Hey, Lakeland, Rilee here with a bittersweet message: My time as an LALtoday City Editor has come to an end. I’m not going far — moving forward I’ll be working with our parent company, 6AM City, to support our incredible City Editors across the country. I’m happy to share that LALtoday is in the best and most capable hands with my incredibly smart co-editor Connor Jacobson and a new City Editor — but I’ll let them introduce themselves soon.
Without further ado, let’s take a walk down memory lane together; I’ll share my favorite moments from my time with LALtoday.
👋 My most memorable material
I’ve probably written hundreds of articles in my time at LAL, but for some reason, the stories about iconic people and places are always top of mind. The first piece I vividly remember writing is about Chalet Suzanne, a Lake Wales restaurant and inn that hosted locals + celebrities through 2014. And while we’re talking about interesting characters and architecture, I must mention another favorite piece of mine: The Wonder House.
I’ve experienced some pretty incredible things on the job — viewing Lakeland from the cockpit of a small plane, going on an SPCA doggie date, and letting readers plan my day were top-tier.
🤝 Teamwork makes the dream work
LALtoday was a well-oiled machine long before I arrived, and I was lucky to work closely with some exceptional writers. One of my favorite pieces is all about Lakeland’s love story with the Detroit Tigers, originally written by Kaylee Holland and updated by me. Is it cheesy to say I love this one?
Katelyn Lewis schooled me in Lakeland history with her series on Lakeland’s historic + long-gone hotels. And if you like to stay in the know, keep an eye on Connor Jacobson — she always has a finger on the pulse of Lakeland’s developments like the LAL airport and Downtown West, to name a few.
🗣️ Written by you (kind of)
We love hearing from our readers and sharing their thoughts and feedback in the newsletter. Here are a few articles partially authored by LALtoday readers:
- We took to Instagram before outlining Lakeland farmers market routes for every zodiac sign.
- If you live on the north side of town, you may have weighed in on this wishlist for north Lakeland.
- Our readers shared their thoughts on four-way stops downtown.
At LALtoday we work with all kinds of collaborators — from writers around the country to local leaders. In particular, I’d love to give kudos to:
- The City of Lakeland Lakes and Stormwater division, which helped us put together one of my favorite pieces: The quintessential guide to Lakeland’s lakes.
- The Lakeland Economic Development Council, which partnered with us to bring New to Lakeland, a resource for new Lakelanders, to life.
- Everyone who has given their time to be featured in our Q+A series — from local business owners to commissioners, museum CEOs, artists, and everything in between.
There are countless stories I wish I could highlight, but I’ll leave you with this: Thanks so much for allowing me to be in your inbox every morning, Lakeland. It’s been my pleasure.