Orlando’s Food Truck Craze

The Food Truck Craze has America enchanted and hungry like never before. Whether you call Oregon, Boston, or somewhere in the Carolina’s home, entrepreneurs are wheeling up and people are talking.

Florida is not missing out either. Specifically in Orlando many trucks are pulling into parking lots, weddings, and countless other spots.

Listen to this exclusive insight from one local food truck entrepreneur, Kim Abrams-Parson of Mama’s Fixins:

Emily Bader Represents the Winter Park Garden Club for Florida Beach Preservation

Emily Bader has been a member of garden clubs over the last 25 years.  She was originally a member of the Suburban Garden Club of Germantown, TN.  Among many opportunities, Bader chaired the Beautification Commission for 8 years while a member.  Once she relocated to Winter Park, Fla to be close to her grandchildren, Bader found herself a member of the Winter Park Garden Club.  On Saturday June 8, 2013, Bader returned to the Winter Park Farmer’s Market for the third time to collect signatures for water, beach, and wildlife preservation.  Bader explained that having been a Girl Scout, she always has “understood the value of preserving the beaches and leaving our areas in a good state so that they transition to the next generation.”  Bader and fellow volunteers are trying to collect 700,000 signatures, which Bader stated is the required amount needed.

Emily Bader, member of the Winter Park Florida Garden Club speaks with Florida voters about water, beach and wildlife preservation at the Farmer's Market on Saturday June 8, 2013 in Winter Park. (Megan K. Hyde/Full Sail University)

Emily Bader, member of the Winter Park Florida Garden Club speaks with Florida voters about water, beach and wildlife preservation at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday June 8, 2013 in Winter Park. (Photo by: Megan K. Hyde/Full Sail University)

Emily Bader, member of the Winter Park Garden Club for two years, volunteers to collect signatures to see that funds originally designated for beach preservation are realigned to that origin, on Saturday June 8, 2013 in Winter Park, Fla (Megan K. Hyde/ Full Sail University)

Emily Bader, member of the Winter Park Garden Club for two years, volunteers to collect signatures to see that funds originally designated for beach preservation are realigned to that origin, on Saturday June 8, 2013 in Winter Park, Fla (Photo by: Megan K. Hyde/ Full Sail University)

Winter Park Garden Club member, Emily Bader, attends the local Farmer's Market for a third time, collecting signatures and educating individuals on Florida beach preservation Saturday June 8, 2013. (Megan K. Hyde/Full Sail University)

Winter Park Garden Club member, Emily Bader, attends the local Farmer’s Market for a third time, collecting signatures and educating individuals on Florida beach preservation on Saturday June 8, 2013. (Photo by: Megan K. Hyde/Full Sail University)

Emily Bader attempts to collect as many signatures as possible by visiting the Farmer's Market on Saturday June 8, 2013.  Bader advised the state of Florida requires 700,000 signatures for this campaign (Photo by: Megan K. Hyde/Full Sail University)

Emily Bader attempts to collect as many signatures as possible by visiting the Farmer’s Market on Saturday June 8, 2013. Bader advised the state of Florida requires 700,000 signatures for this campaign (Photo by: Megan K. Hyde/Full Sail University)

Emily Bader attends the Winter Park Farmer's Market on Saturday June 8, 2013 on behalf of the Winter Park Garden Club to call Florida voters to action for eater, beach and wildlife preservation. (Photo by: Megan K. Hyde/Full Sail University)

Emily Bader attends the Winter Park Farmer’s Market on Saturday June 8, 2013 on behalf of the Winter Park Garden Club to call Florida voters to action for water, beach and wildlife preservation. (Photo by: Megan K. Hyde/Full Sail University)

Alafaya Trail Expansion- The good, the bad and the delayed

The Alafaya Trail expansion officially began February 2011 and the projected completion is June 1st, 2014.  Originally the expansion was planned to be complete in 2013 but delays have caused for the later projectionAccording to WFTV, some of the delays are due to “a last minute request by the fire department for a traffic light”, and delays from moving power lines, which “put crews eight months behind the four-mile construction project.”  Heavy rainfall and fixing the watermain below ground have also added an extra 140 days to planning.

