100 of Central Florida’s most influential people weigh in on current events. Read their thoughts on the biggest stories of the week and see what they think will make headlines next week.
Larry Pino, attorney and entrepreneur
THE OTHER SIDE OF MICKEY. Looking ahead: “The Florida Project,” winning accolades at the Cannes and Toronto film festivals recently, brings into sharp focus the ironic Central Florida experience we share juxtaposing the promise of the Magic Kingdom with the “motel kids” living in its shadow. While a single mother occupying a $38-a-night rundown room in a dilapidated motel on U.S. Highway 192 with her daughter and rascal friends may not necessarily be the stuff of committees, coalitions and conferences, it does accentuate, with nuance, warmth, and biting poignancy the suggestion that, as a community, we can do better. Disney endings need not be solely reserved for the movies.
Marci Arthur, small business owner/culinary specialist
ABORTION HYPOCRISY. Last week: National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement: “While I am extremely disappointed in the circumstances surrounding Congressman Murphy’s retirement, I remain confident that PA-18 will remain under Republican control next year. I look forward to working with the eventual Republican nominee to ensure the district’s conservative values are represented in Congress.” Talk about an understatement! Murphy resigned because, despite opposing abortion rights as a legislator, he allegedly encouraged a woman with whom he was having an affair to have an abortion. (Ultimately, she turned out not to be pregnant.) And he was married.
Dick Batchelor, president, Dick Batchelor Management Group
3 STEPS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING. Last week: The Legislature created an Affordable Housing Study Commission to further study the issue. I submit these recommendations to it: First, ask Congress not to cut the Housing and Urban Development Department budget by 16 percent, as proposed. Second, Congress should not do away with the public-housing tax credit, which is used to finance affordable housing. Third, there is a state public-housing trust fund called the Sadowski Act. Unfortunately, in recent years, the Legislature has taken over $l billion out of the fund for other state services. This money should be used only for affordable-housing programs. These three steps would do more to provide subsidized housing than any number of new studies.
Gary Cain, president, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida
A LIVING WAGE. Last week: We live in a society that pays professional athletes and entertainers often hundreds of times what is earned by vital community servants. Thus, I was heartened to learn that Gov. Rick Scott is backing an across-the-board 10 percent pay increase for juvenile detention and probation officers. I struggle to think of a more important calling than trying to guide a troubled teen back toward a path of education, employment, and emotional wholeness. If we don’t invest in our young people on the front end — and this includes paying juvenile-justice workers a living wage — we can’t hope to break the cycle of poverty and violence that so many children are born into.
Chris Carmody, shareholder, GrayRobinson
THE BEST IS YET TO COME. Last week: On Wednesday, U.S. soccer announced that Orlando is one of 25 American cities that will be part of the official United Bid for the 2026 World Cup. It’s a small step, but an important one. We beat out major sports destinations like New Orleans and Indianapolis to make this list. It is one more ounce of proof that investment in our sports tourism is paying off. And further, Orange County is finalizing a proposal to financially support bringing the MLS All-Star game to Orlando in 2019. And all of this amidst the backdrop of the World Cup qualifying match on Friday. It’s working. Kudos to Mayor Jacobs and Mayor Dyer for chairing the Orlando bid committee. We are already seeing results, and the best is yet to come.
DESINATION 100,000. Looking ahead: 100,000 — that is how many Puerto Ricans are estimated to move to Florida over the next year. The devastation of Hurricane Maria is impossible to quantify, but that number stands out. While Florida is constantly accepting new residents across the state line, this many in that short amount of time will put a strain on our infrastructure. But that doesn’t stop us. Whether it is waivers on vital record fees or shifting of funds to accommodate more students, Governor Scott, the Cabinet and legislators are already making preparations to welcome and integrate these great Americans into our great state. To be sure, there will be challenges. Central Florida will get a large percentage of this group, and our public school system, hospitals and other infrastructure will be put to the test. But so be it. What makes our state great is that all are welcome. Bienvenido.
