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Updated: 2 hours 5 min ago

Vatican defrocks former US cardinal for sex abuse

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 7:00pm
VATICAN CITY — Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been found guilty by the Vatican of sex abuse and defrocked, as calls rose Saturday for Pope Francis to reveal what he knew about the once-powerful American prelate's apparently decades-long predatory sexual behavior.The announcement Saturday, delivered in uncharacteristically blunt language for the Vatican, meant that the 88-year-old McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., becomes the highest-ranking churchman [...]

Homeless no more

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 6:39pm
LAKELAND – Skating by on Social Security benefits for an autistic son, Charlene Cooper was a heartbeat away from homelessness.A single mother to three girls as well, Cooper somehow managed to make ends meet. She said her son’s behavior required her full attention, preventing her from keeping stable employment.The Lakeland family’s troubles spiraled out of control a few weeks before Thanksgiving after being evicted from their home for what Cooper said was [...]

SyFy Bartow: Another world in this small town

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 6:38pm
BARTOW — ''In this small community, who would have imagined this?" said Mary Klepinger of Ohio while walking around the 6th Annual SyFy Bartow festival this weekend. Joined by her husband, Chris, the pair are snowbirds who saw the event on a poster.And that is exactly what SyFy Bartow's founder, Sean Serdynski was hoping when he hatched the idea for the community science fiction festival.He saw Bartow commissioners put out a plea for ideas to bring business to downtown [...]

UCR: Arrests, clearance rate rise in Haines City in 2018

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 6:35pm
HAINES CITY — The number of arrests in Haines City increased by 34 percent in 2018 and the clearance rate for the Haines City Police Department increased by 14 percent from 2017, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Uniform Crime Report numbers released recently.Chief Jim Elensky said this is because the Haines City Police Department is being "proactive and not reactive."“We’re taken preventative measures to make Haines City as safe [...]

Shooting of man, son under investigation

Sat, 02/16/2019 - 6:10pm
LAKELAND — A father and son were shot on Friday, according to the Lakeland Police Department. By 4 p.m. Saturday, the LPD was still not releasing the names of the two who were shot, but said that one person is deceased and another in critical condition was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.The shooting occurred at about 11:35 p.m Friday, police said. Police responding to 3609 Century Boulevard in Lakeland. [...]

Lakeland duo complete lengthy bike ride for charity

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 8:03pm
Lakeland lawyer Dale Jacobs said the nearly 600-mile trip was worth the pain, raising $21,000 for the Wogan S. Badcock unit of the Boys & Girls Club.

Teen once convicted for 'false' report vindicated as rapist gets 17-year sentence

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 6:37pm
BARTOW — Henry Paris Cadle of Lakeland was sentenced to 17 years in prison Friday for raping a 13-year-old girl — the same girl who had reported another rape allegation against him and was later prosecuted after recanting her story.In May 2017, she entered a plea in juvenile court to filing false information to a law enforcement officer and was sentenced to probation, according to records in Cadle’s case.Circuit Judge Keith Spoto later would find [...]

Gadget Daddy: US debt hits a milestone

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 3:59pm
There was big news made this past Tuesday. Really big. Like 22,000,000,000,000-times-$1 big.The national debt of the United States topped the $22 trillion mark for the first time.That was Tuesday. Now, as of this writing Friday afternoon, the debt has increased another $19.8 billion. (Yup, that's a "B".)It's hard to get your head around that $22 trillion number. Broken down as the share of the debt for every man, woman and child in American, it becomes a smaller figure: [...]

People & changes: Hirings, promotions and movements of Polk business people

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 2:43pm
PEOPLE & CHANGESLyons joins Lakeland Chamber as membership consultant Jazz Lyons joined the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce as its membership consultant Feb. 1. Lyons graduated from Polk State College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Her professional experience includes retail, sales and marketing, and non-profit sector. Lyons' Chamber career began with the Haines City Chamber of Commerce to [...]

Polk woman arrested, accused of practicing medicine without license for 2nd time; PCSO says Jesusadelaida Lopez illegally operated weight-loss clinic at Jesse's Gym

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 12:13pm
This is the second time that Jesusadelaida "Jesse" Lopez has been arrested on the charge. She had set up her most recent illegal practice at Jesse's Gym, located at 1141 U.S. Highway 92 in Auburndale.

March planned to protest Trump's order Saturday in Lakeland; Polk County Florida for a Just Future wants president to cancel plans to declare national emergency over border wall funding

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:22am
Polk County Florida for a Just Future will march through downtown Lakeland at 5 p.m. Saturday, the group said in a news release. Participants will start and finish at Kryger Park on Lake Mirror.

Death or life? Doctors testify to convicted killer Michael Gordon's brain damage as Polk jury weighs punishment for brutal double-murder of mom Patricia Moran, daughter Deborah Royal

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 9:17am
Doctors take stage during penalty phase of convicted murderer Michael Gordon's trial for the brutal 2015 stabbing deaths of Patricia Moran and Deborah Royal in Haines City.

Outside agency will investigate response to fatal North Lakeland fire that claimed life of Lorretta Pickard

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 9:16am
The Florida Fire Chiefs Association will investigate whether Capt. James Williams properly handled a response to a fatal fire on Nov. 23 that claimed the life of 76-year-old Lorretta Pickard.

Camping in Florida: 8 of the best camp sites in South Florida and beyond

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 8:09am
Peanut Island, Ocala National Forest and the best of Florida's camping sites. Did we miss your favorite? Leave a comment!

Death or Life? Doctors testify to murderer's brain damage

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 6:04am
Doctors take stage during penalty phase of convicted murderer Michael Gordon's trial for the brutal 2015 stabbing deaths of Patricia Moran and Deborah Royal in Haines City.

Doctors tell jury Gordon's brain was damaged from violent childhood

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:13pm
BARTOW — Brain damage from childhood injuries, repeated beatings by his father and drug usage left convicted murderer Michael Anthony Gordon unstable and unable to control his aggressive impulses, doctors in the penalty phase of his trial testified Thursday.Michele Quiroga, a clinical neuropsychologist in Coral Gables, said Gordon requires ongoing medication to maintain control in his life, and in the weeks leading up to the murders of Patricia Moran, 72, and her daughter, [...]

Sleepy Hill holds 'Kindness Day' to combat bullying

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 6:58pm
“We think they know these things, but sometimes we have to teach them.” — Sleepy Hill Middle School Principal Kathryn Blackburn

FWC temporarily halts spraying on lakes

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 6:56pm
LAKELAND — The spraying of chemicals to control invasive plants has temporarily ceased on some, but not all, lakes in Polk County.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which has led efforts to control invasive aquatic plants for four decades, halted the use of herbicides throughout the state on Jan. 28. The FWC is holding a series of public meetings to gather comments before it resumes spraying weed-killing products, [...]

Outside group will investigate fatal North Lakeland fire

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 6:34pm
BARTOW — The Florida Fire Chiefs Association will investigate whether Capt. James Williams properly handled a response to a fatal fire on Nov. 23 in North Lakeland.County Commissioner George Lindsey said Thursday that the private organization will look into allegations that Williams should have done more to save 76-year-old Lorretta Pickard."Nothing is off the table," Lindsey said. "Whatever [...]