Many people in the Eastwood, Stoneybrook, Waterford Lakes, and Avalon Park communities call this region home. According to the 2010 Census, approximately 78,133 residents resided in the South Alafaya Trail area and the number seems to be growing annually.   The construction aims to help provide a smoother journey for both drivers and pedestrians along South Alafaya Trail once finished.  According to Orange County public records, the construction “will add 2 additional lanes, a grass median, a new 5’ sidewalk and 10’ multi-purpose path.”  According to the same record, “numerous meetings were held with homeowners and businesses to complete the design.”

South Alafaya Trail is home to the Eastwood, Stoneybrook, Waterford Lakes and Avalon Park communities; photo credit MKHyde, May 2013

South Alafaya Trail is home to the Eastwood, Stoneybrook, Waterford Lakes and Avalon Park communities; photo credit MKHyde, June 2013

Juan Curi, a Chief Engineer for the Public Works Department with the Highway Construction Division in Orlando, oversees that the construction goes smoothly once it starts.  Curi and team assist “with developing the most feasible solution for any problem that may arise during the course of the work.”

Curi states, “The biggest advantage that will be realized, especially at the completion point, is the expansion in itself, going from two lanes to four.  You’ll have more capacity for vehicular transporting but also multi-use paths for pedestrians, which provides more walking surfaces.  The entire hope is that all roads will continue to improve the commute for folks.”

Two local residents share their observations and eagerness for the project to complete; Ivor Richards, who lives in North Waterford Lakes, and Natalia Moege who lives in the Stoneybrook community, expressed similar concerns and hope for these developments.  Richards, who has lived in the area for 12 years, said his biggest obstacle is “the morning, afternoon, and peak traffic times.  It affects my commute to my neighborhood Publix consistently.”  Richards says, “Yes, the expansion is very necessary with the influx of people in the area.  Well, overdue.  Happy for it, but I don’t like how long it takes.”

Waterford Lakes resident Ivor Richards' commute to his neighborhood Publix is directly affected by the expansion; photo credit MKHyde, June, 2013

Waterford Lakes resident Ivor Richards’ commute to his neighborhood Publix is directly affected by the expansion; photo credit MKHyde, June 2013

Moege has lived in the area for five years and said, “I think the expansion is very much needed; that area of Orlando is growing at an extremely fast pace and once complete, and it will make for much easier travel.  I look forward to the ease of traffic and to not having to wait so long just to get out of our main gate. The extra lane will allow the incoming cars to now be able to drive on their own lane, while the residents of Stoneybrook can easily exit the gate without having to wait.  It is already quite a hassle to get in and out of the Stoneybrook gate and now with this added construction, this can be a problem when you are in a hurry and trying to get to work on time.”

Residents of the Stoneybrook community travel amidst of the construction; photo credit MKHyde; June 2013

Residents of the Stoneybrook community travel amidst of the construction; photo credit MKHyde; June 2013

One public record, through Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson’s website, offers a Q/A forum from the community meetings on the expansion project.  One question asked about high traffic times being affected by the construction and the answer says, “The normal hours of construction will be from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  The Contractor will occasionally need to close one lane of traffic during off-peak (between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.).  A good example of the contractor needing to close one lane of traffic would be to extend utility lines across Alafaya Trail.  Motorists should also consider adjusting their commute times to account for lower posted speed limits through the construction zone, uneven pavement, temporary pavement markings, travel lane shifts and construction vehicles operating in the area.”

Jodi Arias: Social Media Access Okay or Not?

Jodi Arias murdered her ex boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in June of 2008 and was found guilty of this in the first-degree in May of 2013.  Initially, Arias stated she knew nothing of the murder; Arias then said masked men invaded Alexander’s home killing him; then Arias said she killed Alexander in self defense.  As for the way in which Arias should spend the rest of her days, the jury of four women and eight men who listened to all testimony, declared a mistrial once they could not agree on sentencing Arias to death or to life in prison.

