News & Business Briefs

compiled by Lauren Salinero

OCPS gathers residents’ opinions for relief school

Pam Gould, Orange County Public Schools board member District 4, released a letter asking MetroWest residents to weigh in on ideas to manage the impact the growth of the community is having on MetroWest Elementary School.

“To date, staff has not been able to find available property that meets our land-use standards and reside[s] within a close enough range to be a true relief school for MetroWest ES,” Gould’s letter stated. “We can no longer wait years to provide solutions and put the school at risk of losing its high performance standards. In light of this issue, our OCPS facilities staff are working with planners, engineers and the City of Orlando to place a sister school on the same acreage in order to create a relief school, increase facilities and better manage the existing traffic. This effort will allow us to tap into reoccuring revenue for additional administrative, curriculum support staff and keep the community in the same geographic area.”

Gould asked that residents review the site plans and relief school map options for the MetroWest Relief School, known as “84-E-W-4.”

Current information about the rezoning process can be found at on the web.

Initiative helps veterans with employment opportunities

042116nbb01Southwest resident and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs (center) attends the Veterans Business Initiative with (l. to r.) Janice Abrew, communications, events and community affairs manager of Rosen Hotels and Resorts; Robert Minnetto, Central Florida community reinvestment manager, Orlando marketing director and vice president of Regions Financial Corp.; Aurora Realin, diversity and inclusion manager at Florida Hospital; Lisa Hancock, executive vice president of Manpower; Rogue Gallart, president of the Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce; Jaime Quarnoccio, veteran employment representative of CareerSource Central Florida; Bridgett Lee, diversity coordinator, financial and support services of Orlando Utilities Commission; and Kelley McGrath, director of sales at Orlando Business Journal.

CareerSource Central Florida, Central Florida Disability Chamber of Commerce, and the National Entrepreneur Center co-sponsored the annual Veterans Business Initiative, which provides veterans and their spouses entrepreneurship advice, employment and continuing education opportunities.

The initiative has proven to be a big success in Orange County, with more than 150 veterans participating in the program and a nearly 50 percent success rate in career placement. The Veterans Business Initiative is, the first of its kind in Central Florida, occurs in the fall and spring in 10-week sessions.

For more information, visit on the web.

Food bank receives 135K donation


Five Guys Burgers and Fries staff members present a $135,000 check to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

As part of an ongoing promotion that began in 2009, Five Guys Burgers and Fries donated $135,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. On the first Monday of every month, Five Guys contributes 10 percent of its sales made from 5-9 p.m. to Second Harvest. The private, nonprofit organization collects, stores and distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners in six Central Florida counties: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia.

For more information, visit on the web.

Publix Pledges more than $3 million to HFUW


A Publix Super Markets employee volunteers at a Heart of Florida United Way Day of Caring event.

Publix Super Markets associates and Publix Super Markets Charities pledged $3,550,443 to Heart of Florida United Way’s annual community campaign, an increase of nearly 7 percent from the previous year.

Throughout the past five years, campaign totals have increased by $1 million, marking significant commitment and growth to United Way’s mission. Since 1993, the two groups have donated more than $650 million to local United Ways throughout the Publix market region. The combined effort of Publix’s campaign makes them the third largest United Way campaign giver in the U.S.

HFUW is a volunteer-driven not-for-profit helping more than 400,000 residents each year through its own programs and services and those of its partner agencies. The organization’s mission is to advance the common good by focusing on the building blocks for a good quality of life — education, income, health and basic needs.



Photo courtesy of WOCC

(L. to r.) West Orange Chamber of Commerce Vice President Krista Carter, Orlando Pride midfielder Kaylyn Kyle, WOCC President and CEO Stina DUva, and Orlando City Soccer Club founder Kay Rawlins attend the Kicks & Conversation women’s networking event.

West Orange Chamber of Commerce members were among more than 80 of the area’s top female business leaders in attendance at the Kicks & Conversation women’s networking event at Dexter’s of Windermere. Participants shared ideas, discussed emerging trends and learned about the newly formed Orlando Pride women’s professional soccer team. 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, call 407-656-1304 or visit on the Web.

Sonata Senior Living officials announced a partnership with ClaimJockey, a professional long-term care insurance claims preparation service, as a benefit for Sonata’s residents. Residents have the opportunity to sign up for a private consultation to have their questions answered. Group meetings and individual consultations with families are also available. For more information, visit on the web.


SeaWorld Orlando park guests get an up-close look at rescued manatees and learn about SeaWorld’s rehabilitation program at the Manatee Rehabilitation exhibit.

In conjunction with Manatee Appreciation Day, SeaWorld Orlando opened the Manatee Rehabilitation, an area for park guests to see the behind-the-scenes rescue and rehabilitation work that SeaWorld does to help save wild manatees. Manatee Rehabilitation allows park guests to step into a working wild manatee acute-care facility, come face-to-face with animals that have been ill or injured, and follow their journey to recovery. For more information, visit on the web.

The staff of Huntington Learning Center in Dr. Phillips, 5060 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando, will celebrate National Teacher’s Day on May 3 by visiting local schools and giving out bags of treats, gift cards and other small tokens of appreciation. They believe that teachers are some of the heroes of this country, because they invest in students and dedicate their lives to helping kids build a foundation for a bright future. Huntington Learning Center collaborates with teachers every day to know firsthand what an important job they do. For more information, call 407-290-1111 or visit on the web.

042116nbb06Local swimmers gather at SouthWest Aquatics to meet Olympians Jason Lezak and Elizabeth Beisel.

SouthWest Aquatics hosted two Olympians to speak to the SouthWest Stars and other local swim teams. More than 70 swimmers had the chance to meet four-time gold medalist and national hero Jason Lezak and silver medalist and currently training Olympian Elizabeth Beisel. It was a wonderful opportunity for local swimmers to gain insight about what it takes to be an elite swimmer and Olympian. For more information, call 407-905-0999, email or visit on the web.

Realtor and longtime Dr. Phillips resident John Scolaro will participate with a team in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, a 100-mile bicycle ride, on June 5, in Lake Tahoe, California, to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He is part of a 16-week fundraising and training program called Team in Training. The program’s mission “to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families” is realized through donations. For more information, call 407-230-5567 or email To co-sponsor John or donate toward his fundraising goal, visit on the web.

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