December 13, 2010
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Dr. Charles Millican, UCF
I would like to take this time during today’s
meeting to honor and remember Dr. Charles Millican, the founding
president of the University of Central Florida and a key member of
our community, who passed away last week on Wednesday, December 1 –
the 45th anniversary of his first day as President.
This morning, I had the honor of attending his service.
I am eternally grateful for everything Dr. Millican has done for our
City. He will be remembered for the incredible legacy he leaves in
Orlando. He was strongly committed to our community and worked
tirelessly to improve the quality of life throughout our City. My
thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this
time of transition.
SunRail and High Speed Rail Update
am happy to announce that at a meeting last week in Washington,
D.C., with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Congresswoman
Corrine Brown, Congressman John Mica, Florida Department of
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Kopalousas and Joe Boardmand, CEO
of Amtrak, we reached a final resolution on the Amtrak Liability
With this resolution, the project is eligible for a Full Funding
Grant Agreement. The Federal Transit Administration has committed to
"fast track" the grant process for Central Florida. The State will
close on the corridor with CSX by the end of this calendar year. The
State will apply for a Full Funding Grant Agreement by February with
Ground breaking planned for next spring. Phase I of SunRail,
connecting Debary and Sand Lake Road, will be operational by 2013.
High Speed Rail
In addition, last Thursday, the US Department of Transportation
committed an additional $342 million for High Speed Rail in Florida,
reducing the funding necessary by the State to move this project
forward. Early work on this project is expected next spring with the
train operational between Orlando to Tampa by 2015.
Earlier this year the state received $8 million to plan the next
phase, Orlando to Miami. These are indeed exciting times.
Veterans Wreath Across America Event Re-cap
past Saturday, I joined more than 100 volunteers, from local
veterans units to civilian organizations, to place more than 300
wreaths in the American Legion/Military section of the Greenwood
Cemetery. These wreaths honor our veterans this holiday season as
part of the national Wreaths Across America Day.
I would like to invite everyone out for the
Champs Sports Bowl and the Capital One Bowl at the Florida Citrus
On December 28, the North Carolina State Wolfpack and West Virginia
Mountaineers will face off in the Champs Sports Bowl at 6:30 p.m.
And then on New Year’s Day, the Michigan State Spartans and Alabama
Crimson Tide will battle it out in the Capital One Bowl starting at
The current weather we are having could have presented challenges
for these upcoming bowl games and the field at the Citrus Bowl, but
we are pleased that that is not an issue now because of the City’s
investment in artificial field turf this year.
I would like to congratulate all of our Orange
County Public Schools for achieving excellence in the recent FCAT
In the City of Orlando, there were three schools that improved two
letter grades – from D’s to B’s - since the 2009 FCAT scores
• Catalina Elementary School
• Edgewater High School
• Jones High School
In addition, the City had a total of 19 schools receive “A” FCAT
grades in 2010.
It takes visionary leadership, talented
teachers, a supportive community and committed students to make such
a tremendous stride in such a short period of time.
I applaud all the faculty and students of our Orange County Public
Schools for a job well done.
The holiday season is a special time of year
-- filled with family, friends and community.
we near Christmas, I would like to encourage everyone to “think
local” when you are out doing your holiday shopping. Patronize those
businesses in our community that are part of Buy Local Orlando and
our Orlando Main Street Districts.
Not only will you be saving money through Buy Local Orlando
discounts and offers, but you will also help support and strengthen
the businesses throughout our community, help provide jobs for our
residents and keep more dollars in our community.
I hope the winter holidays bring joy and special times to you, your
friends and your family.
Project Homeless Connect
Friday, the City of Orlando co-sponsored with Orange County and
Homeless Services Network for the Project Homeless Connect event at
the old Amway Arena.
Through the event, we were able to provide critically needed
services to 1040 homeless individuals.
Every year, this one day event offers more than 50 services that are
critically needed by homeless persons in one convenient location.
Services include showers, haircuts, meals, shelter, employment
opportunities, mental health and substance abuse services, Florida
ID cards, birth certificate applications, access to Social Security
for claims and replacement cards, legal services and medical care.
I’d like to thank the more than 500 volunteers that came out to this
event, including Commissioner Daisy W. Lynum who served breakfast
and Commissioner Robert F. Stuart who also participated.
Updates to the City Website
Connecting residents to their City continues
to be a top priority of my administration. To support this effort,
and to make City information more accessible, I have asked staff to
dedicate a space on our website homepage that will provide a direct
link to City Council Meetings.
Going live today, visitors to our website cityoforlando.net will
notice a section titled “City Council Meeting Highlights” on the
right side of our homepage. This section will provide highlights
from the most current City Council meeting, including updates,
council agenda items and presentations. There will also be a link to
the complete agenda, minutes and video of that meeting.
Citizen involvement is essential to effective local government, so I
encourage all of you to visit cityoforlando.net and click on the
“City Council Meeting Highlights” section.
Awards and Presentations
Orlando Pottery Studio, located at the Orlando Downtown Recreation
Complex, has been in existence for over 40 years and provides a safe
and relaxing atmosphere where individuals explore, invent, learn and
create with clay. Over the past year, the Pottery Studio Manager,
Ms. Kim Miller, organized and operated a weekly program for
Parramore children at the Pottery Studio. Children participating in
the program recently painted and glazed holiday ornaments to give as
gifts to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Commissioners, thanking
them for their support of Parramore Kidz Zone and the Orlando
Items of Note
EMS Transport Rates
On Monday, the City Council heard the first reading of a fee
structure for emergency medical transportation services. In
February, the City is going to begin a 20-month trial period in
which it will become the primary provider of emergency medical
transport in our City.
After much study, the City has chosen to do this because it will
reduce the City’s expense to provide this critical service to our
residents while also ensuring those residents benefit from the some
of the best fire protection and emergency response service in the
This action will help ensure that OFD remains an ISO 1 department.
The fees being charged reflect the cost to provide these services
that would be charged by the private sector in the City of Orlando.
There are several items on our agenda today will help our local
non-profits deliver critical services including:
• Funding to Lakeside Alternatives to offer Mental Health
Counseling, Clinical Assistance, Health, Occupational Rehabilitation
to persons with mental disabilities who live within a Lakeside
operated community residence
• Funding for Seniors First "Community Care" program. This program
will provide in-home care to seniors, offering them the opportunity
to stay in their homes instead of moving to assisted living
• Funding to the Seniors First "Home Improvement Program". This
program will provide minor rehabilitation, weatherization and
accessibility improvements to single-family homes owned and occupied
by low income City residents who are heads of households, 62 years
of age and older.
• Funding to the Central Florida Urban League to will allow them to
offer services to Parramore residents like job training, career
counseling, youth education and crime prevention programs as well as
homebuyer education for Parramore residents and those seeking to
locate within Parramore.
Leu Gardens Birthday Admission
In 2011, the Harry P. Leu Gardens will celebrate its 50th
anniversary. In honor of this anniversary, the City will give free
admission to people on their birthdays in 2011 to the gardens.