Election Connection: Polls Open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. for August 28 Primary Election

BD6B95E0-1E76-4575-B083-DC01CA93AA84Orange County – Voters will go to the polls Tuesday, August 28, to select the people they want to win key public offices, including local ones such as county mayor and commissioners, as well as county and circuit court judges. They will also pick favorites within their political parties for state and national offices. (The Florida governor’s race on the Democratic side is as hot as our Summer days and is projected to be a nail biter – with very close results.)

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. and judging from the record number of early voting ballots and absentee (vote-by-mail) ballots that have already been received by the elections office, registered voters who haven’t exercised their right to vote may want to arrive at their polling place early. Two things we know: it will be too hot to stand outside for long and there’s a good chance that it will rain in the afternoon.

Voters who still have their absentee (vote-by-mail) ballot can drop it off to the Supervisor of Elections Office, 119 W. Kaley St., Orlando, Florida 32806, before 7 p.m. or exchange it for a ballot at their proper polling place on Election Day.

Reminder: everyone who’s registered will get a ballot. It doesn’t matter if you did not select a political party or if you selected Independent. There are quite a few non-partisan races and a question about funding for schools on all ballots.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact the elections office at (407) 836-2070. A lot of helpful information can be found on the website: http://www.ocfelections.com

Orlando Community News, 2018

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Election Connection: Early Voting Aug. 17-26


BD6B95E0-1E76-4575-B083-DC01CA93AA84August 17, 2018 (Orlando) – Florida’s Primary Election is Tuesday, August 28, but Orange County voters can take advantage of voting early to avoid long lines and a chance of bad weather on Election Day, starting today, August 17 through next Sunday, August 26 at select Early Voting Centers throughout the county.  (The centers are typically libraries and commmunity centers.)

There are 15 Early Voting Centers throughout the county. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Here’s a list of locations and their addresses. Source: Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office website: http://www.ocfelections.com or (407) 836-2070.


Keep in mind: If you did not select a political party (Democrat or Republican) you still can go vote: There are some non-partisan (or non-party) races such as judges on which you can vote. There’s also a question about increase in the tax millage for the school district.

Orlando Community News, 2018












Posted in Community news that can help

Polls Open, Absentee Ballots Mailed – It’s Time To Vote

August 9, 2018 (Orlando) – It’s Time to Vote! Yes, this is Primary Election season and voters around the country have the chance to select the people they want to represent them, especially locally and statewide. 

Florida voters will have their turn at the polls on Tuesday, August 28. Common voting hours: 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Now, you can always vote early either by absentee ballot (vote by mail ballot) or at Early Voting Centers. In Orange County, Early Voting Centers will be open August 17 – August 26 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.                   

Florida is a closed primary state, meaning voters will choose from candidates within their parties or if they have not selected a primary, they will vote on candidates in universal primary races and/or non-partisan races (such as Judges and County Mayor) , along with local initiatives. (An universal primary race occurs when candidates in a race have the same political party.) 

Can’t express it enough how important it is to vote in every election. Many people tend to skip Primary Elections – either they forget because it’s in August or they just don’t think it matters. But it does. This is actually prime time! Who we select to represent us is critical, i.e. Mayors appoint Police Chiefs and those Police Chiefs are responsible for every law enforcement officer on their squad. Also, if you see an issue in your neighborhood, you don’t call the President of the United States or your U.S. Senator or Representative. No, you call your city or county representatives for help. 

However you like to vote – by absentee ballot, at an early voting location or at your polling place – just remember to do it. Your vote can make a difference. Good idea to remind your family and friends to vote also!

Voting early may be best because of last-minute mishaps or bad weather on Election Day.  (Florida residents, you know the drill: It’s summertime.)

There have already been reports of several precincts in cities in Michigan running out of ballots on Election Day. Given the political climate throughout our country, the thought of running out of ballots seems unbelievable. Clerks were making copies of ballots and/or having people wait for ballots from nearby precincts. There’s enough blame to spread around there but if anything like that happens to you on Election Day, do not leave the line until you have voted. You have the right to vote.

Call your county elections office if you have any questions or concerns. Orange County: (407) 836-2070. For list of Early Voting Centers go to the elections office website: http://www.ocfelections.com. 

