New Court Clerk Begins Firings, Is Quinones Moving To Miami? Will Arrington's Family Business Win Lucrative Contract? LaRosa To Address OCBTA Group,BOCC Board Appointments, more.....

Posted on | December 11th, 2012 |  by Carl Cricket in Local Politics

Despite whatever alleged promises the new number 2 guy was making to the Clerk's office employees, his number 1 began advising people they were not going to be employed any longer after the 1st of the year. Those employees include the current Chief of Staff and attorney, longtime employee Johnny Overstreet, and the current Clerk's secretary. So far, only the three employees have been notified, however, the RUMOR is that more will follow in January, 2013. Meanwhile, we've heard that the FDLE continues to investigate allegations regarding alleged promises of jobs in exchange for campaign donations, and more and that's just one of the investigations FDLE is alleged to be handling. Meanwhile, the new Clerk, Armando Ramirez, returned from his week long cruise and still faces debts owed to the Supervisor of Elections office. YOU be the judge as far as taking a cruise before paying a court ordered debt. We only guess the argument of not having money to pay is cancelled out by taking a cruise? 88|

We've heard it from more than one tipster that John Quinones, a county commissioner, is getting ready to move to the Miami area. We're told his wife has family living there and that the move is allegedly definitely going to happen. So far, sources close to Quinones have not heard anything regarding the move. Guess we'll just have to wait and see! &#59;D

Regarding the job Brandon Arrington secured while a member of the group MetroPlan, there is no actual proof that he exchanged his favors for employment, according to MetroPlan attorneys. Meanwhile, another heavy rumor surrounds the possible hiring of Arrington's family business in connection to a project or two by one of the groups Arrington has been a member of. Keep in mind that this is clearly a RUMOR but we've heard it is possible FDLE may also be looking at that. We would suggest that given the nature of Osceola County's political shenanigans FDLE may want to save tax dollars by simply opening a field office here in Osceola County just to save on travel time expenses! They could be here for a long time. :roll:

The Osceola BOCC will hold a meeting on the 19th of the month to assign members to regional boards. You can count on changes in light of the ruckus created over Mr. Arrington's newly found employment.

On Wednesday, December 12th, newly elected House of Representatives, Mike LaRosa will be speaking to the group, OCBTA at their monthly luncheon to be held at the Fat Boy's restaurant in St. Cloud beginning at 11:30 AM. Members and guests are encouraged to arrive early or on time to allow for Mr. LaRosa to speak and answer questions from the audience. We're told the meeting will be held in the meeting room in the restaurant.

That's it for now. Please check out the announcements below as we know there's something of interest to everyone.

God Bless each and every one of you. Be healthy, be safe, and always try to be happy!
Kissimmee Police Urge Residents to Participate in Project Blue Light

Kissimmee, Fla. (December 4, 2012) – The Kissimmee Police Department is encouraging citizens, while decorating your home for the holidays; please participate in Project Blue Light.

The Kissimmee Police Department is urging all residents to place a blue light in a window of your home from now until New Year’s Day to show support for those officers killed in the line of duty and those who continue to work keeping America’s streets safe. By placing a blue light at your home, office and throughout the community law enforcement officers will understand that the work they do daily is appreciated by the citizens they serve.

“The color blue is symbolic of peace. By displaying your blue lights you are sending a dual message; you support America’s peacekeepers and that you hopeful the New Year will be a year of peace,” said Chief Lee Massie. “On behalf of the men and women of the Kissimmee Police Department, best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season!”
Kissimmee Police Honor Citizen with Award

Kissimmee, Fla. (December 5, 2012) – Mr. Todd E. Casidy of Kissimmee was awarded the Citizen’s Award by Chief Lee Massie yesterday at the City of Kissimmee Commission Meeting. Mr. Casidy came to the aid of a Kissimmee Police Officer who was struggling with a violent and intoxicated suspect.

On October 9, 2012, Mr. Casidy called the Kissimmee Police Department in reference to a suspicious vehicle that was parked in his neighbor’s yard. When the officer arrived she came into contact with an intoxicated individual who began pushing the officer to walk away. The officer gave verbal commands to the suspect, which he ignored. Mr. Casidy heard the officer and witnessed the struggle. Mr. Casidy went to the aid of the officer, helping her subdue the suspect until handcuffs could be applied and back up officers arrived. The suspect was arrested for DUI, Resisting and Officer with Violence and Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer.

“Mr. Casidy did not hesitate to assist the police officer despite the personal risks that were involved,” said Chief Lee Massie, “Mr. Casidy’s acations are noteworthy and reflect the true spirit of citizenship in our community.”

Osceola School District's School Volunteers of the Year

Each year, the Florida Department of Education sponsors the statewide Outstanding School Volunteer Award competition to recognize the many school volunteers who give of themselves unselfishly to help students and schools. This year, Osceola schools recognized 59 volunteers in the youth, adult, and senior categories at the school level. There were so many great nominees; the judges had a hard time selecting the top three winners to represent the district at the state level. In the end after a very difficult voting process, the panel selected Alexandra Suarez, Richard Brannen, and Anne Hatfield as this school year’s Osceola School District's Youth, Adult, and Senior Volunteers of the Year, respectively:

District Youth Volunteer of the Year – Alexandra Suarez (Celebration High School)
During the past four years at Celebration High, Alexandra Suarez has donated over 400 hours of volunteer/community service in a variety of ways. She serves in leadership positions in the Key Club, Honor Society, and IB Council. She has spearheaded numerous service learning projects, like packing food bags for the homeless, preparing animal treats for the ASPCA, conducting campus refurbishment projects, organizing and working in the school’s Clothing Closet, and organizing highly-successful Relay for Life teams raising over $10,000 in the last three years. The staff at Celebration High School knows they can always count on Alexandra to take charge of whatever they ask of her, and she is an inspiration to her peers who recognize her commitment and follow her lead. As she graduates this year, she leaves behind a very rich culture of service and a legacy to other students whom she has inspired by her actions and who will carry on the programs she has initiated.

District Adult Volunteer of the Year – Richard Brannen (Celebration High School)
In spite of the fact that Richard Brannen is confined to a wheelchair and that he and his family have been a “Family in Transition” for the past six years, Mr. Brannen has contributed over 600 volunteer hours during the last year at Celebration High. Mr. Brannen has an amazing positive attitude and is always willing to enthusiastically do anything and everything that is asked of him. He is the ‘master’ of the copy machine and the ‘king’ of repairing anything. He volunteers at every event as the school photographer, and he has helped raise money for the Storm Run to build a well in Uganda. The way he lives his life in the service of others is very humbling and an inspiration to staff and students.

District Senior Volunteer of the Year – Anne Hatfield (Narcoossee Elementary School)
Anne Hatfield volunteers at Narcoossee Elementary School three to four days a week in the media center, and has volunteered more than 500 hours over the past year. Mrs. Hatfield shares her love for literacy with at-risk students as a Bookmark Buddy to three third graders and has tucked other struggling students under her wing as they visit the media center. She has become a resource and mentor for other volunteers and is the school's number one promoter for the Sunshine Reader program. She also shelves books, gathers books for teachers who are looking for certain topics, and has embraced the computer system to help students and teachers check books in and out. Mrs. Hatfield has certainly helped maintain the media center as a place of joy and literacy passion as she motivates students to read.
Disney Clothing Donation Helps Neediest Students In Osceola County

Walt Disney World Resort is committed to strengthening Central Florida by investing in and improving the lives of children and families. Hanes, an alliance partner of The Walt Disney Company, approached Walt Disney World with an opportunity to donate excess inventory of Disney t-shirts and sweatshirts for the second year in a row. Hanes, located in North Carolina, partnered with Disney's Community Relations to ensure that the excess inventory would be used to benefit homeless students in Osceola County, as well as in Orange, Lake, Polk and Seminole counties.

"As part of our community outreach, Walt Disney World is actively involved in helping address homelessness in Central Florida and its underlying causes," said Angie Sola, Community Relations Manager for Walt Disney World Resort. "By working with community partners, we hope over time we can reduce the number of homeless families in our community, prevent more families from being at risk, and provide in-kind support to individuals currently in need."

More than 20,000 total items will be distributed to the five school districts in the next few weeks before schools release for Winter Break. Disney VoluntEARS helped to sort the shirts by size and by recipient county. Shirt sizes range from toddler to adult XXL in various colors and styles. The Osceola School District will partner with the Education Foundation - Osceola to provide the items in the Kids Closet, so that school social workers can provide the clothing to children in need.

The number of students in the Osceola School District's Families in Transition program is at 2,600, with a realistic projection of 4,100 by the end of this school year. These students are unaccompanied minors, homeless, or living in transitional housing, such as in hotels, motels, campgrounds, cars, parks, shelters, foster care, or are doubled-up with friends or family.

To learn more about this need or to make a donation to this cause, please contact the Education Foundation at 407-344-4687 or visit

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (December 10, 2012) -- The Kissimmee Police Department will be hosting a Civilian Police Academy starting January 23, 2013. The purpose of the academy is to build a partnership between the citizens and their Police Department.

Police Chief Lee Massie said, “An important key to crime prevention is to promote a greater understanding of law enforcement through positive interaction and education. I believe one way this can be accomplished is through the Civilian Academy”.

Citizens will learn a variety of aspects of the Police Department and criminal justice in general. Participants will learn about criminal investigations, crime scenes, narcotics, and community relations just to name a few. Everyone will be able to get hands-on training with the S.W.A.T. team and firearms training with certified instructors.

The Academy will start on January 23, 2013 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Kissimmee Police Department. Classes will be held every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. for seven weeks. The Academy will end with a graduation celebration.

Residents interested in attending this Academy should contact Community Relations Squad at (407) 518-2400. Applications can be picked up at Kissimmee Police Department or on-line at and are required to reserve a spot in the class. Class size is limited. Therefore, slots will be filled in the order that completed applications are received. Application deadline is January 11, 2013.
*******************************Kissimmee Police Need Help Identifying Business Burglary Suspects*******************************

Kissimmee, Fla. (December 10, 2012) – Kissimmee police detectives need the public’s help identifying business burglary suspects.

On November 21, 2012 at approximately 3:15 a.m., a light skinned male entered the T-Mobile store located at 1495 East Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee. The suspect shattered the front door to make entry into the business and removed several display phones from the store. The suspect left the scene in a light colored, single cab pick-up truck with a trailer hitch.

On November 29, 2012 at approximately 2:45 a.m., two males approached the same T-Mobile store and used a hammer to shatter the front door to make entry into the store. The suspects removed a box of used and returned cell phones and blue tooth devices prior to fleeing the scene through the rear exit.

Anyone with information about these crimes or suspects is urged to contact the Kissimmee Police Department’s Property Crimes Unit at 407-846-3333, by e-mail at or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).
Kissimmee Police SWAT Team Ranked one of the Top 10 Teams in the World

Kissimmee, Fla. (December 10, 2012) – The Kissimmee Police Department’s SWAT Team placed 8th at the SWAT Round Up International Competition that took place December 2, 2012 through December 7, 2012 at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Gun Range in Orlando. 51 teams from around the United States and Europe competed at the event.

The competition included events such as a hostage rescue, tower scramble, officer rescue and an obstacle course. The Kissimmee team scored well in all of the events. SWAT Round Up International celebrated its 30th year of competition. The week-long event included education and training seminars, a trade show along with the competition. The first SWAT Round Up Competition was held at the Kissimmee Police Department’s gun range 30 years ago.

Kissimmee’s SWAT team is a part-time specialty unit that has over 20 members, of those, eight makes up the competition team.

Osceola County Under Burn Ban,
Effective December 5, 2012

Osceola County, Florida – In light of dry conditions throughout the county that have sent our Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) over 500, Osceola County is instituting a burn ban for all types of outside burning, including open fire pits, campfires, and yard debris within the unincorporated areas of Osceola County.

The burn ban is effective immediately and will be lifted as weather and vegetation conditions improve. The ban will be enforced by Osceola County Code Enforcement, Law Enforcement and Emergency Services personnel.

Osceola County Fire Rescue will continue to monitor conditions to determine when the burn ban will be lifted. Once the ban is lifted, another notice will be distributed, along with updates to the and websites.

For more information, please contact Deputy Chief Danny McAvoy, at 321-624-0289.

Board Approves Sorenson as New Fire Chief

Osceola County, Florida – Robert “Bob” Sorenson was approved as Osceola County’s new fire chief on Monday.

Sorenson, who served as the interim chief since June, oversees Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Fire Rescue divisions. In accordance with the county charter, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the appointment.

“I gratefully and humbly accept this appointment and the trust bestowed on me to lead the department. This is a trust I take very seriously and I pledge to work tirelessly to continue to move our department forward,” said Sorenson. “I look forward to working together with everyone to implement positive changes that will enhance the level of service we provide our community.”

Sorenson, who has been with the county since June 2009, oversees a department with more than 330 employees and 15 stations. He is a former deputy chief with the Orlando Fire Department, where he began work in 1981. His duties there included overseeing the Emergency Medical Services Division, 911 Communications Center, Records Management Section, Supplies Services, and the Fire Safety Management Division.

Sorenson holds a Master of Business Administration degree and a Master of Science in Taxation degree from the University of Central Florida. A certified paramedic, the new chief is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program.

“Chief Sorenson will do a great job of guiding the department as we move forward,” said Commission Chairman Frank Attkisson said. “It’s very important to have someone in charge with the experience and enthusiasm that Chief Sorenson possesses.”

Comment from: Mad Mike in Kissimmee [Visitor]

Carl, just to catch you up, it's closer to 10 employees who have been told they would not have jobs come the first of the year. BUT, Ramirez and his number 2 guy, who claims to have all this knowledge about the Clerk's office, had absolutely no right to go into the Clerk's office and start handing out pink slips. While they may have been able to verbalize what their intentions were, to put it in writing, I believe, is against state regulations/law. Just another thing for the FDLE to look at. Plus, they entered the office without ever notifying the current Clerk of Court, which demonstrates a lack of any class on both of their part!
I've also been told by a little birdie that Ramirez is afraid of Thompson, for some stupid reason and has refused to sit down with him despite numerous invites to do so.
Ramirez was the choice of the majority, but how much longer will he and his Beau be allowed to topple the office?

12/11/12 @ 10:15

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ Mad Mike
Good point on Armando and aide coming into the Clerk's office.

If he came in without the Clerk's permission that would be trespassing. Maybe they are coming in when Malcolm is not there.

All the staff have to be reappointed. I thinks its fair and responsible for Armando to give notice now so the people can look for other work.

12/11/12 @ 11:44

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

According to John Q's Financial Statement he made $39,000 as a lawyer last year.

He made $72,000 as a commissioner. So looks like he would have a $200,000 job waiting for him to move to Miami ?

12/11/12 @ 11:48

Comment from: Bigguns [Visitor]

Jeff Ashston sent letters to the people he is not keeping at the States Attornies Office. Why would that be different for the Clerk?

12/11/12 @ 11:50

Comment from: Floridanative68 [Visitor]

I know for a fact that ol' Malcom never gave the employees he let go when he came in office any kind of warning they were being "let go". He told them they had nothing to worry about and then a day or so before he took office, he made other people do the firing for him. Pathetic. At least these 10 employees aren't being lied to like Malcolm lied four years ago.

12/11/12 @ 13:27

Comment from: Mad Mike in Kissimmee [Visitor]


I understand and agree giving the employees a heads up is a nice thing to do BUT, Armando has no official capacity to be handing out letters of termination. He can verbally let them know but until January 1, he has no authority, nor does is number 2 aide, Osborne.

@ Florida Native, you should learn about the offices before you call names. Every Constitutional office does things their own way. I guess, based on you calling Malcom a liar, you'd agree that Osborne is also a liar since he walked around the courthouse a week ago telling everyone "not to worry". So, he's a liar as well. Looks like the clerk's office is plagued with liars, like the one who claimed abuse and being assaulted, oh, by the way, she's been told she's gone too! That Osborne is quite the liar.
Little Armando isn't done with getting rid of people yet either.
Oh, let's not forget little Frankie Attkisson, also a liar, who said he wasn't firing anyone and then delivered the final vote against the county auditor and attorney. Wonder how the audits are going now?

12/11/12 @ 18:13

Comment from: Floridanative68 [Visitor]

@mad mike
Learn about the offices? I worked there for over a decade...I know all about the office of the Clerk of Court. And I never said Osborne wasn't a very well may be...him, I don't know. Malcolm however, I do know. I know exactly what he said and then watched as he as the exact opposite of what he said he was going to do.

12/12/12 @ 08:27

Comment from: Floridanative68 [Visitor]

Ugh...sorry for the typos. Typing on a smartphone sometimes doesn't seem so smart at all...:/

12/12/12 @ 08:30

Comment from: twinkle twinkle [Visitor]

As far as the move goes, Mrs. Q. has been telling me me for years that she wants to move to Miami. That is were she is from and she feels that she has a support system there. She needs one. The other night my wife saw her pulled over at the corner of our street. It surprises me that she doesn't have more traffic tickets.She doesn't seem to think that abiding by traffic laws is mandatory or maybe she is exempt from following them.

12/12/12 @ 09:26

Comment from: Maybe [Visitor]

Maybe Mrs.Q is just a lousy driver. I've noticed that there are a lot of those around.

12/12/12 @ 11:27

Comment from: Shafted Again [Visitor]

How about that new chinese flea market the County Commission is pushing across from Heritage Park? Classy! Way to spruce up 192. It's developers won't even have to pay impact fees to deal with the traffic it creates.

12/12/12 @ 13:38

Comment from: Bigger Bigguns [Visitor]

@ Shafted
Please explain about the Chineese Flea Market. ???????

12/12/12 @ 14:30

Comment from: guest [Visitor]

Here is the link from the story on channel 9

12/12/12 @ 18:32

Comment from: wildthing [Visitor]

Chinee flee market wery portant for Osceeooolee County.Bring much junk here. No enough chinee shit in stores yet.We makee much cheap go merikan store no more.We cheepee than anybody.Nice 6 yr,old kid work hard makee cheep for you.

12/12/12 @ 20:43

Comment from: Pee Pee in Your Coke [Visitor]

Won't the new Chinee mega shitshop hurt locally owned shitshops on West 192? I don't know about you but I would gladly pay 7.99 for a knockoff Disney T-shirt from a local instead of 5.99 from a Chinee. I mean, where are our standards!?

12/12/12 @ 23:20

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

Read the story again...the plan is being financed by a Chinese company.Sounds like Bible World, Hurricane World and Little England.

Of course the word "Chinese" brings out the bigots.

Guess you all missed the story in Around Osceola where Armando is cleaning house so he can hire people that represent diversity ie Hispanic.

12/12/12 @ 23:33

Comment from: Rachel [Visitor]

@ Cool Hand Luke
Caught that story about Bigot Armando. I guess the next thing he is going to do is put up signs in Spanish and use English as sub titles like in Home Depot when your reading what;s in the isles.

12/13/12 @ 07:15

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

Cool Hand Luke, I don't think the anti-Chinese remarks are bigoted in this particular case. The cheap, Chinese crap being brought by the boat load into our country are destroying our economy in so many ways.

What do I see when I read the story? A place where cheap products from other countries can be showcased here in America for purchase. Do we really think they are going to export American products to other countries? I seriously doubt it. If the Chinese wanted to buy our products, they would be building this place in China so that we could come to them.

As for the jobs, it will be a boom for construction -- until the project is complete, and then those jobs will be done. And jobs for running the place? Low-paid service jobs for people who will have to be subsidized by the government, just like Walmart and Disney employees. So, now we are going to subsidize a Chinese company.

I would like to know how many $40,000+ jobs will be created. That's what we really need for families to support themselves here in Osceola County.

I am sure our politicans are thrilled with this plan because it will allow them to "rub elbows" and meet "important people". But what will it really do for the residents of Osceola County? I need more reassurances that this will really be a positive for all.

12/13/12 @ 07:28

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]


I know you have a distaste for large companies like Disney World and Walmart and a lot of people do.

When did the state and the federal governments start subsidizing Walmart and WDW employees ?

Walmart employees 1700 people in Osceola county and the county never gave them a dime to establish a store for the developers of the sites like they have for a commecial strip center with a Publix in it.

Whay about the $12 million that Gaylords was given to market their property for those "low income" jobs ?

This new project will encompass the space equal to 5 Wal-Mart Superstores.
Huge. I just don't see it happening.

12/13/12 @ 07:50

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

I was at the meeting concerning the development of the Judge property for what would be a trade center.

There was no mention of any retail and the build out would take 5 years. Details later early next year was the last word.

Then a lot of people in Osceola scoffed at the idea that Disney World would ever open.

12/13/12 @ 08:06

Comment from: Bigguns [Visitor]

I read a story yesterday in the Sentinel about the MAgLev train being approved by Metroplan. In the story it says John Quinones abstained his vote because he shares office space with Lew Oliver. (HUH) anyway when was John Q appointed to replace Brandon? I realize idiot Arrington resigned but I was of the understanding this would all be discussed on the 19th according to His Highness the Frank. I thought I had watched Monday's BOCC Meeting in it's entirety but must have missed this.

12/13/12 @ 08:12

Comment from: Maybe [Visitor]

@ Cool Hand Luke

I'm not directly familiar with WDW employees, but I can tell you that low-paid Walmart employees and their families qualify for every assistance program there is (SNAP, Medicaid, Weatherization, FL Kid Care, Free School Lunch Program, etc.) and they also use the local food pantries and the services of the Osceola Health Department to make ends meet.

12/13/12 @ 09:26

Comment from: Mad Mike in Kissimmee [Visitor]

From what I have heard the only thing close to retail MAY be a hotel and whatever else accompanies it. The idea of this joint is to serve U.S.buyers of products made in China so they need not travel to China and instead, travel to here to make their deals with the various companies who will have representatives here, at the new center.
My biggest onjection is the poor decision by the entire BOCC in completely doing away with impact fees. Had they simply reduced the fees, they'd have the same opportunities for development. However, the 5 fellows decided to give away all the fees and now, only St. Cloud has the smarts to be holding on to their impact fees. Meanwhile, the rest of the county must pay for the increases in public services! Doesn't seem very fair, especially for those who will NOT have a job at the oriental mall.

@Cool Hand Luke, you are right. On Saturday I was in Wal Mart and one of their employees(wearing a Wal Mart apron) was in front of me and used a "benefit" card. Had to have a supervisor okay the purchase but I was amazed, and disappointed that they make so little to qualify for assistance. But then, so do some State employees also. Meanwhile, let's make sure our government continues to send millions overseas to countries who are not our friends.

12/13/12 @ 09:45

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

@ Kissimmee Old Timer

There was a sole mention about retail. The Chinese Flea market is made up by writers to this Blog.

12/13/12 @ 10:15

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

@ Maybe

So the Goverment is not giving money just to Wal-Mart and Disney as claimed by Stacy.

According to the Air Force Times married enlisted personnel are getting some of the same "benefits" as Wal-Mart workers due to their pay scale.

12/13/12 @ 10:22

Comment from: Chuckles The Clown [Visitor]

I worked at Disney during the Construction of the Park and Epcot.

Yes when the contruction was over most of the workers left the state but some stayed like I have in Intercession City.

Osceola county was open to Disney coming here and hopefully the Dallas Texas firm will be treated the same for their project on the Judge property.

12/13/12 @ 10:31

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

Thank you Maybe for clarifying my point. Walmart and Disney do not pay their employees a living wage which would allow them to pay rent, buy food and provide other essentials for their families. As a result, we the taxpayers, pay for those needs instead. The users of these services are considered the entitled. I believe the companies who do not pay a living wage are the real ones entitled. The CEOs make more money (the average CEO is making 40 times more today than 20 years ago) because they don't pay a living wage to employees, but then they don't want to pay more in taxes because they are "job creators". Well, I'm tired of hearing about job creators. If you create a job, and then I have to subsidize that person to live because they don't make a living wage, then how much is that job really worth? That used to be called indentured servitude.

As to the Disney comment, I actually don't hate Disney. My Dad was the general contractor of Walt Disney World and Lake Buena Vista Construction when I was growing up, and I spent much of my childhood there. But what is sad is the fact that when my Dad left, Disney treated him like royalty. They even gave him benefits that were not yet vested. He had wonderful stock options, etc. and an offer to come back and work if he ever wanted to return. When his friends started retiring at the normal age, they were shunned by Disney. These are exeuctives who invested their lives at Disney, and Disney tried to eliminate their health insurance and retirement benefits promised to spouses, etc. Disney has really changed in its behavior towards its employees, and it is very sad. It would be wonderful if Disney would return to the truly family friendly place it used to be -- both for visitors and employees.

12/13/12 @ 10:47

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

I'm sure you know my Dad then Chuckles.

12/13/12 @ 10:53

Comment from: Alfred E. Newman [Visitor]

I wish we could talk Q's wife into taking Brandon with her.

People need to protest the Chinese flee market showroom from coming. Buy American live American. It’s the American way not to pay back the Chinese and cut them off from our shelves.

Walmart: The High Cost Of Low Prices


The story of how the west went bust.

12/13/12 @ 12:00

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]


62,000 people are employed at Disney and your claim is they are paying none a living wage ?

