Anniversary event will honor victims of Pulse massacre

This memorial to the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre was set up at Orlando’s Lake Eola Park last June. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

ORLANDO – A little more than a year after a devastating shooting massacre at a gay nightclub claimed the lives of 49 people, the City of Orlando and Orange County Government will organize a special event to bring the community together in remembrance of the victims.
Orlando United Day – A Day of Love and Kindness will begin with a dedication ceremony on Monday, June 12 at the Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando. This event, which the city and county governments are doing in collaboration with Pulse, the nightclub that was the scene of the deadly shooting, will start with a formal dedication to the memory and honor of the 49 innocent lives taken at Pulse.
There will also be a strong spiritual element to the day’s events.
The office of Mayor Buddy Dyer also noted that this event “reaffirms the community’s commitment to survivors and loved ones, as well as recognizes the global compassion and love displayed in the wake of the tragedy.”
On June 12 2016, a 29-year-old security guard from South Florida, Omar Mateen, went to Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando’s Sodo neighborhood, and shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. Mateen was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department officers after a three-hour standoff. Continue reading

Baby Shower is coming up — for Lake County’s stray kittens

Kitten Baby Shower in Lake County

The Lake County Animal Shelter is hosting a Kitten Baby Shower on April 8. (Photo courtesy of Lake County Government.)

TAVARES — There’s hunting season, the holiday season, the summer vacation season …. So why not add one more.
How about Kitten Season?
Lake County just announced that its own Kitten Season would begin on Saturday, April 8, when the Lake County Animal Shelter will make a major push to find homes for the kittens they’re caring for.
As a result, the Animal Shelter is promising to bring along “dozens of fantastic felines” available for adoption during a Kitten Baby Shower on April 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the shelter’s office at 28123 County Road 561 in Tavares.
“Cats of all types and ages will be free to adopt during the event,” the county agency noted in a news release.
The Kitten Baby Shower is being sponsored by L.E.A.S.H., Inc., a non-profit group of volunteers, based in Astatula, who love shelter pets and are working to make a difference in their lives.
Brian Sheahan, Lake County’s community safety & compliance director, noted that every spring, shelters all across the country get inundated with adorable newborn kittens, and based on the sheer volume alone, it becomes more important than ever to find homes for them. Continue reading

Can Florida tourism survive without Visit Florida?

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

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