© Orlando Community News, 2018


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Voter Registration Deadline Approaching for Elections

Registration underway for Primary Election in August


July 13, 2018 (Orlando) – Voters have a couple more weeks to register if they want to vote in the August 28 Primary Election.

The deadline is Monday, July 30. That’s the same deadline if you want to change your address or name, your party affiliation, etc. We live in a closed primary state. So if you want to vote in the upcoming primary elections, you must select a party before the deadline – for example, Democrat or Republican.  You will be given a ballot with a list of candidates in your party who are vying for various public offices.  

In order to register, you must be a United States citizen, must be 18 years old, must be a Florida resident and must have your civil rights restored (if ever convicted of a felony or declared mentally incompetent by the courts.) 

In Orange County, we have some key races for the primary election in August: Orange County Mayor, Orange County Sheriff (Special Election to fill the remainder of the term – two years that will be left vacant by Sheriff Jerry Demings who is running for county mayor), several county commission seats and School Board chairperson seat, as well as county judges.

Throughout the state, voters will select candidates within their party for representatives in Congress, Florida governor (and lieutenant governor), which includes six candidates on the Democratic side alone. So yes, it’s a hotly contested race.

The General Election for candidates winning their primaries, other legislative and congressional candidates as well as for special referendums and amendments will be held on November 6.

If you have any questions about registering and/or making changes to your registration so that you can vote in August, contact your county Supervisor of Elections office.


Source: Orange County Supervisor Of Elections: (407) 836-2070. Website: http://www.ocfelections.com or http://www.orangecountyvotes.com


© Orlando Community News, 2018


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Court is in Session: Mentoring Group Exposes Youth to Federal Court System

Exposure has got to be a key component to successfully mentoring young people. There’s nothing like showing them key life skills, various careers and well-known places or events – not just talking about those things. Positive exposure could spark an interest in them that could positively shape the trajectory of their lives. 

Courts in Session (2)

One of the local organizations which does this well is The Got Skills mentoring program and its organizers are planning another “exposure opportunity’ on Friday, July 13.  They call it “Courts In Session” and from 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., young men and a group of mentors will visit the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Orlando, where they will get a chance to meet a federal judge, U.S. Marshal and federal probation officers, as well as attend a federal trial and jail cell. Lunch will be provided.

It’s for teenage males from 12-18 years old.

Parents who are interested in getting their sons, nephews, or other young male family members involved should call (407) 984-8098 or send and email to: info@gotskillsorlando.com.

The program teaches life skills to teenage men. Some of their recent activities have included training on automobile maintenance, fishing, dressing for success; mental health and home remodeling/basic repair. 

For more information about the program go to http://www.gotskillsorlando.com.




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Number Seven!

7! This week, we reached the seventh year of launching Orlando Community News! To God be the glory for the vision and future of this online publication and organization!  To borrow a friend’s take on this year: The seventh anniversary of your publication is symbolic. Seven represents spiritual perfection. It is stamped on every work of God. (-Gail Green.)  This resonated in my spirit because the number seven came up frequently for me last year. God is still revealing things to me about the publication and I am listening. So as I pray for you, pray for me and Orlando Community News.  Another level is here. Amen. By God’s Spirit, even more lives will changed for the better and the community will continue its upward rise. 

I appreciate you all for visiting this community website, following it and sharing it with others! Special thanks to those of you who have interviewed with me for articles and/or submitted guest editorials. Jesus said for where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20). Truly this vision is from God, we are gathered together in his name to do the work and he is here! I appreciate you all for being a part of the vision!

Stay connected because there is tons of good news happening in our backyard and I’m determined to share it. – Orlando Community News: Where Good News & Information Lives! -Publisher and Editor Trish Martin. Email: orlandocommunitynews@gmail.com






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Two Years in A Row: Orlando’s WOKB Radio Station Wins National Award


When you see them, congratulate them. They are the winning team at WOKB 1680 AM radio station, headed by Shanti Persaud. The team recently won its second Stellar Award for Best Gospel Station in the Large Market.

Lady Drina, host of the station’s Lady Drina Live on the Afternoon Drive, accepted the award on behalf of the station during the ceremony held in Las Vegas.

“What a mighty God we serve, ” she said in her acceptance speech. “On behalf of our CEO Shanti Persaud and team WOKB, we are so honored – second time in the row. We are honored. We are thankful. And it’s a team of us. It’s just not one person….We are a team.”