Rudolph C. Cleare, executive vice president, The `Negro Spiritual’ Scholarship Foundation
GUN-CONTROL ADVOCATE’S POEM FOR POST-LAS VEGAS. Last week:
“Prayers and thoughts. Thoughts and prayers.
We think these are all God hears.
I demur; do not concur.
Why won’t actions reach God’s ears?”
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. Looking ahead: Ragged Island in the Bahamas was devastated by Hurricane Irma; all but one of its buildings demolished. Luckily, its national government had ordered and effected the evacuation of most human residents, because other living creatures, down to rats and mice, all appear to have perished there. Now the sunbaked stench from rotting flesh and vegetation makes the place unlivable. Some Orlando residents are complaining because our yard debris hasn’t been cleared away lickety-split. Perspective can make all the difference when we let it.
James Coffin, executive director, Interfaith Council of Central Florida
O.J. NIMBY. Last week: I’m no O.J. Simpson fan. But neither do I support Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s not-in-my-back-yard attempts to keep him out of our state. Our criminal-justice system ostensibly has two main goals: punishment and rehabilitation. O.J. may have dodged a murder conviction due to ineffective prosecution, but he couldn’t escape a wrongful-death judgment. And he has spent nine years behind bars for armed robbery. Right or wrong, the system has issued its verdicts. Now let’s allow O.J. to get on with trying to rewrite the tragedy his once-dazzling life has become.
WHAT’S RICK SCOTT’S MOTIVATION? Looking ahead: As Puerto Ricans continue making heart-wrenching decisions in the wake of Hurricane Maria about whether to rebuild or go elsewhere, it’s unclear why Gov. Rick Scott has so enthusiastically gone the second and third mile to try to make it easy for them to spend time or resettle in Florida. But I’m glad he has. Quite frankly, the people in dire straits who arrive in our state aren’t going to be concerned about what motivated the governor to do the right thing. So maybe we who hold jaded views of politicians shouldn’t be so concerned about it, either.
Lee Constantine, commissioner, Seminole County
ALTAMONTE SPRINGS LEADS THE PACK. Looking ahead: I love Seminole County but admit bias for my hometown, Altamonte Springs. What impresses me most is if local government is an incubator for new ideas, Altamonte is the laboratory. Innovation seems to flow daily: the first Uber pilot nationally; AFIRST, creating 1 billion gallons of alternative water for the region; a national award as the first city in Florida to create clean reclaimed water without using expensive reverse osmosis; and now Altamonte Electric Utilities aiming to reduce electric costs to public buildings through renewable energy. Using their example and partnership, it is my desire to make Seminole County the carbon-reduction leader in the state.
Rich Crotty, former mayor, Orange County
THINK BIG. REALLY BIG. Last week: Orlando and Amazon have something in common. They think big. As the airport for the No. 1 tourist destination in the world, Orlando International Airport hosts over 40 million passengers and provides nonstop service to 84 U.S. destinations. Our hometown university, UCF, is the second-largest university in the country, and the Orange County Convention Center is the second largest in America. With Florida’s mild weather and friendly business climate, Orlando has a list of sites to offer (Creative Village, and Lake Nona have already been mentioned). Orlando should be seriously considered for HQ2.
THE KEYS ARE BACK. Looking ahead: The Florida Keys are open for business. Less than a month after Hurricane Irma pummeled the narrow strip of islands that grace the southern tip of our state, the Conch Republic is ready to welcome back visitors. With the holidays around the corner, Key West is a great destination for upcoming vacation plans. One of the best ways to help these storm-ravaged areas is providing an economic boost to the local businesses and good folks who occupy the Southernmost Point.
John L. Evans Jr., consulting unit chief for a global investment firm; former congressional staffer
KNEEL IN PRAYER. Looking ahead: How historically epic it would be today if National Football League players would go one step further, and get down on both knees, and lead all Americans in prayer for the brave victims and police officers of the Las Vegas tragedy. I think the stadiums would levitate off the ground; there’s not many forces greater than gratitude. Just love. Gratitude’s QB.
