Author Archives: bwmerritt

What I Learned in 2020: The World Does Not Stop

On January 1, 2020 — like many people — I looked forward and saw a year with potential challenges ahead but also great opportunity. I had read some news reports about a new virus in China, but it was distant … Continue reading

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Gifted, Faithful Black Leaders Making a Difference in Polk

As I’ve watched the scenes of anger, pain, discord and violence across the country the past few days, I’ve tried to identify ways to contribute to the solution and the way forward. There are many that I hope to pursue, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Revenue Sources, The Heights, and Solving Lakeland’s Looming Budget Crisis

Part of me feels late to the game, but I had actually started working on this about a month ago when the Save the Heights initiative was just getting started. I was wanting to take a comprehensive look at the … Continue reading

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A Lakeland Wish List

So much continues to change and grow and improve in our community. Since I last posted on this blog nearly five years ago, Florida Poly has arrived, Dixieland has had a renaissance, Disney has filmed a movie here, we have … Continue reading

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My Ride, My Roads Sales Tax Comparison

I’m still weighing my decision on whether to vote for the My Ride, My Roads sales tax referendum coming up on Tuesday. I don’t like increasing taxes, but I do like local control and efficient organizations. Tom Phillips and Polk … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Rivalry Names for Southeastern vs. Florida Southern

Last fall, Ray Beasock of The Ledger wrote a great feature questioning why Southeastern and Florida Southern don’t compete against each other in athletics. As a former SEU employee, I know it mostly comes down to Florida Southern not wanting … Continue reading

Posted in Sports | 1 Comment

LPD Controversy: Observations from Lakeland Commission, Jerry Hill Meeting

I haven’t weighed in at all on the LPD mess to this point on here. I’ve put some comments out on Twitter every now and then, but I haven’t had the time or really the collected thoughts to post something … Continue reading

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Quick Future of Downtown Lakeland Follow-Up

I wanted to come right back and flesh out some more of my thoughts from yesterday’s post about the future of Downtown Lakeland and Howard Wiggs’ recent vision meeting. Commissioner Wiggs and I spoke for a few minutes today and … Continue reading

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Is Downtown Lakeland’s Future Turning Into a Turf War?

Consider me part of the confused camp after I read this morning that Lakeland mayoral candidate Howard Wiggs hosted a Downtown Lakeland vision lunch Wednesday at Grasslands. The water got even muddier as I followed Twitter updates from the Lakeland … Continue reading

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Why I’m on the Fence About The Ledger’s Paywall

The digital revolution has put newspapers under intense pressure. That being said, like most Polk County residents, I was surprised to see Jerome Ferson’s column in Sunday’s edition of The Ledger announcing that the paper was transitioning to a digital … Continue reading

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