The date on the calendar will soon be 2013. The world has changed a lot since 1980.

12/13/12 @ 12:11

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

No Hector, I did not say that none of the people at Disney are making a living wage. However, a large number of people working at Disney are not making a living wage.

12/13/12 @ 12:15

Comment from: Alfred E. Newman [Visitor]

In Florida alone 12,300 walmart workers and their dependents are on Medicaid.

Walmart costs taxpayers $1,557,000,000.00 to support its employees across the country.

12/13/12 @ 12:22

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

Oh, and shouldn't we also mention the fact that the majority of the merchandise sold by Walmart and Disney is made in China? Just one more way they are cheating the American economy. Sure, it's cheaper, but how much more Chinese crap could Americans possibly need? I wish they would buy stuff made in America to resell. We would all buy less, but at least what we buy would really make a difference to the economy. And now a Chinese "flea market" in our own backyard!

12/13/12 @ 12:30

Comment from: St Cloud Resident [Visitor]

@ Alfred E Newman

I know you want to close all the Wal-Marts in the United States.

Medicaid is a state program in which you state 12,300 worker qualify working for Wal-Mart nationwide. That means 245 people working for Wal-Marts in Florida are on Medicaid.

The sales tax records are confidential in Florida yet stores in Georgia collect $24 Million a year in sales taxes pwe stire.They collect 7% in state income taxes paid.

12/13/12 @ 12:42

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

The "Living Wage" for a single person in Osceola and Orange County is $10.57 an hour. Married $15.91.

Disney loses 3% of it's employees on the average every year. 27% of the workforce have been there 10 to 19 years.

Disney pays its employees 7% above the market in Central Florida.

12/13/12 @ 12:47

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

There was a time when Japan was the retail enemy. Then Mexico. Now its just China that is the enemy of American retail. Mexico and Japan have been forgotten.

The Hate Walmart Squad don't seem to bothered by Target and other big box stores selling merchandise from China.

Certainly doesn't bother the shoppers in Kissimmee and St Cloud.

12/13/12 @ 13:03

Comment from: Wondering [Visitor]


Quinones is on the Metro Plan Board he is Osceola County's representative and has been for about 6 years. Brandon was on Metro Plan as Lynx's representative.

12/13/12 @ 14:15

Comment from: Shafted Again [Visitor]

For those who wish to be informed - from the CEO of the subsidiary of the Chinese company:

"The first phase of construction could start in June 2014, with 150,000 square feet of floor space, 250 hotel rooms and 300 residential units. Subsequent phases would be built depending on demand, Henson said. If all six phases were completed, the project could eventually include 1.5 million square feet of wholesale and retail space, 500 hotel rooms and 728 residential units."

Let me say that I'm a free market guy and have no problem with any investment coming from outside the US. However, what I do have a problem with is that County taxpayers will be subsidizing (that's not free market) this ridiculous sounding project.

And yes, it will eventually be a flea-market with a bunch of apartments around it. It will create tons of traffic and you and I will foot the bill for the land and all of the roadway improvements required as a result.

Our Commissioners have this land and an opportunity to revitalize an area that really needs it and this is all they can come up with to spend our money on?

12/13/12 @ 15:51

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ Shafted Again

What is the Capital Investment by the Developers ?

The county is purchasing the land from Avatar and it is my understanding that TOHO is going to use a portion for a drainage project.

If this was an German company would you be calling it a Germany Flea Market ?

Then there were people that complained about the road improvements the county made for the 3600 acre Celebration project. No complaints about the $ 12 Millon for Gaylord Palms. No complaints on spending $15 Million on the Astro's Stadium over and above the construction costs since it opened.

12/13/12 @ 16:57

Comment from: A Little Disturbed [Visitor]

Just left Osceloa Heritage Park where I volunteered at the Christmas for the Kids event. Nearly 2,400 Osceola County students that are deemed homeless and needy were given a Christmas they wouldn't have had.

And guess what? Not a single school board member bothered to show their face at the event. Nor did the Superintendent. Aren't these children your "clients"? Every single child served was a registered student of Osceola County schools. This, to me, is unfathomable and inexcusable.

Say what you want about Andrews and Grego, but at least they both showed up the last three years and even volunteered. Shame on the five of you and the Super. It was bad enough you took away this groups funding, but to turn a blind eye to the event is disgusting.

12/13/12 @ 17:44

Comment from: Shafted Again [Visitor]

@Hector Romero

It doesn't matter what the capital investment by the developers is. The point is they should bear the full cost and risk if the project is worthwhile. Our elected leaders should not be picking winners in "business" deals and then handing out our money to those "winners."

It's time for government to get out of the business of taking our money and gambling with it on these crazy schemes. We have three supposed conservatives on the BOCC who tout free markets and limited government. Like good hypocrites, they inject government right in the middle of commerce and use taxpayer funds to tamper with the market. Each of those "deals" you mentioned could have and should have happened with 100% private investment. Instead, CEOs know that in today's climate, all they need to do is go out and extort taxpayer funds from willing politicians for projects they are going to do anyway.

Then we have guys like Don Fisher give quotes to the paper about how "no impact fees" help bring development to Osceola County. Sounds nice until you realize that every time they build a shopping center or a neighborhood, more roads are needed. If those creating the need aren't paying for them, guess who is?

By the way, I've never heard of a German Flea Market, but if that's what it was, that's what I would call it.

12/13/12 @ 19:54

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ Shafted Again

I agree with you that government shouldn't give incentatives to attract a business. However if you want to play you must pay.

The county spent $8 million dollars for Celebration entrance roads. Celebration is a success in putting money back into the coffers.

Gaylord Palms opened their doors and then the Trade Towers were hit. Who kept the TDC taxes coming in ? The $300 a night rooms at Gaylord at a 90% capacity. Gaylord was money in the bank for their $12 Million in Tourist Tax money plus jobs.

How many candidates have run on the platform they would not use incentatives to attract companies to the county since WDW opened ? Zero.

No county revenue other than the Tourist Tax is used for the Astro's complex.

The start up of the new venture is smaller than the Wal-Mart building in St Cloud.

The development will pay county property taxes and if the hotel is built tourist taxes. The homes will pay property taxes.

12/13/12 @ 23:49

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

Maximus, it does bother me that Target sells so many cheap Chinese products, but at least they pay living wages.

And this is by no means an attack on Chinese people who actually work to produce the merchandise. They are kept in dormitories where the owners have recently placed nets because the suicide rate is so high. I'm sure those workers wonder why in the world Americans need with so much stuff. This situation is hurting the average Chinese person as much as it is hurting the average American.

I am right on board with you Shafted Again. I am so tired of hearing about the "conservatives" who want to save money and tout free markets, but then hand out hundreds of thousands or millions to private companies. Anyone can register with an "R" after their name, and their followers assume all of their actions are fiscally conservative. It's simply not true.

I am a Democrat, and I think the treatment of our tax dollars by the majority Republican County Commission has been anything by fiscally conservative and responsible. The same goes for our state legislature who make significant cuts to real public services, like education and libraries, but give out large overpaid contracts to private companies who wine and dine the legislatures. It is very wrong, and it is bankrupting the middle class on every level of our government.

12/14/12 @ 07:07

Comment from: Shafted Again [Visitor]

@Hector Romero

You assume that none of those projects you mentioned would have happened without taxpayer funds subsidizing them. I would submit that is not the case. Compared to the amount of money Gaylord and Celebration cost in terms of private investment, there's no way anyone can say that the relatively small taxpayer funded incentives were make or break factors. They were simply icing on the cake for developers looking to make a buck. As a free market conservative, I want these companies to succeed, but I want them to do it with willing private investors.

In terms of jobs and additional tax revenue, I say so what? Our politicians are operating under the assumption that development and tax base growth must occur or doomsday will come. As a result, they give our money away to enterprises that bring low-wage jobs here (Gaylord, Publix, etc.). What's so good about that?

Instead of focusing on their real job of making Osceola a great place to live, our Commissioners chase these fools' gold "deals" that are meaningless to most existing Osceola County residents - other than the fact that they will cost them on their tax bill. Last I checked, the County hasn't sent out any dividend checks for our investments in all of these economic development deals. In fact, all I keep getting are bills. Those bills will get bigger with new taxes now that impact fees are out of the picture.

The bottom line is, if companies can't or won't build something in Osceola County without free money from taxpayers, I say let them take their $8.00/hr jobs elsewhere. We don't need them. Until folks start taking a principled stand on these ridiculous deals, our politicians are going to keep handing out our money and treating us like redheaded stepchildren.

12/14/12 @ 07:55

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

@ Stacy

Will the vote for the new project be 3-2 on the BOCC ?

It was the Democrats that gave incentatives to some very good projects in this county.

It was the Democratic Legislature in 1975 that allowed us to vote on a Tourist Tax and later a county-city sales and voter approved taxes.

It was the BOCC Democrats Majority with votes from the Republican minority that
encouraged voters to approve the saales and gas taxes in the county.

Courthouse Square Complex is being paid with the extra sales taxe rather than
property taxes thanks to Democrats.

I voted for the extra taxes and the Tourist Tax and I thank the Democrats
for taking the leadership in the state and county for putting the issues on the ballot.

12/14/12 @ 08:32

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ Shafted Again

You might be right that Gaylord might have relocated somewhere else along with every other incentative project.

Disney might have moved somehere else too if the Legislature didn't create special legislation for them.

As explained by others the voters in this county have voted for extra gas and sales taxes for the betterment of the county including the schools.

During the days of the County going into partnership with a company for the unbuilt convention center Gaylord entered into the record what they were paying their employees-above the affordable living wage. They pointed out the incentative they received was from the Tourist Tax.

There has never been a "Doomsday" is coming if the county didn't give a developer incentative to locate here.
The general cost of property has sent industrail site owners elsewhere especially during the boom from 1998-2006.

Overall the county has issued out a miscue amount of money for incentatives since they started in the early 1980's.

The biggest project you have left out-the Osceola Parkway.The Disney and County joint project.

12/14/12 @ 09:26

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

@ Stacy

I double checked on line and the BOCC members have voted for the yearly budgets 5-0. Why have the 2 Democrats voted for the budget since they arrived in 2008 ?

12/14/12 @ 09:38

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

@ Shafted Again

You wrote "Instead of focusing on their real job of making Osceola County a good place to live..."

What are your suggestions the county commission can make this a better place to live.

12/14/12 @ 13:09

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

JB Haney, the two Democrats on the board don't claim to be fiscal conservatives who want to cut taxes and not spend an extra cent of money. That is the difference to me. It's sort of like Mike Horner and all his efforts to stop abortion. If someone believes abortion is wrong, I can respect that. But don't introduce laws against abortion for low income women when you're the one sleeping with the poor women who will get pregnant and not know who the father is. I just want people to be true to who they say they are. Fiscal conservatives shouldn't spend money on non-essential services and pro-life people shouldn't be visiting prostitutes. Is that really asking too much?

12/14/12 @ 14:49

Comment from: Bigger Bigguns [Visitor]

It looks like Ramirez was celebrating last night at Broadway Pizza with his new found friends Cortner and Osborne.
From what I have heard in the street it looks like this celebration may be short lived. Time will tell. I heard Ramirez will be getting his Christmas present from the Governor just like the ones he handed out last week at the courthouse.
This blog is NOT just for entertainment.

12/14/12 @ 16:06

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

@ Stacy-

You didn't reply to the question:Why didn't the 2 Democrats vote against the BOCC budget if they are not fiscal conservatives as you have painted the Republicans on the Board ?

What are the non-essential services that you would delete from the county budget ?

12/14/12 @ 16:36

Comment from: jasper [Visitor]

STACY ,STACY,STACY you should have been a carpenter because you are sure hitting the nail on the head.

DO we have any conservative on the BOCC not that I CAN SEE. I see three RINOS.

THEY will tell you that they are conservative till in comes to one of there pet projects . HU FRANK.

12/14/12 @ 17:05

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

I see 3 Moderate Republicans and 2 Moderate Democrats on the BOCC.

I see Stacy as a moderate liberal based on her comments during her Senate race that all large companies like WDW are bad for the working class.

Her other matra is that a teenager starting out at McDonald's with no experience should be paid at least $400.00 a week. It's called a living

12/14/12 @ 17:51

Comment from: Bigguns [Visitor]

Bigger Bigguns _ Did you stay up all night trying to think up a name to use on this blog?

12/14/12 @ 18:52

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

Interesting poll on Around Osceola.

Would You use Sunrail for:
4 Different Options

The early results 87% of those responding say "No" they will not ride the train.

Good article in the Gazette about the Kissimmee Transportation Center to support SunRail.

12/15/12 @ 15:14

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

Jay Wheeler has put some items on the Dec 18th School Board agenda;

Discuss honoring David Stone and John McKay.

Discuss Expulsuion Hearings

Discuss School Board Rules

Discuss Status of the Current Superintendent.

12/15/12 @ 17:47

Comment from: Insider [Visitor]

The Scott Maxwell today says:

"Jacobs tackled the last remnants of the "culture of corruption" that a grand jury had found at the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority. Against long odds, she ousted the authority's director — and rammed through ethics reforms to prevent conflicts of interest.

She also pushed for similar reforms at Orlando International Airport (even though fellow board members shot them down … suggesting they, too, need more scrutiny).

Jacobs is also one of the few local officials who has refused to keep pouring money into the bottomless trough that is the chamber of commerce and all its assorted groups.

And she generally bird-dogs county finances, knowing the details of complicated proposals better than most executives at her level."

Does any of this sound familiar on our school board?

Now Wheeler has his two buddies, funded by the Kissimmee chamber. They will reverse every ethical change passed in the last two years.

The two new members have turned a blind eye to Wheeler's corruption and bullying tactics. There is only one board member left willing to do the right thing, for the right reasons.

12/16/12 @ 07:30

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

@ Insider

Good post !

On Dec 28th we will get a good look at the new members following their new school board chairman on the 4 items listed by Cool Hand Luke.

I noticed there is an item to extend the contract of the current Superintendent for one year. Appears that the new enlightened members what to "fire" her as they search the Nation for another Super. Would this count as a firing ? Of course the Nationwide search seems to be just that except leaving Osceola county out.

12/16/12 @ 09:25

Comment from: [Member]

Insider: Unfortunately, that doesn't sound even slightly familiar.

12/17/12 @ 05:10

Comment from: Oscar [Visitor]

Andy- most everyone that continue to blog here and those that have just given up know what a liar, thief and crook Jay Wheeler is. They also know TW and KS have sold their principles for a seat on the board. It's also true the few, like yourself will overlook all the evil, corrupt actions of Wheeler.

Red John- the meeting is on the 18th

12/17/12 @ 07:50

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

Wheeler "only" violated Election Laws and paid his fine.

He has not been charged with violation of any school board laws or any other state law. If he is charged with a criminal violation he will be suspended from office by the Governor.

A new majority board will officially signal where they are going ethically Dec 18th and unless the items are continued or tabled.

12/17/12 @ 07:52

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

@ Oscar

You are right the meeting is the 18th.

My concern is how quick the 2 new board members joined with Wheeler with a vote of no confidence with the Acting Superintendent by going of Nationwide hunt rather than just Florida.

The vote was 4-1 to approve Wheeler as the Chairman.

12/17/12 @ 08:00

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

The Dallas based firm that is going to develop the Commerce project on the Judge
property employees 68,000 people on World-wide projects. 15 In the United States.

12/17/12 @ 19:08

Comment from: someone [Visitor]

I know that Soto wants A Nationwide hunt, It is his opinion that if Law Firms do it that way then the county should also.

12/17/12 @ 20:40

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

What's so great about a Nationwide hunt for the top managers and kick the locals to the curb ?

Both city managers are doing a great job. No Nationwide look.Came up through the city ranks.

Don Smallwood is a local boy and a real good attorney. No Nationwide hunt.

Don Fisher landed in the county managers seat working his way from being a director.

The School Board majority is giving up on a local person in the Superintendent's office to go on an ego trip with Wheeler Nationwide. The Chairman will add that women need not apply.

12/17/12 @ 21:43

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

The direction the new majority school board should be pretty clear after the meeting today.

Will Chairman Wheeler bail out of chairing the Expulsion Hearings ?

Carl-Have you heard if Wheeler filed a Criminal complaint against Cindy for hacking into his EMail account ?

12/18/12 @ 08:47

Comment from: jasper [Visitor]

Nation wide search for school superintendent sounds wonderful. STOP and think do you thank after checking the school board history do think anyone in there mind would come to work for Osceola county. THEY might take one look at MR I NOT CRAZY WHEELER in a straight jacket and take a DOSE of haul ass.

12/18/12 @ 09:14

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

The school board Superintendent that has served the longest under the appointed system was a local county resident when hired.

Imagine that ! No Nationwide Search ! $50,000 stayed in the school system.

12/18/12 @ 14:04

Comment from: Rachel [Visitor]

It's time that the peoples voice be heard once again. Let us vote for the superitendent of schools like we did once upon a time.Bring back MAX!

12/18/12 @ 14:33

Comment from: [Member]

Oscar - I don't overlook Wheeler's bumbling improprieties. I'd like to see a decent candidate run against him.

My point to Insider was that the picture he painted of a strong leader with integrity was not something I associate with the Osceola School Board. I assume he was suffering the vapors for Cindy, but she fell a bit short of the mark.

12/18/12 @ 16:42

Comment from: Marla L. McNear [Visitor]

Apparently not the the "majority" on the School Board care like they say they do but they should do a climate survey. Employees can give feedback on how they feel about Melba so far. I'm sure the three stooges would squelch or censor that bec all they are looking for is yet another boot-lick to cut backroom deals for them.

12/18/12 @ 20:09

Comment from: Top Serloin [Visitor]

Was unable to attend School Board meeting. Anyone knows how it went down?

12/18/12 @ 22:13

Comment from: Oscar [Visitor]

Haven't watched yet, but I heard Melba was given a 1year contract. Thanks Tom Long for fighting the other 3 guys Also heard Wheeler and Soto want morning expulsion hearing. To hell with staff, principles and working poor families.

12/19/12 @ 06:47

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

Compliments to the School Board for giving Superintendent Melba Luciano a contract until Jan 15,2014. The vote was 5-0. The weak Yes vote came from Tim and Wheeler. Soto came right out of the box stating he made an error in asking for a nationwide search. Chairman Wheeler saw the writing on Board that he was not going to supported for the nationwide search.

The time of the expulsion hearings was suggested by staff for the morning but was tabled until all the principals could weigh in.

I feel better that Tim and Soto are not going to be "parrots" for Wheeler. Tim corrected Wheeler when he lost control of a Call for the Question on the contract for Melba.

For their first real meeting it was a good one for the taxpayers.

12/19/12 @ 07:46

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

I watched the video from the school board meeting.Obvious to me that there is no "love" lost between Tim and Tom Long. Tim challenged Tom because he wanted to correct the minutes that reflected something Wheeler said that the minutes reflected otherwise. The attorney told Tim that Tom was right.
Tim then told Tom that the Board was not going back to the old days.

However I agree with "Cool Hand Luke". Neither of the 2 new members are going to let Wheeler go off on his crazy antics.WHeeler managed top praise himself many times.

The 2 school board members voted out of office gave nice concession speeches 2 years after they left.

Ken Smith encouraged the Board to give Melba a chance rather than go out on a nationwide hunt alonmg with teachers and parents.

12/19/12 @ 08:56

Comment from: Oscar [Visitor]

Cool and JB- you must have MISSED something. Did you hear Barb Horn say that another disparaging email went out? She left no doubt it was Wheeler. Meanwhile, the two new boys hung their head, too cowardly to take a stand. It's also crystal clear it was Wheeler who leaked hacking story to media, all to discgace Hartig, all after promising not to.

12/19/12 @ 09:58

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

@ Oscar

I am sure Wheeler called the press about the hacking. Quid Pro Quo for the times Cindy went to Marvin.

The "old Board" couldn't control Wheeler's get even mentally so don't expect him to change after 10 years.

I felt like throwing up as Wheeler pretended that Stone and McKay were his best buds on the Board. He even took about a verbal shot a Muse for being a poor Superintendent because he was local trying to get the Board to go on A Nationwide wild goose chase. Tim and Wheeler backed down when they saw the vote was going to be 3-2 against them.

Tim is going to be very agressive if Wheeler goes off the deep end yet he is plugged into the Chamber folks that rounded up the money for him.

12/19/12 @ 10:48

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Wheeler was all smiles when his "Father" George Shira of Harmony was allowed to berate Tom Long at the meeting.

Wheeler has established a rule as Chairman that you get 3-5 minutes to weigh into any school board member.

This is the kind of anger that resulted in the shooting at a school board meeting in the Panhandle.

George wiuld have been escorted out any other public meeting in the county.

12/19/12 @ 12:21

Comment from: Carmelo Bar [Visitor]

We should ask for a rule that allows 1.5 minutes to make a point, 1.5 minutes for a response and 30 seconds for laughter.

I think Schiro was credible; offered easily verifiable specifics.

God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board.
Mark Twain

12/19/12 @ 13:05

Comment from: watch 4 yourself [Visitor]

I am trying to watch the meeting on line. First off, Wheeler moved the agenda to praise his old buddies, Mckay and Stone and a technology piece, then tried to stop Long from moving up the Superintendent contract. He plays by his own rules. He also admitted he had a "contentious" relationship with them. Then he said he had conversations with the Superintendent which he admitted didn't go so well.

@Carmelo, watching Schiro, anyone can tell, he is always argumentative. He would not stop when directed to by the attorney. He would not stop his language. He does the same thing everytime he has addressed the board. He has shouted out from the audience. I am sure Long will not take this latest rantings laying down.

At the 86:30 minute mark Long wanted to give the floor to the Superintendent and Wheeler went on and on. What a blowhard. Wheeler would not let the motion to be discussed until the 104 minute mark. That's right, Wheeler delayed over an hour and a half allowing it to be discussed. THEN, Wheeler tried to table it AGAIN at the 116 minute mark, until the audience started the boos. In the end, Wheeler folded after his two new buddies saw the light.

12/19/12 @ 13:47

Comment from: local business [Visitor]

Saw the video. Wheeler was mad at Long for discussing contracts to out of county vendors. Long got the backing of the rest of the board and Wheeler voted against Long, the rest the board and local business owners.

12/19/12 @ 16:36

Comment from: The Sandman [Visitor]

Watching the tape of the school board meeting it appeared to me Wheeler woke up to the fact that he is way over his head as Chairman. This is the guy who has slept through most of the meetings the past 2 years.

He found out that the 2 new members are not interested to what happened in the past and want to go forward. Wheeler gets an "F" for trying to be their mentor.4-1 votes on key the good old days a month ago.

McKay looked and acted like he had been a rough road the past 2 years. Stine wanted everyone to know after all he and they did they both couldn't believe the voters canned them.

The SRO crowd was there to let the Board know they didn't want to go out for any search for a new Superintendent not to honor 2 school board members after the fact.

Give Wheeler 2 more months to implode and get replaced by Tim.

12/19/12 @ 17:42

Comment from: Mo' Money [Visitor]

Wonder when Armando is going to pay the county the money he owes for his bogus lawsuit against Mary Jane.

12/19/12 @ 17:58

Comment from: Bigguns [Visitor]

Armando paid off all of his debt last week.There was a story in the Slamtinel about it on Monday or Tuesday.

12/20/12 @ 06:24

Comment from: Mo' Money [Visitor]

@ Bigguns

Thanks for the Armando update.

12/20/12 @ 07:17

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

It was clear Tuesday night that Wheeler didn't want Melba Luciano to get the one year contract. Neither did Tim. Both reacted to the audience.

Tim stated a nationwide hunt wouldn't cost $35,000 as reported in the media but he wpuld go along for a year and if Melba doesn't work out the solution would to go outside Osceola county.

Wheeler has made it clear he doesn't want a woman at the helm.

I am sure Melba knows the real vote was a 3-2 vote in political reality. Wheeler will do everything he can to discredit her as he did with Blaine Muse. Tim stated that many of his supporters wanted a nationwide search and he would yield to the 3 firm votes for one year until 2014.

12/20/12 @ 07:38

Comment from: Mo' Money [Visitor]

Ya gotta look real close. The one person speaker wanting a national search works for Linda Goodwin and Goodwin Realty. Linda Goodwin and her friends at the Kissimmee Chamber gave Wheeler, Soto and Weisheyer heavy campaign money.

They wanted a national search to protect future campaign money, but couldn't close their eyes to everyone's wishes.

Wheeler did his best to push back the discussion by being a dictator and moving up two agenda items, then tried to not allow Long's request to move it up.

It was very clear that Weisheyer means his chamber buddies when he says "community" and not 100 plus individuals that stood up when Long asked supporters to rise.

If you watched the news, you can see how very little Wheeler truly cares about our kids when he slams the door on a news reporter, then blames the local law enforcement.

I, for one am sick to death of hearing him say he's been on the board for 10 years or how he's been there a long time. When ever he says he is championing something, it always turns out to be someone elses idea.

Wheeler has turned out to be a far worse chairman than Cindy or Barb ever were. And what was that bit about more "disparaging" emails?

12/20/12 @ 10:06

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Just think--this is Wheeler's second meeting.Only 11 more months to go !