Mark Freid, Board President Holocaust Center
WHO WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN? Last week: Almost immediately after the events in Charlottesville two months ago, the Holocaust Center spearheaded an open dialogue on free speech and hate speech, giving people on all sides the opportunity to listen and learn, discuss the facts and safely share their feelings. In the wake of last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, nasty debates over gun control have flooded social-media pages and comments sections of every media outlet. Let’s follow the success of the post-Charlottesville dialogue and host a conversation about guns, gun rights and gun control. I’m willing to go in with an open mind, to listen and learn. Who’s willing to make this happen?
NO POLITICS AS USUAL. Looking ahead: I’m encouraged by the quality of candidates venturing into the Orange County mayoral election. With Rob Panepinto, Jerry Demings and Bill Sublette, we have three candidates with a deep commitment to Central Florida and three diverse backgrounds that should elevate the quality of ideas and level of discussion. I’m expecting compelling and thoughtful debates on issues like how we keep our community safe, how we continue to prime and diversify our economic engine, how we solve vexing social issues and how we improve education at all levels. These candidates have what it takes to bring new ideas to the table and cast “politics as usual” aside.
Rogue Gallart, president, Central Florida Disability Chamber
‘BLADE RUNNER 2049.’ Looking ahead: It has been 35 years since the release of “Blade Runner,” and the long-awaited sequel “Blade Runner 2049” is arriving this weekend. The original was set in a dystopian Los Angeles in 2019; the story depicts a future in which synthetic humans known as replicants are bioengineered by the powerful Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies. Harrison Ford is back, reprising his role, along with some new faces such as Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto and Robin Wright. The theme of the movie also implies that industrial pollution has adversely affected planet Earth’s environment — i.e. global warming and global dimming — one which we are not far from.
Flora Maria Garcia, CEO, United Arts of Central Florida
BEETHOVEN’S NINTH. Last week: Last Sunday, after reeling from many national tragedies, my mood was uplifted by the Orlando Philharmonic’s performance of Beethoven’s Ninth, culminating with the magnificent “Ode to Joy,” a life-affirming and joyful anthem for humanity. The prelude to this magnificent piece was led by a brief, original composition for brass, by local composer and Full Sail faculty member Keith Lay. Entitled “Fanfare Orlando,” the work commemorates the Phil’s 25th anniversary and was designed to lift spirits and celebrate our city’s compassionate actions in response to its tragedies. I left the concert inspired and hopeful; music indeed soothes the soul.
Glenton Gilzean Jr., president/CEO, Urban League of Central Florida
OPEN ARMS. Last week: I support Rep. Bob Cortes and members of the Florida Legislature for their willingness to assist displaced students after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. We must also make special provisions to accommodate their enrollment, such as the temporary expansion of class sizes and waiving certain requirements for admission. Helping our fellow Americans return to a life of normalcy in their temporary or new home in Central Florida should be a priority for all of us. Removing the red tape associated with admissions and providing the extra funds to accommodate these new students will be a clear sign from Tallahassee that Florida welcomes these families with open arms.
Phil Hissom, founder/director of the Polis Institute, an Orlando-based think tank focused on revitalizing neighborhoods
GETTING TO KNOW YOU. Last week: Last week I had the privilege of attending a Dinner Party Project/Making Conversations event. The subject was “Race and Privilege.” The diverse group of 12 shared an excellent meal and discussed life experiences that have shaped the way we think of ourselves and people of other races. The experiences and perceptions were so different, even in a group of this size, it’s easy to see why this topic can become volatile — we often just don’t get each other. It’s important that we strive to build bridges to understanding and I’m grateful that these conversations are happening in our community.
Eric Jackson, president/CEO, Total Roof Services Corp.
FRONTLINE OUTREACH. Last week: It was a great week for the Washington Shores neighborhood. Frontline Outreach Center unveiled its new state-of-the-art gym, which any community would be proud to have. The gym is just one component of the campus that promotes education, leadership, entrepreneurship and fulfilling one’s destiny. Frontline has been a mainstay of the Orlando community for more than 50 years, a beacon of fun, hope and transformation for thousands of people while promoting family values. I am a proud supporter of Frontline and the leadership of Bishop Allen Wiggins, Lady Deborah Wiggins and their team.
