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Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda, and Zero Motorcycles Debut New Motorcycles at AIMExpo 2015 in Orlando



ORLANDO, FL (FNN News) – The American International Motorcycle Expo 2015 (AIMExpo 2015) kicked off on Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center with some significant global and North American debuts of new motorcycles from the industry’s premier manufacturers like Kawasaki, Yamaha, Honda, and Zero Motorcycles. AIMExpo 2015 continues throughout the weekend and will feature more new model introductions as well as debuts of the industry’s latest innovations from the most recognizable brands of protective wear.


Zero Motorcycles Adds Two New Models to All-Electric Lineup for 2016, Announces Gains in Battery Efficiency

Electric motorcycle company Zero Motorcycles prepares to launch its 2016 models at AIMExpo 2015. Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News.

Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News

Pioneering electric motorcycle manufacturer Zero Motorcycles globally unveiled its complete lineup of 2016 models at AIMExpo Thursday. Highlighting the introduction was the addition of two new motorcycles – the supermoto-inspired FXS and dual sport DSR – which gives Zero Motorcycles six distinct models for virtually any application. The FXS, based on the FX model, features massive 70 ft-lb of torque and weighs less than 300 pounds, with components tailored to provide exceptional control and responsiveness. The DSR, based on the DS model, is ideal for adventure riders, with 106 lb-ft of torque (56 percent more than the DS) that is quick on the street and even better off-road with 25 percent more power than the DS.

Zero’s signature Z-Force powertrain has pushed electric motorcycle technology even further for 2016 as the new Z-Force IPM (interior permanent magnet) motor produces power more efficiently, cools more rapidly, and has higher thermal capability. These advancements mean significantly improved performance and allows for higher sustained top speeds. Power comes from Z-Force power packs with optimized lithium-ion cell technology and the gains in both capacity and efficiency have pushed battery range up to 197 miles in the city and 98 miles on the highway (at 70 mph) with the optional Power Tank accessory. Additionally, a new Charge Tank accessory allows for three times faster charging, completely recharging in two to three hours.

Zero has also made purchasing an electric motorcycle more affordable than ever with price reductions on two high performance models – the S ZF9.8 streetfighter and DS ZF9.8 dual sport – with each starting at $10,995.

Web/Digital Images (Medium Resolution .jpg)
All Images (28.8 MB)

Print Ready Images (High Resolution .tif)
Zero S and Zero SR (125.9 MB)

Zero Lifestyle and Lineup (167.3 MB)

Zero FX and Zero FXS (151.8 MB)

Zero DS and Zero DSR (221.9 MB)

One of Zero Motorcycles's 2016 model reveals at AIMExpo 2015. Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News

Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News


World Superbike Championship Inspired Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R Makes North American Debut

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R makes its North American debut at AIMExpo 2015. Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News

Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News

Kawasaki hosted the North American debut of the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R on Thursday inside their newly redesigned display area at AIMExpo 2015. Inspired by its championship-winning World Superbike counterpart, the new Ninja ZX-10R takes much of what has allowed Kawasaki to win a pair of titles on the track and applied it to the streets, resulting in the most track-focused sportbike ever for the legendary brand. The result is state-of-the-art mechanical design, improved handling, and an all around thrilling riding experience. From top to bottom, the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R boasts a wide array of new design and performance features that are proven winners on the race track.


Yamaha Surprises with Unveiling of DT-07 Flat Track Concept Bike

Yamaha flat track concept bike unveiling at AIMExpo 2015. Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News.

Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News

Yamaha made a surprise announcement on Thursday at AIMExpo 2015 with the global unveiling of the DT-07 Flat Track concept bike. The one-off creation was designed and built by Jeff Palhegyi Design in conjunction with Yamaha’s U.S. race shop and takes style cues from the FZ-07 naked bike. Its engine is a special race-tuned FZ-07 twin-cylinder engine, ideal for the low- to mid-range torque needed for flat track racing, outfitted with a Graves Motorsports exhaust system. The bike features one-piece bodywork with the iconic yellow livery commemorating Yamaha’s 60th anniversary.


New Honda CBR500R Headlines Manufacturer’s 2016 CBR Lineup

Honda unveiling at AIMExpo 2015. Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News

Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News

The stronger-than-ever CBR lineup from Honda was showcased on Thursday at AIMExpo 2015 and was highlighted by the global debut of the aggressively restyled 2016 CBR500R. The CBR500R has been a popular model for Honda thanks to its impressive performance for an entry-level bike, drawing from the successful racing DNA of the CBR600RR and the CBR1000RR. The new styling of the CBR500R features a sharper, more aggressive look with improved airflow for enhanced comfort and handling, in addition to a smoother power output that emphasizes low- to mid-range torque. Detailed refinements like LED headlights and taillights, new muffler design, adjustable brake lever, larger fuel tank, and wave ignition comprise an all-around package ideal for everyday use.


