Primary Election Loading. New to Area? Changed Name or Political Parties? Be Ready. Registration Deadline: July 25

Orange County, FL – Summer 2022. People are getting out more and vacationing. High rent costs have caused many people to move frequently. It’s easy to get distracted and miss key dates regarding voting.

In Florida, the deadline to REGISTER for an upcoming election is 29 days. When is the upcoming election? Glad you asked! It’s August 23 and it’s a Primary Election in which voters will mainly select representatives for the county commission, school board, various judge positions along with key state and Congressional offices.

That makes July 25 the DEADLINE to register or update your registration, if you want to vote in the election. July 25 is also the deadline if you want to select a party affiliation or if you want to switch your party affiliation. While most of the county races for public office are non-partisan or non-party specific, all of the state and national public offices are.

Locally, voters are looking at either keeping County Mayor Jerry Demings or selecting someone new. Same thing with School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs, for example. There are two other people running against her, according to the election’s office website.

If you are registered to vote in Orange County, you should have already received a notice of election letter from the supervisor of elections office. If you have moved, of course, you probably didn’t get it. Don’t sleep. Call the elections right away to find out what YOU need to do to be able to vote in the upcoming election.

If ever there was a time to vote, even for local races, it is now! Why? In Florida, the legislature passed Senate Bill 90, which many in the political world view as another attempt to suppress people’s vote.

How? Well, go to the county’s elections webpage and see the changes that have been made when it’s been reported by election officials that there WAS NO widespread voter fraud in the state in the past 2020 Presidential Election. Still, the majority Republican held Florida legislature made significant changes to the way people vote in the state. And although the bill has been challenged in court, it is still in place and voters will need to take extra care to make sure they are ready to vote in order to vote with ease on or before election day.

One key thing change has to do with early voting and what we know as drop boxes. They are now called Secure Ballot Intake Stations and the requirement is that the stations be manned when they are opened during early voting hours, according to election officials. Election supervisors can be heavily fined if the stations are not manned. So you see how valuable your VOTE IS. Also, it’s so important to research candidates and elect servant leaders whose track record most align with your core values.

Takeaways: Make sure you read over the notice of election letter from the elections office. Make sure you are registered to vote where you currently live. Florida does not allow same day registration (You can’t register to vote on election day so you have to be properly registered.) Also, if you plan to vote by mail, make sure to CALL the elections office to get instructions on verifying your signature and that your identification will still work.

This is a time we all need to be our brothers and sisters’ keepers, especially if those persons are seniors and may need a little help with verifying their registration. In most cases, they have lived in their communities for a long time and have earned the right to have their voices heard through their counted VOTE.

Vote by mail ballots will go out mid-July and early voting will start two weeks before election day, according to election officials.

For other details about the upcoming election and the candidates, call the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office at (407) 836-2070 or visit the website:

Trish Marshall, 
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A Weekend Celebrating Fathers and Freedom

June 19, 2022 (Orlando) – This weekend has been full of celebrations for many people throughout Central Florida in recognition of two national holidays: Father’s Day and Juneteenth Day, which President Joe Biden signed into federal law on June 17, 2021.

It’s been a beautiful weekend with family tributes to fathers trending on social media and to top it off, CNN tonight is broadcasting a special: Juneteenth: A Global Celebration For Freedom. Fast forward: When Earth, Wind and Fire band members performed their hit song “September” somebody in my household begin to move in his seat and sing…hee hee. Me: “SANG HONEY! and Happy Father’s Day again! You are amazing father who continues to be there for your now adult children. God bless you!”

May God bless all dads out there protecting and providing for their families! I acknowledge my father, resting in peace, John L Martin and all of the men in my family and extended family, who are fathers and mentors. I know often fathers are overlooked on their holiday: You can barely find decent Father’s Day greeting cards to choose from, etc. So today, we give fathers here with us, their flowers while they live and can enjoy them with their families and honoring the legacy of those who have passed away.

Tom Joyner, legendary radio personality and media business mogul, used to broadcast a segment called Real Fathers, Real Men to honor great fathers and men throughout the country.

In like manner, OCN is sharing some special tributes from our Facebook timeline as a tribute to fathers, real men everywhere. This is not all of them – just some that were posted early on Sunday morning. Excellent job mothers, wives, children and grandchildren!