Ric Keller, lawyer, former member of Congress
BUT IS 25 A WINNING LOTTO NUMBER? Last week: I’m buying a round of beers for the first 25 people who read this. Why? 25 is the magic number for the University of Central Florida this week — for everything. UCF’s exciting football team was just ranked No. 25 in both the AP and Coaches poll. UCF was listed as the 25th most innovative university out of nearly 1,400 schools, along with Harvard, Stanford and Duke, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges of 2018 guide. And UCF’s talented president, Dr. John Hitt, is celebrating his 25th year at the helm. Cheers to the Knights! Charge on!
J. Matthew Knight, M.D., board member, Tiger Bay Club
ALL ABOARD. Last week: Mad scientist Elon Musk surprised Central Florida by naming Orlando-to-Miami as a finalist for his Hyperloop One project. His idea could transport people or cargo near the speed of sound — meaning dinner in South Beach in less than an hour (taxis included). It also means millions of families from South Florida taking day-trips to our attractions. Even if Hyperloop One doesn’t happen, it’s time Florida gets its act together when it comes to mass transit. It boosts economies, decreases vehicular fatalities, reduces emissions and increases productivity. I should know; I wrote this on a train.
A FIGHT IN WINTER PARK. Looking ahead: A year-long grassroots effort to halt construction of a sprawling health-care facility a stone’s throw from Winter Park wetlands takes another step this week, with a City Commission meeting scheduled on Oct. 9. With impressive fervor, Winter Park resident Nancy Freeman organized hundreds of fired-up neighbors working to fight a memory-care center that they say is just too big, with insufficient parking, located perilously close to diverse ecosystems. The out-of-town developers have sued the city to have their project built. It’s good to see locals working together to help fight the compulsion to pave over everything green in Central Florida.
Ken LaRoe, founder and CEO of First GREEN Bancorp
END THIS MADNESS. Last week: I am sitting looking at an incredible view from my place in North Carolina, saddened by the most recent mass murder. Semi-automatic weapons were formerly illegal, and I cannot conceive the “what were they thinking” moment that allowed the ban on them to sunset. Unfortunately, this is a totally partisan topic and it is one of the reasons I am no longer a Republican. What’s it going to take to end the madness?
ROOT OF THE PROBLEM. Looking ahead: We have a long road when it comes to the gun control debate. It is becoming more and more routine for Americans to blame everything — except guns — for the reason behind mass shootings. The country is so quick to kick it back to race, mental illness, religion, and the list goes on and on. And now, with the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, we are adding hotel security to that running list, instead of getting to the root of the problem: gun control.
David Leavitt, former Seminole County Libertarian Party chairman, CEO of Refresh Computers, and civic activist
CHINA’S PROGRESS. Last week: I just completed a business trip of more than two weeks in China. My last visit was 10 years ago. What a difference! My biggest take from this trip was the fact the good old USA has a lot of catching up to do. From infrastructure to technology, I witnessed a transformation in China that is mind-boggling and scary. I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you come from; one thing is clear to me — while we are wasting away our time and resources bitching and moaning about many lesser important things, China has been making huge gains on us.
200 MPH. Looking ahead: Two areas I believe we lack the most when compared to China: One is infrastructure. China’s high-speed train network is second to none — commuting a billion Chinese annually. Traveling at speeds of more than 200 mph, trains connect every major city in China. China’s superhighways are equally impressive. Then there is connectivity. The Chinese LTE data network is faster and more accessible than ours. WeChat, the Chinese social media app, has over a billion users. Everywhere I traveled, from north to south, the Chinese were using this app to not only connect to friends like Facebook but also to summon taxis like Uber and pay for goods and services like PayPal.