Accordingly to an article from abc15.com, “The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will now have to decide whether to seat a brand new jury to re-try the penalty phase, or opt not to, putting sentencing in the hands of Judge Stephens but simultaneously taking death off the table.”  With the lack of a verdict for Arias the first time around, many have questioned plenty of what ifs further.  One idea being brought up is the actions of Arias during the trial in the actual courtroom and also with the media as well.

For example, Arias has communicated with the media in several instances, one being through Twitter, with help from a friend who said they “go over what Arias wants to tweet.”  The friend who runs the Twitter account for Arias, Donovan Bering, explains it as, “She’ll call and say, ‘Hey, you know, I have a quote,’ and we’ll talk about it,” Bering told the station. “And she’ll say, ‘Let’s tweet.”  According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office via the nydailynews.com, there isn’t much that can be done in regards to this.  Watch below to hear more of what Bering has to say about the use of Arias’ Twitter account:

Video via YouTube

According to a video from cnn.com, CNN correspondent Casey Wian stated, “Prosecutors will be able to bring those contradictory interviews into evidence in a new penalty phase.”

Video via CNN.com

This information may come back into play if a new jury decides to reevaluate all components of this type of interaction on Arias’ behalf.  There have been two sides to this portion of this case.  Some may believe it is Arias’ right in the age of the world and some may find it inappropriate to have access though the help of someone else.  Either way, this type of continued social media use is a new consideration for a high profile case such as this one.

22nd Orlando International Fringe Festival Planned and Ready for Crowds

The 2013 22nd Orlando International Fringe Festival is in full swing, kicking off its biggest, longest running showcase yet.  This 14-day festival runs from May 15th-28th and features actors, comics and musicians from around the country in over 100 productions and occurs in 11 venues within and around the city of Loch Haven, Florida.

The festival, which started in Orlando in 1992, “is founded on the concept of offering 100% unjuried, 100% uncensored, 100% accessible theatre, music, dance, and art to all types and ages where 100% of the box office ticket sales go directly back to the artists within The Fringe.”  Festival General Manager, George Wallace, communicated by email saying, “Two things I feel Orlando Fringe brings to the city is the economic impact.  We pay our artists 100% of box office receipts and last year paid out over a quarter of a million dollars.  Our 2012 Economic Impact calculator showed that we generated 1.5 million dollars in revenue for Orange County alone.  The other thing that we bring is a unique cultural experience—unlike anything else you can see in Orlando, Florida, or the entire southeast.”

Wallace started as a volunteer 11 years ago; became Volunteer Coordinator in 2008; was promoted in 2009 to Director of Operations; and transitioned in 2011 to General Manager, which Wallace explains “is equivalent to the Executive Director.”  As for his favorite festival parts Wallace states it’s “the national and international acts and the fact that we allow people to see something that they cannot see anywhere else.”

When asked about any stress from putting on a detailed event, Wallace stated, “We are the oldest Fringe in the United States and I like to think of us as a ‘well oiled machine.’ So there are very few bumps in the road during the actual festival.” Wallace went on to say the “Logistics are the hardest part of the overall festival—scheduling over 800 performances throughout 12 locations is not an easy task.  The most difficult part of my job throughout the year is fundraising and educating people that we are a 501C3 nonprofit.  We rely heavily on grant support and general donations.”

Another area that is taken into consideration is the use of a rating system to let attendees knows what may be kid-friendly, for a general audience, or for a mature audience.  An example of this would be Kids Fringe which is “a special part of the Orlando Fringe Festival just for kids and families and is free to all participants and runs 10-4 both weekends of the festival.”  As for how you may choose to view certain shows otherwise, the ticketed venues are identified by color.  Most areas are within a walking distance, however some are several blocks away.  Following the color system an attendee can decide how best to reach their destination.