Patrice Deleveaux Knowles wrote about her husband, in part: “Thank you for being a bright light to your adult children in so many ways. Your daily words of wisdom continue to inspire them. May God bless and keep you may his favor rest upon you. We love you dearly.

Angie Cowan posted this about her grandfather: “They say a girl’s 1st love is her daddy. For me, it was my Granddaddy. He was always there from the start and any time I needed him until God called him home. Happy Heavenly Father’s Day Granddad and miss you! Happy Father’s Day to all the real fathers!”

Dana Thomas wrote of her dad, “Shout out to my first love & my forever bank account. I love you dada.” That’s hilarious because she’s a young adult who’s out on her own and a Supermodel in my book!

“Wms M Lynette” wrote tributes throughout the day of many of the men in her life who are fathers. For her Uncle Rose: “You loved us and always supported us in every endeavor. You married us and I’m sure we’ve made you proud. You were at my college graduation cheering as loud as anyone, I miss those times but I’m glad I have so many fond memories of you. I’ll love you forever.” She and her family celebrate her husband Ron, year round. This time, in part, she wrote: “To the world you are just a man. They see you as just another creation. To us, you are the BEST hubby, father, grandfather on this side of Heaven. You are our provider, supporter and protector. We appreciate you for your constant love. Today we celebrate you. We give God glory for creating you just for US. We love you to the moon and back! Malachi 4:6: “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”

Yu’Vette Young wrote of her husband, Calvin, “Happy Father’s Day to my one! Enjoy your day love!

Carralyce Buford wrote this of her dad: “You’re absolutely everything a daughter could ask for in a father. Happy Father’s Day Daddy.”

Around town, especially in the north Orlando area, many restaurants, especially those that serve breakfast and brunch, were packed out – some with wait times of an hour of more, most likely because of Father’s Day. The patrons seen waiting appeared to be mostly families with young children and couples.

Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, in Eatonville, celebrated fathers the entire weekend. On Saturday, the church hosted it’s annual Pre-Father’s Day Breakfast which featured a hearty menu, quartet singing along with a guest speaker, Minister Julice Miller. The pastor made a special presentation and announced the church’s Influential Father – Gerald Robinson. On Sunday, Pastor Barnes took the time to acknowledge all fathers by having them stand up and praying for them and all fathers. He later preached from the sermon topic, “The Influence of a Father.” It was a very encouraging message about the role and responsibility of the father in the family.

Juneteenth National Independence Day on June 19 is our country’s newest holiday. The holiday marks the notification on June 19, 1865 to slaves in Galveston, Texas, that they were free. Texas became the first state to establish a Juneteenth holiday in 1980 (CNN). The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, freeing African slaves in confederate states but the more than 250,000 African slaves in Texas were not notified.

This year, throughout Central Florida, people of all ages, races and backgrounds, gathered to commemorate the holiday. More than 1,000 people gathered on Friday, June 17, for a Juneteenth Freedom March and Block Party in downtown Orlando, according to local reports. There were also other Juneteenth celebrations in Seminole, Lake, Volusia and Osceola counties.

After all that we’ve been through and face as a county, from police brutality against Black people, political upheaval (especially regarding gun violence and mass shootings) and attempts to suppress people’s right to vote, it is past time to celebrate and continue the fight for freedom! Because at the end of the day, we all were created equal, by God Almighty!

We all are a part of the Human Race and the Bible tells us to love God and love our neighbor (each other) as ourselves. Amen!

-Trish Marshall, Founder & Editor, OCN


Rev. Alphonso Bush (center), along with members of Macedonia’s young performing arts ministry, in a skit about the Juneteenth holiday.
Juneteenth Flag which symbolizes the federal holiday signed into law by President Joe Biden in June 2021.

Nate Marshall, father of five and grandfather of three.
Andrew Knowles, father of two

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Significant: May 2022

This month will always be one of the most significant months for me and this publication. First off, we the people in this country celebrate Mother’s Day. Our mothers and mother figures seemed to have the most positive influence on us: They certainly do more than we give them credit for.

