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Orlando Magic: Not Enough Minutes to Go Around?



ORLANDO, FL (FNN Sports) – While playing time for the point guard and center positions is virtually concrete, the Magic have too many talented players on the wing, making it difficult to maximize all the talent in the roster. This issue is actually a good one to have.

This season, Tobias Harris and Aaron Gordon will most likely occupy the most minutes at the two forward positions. Once Aaron Gordon becomes healthy, he is virtually a lock in the starting lineup, as Skiles has raved about his defensive versatility and lateral quickness. Even though Tobias Harris is on a freshly signed $64 million/4 year contract, his starting spot is not locked up just yet. Skiles remarked that no starting spot is locked on a team that won 25 games in the past season. The starting lineup, barring any trades or injuries, should be Payton-Oladipo-Harris-Gordon-Vucevic, up until the All-Star break. Is the minutes-distribution at the wing an issue Skiles and his staff has to resolve?

Mario Hezonja, while prone to mistakes common when adjusting to the NBA, has shown an ability to swing momentum and make plays in the waning seconds of a game to give the Magic a win. His camp said he would like to be drafted to a team that will let him play 25 minutes per game. Hezonja himself said that the Magic was #1 on his list of teams to be drafted to. I do not see him getting 25 minutes of playing time per game until All-Star Break at the earliest. While his offensive excellence is a perfect complement to Aaron Gordon’s elite defensive ability, his defensive woes will make it hard to earn playing time under Skiles’ system. Hezonja being benched is very similar to what happened to Tobias Harris during his time under Skiles with the Milwaukee Bucks. Hopefully, Hezonja learns fast, and his minutes increase. Even if Hezonja, Harris, and Gordon get around 25-30 minutes, that leaves out Evan Fournier, who has shown a combination of defensive grit and offensive prowess that has not been seen by any other player on the roster.

On an NBA roster, there are 240 minutes that can be given total, which is roughly 48 minutes per position. That leaves 144 minutes for the SG, SF, and PF positions. By the time we make the playoffs, a nine-player rotation will likely be in place. With the current roster, that nine-player rotation should be Payton, Oladipo, Harris, Gordon, Vucevic, Hezonja, Fournier, Dedmon, and Watson/Napier. Five of those players (Oladipo, Harris, Gordon, Hezonja, and Fournier) should take up most of the minutes at the 2, 3, and 4 positions. Now, in this particular instance, the minutes-distribution among these players is NOT an issue if a nine-player rotation is attained. Once they all buy into Skiles’ system, they should receive almost equal playing time; each player can easily get 25-30 minutes per game without stepping on each other’s toes. Depth is a really important quality to have on a roster. Injuries to key players on the Houston Rockets during last season’s playoffs highlighted the roster’s lack of depth, and the Warriors exploited that lack of depth in the Western Conference Finals. On the Magic, if one of the wings gets injured, the other ones will step up in their place. Glimmers of this concept could be seen when Victor Oladipo willed the Magic to victories in the absence of both Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic, putting up elite stats. The same could be seen with Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the absence of Kevin Durant. His streak of triple-doubles was reminiscent of NBA legend Oscar Robertson. While talent will be difficult to maximize, and will be a complex task for Skiles and his staff to deal with, the Magic does not need MVP-type numbers from any one player. The Spurs have shown time and time again that chemistry and continuity in a team trumps individual accolades, which is what Hennigan has tried to establish in his tenure as the Magic’s General Manager.


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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