POSITIVELY OSCEOLA WEEKLY
Inside this issue
Making a Positive Difference in and around Osceola County!
World Aids Day - Rock The Ribbon Page 9
Kissimmee’s Festival of Lights Parade to brighten up Downtown Kissimmee Saturday, December 11th
Osceola Anglers to host “Bass and Badges” fishing tournament in support of local first responders
Positively Osceola’s Best of 2021: Record Setting Seasons for Emans, Senatus Page 16
For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website!
By J. Daniel Pearson For Positively Osceola
George Coffey, Legendary Osceola Softball Coach Passes at 66 George Coffey, the man that essentially built the Osceola High School softball program, died Tuesday morning in Sarasota. He was 66.
His passing stunned and saddened the Osceola High athletic community, including Miranda Watford – a former Coffey player who became his assistant coach and later became the Osceola head coach after his retirement. “For 30 years, he was my coach, my mentor, and my role model,” Watford said. “He developed me into the player, the coach, and the person I have become. He always put the person before the athlete and there was never a girl who went through the program that didn’t feel loved and cared for. We always knew he was in our corner and that he had our backs.” Coffey served as head coach at Osceola for 26 seasons. His teams won 13 Orange Belt Conference championships, nine district titles, and four regional championships. In addition to his four appearances in the Final Four, his 1996 team finished as state runner-ups. He was credited with overseeing Osceola’s switch from slow-pitch to fast-pitch softball and for building the Osceola softball complex that now bears his name. He, along with Roger Jones, created and ran the Kissimmee Klassic, one of the Southeast’s premier high school softball tournaments that often featured ranked teams from several states. The tournament, The Roger Jones Kissimmee Klassic, was named after Jones, who passed away in 2018. But according to Watford, victories, honors and personal accolades meant little to Coffey. “He definitely did not care about his record or the wins or the championships,” Watford said. “The only thing he really cared about was his players and making sure they became the best they could be both on and off the field.” The athletic staff at Osceola echoed Watford’s sentiments. “He was an incredible man and a hard worker who built our softball program from the ground up,” Osceola High Athletic Director Jim Bird said. “When something needed to get done, he was the first one to roll up his sleeves and pitch in. His greatest legacy will be the students and athletes he helped.” One of Coffey’s biggest legacies has been the effect he had on his players and their successes both on and off the field. In addition to Watford, he coached Jody Moore – who became the head softball coach at the Canterbury School of Florida – winning 11 district titles and three state championships. Tohopekaliga Head Coach Chantal Schuster is another former player who went into coaching. “I spend the day talking to so many former players about Coach Coffey,” Watford added. “There were so many stories and remembrances it is hard to pick out one or two stories. At the end of the day, the main thing is Coach Coffey cared. He certainly was my inspiration for me to become a coach. He was a great man.” For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website! 2
NEWS Florida Governor DeSantis proposes pay increase, bonuses for Florida law enforcement officers On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $400 million in new funding proposals to increase the salaries of Florida’s state law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and state special risk firefighters, and to provide $1,000 bonuses for first responders, including law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and firefighters across the state for the second year in a row. Governor DeSantis also announced $5,000 bonuses to recruit and retain both state and local level law enforcement. Governor DeSantis announced the proposal that will be considered during the 2022 Florida Legislative Session at the Florida Highway Patrol station in Orlando. For more details, click here. “While other states have turned their backs on law enforcement, even calling to ‘defund the police,’ in Florida we continue to support the men and women in law enforcement,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am proud to propose larger and longer-lasting measures to help our state recruit and retain the best law enforcement officers in the nation and to provide $1,000 bonuses for first responders and law enforcement officers for the second year in a row.” “Florida’s first responders and law enforcement officers are the backbones of our communities and these men and women have stood strong on the frontlines time and time again,” said Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “Through natural disasters and a pandemic, these are the heroes that leave their families at a moment’s notice to run towards danger in the service of others. We don’t have safe communities and a vibrant economy where families can thrive without these heroes working every day to protect us. In Florida, we appreciate law and order and those that answer the call to serve. Thank you to Governor DeSantis for always supporting Florida’s first responders and ensuring they have the resources needed to keep Floridians safe.” “I applaud Governor DeSantis’ tremendous proposal that emphasizes the depth of his unwavering support for our state’s law enforcement members, as well as his recognition that recruiting and maintaining public safety personnel is vital to strengthening our communities and keeping all Floridians and visitors safe,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. The announcement builds on Governor DeSantis’ proposal that was unveiled in August to recruit and retain local law enforcement officers with new officer signing bonuses, an academy scholarship program, and out-of-state relocation support. Read more about those proposals here. Earlier in 2021, Governor DeSantis worked with the Florida Legislature to secure $1,000 bonuses for 174,000 first responders and signed House Bill 1, hallmark anti-rioting legislation.
