Good morning, Lakeland. Or should I say jó reggelt? It’s Kaylee – and this week, I discovered through anAncestry.com DNA testthat I’m actually 50% Ashkenazi Jewish + that my great-grandfather immigrated to the US from Hungary. 🇭🇺
Though the DNA panel was certainly interesting – catch me perusing Lake Balaton summer homes while listening to Franz Liszt – what was really fascinating was all of the family history I uncovered using the genealogy tools on Ancestry’s website.
Typically, you’d need to purchase a membership in order to search the company’s database of 1.2 billion records, but Polk County library cardholders can search the records for free. All you need to do is head to this page, enter your library card number, and boom – you’re ready to go.
So, what’s out there? The database includes records from the US Census, UK census, immigration records, obituary notices, U.S. military sources + much more. #ProTip:Figure out some basic information about your immediate family to make your search easier.
Here are my favorite personal findings:
Source: World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947
From my dad’s side of the family – I found this WWII draft card from the 1940s, which my Great-Grandfather, Moris, filled out to enlist in the military at 41-years-old. Though I’m not entirely sure if he ever served, what I do know that both he and my Great-Grandmother, Sarah, became American citizens after immigrating from Hungary and started their own farm in Connecticut, all while raising three children.
From my mom’s side of the family – I was able to locate the cemetery where my Great-Grandfather, William, and Great-Grandmother, Julia are buried. William (whose parents immigrated from Scotland) lived in Michigan,where he worked as a farmer, earning $380($7,220 in today’s dollars) a year.
Not really knowing too much about my ancestry to begin with, it felt so surreal being able tofind out this info –– andespecially learning that I come from a long line of farmers. 🌾 If you make any cool discoveries while exploring this free local tool, I’d love to hear about them. Share them with me in an email to [email protected].
NowOpen ○Kind of a big peel, Ridge Island Groves (6000 Old Polk City Rd.) is opening up once again for locals to pick their own oranges. Quarter bushels are priced at $12 + half bushels priced at $20. In addition to U-Pick, the farm also sells the zest fresh-squeezed juices like grapefruit + strawberry-tangerine – all made from Plant City strawberries. 🍊
Coronavirus ○ Over 20Publix pharmacies in Citrus, Hernando, and Marion counties will soon be administering COVID-19 vaccines to Florida seniors. This is part of a new pilot program between the Lakeland-based store + the state, and vaccines may be available at more stores in the future. According to reports, the process for choosing the current locations was based on metrics such as “elder population and more rural areas.” Online registration for vaccines at Publix starts today at these locations. (Creative Loafing) ○Some Lakeland officials are encouraging the City to participate in a 100-day mask challenge – where locals follow the federal government’s lead to wear masks in an effort to help stop the spread of coronavirus. While there hasn’t been a discussion of reissuing a mask mandate, officials have brought up the challenge along with an idea to implement an educational campaign around vaccines. For Polk County officials, neither a discussion about county-wide mask-mandates or 100-day mask challenges have been voiced in concern to the County. (The Ledger) ○ Registration resumes this Friday for Polk County seniors that are looking to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from the Florida Department of Health. Yesterday, the department shut down its phone system due to a high call volume, said officials were working to resolve issues + asked residents to monitor their webpage for the latest updates. ○ On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health announced 17,192 new cases of COVID-19 and132 additional deaths in Florida. That brings the total number of cases in FL of COVID-19 to 1,409,906 + the total deaths to 22,647.You can find more updates concerning COVID-19 case numbers on the Florida Department of Health dashboard. See Lakeland + Polk numbers here.
Community ○A new community garden is now growing near Haines City. Martina White, an algebra teacher at Haines City High, has created the Oakland Legacy Garden along with Polk County Public School students and community members. As the garden was being built, Publix and Lowe’s donated lumber for the raised beds, soil, seeds + mulch. 🌱
Civic ○Lakeland City officials approvedLakeland Electric’s plan to begin shutting down its aging coal plant. This action came after the calculation that found an early shutdown could save $13.1 million over the next three years. The plan is up for final approval on Jan.19 with the potential plant shutdown starting on March 31. (The Ledger)
Edu ○Despite school starting again following winter break, Polk County Public Schoolofficials have not put a deadline in place for parents to decide if their child should learn online or attend classes in-person. While some parents have already made the decision, others are waiting until the new semester begins on Jan. 19 to switch to a different learning format. 🖥️ (The Ledger)
Listen ○On a positive note, carillon concerts will be held at Bok Towers (1151 Tower Blvd.) seven days a week at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Additionally, Wade Fitzgerald, the Blanchard Carillon Fellow, will be performing live Mon.-Wed. and Geert D’hollander, a world-renowned carillon player, will be performing Thurs.-Sun. 🎵
…to one a little closer, it appears that Grogu (aka, Baby Yoda) has made his home in Lakeland. And it looks like he already has a Publix location picked out. Any guesses as to what ingredients “the Child” gets on his Pub Sub?
TryThis ○ Risk-Reward Team Trivia with Dr. Vern | Thurs., Jan. 7 | 8-10 p.m. | Winners Circle Sports Bar and Grill, 4215 S. Florida Ave. | Free | The top three places receive a bar tab of either $10, $25, or $50. 🍺
Disclaimer: It is up to readers’ discretion to determine whether they feel comfortable participating in any mentioned events based on COVID-19 protocols and precautions. If you have questions, please contact the event’s organizers directly.
🙋 Earlier this week, we asked you on Instagram to share your (1) favorite, (2) least-favorite, (3) thing that grew on you, (4) most overrated, (5) most underrated + (6) G.O.A.T. things about Lakeland. Here’s what a couple of you said:
1. Edward Scissorhands movie scene at Southgate Shopping center ✂️ 2. Traffic (especially 5pm) 🚦 3. Road dieting ⚠️ 4. Silver Moon drive in 📽️ 5. Munn Park Farmers Market 💐 6. Greenwise 💚
1. Lake Hollingsworth ❤️ 2. The Polk Theatre 3. Downtown scene 4. First Friday/Farmers market 5. Greenwise 6. The Historic Districts
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