InfoGr_Ratings

Created by MKHyde; May 2013; Info found here

Created by MKHyde; May 2013

Created by MKHyde; May 2013; Info found here

Moving forward, Wallace would enjoy seeing growth in audience development.  “At the end of the day, I love writing those checks to the artists—that is why we are here.  The more “butts in seats” we get, the more we can pay our artists!”

To learn more and get tickets for the festival please check here.

City of Oviedo Discusses Urbanization

According to an article by wftv.com, Mayor Dominic Persampiere of Oviedo, Fla., feels moving towards “a more urban feel, will add more character to Oviedo.”  Mayor Persampiere has shared there would possibly be “an adoption,” which is known as a form-based code the city would follow.  This would create change for future developments in the city and these expansions would offer the urbanized approach that is being discussed.  If this does go into effect officially, the plans for what would be known as Oviedo on the Park would be finalized around 2015.

Oviedo, having been established as a city in 1925 with then only a population of 800 residents, is known for its sprawling suburban neighborhoods, chickens who roam the roads just as the residents do, and it is a hometown place various families choose to plant their roots.  A few businesses now inhabiting the city that offer employment, as well as opportunity to participate in various life events, are Publix, the Oviedo Marketplace Mall, and also there is a Seminole State College campus.

The city of Oviedo has been home to many individuals over the years; photo credit MKHyde, May 2013

The city of Oviedo has been home to many individuals over the years; photo credit MKHyde, May 2013

The goal for the urbanization is to offer more business growth for both the city and the residents to utilize.  In an Orlando Sentinel article, Mayor Persampiere stated, “Right now our building codes promote suburban sprawl.”  The Mayor went on to explain if the new code is adopted, the need to “stay within our urban vision,” is a necessity.  With the concept of this urbanization being weighed out, there is a steady stream of emotion from residents.

Sweet Repeats is a consignment boutique that has been a staple in the Oviedo downtown area for the last 18 years.  Julie Richardson, a lifelong resident of Oviedo and owner of Sweet Repeats for the last six years, states, “I have mixed emotions.  I have lived here my whole entire life.  I wish there was a way they could make downtown into the way a lot of the older downtowns have been made and reroute the whole city.  Sanford, Winter Garden, Apopka, all of those places are done very nice, very upscale but kept the downtown quaint.”

Richardson offers understanding further saying, “Because of my heritage of being here all my life, I am going to miss that part but I do understand the urbanization does need to come; we do need to expand, there needs to be more businesses more restaurants, more opportunities for everybody. I do understand that so I do have mixed emotions.”

Digital Millennium Copyright Act Protects Google from Viacom Again

 

Viacom and Google face off in court for second time; photo credit: MKHyde, May 2013

Viacom and Google face off in court for second time; photo credit: MKHyde, May 2013

A case that has been ongoing on and off for three years between media giants Viacom Inc and Google Inc has been dismissed for a second time by a federal judge.  The specifics of this case revolve around Viacom claiming damage from Google for the alleged unauthorized posting of clips from a variety of television shows, which were uploaded on the internet via YouTube.  Google purchased YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion with hopes of “brushing aside copyright concerns to seize a starring role in the online video revolution.”

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.  Ultimately, this corporation strives to provide the best user experience imaginable.  These two companies have similar strategies and both wish to be the best, given their respective, overall objectives.

YouTube is popular form of media in the world today; photo credit MKHyde, May 2013

YouTube is popular form of media in the world today; photo credit MKHyde, May 2013

Viacom is a leading global entertainment content company who has multiple networks such as MTV, VH1, Nick at Nite, and Comedy Central as a part of their brand.  They also have more than 160 networks and varieties of other interactive content available to the masses.  Viacom prides itself on diversity and strives for their audience to have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing them as their source for movies and television productions.

