LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) – A Confederate soldier monument will be moving from a Florida city’s downtown park now that money has been found to pay for it.

The Lakeland Ledger reports that the city commission voted to use $225,000 from red light camera violations to move the monument from Munn Park in Lakeland’s downtown to a local park dedicated to veterans. The move is expected to be completed by Jan. 31.

The commission voted in May to move the statue to the veterans park but provided no taxpayer money to pay for it. Private donations fell well short of the amount needed.

The statue, like many others across the South, depicts a generic Confederate soldier atop a pediment. Some commissioners said the veterans’ park is a more appropriate site for the monument.

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Lakeland Man Kills Self After 3 1/2-Hour Standoff With SWAT Team

LAKELAND, FL — A mother and son have been found safe following a domestic dispute that turned into a standoff with Polk County Sheriff’s deputies Thursday, Nov. 1.

At 7:27 p.m., two deputies went to a home near Skyview Drive and Goodyear Avenue in Lakeland after receiving a domestic violence complaint. When they arrived, the resident, Michael Manning, shot at them five times with a shotgun.

"The shots went on either side of one of the deputies, narrowly missing both deputies," said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd. "It was only by the Grace of God that these deputies were not hurt."

A 3 1/2-hour standoff ensued. At about 10:50, SWAT team members heard a muffled gunshot followed by a thump. They went into the home and found Manning dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The domestic violence victims, Manning’s wife, 44-year-old Jennifer Manning, and their 14-year-old son, Shawn, were not inside. Detectives found out later that they left the home prior to deputies arriving.

Image via Shutterstock

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Drowsy Driver Causes Massive Crash At Florida Toll Booth

A drowsy driver caused a huge accident at a toll booth in Polk County, Florida, slamming their GMC Envoy into the back of a Chevrolet Silverado, propelling the pickup truck forward with a lot of force.

As a result, the Envoy ended up getting stuck underneath the Chevy, although its driver, who received a citation for careless driving from Florida Highway Patrol troopers, was nowhere near as injured as the driver of the Silverado.

ABC News reports that the 32-year old Silverado driver, one T.J. Lawson, was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with a broken leg. Unfortunately, he also suffered a seizure for which he had to be placed in intensive care.

“My heart as his sister like can you imagine the impact coming on you? You can’t even help yourself,” said Antayvia Lawson, adding that her brother was very confused following the crash.

“He was like totally lost, wondering what happened, why I’m here, what went on. He didn’t understand his leg was broke. He thought he was going to get up and walk.”

According to data released by the FHP, there have been 4,329 crashes due to drowsy driving last year, resulting in 28 fatalities. Polk County alone saw 28 crashes, a small sample size compared to the statewide numbers.

Troopers also say that toll booth accidents aren’t common, especially since the speed limit is 25 mph (40 km/h).

“The limited access roadways like our Suncoast Parkway, Veterans Expressway, Polk Parkway are generally relatively safe for the number of cars that go through there every day,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins of the Florida Highway Patrol.

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Video: Florida city official shoots alleged shoplifter, watches him die

Warning: This article contains graphic and disturbing imagery.

Police in Lakeland, Florida, have released disturbing surveillance footage of a city official fatally shooting a man who tried to shoplift from his store, Vice News reports. The video’s release on Monday came as police are trying to determine whether the shooter should face criminal charges.

The footage shows Lakeland’s city commissioner Michael Dunn, who owns Vets Army & Navy surplus store, shooting 50-year-old Cristobal Lopez. According to police, Lopez was in the store with his father, who made a purchase as Lopez took a hatchet and concealed it before trying to leave the store. Dunn saw this unfold, and the video shows him grab Lopez by his shirt as he’s attempting to walk through the exit.

In the 38-second clip, Dunn can be seen drawing his gun, shooting Lopez at close range, and then watching him die on the ground just outside the door.

Lakeland police told Vice News that no charges have been filed, but an investigation is underway. Officials are trying to determine whether Dunn’s actions fall under Florida’s stand your ground law, which says a person can use deadly force if they believe their life or someone else’s life is threatened.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Dunn, 47, is a gun rights activist and hosted a rally to counter a March For Our Lives protest organized by Parkland shooting survivors in July. According to the Lakeland Ledger, Dunn accidentally shot a man when he was 19, but the victim survived.


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Florida deputy accused of sexually battering trainee

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) – A Florida sheriff’s deputy faces a charge of sexually battering a trainee.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said that Scott Walker met the male trainee last Wednesday so he could help him write reports. At the time, Walker was armed and working an off-duty detail at a residence.

The affidavit says after Walker helped the trainee, he demanded a sex act and reached into the trainee’s underwear and sexually battered him.

