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Sun-May-2019 Hundreds rally in downtown Orlando to protest abortion bans

In response to the anti-abortion measures passed in states like Alabama and Missouri in recent weeks, demonstrators gathered Sunday in downtown Orlando to send a clear message to state lawmakers: her body, her rights. 

Hundreds attended, as the march circled Lake Eola Park before it wandered up Central Boulevard and down Orange Avenue, ending in front of Orlando City Hall just after 12 p.m. As they chanted and shouted down a select few pro-life, "MAGA" hat-wearing counter-demonstrators lined along the path, protesters waved signs that read "keep your filthy laws off my drawers"; "my pussy, my choice"; and "abortion could've prevented Trump"; among others.…

Sun-May-2019 About 220,000 Florida kids ages 5 through 18 can't get the mental health care they need

Florida has an estimated 400,000 children who need behavioral-health services, but 55 percent of them don’t get any treatment, members of a health-care panel were told Thursday.

That translates to 220,000 children across the state, or about one child in every classroom, health official Jeffrey Brosco told members of the Florida Healthy Kids Corp. Board of Directors during a meeting in Orlando.

“There’s 220,000 children that get no treatment, whatsoever. Let that sink in,” Brosco told the board members, who are charged with running the Florida Healthy Kids program, which offers health and dental insurance for children ages 5 through 18.

“If I told you there were 200 kids with cancer who aren’t getting treatment, you’d say, ‘That’s outrageous.’ Two thousand, twenty thousand, you would be up in arms,” he said adding, “It’s outrageous.”

Part of the problem, Brosco said, is a lack of availability of health providers.…

Fri-May-2019 Downtown mural part of the women's soccer 'Everywhere Campaign'

As the U.S Women's National Soccer team goes for their fourth World Cup this summer in France, fans in Orlando will be able to participate in their "Everywhere Campaign."

In 11 cities, local female artists have painted murals of the 23 members of the 2019 World Cup team. Orlando's mural has been painted on the Seacoast Bank Building, at the intersection of Robinson Street and Orange Avenue.…

Fri-May-2019 Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill outlawing child sex dolls

On Thursday Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law legislation that bans the sale or possession of child-like sex dolls after it unanimously passed the Florida Legislature.

SB 160, sponsored by state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, "prohibits a person from knowingly having in his or her possession, custody, or control an obscene, child-like sex doll."…

Fri-May-2019 Orlando officer won't be charged with manslaughter for Colonial Plaza shooting, prosecutors say

State prosecutors have declined to pursue charges against Officer Anthony Wongshue of the Orlando Police Department, after he was indicted on a manslaughter charge stemming from a May 2018 shooting at Colonial Plaza.

Wongshue, a 16-year veteran of law enforcement, was notified of his indictment and opted to turn himself into authorities on May 16, police say.…

Fri-May-2019 Fringe 2019 Review: 'Are You Lovin' It?'

I’ve never visited Tokyo Disneyland, nor have I ever ingested psychedelic mushrooms. However, I’m pretty sure that if I were to try doing both simultaneously, it would be remarkably similar to the experience of seeing Are You Lovin’ It?, the savagely surreal satire of fast-food capitalism from Japan’s Theater Gumbo.…

Fri-May-2019 Fringe 2019 Review: 'Pollywood'

I was traumatized as a child by badly singing “Eat It” in front of my entire elementary school, and I’ve never been a fan of crowdfunding. So when I say that Polly Esther won me over with her her high-octane monologue about making a GoFundMe-supported cross-continental pilgrimage to witness Weird Al Yankovic’s Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, it’s high praise indeed.…

Fri-May-2019 Fringe 2019 Review: 'Spare the Rod'

The national tour of Hamilton hit Orlando earlier this year, but if you couldn’t get ticket for that mega-hyped show, Paris Crayton III is here to prove that you don’t need to be a Founding Father to find fertile material for a rap musical in your fraught upbringing. Paris was a precocious youngster, obsessed with performing from an early age.…

Fri-May-2019 Fringe 2019 Review: 'You Belong Here'

Master monologist Martin Dockery has been bringing his tangled tales of acid-soaked bicycle trips, religious theme parks, and radioactive fallout zones, to Orlando Fringe for a decade. This latest one-man marvel takes audiences along on his most dangerous journey yet: fatherhood.