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NEWS Osceola Anglers to host “Bass and Badges” fishing tournament in support of local first responders & local youth In 2017, the Osceola Anglers, a local non-profit High School Fishing organization, decided to honor and support the families of our fallen local law enforcement officers. The high school anglers agreed on holding a community car wash and creating an annual event that would make it possible for their organization to continue to support the community’s first responders. This year, the Osceola Anglers organization decided to do what it does best, host a fishing tournament – focused on raising money while creating some friendly competition among local first responder agencies. The cost of participating in the tournament is $150 per boat (2 person teams) with all proceeds benefiting the youth of Osceola County. The Inaugural Bass and Badges Fishing Tournament will take place on Saturday, January 8, 2022, at Lake Tohopekaliga (West Lake Toho) located at 69 Lakeview Dr. in Kissimmee During the registration process, there will be an option to choose which local agency you would like to represent. The top teams’ weights from each agency will determine who will win the trophy and be named 2022 Champions and bragging rights for the year! To register go to OsceolaAnglers.com. For further information, contact the Osceola Anglers on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUC announces winner of 2022 Water Color Project calendar cover contest OUC has announced that the winner of its 2022 Water Color Project calendar cover contest is Kaelean P., a fifth-grade student at Arbor Ridge K-8. Kaelean’s artwork, titled “Give a hand to save our land,” will grace the cover of the 2022 Water Color Project calendar. For the first time, OUC customers and the community were able to vote for the calendar’s cover artwork. Kaelean’s artwork received more than 900 reactions in the contest held on OUC’s Facebook page. Fourth- and fifth-grade students across Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) were invited to create calendar artwork, and each school selected a maximum of 10 entries to submit. Approximately 113 students from 13 elementary schools submitted entries. OUC employees selected 13 submissions for the 2022 calendar based on originality, artistic skill, water conservation message or slogan, and suitability for reproduction in the calendar. The other 12 entries will represent the months of the year. Since 2006, OUC’s Water Color Project has taught future generations about water conservation and the importance of this natural resource through art. Students receive a lesson on water conservation and then develop artwork, messages, and slogans for submission for OUC’s annual Water Color Project calendar. OUC and OCPS are partners in the program. Over the past 15 years, more than 100 elementary schools and over 25,000 fourth and fifth graders have participated in the annual calendar contest. More than 5,000 calendars are distributed each year. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website! 4
NEWS Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber to host 2022 Three Kings Day celebration at Old Town Jan. 9th Thanksgiving is behind us, and it won’t be long before Christmas and New Year’s are as well, but that won’t be the end of the holiday season. For many Christians around the world, including Spain, Latin America, and Osceola County, the holiday season will officially come to an end in January on the Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day (Día de los Reyes). This year’s Three King’s Day celebration will take place on Sunday, January 9, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Old Town (5770 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746). Three King’s Day celebration will include a brandnew free photo booth experience with the 3 Kings sponsored by Kissimmee Utility Authority. Children will be able to meet the 3 Kings and get a printed photo strip keepsake to take home. Once again, partners, including Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts, have donated thousands of dollars worth of toys to make sure each child in attendance receives a gift on this holiday. The toys will be given out (1) per child while supplies last and only to children in attendance under the age of 11. Florida Technical College is donating a sweet treat for all event-goers. Attendees of all ages may swing by their booth to receive a free cookie. One of the most exciting aspects of the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber Three Kings Day event is the free raffle of brand-new bicycles throughout the day. A total of 50 or more bikes will be given away by the event’s end. Each child under 11 will receive a free raffle ticket for their chance to win a bike. Winning raffle tickets will be drawn at random and announced on-site from the stage. The winning ticket numbers will also be found on the Kissimmee/ Osceola County Facebook Page. After you’ve enjoyed the Three Kings Day celebration, Positively Osceola encourages everyone to stroll through Old Town and enjoy the unforgettable family experience featuring a unique collection of shops, dining options, rides, and family-friendly attractions. Old Town is the recreation of a classic Florida town featuring historical architecture and distinctive storefronts. If you’ve never visited Old Town, or it’s been a while since you have set aside some time to do so. Positively Osceola considers it to be one of our favorite attractions in Osceola County and Central Florida!
Interested in the electric utility industry? Check out KUA’s Reginald Hardee Electrical Lineworker Scholarship Are you graduating from high school in 2022, live in Kissimmee, and want to pursue a career in the electric utility industry? Apply for KUA’s Reginald Hardee Electrical Lineworker Scholarship, a ninemonth paid internship working directly with their line crew. To apply visit, https://lnkd.in/g8HEXkcU ¿Se graduará de escuela secundaria en 2022 y desea seguir una carrera en la industria de servicios eléctricos? ¿Vive en en Kissimmee? Solicite nuestra beca Reginald Hardee Electrical Lineworker Scholarship, una pasantía paga de nueve meses que trabaja directamente con nuestro equipo de línea. Para solicitar visite, https://lnkd.in/g8HEXkcU
For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website!
Orlando International Airport to welcome back Brazilian passenger service on Wednesday after 19 months After more than 19 months without traditional Brazilian passenger service, Orlando International Airport will once again welcome travelers from the South America destination who had been previously restricted from entering the United States by the federal government. On Wednesday, Dec. 1, the first inbound commercial flights from Brazil will arrive. The first inbound flight is scheduled to arrive at 5 p.m. with Azul arriving from Campinas. Orlando International Airport expects the first passengers to enter the main terminal between 5:30-5:45 p.m. A LATAM flight from Sao Paulo is scheduled to land at 6:05 p.m.
