June 23 - 29, 2011
Gathering of food trucks bring out hungry patrons By Amy KD Tobik THE CHRONICLE
They came in droves — people young and old carrying foldable beach chairs and large blankets across the pavement, eager to experience the newest food sensation. The Oviedo Mall parking lot was abuzz as an estimated THE THEDAILYCITY.COM 2,000 people gathered on FOOD TRUCK BAZAAR June 12 to taste the ultimate SUMMER SERIES in Central Florida cuisine at July 10 and August 14: the first TheDailyCity.com Oviedo Mall, Oviedo Food Truck Bazaar. 1700 Oviedo Marketplace From fish tacos and KoreanBlvd. style barbeque to deep fried Oreos, Twinkies and peanut July 17 and August 21: butter and jelly sandwiches, Fashion Square Mall,3201 there was a special treat for East Colonial Drive every palate. Mark Baratelli, CEO of June 26,July 24,August Producing LLC and producer 28:Parliament House,410 of the event, said he is glad the area is embracing the North Orange Blossom food truck concept. Trail “It’s fun to think that we can transform a plain old parking lot into this fun evening bazaar. It’s a great re-thinking and re-use of existing spaces,” Baratelli said in an email. “We’ll keep coming back as long as
Oviedo, UCF and Winter Springs keeps coming out.” Introducing people to new foods and creating an amazing food truck scene has long been a dream for Baratelli. During a few national tours as an actor, Baratelli said he saw more than a hundred American cities and his fair share of food trucks. “When I got back to Orlando in 2009, someone told me there were food trucks in Orlando, and I was like, ‘Why is no one talking about this?’ ” Baratelli said. In 2009 he started meet ups called “Taco Truck Taste Tests” and readers of his blog, TheDailyCity.com, would meet at one truck at a time and sample the food. “In January 2011, a food truck owner told me about Miami’s growing food truck scene and said if anyone in town should start a food truck event it should be me. I was humbled by his confidence in me, and took a gamble and tried it,” Baratelli said. Since that time, the food truck scene ■ Please see FOOD TRUCK | A12
Photos by Ed Ruping | The Chronicle
PARKING LOT PICNIC: Food trucks gathered at the Fashion Square Mall give residents a chance to taste some bites made on wheels.
Oviedo teen finds new path for life’s journey By Amy KD Tobik THE CHRONICLE
Domonique Gonzalez was desperate. At 17 years old, she didn’t know which way to turn, for she had been getting into fights and running with the wrong crowd since her early teens. After several moves between family members from Chicago to Oviedo, Gonzalez eventually dropped out of school completely at the beginning of her sophomore year. With few prospects on the horizon, Gonzalez returned to Oviedo and continued on her troubled path, eventually getting herself kicked out of her mother’s house. Her future looked bleak until a local
mentor encouraged her to take the first step toward positive change by enrolling in the Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy. That’s when Gonzalez took back her life. Located at Camp Blanding in Starke, Fla., the National Guard’s Youth ChallaNGe is a voluntary 17-and-a-half-month program designed to get atrisk teens, ages 16 to 18, back on track through discipline, education and organization. Participants spend the first five-and-ahalf months of the program living in a rigorous yet motivational environment which promotes structure and academics. The remaining 12 months are spent either in
Courtesy Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy
YOUTH CHALLENGE: Domonique Gonzalez with guest speaker Maj. Gen. Ronald O. Harrison.
a job, the military or furthering education while under the guidance and
support of an assigned mentor. According to the
Florida National Guard website, “After NGB approved funding for the
program in early 2001, the Florida Youth ChalleNGe Academy was officially established at the Florida National Guard’s Camp Blanding Joint Training Center. Since opening its doors, 2,554 at-risk students ranging in age from 16 to 18 years from 59 counties have successfully completed the residential phase of the program.” The program, along with 33 others in the nation, is funded by the National Guard Bureau. Gonzalez said she was hesitant to join the program at first. “I didn’t have much to start off with. I knew I wanted to do something with my life and I knew I ■ Please see CHALLENGE | A12