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Mon-Jan-2020 Orlando Puerto Rican residents plan pot-banging protest against ‘government corruption’ Monday night

In response to the discovery Saturday of a warehouse full of untouched water and emergency supplies in the earthquake-damaged Puerto Rican city of Ponce, Central Florida Puerto Ricans plan to protest a “corrupt government” at Lake Eola tonight at 8 p.m.

Ponce is one of the southern Puerto Rican cities decimated by Hurricane Maria in 2017 (as well as multiple earthquakes and aftershocks since December), forcing many people to flee or try to get by while waiting for water and power to come back, if they were fortunate enough not to have their homes entirely destroyed.

Puerto Rican Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced fired the U.S. territory’s emergency manager and two other officials after finding the supplies, which she said the government believes have been in the warehouse since the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.…

Mon-Jan-2020 'Lost Boys' saxman Tim Cappello to play Orlando in April

We swear that this is not an early April Fool's prank! If you saw the iconic 1980s vampire film Lost Boys, then you'll no doubt remember a scene with muscular sax player Time Cappello rocking out the song "I Still Believe."…

Mon-Jan-2020 Florida bill would withhold genetic test information from insurance companies

Incoming House Speaker Chris Sprowls had little trouble Thursday convincing members of a House health-care panel to approve legislation that would prohibit life-insurance, long-term care insurance and disability-insurance companies from using customers’ genetic information in changing, denying or canceling policies.

Florida would become the first state to have such a law if Sprowls’ proposal is ultimately passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Members of the House Health & Human Services Committee passed Sprowls’ bill (HB 1189) without any debate, and committee Chairman Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, praised Sprowls for introducing the bill.

“I think our privacy is important.…

Mon-Jan-2020 Proposal seeks compensation for descendants of Ocoee Election Day violence

A pair of bills seeking compensation for descendants of the 1920 Election Day race riots in Ocoee will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.…

Mon-Jan-2020 Florida receives federal funds for 'foreign animal' preparedness and fighting diseases in deer

Florida is getting two grants totaling nearly $175,000 to combat animal diseases as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Friday.

The Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory will receive a $150,000 grant through the National Animal Health Laboratory Network to enhance testing for chronic wasting disease, according to the release.…

Mon-Jan-2020 Bills would let Florida schools put unused guardian funds toward officers and other safety needs

Two Democrats who are critical of Florida’s school guardian program have filed long-shot legislation seeking to redirect money earmarked for training and arming school personnel toward other school security measures.…

Mon-Jan-2020 Supporters of Visit Florida scramble to save the tourism agency

State tourism officials intend to showcase to Florida lawmakers the importance of the industry on Wednesday, as a legislative battle on the future of Visit Florida continues to brew.…

Mon-Jan-2020 Leslye Gale's O-Town Lowdown on Magic 107.7 for Monday, Jan. 20

Every morning on Magic 107.7 FM, Leslye Gale discusses the most interesting Orlando Weekly stories of the day on "Chad & Leslye."…

Mon-Jan-2020 Third Women's March at Orlando City Hall hustles to 'box out' bigotry

Arms extended, Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan stood in front of the masses gathered for the Women's March Orlando 2020 on the steps of City Hall, spreading out fabric designed to look like butterfly wings.

"Excuse me, I was busy boxing out foolishness," said the city's first openly gay commissioner, referring to a group of counter-demonstrators waving signs condemning abortion and getting in heated back-and-forths with Women's March participants.…

Mon-Jan-2020 Republican Florida House leaders are trying to curb new constitutional amendments on the ballot

After passing a controversial law last year that clamped down on ballot initiatives, Florida House members Thursday moved forward with a bill that would continue to make it harder to pass constitutional amendments.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 12-6 to approve the measure, which would create additional hurdles for political committees seeking to put proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot.…

Sun-Jan-2020 Yo Winter Park, can you not trot out the military stuff for MLK Unity Fest?

"Kids love it," said a Winter Park Police officer of an armored vehicle in Hannibal Square this morning.

Police and this cartoonishly militaristic tank-car were in Shady Park Sunday morning during preparations for Monday's 18th Annual Unity Heritage Festival, a city-run event to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black people in Hannibal Square, a historic Black Winter Park neighborhood.
WPPD officers told Orlando Weekly editor Jessica Bryce Young that this vehicle – known as an armored personnel carrier or APC, by the way, but who cares what its fucking official, military abbreviated, acronym-ass name is, stop thinking murder things are so cool – is rolled out for community events as part of "outreach."

That term, I swear.…

Sun-Jan-2020 Florida is buying 20,000 acres of Everglades to protect it from oil drilling

Florida is moving forward on a deal that would keep a piece of land in the Everglades from being used for oil production.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday the state has an option agreement to buy 20,000 acres that Kanter Real Estate LLC owns in western Broward County.…

Sun-Jan-2020 University of Florida opens online version of Master Beekeeper apprenticeship program

We've all heard of the plight and decline of global bee populations, due to factors including pesticides, drought and habitat destruction. Now there's a way to get involved, and it's giving aspiring Florida beekeepers something to buzz about.

The University of Florida recently launched their new Master Beekeeper Program, available online, and they call it "Apprentice Level."

The program, which is part of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab, seeks to improve honey bee health and the sustainability through beekeeper training and public outreach.…

Sat-Jan-2020 Former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi joins Trump's impeachment defense team

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who has been part of President Donald Trump’s impeachment communications team, will be part of the defense for his Senate trial, according to several Washington, D.C.-based news outlets.…

Fri-Jan-2020 Hillary Clinton reminded Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that voting is a basic human right

This week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that former felons who’ve completed their sentences should still have to pay off all “legal financial obligations” before they can set foot in a voting booth, and, of course, Republican governor Ron DeSantis was in fact “pleased.”

