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Charlie Crist Holds ‘Say Gay’ Round Table with Jim Obergefell, LGBTQ+ Community Leaders

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(l-r) Congressman and Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, State Rep. Anna Eskamani, Winter Park High School student and LGBTQ+ activist Will Larkin, and State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith spoke at UCF Tuesday slamming the "Don't Say Gay" bill and answer students' questions. Photo: Crist for Florida campaign.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Following the Florida Legislature’s passage of “Don’t Say Gay,” Charlie Crist held a “Say Gay” Roundtable with University of Central Florida students and LGBTQ+ activists, including, Jim Obergefell, lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that enabled same-sex couples to marry.

Along with Obergefell, Charlie was joined by Rep. Anna Eskamani, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida’s first LGBTQ+ Latino legislator and Central Florida Outreach Coordinator for Equality Florida, and Will Larkin, the Winter Park High School student who led the school’s “Don’t Say Gay” walkout.

“‘Don’t Say Gay’ is a heinous piece of legislation that silences teachers in their own classrooms and takes away the safe spaces of millions of LGBTQ+ students who may have no where else to turn,” said Charlie Crist. “It’s wrong. It’s unconscionable. And it’s hurting Florida’s students, teachers, and LGBTQ+ community. ‘Don’t Say Gay’ does not belong in Florida’s schools.”

“Gay Gay Gay. This bill is terrible, hateful, harmful, and creates a hostile environment for teachers, for students, for full staff and that’s the last thing lawmakers should do. As lawmakers we should be fighting to protect people. We don’t do that by making it illegal to acknowledge that queer people exist,” said Jim Obergefell.

“This legislative session, in the year 2022, I found myself in a state of disbelief that in these modern times we were still fighting against and protesting against homophobia and transphobia,” said Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith.

“This bill is really scary, and not just from a legislative standpoint on what it would do to schools, but the rhetoric it’s been spreading is really frightening. It writes into law a decades old stereotype that LGBTQ+ people are groomers and that puts queer people in danger,” said Will Larkin.

Florida National News live streamed the entire panel. To catch our livestream, just click play on the video above.

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Orlando

State Rep. Morales Urges Gov. DeSantis to Assist Puerto Rico in the Wake of Hurricane Fiona

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State Rep. Daisy Morales. Photo: Florida House of Representatives.

ORLANDO, Fla. – State Representative Daisy Morales (D-Orlando) has sent a letter to the Governor urging him to assist with and release much needed resources to aid Puerto Rico in the wake of the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Fiona.

The letter reads:

“Dear Governor DeSantis,

“With the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria right behind us, Hurricane Fiona, which has now dealt catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico according to Governor Pedro Pierluisi, is an opportunity for us to help our loved ones on the Island.

“With expected flooding, mudslides and blackouts, conditions are extremely dangerous.

“I’m asking the Executive Office of the Governor and the Division of Emergency Management to closely monitor the situation and begin preparations for relief efforts. I am also asking your office to facilitate discussions with city and county governments, and transportation authorities, to prepare for a potential influx of our fellow citizens from Puerto Rico, as was the case with Hurricane Maria. I am also asking your office to assist with the potable water residents of the island needs with the contamination of its existing water supply. Florida, and in particular Central Florida, will always stand with and support Puerto Rico.

“My district, District 48, has one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the state and I know that, like myself, many Floridians are concerned for the safety and well-being of friends and loved ones currently there.

“Puerto Rico is still rebuilding from Hurricane Maria and must now redouble its efforts in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. Florida must be committed to doing everything we can to help the families impacted by Hurricane Fiona and aid in the recovery process.

“Thank you for your consideration.”

 

 

Other governors have already stepped into action, some as early as Sunday. Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf announced that two members of Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PATF-1) Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) are deploying to Puerto Rico to support response operations there. They will serve with a federal Incident Support Team and are prepared to remain deployed in Puerto Rico for up to two weeks.