Honda’s $184,000 Street Legal MotoGP Bike

Honda's newest bike at AIMExpo 2015. Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News

Photo: J. Willie David III/Florida National News

Since it was first introduced to the world as a production bike in June, the Honda RC213V-S has had the motorcycle world buzzing. The street-legal MotoGP replica is Honda’s ultimate showcase of performance and engineering and boasts a jaw-dropping price tag of $184,000. AIMExpo 2015 is just the third time the bike has been displayed in North America and with AIMExpo serving as the industry’s premier powersports trade show, the RC213V-S is being showcased to its largest audience to date.

This is the closest performance a road-going bike available to the public has ever been to a MotoGP machine and comes hand-built exclusively from a workshop at Honda’s Kumamoto Factory in Japan. It’s hefty price tag comes as a result of a compact 90-degree 999cc V-4 with titanium connecting rods and race-derived features that include an under-seat fuel tank and carbon-fiber-reinforced-plastic fairing, in addition to several parts directly from Honda’s MotoGP bike: swingarm, slipper clutch, magnesium Marchesini wheels, Öhlins forks, adjustable footrests and foot controls, and most of the Brembo brake components. It also features selectable power modes, engine-brake control, and traction control with position detection technology, making it one of the finest built street-legal bikes ever.

A maximum of 250 units will be produced globally and the US version of the bike will produce approximately 101 hp in order to pass US regulations.


Thursday’s showcases are but a taste of the innovations, industry insight, and product reveals to come during AIMExpo 2015.


Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness Coming March 2023



WINTER PARK, Fla. (Florida National News) – Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness, inspired by the children’s TV host and icon, comes to Orlando in March 2023. This week-long series of events was announced today at the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation in Winter Park.

“Fred McFeely Rogers devoted his entire life to reminding us of some of the most important ideas of what it means to be human among humans: love, respect and kindness,” explained Buena Vista Events & Management President & CEO Rich Bradley. “Many of us find that nearly 20 years after Fred’s passing, it is important to focus on his teachings once again, perhaps now more than ever. This is a week to re-engage with his massive body of work with some folks, and to introduce his teachings to others.”

Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness begins March 20, 2023, the date which would have been Fred’s 95th birthday, and concludes on Saturday, March 26 with the Red Sweater Soiree, a community dinner to recognize ten ordinary members of the community who inspire and exemplify the affinity that Fred Rogers had for showing kindness to our “Neighbors”.

Mister Rogers Week of Kindness coming March 20-26, 2023. Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky (Florida National News)

Activities planned for the week will include early childhood education activities and faculty training, as well as events open to the public.

“The events will be offered free or at low cost,” continued Bradley. “This week-long celebration is not a series of fundraisers, but rather about once again remembering and sharing some of the great work that Fred Rogers created, not only in early childhood education, but in reminding us that we are all part of one big ‘neighborhood’. Fred taught us the importance of accepting our Neighbors just the way they are and engaging in kindness with our interactions. I can’t think of another period in my lifetime where we needed to reflect on those messages again more than today.”

“There are three ways to ultimate success,” Fred Rogers was once quoted as saying. “The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”

Many of the activities of Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness will be attended by members of the cast and crew of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 – 1975, and again from 1979 – 2001. David Newell, known as “Mr. McFeely,” the “Speedy Delivery” man, appeared at today’s media conference via video, and looks forward to visiting Central Florida next March.

David Newell, “Mr. McFeely.” Photo Credit: Mike Brodsky (Florida National News)

Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is supported by the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Fred Rogers Institute, and Fred Rogers Productions. Details regarding the specific activities and venues will be released over the next few weeks.

For more information on the events, visit or

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A Quick Primer on the Team Solving Orange County’s Affordable Housing Crisis



Orange County’s Housing for All Task Force held its introductory meeting on April 12, 2019 at the Board of County Commissioner Chambers. Photo: Orange County Government.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Orange County faces a growing affordable housing crisis, and Mayor Jerry Demings has taken notice–and action. Shortly after his inauguration, he formed Housing For All, an affordable housing task force to face the challenge head-on.

