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Sun-Sep-2019 Universal Parks CEO talks Disney, SeaWorld, and Universal's answer to Magicbands

Despite numerous leaks and rumors, there has been very little officially shared by Universal regarding their future plans across their various resorts. But Universal Parks Chairman and CEO Tom Williams decided it was time to change that when he sat down for an interview recently at an industry conference.

In an evening “fireside chat” at a conference on Sept. 12, Williams did a one-on-one interview with a Q&A from attendees.…

Sat-Sep-2019 Downtown Arts District goes royal for 15th-annual themed arts celebration

The Downtown Arts District's annual arts celebration returns on Friday, Sept. 27 with the theme, “La Maschera Goes Royal.”

The evening will include live entertainment by Midnight Mayhem, a silent auction, food and drinks, and a costume contest.…

Sat-Sep-2019 Florida's minimum-wage amendment tops 700,000 signatures

A constitutional amendment that would increase Florida's minimum wage has submitted more than 700,000 petition signatures to the state of Florida.

Florida For A Fair Wage, an initiative chaired and bankrolled by Orlando-based attorney John Morgan, has submitted 705,920 valid signatures as of Wednesday.…

Fri-Sep-2019 Central Florida International Auto Show zooms into this weekend

The Central Florida International Auto Show used to be held on Thanksgiving weekend, but this year it moved to September – and is happening now.

The auto show features new and classic cars, exotics and even test-drives, and takes over the Orange County Convention Center South Concourse Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22.

"We are excited to move the auto show to September to offer Orlando residents an earlier preview of all the exciting new 2020-model vehicles," said Central Florida Automobile Dealers Association President Evelyn Cardenas.

Car connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike are invited to the Orange County Convention Center where over 400 cars, trucks, SUVs and basically almost anything that runs on four wheels will be featured throughout the weekend.
As the largest auto show in Florida, it's no surprise that "head-turning" 2020 models such as the 2020 Hyundai Palisade, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid will be on display.

As for the four-wheel drive vehicles, all test drives will be handled by the professionals who will take passengers on an "interactive adventure" on an off-road test track.…

Fri-Sep-2019 Orlando candlelight vigil at Eola will mark second anniversary of Hurricane Maria

The Central Florida community will come together to hold the vigil on Friday night at the Walt Disney Amphitheater in Lake Eola Park to commemorate the second anniversary of the devastating storm that claimed 4,645 lives in Puerto Rico.

With the destruction from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas and six currently active storms circling around North America – including Tropical Depression Imelda flooding Texas today – memories of the hurricane which struck Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017 can easily fade for those who did not lose loved ones or communities.

Following the storm, the U.S. government was slow to respond and under-counted the number of dead and injured. President Trump denied the reality of the climbing death toll and was ridiculed for throwing paper towel rolls into a crowd of Hurricane Maria survivors gathered at a relief center.

Fri-Sep-2019 The Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area is the most obese in Florida

According to a new study, the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area is, at the very least, “thicc.”

The study, conducted by financial site 24/7 Wall St., found that the area has an adult obesity rate of 35.3%, which is the highest in the state of Florida, and significantly higher than the national average of 30%.

The report also found that 27.2% of Lakeland-Winter Haven adults don’t exercise, 20.3% reported feeling that they are in fair or poor health, and 14.1% live with diabetes.

“Public health officials and other researchers blame various factors for the problem — among them the prevalence of fast food, the size of portions, the increase in meat consumption, our love for sugary soft drinks, our embrace of low-fat, high-sugar ‘diet foods,’ and our relatively sedentary lifestyle,” said the site.…

Fri-Sep-2019 Local punks to give the middle finger to Hurricane Dorian with October benefit show

Sometimes the most blunt way to say things is the best. And that's why there's a certain eloquence to titling an event "F*ck Off Dorian!"and then pairing that with real action.…

Fri-Sep-2019 Court rejects $7.1 million Florida verdict because tobacco company admitted smoking dangers in 1999

In a case stemming from the death of a woman who smoked for more than 30 years, a South Florida appeals court Wednesday overturned a $7.1 million verdict against cigarette maker Philip Morris USA and ordered a new trial.…

Fri-Sep-2019 Winter Park Korean-French patisserie Bread & Co. 'temporarily closed'

Notes plastered all over the windows of Bread & Co. Artisan Bakery on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park suggest an uncertain future for the French-Korean patisserie.

"Due to our store renovation, we are temporarily closed," read the signs.

A peep through the windows revealed furnishings in slight disarray, but nothing to suggest renovations were imminent.

There were even some lonely desserts in the display case by the register.

We've reached out to the bakery for details, but don't be surprised if the space changes hands for the third time in a year (Wonton Asian Kitchen closed last November before Bread & Co. moved in this past April).

In the meantime, you can still get a fix of Bread & Co.'s pastries at their Lotte Market Plaza location on West Colonial Drive.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest dining news every Friday morning with our weekly Food + Drink newsletter.

Thu-Sep-2019 Orange County commission candidate accused of violating state and federal campaign laws

Anjali Vaya, whose Orange County Commission District 5 campaign has barely gotten off the ground, is being accused of violating as many as eight state and federal laws.

Orange County Democratic Party chair Wes Hodge took it upon himself to formally file a complaint this week with the Internal Revenue Service and the Florida Elections Commission to investigate these alleged violations.

