Catching Up

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and Lakeland Local has suffered the brunt of that time squeeze. Here’s a few quick notes:

Polk County School teachers report to work today and their student start school the 20th. Check your school’s calendar to see which day this week is Orientation Day.

The Lakeland Ledger revamped their design and size a week ago. I liked the design from the start, though I understand there have been a few complaints. That’s expected. Some people don’t like changes. But, the font has undergone tweaking. You’ll notice the kerning has reduced word size slightly. (Check that link if kerning is a new term.) The kerning change could be a source of the complaints that the text is smaller. The letters aren’t smaller, they’re just closer. Some people may find it harder to scan the text.

And scanning is what you’re expected to do. The stories are shorter and there are a lot of “story snippets.” It’s the direction dead tree news organizations are taking. The current audience cares little for long stories chock-full of information. Give it to me quick like I get it on the web.

which lead to the most obvious observation. The Ledger must be doing well online as this redesign makes the offline paper look more like its online counterpart. How long before the newspaper is simply a daily hardcopy of the website for those few left who like to hold paper at the breakfast table?

The Polk Transportation Planning Organization will have public meetings from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Lakeland City Hall, 228 S. Massachusetts Ave., and from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Winter Haven Public Library, 325 Avenue A, N.W., to take public comments about proposed improvements and expansion for transit services. — Orlando Sentinel

From Aug. 20 through Aug. 22, LFD fire engines and rescue trucks will be parked at a busy intersection near each of the eleven public elementary schools and two of the charter elementary schools in the department’s coverage area. Firefighters will be standing near the roadways holding signs to remind motorists to slow down and drive safely. In 2006, 32 pedestrians were hit by motorists in Lakeland, and 17 so far in 2007. — Polk 911

I can tell you from experience that Lakeland drivers ignore simple safety rules around schools. My daughter and I right my bike each day home from school. Forget Red Light Cameras. We need School Zone Cameras.

Robert of Interstate4Jamming has a word to say about mass transit in Lakeland: “Uninformed people such as this literally scare me. The simple truth is that, while many people prefer to be able to go where and when they want, there are a number of Polk Countians that cannot. Among these are men and women unable to drive for medical or other reasons, but are still able to work and be a full member of the community. There are also a growing number of people who simply find it more economical to use the local bus systems due to the high cost of fuel, some slight inconvenience aside.” Read the rest.

The Ledger had another editorial for Red Light Cameras. Seriously, once was enough. Next week, we look again at the facts. Quick conclusion: they may be a good idea, but only if the city makes sure the contract includes some stringent provisions. However, some may argue privatizing tickets forces higher fines than we should pay.

Those who want lower property taxes might end up finding other fees go up to make up the difference. Red Light Cameras are one way the city may try to raise funds.

Have you been wobble naughted? It looks like it’s something to do with competitive bike racing. “August 15-16, 2007 I’ll be returning to the Lakeland GNC for another group fit session. If you would like to get fit please call, or email, and schedule an appointment.” — On Your Mark Performance Center

You saw the photo here on Lakeland Local, but Billy Townsend went and got the story: Crashes Lead Federal Rail Inspectors To Check Central Florida Rail Crossings. There is no one in local media following CSX as well as Townsend. His work on CSX alone is worth a Tribune subscription.