SW Orlando News & Business Briefs

compiled by Lauren Salinero

Drowning-prevention organization accepts donation

news briefs 1Susan Polder (third from left), executive director of The Gift of Swimming, accepts a donation from Whole Foods Market representatives (l. to r.) Grant, team member; Michael DAndrea, team leader; Vicky Santamaria, marketing field associate; Krissy, team member; and Ethan, graphic artist.

Whole Foods Market donated 5 percent of one day’s net sales to The Gift of Swimming, an organization committed to providing drowning-prevention resources, including swim training and education. TGOS Executive Director Susan Polder spent the day with customers, providing information about water safety and encouraging everyone to take the Pool Safely Pledge. All funds went directly to TGOS’s Healthy Kids Through Swimming, a scholarship program that provides physical fitness and nutritional education to those who cannot afford high-quality swim lessons.

For more information, call 407-905-2815, email info@giftofswimming.org or visit www.giftofswimming.org on the web.

City of Ocoee receives grant for recreational facilities

news briefs 2(L. to r.) Ocoee Mayor Rusty Johnson, Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Hayes, Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen, Park Manager Robert Brooks of Wekiva River Basin State Parks, Commissioners Joel Keller and Richard Firstner, and Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Mark Johnson accept a $50,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection presented the city of Ocoee with a ceremonial grant check for $50,000 at the Ocoee City Commission meeting. The city will use the grant money to develop new multiuse ballfields, and picnic and parking facilities on a 4.5-acre city-owned site located between Montgomery Road and California Avenue. Future improvements planned for the park include playground facilities, walking paths, landscaping, restrooms and additional parking.

FDEP is awarding more than $7 million in grants for more than 130 recreational development projects through its Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program. The competitive grant program provides state funding for local governments to acquire or develop land for outdoor recreational use. The city of Ocoee ranked No. 1 in the state out of 132 grant applications submitted under the small development projects category.

Disney cast members donate to local educators

As students and teachers return to classrooms across Central Florida, more than 100,000 children are building their academic skills with $229,000 worth of paper, colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks and other supplies that were donated by Disney cast members at the Walt Disney World Resort. Cash contributions equaled $10,000 in company-matched donations, which A Gift for Teaching can turn into another $100,000 in school supplies.

In addition to school supplies and cash donations, Disney VoluntEars also dedicated more than 1,900 hours to assist A Gift for Teaching with hosting a pep rally to kick off the supply drive, sorting donated supplies, stocking shelves and helping teachers during the first day of shopping at the nonprofit’s Free Store.

For more than a decade, Disney cast members have been dedicated to supporting education through a wide range of initiatives, including back-to-school supply drives, annual contributions to local school districts, grants to educational nonprofits, individual recognition of outstanding students through the Disney Dreamers and Doers program, and volunteerism in classrooms throughout Central Florida.

Prevention of the Zika virus

news briefs 3Southwest resident and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs encourages residents to help prevent the spread of Zika virus and other mosquito-born illnesses.

Southwest resident and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs released a letter to Orange County residents regarding the county’s response to the Zika virus and other mosquito-born illnesses. She stressed that the two types of mosquitoes known to carry Zika bite during the day and breed in small collections of standing water, and included recommendations from the Florida Department of Health and Orange County Mosquito Control, including to drain standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying, cover skin with clothing or repellent, cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house, and wear mosquito repellent.


news briefs 4West Orange Chamber of Commerce members celebrate the opening of The Savvy Sitter (photo courtesy of WOCC).

West Orange Chamber of Commerce members held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Savvy Sitter. 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 wochamber.com on the web.

Officials at Cranium Academy in Winter Garden announced the continued expansion as well as additional enhancements and upgrades to its private school, offering preschool through fifth grade. This year, a total of three new classrooms will be added. The facility also received new flooring in classrooms and a new gym floor. Security and playground equipment are also among the upgrades underway. For more information, visit www.craniumacademy.com on the web.

Orlando Regional Medical Center’s Trauma Intensive Care Unit and Trauma Step-Down Unit earned silver-level Beacon awards for excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. The award is a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and healthy work environments as it recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six healthy work environment standards. Units that achieve this three-year award meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and the National Quality Healthcare Award. For more information, visit www.orlandohealth.com on the web.

Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park ranked No. 1 in fun and games in Kissimmee according to TripAdvisor. Of the approximately 220 individuals who have rated Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park on TripAdvisor, more than 200 gave the course an excellent rating. It has also earned consistently great reviews from travelers. For more information or to make a reservation, call 407-390-9999 or visit orlandotreetrek.com on the web.

news briefs 5Kamilah Kam Smith joins the team of Orlando Ballet as patron services coordinator.

Orlando Ballet extends a warm welcome to its new patron services coordinator, Kamilah Kam Smith. Kam is originally from the east coast of England and has been in the U.S. since 2011. She relocated to Orlando from Norfolk, Virginia, where she worked as part of the audience services team at the Virginia Opera. Kam is also a part-time piano teacher and lifelong lover of performing arts. For more information, visit orlandoballet.org on the web.

Eton Bridge Insurance will present the first Dr. Phillips Music Festival in its parking lot (7625 Sand Lake Road in Orlando) on Oct. 1. Performing bands will compete and be judged by world-renowned Penguin Entertainment, and the winner will walk away with a prize. Bands span from alternative rock to bluegrass to a cappella and more. The music festival is taking place during the first Dr. Phillips Food & Wine Festival, presented by the Dr. Phillips Chamber of Commerce, which will run from 1-4 p.m. To register a band for the music festival competition, call 407-351-3331 by Sept. 26.💓

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