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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Commissioner Stuart Break Ground on New City Park at Packing District



Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (center), District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart (center right), District 5 Commissioner Hill (right) and representatives from Dr. Phillips Charities broke ground on the Packing District's new City Park. Photo: City of Orlando.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and District 3 Commissioner Robert Stuart joined with Dr. Phillips Charities to break ground on a new 66-acre public park at the Packing District.

The park, located within the new Packing District development being built by Dr. Phillips Charities, will serve as the new home for the Orlando Tennis Centre and feature trails for biking and walking, dedicated open green space, a regional stormwater pond, preserved wetlands and a large outdoor pavilion with performance space.

“This new park furthers our commitment of investing in our neighborhoods to provide our residents with more amenities and enhanced infrastructure,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We are grateful for the partnership with Dr. Phillips Charities on the development of The Packing District and the opportunity it provides us with to enhance the quality of life for our residents with additional recreational options and green space.”

The new Orlando Tennis Centre will have 11 clay and 6 hard courts for a total of 17, as well as an updated clubhouse and the latest technology. There will be a 101-space parking lot serving the park and tennis centre and a 10-foot wide path will run along Orange Blossom Trail, Princeton Avenue, Texas Avenue and New Hampshire Avenue providing access for pedestrians and bicyclists. The regional storm water pond in the park will provide a visual amenity for visitors and will help improve water quality throughout the area through the collection and treatment of stormwater runoff.

“I am grateful to Dr. Phillips Charities and Mayor Dyer for their leadership on a project where both the public and the environment can benefit,” added Commissioner Stuart. “Similar to when the City partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation on the renovation of the Dubsdread Golf Course in 2008, this park provides a chance to treat stormwater runoff in a unique way that also creates a green space for residents to enjoy. I’m excited for the amenities that both the park and The Packing District as a whole are bringing to our community.”

The new park is possible thanks to land donated by Dr. Phillips Charities to the City as part of their development of The Packing District. Collectively, the Packing District and the park project encompass 202-acres centered at the intersection of Princeton Street and Orange Blossom Trail. The redevelopment of the Packing District is transforming this industrial area into a vibrant district with a mix of housing options, commercial districts and abundance of green space and serves as a bridge between two existing neighborhoods in the city.

“Dr. Phillips has a long history of working with the City of Orlando and its leadership to improve Orlando. Mayor Dyer, Commissioner Stuart, Commissioner Hill and city staff have been instrumental in making this vision a reality. Great cities have great amenities and this park is one more example of Orlando’s continued journey,” said Dr. Phillips Charities President and CEO Ken Robinson. “The park will provide a healthy environment for our community in many ways including improved water quality, safe trails to enjoy a bike ride or jog, a place for families to grow, learn and explore together, or simply relax at the pavilion or water features.”

Construction of the park is expected to be complete by late summer/early fall 2021.

For more information about the Packing District, please visit

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Brooks Koepka wins LIV Golf 2023 Orlando Tournament



Brooks Koepka wins LIV Golf 2023 Orlando Tournament at Orange County National, Sunday, April 2, 2023.. Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN Sports) – Brooks Koepka (-15) holds off Sebastian Muñoz (-14) to win the LIV Golf Tournament at Orange County National, the first time the new league came to Florida. This was the third event of the 2023 season. There will be ten more individual matches around the world before the 14th of the season, which will be a team competition.

LIV Golf, which bills itself as “Golf, but louder,” features several differences when compared to the traditions of the PGA. Golfers compete not only individually, but also as members of twelve teams of four. Teams are ranked after each event based on their top three scores. Those rankings will come into play for week fourteen of the season to determine seedings. In addition, if a golfer isn’t pulling his weight, he may be replaced as the season goes on. There could also be other roster changes, just like in other team sports.

In addition, LIV Golf events feature all sorts of interactive experiences at their Fan Village, where fans can compete in putting, chipping, and driving. Younger fans can watch shows at the kids zone, or can get temporary tattoos or face painting. Loud music blares before and after the tournament play, and there are plenty of food and beverage options for all. The tournament begins with a shotgun start around 1:00 p.m., and the action ends just over four hours later, unlike the PGA, where staggered tee times and more players means a longer day of golf. Also, LIV Golf events feature only three days and 54 holes (Roman numeral “LIV”) of action, compared to the PGA’s four days and 72 holes.

LIV Golf’ Fan Village at Orange County National, Thursday, March 30, 2023. Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News


Fan Village. Photo credit: Mike Brodsky, Florida National News

The PGA has already responded to LIV Golf, announcing that next year, there will be fewer golfers allowed to compete in designated events (about 70 players compared to the current 120), but that will mean higher payouts to the PGA golfers. LIV Golf has attracted many high profile golfers by guaranteeing minimum payouts to join the upstart league.