Santa Claus will call your kiddos for FREE… Here’s how to sign up! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and Santa Claus is already getting ready for Kissimmee’s “Santa Calling Program,” an annual tradition taking place on Wednesday, December 1, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Parents interested in having Santa Claus call their children may send the following information via e-mail to email@example.com: Child’s name and pronunciation, Age (10 years old or younger, English or Spanish speaker, Gender, Phone number, A list of what they want from Santa Claus, Names and ages of the siblings, School/ Grade/ teacher, Pet type and their names. Parents, what would you like your child to improve on something positive? Do you have an Elf on the Shelf? Is it a girl or a boy? Name? First-time call or returning call Best time to call between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1? “Santa Calling” is a phone calling service and not a gift-giving service. The deadline to receive requests will be on Monday, November 29, at 5:00 p.m. Please remember the time and day selected as Santa will be calling many children, and Santa will only call each child once. For more information, please call 407.518.2360 or e-mail the complete information to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website! 6
NEWS Positively Osceola’s “Mayor’s Minute” with Kissimmee Mayor Olga Gonzalez The Kissimmee City Commission approved Operation Business Boost during the Commission meeting, held on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. The City is investing over half a million dollars to support its business community with this program. Operation Business Boost is a stackable business assistance and growth program to help further entrepreneurs recover from the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses will soon have easy access to grants, personalized business coaching, technical business support services and partnership with CareerSource Central Florida, employee training, and salary subsidies. As part of the grant component, businesses will be eligible to receive funds for any business burden. Additionally, companies within the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency’s (CRA) districts can receive assistance under the new commercial property improvements matching grant or fee waivers for eligible projects under the new Pioneer Project Incentive. The City will also continue to sponsor businesses to participate in the GrowthWheel© program, which provides customized business coaching for 6-months. To learn more, visit www.kissimmee.gov/businessboost. If you have any questions or want to learn more about the City of Kissimmee, call our Communications and Public Affairs Office at 407-518-2314 or send an email to email@example.com. Thank you, and see you next time in the Mayor’s Minute!
Positively Osceola’s Mayor’s Minute with St. Cloud Mayor, Nathan Blackwell I’m Nathan Blackwell, Mayor of the City of St. Cloud. The holiday season is in full swing, and we’ve got lots of great events planned here in St. Cloud for you and your family. The City’s annual tree lighting celebration will be downtown in front of City Hall on Friday, December 3rd from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Festivities include singing, elf driving school, crafts, and much more, plus the lighting of the city’s tree in front of City Hall. Mark your calendars; you won’t want to miss it! And, you’ll certainly want to join us on Saturday, December 4th at 10 a.m. for the annual Christmas parade, which starts at the lake and comes downtown before heading back to the lake. The parade is guaranteed to chase the bah-humbugs away and get you in the holiday spirit! If you can’t join us in person, tune in to Spectrum Cable Channel 499 to watch it live. Plan to stay around downtown on Saturday for the holiday craft market, which runs Saturday and Sunday. It will feature lots of great vendors with unique gifts for everyone on your holiday list, plus lots of food vendors and a car show! And don’t forget to visit our downtown businesses while you’re there! We hope to see you soon at these events here in St. Cloud….Your Centerplace for Life! For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website!
Central Florida McDonald’s Golden Grants Program to Award $40,000 to Benefit Local K-12 Students Educators and individuals who represent programs and organizations that fuel the imagination, education, and growth of students can now apply for a McDonald’s Central Florida Golden Grant. This is the first year for the Central Florida Golden Grants program and is funded by the local McDonald’s Owner/Operators. The program will award $40,000 in grants to various teachers and organizations to positively impact the lives of thousands of students. Ten Golden Grants will be awarded based on creativity, innovation, need and hands-on application of projects: • One – $10,000 grant • Three – $5,000 grants • Six – $2,500 grants Activities that qualify for a Golden Grant include arts and crafts programs, education initiatives, mentorship and empowerment programs, after-school programs, community service outreach, sporting programs, technology, and COVID-19 relief efforts. Activities and programs must be executed by Dec. 31, 2022, in one of the Greater Central Florida counties listed on www.goldengrantsfl.com. “The hard work of teachers and community leaders on behalf of our students is immensely appreciated. The Golden Grants program is a great opportunity to support educators that impact our next generation of leaders,” said CHOOSE SAFE AND Ania Nitzsche, president of the Central Florida Business Unit. “Our youth are vital to the pulse of our communities EXPERT ER CARE and we recognize the importance of supporting education YOU CAN TRUST. in our neighborhoods.” Eligible teachers and organizations are invited to submit an application at www.goldengrantsfl.com. The deadline to enter is Dec. 10, 2021, and grant recipients will be announced in February 2022. For more information about Golden Grants and official rules, visit
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www.goldengrantsfl.com. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website! 8
Florida Department of Health in Osceola, LGBT+ Center to Host World Aids Day Health Fair Wednesday World AIDS Day takes place on December 1 each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide and locally to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day. Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition. The Florida Department of Health in Osceola County, in partnership with the LGBT+ Center Kissimmee, will hold a World Aids Day Health Fair from 10 am to 2 pm at the FDOH in Osceola County Main Campus located at 1875 Fortune Road in Kissimmee. Services provided at the Health Fair will include: • Free HIV Testing, with On-site Results • HIV and STD Education • PrEP Education • Free Condoms There is no appointment necessary to receive services. There will also be numerous vendors explaining the services that the Florida Department of Health in Osceola provides for the community. World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website!