Mother Altamese J. Martin

As I celebrated the holiday this year with my 86-year-old mother and immediate family, I took note of a couple of things. I heard a minister remind mothers how blessed they were and how they should always celebrate motherhood. But more importantly, the minister said, we all need to celebrate mothers – not just one day but everyday. A mother’s love most closely reflect God’s love for each one of us: It’s unconditional. (Reference: I Corinthians 13: 4-8, Bible)

Sometime after the holiday, I made a trip to my local grocery store and before I got inside, it started to rain. Hard. If you’re in Central Florida, you know what that means. I wasn’t alone dashing in and out of the store with groceries. I couldn’t help but notice that it was mostly women and most of them had way more groceries than I. In my mind, they were mothers or mother figures, getting food for their household during an afternoon thunderstorm. That’s just one thing we overlook that mothers do – seemingly effortlessly. And won’t a mother cheer on their baby or babies on – even if no one else does? Yes! Sometimes, it’s just them being there, listening especially when we’ve had a bad day. Mothers are GREAT! We shouldn’t make life so hard for them. In fact, children are called to obey their parents and honor or value their father and mother (parents or legal guardians). Read the promise from God in Ephesians 6: 1-4, Bible. There’s no expiration date of God’s expectation of children.

This May, we also celebrate the 11th anniversary for Orlando Community News! I can only thank God for the vision for this online publication, the good news and information shared so far and it’s future. To God be the glory! God has even added a partner, my husband, Nate Marshall! As we do more, we pray, together as a family and community, that people will be uplifted and lives improve from something that is shared here. The best is still yet to come!

Remember to send your submissions and story ideas for consideration to me at We will soon set up a method for readers to donate electronically to this community organization. Better yet, continue to pray with us for its success. In Christ’s name and for his namesake. Amen.

Trish Martin Marshall, OCN Founder and Editor
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Local City Elections: Take Your Soul to the Poll Today, March 8

March 8, 2022 (Orlando) — Community leaders and other concerned, everyday people can’t say it enough: local elections are just as important as statewide and presidential elections.

The type of person we choose to represent us – to help with things we need or don’t need in our communities – is key to change. Responsive and Servant Leaders are needed. I think we all can agree to that. So today, Tuesday, March 8, if you live in your city limits and you are eligible to vote, GO VOTE because voting really IS a part of you speaking up about happens in your neighborhood. Research the candidates and GO VOTE.

You should have received a Sample Ballot of the public offices open and the names of the people who are for those offices. Polls are open until 7 p.m. today for elections in the City of Apopka, City of Belle Isle, City of Maitland; Town of Oakland and City of Winter Park. The Town of Eatonville had its election on last Saturday and voters there elected a new mayor, Angie Gardner, who previously served as a town council member.

If you did not receive a Sample Ballot where you currently live, that can mean one or two things. One, you moved and forgot to update your contact information with the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office or two, you live in an area of the city that does not have an open public office on which to vote.

Every vote counts and we see that again in Eatonville’s election where races where won by three and five votes, for instance.

If you have any questions about voting today, contact the elections office. Address: 119 W. Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806. Phone number: (407) 836-2070. Website:

-Trish Martin Martin, OCN Founder and Editor

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Local City Elections: Early Voting Starts Monday, Eatonville’s Saturday Election, New Faces Vying For Public Offices

February 27, 2022 (Eatonville, Florida) – You have seen the signs, right? Political signs once again cover major corridors and intersections throughout Orange County. Yes, it’s election season in local municipalities throughout the county.

If you live in the Eatonville town limit and you are eligible to vote, you should have received information from the town clerk’s office about the upcoming election. Early voting starts Monday, Feb. 28 and ends on Friday, March 4, at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office. Election Day voting is Saturday, March 5 at the Eatonville Town Hall. If you live here and you are registered to vote, you have the opportunity to select the Mayor, along with town council members for seats two, three and five. Council Seat Two has the most competition. What’s noticeable is the number of newcomers to local public office races including in the race for seat two. Many of the newcomers are women.

Take Ruthi Critton, Eatonville native who’s also known by her real name – Ruth – who’s running for council seat two. She has never campaigned for public office before but she said she was encouraged to get involved with the city, shortly after graduating from college, working in the banking industry for about six years and moving back into her family home with her husband. Running against incumbent Theo Washington (current Vice Mayor) and former town council member Angela Thomas, Critton said several things sparked her interest in joining the council.

“I’ve always had a lot of pride in my hometown. Mu-Mu [my mother, Muriel Critton]’s great uncles was one of the founders of the town. Then, when I moved back here, the mayor of the town, Eddie Cole, approached me about getting involved so I joined an advisory board and started going to the meetings. There’s always a lot of controversy and I thought, that’s not why 22 men got together and founded the town.”