12/20/12 @ 13:09

Comment from: Bigguns [Visitor]

Hector Romero - I would bet he has no more than 2 - 3 more meetings before he is arrested. Remember you read this and let's see what happens.

12/20/12 @ 14:29

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ Bigguns

I hope you are right. He filed fraudlent
financial campaign reports with the state 6 times--6 misdemeanors and Lawson Lamar let him go.

12/20/12 @ 17:25

Comment from: Chuckles The Clown [Visitor]

What I like about Tim is that he has a firm grasp of Robert's Rule of Order and had Wheeler bugged eye by correcting him.

Former Commissioner Shipley was good using the rules at the county.

12/21/12 @ 00:50

Comment from: Rachel [Visitor]

Belvin Perry at courthouse this morning.
Apparently he's showing Osborne and Ramirez around. Apparently he's telling them that they don't control the whole thing by themselves. Now I have heard that all the people that were given pink slips are either on vacation, sick leave or not in at all.
So the wuestion is who is doing the work? lol

12/21/12 @ 10:22

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ Rachel

Who is doing the work at the Clerk's office ? The employees.

Judge Perry explained the set-up to Malcolm too. Florida law clearly states what the Clerk does.

If there are accusations that Armando hired people based on donations or help the FDLE needs to out the rumor to rest.

I thought Beulah would be on his staff.

12/21/12 @ 11:07

Comment from: jasper [Visitor]

BEULAH deserves a job . IF an elected offical can't help out those whoo help them get elected. WHY help them get elected. MOST elected offical will not know you four years till its time for election four years later. ITS transformation time like changing from a tadpole to a frog .

12/21/12 @ 14:43

Comment from: Follow Up Question [Visitor]

I'm at a loss. Can somebody help me here? Mr. Shiro made a huge stink when the last board appointed Terry Andrews, minus Wheeler.

Why hasn't Shiro wrote another letter to the Editor attacking the entire school board for doing it again? Including his best buddy in the whole wide world, Wheeler.

12/21/12 @ 19:52

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

SHiro is a loose cannon. There is a "No Trespass" warning against him on all peoperty owned by the Harmony developers.
Goes to the Clubhouse and is told to leave etc. Many times a Deputy has to tell him to leave or be arrested.

You could see the hate spewing out of his mouth at the meeting Tuesday. Wheeler was really enjoying it !

Shiro is the type of person that the TV
heads are talking about coming into a public building and wasting everyone.

The School Board should get a "No Trespass" order against him.

12/21/12 @ 22:22

Comment from: someone [Visitor]

Osceola Co. school board member tells WFTV safety is not district's responsibility

This must be Wheelers best yet.

12/21/12 @ 23:17

Comment from: Thor [Visitor]

Saw the video, weeler is kinda strange. thank the lord carmelo will end this madness in 2014.

12/22/12 @ 02:34

Comment from: Avid Reader [Visitor]

I agree with those above that recognize Shiro is a bubble off center. First, he says he never raises his voice, while raising his voice. Then, he claims he was never argumentative with others, while he interupts and argues with the Board attorney. Oh yeah, he's the poor innocent one that's been trespassed in Harmony for being confrontational.

Shiro, along with Richardson and McCland will NEVER point out Wheeler is/was wrong for all those violations.

Read in the paper how Wheeler's idea of local law enforcement help actually came from Orange County Mayor Jacobs.

Read in the paper how our high schools are all A&B AFTER Wheeler said Hartig and the rest of the Board was ruining education.

Read the paper to see if there is even one single item on the Osceola Legislative Effort (OLE) that helps local education. Being NONE, Wheeler and the two new board members will vote to continue to give over $60,000 of our education tax dollars to Kissimmee chamber folks.

Watch the board meetings on line to see how Wheeler does exactly what he blamed Hartig of doing. Watch as he says, "I appointed you superintendent," When in fact, it was a 5-0 vote.

How long before these two new guys get it the Wheeler will never change and have/will use them?

I agree with Mo'. If the audience would all make a collective moan the next time he said he has been on the board for 10 years, maybe he will get the hint.

12/22/12 @ 10:44

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

@ Avid Reader

Excellent comment on point !

"OLE" is useless but a way to funnel money to the Kissimmee Chamber.Another area the County Auditor has been told is "Hands Off " with the Osceola BOCC.

If the School Board wants a good lobbyist hire one in Tallahassee that lives in the city for the wasted $60,000 spent with "OLE".

12/22/12 @ 11:45

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Reading Letter to the Editor in the Gazette Wheeler feels that as Chairman he is going to set the agenda for the schools as he has 2 "pocket" votes.

Didn't work out too well with the contract given to Melba as Tim did a 180
on Wheeler and Sota just jumped off the Wheeler ship.

The Board wanted to make all the computer improvments that Wheeler writes about. The problem ? No money. It appears that Wheeler has found the money that he remained silent about during the budget workshops.

He makes it very clear there are only 3 members on the school board in the letter and that he will establish what is important to him as the "Leader" of the school board.

12/22/12 @ 12:23

Comment from: Spell Check [Visitor]

Spell check is a great tool. While it will help, it is not perfect. EVERY time Wheeler puts out his rhetoric, spell check does not recognize his constant mistake in the proper use of the word "too."

He never learned the difference in "to," "too," and "two," which he should have learned in the second grade. It's in the 3rd from last paragraph, which reads, "Right now the Osceola School Board must invest in technology upgrades district wide to."
Also "highspeed" is two words, not one.

Can't help his slight dig at the two old board members at the 2nd to last paragraph. Guess neither Tim nor Kelvin will hold Wheeler accountable.

12/22/12 @ 12:47

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

@ Spell Check

You hit the nail on the head. In writing Wheeler declares Tim and Soto are his own "lap dogs" to do the Chairman's bidding against the other members.

12/22/12 @ 16:02

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

Interesting that the ONLY HS that FELL a grade was in uh--whose district??????

PS Wheeler has done NOTHING about the most overcrowded school in the county in his district FRE.

I wanted to go to a meeting and say "here is the student code of conduct my child got handed"... and then tear it in half saying it means nothing based on the vote of the SB a couple of meetings ago.

I guess the disparaging e-mails will only result in action if W & S are attacked. Then somehow they will cross the "1st amendment rights."

Money in the system??? Union says the SB is not discussing anything about raises until they see if state court overturns 3% pension hike contribution. So if they state overturns it --the likes of Wheely thinks that is a raise??? It's one thing to say "we just don't have money" but don't say that's a raise!

Kudos to TL for dignity, decorum, manners and content. SHAME on you BH for being and sounding like such a dolt and not even standing behind your own vote and principles you claim. Say a simpleton line about the children one more time with no content- no insight, no apparent grasp of what is going on, and I will thorw up.

12/22/12 @ 22:51

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

Avid Reader,

You are a man/woman of assumptions. I can only guess that you don't really know me for you to make such bizarre comments as you have. I have definitely spoken out against Wheeler when I think he is wrong. For one thing, I cannot stand his personal email address. I think it is unprofessional. I was also disappointed that Tim gave him an opportunity to be the Chair based on the condition that Wheeler behave himself. Walking out of meetings, slinging his head back in boredom, and his general attitude towards the rest of the board have been an embarassment to the community. If I were a parent of a current student, I wouldn't want my child watching the videos unless I prefaced it with, "this it not how you behave."

Instead, I think Jay should have been given an opportunity to prove that he can behave himself for a year, and then an opportunity to be Chair. I am still really shocked by Tim's statements. That's like telling a 16 year old who stole a car, "Okay, now we are not going to punish you as long as you promise not to steal another one. And if you don't, then it will all be okay." But I am starting to think I just live in another world with different standards.

And the use of "to", "two", and "too" as mentioned above. I must admit, it drives me crazy, to, or is that two, or is that too? =) I am a grammar snob, but in the world of spell-check and low education funding, I know I'm going to have to get past it and realize we live in a world where phonetics rule instead.

The difference with Jay Wheeler is the fact that I can post these comments on this website, and if I were to see him later today in public, he would treat me with respect. If he is mad, he won't go around talking about me behind my back. He will tell me what he thinks, and then it will be over. In that respect, I actually think Jay Wheeler behaves very much in a respectful, adult manner.

As for the people in his district, I rarely hear bad things. I just spoke to a friend the other day who told me a story about a pretty important issue at her daughter's school. She sent an email to all of the board members asking for their support, and she got one response back -- from Jay of course. And he helped her. That's what people want. The majority of the public doesn't watch the board meetings or observe Jay's behavior with other board members. They know how he treats them as parents and citizens, and they greatly appreciate it. He knows who votes for him, and it's not many people on this blog, and it's not the people sitting on the board with him. And quite honestly, those people that vote for him are the people he is supposed to represent. We have way too many politicians that forget that.

12/23/12 @ 06:17

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

I have had Personal interaction with JW and know people who do on a regular basis from his pop-ins where he fails to follow visitor protocol. There are specific people who have made it clear to him NOT to come to their classroom or interact wit them. That is a fact.

I have also spoken with people who get the exact same JW as he is at a Board meeting. He asks what do you think of something and ARGUES with you when you don't agree and no matter YOUR expertise and education, only he knows.

DO not kid yourself Stacy with these "I heard from someone..stories..." EVERY Board member is responsive, but the difference is that they don't tell people to come to a meeting to tout it or self-proclaim it, OR more importantly KNOW that it is not for them most often to intercede. There is protocol!that JW could care less about.

JW stated that the days of intimidation are over--when I heard that I swore he was doing a meaculpa but it was directed at CH. Yet if you don't think JW will at least attempt to have retribution if you speak out against him than I have some swampland I'd like to sell you. Fortunately many of us are not intimidated by weasels and people who think they are above it all.

Finally, the WORST statement made above is that of "those people that vote for him are the people he is supposed to represent." Ah yess --the Mitt Romney logic, " I'm Representing ONLY those that voted for me." Whether someone voted or NOT, and no matter who voted for you, you represent alllllll the citizens. Too many politicians forget THAT!

12/23/12 @ 09:11

Comment from: Avid Reader [Visitor]

Finally, FINALLY!

@Stacy- You finally came out publicly with your opinion against Wheeler's actions. Good for you. Readers here and in the County have had to assume, because this is the first time you have made a statement in regards to his spelling, email address(?) and antics at board meetings.

What many have said to me is that you have never made any statement regarding Wheeler's elections violations, that have carried over from his 2006 campaign, into his 2010 campaign. You never said publicly if the Board was correct in the 3 censures and blocking his emails due to rude statements.

Glad to see you come forward to say Wheeler should have not been made Chair, especially since he hasn't proved he could stop and in fact continues his poor judgement at meetings and on the news.

I believe you are mistaken in your opinion that Wheeler forgives and forgets. You must have witnessed his actions over the last 10 years, especially if your on his email list (since you indicate such).

It's not a Board member's duty to micro-manage employment requests, sport team placement, or out-of-zone requests. Of course they would appreciate it. An example would be vender contracts and campaign contributions.

So, without getting too deep, thanks for finally coming forward with a public statement against Wheeler's unprofessional antics. Now, if you have any influence on the new Board members, please encourage them to stand up against Wheeler's rude actions since becoming Chair, as they stated prior to voting him in.

And finally, I am glad to see your in agreement with Long on at least two votes, the Chairmanship and Superintendent. You may find you are in agreement in most areas, if you can stop listening to Wheeler.

12/23/12 @ 09:27

Comment from: [Member]

I assume that I am the Richardson listed above as some kind of supporter of Jay Wheeler. Let me clear that up -- I do not support Jay Wheeler, and I would like to see a good candidate run against him.

I suppose I could have given the impression that I supported Wheeler in the past because the issues of the day boiled down to Hartig vs. Wheeler. Let's just say that if my position on Wheeler is neutral or worse, my opinion of Hartig is substantially lower.

Sometimes Wheeler gets it right, and I believe he actually cares. Sometimes he is petty, misdirected and plainly wrong. Our kids deserve better but it isn't the worst performance I've seen from a Board member.


12/23/12 @ 09:48

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

I actually don't agree with the censures against Jay Wheeler. What did they accomplish? More diversion and division. When you have a child that starts screaming in the grocery store, you have a few choices. One is ignoring them until they wear themselves out. Another is to scream and yell back, thus encouraging the behavior with attention. I think the second approach is more effective, which is why I won't be reacting with angst towards tselliot's comments above - why encourage poor behavior?

To clarify a point above, you are correct tselliot, and when I said the people that voted for him, I should have also included the people that did not vote for him. I was referring to all of his constituents.

As for making "public comments", I don't really think I have any responsiblity to state a public opinion about Jay Wheeler or any other public official. I'm not sure why Andy Richardson would either. I speak my mind when I choose to do so, but I can't imagine why I would have any obligation to do so. Freedom of speech is not mandatory last time I checked.

I have never been dishonest about how I feel about Jay Wheeler. I don't think anyone on this blog has ever contacted me to ask how I feel about Jay Wheeler. I have told Jay Wheeler when I don't agree with him, but that is because I think it is better to confront someone with an issue you take with them than to gossip anonymously on a blog about it. But that's just me. I find Jay easy to talk to and I think he listens to me. He lets me know when he disagrees with me, and I would rather him do that than just lie to me, like other local politicans have in the past.

At least I use my real name on this blog. As far as I am concerned, Bill Newman, Bill Nagy, and most of the other OCBTA members have not made any public comments about Jay Wheeler because I don't know who they are on this blog, and I have never witnessed them saying anything. So, I can only assume based on the logic above that they fully support him. Of course, that's based on the logic above, not the logic I actually use.

Just one more point to tselliot, you seem to be arguing the point that people in Jay Wheeler's district don't like him. I am simply stating what my experience with people have been. If you all really don't want him to win his election, then it will do you no good to hide your head in the sand and believe that everyone dislikes him as much as you do. How do you think Obama won?

12/23/12 @ 10:44

Comment from: Insider [Visitor]

WOW! A double header! Nice to see Andy's public comments as to Wheeler being "petty, misdirected and plainly wrong." I agree "a good candidate run against him."

Have to agree with Avid that SM never came out publicly in opposition to Wheeler's antics. Too bad she didn't when he was constantly attacking the Board. Too bad no one will the next time he does. It takes a backbone to stand up to a spoiled bully.

Wheeler is a master at propaganda. I copied this; "The propagandist tries to stimulate others to accept without challenge his own assertions, or to act as he wants them to do. The idea of using suggestion or stimulation as a propaganda device is that it will lead a public to accept a proposition even though there are not logical grounds for accepting it. The propagandist usually tries to side-step critical reactions from his audience, and therefore suggestion is one of his most important tools."

These has been more than evident when Wheeler stands, points his finger, raises his voice and says Hartig and the rest of the Board was ruining education, as was pointed out above.

"A second propaganda tool is only a subtler form of suggestion. This tool is the use of hints, insinuations, or indirect statements."

Wheeler does this every time he says he's been on the Board for 10 years and writes all the people he met in the name of education, (even though it is for his job at Con-Ed).

A good example of that was his no comment, comment that Hartig is old news that needs legal help as well as medical help.

I can agree Hartig did many, many things wrong, but Wheeler pushed her to it and is just as bad, if not worse.


12/23/12 @ 11:02

Comment from: Miss you guys. [Visitor]

Wheeler who? LOL. Soto was never on the Wheeler band wagon. Many of you just claimed he was. Soto like many of us believes Wheeler is touched in the head and does not exactly acknowledge that he owes the Chamber. Sorry Chamber it looks like you took a hit this last election and will again…………Times are changing, people are watching you and most of you are long in the tooth.


12/23/12 @ 11:21

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

Hmmm- your two options "When you have a child that starts screaming in the grocery store, you have a few choices. One is ignoring them until they wear themselves out. Another is to scream and yell back, thus encouraging the behavior with attention." Or the third and most effective option that also does not ruin everyone elses shopping/dining experience and shows you know how to handle this situation as an adult is to without anger remove the child from the environment, explain to them in private that their behavior was not acceptable and that there would be a consequence for their actions as it's not the first time they were told how to behave. Too bad an "adult" (term used erroneously for JW), could not change and maybe because CH and BH never removed him other than constant "you are out of order and we will remove" and never did with continuous disregard with every time they said it. What we know is worse is he would never have stopped anyway, but that doesn't mean you just let them "scream till they get tired."

Idle threats never work and empower those that act like that.

12/23/12 @ 11:35

Comment from: [Member]

Insider - why don't you reveal yourself? You can't be Cindy because you write too well.

\and you would've gotten away with it, if not for those meddling kids... and their dog!

12/23/12 @ 11:35

Comment from: Alfred E. Newman [Visitor]

@ St Cloud Resident

I didn't check back since we were on a Wheeler kick. My statement from a week ago was

"In Florida alone 12,300 walmart workers and their dependents are on Medicaid."

Not the entire US like you misquoted.

"Medicaid is a state program in which you state 12,300 worker qualify working for Wal-Mart nationwide. That means 245 people working for Wal-Marts in Florida are on Medicaid."

Looks like Grayson may frequent this blog because he just publicly came out with the same information provided and channel 13 fact checked it and found it correct.

12/23/12 @ 11:49

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Jay Wheeler disagreed with me over the failed Signature project. Jay used my political donation for his personal use but I knew the only real income he had was from the school board and underneath the table so he could eat.
Donations to a campaign are not considered vote buying. A great political myth.

After our disagreement over teacher Housing projects Wheeler would say "Hello" but that was it. You are with Wheeler 100% or not.

I voted for Nancy Gemskie after voting for Wheeler twice before. It was the Celebration voters that took him to victory.

I think he dropped out the County Commission race for one reason-donations dried up.

12/23/12 @ 11:51

Comment from: St Cloud Resident [Visitor]

@ Alfred E Newman

Thank you for the correction concerning Wal-Mart and Medicaid. 12,300 people in Florida that work at Walmart are on Medicaid as your number. That comes to
208 people o average in each of the counties that actually have a Walmart in their county.Walmarts in Osceola county wrote sales tax checks to the State of Florida for over $80 Million in 2011.

Maybe you can secure the number of people
of people on Medicaid at WDW ?

12/23/12 @ 12:08

Comment from: [Member]

A single person can't get by on a full time, minimum wage job. That is decent money for a kid who lives at home and is just starting in the job market, but not for someone living on their own. You can't have a roof, food, insurance, and access to public transport at that income level.

As long as we pretend that minimum wage is sufficient for anyone with real world responsibilities, shame on us!

Should we raise the minimum wage? Make insurance as cheap as possible for individuals (universal healthcare for free)? At the least, crack down on employers who hire two part timers instead of one full timer just so they can evade paying for benefits (and other tricks of the trade)?

Which of the above paths is least restrictive to having a vibrant economy?

12/23/12 @ 12:44

Comment from: Nobody [Visitor]

The walmart info used is sort of old. Grayson was at a walmart on black Friday encouraging people to protest and employees to strike.

Walmart supporters counter with the wages are low for the greater good so the savings are passed to the working poor that shop at walmart. This seems like vicious circle to me.

It causes all the stores to seek out cheaper goods to compete with the mega corporation causing more import of cheap Chinese and South American goods by others.

Disney just chooses to be cheap and pay as little as they can and in some cases bringing in and dorming younger workers on an “Internship” Program from around the world and subtracting the cost of living off the top they are able to pay the “interns” less than minimum wage. At least that was how it was explained to me years ago. It sort of reminded me of back when people were paid in credit to be spent at the company store. So long as Disney uses the “intern” program they can hire less full time employees and fewer benefits. Anyone ever heard of vista Bank? It was a Disney run bank that "interns" were encouraged to use. The only way they could receive direct deposit.

Disney seems to have no trouble raising the admittance fee but not sharing the profits with its low level employees and yes part timing the work out like walmart and so many others.

Have a great Christmas.

12/23/12 @ 13:56

Comment from: Oscar [Visitor]

If I understand this SM feels it's better to ignore state statute, board policy and rule violations with the idea Wheeler will tire out. In his first 8 years, he didn't tire out. Only politicians take that stand, in case the focus comes back on them in the future. This appears to be the same attitude TW and KS have.

Imagine yourself out dining. Next to you is a family with one child screaming and throwing food in your direction for over an hour. The parents do nothing and your afraid to say anything. Then you witness this same child stealing a wallet sitting on a nearby table. In Stacy's world, it' better to do nothing, even though that child, unchecked grows up to be a felon of some kind.

Our society is falling apart just for this reason. Nobody wants to take a stand. They witness crimes and say nothing. It all starts with what "leaders" are willing to allow. Most everyone believes politicians are crooked just for this reason. It takes courage to stand up knowing your the only one. It's weakness to stand by and do nothing.

12/23/12 @ 14:31

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

@ Andy

The living wage for a single person in Central Florida would be $10.10 an hour.

12/23/12 @ 16:56

Comment from: someone [Visitor]

FYI 40 years ago minimum wage was $3.15 per hour if it had kept up with inflation it would be at about $11.00 or more today. Things started to go down hill back in the 1980 when the GOP got full control and we started to give the rich.

12/23/12 @ 17:19

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

@ Someone

The Democrats controlled the Congress and the Presidents Office in the first 2 years of the Obama Admistration.

What kept the Democrats from raising the
minimum wage to the $11.00 an hour as you suggest ?

12/23/12 @ 19:47

Comment from: someone [Visitor]


Lobbyist,who else. Nothing gets done without the input of high payed lobbyist.

12/23/12 @ 20:19

Comment from: [Member]

@Ghostdog - No Congress would raise minimum wage while businesses are cutting thousands of employees. That's the kind of hit to the bottom line that needs to be done when revenues are on the upswing. This year looks like a better time for a move like that.

12/23/12 @ 20:49

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

@ Andy

I agree with you on the wage issue. However "Someone" is out of touch with the real world when it comes to pay.

12/23/12 @ 22:07

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

An employer pays using the market value based on supply and demand.

In the county an Professional Engineer can be hired for 25%-35% less today than in
2008. Every county job draws 75 to 100 applicants or more in the non-professional openings.

The min wage was established as a bench mark for entry level jobs. Most employeers start higher-not much-but higher again based on the market value.

There has been no groundswell of people getting out of Central Florida yet thousands of jobs have disappeared yet more people come here looking for work.
The "Mom and Pop" motels are in a boom cycle with $200 plus a week rentals at almost 100% occupancy every week.

The famous Walmart Greeter ? They have been disappering from Walmart stores as Walmart is doing away with the position.

The famous statement about quitting high school and get a job at the city digging ditches ? Since 1984 a high school or GED diploma is an requirement.

Florida employers have always hired based on the state marketplace.

12/24/12 @ 09:02

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ Andy

The min wage has always been for service type jobs. The new term is the living wage that is considered to be $10-12 an hour in Florida.

Get into the work force and move away from the min wage has always been the goal. Seems like the Democrats and Republicans agree with the original concept.

Your idea that every job in Florida should be a 40 hour job with full benefits would be nice. Not practical
but a nice thought.

12/24/12 @ 10:12

Comment from: someone [Visitor]

Back in the 1970 it took only one person to make a paycheck that could support a family on 4, and CEO's made only 25% to 30% of what the lowest made, then greed really set in with them. Now it take 2 paychecks to support a family of 4 (and not that good) and most have lost all health and retirement wile the CEO's are make 400% to 500% of what the lowest make. The GOP have done more damage to small business with the support on Business like Home Depot, Walmart, and such.

12/24/12 @ 14:43

Comment from: Alfred E. Newman [Visitor]

@ someone

Look into the US Chamber of Commerce. They have become one of the real problems on the national and local levels.

12/24/12 @ 15:13

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

How is the US Chamber of Commerce a threat to the United States ?

How is the Kissimmee-Osceola Chamber of Commerce a threat to our county ?

12/24/12 @ 15:59

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]


How is Walmart,Home Depot,Target and Lowes a threat to Osceola county ?

Do only Repubicans Shop at those stores that make them so evil ?

I suppose the county commission shouldn't have changed from Industrial Zoning where the Loop Stores are to Commercial Retail Planned Development.

Thank goodness the BOCC was made up of enlightened Democrats that welcomed Disney's jobs. Than Democrats got the voters to approve the Tourist tax to get tourists to the county.Money that was coming from local property taxes.

It was Mayor Gant-Democrat- that pushed the city commission to buy into necular
power in the 1970's.

12/24/12 @ 16:15

Comment from: [Member]

@Hector - I'm not suggesting that every job should be 40 hrs a week and carry benefits, but I have a problem when companies purposely limit an employees hours to avoid paying bennies. Happens all the time. Doesn't make it right.

@Red John - The US Chamber of Commerce is a lobbying organization for Fortune 100 firms, and nothing more. Does that make them a threat? No, but it means that 99% of what they say is horse manure. I put them on the same level as The Enquirer, but I'm sure they wear better suits.

12/24/12 @ 16:36

Comment from: someone [Visitor]

Just keep the blinders on, all you have to do is what the look has cost 192 in kissimmee, just count all the vacant stores, at one time I counted over 110 vacant (that was from I4 to the turnpike). All you have to do is a little research to see the cost in family owned stores that had to be closed because of big box stores. fixing 192 would have been a better use of taxpayers money. As it is right now a lot of the Hotels on 192 are housing homeless most Tourist stay out by WDW.
Just on the problem with WalMart it took me less then 5min to find.

