MetroWest Youngster Performs in London … and more Neighborhood News!

compiled by Lauren Salinero


Linda Howard of Gotha is the first African-American president of the Florida Government Finance Officers Association.

Gotha resident Linda Howard made history by becoming the first African-American woman at the helm of the Florida Government Finance Officers Association. She will serve as president for the 2017-18 term. FGFOA is an organization officially committed to serving as a platform for providing professional resources and opportunities to its members through education, networking, leadership and information. Linda is the treasurer of the Florida Municipal Power Agency and has 34 years of experience managing and working in the fields of accounting and finance. Her new role at FGFOA will provide leadership and insight to best practices, policies and procedures that contribute to improved governmental finance management.

Green Oaks Row

West Orange Habitat for Humanity officials held a groundbreaking ceremony to welcome three WOHFH homeowner families and mark the commencement of Green Oaks Row in east Winter Garden. Green Oaks Row, which will provide the opportunity for low-income families to purchase their first homes, is named in memory of Jesse and Caroline Green, who are well-known for their philanthropy and pioneering volunteer efforts in the west Orange community.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the groundbreaking of these Habitat homes in our community,” said Jim Gustino, president of West Orange Habitat for Humanity. “We foresee these three homes as an anchor for our future plans in the historic east Winter Garden area, and we are incredibly excited to be working with the city of Winter Garden as it rolls out its visionary plans for continued enhancements to the area.”

West Orange Habitat will oversee the construction of single-family residences, targeted to begin in September, using sustainable materials and environmentally friendly building and landscaping practices.


MetroWest resident Victoria Mei returns to the United Kingdom to participate in West End Stage.

Ten-year-old Victoria Mei of MetroWest is preparing to return to London’s West End this summer, having been accepted to take part in West End Stage, the United Kingdom’s premier theatrical summer school for young people ages 8-21. She will perform at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the heart of West End, home to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. Victoria was inspired to apply for West End Stage through her interest in the performing arts after performing at Acting Up Theatre Academy and Shine In the Limelight. After her amazing experience at West End Stage last year, she raised the tuition money herself to be able to return this year. Victoria will be put through the paces in singing, dance and drama, as well as take part in specific industry-based workshops led by West End stars. She will also attend the hit West End musical Wicked, after which she will have the opportunity to question the cast during a private Q&A session and participate in a master class led by some of the cast members.


Eve Metlis of Ocoee earns a ranking in Real Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents.

Ocoee resident Eve Metlis of Watson Realty Corp. was named one of America’s most productive sales associates as part of Real Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents, the newly issued ranking report produced by Real Trends and sponsored by Zillow Group. She is now a member of America’s Best Real Estate Agents and ranked No. 202 for the state of Florida.

Sand Lake Pointe

Steven Murphy (right) of Sand Lake Pointe skis Park City, Utah, with John Murphy on a subzero day.


Neighbors in the Turnburry subdivision celebrate the Fourth of July with an annual parade. 

The subdivision of Turnburry sponsored its annual Fourth of July patriotic parade, during which neighbors joined in wearing red, white and blue and holding flags. Children and pets — including chickens and a duck — gathered with the crowd in their decorative wear, as well. After marching, friends welcomed new neighbors and enjoyed refreshments.

Westminister Landing

Westminister Landing resident Scott Anthony (right) celebrates the reopening of his Kirkman Shoppes Firehouse Subs with business partner Don Davey.

Et Al

Joe LaRosa of Celebration receives an Orlando Regional Realtor Association 2016 Good Neighbor Award.

Vanessa Pierce of Winter Garden receives an Orlando Regional Realtor Association 2016 Good Neighbor Award.

Orlando Regional Realtor Association officials announced the 2016 Good Neighbor Award winners, including Celebration resident Joe LaRosa and Winter Garden resident Vanessa Pierce. The winners are Realtors who don’t just help people realize their dreams of homeownership, they also help build communities. Each of the nonprofit organizations helped by the GNA recipients’ volunteer efforts received a $1,000 donation from ORRA to support their missions.

West Orange Chamber of Commerce members celebrate the opening of 9Round Fitness.

West Orange Chamber of Commerce representatives held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for 9Round Fitness. WOCC builds partnerships, strong businesses and commitment to the community by serving as the leading business advocate in Central Florida, facilitating opportunity to nearly 1,000 member businesses. For more information about WOCC, call 407-656-1304 or visit


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