Following the court’s Thursday advisory opinion on the GOP-backed SB 7066, the governor took to Twitter to express his joy while Democracy took another shot in the jeans.

“I am pleased that @FLCourts confirms that Amendment 4 requires fines, fees & restitution be paid to victims before their voting rights may be restored,” tweeted DeSantis. “Voting is a privilege that should not be taken lightly, and I am obligated to faithfully implement Amendment 4 as it is defined.”

Well, not everyone was “pleased,” which was very evident in the governor’s Twitter mentions—notably, former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who had to remind DeSantis that voting is a basic human right and not something reserved for old white male landowners.

“Voting isn’t a privilege.…

Fri-Jan-2020 Visitors to Orlando now have an easier way to pick up their stroller rentals, no thanks to Disney

Last year saw Walt Disney World cracking down on the numerous third-party stroller rental companies, which many guests prefer to the less comfortable, more expensive ones that Disney itself rents.…

Fri-Jan-2020 Sludge punks Black Tusk torch Mills 50 with heavy Florida support

Black Tusk, Ether Coven, Gillian Carter and Royal Graves at Will’s Pub, Jan. 15

Nothing, it seems, can stop Savannah sludge punks Black Tusk. After all these years, they’ve hardly tapped the brakes – on their music, their career or any goddamn thing whatsoever. Given their personal history, that’s a remarkable feat of not just stamina but determination.

While their contemporaries have flirted with sonic expansion to varying degrees of success, Black Tusk have kept true to their foundational twin cams of metal and punk.…

Fri-Jan-2020 Mennello Indie Folkfest to feature musical performances by Eugene Snowden, Beemo and more

The Mennello Indie Folkfest, a showcase of local creativity in its many forms in a beautiful outdoor setting, is set to return next month and the organizers have just announced the lineup for the day. And it's a heady cross-section of local sounds.…

Fri-Jan-2020 With little notice, Orlando's much-loved K Restaurant is closing

K Restaurant & Wine Bar, the College Park stalwart opened by James Beard-nominated chef and inaugural BITE Award winner Kevin Fonzo, will close after tomorrow night's dinner service, with a final blowout to happen next weekend.

Chad Phelps, who took ownership of the restaurant from Fonzo in the summer of 2017, is closing the restaurant due to health issues. Scott Joseph reports that Phelps has been diagnosed with cancer.…

Fri-Jan-2020 Absolution Fest returns to Central Florida in October with headliners Drab Majesty and Hante

Absolution Fest, a post-punk and gothic and dark electronic music gathering in Central Florida, is set to return for a second go-around this October. The Fest will take over several venues in Ybor City and Downtown Tampa for a three-day event headlined by Hante and Drab Majesty.

The lineup includes: Mr.Kitty, Cold Medicine, Gulf Blvd, Hante, Astari Nite, Rosegarden Funeral Party, Sonsombre, Die Robot, Kentucky Vampires, Pass/Ages, Drab Majesty, TRAITRS, Bellwether Syndicate, SYZYGYX, Third Realm, the Purge and Mother Juno.

Absolution Fest goes down Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 8-10, at Hooch and Hive, Crowbar and Orpheum, all in Tampa.…

Fri-Jan-2020 Florida politicians are pushing to bring U.S. Space Force to the Sunshine State

Florida’s aerospace agency has launched a new front in its effort to make the Sunshine State more enticing as a potential player in the nation’s up-and-coming Space Force.

The Space Florida Board of Directors on Thursday approved $200,000 for Satellite Beach-based GTOPS, Inc., a veteran-owned business that provides facilities-support services, to further showcase how military bases and businesses in the state are capable of training and equipping President Donald Trump’s new military branch.

“If you can't make the articulate arguments for what capabilities you've got to support missions, you’ll never get those mission assignments,” Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello said after Thursday’s meeting in Tallahassee.

Florida officials have often pointed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political ties to Trump as they lobby for the new branch, which is expected to be moved from the Department of the Air Force to having its own representation on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon in October.…

Fri-Jan-2020 Orlando Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy endorses Mike Bloomberg for president

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy just endorsed former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg's bid for president, becoming only the second member of Congress to do so – and the very first member outside of New York.

Murphy is known to be fiercely independent, with a background in national intelligence and business. She worked as a national security specialist for the Defense Department after Sept. 11, 2001, as a strategist for Deloitte, and as an executive for Sungate Capital in Winter Park, owned by her father-in-law, Full Sail CEO Ed Haddock. She has also taught business at Rollins College.

"I am excited to endorse Mayor Bloomberg for President because he has a plan to keep our nation safe, restore American values, and get our government serving its people again," Murphy said in a statement Thursday. "He will take on the big fights, like gun violence and climate change, and is the most experienced and visionary candidate in this race."

Murphy was also named as a national co-chair for the Bloomberg campaign, where she will advise the campaign on issues including "foreign policy, equal rights, gun reform, good government and immigration," as well as serving as a national surrogate for Bloomberg.

The endorsement announcement highlighted Murphy's efforts to pass gun control policies following the 2016 Pulse mass shooting just outside the district.

"After the Pulse nightclub shooting, she ran for office to bring change to Washington, including common sense gun laws," Bloomberg said Thursday.…

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