"The Voters of Orange County deserve to know if candidates seeking their vote potentially run afoul of campaign laws," Hodge said.…

Thu-Sep-2019 Percussionist supreme Tito Puente Jr to play the Casselberry Latin Jazz and Art Festival this month

Latin music royalty and master percussionist Tito Puente Jr. is confirmed as an all-star guest at this year's Casselberry Latin Jazz and Art Festival at the end of September.…

Thu-Sep-2019 Orange County deputy's body-cam footage shows dramatic rescue of woman from pond

The Orange County Sheriff's Office released a video of deputy Jason Hess rescuing a woman who had walked into a retention pond.

The woman is an Orlando resident whose daughter said this isn't her first disappearing act. It is, however, the first time she has reported it.…

Thu-Sep-2019 Swedish metal legends In Flames have a date with Orlando in December

Swedish metal battalion In Flames – mainstays of a celebrated Gothenburg metal scene that includes Dark Tranquility and At the Gates – this week announced a North American tour kicking off in November. And one of only chances for Florida's metal faithful to check out the band will be here in Orlando

The band will be touring behind new album I, the Mask on Nuclear Blast Records, and have recently released a short film about their own Borgholm Brinner music festival.

In Flames headline the Hard Rock Live with RED and Arrival Of Autumn.…

Thu-Sep-2019 Universal Orlando and SeaWorld win big at amusement-industry awards, but Disney World goes home empty-handed

The annual Golden Ticket Awards, one of the most prestigious awards within the amusement park industry, were recently announced in a ceremony that took place at the Silverwood theme park in Idaho. Presented by Amusement Today, an industry trade magazine, the winners are selected via voting by industry suppliers, leaders, journalists, and hand-selected fans who visit multiple parks per year.…

Thu-Sep-2019 The Coathangers return to Orlando with stellar Florida support from Las Nubes and Glove

THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
The Coathangers, Las Nubes and Glove, Soundbar, Sept. 17

Atlanta punkers the Coathangers have been making noise for over a dozen years, but it’s only been in the last handful that they’ve shown more than just scrap and attitude. Oh, they’re a decent garage-punk act, but they were more immediate splash than deep impact.…

Thu-Sep-2019 New Florida governor means new favorite convenience store

It's been seven years since then-Gov. Rick Scott attended the Orlando opening of the first of more than 160 Wawa convenience stores in Florida, after wooing the convenience store chain with offers to name Florida town.

Now Gov. Ron DeSantis appears to have found his convenience store, singing the praises this week of Texas-based Buc-ee’s stores.

“I don’t think a lot of people in Florida quite understand what you’ve built in Texas yet, but I think they will once it opens up,” DeSantis said at the groundbreaking in Daytona Beach for one of the first Buc-ee’s in Florida.…

Thu-Sep-2019 Legoland’s new pirate-themed hotel is opening in April

Today, which just so happens to be international "Talk Like a Pirate Day,” Legoland Florida announced new details for their upcoming pirate-themed hotel.

Opening April 17, 2020, the new five story “Pirate Island Hotel” will feature pirate-themed Lego models, in-room treasure hunts and plenty of Lego character experiences.

The Winter Haven theme park says the 150 room hotel will also host a “Shipwreck Restaurant,” a “Smuggler's Bar” for adults, a heated pool, nightly programming for kids, and free breakfast for every night stayed.…

Thu-Sep-2019 Tropical Storm Jerry just became a Category 1 hurricane

As expected, Tropical Storm Jerry is now a Category 1 hurricane, according to Thursday’s 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Packing 75 mph winds, the eye of the storm is currently located about 490 miles east of the Leeward Islands moving 16 mph west northwest.…

Thu-Sep-2019 Florida lawmakers call for helping Bahamians after storm

Florida lawmakers gathered at the state capitol on Wednesday to discuss relief efforts for the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian's massive destruction to the island nation. 

The lawmakers are calling for the U.S. government to ease visa requirements, allow Bahamian children to temporarily enroll in Florida schools and provide medical assistance for elderly and sick residents.

“Bahamian people are not trying to come here to stay forever, but they are in a dire situation now,” Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, said.…

Wed-Sep-2019 Florida cops leave 'closed for business' yard signs in front of raided homes

Officers with the North Port Police Department in Sarasota County are now leaving behind yard signs in front of homes they’ve successfully executed a drug raid, reading “This drug house closed for business.”

“Drug dealers, it’s a ‘sign’ of things to come.…

Wed-Sep-2019 Orlando's Vinyl Arts Bar will reopen Saturday as MamaJuana Latin Bistro and Rum Bar

Orlando's most 7-Eleven-adjacent bar is getting a makeover and a new menu.

The new MamaJuana Latin Bistro and Rum Bar, located in the old Vinyl Arts Bar (and briefly Vinyl Rum and Tapas Lounge) location at 75 E. Colonial Drive, will hold a grand opening on Saturday at 6 p.m., with free samples served until 8 p.m.…

Wed-Sep-2019 Lake Nona's new self-driving buses move slower than your grandma on cough syrup

Elected officials, authorities and corporate spokespeople gathered excitedly today in Lake Nona for the launch of Central Florida's first autonomous bus route. And wow, are the buses super-slow.

Check out this video from our writer Seth Kubersky of one of the buses pulling up to a stop sign, and imagine yourself driving behind it:
Did your head explode?

We first brought you news of the vehicles before Hurricane Dorian delayed the start of the new route, which runs between Lake Nona Town Center and Laureate Park Village Center.…

Wed-Sep-2019 Dashboard Confessional to celebrate two decades of music in Orlando next March

Chris Carrabba and his Dashboard Confessional are celebrating two decades of life as a band, and are doing it in style, with this week's announcement of a greatest hits album and tour, both happening early next year.…

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