3. Matt Byrne, “Walmart disputes claims by new Somerville coalition”, Boston Globe, 11 Nov 2011
4. Srikanth Parachuri, Joel A.C. Baum, and David Potere. “The Wal-Mart Effect: Wave of Destruction or Creative Destruction?” Economic Geography 85.2 (2009): 209-236.
5. Kenneth E. Stone, Georgeanne Artz, and Albery Myles. “The Economic Impact of Wal-Mart Supercenters on Existing Businesses in Mississippi.” Mississippi University Extension Service. 2002. www.Wal- ; O. Capps, and J.M, Griffin. “Effect of a Mass Merchandiser on Traditional Food Retailers.” Journal of Food Distribution 29 (February 1998): 1-7; Vishal P. Singh, Karsten T. Hansen, and Robert C. Blattberg. “Impact of a Wal-Mart Supercenter on a Traditional Supermarket: An Empirical Investigation.” February 2004.; Kusum L. Ailawadi, Jie Zhang, Aradhna Krishna, and Michael W. Kruger. “When Wal-Mart Enters: How Incumbent Retailers React and How This Affects Their Sales Outcomes.” Journal of Marketing Research 47.4 (August 2010).
6. Martin Boarnet, and Randall Crane. “The Impact of Big Box Grocers on Southern California: Jobs, Wages, and Municipal Finances.” Orange County Business Council. September 2009.
7. Julie Davis, David Merriman, Lucia Samayoa, Brian Flanagan,Ron Baiman, and Joe Persky. “The Impact of an Urban Wal-Mart Store on Area Businesses: An Evaluation of One Chicago Neighborhood’s Experience”, Center for Urban Research and Learning, Loyola University. December 2009, pg 17.
8. Thinking Outside the Box: A report on independent merchants and the New Orleans economy, September, 2009. The Urban Conservancy in partnership with Civic Economics.
9. “An Assessment of the Effectiveness and Fiscal Impacts of the Use of Local Development Incentives in the St. Louis Region” East-West Gateway Council of Governments; Jan 2011
10. Mom-and-Pop Meet Big Box: Complements or Substitutes?" U.S. Census Bureau - Center for Economic Studies. 9/1/09.

12/24/12 @ 18:40

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Re: Someone

Wal-Mart didn't close every store on US 192. The majority were souvenir stores.

What bahppened to all the downtown stores in Orlando that moved to the Malls way before Wal-Mart came to town. Maybe the Commissioners should have not allowed the Loop ?

I will shop at Wal-Mart and the Loop and Lanier's Downtown. Then eat at
the Catfish Place Saturday. Going to the Ice Show at Gaylord's Hotel-a member of the Chamber of Commerece.

I guess you blame Publix for killing all the Mom and Pop food stores too.

12/24/12 @ 19:13

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Why did all the stores relocate close to the Wal-Mart store in Saint Cloud ?

How about the growth of the Publix Center across the street ?

Same with the Home Depot Center.

2009 was a good year for anti Walmart stories about main street stores disappearing. Time Magazine this summer had a story that debucked the Union led myth.

The people in Osceola county don't seem to have a problem with Walmart coming to the county.

12/25/12 @ 00:01

Comment from: someone [Visitor]

That is why a store like Whole Foods will not come to Osceola County, you like cheep Chinese goods over USA goods. This county is so up the ass of Big business that we do not know what a real small business is. Why does this county need 10 racetracks, 5 supper Wal-Marts, and i believe we are up to 8 publix at this point when you look at our population and compare it to Orange county, Orange has a bigger population and does not have as many Racetracks or Wal-Marts. The big question is who in Osceola county is making money with all of the new Racetracks because it will not be the people in this county as you can not make a living working for any of them.

12/25/12 @ 12:23

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ Someone

Who is being forced to work at Racetrac ?

There are 5 Walmarts and 8 Publix stores in Osceola county because they make a profit. Then not being a business owner you are not aware of what making a profit is all about.

Tell me retail store in Central Florida that sells nothing but " Made In America " items.You don't seem to have a problem with Mexican,Korea and Japan items. Ever been to Dollar General ?

12/25/12 @ 16:54

Comment from: ts elliot [Visitor]

While I agree with someone on several issues he posts about here, he misses the mark on why so many stores open. They wouldn't if they didn't make a profit.

I know W-mart used to drive small mom/pop biz out..often by selling loss leaders (at or below cost products where noone could compete and when they went out of biz, wm just raised the prices on them)...and of course wm is so big they can tell vendors what they will pay... BUT objectively, why should I pay more to a mom/pop who cant compete at such higher prices. WHo may be out of biz and not be around to honor a return? WHy should I pay gas to drive to 5 diff stores when I can get groceries, paint, a t-shirt, some garden stuff all in one stop. I have to count my $$ too. BUT I will gladly go to HD, Aldi, Big Lots, Dollar tree, if I am not sacrificing price or a heartbeat. Just remember HD for instance is no great defender of worker rights.

12/25/12 @ 18:10

Comment from: Well [Visitor]

@ ts elliot

It’s that mindset that destroyed the American lifestyle we had at one time vowed to protect.

12/25/12 @ 20:42

Comment from: Marla L. McNear [Visitor]

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night....and a wonderful, blessed, meaningful new year :)

12/25/12 @ 21:16

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

@ Well

What lifestyle did we vow to protect ?

12/25/12 @ 22:49

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

@ Ghostdog

Maybe it was the vow to not open stores on Sunday ? Maybe it was the vow that Barbershops had to close on Thursday ?
Maybe it was the vow that beer could not be purchased on Sunday ?

12/25/12 @ 23:15

Comment from: someone [Visitor]

Try this, the only reason that the business make the insane profits that they do in that each pays their employees so low a wage and little to no benefits. It has shown time and time again that the people at the top will keep their profits at the cost to the people who are the real ones who do all the real work to earn the profits in the first place.

in my view you are Un-American and Un-Human if you think treating the people of this country in this way is right and just.

12/25/12 @ 23:31

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ Someone

You don't have a clue what you are writing about that every CEO and every Fortune 500 company pays slave wages with no benefits. Every large company that has the "insane" wages are approved by the stockholders-people that have put money into the company.

12/26/12 @ 08:57

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

@ Someone

Fidel Castro would agree with your assessment of the "Free Enterprise " system in the United States. "Viva the Enslaved Workers Of America ! "

12/26/12 @ 11:20

Comment from: OK [Visitor]

'Having read most of the comments on this post, I did not see one which fundamentally addressed the basic reason why predatory retailers like Wal-Mart succeed in reducing their competition in this country.

In 19th century America, as the country was coming out of the setback of the Civil War, it nonetheless grew its economy in leaps and bounds by building its industries and employing American labor.

At that time, the US government assisted in helping America achieve and maintain a high standard of living for American workers by following the philosophy of what Abraham Lincoln did. Instead of importing steel rails for American railroads from Britain, Lincoln said it would make more sense to build them in the United States, and impose a tariff on all imported goods to keep the distinction that with tariffs maintained at water's edge, no foreign company or American company off-shoring its labor abroad could make a better return on investment, because the import tariffs would protect American industries at home, and the healthy remuneration of American workers.

If America ever wishes to get back on its feet economically, it will have to repudiate American companies located abroad and their foreign-made goods -- by placing a tariff on their imports into this country. If no American company has an obligation to be patriotic. Only the US government can maintain the markets in this country by upholding a higher standard of living than in most third-world countries where their labor is paid peanuts by comparison.

Again, only the US government can impose the necessary tariffs to bring prosperity back to this country. 'Don't want to talk about import tariffs on foreign-made goods for the American market? Then wait for the United States to economically collapse, aided and abetted by foreign-labor loving American owners as Wal-Mart epitomizes, who are about as patriotic to America as any foreign head of state. This is why protection of the country's national interest lies with the US government, but not with private-sector commercial organizations, whose only need is to concern themselves with their bottom lines.

If the US government turns a blind eye towards foreign cheap labor and offers no protection of the American people who would only occupy domestic jobs, by having import tariffs on foreign-made goods -- then the country will progressively lose all of its manufacturing base, as has been happening to America over three decades now.

The current situation of desperation during the economic depression we've arrived at is emblematic of benign neglect by the US Congress, which has obviously been taken over by fascism with large corporate bribes of payola.

Thus Congress has wholesale abandoned any semblance of faithfulness to former American principles of sovereignty and its once high standard of living, as was prior enjoyed as compared to the rest of the world. Kiss America goodbye; it's over and done. You can stick a fork in it.

12/26/12 @ 11:25

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@ Well-- your mentality is the same that fails to KNOW that the constitution is a living breathing document. All this "in my day" and "back when I was"...get over it--times change, technology changes lives, rock and roll is not the devils work and leaving prayer out of school is a GOOD thing. I know and understand corporate greed but that truth is as true as knowing small biz is not overtaxed,, knowing exactly what determines a small biz. Objectivity to the overall advantage and disadvantages is where clarity happens, not in all this side or all that side is bad. I just came from downtown St. the day after x-mas it's a ghost town with stores that are there NOT open!!!! How the hell do you run a biz and not be open today or Sunday's! and the proof of me being right---for rent/out of biz constantly. Don't blame Wmart for every chump that thinks they want to work for themselves and hasn't a clue about inventory, accounts payable and receivable, merchandising, advertising, etc. This will always be a yahoo downtown with that mentality.

12/26/12 @ 11:34

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@OK. Just got to read yours after sending mine. Your point is accurate but I will make this important addition. Clearly cheap labor results in a less expensive product (not always a cheaper product in quality- there is enough of that here and elsewhere), so the question is do we bring manufacturing back here at a high consumer cost? My thinking is yes, because if nothing else it increases employment. After that it is the individual who deserves a LIVING wage that determines how they live and how much they save. Point is well taken that many corps do NOT share profits with employees that make them those profits. Do they buy steak and organic foods or chicken? Do they shop at a stores such as at Millennia or?? Do they buy a gift at Harry & Davids for $$24/lb or make something or buy from a local biz? We are a country of excess, materialistic, need the item the minute it comes out, have to pay $10 for a movie in a theater instead of waiting to rent it at home and when at the theater pay $7 for a popcorn cus you cant keep from eating for 2 hours.

I'm not saying and believe in helping those who through no fault of their own have been hurt, but don't have a kid if you cant afford it (forget what may happen down the line) and then don't have 2-3-4 kids. Dont buy more house than you can afford because THINGS HAPPEN. I am probably considered in the top 25% of people in this country wealth-wise. That sounds good till you realize I am far from wealthy but the standard is down...yes from corporate greed and why I voted for the right person who won AND from yes irresponsible people as well. There is enough blame to go around.

12/26/12 @ 11:49

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ Ok

If America "Is Done" like you state it is what country are you in or headed for ?

12/26/12 @ 12:45

Comment from: someone [Visitor]

For some of you I would like to use some very descriptive words but I will keep it clean. If you want to see how bad things are read this article that I have attached the URL for. It shows you how the public education is being screwed while making "virtual" schooling look so good and how the school systems are pushing students into "attending them.

now tell us that this country is not screwed up to the point of destruction by the same people who say they are so patriotic all in the name of greed.

12/26/12 @ 13:55

Comment from: WAKE UP! [Visitor]

NEW BOARD MEMBERS- Your not fooling anyone. We know your bought and paid for.

WAKE UP! JW says safety is number 1, BUT he was willing to terminate bus drivers and mechanics, sell our buses, then hire a private company to bus our kids by hiring back the drivers for 70% of their previous wages. WAKE UP- HE TRIED!

WAKE UP! JW says safety is number 1, BUT, if your willing to throw a few thousand into his campaign fund, he will fight to the bitter end to GIVE district land to a developer, to build apartments, on a 2 land failed road and add 800+ daily trips past 3 schools.

WAKE UP! JW says education is number 1, BUT if your willing to throw a couple thousand his way in contributions, you can get your uniform company an exclusive contract to sell uniforms to charter school kids. WAKE UP- IT HAPPENED!

WAKE UP! JW says he will stop yelling, walking out of meetings, sending stupid emails and saying dumb things on the news. Will the new board members do anything? NEVER! He's still acting a fool on the news and according to BH, he's still sending out stupid emails.

12/26/12 @ 14:14

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ Someone

Would be a person from the far political left spector to link an item about former Gov Jeb Bush and schools.

Your gloom and doom comments about America make sense after reading the leftist blog. Thanks !

12/26/12 @ 14:56

Comment from: LMAO [Visitor]

@ Kissimmee Old Timer

That is hilarious a conservative type calling a lefty gloom and doom. Where you been for the last 12 years? Your party eats, breaths and lives gloom and doom. ROTFL

12/26/12 @ 16:13

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]



12/26/12 @ 18:01

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]


The last 12 years I have been in Kissimmee watching a the city and county grow and then growth stop to a crawl due to the recession.

Never did I say that Ameria is finished . Never did I say that every CEO in every large company like Disney is the enmemy of the people.

I disagree with the Republic stand on the budget and the stall by the Senate leadership.

The link provided is proud of their left leaning ink. I disagree with it and their followers.

I have disagreed with the statements that everyone in the work force should start out with a job paying $10 and hour in Osceola county.

For the most part every the elected official on Boards are moderates based on the 5-0 budget approvals in our county.

12/26/12 @ 18:40

Comment from: St Cloud Resident [Visitor]

@ tselliot

Retail shop owners for the past 20 years have trioed to stay open on Sunday and have late hours but didn't work. Same as Kissimmee.

Kissimmee's Downtown's retail shuts down at 6 pm and none open on Sunday. Restaurants are open on Sunday and at night.

Store owners know their is no market to stay open. Remember when SC tried to become an Antique Store Center in the late 1990's ? All agreed to stay open Saturday and some on Sunday. Lasted 3 years. The largest Antique store in Kissimmmee tried Sunday and staying open on Friday and Saturday nights for 2 years. Didn't cover the help and the utilities.

Name a city with a population of 45,000
that has a downtown with retail stores open with the same hours as a Mall.

I have relatives in Lakeland and drive through Haines City,Auburndale and Winter Haven on Sunday coming back to SC. Stores closed. Open on Monday thru Saturday for the most part.

Except for the nightclubs Downtown Orlando darkens after 6 and Sunday & Saturday is a good time to go to Lake Eola Park or the museum during the day.

12/27/12 @ 08:47

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ To Selliot

You wrote that people that deserve a living wage should get it ?

How would you create a "living wage" for
only those that deserve it ? The min wage is across the board. After that employeers use "you deserve" more based on performance.

Advocates for a "living wage" point out that the price would be $10.10 an hour in 2012 in Florida for any job.

The "Living Wage " is the new min wage yet Congress nor the President have it on their legislative menus.

12/27/12 @ 10:18

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@ st Cloud resident--- I read today that the city is going to pay $12,000!!!!! to study why downtown isn't a place that draws or keeps biz. For my 2 cents you will get the answer. First off comparing what was for 20 years is exactly why it never grows. You have a massive growth in population the last 10-15, and from all walks of life and cultures..but it will never be at the socio-economic level of Winter park and they shouldn't try to be. That said, you also don't try and make it a small town yahoo dump. You need to take the direction more akin to Mt. Dora.

In biz the key is consistency and if you are not having all the biz open then people aren't going to go there for one or two. They will look at it as a joke and say it wasn't worth the trip. You also cant say. Retail stores should be made to be open certain days by their lease.

Of course it also again goes back to being able to get a full slate of stores to fill everywhere. The hit or miss stores, (empty or not open) , makes me think- UH YUP I'm in St. Cloud and looking at another guy with missing teeth. $12,000! to figure it out--UGH!!

12/27/12 @ 11:44

Comment from: ts elliot [Visitor]

correction since you cant edit after send..

YOU CAN make retail stores stay open certain days via their lease agreement.

12/27/12 @ 11:47

Comment from: Hypocrites [Visitor]

Anyone who is willing to work a 40 hour week and does their job correctly deserves a living wage. Corporate greed has made this a thing of the past. Most of you are not in the current work force.

You old timers had it better but didn't care about the next generations of workers and you voted Republican. This helped to cause the low standards in the workforce and the economic climate we currently live in. Now you old timers live in denial about what you have done.

If you watch fox news never ever criticize anything you think leans left or you’re the biggest hypocrite around which is exactly what fox is pushing for. More sheeple, who buy into the corporate BS they push.

Kissimmee is Spanish and Democrat, so for now you must cater to that. The county is following in suite.

12/27/12 @ 11:51

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]


Locally what would you do to stimulate the ecomomy in our county ?

During other recessions here sine the 1970's the voters approved a Tourist Tax,a local gas tax and local sales tax. All worked.

The school board is maxed out of peoperty tax increases and have kept the residential impact fees. Wise move.

In the new CRA Ordiance for the East 192 development for Kissimmee City Limits it calls for the end to all "Mom and Pop" motels as they have been designated as "blighted ". The dream is they will be replaced with businesses,apartments,resturants and retail.

From what I read you favor the min wage to start at $10 for a single person. The living wage for a family of 2 is $15.50 in Central Florida.

Would you favor doing away with the "Right To Work Law " in Florida ?

Just some items that came about reading your posts.

12/27/12 @ 11:51

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]


of course congress doesn't want to address it--DEMS do, republitards don't-- so what's new? A minimum wage should be based on certain criteria to afford you basic needs..and no, not to support a family..just yourself...and while that doesn't mean you get to live in a fancier place etc., the wage now will not allow someone to even afford healthcare if something happens to them, and to be sure they aren't getting it from Wmart and Disney.

If wages were increased based on PERFORMANCE then employees would be raking in the dough, but corps DONT share it! and take it to the BS merit pay which is insane based on kids not being a product!!! but the repub legislature passes it and provides ZERO money for it--p-lease...

12/27/12 @ 11:55

Comment from: St Cloud Resident [Visitor]

@ tselliot

Maybe the study will give us an example of one of the 400 towns in Florida that have adopted opening and closing rules for other than places with a liquor license for their downtowns.

There were Sunday "Blue Laws" that were overturned by the Florida Supreme Court in the 1960's from a lawsuit by Publix and Winn Dixie.

A person leasing property in downtown St Cloud wants the rent and knows a renter will stay open the hours that customers are available.

St Cloud and Kissimmee planners would love someone that has a "Magic Pill" to grow retail business Downtown.

12/27/12 @ 12:07

Comment from: Magic Bus [Visitor]

"Magic Pill" You mean "Time Machine". Go back eliminate Sam Walton. Downtown Kissimmee would be jumpin 24-7. Even St Cloud would do OK.

12/27/12 @ 12:29

Comment from: Cool Breeze [Visitor]

Walmart and Disney offer Health care plans for full time employees as well some part time positions.

ABC reported that Wal-Mart will charge $15.00 per pay cycle starting in January in 2013.

12/27/12 @ 12:44

Comment from: we make America poorer [Visitor]

The following are 20 facts about Wal-Mart that may surprise you....

#1 The average U.S. family now spends more than $4000 a year at Wal-Mart.

#2 In 2010, Wal-Mart had revenues of 421 billion dollars. That amount was greater than the GDP of 170 different countries including Norway, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates.

#3 If Wal-Mart was a nation, it would have the 23rd largest GDP in the world.

#4 Wal-Mart now sells more groceries than anyone else in America does. In the United States today, one out of every four grocery dollars is spent at Wal-Mart.

#5 Amazingly, 100 million customers shop at Wal-Mart every single week.

#6 Wal-Mart has opened more than 1,100 "supercenters" since 2005 alone.

#7 Today, Wal-Mart has more than 2 million employees.

#8 If Wal-Mart was an army, it would be the second largest military on the planet behind China.

#9 Wal-Mart is the largest employer in 25 different U.S. states.

#10 According to the Economic Policy Institute, trade between Wal-Mart and China resulted in the loss of 133,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States between 2001 and 2006.

#11 The CEO of Wal-Mart makes more in a single hour than a full-time Wal-Mart associate makes in an entire year.

#12 Tens of thousands of Wal-Mart employees and their children are enrolled in Medicaid and are dependent on the government for healthcare.

#13 Between 2001 and 2007, the value of products that Wal-Mart imported from China grew from $9 billion to $27 billion.

#14 Amazingly, 96 percent of all Americans now live within 20 miles of a Wal-Mart.

#15 The number of "independent retailers" in the United States declined by 60,000 between 1992 and 2007.

#16 According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wal-Mart spent 7.8 million dollars on political lobbying during 2011. That number does not even include campaign contributions.

#17 Today, Wal-Mart has five times the sales of the second largest U.S. retailer (Costco).

#18 The combined net worth of six members of the Walton family is roughly equal to the combined net worth of the poorest 30 percent of all Americans.

All over the country, independent retailers are going out of business because they cannot compete with Wal-Mart and their super cheap Chinese products. Often communities will give Wal-Mart huge tax breaks just to move in to their areas. But what many communities don't take into account is that the introduction of a Wal-Mart is often absolutely devastating to small businesses....

A study of small and rural towns in Iowa showed lost sales for local businesses ranging from -17.2% in small towns to -61.4% in rural areas, amounting to a total dollar loss of $2.46 BILLION over a 13-year period.

Again when we buy stuff made by people working for slave labor wages in China, we destroy good paying American jobs and we make America poorer.

12/27/12 @ 12:50

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ Magic Bus

Downtowm Kissimmee was on the downhill when the Malls opened on Hwy 50 and Winter Park-long before Wal-Mart showed up in Kissimmee.Newcomers coming to work at Disney gave them a boost except on the weekends.

I called the CRA office in Kissimmee and 95% of the available retail space in the Downtown CRA is rented or owner operated such as the 20,000 sq foot Lanier's Marketplace.

12/27/12 @ 13:00

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@St. Cl Res--

see your thinking is why biz doesn't grow. So many start a biz thinking they are their own boss and will decide what they want, not what the customers want and then boom. Imagine the people that come to downtown on a given day, just wondering what St. Cloud has to offer. I have done that for other towns as well. You get there and it sucks and you not only don't go back you tell others to not waste your time. Stop these ridiculous quotes of 400 towns. St. Cloud has the surrounding population to support it, it just doesn't have the biz sense. They spend more time with the BS debate on garbage cans and trees (that are used now as garbage cans).. It is like the TV stations saying--we put on what people want--no they don't--it is on so people may watch it, but we sure don't choose it and is it any wonder the overwhelming majority of new shows...reality or otherwise Fail. 75% of biz FAIL in the first 5 years. That is a fact and why..too many that think-"Oh I can be my own boss, make my own hours!" The successful ones are married to that biz and being OPEN.

You keep trying to paint a diff picture yet if what you were saying was true and by not a 20 year old standard!!! then why are they all failing..and now paying $12k to try and figure it out. It is a combo of the type of biz and filling every open space as well as staying open. Then YOU have to run it right! Those that lease the building could give a crap if they stay open or not--they just want their rent. But keep thinking it's something else and it will be like yesterday and today (I was downtown both days and it's a ghost town..(hey there is some ghost type biz there----

12/27/12 @ 13:06

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

This is the amount of tax incentives given to Wal-Mart by Osceola county: $0.00.

12/27/12 @ 13:09

Comment from: St Cloud Resident [Visitor]

@ tselliot

You haven't a clue how retail businesses work. No one opens a business to fail as you state.

Maybe you can offer to become the new retail "czar" for downtown St Cloud. Then you have no solutions but so what.Your advice would be free.

12/27/12 @ 13:17

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Where is the commercial and retail business doing well in St Cloud ? On Hwy 192 with its heavy traffic counts.

St Cloud Downtown was designed in the 1930's and the available parking spaces haven't changed.

The report will shine the light if there is little hope but to press on.

12/27/12 @ 13:36

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

started my own biz at 21 in NY metropolitan area---sold it at 31--moved to NC and started my own biz there---4 years/ great profits--sold and retired at 35---

investor in Real estate. Love the talkers who never did, but think they know. PS I then went and got a degree in HR..never used it but know the laws, the loopholes etc... and ps I have been a consultant to 3 million dollar annually companies owned by personal friends who value the insight... but alas St. cloud is destined to be what JB just said..little hope with your mentality.

What is hysterical and typical is I GAVE gave zero but you cant read, or like so many just think they know it when they never ran a biz in theri life and certainly not a successful one, so I understand the proud moniker of St Cloud resident for you

12/27/12 @ 13:53

Comment from: Jimmy [Visitor]

Some people on this site are the retired and retiring have duns. Most are not into online persona's and egos, but do offer some knowledge of what they remember of how it happened. Sometimes skewed in how they remember because of the role they played.

12/27/12 @ 14:37

Comment from: St Cloud Resident [Visitor]

@ Tselliot

So you have never been in commercial retail but you are an expert.

St Cloud officials are asking for solutions to the problem and your solution help is to brag about making money in real estate.Thera are a lot of people in SC that have made millions in real estate since Disney arrived.

Your solution: make private owners of single commercial buildings establish the opening and closing times are interesting.

I am glad you made lots of money in NY and NC. Then we all can be anyone we want to be in the Internet.

12/27/12 @ 15:14

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

Every small business owner I have known set their hours that will attract customers.They do in St Cloud and Kissimmee.