BearWise Communities Making a Difference in Florida and Across the Southeast Sprawling development, increasing human populations, the desire to live and recreate in areas that were once remote, combined with the successful restoration of black bear populations by state wildlife agencies have resulted in more frequent sightings of bears, even in populous areas in the Southeastern United States. As the human footprint continues to expand into bear habitat, there is a growing need for people to share the land and avoid human-bear conflicts. Recognizing this need, wildlife agencies throughout the southeast have been working together to develop a strategy for educating the public on best practices to coexist with black bears. In 2018, the 15 member states of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies launched BearWise®. BearWise is a regional outreach effort to provide science-based resources and communicate consistent and effective messaging about how to live responsibly with black bears. BearWise encourages residents, businesses and entire communities to take actions to keep bears wild and people safe. Securing attractants, such as garbage and bird feeders, is the most effective and long-term solution to preventing and resolving human-bear conflicts. As such, some states have adopted formal BearWise Community Recognition programs to encourage broad participation in reducing bear attractants. Communities in North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida are making the commitment to be BearWise, which is having a positive impact on bear conservation efforts. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was working with communities even before the formalized BearWise Community Recognition program was in place. There can be barriers to recognition, including income disparities, lack of an existing unifying structure (e.g., homeowner’s association) and residents’ varying willingness to change behavior and their perceptions of black bears. Making the BearWise Community Recognition program more accessible to a wide variety of communities is a priority of the program. It’s important that residents, communities and businesses across the southeast realize the realities of human bear interactions and proactively work to prevent conflicts from occurring in the first place. Prevention with programs like BearWise benefits people and bears in the long run. To learn more about becoming a BearWise community, visit BearWise.org.
For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website! 10
AT ST. CLOUD MARINA BANQUET HALL DECEMBER 13 1 PM - 4 PM
Join us for on-the-spot job offers, raffles, giveaways and MORE! This hiring event will be recruiting team members for Orlando Health St. Cloud Hospital.
Clinical and Non-Clinical Positions Being Recruited Include: CLINICAL
RNs (All Specialties)
• • • • • •
Learning Specialists Nursing Assistants
Surgical Technologists And MORE!
Endoscopy Technicians Pharmacy Technicians CT Technologists
Mental Health Therapists And MORE!
• • • • • • •
Food & Nutrition Guest Services
Front Office Assistants
Scheduling Coordinators Plant Engineers
HVAC Technicians And MORE!
St. Cloud Marina Banquet Hall is located at 1104 Lakeshore Blvd, St. Cloud, FL 34769
To register, visit OrlandoHealth.com/HiringEvent
By J. Daniel Pearson For Positively Osceola
Positively Osceola’s Best of 2021: Record Setting Seasons for Emans, Senatus Three juniors, including a pair of record-setting running backs, highlight Positively Osceola’s “Best in High School Football” for the 2021 season. Running backs Oneil Senatus from Celebration and Tyler Emans from Harmony is our “Two-Way” and “Offensive Players of the Year”; while Osceola High junior tackle John Walker is our pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Walker’s teammate Taevion Swint earns “Freshman of the Year” honors; while Celebration’s Rich Pringle takes our “Coach of the Year” Award. St. Cloud’s incredible 31-30 upset of Harmony is the pick for “Game of the Year” for the 2021 season. Two-Way Player of the Year Celebration junior Oneil Senatus is Positively Osceola’s Two-Way Player of the Year. The junior running back compiled gaudy statistics on the offensive side of the ball, amassing a schoolrecord 1816 rushing yards in 11 games with 23 touchdowns. He added 31 receptions for 317 yards and three more scores. With returns, he had more than 2400 all-purpose yards and 27 touchdowns. Senatus rarely left the field. He was the team’s starting safety, where he made 51 tackles with six pass defenses and a forced fumble. “When our staff first got here, we knew he was special, we just had to put had to make sure we put him in a position to display those talents,” Head Coach Rich Pringle said. Offensive Player of the Year Like Senatus, Harmony junior Tyler Emans posted incredible offensive numbers in 2021. Playing in just nine games, Emans compiled school records for carries (160), rushing yards (1367), rushing yards per game (151.9), rushing touchdowns (24), all-purpose yards (1709) and total points (156). “He’s certainly a special player,” Head Coach Don Simon said. “The most amazing thing was his consistency all season. He produced game after game for us.” For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website! 16
By J. Daniel Pearson For Positively Osceola
Defensive Player of the Year Osceola High School had the best defense in the county and perhaps the entire region in 2021, so it is no surprise that they had Positively Osceola’s Defensive Player of the Year, as well as the two closest runner-ups. Kowboys junior defensive tackle John Walker edges out teammates Derrick Leblanc and defensive back Bo Mascoe at the Defensive Player of the Year. Walker, who joins Leblanc and Mascoe as D-1 prospects, had 75 tackles this season with 18 tackles-for-loss and 13 quarterback sacks. He led a defense that allowed less than 500 total rushing yards in 12 games this season. Freshman of the Year It’s often difficult for a young player to stand out, especially when he plays for an explosive team that had many offensive weapons at its disposal. But that’s exactly what freshman Taevion Swint did. Splitting carries with his older brother Ja’Randy, Taevion finished his first season with 612 yards rushing on just 85 carries – averaging 7.2 yards per carry and scoring 12 touchdowns. He caught 16 balls out of the backfield for 189 yards and two more scores and also accounted for more than 1100 all-purpose yards in leading the Kowboys in scoring with 92 points. Coach of the Year To say Celebration High School has struggled in football is an understatement. Prior to 2021, the Storm had just one winning season since opening in 2004. Several thought the school would consider