When the trainee resisted, Walker went to lock the residence, giving the trainee time to text a friend. Concerned that someone knew what was happening, Walker let the trainee go.

Court records show Walker was in jail Saturday and couldn’t be reached for comment.

He told investigators he touched the trainee as a joke and only outside his pants.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

10/6/2018 10:40:46 AM (GMT -4:00)

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Publix expanding Lakeland headquarters, adding 700 new workers

A rendering of the Publix headquarters expansion in Lakeland. (Handout from Publix)

Publix Super Markets plans to double the size of its workforce at its Lakeland headquarters with an expansion that will add 700 employees.

Publix announced Thursday that it plans to complete the expansion by 2027, bringing the workforce there to 1,400 employees.

Publix has applied with the state for economic incentives and said it plans to spend about $25 million on the project. The state has not said how much in incentives Publix will be eligible for.

“These additional jobs will help us support our store associates as they continue to provide the premier service our customers expect,” Publix CEO and President Todd Jones said in a statement. “We are proud of the role we continue to play in the great state of Florida.”

Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for U.S. Senate, was in Lakeland to make the announcement.

Publix has 1,198 stores in seven states, including 749 in Florida. It also has about 190,000 employees.

Got a news tip? karnold@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5664; Twitter, @kylelarnold or facebook.com/bykylearnold

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Growing medical center company acquires two Lakeland medical groups – Tampa Bay Business Journal

Palm Medical Centers, a portfolio company of private equity firm MBF Healthcare Partners, has acquired Lakeland-based Jay Care Medical Center Inc., a primary care physician medical practice, and Parkview Medical Group, an affiliated hospital group.

“Jay Care will serve as the foundation for our growth strategy in Central Florida as we continue to partner with other providers and leverage our experience in the managed care space," Juan M. Ortiz, CEO of Palm Medical Centers, said in a statement.

The combination will include 14 medical centers and serve more than 28,000 Medicare and Medicaid patients in the state, Ortiz said.

Dr. Japinder Singh, founder and CEO of Jay Care, said, in a statement: “We are pleased to be joining Palm Medical Centers and we believe that our mutual focus on patient engagement and healthy outcomes will continue to drive our success moving forward.”

Tampa-based Hyde Park Capital served as the exclusive investment banker to Jay Care in the transaction. “The team of professionals at MBF Healthcare and Palm Medical Centers represent an excellent fit with Jay Care’s culture and Dr. Singh’s vision in building a leading primary care practice throughout Central and West Florida," said Keith Hodgdon, managing director with Hyde Park Capital.

Jay Care Medical Center is a primary care physician practice providing internal medicine, family medicine, and related services at seven clinics throughout Florida’s Polk and Hillsborough counties.

MBF Healthcare is based in Coral Gables and invests in growth-oriented health care companies.

Largest Tampa Bay Physician Groups

Ranked by Local physicians

Rank Business name Local physicians 1 BayCare Medical Group 699 2 USF Health 468 3 All Children’s Specialty Physicians 243 View This List

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Ex-boyfriend climbed into her apartment — and was greeted with gunfire, Florida cops say

The burglary didn’t come as a total surprise, the Florida woman said — and neither did the alleged perpetrator.

A 32-year-old Lakeland, Florida, woman was at her apartment around 5 a.m. Monday when her ex-boyfriend broke through her window and clambered into her home, she told police.

Afraid for her own safety, the woman grabbed her handgun and began firing at the ex-boyfriend, according to the Lakeland Police Department. The ex-boyfriend has been identified as 26-year-old Ronald Williams.

The woman fired several shots and hit Williams in the buttocks and legs, police said.

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Police arrived at the scene at 5:18 a.m. on reports of a disturbance. But just as the responding officer was trying to figure out the exact address of the disturbance, the officer heard two gunshots, police said. Moments later, at 5:22 a.m., the officer spotted Williams running out of the apartment and into the street. He appeared to have a bullet wound to his knee, police said.

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Williams told the officer he had been shot. He was then taken “to a position of cover” so he could get medical care as other officers handled the crime scene, police said.

Williams had previously made threats against his ex-girlfriend, she told police. The ex-girlfriend was worried enough about the situation that she had been asking a rotating group of friends to stay at her apartment, police said.

Police had originally been called to the scene by a neighbor after the woman’s friend (who had witnessed the alleged burglary) knocked on the neighbor’s door and told the neighbor to call 911, police said.

Williams, a Lakeland resident, faces charges of burglary and dating violence battery, according to police.

But right now, Williams is still at a hospital being treated for his injuries, police said. The injuries are not considered life-threatening.

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