Critton noted also there are very few young adults involved in the town. “Eatonville has so much to offer and the only way to show it is to get young adults to come back and get involved. It’s my intention to serve…I want people to feel the way I feel.”

Ruthi Critton

Her campaign, themed “A New Choice, A New Voice,” seeks to bring back programs for the youth – and not just recreational ones, she said. Youth ages 14-18 need more attention; they need programs to prepare them to take care of themselves, said Critton, a graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University who works in estate planning and real estate law. She said the town has a lot of seniors and it would be good for those residents to mentor young people in the town. She would also like to have special events for senior residents. The third thing she mentioned was something most folk talk about when it comes to Eatonville – the oldest Black incorporated municipality in the United States: economic development. Outside of COVID-19 and its aftermath, people should still be able to work their business from within their own community, said Critton, the oldest daughter of Pastor Ronald Critton of Beth Tehillah Ministries in Casselberry and the late Muriel Critton.

Angela Thomas is not new to the Town Council but she’s been away since 2016 when she said her schedule did not permit her to dedicate time to Eatonville. Now, working by day as a title clerk and mortgage loan officer, she said she can be more focused.

“Eatonville has so much potential,” said Thomas, a Kentucky native who has lived in the town for more than 12 years. “We are unique in our own way and there’s nothing we can’t do as a group.

Somehow, we have to put God back into the equation, working for the betterment of the people.”

Angela Thomas

She pointed out the significance of the names of several men who were influential in establishing Eatonville; Their names are biblical, she said of Joseph Clarke and Josiah Eaton. She said she didn’t have one particular thing to address in reference to what issues she wants to work on.

Thomas is a mother of seven adult children and grandmother of 24. She is a member of Macedonia.

For more information about Critton’s campaign, send an email to or about Thomas’ campaign, call (321) 310-6233.

Editor’s Note: We were unable to reach Theo Washington for this article but we will update it if possible, prior to the election on Saturday. Also, in other Eatonville election news: Incumbent Mayor Eddie Cole has a repeat challenger: Angie Gardner. Also, incumbent councilmember Rodney Daniels faces off against former councilmember Tarus Mack for seat three. For seat five, Wanda Randolph faces Marilyn Davis-Sconions.

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

The team at WOKB won again recently! WOKB 1680 AM, Orlando won The Stellar Gospel Music Award’s Major Market Radio Station of the Year during the Stellar awards show which aired on BET in August. The radio station, which broadcasts from Ocoee, was among four finalists throughout the county, including stations in Houston, Charlotte and Chicago. Lady Drina and Glenn Allgood received the award on behalf of the station. WOKB 1680 is also in the midst of a major fundraising campaign to expand to the FM dial (100.7 FM is coming soon.) Contact WOKB 1680 CEO Shanti Persaud, or (407) 293-9652, for details on how you can help the station grow and reach more people. – Trish Martin, Orlando Community News, 11/25/2021



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…

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Two Years In: Let’s All Tell God Thank You!

November 25, 2021, Thanksgiving Day – In everything, give God thanks! We have confidence in him. He is God. He’s in Control and He is Mindful of Us. We recognize his great mercy toward us. Hallelujah!

The world should pause today and give thanks to God Almighty! In fact, everyone in the world should just give God thanks every day and strive to please him every day!

For at least two years, God has kept all of us here on purpose!

It’s been rough going through a pandemic but through it all, he has been with us and he has provided for us. (Mercy!)

So let’s show God our gratitude! Amen, he’s so Worthy of our Thanksgiving!



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Orlando Elections: Commissioners Keep Their Jobs

The official results are in and all three City of Orlando commissioners will stay in office for another term – four more years. Commissioners Jim Gray and Regina I. Hill handedly beat their opponents in the Nov. 2 City of Orlando Election, while Commissioner Robert F. Stuart squeaked by his challenger Nicolette Fariello Springer. As predicted by some, the city election results revealed low voter turnout: Of the 96,068 registered voters in districts 1, 3 and 5, only 12,600 or 13.12% actually cast ballots, based on information obtained from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office.

The commissioners’ new term will begin on Jan. 10, 2022.