going independent in 2021, rather than have to compete the ultra-tough district that included Osceola, West Orange, and Dr. Phillips. But head coach Rich Pringle had different ideas. “It was discussed but the bottom line was if you go independent, so what if you win 10 games if you have no chance of going to the playoffs?,” Pringle said. “We set out to change the football culture at Celebration. We want to compete and we want to compete at the highest levels.” Although the Storm struggled against the district powers, they still managed to win seven games and win a bowl game — recording just the second winning season in school history. For these reasons, Rich Pringle is our pick for Osceola County’s “Coach of the Year.” Game of the Year Heading into the 17th edition of the Soldier City Classic, St. Cloud head coach Bryan Smart had little reason for optimism. His team was 2-6 and was averaging a mere six points per game and was facing Harmony’s ground and pound offense. But the Bulldogs built a 24-7 lead and then held on for a heart-stopping 31-30 win and it becomes our pick for “Game of the Year.” Despite facing eight and nine-men fronts, Tyler Emans had a huge game for Harmony – finishing the game with 179 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. After scoring a touchdown cut the lead to 31-30 with less than three minutes to go, a botched snap on the extra point proved to be the difference. “This is what high school football and rivalries are all about,” Smart said. “It’s a game our kids will remember forever.” Front Senatus Pic by High School Football Scoreboard. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website!
Alex Ward Named Patrick Mannelly Award Finalist The Patrick Mannelly Award, which honors the best Football Bowl Subdivision senior long snapper, announced its finalists for 2021’s third annual award Monday night, and UCF’s Alex Ward was among the three honored. The other two finalists are Pittsburgh’s Cal Adomitis and USC’s Damon Johnson. The winner of this year’s award, which is presented by Zebra Technologies benefitting Bernie’s Book Bank, will be announced at an award ceremony in Chicago, Dec. 11, 2021. Ward has been UCF’s long snapper the last three seasons and earned American Athletic Conference AllAcademic honors each of his first four years in school at UCF. This season, Ward has continued to excel as a snapper and has recorded one tackle and a fumble recovery. Past winners of the Mannelly Award are Thomas Fletcher of Alabama in 2020 and John Shannon of Notre Dame in 2019. We live in the age of the superstar. The big gun. The first pick. The franchise player. But the more we come to understand the game of football, the more we learn to revere the guy who sets every field goal, extra point, and punt in motion – including nail-biting field goals that make or break games, seasons and sometimes even careers. It’s time to show some love for the Long Snapper. Long Snappers don’t make the cover of the program. They’re rarely asked to sign autographs. You don’t typically see them being interviewed before the game. But Long Snappers aren’t driven by these things. Quiet, selfless, focused, and courageous, the Long Snapper is content to trade conventional superstardom for the opportunity to do one job very well. The spirit of the Long Snapper lives, not just on the football field, but out in the real world as well. The nurse who hands the right instrument to the surgeon is a Long Snapper. The legal professional who works late into the night doing the research that uncovers the precedent that wins the case is a Long Snapper. Anyone who toils in quiet dedication to the greater good is a Long Snapper. No matter what you do, when you do it with excellence in the face of great pressure, you are a Long Snapper. The Patrick Mannelly Award presented by Zebra Technologies is a new vehicle through which football’s unsung workhorses can finally bask in the warm glow of appreciation. Now we celebrate the best Long Snappers in college football. And in doing so, we honor the Long Snapper in all of us. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website! 18
By J. Daniel Pearson For Positively Osceola
It’s JD’s Weekly Musings, talking College Football Championships, New England Patriots, and Nebraska Cornhuskers I have started to run the scenarios in my head and I still think Cincinnati – even with a win and a 13-0 record – may get left out of the college football championships. Here is my reasoning: If Georgia beats Alabama, the Dawgs are in as a top seed. Michigan will– and should leap-frog Cincinnati– this week after beating number #2 Ohio State and the Wolverines will claim a spot in the playoffs if they beat Iowa in conference championship game. Oklahoma State will probably not jump Cincinnati this week but most likely will claim the number three spot with a win over Baylor in their conference championship game as it will give the Cowboys back-to-back-wins over Top 10 teams. If those things happen as expected, it will leave Cincinnati in the fourth spot and the following scenarios could possibly derail them. If Alabama beats Georgia and both Oklahoma State and Michigan win, I definitely think Cincinnati will be the odd team out. If Alabama loses and Cincinnati is less than convincing in their conference championship game against Houston (11-1), I absolutely believe the committee – which is biased towards power five and name schools – will look for a reason to send Notre Dame past Cincinnati. It’s not like they haven’t already ignored on-field results, putting one-loss Michigan over one-loss Michigan State earlier this season despite the Wolverines loss to the Spartans. The bottom line is you could have two 12-1 teams (three if Alabama beats Georgia) and an 11-1 Notre Dame battling Cincinnati for three spots in the tournament. Of course, an upset or two could change this and if Houston beats the Bearcats, the whole question becomes moot… Funny how we tell people to “not judge a book by its cover” and then we turn around and gush fondly at “love at first sight”…. In a move totally out of character, the Tampa Bay Rays signed shortstop Wander Franco to a long-term deal, agreeing to give the 20-year-old player $182 million guaranteed over 11 years with a club option for $22 million for a 12th year. This is a far cry from what the organization has done in the past, as Tampa Bay always seemed to take advantage of rules that allowed them to essentially control (and underpay) a player for six years – trading them away when they got expensive. The deal is more than twice as big as the largest contract in franchise history (Evan Longoria. $100 million for six years) and four times bigger the second largest for Kevin Kiermaier ($52 million over five seasons)… After the Patriots manhandled the Titans Sunday, New England is starting to look like one of the best teams in the AFC. This leads me to believe that all the old talk about whether Tom Brady or Bill Belichick being most responsible for the Patriots dynasty could get really interesting again if the player GOAT and the coaching GOAT were to meet in this year’s Super Bowl. Not being a conspiracy theory guy, I don’t think the NFL would purposely “arrange” that to happen but guessing the “suits” at 345 Park Avenue would be pretty excited if it happened…. Guessing scientists would find fault with the rule “I” before “e” except after “c”… If there is doubt the word “fan” is short for fanatical, google the name Milton Munson. The long-time Nebraska fan used his obituary to lament the fortunes of his beloved Cornhuskers football team. Munson passed away a few weeks back and his obituary read: “The grim reality of the Nebraska Cornhuskers finishing yet another season with a losing record proved to be too much to bear for Milton Andrew Munson, who decided he’d seen enough of this world during the team’s recent bye week,” At least he kept his sense of humor as his passing came during Nebraska’s bye week, prompting this comment: “The Huskers may not have sent him into the afterlife with a victory but at least they didn’t lose. And sometimes, that’s the best you can hope for.” Munson final words of encouragement came at the end, when he implored all fans to “place an irresponsibly large bet” on Nebraska to beat Iowa in last Friday’s season finale… Y’all have a great week… For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website!
COMMUNITY Ten easy tips to add more vegetables to your diet
It’s easy to eat more vegetables! Eating vegetables is important because they provide vitamins and minerals and most are low in calories. To fit more vegetables in your day, try them as snacks and add them to your meals. 1. Discover fast ways to cook Cook fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave for a quickand-easy dish to add to any meal. Steam green beans, carrots, or bok choy in a bowl with a small amount of water in the microwave for a quick side dish. 2. Be ahead of the game Cut up a batch of bell peppers, cauliflower, or broccoli. Pre-package them to use when time is limited. Enjoy them in a casserole, stir-fry, or as a snack with hummus. 3. Choose vegetables rich in color Brighten your plate with vegetables that are red, orange, or dark green. They are full of vitamins and minerals. Try acorn squash, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, or collard greens. They not only taste great but are good for you, too. 4. Check the freezer aisle Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to use and are just as nutritious as fresh veggies. Try adding frozen vegetables, such as corn, peas, edamame, or spinach, to your favorite dish. Look for frozen vegetables without added sauces, gravies, butter, or cream. 5. Stock up on veggies Canned vegetables are a great addition to any meal, so keep on hand canned tomatoes, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, and beets. Select those labeled as “reduced sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no salt added.” 6. Make your garden salad glow with color Brighten your salad by using colorful vegetables such as black beans or avocados, sliced red bell peppers or onions, shredded radishes or carrots, and chopped red cabbage or watercress. Your salad will not only look good but taste good, too. 7. Sip on some vegetable soup Heat it and eat it. Try tomato, butternut squash, or garden vegetable soup. Look for reduced- or low-sodium soups. Make your own soups with a lowsodium broth and your favorite vegetables. 8. While you’re out If dinner is away from home, no need to worry. When ordering, ask for an extra side of vegetables or a side salad instead of the typical fried side dish. Ask for toppings and dressings on the side. 9. Savor the flavor of seasonal vegetables Buy vegetables that are in season for maximum flavor at a lower cost. Check your local supermarket specials for the best in-season buys. Or visit your local farmers market. 10. Vary your veggies Choose a new vegetable that you’ve never tried before. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website! 20
Goodwin Realty: Retirement May Be Changing What You Need in a Home The past year and a half brought about significant life changes for many of us. For some, it meant entering retirement earlier than expected. Recent data shows more people retired this year than anticipated. According to the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, 2021 saw a retirement boom: “At least 1.7 million more older workers than expected retired due to the pandemic recession.” If you’ve recently retired, your home may not fit your new lifestyle. The good news is, you’ve likely built-up significant equity that can fuel your next move. According to the latest Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic, homeowners gained more than $50,000 in equity over the past 12 months alone. That, plus today’s sellers’ market, presents a great opportunity to sell your house and address your evolving needs. You Can Move Closer to the Ones You Love The 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) provides a look at the reasons people buy homes. For those reaching retirement age, the number one reason to buy is the opportunity to be closer to loved ones, friends, or relatives. If you find yourself farther from your loved ones than you’d like to be, retirement and the equity you’ve built in your home may enable you to move closer to the people in your life who matter most. You Can Find the Right Home for Your Needs Not only can your equity power a move to a new location, but it can also help you purchase the right size home. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says many homebuyers 55 and older choose to downsize – or buy a smaller home – when they make a purchase: “Clearly from the age patterns, young people want to upsize, and the older generation is looking to downsize. ” Whatever your home goals are, a trusted real estate advisor can help you to find the best option for your situation. They’ll help you sell your current home and guide you as you buy your next one while you move into this new phase of life. Bottom Line If you’ve recently retired and your needs are changing, you’re not alone. Let’s connect so you can get a better sense of how to find a home that will match your situation. Just call us at (407) 846-2787. We’ve been serving Central Florida for over 48 years, and would love to help you. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website!