The next LIV Golf event will take place April 21-23 in Adelaide, Australia. Meanwhile, The PGA’s Masters Tournament tees off April 6-9 in Augusta, Georgia. Stay tuned to Florida National News for more.

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Magic Beat Raptors for Second Win in a Row



ORLANDO, Fla. (Florida National News) – The Orlando Magic (7-20) continued their winning ways against the Toronto Raptors (13-13), defeating them 113-109 , just two days after a come-from-behind overtime victory against the Los Angeles Clippers. This two game winning streak puts an end to the Magic’s previous nine game losing streak.

The Magic started strong, taking a 37-25 lead into the second quarter, led by 10 first quarter points from Franz Wagner. But the Raptors caught up to the Magic midway through the second quarter led by Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. But at halftime, the Magic held a slight lead, 67-63.

The Magic extended their lead to 94-87 with remarkably impressive scoring from Franz Wagner who added 14 points in the third quarter alone. In the fourth quarter, the Raptors tied it up 108-108 with about two minutes remaining after two free throws by OG Anunoby. Paolo Banchero made one of two subsequent free throws, and Moe Wagner drew the charge from Gary Trent Jr. to negate his two point basket. Fred Van Vleet later added a free throw to tie the game at 109-109. A Franz Wagner tip layup put the Magic up 111-109. A missed shot by Fred Van Vleet sealed the Raptors loss. Banchero’s two free throws put the Magic ahead 113-109 at the end of the game.

Franz Wagner led the scoring for the Magic with 34 points, while Paolo Banchero scored 23. Mo Bamba finished with 13 rebounds. Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz ended with 5 assists.

Several Magic players remain injured and were unable to play, including Wendell Carter Jr. (plantar fascia strain), Gary Harris (strained right hamstring), Chuma Okeke (left knee soreness), Jalen Suggs (right ankle soreness) and Jonathan Isaac (left knee recovery). Isaac has started his rehab program, playing in full contact 5 on 5 practice games with the Lakeland G League affiliate, and hopes to return to the court soon for Orlando.

The Magic face the Raptors at Amway once again on Sunday, 12/11 at 6:00 p.m. Be sure to follow and for more.

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Gaetz friend gets 11 years for sex crime, other counts



ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida tax collector whose arrest led to a federal probe into U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and other crimes.

Joel Greenberg, former tax collector for Seminole County, had pleaded guilty to six federal crimes, also including identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Prosecutors said he paid at least one girl to have sex with him and other men.

“Nothing justifies my actions. My conduct is so shameful. I feel remorse for what I’ve done,” Greenberg said in court Thursday.

Greenberg’s attorney had asked U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell for leniency, saying that his client had assisted in investigations of 24 people, including eight for sex crimes. Defense attorney Fritz Scheller said that Greenberg’s cooperation has led to four federal indictments, and that he believed additional ones were expected in the coming month.

Greenberg’s cooperation could play a role in an investigation into his friend Gaetz over whether he paid a 17-year-old girl for sex. Gaetz has denied the allegations and previously said they were part of an extortion plot. No charges have been brought against the Republican congressman, who represents a large part of the Florida Panhandle.

Federal prosecutors had asked for a significant reduction in Greenberg’s prison sentence, agreeing during a court hearing on Wednesday to a reduced range of nine years and three months to 11 years. Presnell ended up imposing the upper limit of that range.

The minor in the sex crimes case was almost an adult and had advertised as being over age 18 in her escort profile on the website “Seeking Arrangements,” which facilitates “sugar daddy” relationships, Scheller wrote in court papers.

The defense attorney also said that Greenberg “has provided significant substantial assistance to the government in the areas of public corruption, election fraud, wire fraud, and sex trafficking.”

Scheller also had asked the judge to take into consideration Greenberg’s struggles with mental illness, starting with an attention deficit disorder diagnosis at age 7 and panic attacks, depressive and anxiety disorders as an adult. At the time he committed the crimes, he had bipolar disorder with symptoms of mania, which affected his judgment and impulse control, Scheller said.

Greenberg has been linked to other Florida politicians and their associates. So far, none has been implicated in the sex trafficking investigation.

Some documents related to Greenberg’s cooperation were filed under seal and out of the public eye, with prosecutors and the defense attorney saying they were part of ongoing investigations being conducted by federal authorities in Florida and Washington, as well as state investigators.

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