Phoenix Network heading to California for celebration honoring President Reagan.


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The Guetzloe Report will be broadcast live in Simi Valley, Calif., next month.

 ORLANDO – The Phoenix Network has been invited to broadcast live next month during a weekend-long celebration marking the centennial of President Ronald Reagan’s birthday.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation is sponsoring the year long centennial celebration, to mark the 100th birthday of the nation’s 40th president.

“Ronald Reagan always believed that America’s best days were ahead,” the foundation’s Web site notes.  “We are reminded of that spirit of optimism and the principles he championed as our president: courage in the face of oppression, the spirit of patriotism, support for a strong national defense, a belief in economic opportunity, and an unwavering commitment to the cause of freedom.”

Doug Guetzloe, host of “The Guetzloe Report” on ThePhoenixNetwork.US, said it was a great honor to have been chosen to participate in this celebration.

“Only 14 radio stations in the nation were invited,’ Guetzloe said.  “And most of the others are big guys.”

On Feb. 3 and 4, Guetzloe will be in Simi Valley, Calif., for the event. The actual ceremony is on Sunday, Feb. 6.

Reagan started his political career in 1966, when the former Hollywood actor and star of movies like “King’s Row” was elected governor of California.  He was re-elected in 1970, and in 1976 made an unsuccessful bid for president, losing the Republican Party’s presidential nomination to President Gerald Ford, who went on to lose the 1976 race to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

In 1980, though, Reagan captured the GOP nomination and won a landslide victory over Carter, carrying 44 states.  In 1984, he won a record re-election victory, taking 59 percent of the vote over former Vice President Walter Mondale and carrying 49 states.

“I’ve been really involved with Reagan since 1980,” Guetzloe said, noting that he worked on Reagan’s behalf that year and in the 1984 presidential campaign as well. In both years, Reagan easily carried the state of Florida.

So it was with great pride that he accepted the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation’s invitation to attention the weekend celebration and do his broadcast there, Guetzloe said.

President Reagan was popular enough to get a road named after him that extends from Polk into Osceola counties.

“This is a situation where you invite different networks and stations to be live at the event,” Guetzloe said.  “They’re giving us our own booth for expanded coverage.  I was surprised, because I knew it was coming up.  It was exciting to be invited.  I’ve never been to the Reagan Library, so it all just came together.”

This is just the beginning of an entire year of special events in honor of the late president. As part of that, the U.S Postal Service is coming out with a new “Reagan Forever” stamp.

 Contact us at FreelineOrlando@gmail.com.

Author of Vietnamese cookbook recalls her journey to Orlando.


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ORLANDO – If there’s a passion out there for international foods, that’s a wave that Ha Roda hopes to ride.

Also known as the Pho Queen, Roda has been specializing in teaching Americans about Vietnamese cooking for several years now.  She uses her culinary recipes to promote healthy living through Vietnamese meals, and as her web site, www.PhoQueenCooking.com notes, “Knowledge is power.”

Roda has also been quite accessible lately, having recently taught a series of classes at the Orlando Public Library on how to make Vietnamese meals. She recently gave the final installment in the series where she talked about the sauces and condiments added to foods in her native country to impart a particular taste or flavor.

“We have a cooking series that started last year at the library,” Roda said.  “We’ll be back again soon, I’m sure.  I’m sure the library will invite me back.”

Attending the classes, she said, is a great opportunity for those “wanting to learn a different culture and different food,” which is why she went through a list of popular dipping sauces in Vietnam, and how they’re used to enhance the taste of a meal. 

Ha Roda brought some of her Pho Queen's Magic Monkey Sauce to her presentation.

“In all the countries, we have dipping sauces,” Roda said.  “It’s something that enhances the taste of the food.  In Vietnam, we have dipping sauces as well.  Everyone is familiar with Soy Sauce.  In Vietnam, we use a lot of what call Fish Sauce.”

Fish sauce is made from fermented fish, she noted.

“How can you tell if the fish sauce is good?” Roda asked.  “Once it’s fermented and the fish sauce is out in the market, one way that you can tell is when you look at the jar, you can see through – it’s like water. Then you know it’s good quality.  If it’s thick, then you know that’s second quality.”

But if the jar is clear, “It will last for a long time. It’s already been fermented,” she said.

The discussion about condiments was a prelude to helping the guests at the library make Spring Rolls, which she said are appetizing and easy to make.

Ha Roda brought the materials needed to make Spring Rolls.

Roda was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, and left that country to come to the United States in the late 1970s, a few years after the Vietnam War  ended.

“I came here in 1978,” Roda said.  “We were known as the Boat People, but that’s another story.”

Between 1975 and 1980, after 16 years of devastating war, more than one million refugees fled the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and took to the ocean in tiny overcrowded boats.  They were later dubbed the “boat people.”