In small retail you have to be ready to open and close when your customers are out. They are not out after dark in downtown SC. I was in Tallahassee and Tampa the past month and for the most part their downtowns had rolled up the sidewalks at 6 pm.

The malls established the times the stores will be open no matter the product yet we have seen many malls go under like the old Winter Park Mall that was torn down after stores closed. The new one The Village is a mixed unit development that is working.

St Cloud Downtown is not a destination site for out of town people. It's a place that "local"people visit the speciality shops and restaurants like most small towns In Florida.

12/27/12 @ 16:47

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

It's hysterical and not surprising to hear the retorts. Red John the people are out after dark...I actually went to an open mike one Friday night recently and there were quite a number of people out for that. BUT the fact is they aren't open during the day on Sunday or some yesterday or today. This is a time when people have off and they are closed...hence it will never be a place anyone out of the area comes to visit and perhaps that is the fact that should be accepted and not waste $12,ooo! thinking otherwise. PS...I grew up with a father who was an exec for one of the largest retailers in the world. Believe it or not, I can not or care if you think it's true or my expertise in marketing, merchandising, advertising and the ownership of retail property (admittedly as an investor),and all I know is St. Cloud downtown is a graveyard for the most part or an area that will never be more than it is and 12k isn't worth figuring that out.

12/27/12 @ 17:55

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

There have been people announcing the death of Downtown SC since the early 1970's.

I think it will be just what it is with different store fronts 20 years from now.

The retail growth will continue along 192 towards the canal and County Road 15 as it is now.

When there are scheduled events downtown people will show up at night.
Stores have tried Sunday sales especially in 1995-98 during the attenpt to be the Antique Capitol of Central Florida. Was advetised in the CVB material with photos and maps.

I love going to Charlotte NC for the car races. Most of Downtown is closed up at night like St Cloud.

12/27/12 @ 18:28

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

Red John--St Cloud is dead. it is what it is. Once again this quoting of what happened over 15 years ago with all the changes is insane but that is what i have hear since I moved here ironically in '98. Soo much has changed since I even moved and I would have thought a smart council would know how to adapt and grow in a smart way. Oh well.

12/27/12 @ 19:21

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

@ tsellout

Just trying to point out that every small town of St Cloud's size is having
problems with downtowns. You moved here after Wal-Mart came to towm and led the growth on the West Side that in reality became the new downtown.

Might be that the people are satisfied
with the selection they have in the city limits for commercial uses.

Want more ? Go to the Loop.The $12,000 study might be the carrot to get some money from the state.

I reside in Kissimme Bay and go to St Cloud to eat out and bank rather than Kissimmee. Movies at the Loop. Universal for Entertainment.

12/27/12 @ 21:56

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

I think you really have to find a special niche for a downtown business to make it happen. You have to sell something unique, that a large number of people really like, at a competitive price -- not Walmart prices, but not New York City botique prices either. If you are going to do antiques, they have to be good antiques that people want, and not junk, but again, not at Christie's auction prices. And the downtown area must be a place where people want to go. There needs to be good food -- not okay food -- really good food.

Winter Park has managed to do it, but even though it is a high income area, many of the stores and restaurants are reasonably priced. I'm sure they have to do that to stay open. They have a large number of people coming and going and shopping, especially mothers who visit their daughters at Rollins College across the street.

Winter Garden's downtown is very nice, but I have heard they are struggling, even with the West End Trail beginning close to it.

Bartow's downtown is probably the best. But, it is also the county seat with the courthouse and other county buildings right there. So, people visit the restaurants, and then stop in the shops along the way. They also have one of the largest genealogy libraries in the country right in downtown which would bring in outsiders.

The fact is, in order to get people to come to your downtown area, you have to make it very appealing unless they are already going to be there. I really enjoy the stores in downtown St. Cloud, but I think many of the store owners sell what they like, and not so much what the general public would like. As mentioned above, the store hours also make a big difference. If I need to go shopping for a present, it is probably going to be in the evening. All of the downtown stores are closed and that option is completely eliminated. I really have to make a special trip out of my work day to go shopping downtown.

I don't know that a $15,000 study is necessary or will be productive. It would be better to spend that money on giving the storeowners a class on marketing. And they would probably really appreciate it.

12/28/12 @ 08:01

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

The SC Council dropped out of the free advertising of St Cloud over 10 years ago by the CVB. Before then any local SC business could get into the Publications at Welcome Stations coming into Florida. Kissimmee Downtown stores are listed in the publications that are also sent to people requesting a brochure.

St Cloud Council had the name St Cloud removed from the "Kissimmee-St Cloud
Resort Area" $10 Million dollars in publications and TV ads.

By law the Council has a seat on the TDC and do get money for the Springfest and 4th of July events.

All publications are now,"The Kissimmee Resort Area".

12/28/12 @ 09:11

Comment from: Larry From Saint Cloud [Visitor]

One major problem with the downtown, St Cloud businesses is they do set their hours of business to their own convenience rather than to the shoppers. Years ago when the city was ready to completely overhaul the downtown area, including improving parking, one of the "big shots" who owns several buildings there told all his tenants if they supported the city he'd raise their rents until they left the buildings. Old Chuckie hasn't changed a bit and remains as stubborn as ever.
Parking is not a problem for downtown businesses, but when the antique business, on the corner of NY and 12th (I think) keeps parking their little van in front of the store, taking up space, but complain about slow business. Take a ride over to Melbourne's downtown and really enjoy all they offer. Great dining places, even a bakery plus loads of shops. Parking is tight, just like St Cloud. It takes the people who own the businesses to help make changes. Until then, it remains as is.

It was former Mayor Sangiovanni who told the CVB that St Cloud wasn't interested in tourists coming to St Cloud and asked to be removed from the ads. Small wonder why he was tossed out of office. Not one city council has ever gone to the cvb and said, "put us back on the list". It's time to get the name back into the CVB advertising. If not, the county should drop all funding of any St Cloud activities since they aren't interested in tourism. Sangiovanni only hurt the city in my opinion.

12/28/12 @ 09:34

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

Stacy - Many good points. You need a special niche market but not a thrift store calling themselves an antique store at prices far more than I can get at a garage sale or even a Kirkland's or w-mart! Have specialty unique items at market acceptable prices akin to Mt. Dora ( I am going to check-out Bartow on your recommendation next week). Those are long drives as is Winter Park, and while small, St. Cloud downtown could be thriving from a population that has grown in many ways to support that kind of retail.

What so many fail to realize is in marketing, and when studies are done to determine what has a chance of succeeding is it is not JUST about what you sell, but who is around you. For malls it is the anchor stores, but for small downtown's you cannot be with half the stores empty, not open or of no interest to the majority. Same with food. Everyone that thinks they will open some little sandwich shop, or local burger place--- Chimentos may have been here for years, but really that is not ...well let's just say in that case it'll bring the locals who wouldn't know the difference between a real Italian sauce and ketchup.

No one is expecting St.Cloud to be more than it can, but many of us see such lost potential for a place that can have it's niche and be much more than it is, mixing that smaller town charm with the reality of a more northern/wanting products other than saddles and garage sale items.

12/28/12 @ 09:53

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

The Big Attraction to Mt Dora is Renningers Antiques and Flea Market. Mt Dora has its quaint restaurants like found in Clermont.

What niche market could St Cloud get into to that the city and property owners haven't tried since Disney arrived ?

12/28/12 @ 14:08

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]


I had been going to Mt Dora for years--downtown--for the art/craft festivals or just a normal day, (and everything was open including on Sunday). I never even knew of Renningers or the flea market till this past year. Downtown Mt. Dora has done well --even w/o those "attractions."

Still the niche market is not about even being unique..just about decent merchandise, real antiques..not something that is simply old. Not another burger or sandwich place but with a catch, specialty, theme. You can never build the traffic without it being a collective undertaking both by having many stores of this type and them all being open at times people can frequent them.--it takes time-and most people don't start a biz with the proper capital to get through the first 2-3 years.

An atmosphere is created by the look, feel, storefronts. Maybe the area is too small and certainly maybe we don't have the type that want to even start here, but that is what is needed or else we should just accept it will never be and not waste 12k.

12/28/12 @ 14:43

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

On a lighter note-- I want to thank KSIB for the most clear simple captcha's anywhere. Why the hell these other places make them blurred, fuzzy, strewn together etc, is beyond me. :)

12/28/12 @ 14:45

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

Downtown Mt Dora has the edge on St Cloud in that it is on the lake and has a wide Main street. SC has a beautiful lakefront and is used a lot but too far to walk to Downtown for the average person.The Apple vs the Orange.

Isn't the $12,000 study being paid for by the Downtown CRA taxpayers ?

12/28/12 @ 16:54

Comment from: SnoopDog [Visitor],0,5525796.story

Clerk is in the clear. But I am disappointed he left out Beulah from his team. I guess there is no loyalty amongst "activists." Armando did not have to backstab Beulah, he could have let her manage the maintenance crew. Or the ticket payment window. Sad.

Also, can anyone explain how the ex-clerk racked up 55k defending a couple of misdemeanors?

12/28/12 @ 16:59

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

When you send a letter to the FDLE about political corruption you had be ready to sign the complaint under oath subject to going to jail for one year if you file false complaint.

A person(s) filed a complaint against Armando but would not sign a witness complaint hence FDLE closed the complaint.No eyeball witness no crime.

12/29/12 @ 10:18

Comment from: Enjoy [Visitor]

Kissimmee needed to break away from St. Cloud when advertising to tourists anyway. That was the wrong direction to let St Cloud advertise with Kissimmee. Disney and Orlando is where the money and tourists are. St Cloud is the hideout for people who don’t like change or other people. Tampa does better than Daytona and with the space program a bust for now I would say when focusing on assets the direction is west.

After Kissimmee cleans up the 192 toward Disney and builds a real (corporate) hotel or two and tears down the rest (mom and pop transient hotels). Tourists will come back. But for now with all the crappy long term hotels and pawn shops I wouldn’t venture too far this way if I was a tourist. It’s a shame that Kissimmee stagnated while Orlando flourished. Must be a case poor city planning going way back.

One could sum up Kissimmee’s growth by comparing it to the Makinson Hardware store, older than dirt but small and stagnant. Both the hardware store and Kissimmee just poor poor management if you own the oldest hardware store in America you should also own the oldest largest hardware store franchise in America. Not a shoddy little overpriced shack in a town that had also refused to grow and change with the times while the neighboring younger city of Orlando flourished.

Or this is what Kissimmee and the County now have, Spanish. You can make this the Spanish tourist capital of the United States. There’s your niche. St Cloud will just continue to be what it is. This is what is happening so you might as well run with it. Plus it’s all you left yourselves with for now. You tried the white cowboy thing and that didn’t change the direction of growth now you’re looking to the Chinese and South Americans just embrace what you already have. Instead of the Chinese center for flea market goods build the world’s largest bodega/after hours club/conference center/arts and cultural museum-church. Paint it really bright pink and they will come…………………Don’t forget to play the really loud repetitive, bass and horn music. I realize some of you are thinking we already have Old Town but that would make a great location with little modification.

12/29/12 @ 14:00

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]


Hope you feel better to vent your spleen.

All good fiction.

12/29/12 @ 18:56

Comment from: Chuckles The Clown [Visitor]

@ Enjoy

Hee-Haw !

12/29/12 @ 19:18

Comment from: Named [Visitor]

What fiction? that post hit the nail on the head. Ye olde timey way of thinking if it ain't broke don't fix it caused the modern city of Orlando to do great while what happened to it's older sibling city kissimmee? I would have to agree poor city planning. If it ain't broke it doesn't mean it cant become better. Now its a spanish town and up to them to take it to its next level. hopefully they learn from the mistakes made by the past's olde timey cowboy folks.

12/29/12 @ 19:22

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

You are right Named. Some of these on here just keep saying--they did this and it didnt work or they tried that over there, and they never try again or simply small thinking dont know how. Of course there is a distinction between Kiss and St. Cl.... as alot of white flight went to St.Cl... the problem is St Cl waited so long and did nothing that so many look up at lake Nona and surrounding instead of Stevens or other higher end neighborhoods in St Cl

12/29/12 @ 20:51

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

City of Kissimmee has done well since the Disney Boom. Guess you missed the "All American City" signs.

All the city buildings are paid for except the new fire station.

95% of the available units in the Downtown are occupied.

There hasn't been a "cowboy" on the Kissimmee Commission since the 1950's.

There is one things that you can count on in Kissimmee is there is always a person from New York that will tell residents how "Great things are up Nawth".

12/29/12 @ 21:34

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

Yes sir..a sign makes it so! and that rodeo day instead of honoring President's --yes sirree bob-- that's today's thinking. The point keeps getting proved...YEEEHAAAAAA

12/29/12 @ 22:38

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

@ tselliot

Rodeo Day is an annual county event not funded by the City of Kissimmee nor in the city limits.

Missed the meaning of not honoring Presidents.

12/29/12 @ 23:00

Comment from: Maniacal Pantomime [Visitor]

Personal message to "Enjoy" and "Named"...Why are you here? You must like it or you wouldn't be gracing us backwoods-thinkin'-oldtimey-powpokes with yer presence! Sure wish I knew as much as you think you know. Hope you have a happy new year in ol' kissy town.

12/30/12 @ 00:24

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

@ Sellilot & Named

What have you done to cure the problems you see in Kissimmee and St Cloud ?

It's been pointed out that the people in Osceola county voted for an increase in the sales tax to pay for capital expense items in the budget that couldn't be paid from property taxes such as city halls in both cities.

Then the people voted for an additional gas tax for road and bridge projects.

The people voted for a dedicated property tax to build a library system.
The 800 sq foot Kissimmee library was replaced with the current Hart Library on the lakefront.No debt on the Hart Library.

I have served on the Kissimmee Planning Commission in the early 1990's for 4 years.

The city commissions in both cities established CRA's that are working.
Orlando went to a CRA after Kissimmee and St Cloud to bring back a downtown where commercial stores had fled to the Malls on East Hwy 50 and Winter Park.

Yes we look back to where we have been to not make the same mistakes as others.
When the property owners in Kissimmee voted a special tax there was a hue and cry to become like Downtown Winter Park.
The Board looked at that and knew right away Winter Park had a lot going for it that Kissimmee didn't. The goal was to keep the stores and offices filled and approved the streetscaping.

Many of the ideas came about for people that moved to Kissimmee and St Cloud.

So-what have you done to improve the cities and county other than complain ?

12/30/12 @ 11:14

Comment from: Named [Visitor]

I voted Democrat and its about time the majority did in this county.

Enjoy your cliff.

12/30/12 @ 13:06

Comment from: Aint broke don’t fix it. [Visitor]

When do we decide it is broken? Or is the status queue and bare minimums always good enough?

How many times has Mayor Swan said if it aint broke don’t fix it in just the last 6 years?

I will guess (let’s see two meetings a month for 6 years = 144 city commissioner meetings then all the rest of the meetings and sit downs....) 50?

50 times at a guess probably more but I am trying to be conservative.

How often on the county board?

Now how many times before him have the rest of the old timers made that statement (hopefully saying isn’t or is not instead of aint) as they shot down change and potential growth?

When were the Cowboys added to the arches heading downtown? Wasn’t it around 2000 when the town was already going majority Spanish to Caucasian, African American and Other? Was Kissimmee even founded by cowboys? No, but we sure do fool them tourists and Spanish.

@ Hector

Kissimmee only had a population of 4,310 in 1950 because our "cowboys" didn't want growth.

The younger more progressive City of Orlando had a population 141,833 in 1950.

Let’s just hope our future doesn’t follow in the footsteps of our past.

12/30/12 @ 13:56

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

I get a kick out of that typical line from COOL hand..what have you done other than complain. Yes in this country you cant speak out unless you run for something. Well I have volunteered literally over hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of documented hours in the schools and I have run and been elected to boards or committees be it community or school AND spoken out on issues at city council, school administrative and county commish meetings.

Here is a key KEY thing to me for those who do that typical thing about what have you done--other than having done something in the early 90's?? (I still am involved).... MY attitude even when i was leading something was that whether you vote for me or not or didn't even vote, if you are a citizen, a resident of a community, a parent with a child in a school, etc. YOU not only have a right to know what is going on, the selected or elected person making decisions has an OBLIGATION to inform the people. People can choose to ignore, dismiss, not care etc..just as they don't vote, but that doesn't mean they can be told, "You didn't vote--you didn't show up to a meeting, so you don't matter." Pols love to use that when people are working, caring for others, TIRED etc..or like repubs, keeping people from voting...w/e..they still deserve a voice or info. SO even though I have been extremely active...I value not just what is said, but proactively try to engage people to get involved. What do you done to do that???

Your logic is in a public forum of ideas, is to say what have you done.. and again proving the point of those of us who try and enlighten the old school/boy mentality that has us exactly where we are.

12/30/12 @ 14:19

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Aint Broke

The Cowboy art on the entrance signs reflect the history of the county before Disney.

Cowboys were on the range before Kissimmee became a city in Osceola county. Take some time to read the history of the county.

The change in the Hispanic population surged in 2004 in Kissimmee to become the majority today. A large boost came when the city annexed Lakeside.

Yes the "Cowboys"liked Osceola county like it was in the 1950's yet it was the "comboys" that welcomed the Disney Project with open arms.Otherwise you probably wouldn't be here.

If you are looking for Kissimmee to become the City of Orlando don't. Like asking Lakeland residents asking why Tampa is larger than Lakeland.

From the late 1960's until today the elected officials have moved the county and cities forward.

Mayor Swan seems to being a good job. No one was on the ballot against him.

12/30/12 @ 14:21

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

@ tellislot

You keep reminding of us where you have been and lived. You have not been elected to any board or commission in the county or cities.

You always dance around the question of what have you done since arrving here in 1998 ?

I go to the city and county meetings and
have seen some new people with good suggestions.It was a guy lives in Polk county that led the fight to stop the county going NP on the BOCC.

You state that the county and cities are going the wrong direction.

What is your solution--just one to improve the county that is not in the pipeline now ?

12/30/12 @ 14:36

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

well there you have it folks.... I said exactly what i have done and yet look at the reply. I have said before exactly what they should be doing in ST. Cloud to build the downtown retail traffic and by extension make the surrounding areas more attractive for home purchases. Reminds me of the recent school Board meeting when TL had to tell GS, "How many times can I tell you the same answer?" Hysterical, and sooo typical of again, why this town is what it is. Oh well at least I see several others here that agree with me...and the discussion proves itself--because what was tried has failed, what we have proposed is resisted and therefore you remain FAIL.

12/30/12 @ 14:45

Comment from: Marvin Anderson [Visitor]


Your solution to bring in more people to buy downtown is to pass a law that all retail owners have to stay open 7 days a week until 8 pm.

That's it.

Now you state that someone has to make the surrounding neigborhoods more attractive for home purchases ?

In St Cloud there is a quick turnover of homes when one comes up for sell in the Downtown area.

Solutions to make us forward ? None that make much sense. I guess you missed the improvemnts on the Lakefront ? The City working with the county to get an exit to St Cloud off the turnpike.

SC keeping the new City Hall Downtown was in support of the Downtown Business owners. Providing an office for the Tax Collector in City Hall. New lighting downtown with streetscape improvements.

Providing for wastewater and water plants that allowed the growth in and outside of the city.

Then in your narrow vision the City and its residents have sat in their hands since your arrival in 1998 in the county.

I moved here in 2006 from South Florida.
Downtown St Cloud and Kissimmee reflect a lot of towns in Florida with growing pains and " I Told You So " transplants.
Some of the leading elected officials here came from other places bringing with them ideas for a better community.

Hopefully all us transplants do.

12/30/12 @ 16:45

Comment from: Kissimmee Kowboy [Visitor]

Aint Broke

You certainly don't know much about Osecola county ranchers and ag people past and present.

12/30/12 @ 17:33

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@ Marvin

That is exactly right-- you can accept staying open on a regular basis and-til a certain hour--not even as late as 8 bu t later than 5 or 6.... and def on Sundays or as once again proven YOUR AREA FAILS. You all love quoting improvements and I am all for them, but this ALL started with St. Cloud downtown..not Kissimmee, not the lakefront, not neighborhoods. St Cloud downtown is a miserable failure--and it is no wonder nothing gets better with it when the selective readers or those who say, "hey we are doing great." I laugh when these shops struggle and fail cus it is soooo obvious. Hey have car will travel and spend $$ outside of St. sweat off my back.Oh and your biggest LOL line--houses turn over fast--good one!!!

12/30/12 @ 17:36

Comment from: Look into it [Visitor]

I see most don't know the real history of Kissimmee it was not founded by any cowboys it was Destin and the dredging. A few ranching families came a bit later.

What sounds better Dredgers or Cowboys? We went with the Cowboys.

12/30/12 @ 18:55

Comment from: Dull Tool [Visitor]

I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but!!! A few months back The City of St Cloud ran all the food trucks, carts, trailers etc. out of the city but now they are bringing outsiders in (every third friday). what if they would have put the local trucks downtown back then?, all big city streets have some type of night time activity, food, music, clubs and social gatherings. Old Town is that a tourist attraction or smart marketing a money maker 3 or 4 nights out of the week. Downtown St Cloud will always fail because not enough fresh minds and ideas will ever be allowed there, blame the old timers and the local government.

12/30/12 @ 20:51

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Dull Too

" All BIG city streets have some type of night time activity..."

When did SC become a big city.

12/30/12 @ 20:57

Comment from: Marvin Anderson [Visitor]

@ Tselliot

I don't remember anyone stating that business is great downtown SC.

Hopefully you come back with a viable solution other than staying open On Sunday and at night will bring the buyers off 192.I will forward your solution to the people that are doing the study along with your already stunning solutions that somehow haven't been discussed since 2008 at the Main Street meetings. Then that was 4 years ago. Things change though.

12/30/12 @ 21:07

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ Look Into it

Hamilton Disston has always have been given credit for draining the swamps that led to the creation of Kissimmee in 1883.He died in 1886 and the cowboy cattle tradition grew hence Osceola became known as cattle country with Cracker cowboys.Prior to Disney Kissimmee was famous for the cowboy rodeos that was quite an attraction for people in Tampa and Orlando.

No one has made the claim that cowboys were the founders of Kissimmee other than you.

12/30/12 @ 21:35

Comment from: Dull Tool [Visitor]


Swan be real, Parson and investors and others that have taken a chance with new fresh business's in downtown Kissimmee get the credit, you always respond whats your ideas for improvement, do you even live in St Cloud or use the services? Maybe the majority hispanics that you mention have some ideas, pawn shop, dance club, stereo shop I'm sure the people of St Cloud do not want another Michigan Ave (Kissimmee) in St Cloud

12/30/12 @ 21:48

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@ marvin

your shallow, narrow thinking is why they fail. First to a point about anyone saying St. Cloud was a big city or a city (maybe not you)--it is JUST about bringing biz to St. Cloud..bringing revenue to St. Cloud. No one thinks or believe st cl will be a Mt Dora or Winter Park if nothing more than becuase of the small amount and type of streets they have to do it, but All I see is those who like Marvel uh Marvin say "that's your only idea", yet it's the idea that works time and time again and you haven't done. You think people who succeeded in biz but aren't on a committee here don't know Or only certain people, people who were successful at one thing --never ended up failing. .hmmm yes they ran Circuit City, they ran Blockbuster, they run other companies that never thought they'd fail --or cities. Places thrive because in-part they aren't run as a one person or two person store. They hire others to keep the store open. So keep being repetitive with -no one knows, because we sure see what they tried before or you think is the right answer hasn't worked, while dismissing one reason for factual success.

The funniest thing is how all these claiming success sond like every guy who leaves Vegas...You talk about your winnings, but never your losses and 99% of the time your losses are more than your wins---hmmm can you say Stevens Plantation? The "incubator" the wi-fi?// I'll stop there-- it's a futile argument with the deaf dumb and blind.

12/30/12 @ 22:14

Comment from: Marvin Anderson [Visitor]


Hate to break the news but there are no rule about stores staying open certain hours in your favorite shopping meccas Mt Dora and Winter Park.

In fact every city I travel to in Florida have no opening and closing rules for retail stores. Malls such as Florida Mall have hours in their leases.

12/30/12 @ 23:48

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Dull Too

Sounds like you have "White Flight " on your mind.

12/30/12 @ 23:53

Comment from: Dull Tool [Visitor]

@ Hector, No argument from me, all one has to do is read most of your post to to know where you stand on the issue of race. Before Disney came here what were the hispanic's contribution to Osceola County. I'm not a racist and please do not insinuate that I am, you were the one that mentioned the hispanic majoraty.

12/31/12 @ 06:46

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

Dull Tool

There was virtully no Hispanic infuence in Oseola county until the Mid 1980's when the Developers of BVL started promoting the development to Puerto Ricans in New York City area and Puerto Rico and it worked. According to the Dept of Justice the areas around BVL and Poincinana are the Hispanic areas of th the county. Hispanics account for 58% of the population of the City of Kissimmee and 41% of all of Osceola county.