The Housing For All task force doesn’t meet monthly like the County Commission–in fact, their next meeting won’t be until October 4, 2019–but they do work when they’re not meeting. The task force is made up of three subcommittees, Design and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Accessibility and Opportunity Subcommittee and Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee. These three subcommittees meet twice a month to come up with ideas and plans to fix the affordable housing problem.

Each subcommittee has a specific focus on ways to help solve the problem of affordable housing. The Design and Infrastructure Subcommittee is focused on the design of new affordable housing projects, the renovation of current affordable housing that might need fixing and land development for affordable housing units. The Accessibility and Opportunity Subcommittee is focused on making sure affordable housing is accessible to the major economic zones of the city, develop partnerships with groups and focus on outreach in the county. The Innovation and Sustainability Subcommittee is focused on finding ways to increase the supply of affordable housing and how to preserve affordable housing.

At their next meeting in October these subcommittees will update the county on what they have accomplished and what they plan to do in the future. For information from previous Housing for All Task Force meetings or the meeting schedule, visit the Orange County Government website.


Leyton Blackwell is a photojournalist and Florida National News contributor. |

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Opening Biopic ‘Te Ata’ Sets High Bar for 2016 Orlando Film Festival



ORLANDO: Chickasaw Nation Biopic 'Te Ata' Sets Stage for Orlando Film Festival.

ORLANDO (FNN NEWS) – Orlando Film Festival kicked off at Cobb Theaters in Downtown Orlando Wednesday night. The red carpet came alive with excited filmmakers and actors ready to showcase their projects to the Orlando community and, in some cases, to the world at large, including Nathan Frankowski, director of this year’s opening feature Te Ata.

About Te Ata

Frankowski’s biopic feature chronicles the true story of Chickasaw actress and storyteller Mary Frances Thompson, whose love of stories and the Chickasaw Nation fueled her to share the Chickasaw culture with new audiences in the early 1900s, a time when the United States was still growing as a nation and clashed with Native American peoples in the process.

Viewers are immediately swept into the saga from the film’s opening scene with a voice-over folk tale told by Mary Thompson’s father, T.B. Thompson (played by Gil Birmingham). Ironically, though his storytelling places the seed of inspiration in her, it slowly becomes a source of friction between them as she ages.

What makes the film engrossing is the sprawling backdrop upon which Thompson’s journey takes place. While young Te Ata (which means “The Morning”) flourishes with each solo performance and eventually sets her sights on Broadway, the Chickasaw Nation is fighting to secure the funding due them from the U.S. government in the face of ethnocentrism and religious bigotry–to the point that the government passed a law forbidding the sale of traditional Native American textiles and creations, which caused further financial struggle for the Chickasaw Nation. Viewers even experience the Thompsons’ fish-out-of-water feeling as the Chickasaw people’s territory, Tishomingo, shrinks significantly to become part of the newborn state of Oklahoma.

The political tensions are counterbalanced with Te Ata’s experience. Te Ata does her first performances among family, but chooses to leave home for the first time in her life to attend the Oklahoma College for Women (known today as University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma), despite her father’s wishes for her to find a job at home. Viewers immediately empathize with Te Ata’s awkward experience upon her arrival at the predominantly Caucasian-attended College, but cheer her on when that one connection is made, because all it ever takes is one.

Te Ata’s jumping off point occurs when she meets drama teacher Frances Dinsmore Davis, who encourages her to join her class and to share the Chickasaw stories for her senior presentation instead of the usual Shakespeare recitation. From there, Te Ata’s career blossoms from one serendipitous connection to another, taking her performances across the country. She eventually makes it to New York City, hustling to find her place on Broadway, and finds love in the process while performing privately for Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband was then Governor of New York. The heroine’s journey continues with well-placed highs and lows, keeping the viewer visually and emotionally engaged.

Te Ata is touchingly channeled through lead actress Q’orianka Kilcher who, like Te Ata, has stage experience, and brought it to bear in the role. Kilcher’s magnetic singing, with the help of the film’s sweeping score and indigenous songs, imprints the true Te Ata’s passion for her people onto the viewer’s heart.

Frankowski, who worked closely with the Chickasaw Nation in creating the film, honors Te Ata’s memory and legacy in a cohesive, sweeping tale that will edify audiences everywhere.



Florida National News Editor Mellissa Thomas is an author and journalist, as well as a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with degrees in Entertainment Business and Film. She also helps business owners, CEOs, executives, and speakers double their income and clinch the credibility they deserve by walking them step by step through the process of developing, completing, marketing, and publishing their first book.

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