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[OPINION] It’s About Time: A New Generation Speaks Aloud

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This handout image released on December 11, 2019 courtesy of Time shows the Time person of the Year cover with Greta Thunberg [Handout/Evgenia Arbugaeva/TIME/AFP]

NEW YORK, N.Y. (FNN NEWS) – TIME’s Person of the Year is usually synonymous historically with people with a lengthy presence in the world and equal influence. However, this 92-year-old franchise has taken a turn from their own tradition by recognizing 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg as its 2019 Person of the Year.

While many other teenagers are learning to drive or going on their first date or getting ready to enter high school, Greta has taken on the most challenging cause to date: the fight against climate change.

She was only eight years old when she first learned about climate change, or “global warming,” and even at that age, found it alarming that government officials were not taking it as seriously as they should. She decided to take action by way of solitary protest in front of Stockholm’s Parliament and, like wildfire, she was joined by thousands when she garnered media attention and encouraged others to follow suit.

Since that first courageous leap of action, she has met with high-powered officials and clergy (presidents, the United Nations, the Pope) and continues her fight to bring awareness, not just to the problem of global warming but to the inactions of our leaders in government. After all, our governments have the power to invoke change and hold accountable all corporations and industries that are not working towards a sustainable future that will allow us to reduce our carbon footprint, thereby slowing the rapid progression of climate change and giving hope to the future generations for better atmospheric conditions.

Adults usually dole out scolding to kids, but the roles were reversed when Greta spoke before the U.N. General Assembly. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth…how dare you?”

All that she has said and done to encourage the youth to action is incredible. But what is most phenomenal is that Greta has Asperger’s syndrome. A person diagnosed with Asperger’s does not process nor is led by emotions the way most people do and would have an all-absorbing interest in a particular subject matter. She does not have the luxury of being dismissive of what is a global epidemic, nor can she stand by and accept the complacency in which global warming has been addressed.

Greta is proof of the adage that “one person can make a difference” no matter how small the change or how young the individual.

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Kareen Kennedy is Entertainment and Business Associate Editor for Florida National News contributor. | info@floridanationalnews.com

Lifestyle

Max Action Arena now open at ICON Park

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ORLANDO, Fla. – If you thought you’ve experienced all the interactive attractions Orlando has to offer, think again! Max Action Arena is now open at ICON Park and families can take fun to the max like never before.
“Max Action Arena is an exciting, interactive entertainment center with several innovative attractions all under one roof,” said Scott Brown, Director of Marketing at Family Entertainment Group. “Whether you’re a thrill-seeking tourist or a local looking for a new attraction the whole family will love, Max Action Arena caters to you.”
Max Action Arena is the place for high-intensity, engaging fun. The 8,000-square-foot entertainment center features a variety of experiences including:
  • Zero Latency Extreme Virtual Reality
Rather than playing the game, you’re IN the game with Zero Latency VR. Reality blends with the virtual world as you’re dropped into a huge arena to battle or explore with up to eight guests. With Zero Latency VR, you can roam freely in open space, moving however and wherever you want.
  • Adventure Rooms
Like a cross between escape rooms and video games, Adventure Rooms will challenge you to race against the clock to solve the puzzle in each of these themed rooms. From solving a crime with CSI, breaking codes in a medieval world, dealing with alien abductions or surviving a creepy, cursed room you have to think fast and act fast to solve them all!
  • Axe Throwing
Sharpen your skills and challenge your friends to an Axe Throwing session. You don’t have to be a lumberjack to enjoy throwing axes at a wood target for points. It’s like darts – but with axes! High tech projected targets allow you to choose from several different games for tons of new challenges.
  • Escape Room
Escape from Planet Obscura transports you to a distant alien planet as you try and repair your damaged space craft. Can you get your engine repaired and activate the launch sequence before you find yourself stranded in space forever?
The entertainment center also offers packages for group visits. Corporate teams can put their teamwork skills to the test in the Adventure Rooms and the one-of-a-kind Zero Latency VR will be a hit with birthday party guests. To request more information about hosting a group event at Max Action Arena, click here.
In addition to its interactive experiences, Max Action Arena also offers a selection of beer and wine.
This is the second attraction Family Entertainment group has opened at ICON Park. The company also owns and operates In The Game ICON Park, a 7,000-square-foot arcade with over 40 cutting-edge games located inside The Wheelhouse.
To learn more about Max Action Arena at ICON Park, visit www.MaxActionOrlando.com.

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Finalists For The 25th Don Quijote Awards Announced

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ORLANDO, FL — Excitement builds for the 25th Annual Don Quijote Awards as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) and Prospera revealed the finalists of the four categories, along with this year’s Lifetime Achievement and Hispanic Community Champion award recipients, during a press conference that was held at the Orlando Museum of Art. The press conference was sponsored by Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando Announces 25th Don Quijote Awards Finalists
Photos by Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News

The Don Quijote Awards recognize businesses and individuals committed to excellence and the development of Central Florida’s Hispanic community. The winner of each category will be announced at the 25th Don Quijote Awards Celebration on Saturday, December 10, 2022, at Epcot’s World Showplace Pavilion from 6:00 pm to midnight.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando Announces 25th Don Quijote Awards Finalists
Photos by Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News

The 2022 Don Quijote Awards finalists are:

Hispanic Business of the Year, Five Years or Less:

  • Guacamole Mexican Grill, Inc, represented by owners Diego Rojas and Gustavo Aristizabal
  • Samantha’s Walls, LLC, represented by owner Samantha Senf
  • Unik Title, LCC, represented by owner Lynette Quinones

Hispanic Business of the Year, More than Five Years:

  • Competitive Edge Partners & Consulting, represented by owner Debbie Rodriguez
  • Lim Law, PA, represented by owner Henry Lim
  • SkyBuilders USA, represented by company owners Marcela Restrepo and Juan Velez

Professional of the Year:

  • Dr. Adriana Cadilla, Infectious Disease Physician at Nemours Children’s Hospital
  • Migdalia Figueroa, President and General Manager for Telemundo Orlando at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises
  • Luis Nieves-Ruiz, Director of Economic Development at East Central Florida Regional Planning Council

Excellence Award:

  • Josephine Balzac Arroyo, Esq., Assistant Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Rollins College
  • Former State Representative Bob Cortes, Senior Administrator for Government Affairs for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office
  • Major Carlos Torres, Uniform Patrol Division at Orange County Sheriff’s Office

The Hispanic Community Champion and Lifetime Achievement awards recipients are uniquely chosen by the Don Quijote Awards Selection Committee.

Hispanic Community Champion Award

This award is given to a non-Hispanic individual who has led by example in supporting the progress of the Hispanic community in Central Florida. The recipient of this award is chosen by the Don Quijote Awards Selection Committee, focusing on contributions to the Hispanic community; evidence of promoting Hispanic professionals, executives, and board members within the nominee’s respective organization and in the general community; demonstrated leadership or community involvement to benefit the Hispanic community; and honors or awards.

The winner of the 2022 Don Quijote Hispanic Community Champion Award is Dr. Michael Burkett, President at Florida Technical College (FTC) – one of Florida’s largest trade schools with seven campuses across the state and its sister school Dave School, ranked as one of the top schools in the state for animation, visual effects, and game design. FTC is a Hispanic-owned institution that offers diplomas, associate and bachelor’s programs designed to assist the adult learner.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognizes an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to the development and empowerment of the Hispanic community in Central Florida. The Lifetime Achievement this year goes to Modesto Alcala, Senior Vice President of Global Restaurant Development and Placemaking for Universal Creative at Universal Orlando Resort.

For more than three decades, Modesto has been a catalyst in the global hospitality and restaurant industry. His national impact began when he was part of the ideation and development of Barnes & Noble’s 600-unit café business, including an early partnership with Starbucks. In 2012, he joined Universal Parks and Resorts. As a senior executive at Universal, Modesto leads the efforts to establish new supplier diversity programs to help diverse-owned businesses gain more access to contracts.

The Don Quijote Awards are made possible thanks to the support of Walt Disney World Resort, Wells Fargo, AdventHealth, Bank of America, Universal Orlando Resort, PNC, 1st SOS Staffing, Florida Blue, Orlando Health, OUC- The Reliable One, Travel & Leisure, Cypress Bank and Trust, Orlando Magic, JPMorgan Chase, 26Health, University of Central Florida, iHeart Media, Telemundo 31, Florida National News, La Prensa Newspaper, El Osceola Star, Univision Orlando and El Nuevo Zol 95.3 FM, among many more. For more information on the Don Quijote Awards, please visit www.donquijoteawards.com.

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Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens to reopen Wednesday, October 26

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SANFORD, Fla. — Nearly a month after closing for Hurricane Ian, the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is ready to welcome guests.
The Zoo will resume normal operations at 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 26.
The Zoo closed Sept. 28 in preparation for Hurricane Ian and remained closed afterward for cleanup. The St. Johns River and Lake Monroe flooding followed, rendering the Zoo’s only entrance road impassable.
While the Zoo’s Animal Care team kept all of the animal residents safe throughout the closure, those circumstances prevented the Seminole County attraction from reopening quickly after the storm.
“A month ago, we never imagined we’d be in this situation,” said Zoo CEO Richard E. Glover, Jr. “I am incredibly thankful for our team and community for all they’ve done to help us get to this point, and we can’t wait to see our guests again. A special thanks goes out to Seminole County, SunRail, and Wharton-Smith, Inc. for their help during this time. Even so, there’s a long road ahead of us before we can say we’ve fully recovered from the effects of this devastating storm.”
While damages for the Zoo are still being tallied, Glover estimates damages and the cost to operate the Zoo throughout its four-week closure will exceed $800,000. The Wayne M. Densch Discovery Center, the Zoo’s main meeting building, suffered flooding damage and will remain closed likely for a month or more. The bear exhibit and boardwalk will also remain closed for cleanup and repairs temporarily. Nearly all other exhibits and attractions will be open.
Glover emphasized that all of the Zoo’s animal residents remained safe throughout the storm and its aftermath—and that they’re eager to see friendly guest faces again.
The Zoo will welcome guests back for its first weekend in a big way with Zoo Boo Bash, presented by Orlando Health, on Oct. 29 and 30.
Those who wish to donate to help with recovery efforts can visit www.centralfloridazoo.org/get-involved/hurricane-ian/.
For more information about the Central Florida Zoo, visit www.centralfloridazoo.org.

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