There’s really nothing better than when we get messages from y’all, sharing innovative ideas you’ve brainstormed to improve our little Swan City. So, when reader + local creator Ahmad H. Taylor told us about his proposal “A-Z: Lakeland,” we knew we’d be remiss if we didn’t share about it.
Before we jump into what this project is about though, here’s a little background on Ahmad.
Ahmad – also known as The Atlanta Illustrator – is a Lakeland-born artist, responsible for creating artwork around the city, like the Greetings from Lakeland mural at Boring Business Systems + the Lakeland Swans mural at the Urban Farm at Mass Market. According to Ahmad, he’s focusing his current efforts towards community revitalization through the arts to create a “revitalization renaissance.”
His proposal, A-Z: Lakeland, was born out of this idea of community revitalization following the ongoing effects of COVID-19 – on the communal ways of life + the economic system.
So, what is A-Z Lakeland, exactly? Keeping local talent local, the project is a “search + discovery” educational resource, to recapture the City’s K-8th grade students toward successful careers in the community, by 2030. Students become educated on the importance of community via an online scavenger hunt.
How would it work? To participate in the online scavenger hunt, students would login online to the built-out website at a local library(bringing extra foot traffic + business to the library), where they’d discover + investigate Lakeland’s history in order to find prizes associated with people/places/things, in the A-Z format.
What’s the impact for businesses? By educating children on the importance of community, they may incentivize to bolster the local economy. In turn, businesses could help bridge the gap between education, industry + community. If the proposal was implemented, businesses could also buy digital ad space, offering coupons + prizes, and students could rate their experiences at these places.
How can you help? In the current stage of Ahmad’s proposal, he’s looking for visionaries in Lakeland + PolkCounty that are connected enough to help move some things and give the proposal legs. If you’re looking to help, you can reach Ahmad by email.
Read the full proposal by clicking the button below. ⬇️
○ Aug. 24 is the official date Polk County Public Schools students will return to either online or in-person learning. According to Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd, this is due to a downward trend in infection rates. Dr. Joy Jackson – the director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County – is continuing to work with the school board on additional precautions. Dr. Jackson shared that while positive case numbers drop, 10% of people on average report positivity rates, hospital numbers are stabilizing, and deaths are increasing in elderly patients. (The Ledger)
○Lakeland’s CARE program is now providing mortgage assistance to select eligible residents. To qualify for the relief program, applicants must be Lakeland residents + have a verifiable loss of income related to COVID-19 impacts, along with other requirements. Applicants should apply directly through Keystone Challenge.
○ Florida Southern CollegePresident Anne Kerr announced an update for the fall 2020 semester. The college will be limiting the number of students on campus due to COVID-19. These changes include converting double occupancy rooms to single rooms + allowing only certain student groups to live on campus during the fall semester. According to the college, the plan mirrors other universities including Harvard, Yale + Duke. More details about the fall semester will be shared by the college this week.
○As Polk County schools are getting ready to open for the fall, lunchrooms will begin to put new COVID-19 procedures in motion. To practice safety precautions, there will be designated exits and entrances into the lunchroom, social distance seating, food being wrapped or covered with a lid, using disposable utensils + sanitizing high-touch areas between meal services. (WFTS Tampa Bay)
○ Gov. DeSantis and FL Education Commissioner Richard Corcoranvisited a charter school in Hillsborough County after the school board went against the reopening order Gov. DeSantis put into place. During the visit, DeSantis reiterated the idea that if charter schools in the county can offer in-person classes, so should the rest of the district schools. (Tampa Bay Times)
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Lakeland’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
Quarantine has had us all in its COVID-covered claws for the last 5 months. Many of us have made it through the entire Disney+ catalog 2 or 3 times by now, and the kiddos are still running rampant through the halls of our homes-turned-school and office.
This month, we’re gonna make quarantining a thing of beauty for one lucky winner by hooking them up with the ultimate Labor Day prize pack sponsored by Lakeside Village.
What’s in the prize pack? Get ready to haul home $250 in free groceries in your brand new Yeti Tundra Hard Haul Cooler. As you walk in the door, enjoy the fact that sports are back and playing on your new flat screen TV. Oh, did we mention you’ll be grilling steaks on your new Big Green Egggrill while the casserole is baking in your new Le Creuset cast iron set? We’re even tossing in a Sonos Move so you can take your family’s favorite jams from the living room to the backyard.