Those who survived often spent years in refugee camps, while the luckiest ones were taken in by nations like Canada.

Roda was among the lucky ones.  She not only made it to the United States, but also found success as a computer graphics major, moving on to a thriving career in that field.

She also discovered that the United States truly was a nation of opportunity.  Continuously intrigued by cooking and food, Roda eventually decided to quit her job and “do something else,” she said.  That something else turned out to be a writer of cooking books, and the host of a Web site devoted to Vietnamese cuisine.

Ha Roda's books include "A Vietnamese Kitchen."

Even in Orlando, she said, “I’m always surrounded by Vietnamese food and culture, and decided to become a Vietnamese culture specialist.”

That’s enabled her to host a series like the one at the Orlando Public Library where she could teach about condiments like fish sauce.

“It terms of fish sauce, there’s so many ways to eat it,” Roda said.  “You can eat it raw – put it in a dish and dip it with certain condiments.  But just to warn you, fish sauce is very salty.”

During her presentation, Roda asked if anyone in the audience was a veteran.  Several people raised their hands, and she paid tribute to their service – adding that she knows from personal experience how important it is.

“I appreciate the fact that you are here today,” she said.  “Because if you weren’t, I wouldn’t be here, either.  Your presence – being a part of the Navy or Army or Marines – makes a big difference to me.”

To learn more about Roda and Pho Queen Cooking, call 407-459-4843 or 1-800-826-9181, or email info@PhoQueenCooking.com.

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

Sen. Nelson wants to crack down on inmate tax scams.


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ORLANDO – Around this time of year, businesses start sending out W2 forms to their employees, listing how much they earned last year, so they can start the arduous task of figuring out how much they owe the federal government in taxes.  If they’re lucky, they may have overpaid and are expecting a refund.

Or they could be among the millions of Americans whose tax dollars go to support something else entirely: inmates in prison who file false tax forms to get refunds for work they didn’t do, and couldn’t have done behind they were behind bars.

Inmates in Florida prisons and county jails don't have access to computers or the Internet, so it's harder for them to file bous tax claims.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, has joined three of his colleagues on an effort to coinvince the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Internal Revenue Service to work together to enforce a 2008 law that stops this practice in state and federal prisons across the nation.

Nelson has been working on this effort since 2005, when he first asked Congress to investigate how widespread the problem of inmate tax scams is and to identify ways to safeguard the prison system so it will be difficult, if not impossible, for prisoners to cheat the government — and taxpayers.

As Nelson noted in a 2005 press release from his office, “Convicts should go to prison to pay their debts to society, not to rip off American taxpayers.”

Now the Florida senator has teamed up with Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y, Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, to put more teeth in that earlier effort. The scam is easy: Nelson’s office said prisoners typically use their own names or the names of their friends to file bogus tax claims in order to get refund checks.

In 2005, Nelson’s office reported that two inmates serving long sentences in Florida prisons for murder got some help from a few outsiders, and filed phony tax returns that netted them refunds of about $5,000 from the IRS for wages they never earned. 

The Florida senator cited other examples: an inmate at Missouri Eastern Correctional Center filed a fake tax return for himself and 65 other inmates while serving time in 2002. Prosecutors later estimated that the scheme cost taxpayers more than $73,000.

A year later, the senator’s office noted, two inmates at the Carson City Correctional Facility in Michigan were sentenced to an additional 27 months in prison after authorities found out they had planned to file false tax returns on behalf of fellow prisoners.  The refunds they were expecting totaled more than $46,000. 

The senator said access to the Internet at correctional facilities across the country could be making it easier for inmates to file these phony returns.

Inmates don’t have similar online access in Florida’s state prisons or county jails, making it harder for inmates to scam the government. 

“State prison inmates do not have access to the Internet,” said Gretl Pressinger, public information officer for the Florida Department of Corrections.  “We have computers they can do typing on, and some computer classes, but they have no capability to go online.”

 As of June 2009, Florida had 146 prison facilities, including 62 major institutions, 45 work/forestry camps, one treatment center, 33 work release centers and five road prisons.  It costs the state $18,980 a year, or $52 a day, to feed, clothe, house and provide medical services for an inmate at a state facility, and $15,443 at a prison for adult males, the majority of people incarcerated in the Florida prison system.  Florida’s recidivism rate is 33 percent, meaning one of every three inmates released from a state prison returns there within three years.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prison’s Inmate Handbook, inmates are only allowed to spend up to $290 a month for purchases on their commissary account at the prison canteen. Once a month, each inmate account is “validated,” meaning that’s the start of their spending period.  Deposits to commissary accounts are made from outside sources, including family, friends and associates.

Prison Unit Managers can also approve withdrawals for the payment of fines, restitution for losses, and other financial obligations that include court or attorney fees and the purchase of legal books.

 Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

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