Art shop in Winter Park donates part of its sales to a worthy cause.

Wearable Art, a shop on Park Avenue in Winter Park, donated a percentage of its sales on Thursday to Compassionate Hands and Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

WINTER PARK – Vanessa Echols felt privileged to be at Wearable Art on Thursday, and the shop’s owner, Scott Alles, was equally pleased to have the WFTV Channel 9 news anchor there.
On a sunny afternoon, after the last of Tropical Storm Debby’s heavy downpours were finally over, Echols was happily greeting customers at the shop at 340 Park Ave. North in Winter Park, which goes by the full name Wearable Art by Scott Laurent.
“It was a chance for us to get out into the community and let people know we’re here,” Echols said.
Alles added that he was pleased to be taking part in this because “My heart goes out to everybody.”
What Alles and Wearable Art did was host a fund-raising event for Compassionate Hands and Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach, the Orlando-based non-profit organization founded by Echols, which raises money to help women struggling with breast cancer. Continue reading

FDOT aims to help seniors stay safe on the roads.

Are the roadways starting to look a little blurry at night? The Florida Department of Transportation has a new book for senior drivers, giving them tips on how to stay safe on the roadways. (Photo by Steve Schwartz).

BARTOW – Florida leads the nation with the highest percentage of residents who are seniors. What Florida doesn’t want is to lead the nation with is seniors involved in deadly auto accidents.
That’s a top reason why the state just issued its new Florida Guide for Aging Drivers handbook, designed specifically for aging drivers – and filled with helpful tips on how those past retirement age can operate a motor vehicle in their golden years even more safely.
It’s designed for anyone old enough to have been around when the Beatles released their hit song “Drive My Car” — and who still presume they’re fit enough to continue operating one.
“We just got that released from Tallahassee, and they’re asking all the district offices to distribute the information,” said Lauren Hatchell, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation’s District One in Bartow, which covers Polk County. Continue reading

United Way seeks volunteers to help mentor local students.

Heart of Florida United Way is looking for volunteers to mentor students at schools in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties.

ORLANDO – Last year, Heart of Florida United Way started an ambitious pilot program, to recruit volunteers from the community who could help local students, and local schools, succeed.
Joan Nelson, one of the program’s coordinators, remembers how excited one volunteer got toward the end of the school year.
“One of our volunteers had been working at Palmetto Elementary School,” said Nelson, the United Way’s vice president of community investment. “He was working with a young student in second grade, mentoring him and meeting with him once a week, and really encouraging this young fellow to concentrate on his studies by being a positive role model.”
Just how strong an influence the mentor had wouldn’t be clear until much later in the semester, Nelson said, when he found out how dramatically the student’s academic performance was improving.
Continue reading

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