Here are some details about the city’s election results:

  • In District 1, Gray got slightly more than 62% of the votes cast while Sunshine L. Grund came in second with close to 23% of the votes and Bill Moore came in third with close to 15% of the votes. There are 40,712 eligible voters in the district; About 3,400 actually voted.
  • In the close District 3 race, Stuart barely beat Springer, getting nearly 51% of the votes cast. Springer got just over 44% of the votes and the other candidate, Samuel Chambers, got just over 5% of the votes. Just to show you that all voters matter: Stuart had 3,539 votes and Springer had 3,073 votes. It was that close! There are 32,796 eligible voters in the district; Close to 7,000 voted.
  • In District 5, Hill beat Shaniqua “Shan” Rose to win a third term on the city commission, getting just over 73% of the votes cast, while Rose got nearly 27% of the votes. There are 22,560 eligible voters in the district; About 2,200 actually voted.

If you have any questions or concerns about the election or the results, contact the City Clerk’s office or the county elections office: City Clerk, (407) 246-2251/ Orange County Supervisor of Elections, (407) 836-2070.

Orlando Community News, 2021
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Early Voting Winding Down for Upcoming City of Orlando Election

October 29, 2021 (Orlando) – If you live in the city limits of Orlando and you are registered to vote, this should be a reminder: There are two days left of Early Voting at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office – Saturday and Sunday. Hours on Saturday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. If you miss early voting, don’t miss the opportunity to vote at your polling place on Election Day – Tuesday, Nov. 2. Voters will elect city commissioners for districts 1,3 and 5.

If you have a completed mail in ballot, it’s too late to actually mail it so election officials advise voters to drop off their completed and properly signed ballots to the elections office, located at 119 West Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806.

One great aspect of our country’s democratic process is people are able to vote and another one is people are able to qualify and run for public office.

In the city, all three incumbents of the open commission seats have at least one challenger.

In District 1, including communities such as Lake Nona and Vista Lakes, two people are on the ballot with Commissioner Jim Gray, who was first elected to the commission June 1, 2012. In District 3, including communities such as Rosemont and College Park, two people are on the ballot with Commissioner Robert F. Stuart, an Orlando native who previously served as co-chair of the Mayor’s Working Committee on Homelessness and on the taskforce for Orange County’s Council on Aging. In District 5, including communities such as Parramore, MetroWest and Mercy Drive, one person is on the ballot with Commissioner Regina I. Hill, who was first elected to the commission in 2013.

The contenders are:

Sunshine L. Grund, who has lived in the Northlake Park community since 2013 and who says she is running a campaign without donations and Bill Moore, a lifelong resident and former Orlando Police Officer, for District 1.

Samuel Chambers, Orlando native and Florida State University graduate who has worked in a legislative office, and Nicolette Fariello Springer, who has worked as assistant director of a research center, for District 3.

Shaniqua “Shan” Rose, a former City of Orlando employee and current President of Change For The Community, Inc., for District 5.

Voters will choose who will represent them on the city commission. Local races for these public offices are just as important, if not more important as state and national races because the people who serve locally make key decisions about the everyday needs and wants of residents and business owners.

With changes to elections laws being voted on and enacted throughout the country (including in Florida), voters here will have to navigate carefully to make sure their vote is counted.

In Orange County, the election officials will do a vote by mail voter certificate signature comparison on ballots received for this election. That process started Oct. 5 and will continue each business day up until election day and run continuously until the first unofficial results are obtained, according to the election office’s website.

Polls are open on election day from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

If you have any questions or concerns about voting in the upcoming City of Orlando Election, contact the elections office. Phone: (407) 836-2070 or Visit online:

Orlando Community News, 2021

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Unapologetically You: Dr. E. Laverne Williams’ Nuggets of Wisdom for High School Graduates

REpost! For all high school graduates


Dr. E. Laverne Williams

Retired Educator, Professional Christian Counselor and American Red Cross Volunteer, Dr. E. Laverne Williams, has imparted wisdom to high school graduates from Central Florida for years. And the tradition continues: She participates in drive-by graduation celebrations sponsored by her church, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church of Eatonville, acknowledging scholarship and honorable mention recipients.

Also, in a recent interview, she shared some wisdom nuggets to hold on to during challenging times like these. The nuggets, meant for high school graduates heading off to college, military, vocational schools or the workforce, are good for anyone feeling an overwhelming amount of stress, social isolation, trauma or various social, emotional and mental health issues.

Take note of Dr. Williams’ own “Be-Attitudes” nuggets:

▪ Be unapologetically yourself: You will never influence the world by trying to be like the world.

▪ Be the source of what you want to attract in your…

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