Dockery arrives appearing unusually dapper in a suit and tie, clutching a coffee mug and an impressive-looking stack of reference books, but don’t be fooled; his manic, full-body delivery is delightfully disheveled as ever.…

Fri-May-2019 Potentially record-setting heat wave to hit Florida on Memorial Day weekend

Just in the nick of time for Memorial Day weekend, The Weather Channel is reporting a heat wave that's projected to build across the southeastern U.S. in the coming days – and it may shatter May records.

Orlando isn't projected to bear the worst of the heat wave (thankfully), though the weekend high projected to hit a very, very roasty 96 degrees.

Meanwhile, Tallahassee is expected to face the brunt of the heat, as temperatures are projected to hit triple digits.…

Fri-May-2019 Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill banning Florida agencies from releasing photos, video or audio recorded during mass shootings

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Thursday that bans state government agencies from releasing all recordings of acts of mass violence to the public.

That means photos, video and audio recordings of mass shootings, such as what we witnessed on social media during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018, or other violent incidents are banned from being released to the public.…

Fri-May-2019 GateHouse layoffs affects Lakeland Ledger, maybe 200 jobs nationwide

Several Florida newspapers — including the Lakeland Ledger — are seeing staff shake-ups as part of nationwide changes at publications owned by GateHouse Media.…

Fri-May-2019 Orlando ranked as one of the top destinations worldwide to celebrate Pride in 2019

HomeToGo, the world's largest vacation rental search engine, ranked Orlando as one of the top destinations to celebrate Pride in 2019 in its annual Pride Index.…

Fri-May-2019 Florida Reps. Stephanie Murphy, Michael Waltz will file bill to require official public notice of election hacking

U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Michael Waltz announced Thursday they will file a bill that would require federal officials to give notice to Congress and state and local officials when our elections have been tampered with.

The Achieving Lasting Electoral Reforms on Transparency and Security Act – or the ALERTS Act – is the Florida congressional delegation's clap-back response to their ongoing feud with the FBI after the agency provided a classified briefing on the matter last week.…

Fri-May-2019 Hip-hop and freestyle DJ legend Frankie Cutlass to spin in Orlando in June

If you can't make his Memorial Day weekend blowout at the Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona, fear not, legendary DJ Frankie Cutlass will be making a rare appearance in Orlando next month as well.

Cutlass came of creative age – quite literally, as he started DJing at the age of 12 – in New York City's vibrant '80s dance culture. He moved into production, working with Cover Girls and TKA, before joining forces with Funkmaster Flex and later releasing his own all-star debut album Politics and Bullshit (listen below) in 1997.

Frankie Cutlass will be spinning at Haven Orlando on Semoran on Friday, June 14, at 10 p.m.…

Fri-May-2019 Polar Express Train Ride returns to Central Florida this holiday season

The Polar Express Train Ride will return to Central Florida for its third holiday season this Christmas. The ride – a theatrical re-creation of the Warner Brothers animated film – will operate Nov. 15 through Dec. 30 out of the Tavares train station.…

Fri-May-2019 Visit Florida cut 44 of its 135 staff members yesterday

Visit Florida cut one-third of its staff Thursday, slashing its payroll after the state Legislature cut funding for the tourism agency by 34 percent.

With a Leon County Sheriff’s Office patrol car parked outside its Tallahassee headquarters on Thursday afternoon, Visit Florida fired 44 of the agency’s 135 workers. The move cut $3.65 million from an overall payroll of $12.1 million.

