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Today’s Forecast

77º | Light thunderstorms and rain | 90% chance of rain | Sunrise 7:20 a.m. | Sunset 5:49 p.m.

If you’re looking for reason to shop...
If you’re considering purchasing recreational gear, this summer might be the time. | Photo by @wimmaw
This might be it. Florida’s $1.2 billion tax relief program — which aims to provide relief from inflation on household, family, and hygiene items — is underway. This summer, you can save by shopping during item-specific tax holidays.

Whether you’re planning to send your child to school, looking to paddle across Lake Crago, or preparing for hurricane season, keep reading to learn when, and on what, you can save.

Disclaimer: These sections do not contain exhaustive lists of tax-free purchases. View more details and pricing limitations online. A 2023 poster is yet to be shared, but last year, the tax holiday did not apply to rentals or repairs, or sales made in theme parks, entertainment complexes, public lodging, or airports.

May 27-June 9 | Disaster preparedness + household cleanup
  • Flashlights and lanterns
  • Tarps, ground anchors, and tie-down kits
  • Portable power banks, batteries, fuel tanks, and generators
  • Laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, soap, and sunscreen
May 29-Sept. 4 | Recreational items + experiences
  • Admissions to music, sporting, and cultural events
  • Tickets to movies and museums
  • State park admission and annual passes
  • Fishing equipment and supplies
  • Residential pool chemicals, supplies, and parts
July 1-June 30, 2024 | Appliances
  • Indoor gas ranges and stoves
  • Certain energy-efficient appliances, including refrigerator/freezer units, water heaters, washers, or dryers.
July 24-Aug. 26 | Back-to-school supplies
  • Clothing, footwear, and backpacks
  • School supplies and learning aids
  • Personal computers, computer-related accessories, and software
Sept. 2-8 | Skilled trade tools
  • Hand and power tools
  • Work boots
  • Safety equipment
  • Shop lights
  • Toolboxes and belts
  • Plumbing and electrical equipment
Floridians also get permanent tax relief on items like diapers and baby wipes, oral hygiene products, and firearm safety devices.

So, how much of a break should you expect? The deal varies from item to item, but generally, you can expect anywhere from the first $5 (in the case of fishing tackle, for example) to the first $250 (in the case of bicycles and outdoor grills) of the sales price to be tax-free.
Thursday, May 25
  • 2023 Wawa Summer Fun Day | Thursday, May 25-Friday, May 26 | 8 a.m.-5 p.m. | Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales | Free | Visit the gardens with complimentary admission from Wawa — online registration is required.
  • New York Cabaret Xtravaganza | Thursday, May 25 | 6:30 p.m. | Union Hall, 1023 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland | $10 | Cafe Con Leche Party and FrediDance Project will host this dance party with a live DJ, plus belly dance and fire performances.
Friday, May 26
  • Autism/ASD Support Group | Friday, May 26 | 10-11:15 a.m. | CJB United Way Children’s Resource Center, 650 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland | Free | Join other members of this community for support and encouragement — childcare is provided.
Saturday, May 27
  • Memorial Day Service | Saturday, May 27 | 10-11 a.m. | Veterans’ Memorial Park, 141-199 Lake Beulah Dr., Lakeland | Free | Guest speaker John Hillery — Military Order of the Purple Heart — is speaking at this event hosted by the NAACP Lakeland Branch and Armed Services Veteran Affairs Committee.
  • Stoned Mary / Marrison / These Times / The Daisy’s / Pryderawk | Saturday, May 27 | 6:30 p.m. | Union Hall, 1023 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland | $10-$13 | Head to Union Hall to hear live rock, punk, and alternative music.
Sunday, May 28
  • HB Jazz Trio at Swan Brewing | Sunday, May 28 | 2-5 p.m. | Swan Brewing, 115 W. Pine St., Lakeland | Free entry | Calling all jazz fans — HB Jazz is playing live at Swan Brewing for Memorial Day Weekend.
  • Blackbeard’s Moonlight Run - Pirate Ship | Sunday, May 28 | 4-6 p.m. | Painting with a Twist, 3670 Harden Blvd., Lakeland | $41 | Arrrgh you ready to paint this haunting ship in the moonlight?
Monday, May 29
  • Memorial Day at the Gardens | Monday, May 29 | 8 a.m.-5 p.m. | Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd., Lake Wales | Free entry | All active duty military personnel and military veterans can gain free admission to the gardens with a valid ID.
Click here to have your event featured.
LAL teachers: These open positions could be for you.
LAL-polk county catholic schools teaching positions-5.25.23.jpeg
Polk County Catholic Schools include St. Anthony Catholic School in North Lakeland, St. Joseph Catholic School in Winter Haven, and Resurrection Catholic School and Santa Fe Catholic School in Lakeland. | Photo provided by Diocese of Orlando
Teachers play a unique role in a child’s development — not only equipping society’s youngest members with the tools to succeed, but also impacting the lives of those viewing the world with new eyes.

