State lawmakers have proposed cutting the budget for Florida’s leading tourism agency.
ORLANDO — Is Florida tourism strong enough that it can survive, and thrive, without taxpayer money in the budget of a state agency that sells the Sunshine State internationally?
That’s a thorny question being debated by Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Florida House of Representatives, who are locked in a battle over the future of state funding for Visit Florida
This week, the House Appropriations Committee voted to eliminate Enterprise Florida, the state agency that works to boost job creation, and significantly reduce state funding of Visit Florida, eliminating the agency’s budget by 67 percent. Criticism of the agency that works to promote tourism intensified last year when state lawmakers criticized Visit Florida’s former chief for secretly paying rapper Pitbull $1 million to record a new version of his “Sexy Beaches” song to include footage of Florida’s hotels and beaches. Continue reading
Peaches N. Cream on her very first day in Michael Freeman’s home.
ORLANDO — It was on a mild November afternoon when she first approached me – and not cautiously, either.
My initial impression was of how scrawny this little black cat was. Emaciated is probably a better word. I could tell she wasn’t afraid of me, even though she appeared to be a stray, because of that very reason: starvation had clearly surpassed fear of people.
Today, I often glance out at the lanai just beyond my bedroom window. This stray cat – who, by the way, is a stray no more – is now comfortably relaxed on one of my lounge chairs. The sun’s rays shine down on her, and she appears to be having the time of her life. If she gets too hot, the cat, which I dubbed Peaches N. Cream, will get up and stroll over to my pool, dip her head in and have a refreshing drink. I’ve often worried that she might slip and fall in, but so far that appears not to have happened.
When I moved to Orlando in 2002, I brought no fewer than six cats with me from Massachusetts. All but one was a stray I had opened my doors to. Sadly, in the 15 years that have gone by, all six have passed away.
And since I relocated to Florida, I’ve adopted seven more cats, and I now own three. Peaches N. Cream is one of them, and in all my years, none of the strays I brought into my home has seemed as desperately in need of saving as this one. Continue reading
Freeline Media will be covering the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in May. (Photo by Michael Freeman.)
ORLANDO — Artists, producers and directors who have a show in the upcoming Orlando Fringe, take note: Freeline Media will be covering the festival in May, so get your press releases and contact information ready. The curtains are gearing up to rise!
The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival was created in 1991 by Terry Olson (who is now the director of the Orange County Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs), Andy Anthony and Rick Kunst, and held in 1992 in downtown Orlando. The concept was simple: a festival featuring multiple theatrical shows, most in venues in empty storefronts. In 2004, the festival started to relocate to Loch Haven Park, and from 2005 on, the festival has been held entirely in that park and in nearby Ivanhoe Village. It’s the longest running Fringe Festival in the United States.
This 14-day festival is held in May, leading up to Memorial Day Weekend. Continue reading