“The decision to downsize staff proportionate to the budget reduction was extremely difficult, but with less funding, there is simply no way Visit Florida could maintain the level of staffing we once had,” Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young said in a press release.

The names of individuals who received pink slips were not announced.

Early on Thursday, Visit Florida’s staff page was no longer available on the agency’s website.…

Fri-May-2019 11 miles of I-95 in Florida has reopened, but may be shut down again

A portion of Interstate 95 that stretches from northern Jacksonville to Yulee, where the highway intersects State Road 200, has been reopened after a closure caused by a wildfire.

The Florida Highway Patrol has stated, however, that closures could resume later if conditions worsen. Memorial Day traffic may be affected.

The fire began on Wednesday and has been about 30% contained, according to The Weather Channel. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.

“These wildfires can build quickly and can be extremely dangerous, so residents in affected areas should continue to follow directions from state and local officials,” said Nicole Friend, the Florida Agriculture Commissioner, in a statement.…

Fri-May-2019 'Florida Man' uses alligator to shotgun a beer while cranking Skynyrd

For some odd reason, people love to film themselves abusing animals.

A video of uncertain age (recently uploaded to Instagram by @504ollie) shows an unidentified man on a boat holding a gator by the neck, using its open mouth to puncture a can of Michelob Ultra.

The man then slams the beer and tosses the gator back in the water, while a “Hell yeah” can be heard in the background.…

Fri-May-2019 Fringe 2019 Reviews: 'Girl' and 'Show of Force'

Girl
With shows like Hoodies and Commencement, producer/director Beth Marshall has earned her reputation for bringing hard-hitting, timely fare to the often-frivolous Fringe. Her latest offering may be her most difficult – and most necessary – to watch, because Megan Mostyn-Brown’s girl depicts in agonizing detail how young women are abused and discarded daily in our so-called civilized society.…

Fri-May-2019 Terri Binion puts serious spotlight on Florida songwriters with debut of 'Duets' series

THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Duets with Terri Binion and Jordan Foley, Will's Pub, May 22

Few treat the songwriter tradition with as much respect as Orlando Americana queen Terri Binion. That care isn’t just limited to her own distinguished work.…

Fri-May-2019 Fringe 2019 Reviews: 'Horseface' and 'Blind to Happiness'

Horseface
Nearly 30 years after her first Orlando appearance, veteran international Fringe performer Alex Dallas returns with Horseface, a topical solo dramedy for the #MeToo era that manages to wring big laughs — along with a few gut-wrenching gasps — from subjects like manspreading, unwanted masturbation, and secret porn collections.…

Fri-May-2019 Fringe 2019 Reviews: 'The Agony and the Ivories' & 'Junnk'

The Agony and the Ivories
Bill Larkin is (according to his catchy personal TV theme song) a “gay balding asthmatic making dreams come true.” That pretty much sums up this hilarious singing stand-up comic and 1990s-era SAK performer, whose gently manic musical monologues play like a marvelously misanthropic mashup of Larry David and Tom Lehrer. Larkin’s loony lyrics loop in loquacious Uber drivers, celebrity obituaries, and pre-internet pornography.…

Thu-May-2019 Reedy Creek firefighters say they need help responding to Disney World incidents

The union representing Reedy Creek Fire Department says it needs a few extra hands to respond to the growing number of guests at Disney World.

WKMG reported the firefighters' plea for the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the governing jurisdiction for the land owned by Disney, to increase their support earlier today.…

Thu-May-2019 Atomic Revolutionary Wrestling returns to Orlando this summer with the Wham Bam Slam

Cocoa Beach's upstart independent promotion Atomic Revolutionary Wrestling has announced a return to Orlando for the first time in over a year with this summer's Wham Bam Slam 3, featuring Sabu, a veteran wrestler who has worked for ECW, WWE, TNA and numerous Japanese promotions during his decades-long career.…

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