A.J. Marsden, assistant professor, Beacon College
WELCOME TO LAKE COUNTY. Last week: Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks is urging officials to make a plan for the Puerto Rican residents that were affected by Hurricane Maria and are now homeless. Understanding that Puerto Rican students have important roles to play, Lake County public schools are allowing them to enroll right away and receive free school meals without official documentation, and Lake-Sumter State College is offering in-state tuition to Puerto Rican students displaced by the hurricane. We all have obligations in helping our Puerto Rican neighbors rebuild their lives — after all, they are U.S. citizens, too, and deserve our help.
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR SOURCE. Looking ahead: In the wake of horrific tragedies — such as the shooting in Las Vegas — it is common for us to turn to the internet for answers. In our attempt to share what we learn with others, we often end up spreading misinformation and making it more difficult for officials to communicate the truth to the public. Unfortunately, many of these fake claims come from far right, far left or religious websites with specific agendas. Failing to check your sources before sharing them serves only to further divide our country. Therefore, please, before you share, double check your source.
Anna McPherson, president, Junior League of Greater Orlando
STOP DISTRACTED DRIVING. Last week: The Apple IOS 11 launched. Embedded in the update is a new feature that can save lives. It’s called “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode. Enabling this feature frees drivers of the distractions of incoming texts and other alerts that normally tempt users to interact with their phones. When others text you while in this mode, a nice little reply is sent to them: “I’m driving with Do Not Disturb While Driving turned on. I’ll see your message when I get where I’m going.” Update your iPhone today by downloading the new IOS and configuring by visiting Settings>Do Not Disturb>Do Not Disturb While Driving>Activate.
CARING FOR OUR SISTER CITY, LAS VEGAS. Looking ahead: The events of Sunday evening in Vegas reached the City Beautiful on Monday morning. Sadly, we are all too familiar with what Las Vegas is experiencing. All this week, though, our city has stepped up to help. From advising on how to set up a family assistance center, to sending people from government to Vegas, from our first responders and medical professionals sharing expertise and know-how to individuals in the public and private sector simply calling our Vegas-based counterparts and offering support, our community is reaching out to share its experience and know-how after managing through such a terrible June 2016. We are #OrlandoUnited and #VegasStrong.
Muhammad Musri, president, Islamic Society of Central Florida
CHILDREN WITHOUT HEALTH CARE. Last week: The funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, expired on Sept. 30 as the Republicans in Congress were trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with the Graham-Cassidy bill. Without CHIP, the health care of 9 million children in the U.S., including 342,000 in Florida, is threatened. CHIP is a bipartisan program that is routinely renewed since 1997. It allows children from low-income families who live above the Medicaid threshold to obtain low-cost health insurance. Children are vulnerable and need annual checkups, immunizations, prescriptions and dental and vision care; their health care should not become political football.
Pamela Nabors, president/CEO, CareerSource Central Florida
TOM PETTY. Last week: Rock icon Tom Petty passed away weeks shy of his 67th birthday. Home-grown in Gainesville, he was as American a musician, singer and songwriter as it got. In his 40-plus year career, he sold over 80 million records as a Mudcrutch, Heartbreaker, Traveling Wilbury and solo artist, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. I love that he took guitar lessons from future Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder. I can see him now, embracing “the great wide open, under them skies of blue ... a rebel without a clue,” looking down on a trail of broken hearts.
WELCOME MAT OUT. Looking ahead: As areas hardest hit by Hurricane Maria, like Puerto Rico, continue their recovery efforts, our state, and specifically our region, are getting ready to receive, house, educate and hire potentially tens of thousands of evacuees seeking shelter, help and opportunity. Central Florida is known globally for its world-class hospitality, resilience and warm weather. Now we get to show the world our warmth of spirit as we prepare for a population increase that will impact us in ways likely never experienced before. It’s been a tough couple of months for this state, but we will continue to do what we know best: Welcome.
