This and That: House of Fun Edition

The last couple of weeks I’ve spent more time out of town than in. I’m woefully behind, and some posts would be out of date. So, let’s just have a round-up of interesting tidbits.

They’ve nabbed the Condom Bandit. The story made the rounds quickly. Polk County News Blog begat TBO begat Creative Loafing begat Smoking Gun.

They put out a Crimestoppers report on this? The other day I was hearing House of Fun as I read the story. Now, I’ve got a different tune in my head:

And that’s what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer’s station. They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that’s not to mention the aerial photography. Alice’s Restaurant

Now I love the work done by LPD, but let’s remember even Florida favorite Jimmy Buffett had a run in with the Mini-Mart. Besides, which of us doesn’t remember those heart wrenching trips to the drugstore?

And in other crime news, does the name Dwight Knox ring a bell? I couldn’t find him mentioned in the Ledger’s archives, but he must have made an impression on local law enforcement:

Knox’s criminal record in Florida is also extensive and shows he spent time in the Polk County Jail after being convicted for assaulting law enforcement officers and for being a felon in possession of a firearm. His other Florida convictions include indecent exposure, burglary and shoplifting.

Another charge in his Florida criminal record shows Knox was charged with homicide and attempted homicide in 1990 but was not convicted. — Lewiston, Maine SunJournal

He’s now in a Lewiston jail on attempted murder.

In a recent Ledger article we were told growth can be limited by encouraging growth: “Former state Sen. Rick Dantzler defended the controversial Heartland Parkway plan Monday, telling members of the Tiger Bay Club of Polk County that the toll road cutting through Florida’s interior would be a way to control and guide growth.” How about we simply limit growth?

Have you ever been unavailable when something important was going on back home? I was busy in Jacksonville when Polk County News Blog‘s Billy Townsend and Empirical Polk‘s Josh Hallett riffed off each other to make an important point on the CSX story. I remember telling my wife these guys were going to dig something up. I really wanted to get back to Lakeland.

Now, In his other blog, Hyku, Josh Hallett prints his take on how the story developed. One of the advantages of Polk County Rail Hub is how easy it is to see who covered the project…and how they viewed it. Josh makes an excellent point. CSX and Winter Haven were just cruising with media goodwill until Billy Townsend started looking into the numbers. All reporters rely on their good instincts and their contacts. Lakeland is lucky that Townsend has plenty of both.

While Hallett primarily covers the county east of Lakeland, he should be “first thing in the morning” reading for all Lakeland residents. The man has contacts, insight, and information that extends far outside of his Winter Haven home.

Now, school is over for the summer. For the next 10 weeks, my daughter and I hope to explore a bit more of Lakeland than downtown. Do you have a favorite playground? Let us know!