Our Ultimate Labor Day Weekend Giveaway will be open for entry to anyone living right here in LAL as well as any of our sister cities now through August 30, 2020. One grand-prize winner will be chosen at random and announced right here in our newsletter on Monday, August 31.
How to enter: 1. Head over to our website and enter your email address and residing city. You can enter up to once per day + share our giveaway with your friends to earn additional chances to win. 2. Bonus (+3):Share our giveaway with all of your local friends, family or colleagues using your unique link (found on the entry confirmation page). Every person that enters the giveaway using your link will count as an additional 3 entries into the giveaway, increasing your chances to win. 3. Bonus (+1): If you’re not already, follow us on Instagram by clicking the link found on the entry confirmation page. You’ll score an additional entry into the giveaway just for following us.
#DYK that your photo could be featured in our newsletter? Just use #LALtoday on social media.
Weather ○91º | Scattered Thunderstorms | 50% chance of rain
ComingSoon ○A pizza your heart. A new pizzeria is coming to downtown Plant City. Stage 201 will specialize in handcrafted pizza and will be located off of Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd. We haven’t located an opening date but will keep you updated as we know more. 🍕
Edu ○ Polk County Public Schools has hired new administrators and principals for the 2020-21 school year. New principals include Bradley Hardesty (Eagle Lake Elementary), Gale Macleod, (Medulla Elementary), Matthew Diaz, (assistant principal at Lake Gibson High), among others.
Closing ○South State Bank is closingfive Florida branches – including one in Winter Haven (6900 Cypress Gardens Blvd.).A total of 19 bank locations are being closed due to the locations being “within 10 miles or less from another South State or CenterState branch.” This news comes in the wake of the newly merged bank (a merger between CenterState Bank Corporation + South State Corporation) + according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the bank will remain based in Polk County. (Tampa Bay Business Journal)
WaterCooler ○Shine bright like a diamond. The boys basketball team at Bartow High, the Yellow Jackets, had their first ring ceremony in 10 years, celebrating the Class 6A state championship in March. The team won the program’s fifth state championship + each player was given a ring at the ceremony to end their season. 💍 (Bay News 9)
Edu ○Lakeland Mom rounded up several businesses in Lakeland offering places for kids to take part in virtual learning services for the upcoming school year if they don’t have an option to learn at home. Camp Fire is available for kids in K-5th grade with a weekly rate of $120/student, Minds in Motion is for children in grades 2nd-7th with a weekly rate of $100/student +YMCA Campus eSchool is for kids ages 5-12 with a weekly rate of $120/student. Find more places here that are offering options for virtual education. 🧑💻 (Lakeland Mom)
Wellness ○Beginning in September, Good Shepherd Hospice is offering free caregiver support group meetings via Zoom. Topics discussed include dealing with stress, compassion fatigue + listening to how others are coping in the community. Meetings are on the second and fourth Thursday of the month from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and registration is required.
Ranked ○ 2. Polk County’s ranking in WalletHub’s recent list of Most and Least Equitable School Districts in Florida. The methodology used for this ranking includes average household income + expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools per pupil. (WalletHub)
Gallery ○Hold on to your Mickey ears, passholders. A Walt Disney memorabilia auction will be taking place Aug. 15 + 16 in Sherman Oaks, CA, but will be streamed online. Up for auction will be some of Disney’s most famous memorabilia – such as an original 1934 Kamen Merchandise Catalog, a Haunted Mansion cast member’s costume, an original “It’s a Small World” animatronic doll. Check out more items in this gallery to see what else you might be able to snag this weekend. (Orlando Weekly)
Announced ○ Southern Homes’ newest community – The Cove at Eagle Lake – is now open with homes starting in the mid $200s. Now until August 24, future homebuyers can receive up to $20,000 in savings, $0 closing costs, a stainless steel dishwasher + range and more. Schedule a virtual tour by calling 888-899-7434. Ⓟ
15.9% – Southeastern University 28% – Florida Southern College 4.7% – Florida Polytechnic University 12.1% – Polk State College 0% – Warner University 0.9% – Webber International University 1.9% – Keiser University 36.4% – I went to school elsewhere