The Stellar Awards is the first and only Gospel Music Awards show in the country, honoring Gospel Music artists, writers, and industry professionals for their contributions to the Gospel Music Industry. The Stellar Awards ranks high in status as the only Gospel Music television awards program syndicated in over 140 markets nationwide. (Information from the show’s website). The Chicago-based Central City Productions, Inc. (CCP) produces the show.

The Orlando based WOKB station won in the same large market category in 2017.

It’s a very unique radio station, promoted as Orlando’s longest running Gospel Station in the Central Florida market. WOKB combines a mix of traditional, contemporary gospel music, ministries; call-in community programming and teen spotlight. It is in the Top 20 of radio stations in Central Florida.

Here a list of some the station’s features:

  • “GET UP MORNINGS” with the Erica Campbell Morning Show (hosted by Glenn Allgood)
  • Mid – DAY with Urban Empowerment Talk show from everything from parenting to politics to finance all designed to empower Central Florida’s urban communities
  • Afternoons with Lady Drina Live on the Afternoon Drive
  • Evenings with Brother Chris Shaw with music, local ministries, Fun Talk and Play or Pray
  • Late Evening to overnight playing contemporary and traditional gospel with energy, passion, and emotion from artists like: Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams, Dottie Peoples, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Edwin Hawkins and Vickie Winans all night long.
  • Brother Gerrille on Sundays with music, ministries and talk.
  • Caribbean Connection Gospel with Lady D (Diana Taylor)

The team will celebrate the award with a special event later this month. It’s planned for Saturday, April 28, from 6 – 9 p.m. at the 3in1 Cafe in the West Oaks Mall in Ocoee. 

For more information about the station contact Shanti Persaud, shanti@wokbradio.com or call: (407) 293-9652.
© Orlando Community News, 2018




Posted in Community news that can help

Will Voters in Central Florida Cities Get Out and Vote on Tuesday, March 13?

Most of you will read this on the day of  your local general elections and say something like, “Oh yeah, now I remember!”


If you live within the city limits of Apopka, Belle Isle, Ocoee or Winter Park and you are registered to vote, remember to vote today, Tuesday, March 13!  

Call your City Clerk’s office or the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office if you don’t know exactly where you are supposed to vote. Better yet, go online to the elections office website, put in your address and the other required information to find out where you are supposed to vote. Also, research the candidates and issues for yourself, before actually voting. That way, you can vote wisely not blindly inside the voting booth.

Keep in mind: Local elections are just as important as state and national elections. They all matter and your representatives are elected to serve you. Right now, state officials, mayors and even sheriffs are deciding whether or not to train and arm teachers to help protect students in schools throughout the country. 

The Town of Eatonville had its general election on this past Saturday, March 11 and Mayor Eddie Cole reclaimed his position by earning 30 more votes than his competitor – educator Angie Gardner, according to the elections office website. Thirty votes! That could be registered voters on one town street or usher board members at one of the churches in historic town! Incumbent Councilman Rodney Daniels beat Marcus A. Davis to get re-elected for Seat 3. 

The cities of Apopka and Winter Park will also elect a mayor.

Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary faces challenger Jim Fitch, a Navy veteran who is fairly new to Winter Park (2016 from Haines City), reports say. 

In Apopka, incumbent Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, who defeated long-time mayor John Land, is on the ballot with Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson. That will be an interesting race to watch. Nelson, originally from Apopka, has also served as a state representative. 

Two other seats on the Apopka commission are being hotly contested, with four candidates vying for each seat. (Open Seat 1: Suzanne Kidd, Gene Knight, Theresa Mott and Alexander H. Smith. Seat 2: Incumbent Diane Velazquez is on the ballot with Leroy Bell, Alicia Koutsoulieris and Alice Nolan.) Members of the Apopka commission, like those in Winter Park, are elected at-large, so all eligible voters can vote on the candidates. 

Belle Isle voters will vote on one Commission seat, District 6, and 13 different charter amendments. (District 5 Commissioner-Vice Mayor Harvey Readey ran unopposed.)  Jim Partin and Andrew Thompson are running for the open District 6 seat. With 13 different charter amendments, from how to fill vacant seats on the commission to whether a candidate be required to live in the district for which they seek election, voters should make sure they voice their opinions by voting in today’s election.