 

Viacom is the media giant behind networks such as MTV, VH1 and numerous others; photo credit: MKHyde, May 2013

Viacom is the media giant behind networks such as MTV, VH1 and numerous others; photo credit: MKHyde, May 2013

Per the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) has two main sections that have been a source of particular controversy since their inception in 2000.  One is the “safe harbor” area.  This section “protects service providers who meet certain conditions from monetary damages for the infringing activities of their users and other third parties on the net.”  In this article, U.S District Judge Louis Stanton of Manhattan found that Google and YouTube were protected from Viacom’s claims because of the “safe harbor” provisions through the “DMCA”.

One Marketing graduate, Ricardo Kendrick, has been an avid user of YouTube for several years and has seen his share of what he would label as “manipulated content.”  Kendrick states, “I support Google because I believe that being too hard on copyright policies concerning digital content, can inhibit people’s creativity and cause people not to want to be as supportive of these companies like Viacom.”  Kendrick explains his reasoning further by saying, “A lot of YouTube videos are definitely creative endeavors and people wanting to express themselves in new ways.  I believe that companies like Viacom, even though they have good intentions on not wanting people to destroy or manipulate the original creative work, like a video when someone adds lyrics to it, should also understand that people do want to express themselves creatively.  I think it’s good to see variety in the different ways people can express things through their work.”

Freedom of Information Act Provides Court Win for Florida Newspaper

Tallahassee Democrat wins case related to FOIA, photo credit: MKHyde

Tallahassee Democrat wins case related to FOIA, photo credit: MKHyde

In August 2012, a Florida newspaper won their case centered on the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”).  The case was between the newspaper and the city of Tallahassee as well as the company Affiliated Computer Services (“ACS”).  The case surrounded the request from the Tallahassee Democrat to have names of all red light camera ticket recipients provided to them.  According to an article published the day after the ruling, the paper requested “a year’s worth of notices so it could analyze how the program was being administered,” and the goal was to distinguish “the identity of city and county employees who received notices.” The city filed their suit immediately after the initial request on July 15, 2011, on the grounds of fear of disclosure and preferred the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida to decide whether the freedom of information request was barred under federal statutes designed to protect motorist privacy.

Strict enforcement aims to deter motorists from running red lights, Orlando, Fla; photo credit: MKHyde

Strict enforcement aims to deter motorists from running red lights, Orlando, Fla; photo credit: MKHyde

Since the Tallahassee Democrat believed the records should have been provided to them and the city of Tallahassee did not, the city referred to the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (“DPPA”).  The DPPA was amended in 1999 to reflect the requirement for a “drivers’ consent before states can release personal information contained in an individual’s department of motor vehicles record, even when the information is requested en masse for a generalized marketing purpose.”   Tallahassee believed the law coincided with their denial of the request.  The Tallahassee Democrat believed the records are public and were wrongfully withheld. The court ruled in favor of the Tallahassee Democrat on the ground that Florida’s broad public record law “requires release of the requested information.” U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle explained that, “Once properly used in a court proceeding, the information is public and can be disclosed without limits.”

Former Tallahassee resident, Andrea Watson, and a recipient of a ticket  for running a red light, expresses her sentiments on this case saying, “As long as my identity is not stolen, I am OK with records being used for a study.  If someone unsavory is going to be viewing them however, then I say they should be kept confidential.”  Watson also states, “I would not find myself wanting to sue anyone for the release of my records in this exact scenario.  I don’t find it worth fighting for monetarily because let’s face it, legal fees would most likely cost more than it’s worth.”