12/31/12 @ 08:45

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Dull Tool

You state that people of St Cloud certtainly don't want a "Michigan Ave" in their city. Being the majority of the businesses on Michigan Ave are owned by Hispanics what did you mean by the comment ?

12/31/12 @ 08:50

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

There are 8 retail sites for rent in Downtown Saint Cloud. All the open shops are speciality shops that attract a "niche" market the owners have craved out. The Mom and Pop Restaurants bring in a good lunch day crowd from 11 AM until 3 everyday.Mild success at evening and breakfast.The big draw are the bars and beauty shops for foot traffic.

There are 39 store fronts and 12 professional buildings in the District. All the professiona buildings are occupied withe medical,communication and engineering offices.The largest "retail" is Poffenbaugh's on the real main street-Hwy 192.

12/31/12 @ 09:51

Comment from: Dull Tool [Visitor]

Michigan Avenue area in Kiss is a very high crime rate area, A lot of the businesses there do not have the proper licenses and most have code enforcement violations Along with illegal car sales I don't think this is the type of businessthat we want to attract to downtown St. Cloud. And about the white flight I've been here born and raised almost 60 years and Have never had a problem with who I live by or who I work with Or do business with As long as I'm treated fairly I'll do the same.

12/31/12 @ 09:52

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Dull Too

You could help the problem by calling the city and county code enforcement officers about illegal car sales and and violations of city codes.

To get power to a business you must present your Business license to the KUA.
If you know of someone that has slipped through a loophole check with the Tax Collectors office to see if they have a license. No license inform the taxcollector who will contact the county.They only collect the money for the county.

Become part of the solution !

12/31/12 @ 10:56

Comment from: The Sandman [Visitor]

@ Hector

We have a lot of complainers on this Blog but very few doers.

If " Dull Too " has been here for 60 years he knows about code enforcment officers.Maybe he has informed them and "nothing was done ". When that happens you go to the City Manager or County Manager's office where you usually will get an assistant.

I file complaints and have been called back by the city code enforcement officer to what action has been done.
It can take up to 60 to 90 days to get a person before a Code Enforcement Board due to notification and the person stalls on correcting the problem-usually 30 days for re-inspection is allowed.

12/31/12 @ 11:55

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

and I hate to break the news to you Marvin, but the vendors/store owners KNOW that being open in concert with all the others is a big part why they thrive. Only in St. Cloud would you need to have a rule b-cus store owners could care less and when they complain (THEY are the complainers-not the doers) they blame it on something else. You see people like you think you have some great comeback that trumps the ideas that work, b-cus you cant handle the truth and then you put out a line about the hours not being forced. What yuo need to state is go ahead and look at the store hours and days of operations including as they relate to total number of stores. You know I used to run demographic surveys years ago, and studied trends as to what companies look for when deciding where to put a biz...both my own and just as Point of info to know what worked when i chose.

Ignoring facts, inability to adapt and know what a new clientele is seeking, will forever keep you not small town--but ghost town. Yes lunch places can survive (some) with a govt base or service industry shops (accountant, engineering firm etc) and that is fine, but i have never seen so many people go off on tangents when the orig thoughts were to retail biz in st. cl. NO WONDER!!

12/31/12 @ 13:35

Comment from: Dull Tool [Visitor]

The problems on Michigan Ave have been around so long that a deaf ear has been turned to it, not even sure if the tax collector check the license anymore just sell them to who comes in and pass the requirements, also when you have one business owner with license subleasing out to 8-10 others for cash, with them doing repairs for cash it is really hard to track and try to collect or enforce any violations,they move stuff around to get the all clear and then its right back its a battle that the city and county don't have the man power or money to keep on it. I think the blog I commented on was concerning downtown St Cloud, which was the long time owners and local Gov. being open to fresh minds and ideas. Just like me having to defend my point to Hector

12/31/12 @ 13:37

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ Dull Tool

It's the Tax Collector's job to collect the Business Tax not enforce the collection.If they have the right zoing they get the Business License.

Sub-leasing is with the owner of the property. It is not against the law to sublease for cash. The person that gets the use is supposed to report the sales tax etc.

This happens all over the county not just with the Hispanc shops on Michigan Ave. The Feds call it the Underground economy.

12/31/12 @ 14:47

Comment from: Marvin Anderson [Visitor]

@ Teselliot

I agree with you that stores in small towns should like to keep the same business hours.

Then you were the one that made the statement that the stores in SC should have "regulated" opening and closing times by the property owners.

You hold out Winter Park and Mt Dora as being the Jewels of the small towns in Central Florida for all stores having the same hours-7 days a week.

Well- you are wrong. They don't and the Beat goes on with those that do. Both are destination locations and have been
for years before you arrived in 1998.St Cloud is not and has not been a destination town for retail customers.

The only way to reinvent Downtown St Cloud would be with a bulldozier. There is not enough retail space for a anchor
store like the boom days of the 1940's thru the early 70's when there was a national supermarket and furniture store
and Mom and Pop stores thrived with 100% occupied from what I have read.

12/31/12 @ 15:04

Comment from: Look into it [Visitor]

Kissimmee Old Timer

The city or its dying off old timers have clearly embellished on a cowboy history for Kissimmee. The same cowboy families that held growth back from the town and county after "Destin" started selling it off to them. I know the cities real history. The recent cowboy embellishment was for the new "Heritage" park and to keep Caucasian "heritage" moral up and tourists interested. Citrus was the real business of the land. Things changed with the train and the weather pattern back then. The "cowboys" came with the steers in the fright cars. Before that it was steamboats, dredging and the export of citrus. Even tourism was here before the "cowboys" came. I understand that at one point the county did have record amount of cattle but that’s not the county or Kissimmee’s “heritage”. That “heritage” is a marketing ploy.

12/31/12 @ 18:29

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

Look into it
Cattle was being sold in Osceola county was Mosquito county in 1884.Destin died 2 years after the county became Osceola.They purchased most of the land for 25 cents an acre from the State of Florida not Hamilton.

The City of Kissimmee Logo was renewed with an Orange Blossum and a Boat in the 1980's.

The Main Street entrance 5 years before anyone thought of Heritage Park was the work of Kissimmee DBA guided by Bette Sprinkle.

As a native Cracker from a Citrus family in Polk county we came to the Rodeos in Kissimmee when I was a kid and my grandparents came here in 1910 to see the cowboys at the rodeo.

The rodeo and cattle ranches were the news in Florida and the rodeo was quite an event. Lot word of mouth marketing.

Every county had trees yet Osceola county was known for the cowboys on the ranges.

In the 1970's it wasn't unusual to see a cowboy come into Browns Cafe with his spurs on for breakfast with truck with cattle on it going to market.

The Heritage was Boats on Lake Toho,citrus and cattle ranches.
Kissimmee was the railhead for cattle going North where the lakrfront park is today. Tourists would come to see the cattle in 1900.

Your racist comments about whites are way off base about Heritage Park.

12/31/12 @ 20:14

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

The Entrance sign to Kissimmee was planned in 1994 13 years before Hertiage Park opened honoring cattle and agriculture history in the county.

Cattle ranching became king when back to back freezes wiped out the citrus farms in 1894-95.Took 10 years for them to recover.

12/31/12 @ 21:57

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

Happy New Year Carl ! Thanks for having a window to comment on local issues.

01/01/13 @ 08:51

Comment from: Maniacal Pantomime [Visitor]

Kissimmee Old Timer.....You mentioned Brown's Cafe....Wonder how people who read this know where you are talking about. It would be interesting.

01/01/13 @ 12:42

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

The vacant space next to Building across the street from the Police Dept with the Clock was the Brown's Restaurant that burned down.

Moved near Lanier's and became Joanie's.

01/01/13 @ 13:47

Comment from: Maniacal Pantomime [Visitor]

Yes, I know where it was....actually realized I left out the word "many"...i.e. "how many" reading this would know where, etc. etc. And of course the "building with the clock" that you mentioned was 1st National Bank for years, then KUA's headquarters....then sold to private owners.

01/01/13 @ 14:55

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

Maniacal Pantomine

Good point ! Since the Restaurant burned down 45,000 more people have moved to Osceola county.

01/01/13 @ 15:59

Comment from: Mo' Money [Visitor]

Reading the comments in the study for Downtown St Cloud I went to The Mainstreet Web page to get the names of the retail type shops. Appears most are a Mom and Pop niche type operation and that will continue until someone fiqures how to get a store that will actually draw foot traffic.

Looking out of the window while waiting for the elevator after a city hall meeting I counted 8 cars moving through Downtown on a Thursday night.

Maybe someone can explain what the $12,000 report is supposed to tell us about growing the retail businesses. I really think its a waste of money.

01/01/13 @ 20:26

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@ Mo Money---EXACTLY on all counts!

01/02/13 @ 00:21

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

Why can't the county use their $1 million dollar set aside to attrcat businesses to the county try to help retail start ups in Downtown Saint Cloud ?

You can only streetscape so long and ignore the real problem that Downtown Retail might be just fine the way it is and the world will go on with small niche retail,bars and beauty shops.

Why not become the Beauty Salon Center
of Osceola county ? They attract a lot of foot traffic especially on Fridays and Saturdays.

Maybe the $12,000 report will answer my questions.

01/02/13 @ 08:48

Comment from: Mo' Money [Visitor]

The City of St Cloud should do an Economic Study to how much the downtown brings in revenue for the the city,the number of people working and what is planned for the vacate properties.

Ask the folks at Main Street to do it.

01/02/13 @ 19:49

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Reading Armando's Press Release about his swearing in I see that he had no room for members of the BOCC unlike Malcolm to attend...even the Democrats.

However looks like he has a good management team to start off with.

01/03/13 @ 08:23

Comment from: Wiki Leaks [Visitor]

Recently, a local gadfly has "impuned someone's integrity" and was advised to seek legal redress. It appears the first steps have been taken in that direction.


Legal redress is compensation for injuries sustained; recovery or restitution for harm or injury; damages or equitable relief. Access to the courts to gain reparation for a wrong.

A gadfly is a person who posing upsetting or novel questions, or just being an irritant.

01/03/13 @ 16:13

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]


Would be like a lawsuit fuled by Cindy against Wheeler in which she prevailed.
He would have to show malice to win.

01/03/13 @ 17:15

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

On January 7th all the folks stomping their feet about the Chamber of Commerce funding will get their chance to howl when the county votes to approve a check for $80,000 to OLE the lobbyist arm of the Kissimmee Osceola Chamber.

Is on the consent agenda for easy stealth approval.

01/04/13 @ 00:02

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

The law allows a Constitutional Officer to use his funds to pay for lawsuits that came about as he preformed his dutuies. Hopefully Malcolm will pay his $55,000 legal bill befire he leaves.

01/04/13 @ 08:11

Comment from: Aint broke don’t fix it. [Visitor]

People should go and educate them to what the Chamber of Commerce is. They will still give them the money as it will take three Democrats to stop it and Brandon does not count. Soon...

"Easy stealth approval" is how they roll.

01/04/13 @ 11:32

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

Aint Broke..

I checked the vote for the OLE money during the budget- Both Democrats voted for the funding that are on the BOCC.

Maybe 2014 ?

01/04/13 @ 12:16

Comment from: Aint broke don’t fix it. [Visitor]

Yup, it would take a third for the two to vote against it and even then Brandon would have to be forced as he owes some of his votes to the Chamber and Club along with most of the rest of them.

01/04/13 @ 13:29

Comment from: History Lesson [Visitor]

@ Kissimmee Old Timer

Hamilton Disston Died on April 30, 1896 not 1886 as you stated.

Many other mistakes in what you posted. Disston purchased the land from the state for $.25 an acre making it the biggest land contract by a single individual in the history of the United States and possibly the world. Not exactly what you stated.

The cattle were brought in to feed Disston’s workers and the others here at the time logging and building steam ships. After the freezes that hurt the crops that Disston had planned for the area through dredging and creating dry land cattle was what was left to do on the land. He grew sugar cane on the land we now call St. Cloud.

In 1999, the Silver Spurs Rodeo approved to tear down the old arena and build a brand new state-of-the-art indoor facility. Ironically at the same time the Main Street entrance was planed and designed. In March of 2002, demolition began on the arena and construction was soon started on the new multi-purpose Silver Spurs Arena part of the $84 million dollar Osceola Heritage Park complex. I could pick the rest of your post apart but I would hate to upset your cowboy heritage image you promote that started in 1941 when the Silver Spurs Riding Club was formed. In 1943, the club members built their first rodeo arena on land donated by Henry O. Partin. That land was located on the corner of today’s Neptune Road and Kings Highway in St. Cloud.

01/04/13 @ 15:26

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ History Lesson

Apprciate your remarks.

All I know is that my family who came to Madison in North Florida in 1860 and then to Polk county in 1889 always referenced Kissimmee as having the cowboys. Guess they were brain washed too ?

However it is what it is and will contiunue to be much to your chagrin.

01/04/13 @ 17:06

Comment from: @ History Lesson [Visitor]

There was a camp that Disston started for raising cattle. You could call it a ranch if it suite's your cowboy image. There was also a nicer hotel in Kissimmee to house the tourists than any the city has now.

01/04/13 @ 17:35

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ History Lesson

Being there are no longer any hotels in the city limits you have made a bold statement but true.

Just curious. Looks like the folks here have done a good job in becoming a "cowboy" culture until Disney arrived.

Are you one of the PETA folks that protest on 192 during the rodeos ?

I have been here since 1981 and have yet to run into anyone that doesn't like the "Western Themes" in the county. Have gone to the Sugar Mill site at the canal.

The parades have thinned out and I miss watching the " cowboys" stopping cars on Broadway with shotguns blazing for a donation to a non-profit.Even enjoyed buying a "Dude" permit badge for the week of the rodeo.

Then if you have any Seminole kinfolk I can understand your distain for the cowboy culture .

01/04/13 @ 18:00

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

Lets say that "cowboys" have been part of the county since 1886. There have been
people in agriculture since then too.

Being that Florida is known for its fruit in the growth years it was hard to encourage people to visit the county before Disney to come see an Orange tree so I guess that left cowboys via Rodeo days that started in the 1930's-my guess on the date.Good merketing.

Cowboys were a part of the heritage of Osceola county not all emcompassing but here for 125 years.

Now Kississee is known more as "that city near Disney." Should be as we have spent almost over $175 Million dollars in promotions.

The Silver Spurs rodeo during same time has been to venue to get the most funding from the Tourist Tax not counting the indoor arena.

01/04/13 @ 19:55

Comment from: Maniacal Pantomime [Visitor]

Hey history lesson....Are you sure the first rodeo arena built on the corner of Neptune Road and Kings Highway was in fact considered located in ST. CLOUD? Huh? Huh? lolol.

01/04/13 @ 22:41

Comment from: History Lesson [Visitor]

@ Hector Romero

No, it’s just the "cowboy culture" or for me the "good old boys" that have held a city back for so long that was founded by a city slicker from Philadelphia. Who ironically envisioned growth and tourism for Kissimmee but failed in his dredging efforts that only damaged the everglades with the Army Corps of Engineering’s eventual help. When I think of Kissimmee's history I do not think cowboys, but then I have studied the history a bit. Orlando was originally called Jernigan named after its first settler a rancher. That "heritage" that was recently embraced by Kissimmee for marketing reasons was started by the Partins and some other “Good Old Boys” in the 1940's. Kissimmee received press for being a cowboy town when the Silver spurs club went to Tallahassee to ride in the inaugural parade for newly elected Florida Governor Spessard Holland in 1941. But since tourism was one of the ideas originally behind Kissimmee’s start up. I give them some credit for the eventual marketing of the cowboy image, just a day late and some dollars short. It seems the recent embracing of the “cowboy heritage” image was when the city and county was obviously going Spanish. It would seem fair to speculate that many of the “Good Old Boys” are nun too happy about what they inadvertently created. I am not a racist myself so I found it hard to jump on that year 2000 “Cowboy Heritage” band wagon. Cattle did play a role in Kissimmee’s history but what it did was took away from what should have been focused on, and that was Oranges and tourism. In the history it seems Orlando and Kissimmee switched roles as they embraced tourism and oranges, and we embraced their true cowboy heritage.

@ Maniacal Pantomime

According to the Silver Spurs Website.

01/04/13 @ 22:56

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

@ History Lesson

So if the people that came to Osceola had just planted Orange trees we could have been Orlando if the ranchers had not come along and ruined everything.

01/05/13 @ 00:00

Comment from: Maniacal Pantomime [Visitor]

History Lesson....Hey thanks for admitting your "history lessons" are from websites and not from "living the real life." That's what I was waiting to hear!

01/05/13 @ 01:35

Comment from: Former TDC member [Visitor]

The only "Marketing" by the City of Kissimmee and Osceola county for the cattle heritage was through the annual application of funds that started in 1980's when the TDC started funding local organizations such as the Rotary's Air Fair. For every $1 we gave to them they had to show they contributed and equal amount to a non-profit in the county.

The entry way signs were approved by the membership of the Downtown Business Association (DBA) and the City Commission.

The Silver Spurs received money every year for the 2 Rodeos they put on and went through the application process like everyone else. The rodeos were put into the annual events marketing event.

The Silver Spurs came to the county for help in building a new arena with 2 days set aside for the rodeo every year.
The BOCC expanded the project to what is Heritage Park today with the Tourist Tax.When you go through the exhibit bldgs to see the animals or go to the new ag center office thank a tourist as they helped build it.

In the 10 years I was on the TDC Board there was never an emphasis to promote the "Cowboy Way " to tourist other than the annual grant to the Silver Spurs.

All the Rodeo Signs in Downtown Kissimmee were put up every year by the DBA as the rodeo parade brought in a lot of people as well as during the 10 day promotion period.Cocoa Cola paid for the banners and signs.

The funds used to build and maintain the Astros Complex was the big promotion expense until Heritage Park opened.

I voted approval every year for the Rodeo grant as they showed every year how many people came to the Spurs event. The Kissimmee Air Fair was our big event every year but 2 years in a row it rained that started the end of the event as the military air teams left Kissimmee out of their schedules.

That's what I know about marketing the cowboy heritage with county funds.

01/05/13 @ 08:42

Comment from: LOL [Visitor]

@ Maniacal Pantomime

So you must be around 130 years old,impressive.

01/05/13 @ 11:29

Comment from: Maniacal Pentomime [Visitor]

To: LOL Yes, indeed! And for the right price, you, too, can benefit from my longevity secrets. If you qualify accoording to my criteria, that is. :)

01/05/13 @ 14:05

Comment from: oops [Visitor]

How does Osceola County rank on the 2012 Central Florida Scorecard? Here are some highlights:

• Population: 276,200, the smallest in the region.

• College attainment: 19.8 percent, third-lowest behind Lake and Polk counties, which both have 19 percent.

• Water consumption: 169 gallons per day per capita, the third-highest in the region and more than the regional average of 154.

• Unemployment rate: 9.8 percent, the third-highest in the region.

• Voter turnout: 36.6 percent, the lowest in the region.

• Charitable contributions: $2,800 per capita, the lowest in the region.

01/05/13 @ 16:34

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ oops

What are you (we) going to do to improve those numbers ?

There are a lot of citizens serving on many appointed boards attempting make changes that hopefully the elected officials will take under advisement.

I am discourged that at budget hearings required by law a sea of empty seats
are at every meeting of every board.

"Hear the Audience " placements are not required by any Florida law. St Cloud has 2 placements on every agenda.

Here we are going into another tough year and for the most part the elected officials will be met with silence.

01/06/13 @ 10:39

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@ Kiss OT

to your point on those who don't come to meetings for the chance to speak for 3 minutes, be it school board, city council etc). The shame is that when certain items come up, it is not open to discussion/comments from the audience, only at audience comments. Yes sometimes as to a particular item it is but it is often futile when a so called developer, or "expert" goes on and on with lies and a sell-job, and you have only 3 minutes to comment and never a chance to rebut those lies or unsubstantiated facts.

Citizens have NO LESS VALUE because their schedules do not allow them to attend a meeting. I have found that many DO put forth comments via e-mails mostly, to the right dept. and often are met with an attitude that the individual it was directed at thinks only they know what is a solution, as if it's an affront to their position if someone else puts forth the best idea.

This constant mantra of "what have you done" is soo lame and empty, because I also have found out from personal experience that when I or others have complained, or suggested something, very often I/they were far from the first to do so, (which is nice to know-but frustrating when falling on deaf ears)--AND P-lease...I know all about some suggestions needing to go through a process, or other considerations to implement. Just dont think no one is putting forth ideas. IRONICALLY apparently those who complain they are on boards/committees etc. and get no input..themselves are not doing the greatest job many times. (Not saying all the time or even a majority of the time--but when you take an attitude "we do it right most of the time" and ignore those who could make you right 90% instead of 75% fir example..then it is not the citizenry being a problem, its the lected leaders that are railed against making for forums like this.

01/06/13 @ 11:46

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]


The BOCC changed the Planning Commssion agenda to be at night in the early 1980's by citizen request.

Citizens asked the St Cloud Council to put 2 Hear the Audience on the agenda. They did.

Citizens asked the Kissimmee City Commission to change the meetings that started at 8 pm to 6pm. They did.

It was a citizen that pushed for 3 years for the county to go to a Charter government. They did.

I have found if you are on the winning side of a zoning change the commissioners are wonderful. Go against you and they have been paid off.

I did a revieww of every vote of the Planning Commissions votes for approval and the BOCC voted the approvals 98% of the time over a 2 year span.

If you think nothing can be done nothing will be done and you can continue to complain on KSIB.

I totally agree with you that at the budget hearings the members of all Boards other than St Cloud are deaf using the excuse the budget went through workshops. They fail to add the workshops were closed to public comment for the most part.

01/06/13 @ 13:04

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

What is it about this site that people use selective reading skills? I noted that changing meting times 30!!!!! years ago (and OK you can never satisfy everyone's schedule) is not reason to ignore the citizens. I noted the reaction you often get when you make a suggestion, already received with a "how could a citizen know better than one who holds the job who should know," attitude and to admit someone else came up wit it they think lessens their value. I noted that people now use e-mail mostly-- so there is both a record of it and far more convenient and you are not limited to your time.

Hysterically thought I am agreed that no Board listens as to the budget process...I guess someone didn't agree with what the boards passed on the budgets.

Reasonable people KNOW that they are not agreed with all time and that sometimes their are other solutions. What citizens hate is when they are ignored from arrogance that suddenly b-cus someone got elected, they are smarter than you --ie a JW.

01/06/13 @ 13:34

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ tselliot

Enlighten the readers where you have been where all government Boards agreed with you ?

Better yet what zoning vote got under your skin enough to now claim that all deveopers are using some sort of kick-back to get approved.

Thanks to the internet feeds I rarely go to any Board meetings unless there is an ordiance I am interested in.

If you have good points every commission will give you extra time to complete your statements. Start repeating and your time is up.

01/06/13 @ 13:53

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

For at least 8 years if you went to a school board meeting you could not ask to have an item pulled off the agenda.The live internet feed started in 2010.

Ironic that the new chairman agreed with the old policies. We have gone "Back to the Future ".

01/06/13 @ 14:16

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

Mayor Swan has all the answers based on his vast experience so don't waste your time asking a question that will offend him.

Don't you love the comment when he says,"In another life" I did so and so.
He is talking about his time on the county commission.

01/06/13 @ 14:22

Comment from: History Lesson [Visitor]

@ JB Haney

No the "good old boy" mentality ruined or spurred (pun intended) everything. Since they didn't see it as being broke there was no desire to fix or change anything. Some still will go to meetings to complain that they want to keep things the status quo that they or their family before them created. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard how wonderful it was here before the tourism bread and butter Disney showed up. You know back when Kissimmee was a tiny little no growth town that they created when they squashed tourism the first time after its boom at the turn of the century.

Our actual history is full of tourism and industry then AG. The industry died with the train but the tourism didn’t have to, that died with the ranching and the mentality that came with it after the Disston Land Company had to sell off its Florida holdings.

A quick example of how it went wrong, do a Google search for the Tropical Hotel Kissimmee, look in images. That awesome hotel was built in 1887 for some of the first tourists to come to central Florida. It was right downtown on the lake. When it burned down it was not rebuilt because the ranchers lacked foresight and didn’t appreciate their biggest potential asset, tourism. Check out the awesome hotels downtown we have now to accommodate our bread and butter.

The town took a different direction and stagnated after Disston land pulled out and a few ranching families bought up the land. Jump ahead to the turn of the next century and we are celebrating the people that inadvertently screwed Kissimmee up and burying our real heritage, steam boats and tourism.

Go out west or go to Texas where most of the towns claim a real cowboy heritage we could have been different but…….

@ Red John


01/06/13 @ 14:36

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@ Romero LOLOLOLOLOLo wow- were you the one who wanted to run for SB b-cus that lack of reading comprehension of my points, that broken record when asking the same question that has been answered, makes you totally unqualified for the SB (wait that never stopped others so forge one). WOW. PS YOU LIE. Yes it is a lie that every Board will give you extra time. They MIGHT RARELY do so if you are agreeing with them..BUT even then while I may not agree with the 3 min rule and know it keeps people from even going and waiting for the item, letting any one person go longer than another is a total disregard of the rules and you don't seem to grasp the crime in that. UGH...