Voters in some parts of Ocoee will only vote on eight charter amendments, while others who live in other areas will also vote for commissioners. District 2 Incumbent Rosemary Wilsen faces Robert Rivera, a retired police officer. District 4 Incumbent Joel F. Keller faces George Oliver III, a businessman who ran again Keller back in 2015 when reports said Oliver may have been the first Black person to seek a commission seat in the City of Ocoee. Another close race: Keller beat Oliver by only 20 votes.

– Trish Martin, Founder & Publishing Editor


© Orlando Community News, 2018



Posted in Community news that can help, Election Connection

Performing Arts Center to Honor Dr. King

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Soon it will be 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee and people around the country will pause to honor the civil rights leader’s life. 

Here in Orlando, the Pine Hills Community Performing Arts Center plans to honor King and his dream Saturday, April 7 at the St. Andrews Auditorium, 801 Hastings St., Orlando, FL 32808. 

Organizers plan a tribute through creative arts, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children under age 16.

“Hope to see you at this great event as we remember and pay tribute to our beloved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Michael Kimbrough, executive director of the performing arts center.

“We will honor Dr. King with recitals of some of his famous speeches, quotes and sermons…The speeches will be mixed with dance, poetry and more.”

For more information, call (407) 234-9619.

Over the years, young people, including a younger former President Barack Obama, have been inspired by King.

Leader of the civil rights movement since the mid 1950’s, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, an event that sent shock waves reverberating around the world.

King was known worldwide for his impassioned sermons and speeches and nonviolent protests to fight segregation and achieve significant civil rights for African-Americans. Founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), King also spoke out publicly against the Vietnam War and formed a coalition of poor Americans  – Black and White – alike to address such issues as poverty and unemployment.

On April 3, 1968, King and other SCLC members were called to Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike. He gave what would become his last sermon at a local church that evening and the next evening he was fatally shot. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later, at the age of 39. He was married to Coretta Scott King and the couple had four children. Several months later, authorities arrested James Earl Ray, who was later charged and convicted. No testimony was heard in the trial, Ray died while serving his 99-year sentence and controversy still surrounds the assassination of King.  (Source: The History Channel, history.com) 

© Orlando Community News, 2018


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Hello Mayor: Voting Underway in Local Cities

haveyouvotedtodayIt’s election season! Yes! Right now, people are voting – whether early, by absentee ballot or at their polling place, in cities throughout Orange County.

In Eatonville today, Saturday, March 3, voters will decide whether to keep Eddie Cole as mayor or put educator Angie Gardner into the position. Eatonville voters will also vote to re-elect Rodney Daniels to Town Council Seat 3 or put in Marcus A. Davis. The Eatonville polling place will be open today from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.  Location: Town Hall, 307 E. Kennedy Boulevard.

In less than two weeks on Tuesday, March 13, registered voters in Apopka, Belle Isle, Ocoee and Winter Park will go to the polls. 

In fact, voters in Apopka, and Winter Park, like those in the Town of Eatonville, will vote for mayors.

In Apopka, incumbent Joe Kilsheimer and Bryan Nelson, who currently serves as Orange County District 2 Commissioner, are running for mayor.  Two other seats on the Apopka commission are being hotly contested, with four candidates vying for each seat. (Seat 1: Suzanne Kidd, Gene Knight, Theresa Mott and Alexander H. Smith. Seat 2: Incumbent Diane Velazquez is on the ballot with Leroy Bell, Alicia Koutsoulieris and Alice Nolan)

In Winter Park, only the mayoral seat is on the ballot: Incumbent Steve Leary will face opponent Jim Fitch. 

Belle Isle voters will elect someone for District 6 on their city council and decide on 12 amendments having to do with the city charter. Jim Partin and Andrew Thompson are vying for that District 6 seat.

Ocoee voters will decide on eight separate issues, including term limits for mayor and city commissioners.

So, some of these elections are about issues, not candidates. 

Get out and vote to let your voice be heard on the issues and candidates. make sure you research the candidates by name and the pros and cons of the issues on your city’s ballot. 

Contact your city or town clerk for details about voting within the city or the Orange County Supervisor of Elections for registration and voting requirements.

Voting in every election is your right and responsibility.

– Trish Martin, Founder & Publishing Editor

Email: orlandocommunitynews@gmail.com



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