New York governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement Sunday that “the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is monitoring the storm closely and will be able to rapidly deploy assistance if requested by the federal government and Puerto Rico.”

Thus far, it appears that Florida governor Ron DeSantis has not yet taken action.

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Orlando

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ Brings the South to Your Mouth at ICON Park

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Brother Jimmy's BBQ opened its new location at ICON Park on International Drive in early August. Photo: J. Willie David III / Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – “Put some south in yo’ mouth.”– Brother Jimmy’s BBQ certainly delivers on its motto at ICON Park on International Drive.

The barbecue chain, launched in North Carolina in 1989, opened its new location at ICON Park in early August and opened its doors to the media Wednesday, providing a sample of rich ribs (both sauced and dry rub), pulled pork, mac and cheese, baked beans, cornbread, and tea (sweet and unsweetened).

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

 

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ cuisine is made fresh in-house, with the butcher chopping, seasoning, smoking and slicing fresh meat before your very eyes. Utensils await diners in tall receptacles on each table, next to a small container showcasing three barbecue sauces: Original, North Carolina, and Chipotle; and in true southern charm, diners can enjoy their drinks in mason jars.

 

 

The 7,200-plus square foot restaurant offers an open, inviting dining experience that lulls you to stay a while. The furniture there was taken directly from the restaurant’s New York location and shows some “personality” in the slight wear of the wood and unique giant metal pig figurines peppering several tables. The restaurant offers its own photo both (and a board close to the main entrance to post the pics for others to see), tons of TV screens to watch whichever game you wish to see, and the whole back half of the establishment is a mini-arcade with pinball, mini basketball, and yes, beer pong. Also, kids eat free at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ with the purchase of one entree.

Looking for some good barbecue in a great atmosphere? Learn more and check out the menu on the Brother Jimmy’s BBQ website.

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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Orlando

Gov. DeSantis Announces Toll Relief Program

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Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Florida Turnpike Headquarters in Orlando, Florida Thursday, August 25, 2022. Photo: Hidekel Griffin/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new toll relief program at the Florida Turnpike Headquarters Thursday.

The SunPass Savings Program launches on September 1, 2022 and will run for six months and will benefit SunPass and other Florida transponder users. According to a press release from the governor’s office, the program “is estimated to provide $38 million in relief to SunPass commuters.” Eligible roadways include the Turnpike, the 528, 95 Express, I-4 Express, Palmetto Expressway, the Sawgrass Expressway, and many others. The complete map of included roadways can be found at www.sunpass.com.

With the savings program, drivers who have 40-79 transactions per month will receive a 20 percent discount, and drivers who rack up 80 or more transactions per month receive a 25 percent discount. Gov. DeSantis acknowledged other toll organizations and the fact that they’re independent of the Florida government and outside of his authority, but said that a deal can be made legislatively.

“This program will help frequent SunPass customers keep more money in their pockets during a time of growing inflation,” said Gov. DeSantis. “Florida families who depend on these FDOT facilities for a timely commute to work will benefit from these savings. We will, of course, seek to enact greater savings for commuters in the next legislative session.”

“The SunPass Savings program is a way for us to give back to our loyal customers and thank them for their continued support,” said FDOT Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “FDOT and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise are proud to offer this additional cost-saving benefit.”

The governor reiterated the upcoming gas tax holiday in October, but spent much of his commentary slamming President Joe Biden’s economic policy, including the most recent law canceling student loan debt for millions of Americans, which Biden announced Wednesday. DeSantis said President Biden making that a law was unconstitutional. When Florida National News asked Gov. DeSantis how it was unconstitutional, he pointed out that it needs to go through Congress. “Could the Congress pass a law that passes that on to the taxpayer? I believe they probably would have the Constitutional duty to do it–I’m not saying that’s a good idea,” he explained. “But for an executive action through fiat to sanction and to just say you’re dumping this debt on the taxpayers, that is not something that is consistent with the rule of law.”

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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