María T. Padilla, Orlando Latino blog
CHECK YOUR PRESCRIPTION DRUG SUPPLY. Last week: This is how we learn we are interconnected: Manufacturing, not tourism, is a bigger economic engine in Puerto Rico, with 80 pharmaceutical plants churning out top-brand drugs from blood thinners to cancer medication for stateside markets. Which means your pill supply — up to 40 drugs — may be interrupted by the hurricanes that brought Puerto Rico to a halt because Pharmaceutical Alley is down. No power, no roads, no workers. And no word on when things may return to normal. Companies are quietly working to get on the A list for electricity. This is us: more connected to Puerto Rico than we know or care to admit.
Beverly Paulk, founding member, Central Florida Foundation and The Orlando Philharmonic
5 WOMEN WHO LEAD COMMUNITY. Last week: Local people who lead recovery from major challenges and life’s daily issues frequently go unrecognized. Five such women recently received Summit Awards from the Central Florida Women’s Resource Center. Rita Lowndes creates an impactful legacy in arts, education and social services. Joanne Grant gives tireless efforts, especially to Mills 50, the arts and the LGBT community. Penny Jones is a passionate foster-children’s advocate and educator after adopting foster children. Benna Parikh is honoring her Indian and Hindu culture with service throughout our medical, social services and arts communities. Bonnie Donihi saves lives and helps families with women’s and girls’ cancers.
Matthew Peddie, host, WMFE’s “Intersection”
LAS VEGAS HORROR. Last week: As news broke of a mass shooting in Las Vegas, the trauma hit especially hard in Orlando where people are still trying to heal from the shooting at Pulse last year. In Las Vegas there are echoes of the tragedy in Orlando: stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to save the wounded; volunteers lining up to donate blood. Mayor Buddy Dyer offered to help Las Vegas set up a family assistance center, and doctors from Orlando Health say that, like the survivors of the Pulse shooting, patients in Las Vegas face a long road to recovery.
HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS. Looking ahead: For months, the shadow of repeal and replacement has hung over the Affordable Care Act. Attempts at repeal have failed so far, but uncertainty over the future of health care is making health-insurance companies nervous, and it’s a factor in the jump in next year’s premiums for people buying insurance on the federal health-care marketplace. Tony Jenkins with Florida Blue — the state’s largest insurer — tells 90.7 News that most people will get subsidies to cover the increase. Still, about 66,000 insured by Florida Blue will have to cover the premium increases on their own.
Joanie Schirm, GEC founding president; World Cup Orlando 1994 Committee chairman
TIPPING POINT? Last week: What size massacre will be the tipping point? Our political system is failing us with no common sense action to protect us from preventable gun tragedies at a local concert, nightclub, workplace, school or just walking down the street. Our state Legislature and federal government dictate what can happen regarding bans on weapons designed for battlefield use. Local governments, mostly charged with public safety, aren’t allowed to require universal background checks. Expanded mental-illness treatment is nearly impossible as Florida ranks at the bottom for mental-health funding. Denied local rights, we’ll just pray like we have after the 1,400 mass shootings since Sandy Hook Elementary.
GRAND VIEW OF FIRST AMENDMENT. Looking ahead: It’s probably safe to say that no one from Central Florida had achieved what author Kevin Fedarko did when he took his last step of walking the entire 800-mile length of the Grand Canyon. On Oct. 11 in Orlando, Kevin will present what he learned to fellow nature lovers and those who value our Constitution’s First Amendment at a fundraiser for the First Amendment Foundation. Essential to the free flow of ideas in our democracy, the First Amendment provides the materials necessary for informed choice and individual self-realization. Walking through the Grand Canyon’s splendor inevitably reminds how lucky we Americans are to be able to speak our minds.
Kathy Schmitz. minister, First Unitarian Church of Orlando
CREEPY CRAWLIES INVADE. Last week: They came in out of the storm. Critters with four legs and fur as well as six-legged crawly things. Can’t blame them, really; no one wants to be out in a storm. Now they make themselves cozy in our attics and kitchens, workplaces and wallboards. Many Central Floridians, used to managing such things, thought the recent incursion was unique to their own homes. Chatting with others, it is quickly clear that many of us are negotiating with newfound roommates.