01/06/13 @ 14:56

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]


If you are as much a BS artist are you are on this Blog no wonder the Chairman of the Board (s) couldn't take anymore.

As usual skip a question about a zoning issue you know was passed with a "tip'.
Maybe you were the one that Shipley had escorted out of the Chambers for implying the BOCC was on the take after the Neptune Road vote.

01/06/13 @ 18:51

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

to anyone out there - please translate what Romero wrote... all I ever hear from him sounds like the teacher talking to Charlie Brown.

01/06/13 @ 21:05

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

The Kissimmee Hotel that burned was renamed the the Tropical and the Bostain in the 1930's. It was open with a good home cooking with an entrance on Broadway across from Ms Mac's. In 1970 it was torn down to make make room for the First Federal Savings and Loan Association.The pool was covered up by the parking lot on the East side.

The lake would come up to railroad tracks during the winter. Cattle would be in the park to be loaded on trains when lake went back the where the breakwater is now.

The Kissimmee Lakefront Hotel and the Arcade Theater were built next to the
Bostain.The Lakeside burned. The Arcade Hotel could no longer meet the fire codes and was torn down. The theater met it's fate in the 2004 hurricanes.

My dad and I had many a good Sunday meal at the Bostain Hotel.

01/06/13 @ 21:11

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

@ teselliot

I think you hit the nail on the head as Hector might as well be directing his positive comments to Charley Brown as all you do is dance around with insults.

01/06/13 @ 21:15

Comment from: History Lesson [Visitor]

@ Maximus

The menu.

"The original Tropical Hotel was built by I.N. Mabbette in 1883. While it was being erected, it was blown down. The lumber was carefully picked up, and the building was completed. It had 132' frontage on Broadway, 80 rooms, and almost 700 feet of verandas. It faced the railroad tracks, and a 6-story tower overlooked the lake. It was only open during the winter months. For a while, it was called the Hotel Kissimmee, but was renamed the Tropical before it burned.

After the Tropical burned in 1906, there was the Thurman Hotel built by Harry Thurman of Philadelphia. It was later renamed the Graystone Hotel which, in 1914, claimed to be fireproof and advertised rooms for $2.50/day. In the 1930s it was bought by Mr. Bostain and became the Bostain Hotel. In the 1940s, it was refurbished and again called the Tropical Hotel."

This is the tropical hotel are thinking of.

This is the original.

01/06/13 @ 23:56

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

Census records show that the City of Kissimmee had a steady growth record from 1883 until 1970 when Disney cranked it up. The next surge was when Epcot was built. The next surge started in 2004.

From the start the leading industries was citrus and other crops. The cattle industry started taking hold in the 1930's. The Cattlemens Association opened their doors in 1934.

Cattlemen had nothing to do with the hotels in Downtown Kissimmee as they were developed by people moving in from the North.

There are some great photos at the Kissimmee Civic center of the lakefront park being used for cattle pins and the Tropical Hotel.The railroad owned all the land where the park is to 50 feet
west of the current tracks.The park property was given to the city by the railroad for public use only in 1918.
The Kissimmee Hotel was on Broadway and burned and rebuilt as the Tropical.

01/07/13 @ 00:06

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

@ History

Reading your post you wrote the Hotel was on the lakefront, It wasn't. You stated the ranchers stopped the rebuilding of the hotel. Now you show they didn't as the burned hotel was rebuilt with a new name. The Bostain has a view of the original hotel in their lobby.

The hotels were built for the winter tourists and were successful up through the early 1960's.

01/07/13 @ 00:20

Comment from: History Lesson [Visitor]

The original Tropical Hotel even had a dock and paddle boat to take the tourists out. You could live in Europe and book an adventure to the backwaters of Florida. Other hotels were built downtown but none like the original tropical.

01/07/13 @ 00:34

Comment from: Patel [Visitor]

And now Kissimmee has the Tropicana Motel...


01/07/13 @ 07:47

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

Maybe the cattlemen started the fire at the first Grand Hotel in the county to stop the massive wave of tourists coming the Kissimmee ? This one fire doomed the city to be the stepchild of Orlando.

The Bull Statue at Heritage park should be removed and replaced with an orange tree the symbol of orange grove farmers that actually were the big dogs of the of the growth of the county for 1883 through the early 1940's.

The Orange Blossom Hotel was named to show the cowboys they were not the big boys that have re-written history to show they were. Imagine the courage of knowing the cowboys would have to ride their horses by the hotel during their Rodeo Parade ! Burn this hotel !

The ranchers were the enemy all along and like sheep we are still honoring them. Shame.

01/07/13 @ 08:44

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

The first boom in Osceola county was the 1920's land rush that could be compared to the Disney land rush on a smaller scale.

Then the Depression came along and the next surge came with the Air base. Then Disney came along and the population boom was on.

Cattle and citrus were the big economic engines especially citrus through the the 1960's.

Look at all the small towns in Polk county that citrus built. Charming Davenport's wide streets were part of the 1920's land buying spree.Growth virually stopped in all the towns except Lakeland.

See the closed citrus processing plants in Lake Wales and Winter Haven that sit rusting away yet the communituies continue like Kissimmee & St Cloud to keep their downtowns alive. Our own citrus plant on Main Steet closed in the early 1980's.

At every town I visit the talk is the same of how nice things were before Disney arrived.Davenport really hasn;t changed and waht was the downtown retail area is long gone. Haines City
has done a good job of holding on to the Downtown area of small shops with monthly events to attract tourists.

With the deep recession the county leaders are surprised that people continue to move to the county replacing those that left to show an increase in population.

We will come out of the damage of the bursting of the housing bubble and continue to move foward.

01/07/13 @ 09:53

Comment from: Chuckles The Clown [Visitor]

The debate how the cattlemen held back the growth of Kissimmee and Osceola county is funny. Now I finally know why my town never grew.It was the cattlemen !

Intercession City never had a chance even though we are on the major highway to Polk County. We used to have our own fire department like Kissimmee but the county proclaimed our firefighers were not professional and now tax us for their Union Organized Professional Firefighters replacements.

Nothing has changed since Disney came as we thought there would be some townhouses yet all the growth went towards I-4 where the orange growers sold their
groves as fast as the developers could get the property rezoned ! We even got bypassed by Sunrail.

Oh well life goes on.Hope Carl comes back from his long vacation soon.

01/07/13 @ 13:01

Comment from: History Lesson [Visitor]

The earlier City Hall, located on the shore of the lake, burned down on October 6, 1891. The town records were destroyed.

The first boom was created by Disston just before the turn of the century.

There was even a run off hotel the Hotel Tohopekaliga for when the Tropical was full of tourists or adventurers back then.

Kissimmee was called a "cow town" by the tourists because the ranchers did not use fences until the automobile became popular in the area. The cows would walk the streets of Kissimmee and eat the Bermuda grass before the streets were bricked. They were the cities first lawn and maintenance crews allowed by Mayor Col. Aderhold. Later on if you hit a cow with your automobile, you just bought a cow.

@ Maximus

Don't forget that we moved the lake a bit with the dredging, canals-water management. It used to come up a lot farther than it does now. Florida frontier river boat Capt Clay Johnson's house was lake front property at 708 Clay St. For those who do not know the same lumber and people that built the river boats was used in the construction of the house. The lumber came from one of our first settler’s J.H. Allen’s lumber mill. He was a former Confederate soldier who moved to the area to become a steamboat captain on Lake Tohopekaliga. His boat, the Mary Belle, was the first cargo steamer on the Kissimmee River. Kissimmee was first called Allendale named after him a steam boat captain. He also had the first general store along with the mill.

01/07/13 @ 13:43

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

@ History

Basing my comments on archive photos of the hotel built on Broadway.

A canal was dug from the lake to the Clay House. During the past 2 drawdowns it was obivious the house was uphill from the lake as the canal line was clear. Capt Shaw could walk down to the
pier and get on the boat.

01/07/13 @ 14:30

Comment from: Last One [Visitor]

The point is (besides for being board waiting for Carl to come back ; ) where is the grand downtown Kissimmee hotel to house the tourists that had even helped get the town going back to its beginning? Where are the historic paddle boat rides and tours to draw the tourists in? When I wanted to build one I was told that the paddle boats are banned from the lake. Sound familiar? It should. Look what happened to the air boat tours that used to bring in some tourists. At some point we forgot what got us our start and we lacked the business sense that Disston had attempted to bring with him to Florida specifically Kissimmee. Had the cow hands embraced the tourists instead of shooing them away we would have fared much better, quite possibly Kissimmee could have been the tourist capital of the United States if Disney would have favored us. But hay all that’s history and we since created a new more boring or typical one for ourselves it is what it is…for now.

Some people got sworn in today so back to politics. Let’s not forget our real heritage and learn from mistakes we continue to make when we cater to the few and overlook our biggest asset.

@ Maximus

I can assure you that the water came that high. I have viewed unpublished pictures from the time that show the lake at Captain Johnson’s back yard. The written history of the original Tropical states it was at the water and they along with Johnson and several others had docks. Kissimmee even had a nice city dock that was covered at the end with benches. It was big enough for gatherings. Now we need a private dock again.

For those that are into the history of Kissimmee this is good reading it’s a book called Forty years of a sportsman's life written about the adventures of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny. CHAPTER VII page 184 A TRIP TO FLORIDA. It is a few pages of a firsthand account of his time in and around Kissimmee City as a hunter adventurer or tourist (he was a little disappointed that Kissimmee “City” was to him a small town). He even mentions visiting Tom Tiger or Tuestenugee a famous Seminole chief for being the first Florida Indian ever to stand up in a white man's court after he loaned out a hoarse that was never returned. Tom Tiger almost gave Sir Claude the measles when he put on Sir Claude’s cape then informing him of the ailment before giving it back.

Later in life when Tom Tiger died when being struck by lightning making a dugout style canoe his bones were stolen and an attempt was made to sell them to the Smithsonian. But the Seminoles although weak in numbers threatened another uprising. They were eventually returned.

He talks about camping at a Cincinnati Company made town/camp called Floridelphia that never really got up and running but the shipbuilders in Kissimmee did build a steamer named the Floridelphia. It ended up in California after the Panama Canal was made.

He mentioned a marshal that he had admiration for that used a firm hand to keep the ranchers and to be pc the African Americans inline. Ironically in December of 1885, the "Gibson Riot" occurred, and the white marshal was killed. A white mob rounded up all but two of the African Americans in Kissimmee and drove them out of town.

A little tidbit of history is that Captain Rose almost named Osceola county Dissten County. People have given credit to others for naming the county even Johnson but the paper around the time gave credit to steam boat Captain and chemist R.E. Rose. Their where 815 pioneer settlers in the new county.

The main cattle supplier after the turn of the century was Kissimmee Island Cattle Co or KICCO pronounced KISSO. It was a company owned town from 1915 - to the late 1920's. The original cattle, horses and hogs were left here by the Spanish and roomed freely until early settlers tried to round them up. That inspired the image of pioneer “Cowhunters”. The term Cracker was original used in the US to describe a slavery foreman because of the use of a whip for discipline. It then became slang used to describe white people as crackers. It was later adopted by White Georgia and Florida inhabitance who called themselves crackers to distinguish themselves from the influx of northerners. In Florida specifically it was also used as a term to describe the Cowhunters who used whips instead of the lasso to round up cattle. Florida is the only place that still openly embraces the word.

01/07/13 @ 19:17

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

In 19884-84 entertained putting a showboat with a Restaurant out of the Kissimmee lakefront through a Nationwide Request for proposal. 12 companies replied and was chosen and supported by the communuity. The Florida Fish and Game did a comprehensive depth charting that took 3 months.

The operator/builder out of Ohio presented drawings for the boat.

Then the bad news: There was not enough draft for a boat needed to show a profit.Everyone was stunned you could waklk across the lake most of the year if the sand bottom could be exposed above the mud.

During the drawdowns the buildup was removed on portions of Lake Toho but excursion boat hopes came to an end.

The city commission made a serious attempt to bring back a excursion boat back to the lake.The entire process took 15 months.

01/07/13 @ 20:45

Comment from: Georgia Cracker [Visitor]

@ History

You obviouly haven't been to Georgia the past week. The term Cracker is alive and well.

In fact the word "Cracker" seems to be disappearing in Florida. I'll give you that you don't hear the word cracker much in the Greater Metro Atlanta counties.

01/07/13 @ 21:22

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ Ghostdog

Had forgotten how the city entertained getting a Restaurant tyoe boat like the boats Disney has.

The were 4 companies that made presentations and the winner had his chef tell us what the menu would have on it at a city commission meeting.

I was at the meeting when it was explained at high pool how much of lake bottom was too close to consider a boat
like the city wanted much less during the summer.There was talking of docking a boat for a lakeside restaurant but the State of Florida wasn't receptive to it even at the Toho Yacht Club.

01/08/13 @ 00:34

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

There are no "Grand Hotels" in Kissimmee City Limits.

Why ? No demand.

Gaylord Palms is the nearest "Kissimmee" address hotel to the city limits that is considered a Grand Hotel in the Industry.

The Hotel/Motel industry targeted properties west of the old 535 exit with the Hyatt House being the 900 room Grand Hotel at the I-4 exit in 1975.
Major chain hotels opened off exit 244 in 1972 all in Osceola county.

I was in Lakeland yesterday and the Grand Hotel Downtown in the 1920's is an office building.

People in the early 1900's started going to the Grand Hotels in Miami and Palm Beach. The Grand Hotel in early Tampa 1910 is now Tampa University.

The CVB states that Osceola county has 45,000 room night facilites open in Osceola county.

01/08/13 @ 11:31

Comment from: Stacy McCland [Visitor]

My aunt, Ruthanne Eaddy, and her friend had a contract to cater meals on a boat at the Kissimmee lakefront in the 1970s. They weren't open very long, but it was very popular. Somebody jumped off the boat and drowned shortly after it opened, and that was the end of it. I don't remember any more details at the moment, but I thought it would add some historical perspective to the comments above since it seems to be left out of the history books.

01/08/13 @ 16:01

Comment from: truth [Visitor]

Today the new Clerk of Courts took office, the old Clerk left a deficit of almost $200,000.00 , Demotions and pay roll backs going on all day long, the first thing the new clerk does is he hires his daugter in law as one of his assistants, she is the mother of his grand children and his sons partner for many years. allegedly.

01/08/13 @ 18:33

Comment from: truth [Visitor]

Saw some comment that Malcolm should pay for legal fees with county money, wonder how many still think that should happen?

01/08/13 @ 18:42

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

I doubt the Clerk hired his daughter in law in violation of state law.

01/08/13 @ 19:42

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

@ Last One

The docks you see on the City of Kissimmee Lakefront are owned by the city and allowed by the State of Florida.

There can be no longer be private docks on the current city lakefront as there were in the early history of the city. The current Marina took 2 years of state permiting. The fishing pier off Neptune Road took one year as a joint project with Florida Fish and Game.

Paddle boats were tried at Celebration's downtown lake and failed like they would have Downtown Kissimmee. Thank the city for saving you money on the denial for your project.

01/09/13 @ 07:38

Comment from: truth [Visitor]

He not only did hire his daugter in law , but Beau Osbourne hired his former campaign manager, well here goes diversity hire your family and also political favors what a bunch of crock of , you know what..........

01/09/13 @ 11:24

Comment from: Aint broke don’t fix it. [Visitor]

Just like the air boats the paddle boats would make it now. Had we given tourists things to do you know a little entertainment a hotel would make it. Smaller paddle boats around 75' have a draft of roughly 2' the larger ones like at Disney around 100' would have about a 4' draft. We need a private dock so we can allow boats used commercially to launch. Or dock at. The paddle boats at least the larger ones needed a nice long one to get the depth but the smaller ones could get so close to the shore that a horse drown carts could be used to transfer goods in the water. There is a reason they are called river boats it’s because they are flat bottomed and do not require much depth. Downtown Kissimmee just needed some nightlife and a town with a friendly attitude toward tourists and it would have flourished. The opera house gone, theater gone, hotels gone, steamboats gone, air boats gone, tourists…………..

01/09/13 @ 12:08

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Nepotism Law prohibits Armando from hiring relatives unless it changed recently.

Armando approved the hire by Osborne.

01/09/13 @ 13:13

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

Aint broke

The City had events every year obn the Lakefront for locals & tourists.

Paddle boats are not wanted het would mix with power boats.

Tell us where there is an Opera House in a Florida town with 60,000 residents.The old Opera Hoouse burned.

The 2004 Hurricanes destroyed the Arcade
Theater.Tourists were going to the theaters at the Osceola Mall now replaced with the Loop.No interest in the private sector to put a modern theater downtown.

The business people welcome the tourists downtown.I see them in the stores and restaurants evertday especially this time of the year.

A private dock can not built on Florida lake bottom property at the lakefront. That's the law. The Marina docks are open to all boaters.

Commercial airboats can not pick up passengers at the lakefront yet can use the Marina for personal use. I see them launching every week.

01/09/13 @ 13:33

Comment from: Aint broke don’t fix it. [Visitor]

And they were never rebuilt with the mindset of drawing in the needed tourists. Laws were created to appease the good old boy mindset strangling the downtown and keeping small time rural "country" Kissimmee, and you will defend the past mistakes you made until you are no more. Like previously stated hopefully the next generation is a little bit more educated and moves us foreword.

• Population: 276,200, the smallest in the region.

• College attainment: 19.8 percent, third-lowest behind Lake and Polk counties, which both have 19 percent.

• Water consumption: 169 gallons per day per capita, the third-highest in the region and more than the regional average of 154.

• Unemployment rate: 9.8 percent, the third-highest in the region.

• Voter turnout: 36.6 percent, the lowest in the region.

• Charitable contributions: $2,800 per capita, the lowest in the region.

Are you happy with being just slightly better than Polk? You must be.

01/09/13 @ 14:07

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

at Aint Broke-- What you said!!!! with the most glaring point of KOT and others of his ilk-- they will defend the past mistakes they made until they are no more. too bad we all suffer...oh and wait for it--wait for it--hector and KOT, Cool will all chime in with thier mantra--what have you done- when it's been answered time and time again.

01/09/13 @ 14:54

Comment from: Saltine Cracker [Visitor]

@ Georgia Cracker

Yes educated and thoughtful people do not use the word "cracker" in a slang manner out of respect for others it may offend. I am a sticks and stones guy, call me what you like. But the rural areas do have more people who would over the metropolitan areas.

01/09/13 @ 19:41

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Why would Kissimmee build a an Arena with property tax money when the county did it with the tourist tax ?

Why would Kissimmee build a baseball stadium with property taxes when the county did it with tourist taxes ?

Kissimmee was looking onto purchasing the Arcade Theater for a performing rts Center when Hurricand Charley destroyed it.

How many applications has the city received to build a major name brand hotel in the city limits since Disney ? Zero.

Did you know that a good part of the prime lakefront property is deed restricted against a commercial
venture ?

KOT isn't defending past mistakes but
points out that contrary to Aint Broke city commissioners have tried a lot of things to keep the Downtown area alive.

I suppose the city supported Town Center is a mirage ?

The City permitted the use of WWII Duck Boats to use the city boat ramps and the developer folded his tent.

I haven't read one proposal for Downtown from the 2 Bloggers here that haven't been tried over the past 50 years. The city commissioners are always open to fresh ideas.

01/09/13 @ 19:51

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

The 17th Annual Chili Cookoff hosted by the City of Kissimmee will be at the lakefront park Jan 17th,

Tourists are welcome as they have been for the past 17 years,

01/09/13 @ 20:15

Comment from: True Colors [Visitor]

According to WFTV Bob Hansell's office found probable cause that Cindy hacked into Jay's email. They forwarded two possible felony charges to the State Attorney's office. Now to see what Jeff Ashton does.

01/09/13 @ 22:50

Comment from: Marvin Anderson [Visitor]

Osceola county was the second county in the state to get voters to buy into the Tourist Tax. All 4 governments supported the get out the vote.

Kissimmee officials got with the county BOCC to get an approval for an additional sales tax for capital items such as the new city hall,3 fire stations and police station. The last 2 fire stations are still be paid for.

The city has supported numerous plans to bring in the Air Show at the Airport with as many as 30,000 mosty tourists showing up.The shows ended when jet teams could no longer fly here.

Check the events at the lakefront every year.

The local downtown merchants agreed to a special tax against their property for improvenments in the Downtown District. The merchants agreed to a CRA
that is working based on the gains in property tax revenues.

The city sent out an RFP to see the interest in building a mid sized motel/hotel next to the Civic center. No response.

The City provided the funds for the Chamber of Commerce to put a "re-do" on the Train Station.

The city obtained a grant to moderize the Community Center.

The city obtained grant money with a match to build the boat ramps and parking that attracted National and state fishing tournments ie tourists.

The city has a strong marketing program for the airport that brings in more tourist traffic as planned.

As explained by another blogger the Paddlewheel Boats were not a good mix with power boats.

The county has just over one million acres in it. 47% can not be used as except for conservation areas. The City commission suppoted the SAVE vote.

In the 1980's,90's part of the 2000's Osceola county was either first or in the top 4 fastest population growth counties in the United States.

No government in this county against growth. The City worked with the Federal government to bring in the old Oceola Mall with its theaters. At the time the Arcade couldn't meet the local fire codes and was closed.

If anyone thinks that other counties are not having problems they are wrong.

01/09/13 @ 23:53

Comment from: Pensive Pantomime [Visitor]

JB Haney...The "Duck Boat" venture sounded pretty good at the time but, as you said, the developer "folded his tent." Do you have any idea where he is now? Did he set up a tent somewhere else? Would be interesting to know. If I remember correctly, DD left a few wild animals around when his tent folded. I figure if you people can use initials, so can I. haha! P.S. My Maniacal status has now been upgrated to Pensive. :)

01/10/13 @ 00:48

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

@ Pensive Pantomine

Developer Richard Dickerman after selling Makinson Island decided to go into the tour business on Toho using World War II landing boats called Ducks that are popular in Dells Wisconsin.

The big plans for Makinson Island to have a condo project flopped and the Florida Fish & Games purchased to island
that the public can visit by boat today.

The Duck Boats would be driven from the city parking lot behind Broadway to the lake.Dick played with the idea for about
a year then packed up and went to Costa Rica in 1998. I guess he is still there.

01/10/13 @ 08:38

Comment from: LOL [Visitor]

Having an occasional show or an event downtown is better than nothing but to have a steady flow of tourists their needs to be some constant advertised attractions. Chilly cook of should bring them in and keep us going for another year, LOL.

01/10/13 @ 10:04

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

The county spends 21 Million dollars a year to attract tourists year round to the county.

There is a list of the annual events in Saint Cloud and Kissimmee in the Brochures that are in every Florida Welcome Station. TV ads are placed on the markets in the Northeast and Atlanta as well as Canada. We have a fill time rep in London that goes to
tourist Expo functions there and in the rest of Europe.Canada,the UK and South America are our largest foreign visitor base.

There is a list of places to visit in Downtown and the winter season is good for merchants from the tourist trade.
The Centre is a commercial success.

Lanier's is one of the largest antique stores in Central Florida. Stop by and read their guest book.Compliments from vistors from all over the World and the USA.

Medevial Times is not on Broadway but is in the Kisimmee City Limits.The ownership has always thanked the city for their help in getting them open and staying open.

90% of the commercial retail spaces in the Downtown district is rented.

Spring baseball will bring a boatload of tourists soon to the Astro Stadium everyday the Astros are in training.Many of those tourists will be Downtown.

01/10/13 @ 10:33

Comment from: Cup half full [Visitor]

Swan is one optimistic dude.

90% of the commercial retail spaces in the Downtown district is rented. BUT STRUGGLING AND ON THE VERGE OF FAIL.

01/10/13 @ 11:26

Comment from: ts elliot [Visitor]

@ cup 1/2 full--exactly. These guys spew stats that have resulted in little tax revenue..SPIN..... advertising millions to say we have this or that and people come and say "that wasnt worth it," is more the norm. Oh there are exceptions and like the gamblers in vegas..these guys will talk about winnings =never losses. The Astros lolololol. They cant even give away the tickets--even when teams like Yanks come in b-cus those guys dont send but one or 2 regulars on raod trips in spring. And people come to a game- they go home, they dont say "hey let's go eat or walk around main or ny ave" UGH UGH UGH-- clueless--wait for it --wait for it--what have we done...????

01/10/13 @ 11:48

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ ts elliot

Little tax revenue ?

The Kissimmee Resort area has collected
$280,000,000 in the past 10 years in tourist tax in Osceola county.

The answer is clear to what have you done to help with the problems we have in Kissimmee since you blessed us with your arrival in 1998--NOTHING.

01/10/13 @ 12:07

Comment from: Cup half full [Visitor]

What actual good has the Boehner of Kissimmee Mr. Jim Swan done Mr. Hector Romero?

01/10/13 @ 12:57

Comment from: [Member]

I guess this is better than talking about dead cowboys...

I might have enjoyed the duck boats. They were used for tours all over the country until one capsized and some people drowned. I think that was a salt water tour in the pac northwest, so the water would be a good bit more challenging. Hard to find someone who is qualified to drive one on the road and in the water...