Red light runners can face heavy charges in numerous ways, Orlando, Fla; photo credit: MKHyde

Red light runners can face heavy charges in numerous ways, Orlando, Fla; photo credit: MKHyde

“Operation Hackerazzi” organizer Christopher Chaney serving time for wiretapping

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Today’s technology can allow uninvited guests, April 2013; photo credit MKHyde

Between the time frame of November 2010 and October 2011, there was a surge in the amount of celebrity private business, such as photographs and personal emails, hitting the Internet.  Known as “Operation Hackerazzi” celebrities such as Mila Kunis, Christina Aguilera, and most notably Scarlett Johansson, were victims to this crime.  Johansson was not pleased when nude photos appeared online and pursued legal action instantly.  Eventually, Christopher Chaney of Jacksonville, Fla., was proven to be behind the chaos.  Chaney was hacking over 50 entertainment professionals’ information daily, while using various aliases and accessing address books from those he had already hacked into, to retrieve information on others.  Once apprehended, Chaney pleaded guilty to several charges, which included accessing protected computers without authorization and wiretapping.  Chaney was ordered to pay $66,179.46 to Johansson; $150,000 to all his other victims; and was ordered to serve 71 months in prison.  Chaney could have potentially served 60 years based on the full range of charges.

Chaney explained this situation as something that started as “curiosity” and “turned to just being addictive.”  Although apologizing for his actions and invasions, assistant U.S. attorneys in the case, Lisa Feldman and Wesley Hsu, described Chaney as “brazenly unrepentant” due to the fact that Chaney continued his hacking even after being caught.  After the FBI had come into his home and confiscated his computer, Chaney invaded several more celebrities private files.  Richard Boyles, aspiring blogger and self-proclaimed entertainment guru, said, “Chaney should have been completely monitored until it was deemed that he was either guilty or not guilty.”  Boyles calls the actions of Chaney “deplorable, intrusive and opportunistic in regards to his attempt to capitalize on this situation.”

As far as the punishment for Chaney, there have been differing views.  Boyles offers his sentiments as saying, “As for the time to serve, rehabilitation would have been more suitable versus locking him away for an extended amount of time.  As for monetarily, the amounts seem justified and sufficient.”  Assistant U.S. attorney Feldman argued for every bit of the 71-month sentencing, referencing again the repeat of Chaney’s actions even after being caught.

Christopher Chaney serving time for hacking private information, April 2013; photo credit: MKHyde

Christopher Chaney serving time for hacking private information, April 2013; photo credit: MKHyde

Amanda Bynes to Sue All Media Outlets for Defamation

Actress Amanda Bynes announced her retirement from acting in September 2012 but has been a featured celebrity for many media platforms since.  Bynes has been doing what has been described as erratic behavior such as locking herself in public dressing rooms, having interactions with the police, and displaying behavior that has some alarmed for her well being.   There are no answers or explanations yet.  However, Bynes has expressed complete disapproval for how she is being reported on.  She has been actively addressing her annoyance through the social media platform Twitter, where she recently advised she would be “suing every blog, every magazine, every news source that’s saying I’m doing anything wrong ‘erratic behavior’ is not me! I’m suing In Touch, Us Weekly, Perez Hilton for hiring paparazzi who follow me then take the worst photos with the worst angles.”

If, in fact, Bynes pursues a lawsuit, being a public figure, she would need to prove “actual malice” was the intent behind the news stories.  By definition, prove actual malice would mean two things: the story was “published with the knowledge that it was false and the story was published with reckless disregard of whether or not it was false.”  There are several stories coinciding with Bynes’ “erratic behavior,” and this will be one aspect her legal team will need to focus on to win a libel suit.  Bynes will need to disprove the numerous recollections from witnesses who have observed the incidences reported.

For some who have been a fan of Bynes since her early acting days with the network of Nickelodeon and the numerous teenage romantic comedies Bynes is associated with, their perception is one of disbelief. Pop culture enthusiast Lisa Hernandez states, “I think of Amanda Bynes as the funny, bubbly actress with great movies.  Hearing a little of what’s being reported, it seems she is not doing so well right now.”  When asked if she believes there is actual malicious intent behind what’s being reported, Hernandez said, “I don’t know enough of what they’re saying but if it’s truth there’s no malice behind it.”  Hernandez explains further saying, “I don’t think Amanda Bynes is being targeted.  Being a celebrity comes with the territory.  If you mess up, people are going to talk.”

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Lisa Hernandez reading up on Bynes, April 2013