Ed Schons, president, Florida High Tech Corridor Council
Last week: Melinda Gates was recently in Orlando to speak at the Grace Hopper Conference, a conference for women in technology. She challenged the audience to look at computer programming as a way to solve real-world problems — a tool that can be applied to any industry — and to help convince girls to pursue careers in tech. Locally, it is clear there are women in tech, perhaps not as consistently visible, but growth here and across the nation is important. In order to have a truly thriving high tech region, we must ensure to solicit innovation from varying groups of people.
Michael Slaymaker, professional fundraising executive
NO HOPE FOR GUN CONTROL. Last week: After the Las Vegas shooting, obviously a gun-control law will be put forth and passed. Nope. If a shooter can murder kindergartners at Sandyhook and our government didn’t react, if a shooter killed gay and lesbian people in a bar in Orlando and lawmakers didn’t react, it isn’t going to happen after Las Vegas. The only way a gun-control law (like the excellent one in Australia) will be enacted legislature is if Republican Congress members’ family are among the dead.
WALK WITH ME FOR EASTERSEALS. Looking ahead: Easterseals’ Florida’s Walk with Me event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 4:30 p.m. The event will be held at Easterseals Camp Challenge in Sorrento. Besides the walk around the lovely 61-acre camp, many other activities will be available to entertain children and adults. The major sponsor of the walk is Century 21 Professional Group. Its special pre-event fundraiser will be held at Century 21 offices at 2747 Maguire Road in Ocoee on Wednesday, Oct 11, with music, auctions and games for everyone. Century 21 has been supporting children and adults with disabilities for decades.
Kannan Srinivasan, president, Asian American Chamber of Commerce
DATA BREACH. Last week: Three Billion Yahoo accounts data breached as per the current estimate. This is three times more than previously estimated. Verizon provided the new number, citing new findings, according to The Wall Street Journal. The new figures come four months after Verizon closed its $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo.
Looking ahead: Thousands of Puerto Ricans land in Florida, fleeing the misery left by Hurricane Maria.
Tony Suarez, president, Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida
LAWYERS TO THE RESCUE. Last week: While many think of lawyers as self-interested and narrow in focus, the legal profession in Florida has been working on Hurricane Irma relief and just committed its resources to help after Hurricane Maria destroyed much of Puerto Rico. Nothing is more heartening to me than seeing my profession answer the call. From every type of area of law, I see lawyers jumping at the opportunity to serve. Such a disaster was caused by these hurricanes, spurring the robust response of our legal guardians.
CHANGES AFTER IRMA, MARIA. Looking ahead: Hurricanes Irma and Maria will change the demographic landscape of Florida. The ability to react to challenging circumstances, such as the strain on public school systems, will test Orange and Osceola counties. The sudden rise in population will stress our housing stock as well. However, the region’s opportunities for growth will also expand.
Daryl Tol, president/CEO , Florida Hospital & Central Florida Region, Adventist Health System
PUERTO RICO SUPPLY DRIVE. Last week: There’s a long way to go to get Puerto Rico back on its feet after Hurricane Maria, and we need your help. On Sunday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we’ll be collecting supplies such as water, infant formula, nonperishable foods, diapers and can openers at Calvary Orlando Church and loading them into large cargo containers as part of our “Blessings for Puerto Rico” campaign. When these containers have been delivered and unloaded, they’ll be turned into emergency housing for those displaced by the storm. I hope you’ll join us in this and future efforts on behalf of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
TRANSPLANT REUNION. Looking ahead: Things can seem hopeless and dark sometimes, especially after a string of natural disasters, and now the horror of Las Vegas. That’s why I’d like to share a story of hope and generosity that we were privileged to be a part of. Kenza Laraki, a teenager from Morocco who suffered from leukemia, fell ill while on vacation in Orlando last year. Far from home, she received a lifesaving bone-marrow transplant from a stranger. Recently Kenza, now 16, met her donor, 21-year old Jasmine Salinas of Texas. “I thought I was doing my one good deed for the day,” Jasmine said of her donation. Thank you to Jasmine for offering us inspiration when we need it most.