Looking to fulfill your calling? Polk County Catholic Schools is hiring teachers in:
  • Math
  • Science
  • Language Arts
  • Calculus
  • Music
  • Elementary education
  • Multi-Subject High School
  • And more
Bonus: Discover what it’s like to work as a Polk County Catholic School teacher through these Educator’s Spotlights.*
News Notes
  • One million. That’s how many newly planted trees Publix Super Markets has funded in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation since 2016. The millionth tree — a 24-ft bald cypress — was planted at Bonnet Springs Park last week. The tree planting is funded by the sale of Publix’s reusable bags. (Local10)
  • $10.7 million. That’s what the state of Florida paid in a conservation easement for 33,634 acres of agricultural property in Polk County. The landowners maintain their rights to own and farm the land; the state owns the development rights, ensuring the land’s conservation (read: It cannot be developed). (Business Observer)
  • Historic Lakeland, Inc. and Lakeland’s Historic Preservation Board presented Lois Sherrouse-Murphy with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. Lois, a fifth-generation Lakelander and author, has led and served on multiple boards related to Polk County history. The prestigious award has only been given five times in 38 years. (LkldNow)
  • Summer camps, back-to-school, and seasonal outings — Lakeland parents most likely consult the popular website Lakeland Mom for all they need to know. Have you ever wondered about the mom behind it all? Meet April Mucci in LkldNow’s interview. (LkldNow)
Feel Good
  • Anchors in the Storm, a community group dedicated to donating items to those in need, has grown to nearly 10,000 members since Lakelander Tracey Dannemiller started it in 2020. According to the group’s Facebook page, members aim to meet the basic needs of those around them. (WFTS)
  • Polk State College was one of two junior colleges to qualify for the 2023 National Intercollegiate Flying Association Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference. Finishing 21st overall out of 30 teams, team members expressed extreme pride in how far they’ve come since founding the team in 2015. Go, Eagles.
  • A new mixed-use development is coming to Bartow. Stuart Crossing — located on Ernest M. Smith Boulevard — will include 288 apartments, 592 single-family homes, shops, restaurants, and medical facilities. Project manager Dan Nibblett says the apartments will resemble Lakeland’s Bridgewater Grand. Apartments will be occupied as soon as this year. (The Ledger)
  • We recently told you about Bahia Bowls’ opening date — since then, it has changed to Saturday, June 3. Stop by the Lake Miriam Square storefront (4784 S. Florida Ave.) from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Fun fact: The first 50 customers in the morning and every hundredth customer after that will win a giveaway.
  • Expect busy roads and airports this Memorial Day. According to travel forecasts from AAA, 2.4 million Floridians will drive 50+ miles from home and 208,000 will take to the skies. If you’re hoping to avoid the I-4 traffic, check out these Memorial Day events happening in Lakeland. (The Ledger)
  • Why consider a Catapult membership? In addition to networking opportunities, Catapult offers a cool space to work (think: coworking, dedicated desks, or offices), plus an individual mailbox, locker storage, free parking, printing services, and conference rooms. Oh — and unlimited coffee and snacks, too. See more membership perks.*
  • Pop quiz: What’s the body’s most abundant protein? The answer: Collagen. NativePath’s Certified Grass-Fed Collagen Powder is made from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows and contains 18 grams of protein per serving. Start incorporating it daily to support skin elasticity, joint health, bone strength, and muscle growth and maintenance.*
We asked you to be the broker
A satellite view of Publix and Publix GreenWise Market locations circled on a map. The stores are in shopping centers on either side of South Florida Avenue.
Publix GreenWise Market (left) and the Lake Miriam Square Publix Super Market (right) on either side of South Florida Avenue. | Image via Google Maps
With news of Publix GreenWise Market transitioning to a standard store and the Lake Miriam Publix being demolished and rebuilt, we asked our readers what should happen when both locations are once again standing. Here’s what you said in our poll:
  • 36.4% want to see both locations remain open and operational.
  • 24.4% voted to close the former GreenWise market location.
Additionally, we received ~100 suggestions for Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and other ideas, including:
  • “Become a markdown store. Day-old bread, dented cans, crushed boxes, etc. We have lots of needy people all over the city. Lots of people don’t necessarily want free, just modest prices.” — Reader Nelda M.
  • “Sell the former GreenWise Market location to a restaurant, bar, or non-grocery retail store.” — Reader Maelyn B.
  • “A unique restaurant with wine, a market and tapas! It’s a great location and deserves something fun!” — Reader Whitney M.
The Wrap
Rilee-Delgado-Headshot-LAL Today’s edition by:
From the editor
Here’s the good news, Lakeland: It’s been reported that some GreenWise Market features may remain in the remodeled Publix Super Markets — we’ll keep you posted when we know for sure.
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