01/10/13 @ 13:34

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ Cup Half Full

Swan has won 2 elections to the city commission as Mayor and the duties that come with the job. No one challenged him this time so must be doing a good job.

01/10/13 @ 13:59

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

No one has brought up when Kissimmee was considered to be the Florida Office of the United States Olympic Committee in 1996.

01/10/13 @ 14:03

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

The Astros drew an average of 3845 people a Home game in 2011. The lowest in Florida.

The Braves drew 8021 avg per home game 5th best in Florida.

01/10/13 @ 14:15

Comment from: Cup half full [Visitor]

That's just because he campaigns like wheeler DIRTY. So he is good for Kissimmee because he is an ass? You and he have so much in common its uncanny.

01/10/13 @ 14:27

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

@ cup because directing it to Hectorino is like talking to a door knob... isn't that logic incredible? "they must be doing something right because they were elected." Yep George Bush-t, Rick Scott, Michelle Bachman.... anyway--thank You Ghost dog for the facts on the attendance, BUT you know they must be doing something right because they are there. OH and thank you Cool Hand for the laugh of the day, noting a 16 year old consideration and it was nothing NOTHING more than that. Oh this sight is great entertainment. They spew stats like Dick Scott does on healthcare costs EVEN when they are told and shown they are wrong. Toooooo good.

01/10/13 @ 18:25

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Swan has a few duties to do as Mayor. One is to run the meetins and keep them going and he does.

It's his job to keep the line of communications open with the other county governments. He does.

The other is to meet with the manager before every meeting to go over the printed agenda. He does.

Yes there are times when he is full of himself and rude to people at meetings.

He does what the Charter requires him to do as he has no administrative duties in the manager-commission form of government.

A transplant from Ohio.

01/11/13 @ 00:37

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

@ ts selliot

The city and county commmission went all out in 1996 and part of 1997 to bring portion of the National Olympic Hqtrs to Kissimmee at the former KUA Building on Broadway.

Another larger city in another state was awarded the location. The Florida Olympic Committee had an office in the building for 2 years.

01/11/13 @ 09:41

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

Osceola county has a large turn-out during the Presidentail elections when the Democrats come out of the shadows.The county has played a part in Onama winning the state 2 years in a row.

During the off year elections they stay home watching the Republicans keep the Governors seat and the control of the Legislature.

The City of Kissimmee started seeing a drop in the turnout in the early 1980's. It was in the late 1990's that the City of St Cloud saw the numbers starting to decline.

This is as much a mystery as how can the Democrats with a vast majority of the statewide voters as well as the county struggle to win elections ?

It appears that the 2 Repubicans on the BOCC will be targeted by the Democrats if the incumbents run. All eyes will be on the Wheeler school board race as he would be in trouble if popular Democrat
Donna Hart runs against him.

01/11/13 @ 10:03

Comment from: The Sandman [Visitor]

The local Democrats have been brought back to life in Osceola by the Celebration Democrats. Armando punked the old out of touch Osceola Democratic Party at his swearing in.

I think The Republicans will have to fight tooth and nail to win future elections in the county.

01/11/13 @ 10:37

Comment from: Yup [Visitor]

Republicans are finished for a bit. They ran the country into the ground. When you focus on draining the coffers the people will rise up and some will switch over after they realize they were duped by their party. Kissimmee has gone Dem now, The County and State elected will follow in 2014. All eyes will be Rick Scott's mistakes that will help the other Dems running in lesser local races. If/when the Republicans screw around again with the national debt ceiling talks and the cuts again that will be just another nail in there coffin. Luckily for them they are literally like vampires and will arise again to suck the life out of the country and there duped sheeple all the while still blaming everything on anyone but themselves. It is amazing what they were allowed to do and what they will get away with, something in itself to be respected. The cycle continues on.

01/11/13 @ 12:57

Comment from: Democrat Fan [Visitor]

@ Yup

We have the numbers to take Q's seat but will be tough to take Frank's seat.Celebration D's have promised to help in BVL as they did for Obama.

We had a good candidate against Scott and lost.

The Republicans continue to look like the losers they are in Congress.

01/11/13 @ 13:51

Comment from: Yup [Visitor]

@ Democrat Fan

Celebration D's need to step it up a bit and find someone to beat wheeler in the nonpartisan race. Q has to worry about his own party running with someone else like Melendez. Shame Melendez plays for the Republicans good guy regardless. Q out either way. Yes, more than likely a Dem taking that. The problem with a three Dem county board will be Arrington. Bad seed regardless what followed his name on the ballet.

Scott won with money. That may be a thing of the past if the 2012 trend keeps on. Crist should win the D ticket and then state.

@ The Sandman and or Democrat Fan

Please explain how did the Celebration Democrats bring the party back?

"The local Democrats have been brought back to life in Osceola by the Celebration Democrats."

01/11/13 @ 14:29

Comment from: [Member]

I can tell you that there is a lot of energy behind the Democratic Party in Celebration. People there are willing to donate their time and money, and there is enough leadership to organize the masses. It's contagious.

I agree that 2014 might break the trend of off-year electoral disasters in Florida. We might finally get somewhere. Thanks, Gov!

01/11/13 @ 14:55

Comment from: Democrat Fan [Visitor]

@ Yup

Read Andy's comment about the Celebration Democrats and read their Wwb page of what they did to get out to local vote this year. Far Superior than the official county party.

01/11/13 @ 15:38

Comment from: Yup [Visitor]

Seems to me we can also thank the Spanish Democrats for stepping it up and coming out to the polls. Without that bump I question how the party would have fared in our county. Get them back out in 2014 it should be in the bag. I am not excluding African Americans or the Caucasians for turning out, they did.

Dude had an Obama land set up at his house across from the BVL Library. He made sure everyone that came out to vote new who to vote for. But if BVL likes Q or Melendez than the party doesn’t matter.

01/11/13 @ 15:41

Comment from: Oscar [Visitor]

Please PLEASE P-L-E-A-S-E! Celebration Dems find someone qualified to beat Wheeler. He ranted that Hartig micro managed, now he is. He screamed how terrible the Old board was for anything and everything, now he is the disfunctional one encouraging personal attacks and his 2 new buddies are play right along. He changes the agenda around at will after spending 2 years blaming Hartig for the same thing.

01/11/13 @ 17:04

Comment from: Mencken [Visitor]

I agree. The pendulum has swung towards the Democrats and it will be the prevailing party in the upcoming elections.

A good thing would be if more Democrats became involved - perhaps a few quality candidates become available. The current crop leaves lots to be desired.

01/11/13 @ 17:05

Comment from: TastyTreat [Visitor]

Relax Oscar, dont get your panties in a bunch. Why you may ask? Because....

CARMELO GARCIA (D) will run against Wheeler and flatten him to a pulp!! Carmelo is a well known Celebration resident, community activist and seasoned politician that has made removing Wheeler his crusade. Carmelo is doing this strictly for the children (will donate his pay to children's causes) and has already secured endorsements from prestigious organizations such as the OCTBA.

Wheeler knows his time is short. There is a 380 lb. political tsunami heading his way and nothing short of a miracle will save the Wheelster.

01/11/13 @ 17:11

Comment from: The Sandman [Visitor]

@ Yup

I am a registered independent voter and miss the Party primaries.

I don't like the our current Governor. The leadership of both parties in the Congress are pitiful.

Locally our county commission is floating along.Arrington takes the heat
for Sunrail when it is a creature of a board 4 years before he became a commssioner. Hopefully I get to send Frank to the sidelines in 2014 as I get to vote this time for one county commissioner.

A good percentage of the local Spanish Democrats will not return to vote in 2014. Hence our Legislature will be the same after 2014 unless Charlie playing a Democrat can win The Governor's race.

01/11/13 @ 17:16

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

Carmelo Garcia-- I will be following him and putting full support if he is the candidate..and despite teh "what have you done" flappers--- I am proud that my work over the years will mean a lot to others by who I endorse.

01/11/13 @ 18:45

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ tselliot

The work you did was "old school" compared to today.

Telling the candidates to hit the doors on Sundays will be interesting..

01/11/13 @ 19:59

Comment from: ts elliot [Visitor]

again KOT what the hell are you talking about-- you have no idea what i have done or how recently and how many I know---chime in when you get a clue--fascinating

01/11/13 @ 20:23

Comment from: TastyTreat [Visitor]

TSElliot, you are wise to stand behind Carmelo (and not in front :). But seriously, Carmelo deserves your full support, no pun intended.

From your posts, I can predict that with your help, Carmelo will make Wheelster tremble in his shoes!

01/11/13 @ 22:36

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ Ts elliot

The only clue I have us you are a BS artist. All talk, no walk.

01/11/13 @ 23:23

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

Tselliot is a master of deductive reasoning.

01/12/13 @ 09:30

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

At least Harford doesn't pretend to live in Celebration like Republican Wheeler.

Cindy will give us a view on political corruption as the former State attorney turned a blind eye on Wheeler.

Down at Kissimmee city hall there is a quite buzz about a project a project that could add 500 jobs in 2 years.

In the last city elections there were no "burning" issues to bring out the voters as in the past.

Armando knocked off both Republicans and Democrats on his way to becoming the Clerk. He has a good chief of staff and media specialist. Should be no surprise he loaded his office with people with Hispanic surnames. A campaign promise made and kept.

01/12/13 @ 09:45

Comment from: Jimmy [Visitor]

TastyTreat wins the joke of the day award.

Good one.

Like all have posted in the past including the OCTBA members that post here, Garcia doesn't stand a chance. I question whether he could even get on a voluntary board like all have also suggested. Good thing for him that the school board is nonpartisan because after he supported Owen instead of Harford even the Democrat Party will not support him. That just shows the sense or lack of that kid has. A great big Tasty Treat for Wheeler is all that is.


A little boy goes to his dad and asks, "What is politics?"

Dad says, "Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I'm the breadwinner of the family, so let's call me capitalism. Your Mom, she's the administrator of the money, so we'll call her the Government. We're here to take care of your needs, so we'll call you the people. The nanny, we'll consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we'll call him the Future. Now, think about that and see if that makes sense,"

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what dad had said.

Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents' room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, "Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now."

The father says, "Good son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about."

The little boy replies, "Well, while Capitalism is screwing the Working Class, the Government is sound asleep, the People are being ignored and the Future is in deep poo."

01/12/13 @ 10:03

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Good news from the tourist front as tax receipts exceeded expectations. "Experience Kissimmee " is the new name for the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

To get help from St Cloud voters to pass the resort tax the BOCC promised that St Cloud would get equal billing as the "Kissimmee-St Cloud Resort Area " on all promtion marketing materials.

The city leaders opted out of the promotions taking the direction to developing the city as a place to live and work as the city has less than 200 rooms in the city limits or with a St Cloud address. Kissimmee has over 42,000 with a Kissimmee address.

01/12/13 @ 10:09

Comment from: Aint broke don’t fix it. [Visitor]

The more tourists that come to Kissimmee the better St. Cloud will eventually do along with the rest of the county But when you adopt the attitude that you do not need tourists one is just shooting themselves in the foot. That was what all the "Good old boy" bashing was about. A bunch of designer store "cowboys" that kept shooting us in the feet.

01/12/13 @ 10:37

Comment from: FancyFeast [Visitor]

School Board is partisan and Carmelo will be the known Democrat as Wheeler is a staunch tea bagging POS.

Why are people hating on 'Melo? This guy is a Christian for christ's sake!! Jesus, you people have priorities backwards.

Carmelo has a badge, folks....a badge! He is LEO....Lord Enforcement Officer. What does Wheelers bring? Nuff said.

This county needs to get behind 'Melo and give him a nice push. once 'Melo gets momentum there is no stopping this man, trust me, I've seen the photos.

01/12/13 @ 11:49

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

The BOCC that put the TDC tax on the ballot was made up of County residents that were in citrus or cattle business in the past or present.The tax passed on the first round. Marion county took 10 years to get their tax passed.

No ranchers or citrus farmers campaigned against against the tax.The county leadership welcomed the Disney project.

What happend in 1883 doesn't reflect the times in the county today. Interstate 4 opened the county to Disney as well as the growth to Orange and Seminole counties.I-75 brought growth to a stop north of Tampa to
Tallahassee.Towns dependent on tourists like Chiefland and Perry almost died off.Before I-4 came along you had to come through Kissimmee to get to Orlando in a timely manner.

When the county opened the Tourist Development office it hired 3 employees to operate out of donated office space at the Kssimmee Airport Terminal gratis by by the City.It now has an annual budget of $35 million dollars.

01/12/13 @ 11:58

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

the 3 stooges KOT HR and CHL--- the BS is from those guys with their backward antiquated - outdated, stale ideas/comments. They have too much time on their hands so this is where they come to say nooooo--like a good old tbagger and republicant. Their typical conversation, THEM: "So what have you done?" ANYONE--(answer with details and a long list). THEM: "SO what have you done?" ANYONE " I just told you -and again say it in detail and a list). THEM : "SO what have you done and if you did it is BS." ANYONE--All documented, and talking to doorknobs is not my thing. THEM: "SO what have you done?"...

01/12/13 @ 15:43

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

@ tsellilot

So what have I done ?

Knocked on doors to get people to vote for the Tourist,Sales & Gas taxes.

Knocked on doors to get people to vote for the Charter form of government.

Knocked on doors to get the Independent Kisimmee Utility Authority.

Knocked on doors to get the Library Tax passed.

All were successful with voters and we see the results every year with new capital expense items on the budgets.

I came here and got involved in the community other than being "I told You So" guy for New Yawk.So much for your anti tax teabagger tag.

01/12/13 @ 16:45

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]


Your only solution to enlighten the retail merchants in St Cloud was to go to Sunday sales.

We questioned this as it has been tried time and time again and didn't work. Now there are 30% less retail outlets and 50% less restaurants and you think that is a solution...Sunday sales.

The hotel/motel section that is now a CRA..Boggy Creek Road to the Turnpike was jumping in the early days of Disney and the Astros Stadium was supposed to ab an anchor. No one forsaw that traffic patterns from Soth Florida would change and quit getting off the Turnpike at Exit 244. Traffic was good on 192 from the Coast but that dropped off no matter how many signs the CVB put on the Interstate.

How the county has a CRA that wants to shut down all the hotels/motels and go retail/office/apartments.

Will it work ? Probably take 10 years to find out.

01/12/13 @ 21:30

Comment from: [Visitor]

wash rinse repeat-- wash rinse repeat-- and the laundry of HR and KOT still comes at looking just as dreary.

01/12/13 @ 21:55

Comment from: St Cloud Resident [Visitor]

Look "tselliot" has made some valid points about St cloud in comparing our town to Winter Park and Mt Dora as far as the their stores being open later than 5 and all day Sunday.

He writes he has been in the county since 1998 and has a pretty good grip on the politics and is a moderate Democrat.

He could care less what "Kissimmee Old Timer" says about the past improvements to the county as he has that "What have you done for me today" attitude and his view nothing has been done that makes any sense.His way or the highway.

As far as his comments about St Cloud they are well placed. Rather than point out what is going on in my viewpoint I have chosen to take the "highway".

01/13/13 @ 07:47

Comment from: What me worry? [Visitor]

I am guessing that since the Hartig investigation that the Sharif's office has been looking here. So I just wanted to say Howdy Police. Be nicer to people and they will be nicer to you. Also Cindy was just trying to get rid of a political clown Wheeler. She was attempting to perform a community service. I would also like to suggest to Mr. Ashton that she has performed many hours of voluntary community service that did not violate the law. Keeping that in mind and that Wheeler has skated his charges in the past, perhaps we could let this one go. If too much becomes evidence than that what would be bad because we potentially need that evidence to use against Wheeler. He doesn’t deserve to have this all work out for him. I wonder how far the police did dig and if they have been talking to “Carl”. I would if I was them. That could also mean that Carl's cover is officially blown.

01/13/13 @ 10:33

Comment from: Hector Romero [Visitor]

@ Ain't Broken

You posted the survey results of the good,the bad and the ugly of our region as posted by

The lows are interesting and should be posted on a Board of "Things To Do " at every elected boards office.

Most of the "failures" can be explained away with demographics but being at the bottom is at the bottom.

Why do we in Osceola use so much more water than the other counties per person ? Maybe TOHO has the answer and the solution ?

Why do we have a low election turnout based on registered voters ? Yet we almost double that number in Presidential elections. Why do we become one of the 13 counties out of 67 to support Obama yet we vote a Republican to represent us in the Florida Senate and the House ?

Education- how come we have almost 25,000 more kids in our schools than counties with almost the same population base ?

High unemployment is an E-Z call as we have more of an employment base of service workers than other counties. You can see the stream of cars headed north on the Turnpike and the Trail every morning. Then in the past 3 years we cut over 700 county employees that averaged $45,000 in base pay.

A new year is here and maybe we can address the issues that we are at the bottom of in the region ?

01/13/13 @ 11:02

Comment from: Ghostdog [Visitor]

Cindy was charged with "Hacking"into Wheelers EMail account.

What would Carl Crickett know about that ? The Sheriff's office only investigated the hacking complaint filed by Jay Wheeler. No one has filed a like complaint against Wheeler since the former State Attorney made it clear he had a "Hands-Off" policy with Wheeler.

We will see what happens with the state attorney if he files charges against Cindy. I believe he should.

01/13/13 @ 11:12

Comment from: What me worry? [Visitor]

When was Cindy charged? If she emailed the information to Carl as she has in the past than Carl is involved, if not than not.

01/13/13 @ 11:23

Comment from: Red John [Visitor]

@ What Me Worry

Cindy has not been charged. The Sheriff forwarded his investigation to the State Attorney that was reported on Around Osceola and the Orlando Sentinel. The Sheriff feels she had violated state computer hacking laws.

Now it's up to the State Attorney to do a follow-up investigation based of the Sheriff's report.

01/13/13 @ 12:27

Comment from: Kissimmee Redneck [Visitor]

OCSO recommended two felony charges be filed against Hartig. The State Attorney will decide if she gets charged and IF she does, whether to serve a warrant or a summons.

I hope that Hartig not only gets charged but also arrested and convicted. She was an embarrassment when she was in the School Board and a nasty individual towards Wheeler.

For those that think it is "ok" to violate laws because they disagree with the victim, you are morons.

Now, I don't think prison is appropriate, given what has been said. A probationary sentence is appropriate in her case.

01/13/13 @ 12:37

Comment from: Cool Hand Luke [Visitor]

I agree that if Cindy is found quilty of hacking Wheelers account she be punished.

What upsets people is that the Elections Commission noted that Jay had committed 9 misdeameners yet Lawson Lamar charged him with none.

01/13/13 @ 13:09

Comment from: Bigguns [Visitor]

Cool Hand Luke- Don't give up just yest. I happen to now there are a lot of old cases being looked including Wheeler and our friend Brandon. Just takes a little time.

01/13/13 @ 15:14

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

The New York Post had a story today that the Floor traders in the New York Stock Exchange have gone from 3000 in 2007 to 300 today.

Noted New York business consultant retired in Osceola County Florida stated the problem was the Exchange closed early of weekdays and didn't open at all on the weekends.

01/13/13 @ 18:51

Comment from: County Resident [Visitor]

The answer to the question about why Osceola County has more than 25,000 school population than County of equal population is because of the high Hispanic population in Osceola County. According to the 2010 census data Hispanic family have more children per household than non Hispanic families. That is why Osceola County started having an explosion of school population that can be traced back to the growth of BVL.

01/13/13 @ 19:09

Comment from: tselliot [Visitor]

The Orlando Sentinel Editorial board to put forth an expose on small town businesses closing or hanging on by a thread but refusing to listen to simple new ideas.

They quote an old timer in Kissimmee who said, "we tried ideas one - two - three decades ago, and now that the population and demographics have changed why would we do anything different? We know what works- we wont be told by successful people...we refuse to give in to success."

01/13/13 @ 20:05

Comment from: Kissimmee Old Timer [Visitor]

When a "succesful" retail consultant comes along to bring back after hours business to St Cloud he can then take his plan to the darkened stores in Downtown Orlando.

01/13/13 @ 23:42

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]


Remember them ? Kisssimmee and St Cloud merchants remember them flocking in from up North filling the sidewalks from September until the end of Spring training every year.

Then in the early 1990's the numbers started dropping off. The KAST Club in Kissimmee surrended their lease to the city. The Snow Bird retreat in St Cloud
is now a vacant field on 13th St. The Hunters Hotel was finished.

A few still find their way back to Florida. The story is the same all along
the small towns from Kissimmee to Lakeland. They were the ecomomic engine
before Disney for the small downtowns.

Osceola Mall,Florida Mall,The Loop, Walmart and Super Target took care of the local base of shoppers needs.The Snowbirds were the ones that filled the Astros Stadium in the 1980's and 90's.

Orange Gardens was the place that the Birds had second homes and then their last homes.A Kissimmee politician knew that to lose the Gardens vote you lost the race.They filled the sidewalks year round downtown going to the speciality stores and restaurants.

What do you do when your largest customer base dies ?

01/14/13 @ 08:30

Comment from: Marvin Anderson [Visitor]

I collect and sell collectibles on the Internet and consign furniture to 4 stores from Mt Dora to Lakeland.Have been traveling the route the past 25 years.

I travel the Ridge from Davenport through Haines City onto Lakeland on Saturday as none have stores open in the Downtowns on Sunday. All have done a streetscaping project to attract people to the downtown core. Lakeland has really worked on the lakes downtown and the restaurants are busy along the lakeside park.

Winter Haven is making a comeback with Legoland as is Lake Wales but the lights are off on Sunday in the Downtown core shops.Most close at 6 on weekdays.

Most try to have a monthly event to attract customers to the downtown stores.

01/14/13 @ 09:02

Comment from: Maximus [Visitor]

School Board Meeting Jan 15 2013

Member Kelvin Soto wants approval to go to the April 12-16 Natonal School Board meeting in San Diego California.

01/14/13 @ 11:48

Comment from: Cup half full [Visitor]

No way that 90% of the downtown kissimmee store fronts are occupied. Lots-O empty buildings seen while driving through.

So is one to believe that the Spanish are to blame for the counties lower than average scores on the good, the bad and the ugly at as implied ? That it wasn’t the county’s past poor planning.

01/14/13 @ 15:40

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Cup Half Full

The largest growth in the history of Osceola county started in 1975 and hasn't stopped ever with the recession.

What was the poor planning that led to the low marks in the MyRegion report during this heavy growth span ?

01/14/13 @ 15:55

Comment from: Cup half full [Visitor]

So than was it was the good planning that got that us the low marks ? Shoot we have had since 1975 to improve.

01/14/13 @ 16:41

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Cup Half Full

So you don't know what caused the low marks either.Fair enough.

01/14/13 @ 17:33

Comment from: Cup half full [Visitor]

Yes, poor planning exactly as stated.

01/14/13 @ 19:06

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

So the recession started in Osceola county and spread to the rest of Florida ? Now that was poor planning.

01/14/13 @ 23:57

Comment from: Cup half full [Visitor]

Bad comeback, we are ranked the lowest to almost the lowest against counties that are also living through the exact same recession.

01/15/13 @ 17:48

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Cup Half Full

We only have improve many of the areas by .4 tenths of a percent to move to the middle.

I like living here having moved from South Florida. The in-fighting on the school board is stopping.

I plan to find out about our water use bu finding out how the survey was measured.

Voting percentage is a tough one.

Our top employment base is services.
We really took a hit in construction related jobs.

01/16/13 @ 18:15

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Cup Half Full

Well in voting 67% of the voters showed up to vote in the 2012 election.

In the local Constitution officers the average was 62 %.

Sorta wiped out that 38% number that MyRegion had for us.

We will get a better snapshot in 2014 as there will no county offices up for a county wide vote and no presidential vote.

Up to 6000 people that voted for the President didn't vote in the county office elections.

01/17/13 @ 10:02

Comment from: Cup half full [Visitor]

I hope and plan to also help us move up that that ladder. I personally think it is unacceptable for us to be so lowly ranked. If it is as suggested the Spanish influence on the county then how did we fare before the influx? With the continued growth of our Valencia campus perhaps we will move up on higher education as long as we can keep up with the growth to compensate for the high number of student growth.

Voter turnout may also rise in the future if the Spanish continue to come out and vote. It may even cause others to come out as well. I could see a power struggle brewing between ethnicities. I am not trying to cause one or be racist. But you can just see this happening and I am not passing any sort of blame but did we not advertise to Puerto Rico to move to the area while happily building the neighborhoods? Should we not have expected this and planned for it?

01/17/13 @ 13:15

Comment from: JB Haney [Visitor]

Some good points. BVL promoters started advertising in the New York City and New Jersey area. Then they went to Puerto Rico and Avatar changed their marketing."We" did not advertise-private enterprise did. Both BVL and Poinciana were starving for home buyers before the push for Puerto Ricans. Just like Tampa there will be day when race has nothing to do with how goes Osceola county.

01/18/13 @ 11:20

Comment from: Cup half full [Visitor]

It seems like we are still playing catch up and the balloon has popped. A difficult road ahead for sure.

"We" just the community as a whole. Government, private enterprise and the people. We all do need to work together to make our community better, don't we?

01/18/13 @ 14:04

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