COMMUNITY Goodwin Realty: Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year There’s no denying the financial benefits of homeownership, but what’s often overlooked are the feelings of gratitude, security, pride, and comfort we get from owning a home. This year, those emotions are stronger than ever. We’ve lived through a time that has truly changed our needs and who we are, and as a result, homeownership has a whole new meaning for many of us. According to the 2021 State of the American Homeowner report by Unison: “Last year, staying home became a necessity and that caused many homeowners to have renewed gratitude for the roof over their head.” As a nation, we continue to work through the challenges of a pandemic that’s pushed us all to new limits. Over the past year and a half, we’ve spent more time than ever at home: working, eating, schooling, exercising, and more. The world around us changed almost overnight, and our homes were redefined. Our needs shifted, and our shelters became a place that protected us on a whole new level. The same study from Unison notes: •91% of homeowners say they feel secure, stable, or successful owning a home •64% of American homeowners say living through a pandemic has made their home more important to them than ever •83% of homeowners say their home has kept them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic It’s no surprise this study also reveals that homeowners are now more emotionally attached to their homes as well:Home Is Where the Heart Is More than Ever This Year | MyKCMAs we’ve learned throughout this health crisis, homeownership can provide the safety and security we crave in a time of uncertainty. That sense of connection and emotional stability genuinely reaches beyond just the financial aspect of owning a home. As JD Esajian, President of CT Homes, LLC, says: “Aside from the financial factors, there are several social benefits of homeownership and stable housing to consider. It has long been thought that buying a home contributes to a sense of accomplishment. Still, most individuals fail to realize that homeownership can benefit your mental health and the community around you.” Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home, moving up to your dream home, or downsizing to something that better fits your changing lifestyle, take a moment to reflect on what Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, notes: “Buying a home is not just a financial decision. It’s also a lifestyle decision.” Bottom Line If you’re considering buying a home, it’s not entirely about the dollars and cents. Don’t forget to weigh the non-financial benefits that may truly change your life when you need them most, and call an experienced realtor in and around Osceola County. Goodwin Realty & Associates has been serving the community for over 48 years, and would love to help you with your next real estate transaction. Just call 407) 846-2787 today!
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COMMUNITY Kissimmee’s Festival of Lights Parade to brighten up Downtown Kissimmee on Saturday, December 11th Central Florida’s premier nighttime parade is back in Historic Downtown Kissimmee, Saturday night December 11, at 7:30 pm and is sure to be bigger, brighter, and filled with more celebrating and joy than ever! The Kissimmee Festival of Lights Parade is an annual tradition that is perfect for the whole family. Join thousands of residents and visitors for a holiday event full of music, dancing, and thousands of holiday lights. It’s a nighttime event not to be missed, and it’s right in Downtown Kissimmee. But that’s not all of the fun that will take place in Kissimmee that day. Kissimmee’s Holiday House will be open to the public in the Kissimmee Civic Center from 4 – 6:30 pm, and there will be free fun for the whole family – like crafts and… SANTA! The parade will begin at 7:30 pm and the City of Kissimmee is recommending that the public arrives at least 30 minutes early to find the perfect place to enjoy the parade.
Osceola History presents “Fifty Years of Theme Parks” Osceola History is presenting “Fifty Years of Theme Parks,” an exhibit recognizing the development of the major theme parks in Osceola County and the long-term impact on Central Florida’s environment and economy. The exhibit is on display at the Welcome Center & History Museum located at 4155 W. Vine Street in Kissimmee. To honor this exhibit, an event will be held on December 3, 2021, at 6:00 PM with refreshments and a panel discussion featuring Mike Bast (County Commissioner 1980-1988), Christ Bostick (WDW Opening Day tour guide), and Tom Nabbe (Author of From Disneyland’s Tom Sawyer to Disney Legend) who will be on hand to sell and sign copies of his biography. This FREE event is just one of the many activities presented yearround by Osceola History at the Welcome Center & History Museum and the Pioneer Village located at 2491 Babb Road. With a mission to collect, preserve and share the county’s history, promoting the area’s cultural and natural history; Osceola History also operates the Spence Pavilion and Research Center which has become the County’s go-to point of reference for all things historical. Osceola History was established in 1949 and since that time has presented educational and recreational opportunities for teachers and students, as well as the general public. Both the Welcome Center and Pioneer Village are open Wednesday – Sunday from 10:00-4:00. Admission at the Pioneer Village is $8 for adults and $4 for youth with admission at the Welcome Center & History Museum FREE! For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website!
