Florida’s property tax bite less painful than some other states, report indicates

An Flamand, the owner and broker at An Flamand-Orlando Vacation Realty, is now pre-selling townhomes at the Posner Estates development in Polk County.

An Flamand, the owner and broker at An Flamand-Orlando Vacation Realty, is now pre-selling townhomes at the Posner Estates development in Polk County.


ORLANDO — There are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether to buy a home – including the prices within your chosen area, the appeal of the location, and how low interest rates are.
It’s unlikely that one of the top factors that buyers normally consider is property taxes. After all, every state imposes property taxes on home ownership, without exception.
But it’s also worth noting, according to a new study, that Florida outranks many of the nation’s largest states when it comes to property taxes – an added appeal in a state that can already boast of having one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, a growing jobs market – and a healthy and thriving real estate market.
Florida ranks ahead of many other states when it comes to real estate property taxes, according to data from the National Tax Lien Association. Read more »

Orlando Fringe kicks off the 25th season with Fringe Preview Night

The 25th annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is coming up next month.

The 25th annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival is coming up next month.


ORLANDO — For most businesses, being able to brag about getting “bigger and better” is a sign of their overall health, expanding market, and ability to find new customers — genuine bragging rights, in other words.
The concept takes on even more meaning, though, for the executive director and producer of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. The oldest and largest Fringe festival is about to celebrate its 25th year in May, but even more importantly, their growth this year is coming in major leaps and bounds.
Just how far Orlando Fringe has come over the past few decades was readily apparent on Monday, when George Wallace, the executive director of Fringe, and the show’s producer, Michael Marinaccio, opened Fringe Night, their annual sneak preview of what to expect when the festival launches on Wednesday, May 18.
Fringe Night — which allows artists participating in this year’s Fringe festival to give a two-minute glimpse of what audiences can expect to see during the run up to Memorial Day Weekend, was held at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center to a near sold-out crowd. Read more »

Child of the Holocaust recalls a remarkable tale of survival

The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center works to preserve the testimonials of Holocaust survivors.

The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center works to preserve the testimonials of Holocaust survivors.

MAITLAND — Erica Cantor has nostalgic memories of an early childhood that was idyllic in every way.
Born in 1929 in Stuttgart, capital of southwest Germany’s Baden-Württemberg state, Cantor said she was raised by loving parents in a modern city and has fond memories of life there.
“We practiced Christmas, which in Germany was a very long celebration that lasted the entire month,” she said. “I had a very happy childhood in Germany. I had loving parents.”
That is, until the mid-1930s, when very dark clouds formed over her family — and the families of all Jews living in Germany.
“In 1933, Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power,” she said. “In the beginning, Stuttgart was not impacted much. Then in 1935, all German Jews lost their citizenship.”
On Sunday, Cantor was a guest speaker at the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center in Maitland, where she recounted how her family coped with the terrifying rise of Hitler and his “Final Solution.” Read more »

Book your tickets today for “Murder Sleep”

"Murder Sleep" will premiere in May at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival.

“Murder Sleep” will premiere in May at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival.

ORLANDO — At an aging hotel in Fort Lauderdale, the handsome young stud Ryan is only too eager to welcome the beautiful and exotic woman he’s met at the bar, Francesca, into his room for the afternoon. What he doesn’t quite expect is the strange tale she spins, about the rich man staying there who took advantage of her, even abused her, who also happens to be carrying plenty of cash. Just think, she tells her out-of-work hunk, how much better their lives would be if they could sneak into his room, late at night, knife in hand ….
Freeline Productions is producing “Murder Sleep,” an original play that will make its premiere at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival in May. The play, written by the show’s producer, Michael Freeman, will explore the dark, ominous and sexy things happening in that once majestic hotel. Read more »

OPO tells its audience, “Let’s Fall in Love.”

The Orlando Philharmonic closed its 2015-2016 season with a concert ttiled "Let's Fall in Love."

The Orlando Philharmonic closed its 2015-2016 season with a concert ttiled “Let’s Fall in Love.”

ORLANDO — For Davis Gaines, Saturday was very much a happy homecoming.
It wasn’t just that the singer went to school in the Orlando area, or that he has performed at local theaters like the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. More importantly, he was thrilled to be back at the Bob Carr Theater, which he said holds a special place in his heart.
“This building holds a lot of memories for me,” Gaines told the audience, “and was very influential to me growing up. I saw my first musical here, my first opera. I graduated from high school in this building.”
More importantly, Gaines — who performed the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” more than 2,000 times during his run on Broadway — went from audience member at the Bob Carr to performer on stage, including taking on the role of Cornelius Hackl in a production of “Hello, Dolly.” Read more »

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