, TN for her 20th wedding anniversary. A fond memory of that trip was making her very own Boyd’s Bear that she named Pigeon. Ten years later, that stuffed bear is still sitting on their bed. Throughout her life, VanHorn has seen many ups and downs, but believes “Faith will get you through anything-good or bad.” It’s this positive attitude that has made VanHorn a valuable City employee. Thanks for all you do for the employees of the City of Lakeland!


A Walk Friendly Community The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has designated the City of Lakeland a Bronze-Level Walk Friendly Community for its walkability initiatives and programs. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and FedEx, Walk Friendly Communities is a national recognition program aimed at recognizing communities for their commitment to pedestrian safety. For a medium sized city in central Florida, Lakeland offers many opportunities for people to walk safely and conveniently with more than 260 miles of sidewalks and 26 miles of off-road trails, within the metro area. These sidewalks and trails connect downtown Lakeland with the surrounding neighborhoods, parks and scenic lakes making walking a pleasant experience. Among the top reasons cited by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center for the designation are: • A well-connected network of parks and trails, with future trails planned. •

Good planning policies to promote infill development and Complete Streets.

Collaboration among City Departments and with other agencies, such as Polk County Board of County Commissioners and the Florida Department of Transportation, to improve pedestrian safety.

“This designation acknowledges the sustained efforts that the city is engaged in to build a healthy and active community for all Lakelanders to enjoy,” said City of Lakeland Community Development Director, Jim Studiale. Lakeland is among four communities recognized in the latest round of Walk Friendly Communities announced. The Walk Friendly Community designation, awarded from bronze to platinum, is given to applicant communities that have demonstrated a commitment to improving and sustaining walkability and pedestrian safety through comprehensive programs, plans and policies. To date, 47 communities in the U.S. have been designated as Walk Friendly Communities. For more information on Walk Friendly Communities, please visit


Have you visited your public library lately? The Lakeland Public Library and the Larry R. Jackson Branch Library have a variety of programs and cool resources to offer visitors for intellectual stimulation and pure entertainment. From toddlers to adults, you’d be surprised at the things at your library for every age group on site and online. The summer is the perfect time to explore the exciting and innovative offerings at your library. Interested in computer classes, free internet and Wi-Fi connection, storytime for kids, book clubs for adults and teens, movie screenings and discussions, music concerts or special talks with authors and subject matter experts? All those activities are happening this summer at the main library downtown and the branch library on North Florida Ave. Reading is another way to kick-off the summertime. If you’ve wanted to catch up on a good book, magazines and journals, you can count on the resources of the Lakeland Public Library. A free library card for residents gives you access to literature from libraries throughout the county. That convenient program is called the Polk County Library Cooperative (PCLC). Lakeland libraries have a large database of digital offerings as well. Visiting one of our cozy libraries is always encouraged, but you can borrow free audiobooks, video, and music to enjoy on your computer, tablet or phone. To search the catalogs and learn about the upcoming events and programs, visit Lakeland Public Library's website at or call any of the sites below. Main Library 100 Lake Morton Drive 863.834.4280

elibrary 4740 S. Florida Avenue 863.838.4507

Larry R. Jackson Branch 1700 N. Florida Avenue 863.834.4288

PCLC Bookmobile Mobile Unit 863.661.3345




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 Pollution Hotline 863.834.3300 PAYING YOUR UTILITY BILL ONLINE

Congrats to Sam Brown, Doug Bergwall, Josh Lindsey and Todd Walker - Lakeland Electric's Newest Linemen! (L-R) Dwayne Goostree, Josh Lindsey, Doug Bergwall, Sam Brown, Todd Walker, Nik Lanier and Joel Ivy, General Manager of Lakeland Electric)

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

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.

June 2014 - Access Lakeland