COMMUNITY Orlando Health: Here are 5 Surprising Heart-Healthy Foods -Melissa Perry RD - Orlando Health - Registered Dietician “When it comes to cardiovascular disease, some factors – such as age and family history – are out of your control. But you can adopt healthy lifestyle habits that make a difference in keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels in check. Topping the list? Eating foods that promote heart health. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, claiming the lives of 655,000 Americans every year. That’s roughly one in every four deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So it’s important to choose foods that will lower your risk. What Makes a Food “Heart-Healthy?” When shopping, look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts. Pick foods that are low in saturated or trans fats, high in omega-3 fatty acids, low in sodium, and high in fiber. Many fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are good sources of fiber. Fatty fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. So are some plant-based options like nuts and seeds; plant oils; and fortified foods, including certain brands of eggs, juices, milk and yogurt. Heart-Healthy Foods To Add to Your Diet The Mediterranean Diet — a popular recommendation for heart health — focuses on replacing saturated and trans fats with healthier fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. For instance, instead of cooking with butter, use non-tropical vegetable oils like olive oil, grapeseed oil or avocado oil. Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, also provide omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with decreased risk of heart disease. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of fish at least twice a week. For plant-based, heart-healthy protein sources, choose beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. For healthy carbs, choose a variety of fruits and vegetables. Beyond the obvious suggestions, here are five foods that might surprise you as being good for your heart. 1. Figs: Bursting with healthy phytochemicals and antioxidants, figs also contain heart-healthy minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron. Whether you eat figs dried or fresh, they’re a great plant-based food to include in your diet. 2. Grapefruit: Studies have shown that grapefruit — loaded with phytochemicals such as flavonoids and vitamins like A and C — can help fight heart disease and stroke. 3. Beets: Beets are composed of dietary nitrate, which acts as a precursor to nitric oxide. Research shows that nitric oxide can aid in reducing blood pressure. 4. Pumpkin: Full of fiber, pumpkin also contains potassium and vitamin A. You can easily find canned pumpkin (still loaded with nutrients) and pumpkin seeds (filled with high-fiber content). Both are rich in magnesium. For seeds, choose the unsalted kind. 5. Peanut butter: While nuts count as a plant-based protein, so do nut butter. Just make sure you check the ingredient list, which should only list peanuts and a little bit of salt. Avoid brands that add sugars or unhealthy fats like palm oil. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website! 24
ENTERTAINMENT Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Debuts Summer 2022 at Walt Disney World Resort Saving the galaxy this time is gonna take more than a dance-off. Starting summer 2022, guests visiting EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort better get ready to crank up the mixtape and blast through an awesome intergalactic chase through time and space in Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind! This thrilling new family-friendly coaster matches the “grandosity” and fun of the blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, featuring those lovable cosmic misfits – Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora, and Star-Lord. The attraction is another major milestone in the ongoing transformation of EPCOT and debuts as part of the Walt Disney World 50thAnniversary celebration. Located in the park’s newly renamed World Discovery neighborhood, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at EPCOT. Xandarians traveled from their homeworld in the Andromeda galaxy to Earth – or Terra, as they call it – to build this Wonders of Xandar pavilion, inviting EPCOT guests to learn more about their people and their advanced technologies. Until the Guardians arrive, anyway, and adventure ensues … A New Kind of Family Thrill In addition to the Wonders of Xandar pavilion, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will offer several other “firsts,” including: • The first coaster attraction at EPCOT. • The first reverse launch for a Disney coaster. • The first Walt Disney World attraction to feature the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Wonders of Xandar Pavilion Xandarians have come to Earth and are hard at work building their new EPCOT pavilion. Highlights include: • The Galaxarium, a sweeping planetarium-style space showcasing planets, stars and other intergalactic wonders that connect Terra and Xandar. • The Xandar Gallery, where guests will discover more about the Xandarian people, culture and history – including the heroes of Xandar – through specially crafted displays and projections. Awesome Facts • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be one of the longest fully enclosed coasters in the world, housed in one of the largest show buildings ever constructed for a Disney theme park. • By volume, four Spaceship Earths would fit inside the attraction’s massive new show building. • Academy Award® nominee Glenn Close reprises her role from “Guardians of the Galaxy” as Nova Prime, the leader of Xandar and commander of the Nova Corps. • Disney Imagineers were recently on-set for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” to film with the Guardians for this new attraction. • A Starblaster will stand outside the Wonders of Xandar building, the first full-size version of this Xandarian ship ever built. For more Positively Osceola, visit our Social Media & Website!