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Hundreds attend town hall on Orlando Airport development near Lake Nona

Hundreds gathered at the North Lake Community Elementary school Thursday night to listen to a resolution between local leaders and officials from Orlando International Airport on a land deal to expand operations closer to the growing Lake Nona community.

District 1 Commissioner Jim Gray stood before the standing room-only audience and attempted to ease concerns that the development would destroy large amounts of wetlands in the area and derail plans for a 30-acre park as well as encroach on the quiet neighborhood with aircraft noise.

Although Gray admitted the deal was not perfect, he did assure residents the community will get the park, which will serve as a buffer from the expanded airport and some wetlands will remain. Gray added that he believed the deal did justice to both sides.

Response from attendees was mostly positive, with applause when they heard they would still get their park. However, many were upset with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and the City of Orlando, saying they didn’t do enough to tell residents. With city elections less than a month away, residents also cheered when one resident said support in the Mayoral election would hinge on finalizing the agreement.

“Sunshine” Linda Marie Grund, who is running against Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, wasn’t satisfied. Her campaign platform revolves around saving the wetlands.

“You say it’s a gamble,” Grund said, “but it feels like an abusive relationship. Where is Mayor Dyer in all of this? You’re giving us a park that’s a step in the right direction, but what guarantee do we have?”

Gray responded by pointing out a lot of specifics need to be worked out, urging residents to get involved and hold lawmakers accountable. The plan is a tentative agreement, which still needs several stops with both the airport and city government before finalizing the deal.

“Find out what’s going on. Active neighbors are good neighbors” was the takeaway Gray wanted for residents that couldn’t attend.

“You saw it here tonight. They’re engaged. They’re on social media and they hold me accountable. I’m fine with that, I just want to share what I did and I hope they support me.”

UCF Women defeat Wichita State 59-53

The UCF Knights Women’s Basketball team defeated the Wichita State Shockers at the CFE arena on Saturday afternoon 59-53, pulling away in the fourth quarter of what was a hard fought game by both teams.

UCF took a 27-26 lead into the locker room at half time before the two teams would duel for the lead in the third quarter. The Knights would jump out to a nine point lead in the fourth quarter and hold off a final charge by Wichita State for the victory.

Masseny Kaba would score 13 points for UCF, while Zakiya Saunders would net 12 points for the Knights in the victory. Rangie Bessard would lead all scorers with 17 points for the Shockers.

UCF moves to 11-5 on the season and 3-0 in the AAC, as they prepare for Geno Auriemma and the #1 UCONN Huskies on Tuesday night.

Activists protest Senate Health Care Bill in Downtown Orlando

Activists gathered outside of the Downtown Orlando offices of Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Wednesday morning, to protest the upcoming Senate vote on a health care bill that will ultimately replace the Affordable Health Care act known as “Obamacare”.

There was a skit played out where members of the protest will dressed up as the billionaires Republicans hoping to profit from the sick. There was also a program of speakers that would be effected by any changes to Health Care and sign waivers along Orange Avenue.

The bill is expected to come to a vote before the July 4th Holiday weekend. Democrats have been critical of the process with the bill being drawn up by the GOP majority behind closed doors. An Obamacare replacement bill has already passed the House of Representatives along mostly party lines with some Republicans also voting against it because of possible changes to Medicare. A similar fight is expected in the House.

Rubio is expected to vote in favor of any possible changes. His colleague Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has spoken out against the expected bill.

“We’re here to let people know we don’t want the ACA repealed” said Estefany Londono, a local student participating at the protest “If it’s repealed, we’re not going to be able to get the care we need and we want Senator Rubio to hear out voices and vote to keep ACA.”

Solar Bears win wild contest against Jacksonville 5-3, behind Hunter Fejes hat trick

The Orlando Solar Bears came out on top on Friday night against the Jacksonville Icemen, in a contest that featured more than its fair share of player skirmishes, a couple of lead changes, and a hat trick from Hunter Fejes in just his second game with the club.

Jacksonville would strike first to take a 1-0 lead in the first period, before the Solar Bears would charge back to score three unanswered goals for a 3-1 edge behind scores from Fejes, Jeff King, and Martins Dzierkals. The Icemen would charge back in the third to tie up the score but the Solar Bears would strike twice more with two more goals from Fejes to put them over the top.

Orlando outshot Jacksonville 25-23, in a physical game that had almost a dozen fighting or unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. The Solar Bears move to 14-16-4 for the season.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday night in Jacksonville and on Sunday afternoon at the Amway Center.

Rick Scott Proclaims UCF Knights National Champions in Florida

On Monday, Florida Governor Rick Scott proclaimed the UCF Knights, National College Football Champions in Florida, after they completed their perfect season last week defeating Auburn in the Peach Bowl. The announcement comes on the same day as Alabama and Georgia will play for the National Championship, both teams lost to Auburn during the season.

“Florida is home to the country’s best college football, and this season, UCF proved to the world that they can beat any team.” said Scott “By having a perfect season and beating the only team that defeated both Alabama and Georgia this season, the UCF Knights are clearly champions. I wish both teams good luck tonight in Atlanta. Charge On.”

Despite their perfect season and an explosive offense, the Knights were regularly passed over in the college rankings, with critics pointing to their difficulty of schedule as the main issue behind the low ranking. Despite that, experts and analysts around the country believe that UCF warranted consideration as one of the contenders to make the four teams playoff.

The Knights celebrated their perfect season yesterday with a parade at Disney World and will hold a block party tonight in downtown Orlando.