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 March 2013 LETTER


This month we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our award winning "Center of Hospitality," the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC).  Owned and operated by Orange County Government and located in the heart of our tourism district, OCCC is the second largest convention facility in America and attracts more than 200 events to the Central Florida area annually. Roughly 1.4 million people attend its events, generating approximately $1.9 billion to the area's economy each year.

Thanks to our outstanding staff, our legacy of success continues to grow. In 2012, OCCC saw a record number in attendance, and was recognized as the No. 1 convention center in the United States by Cvent Inc., an events management technology firm based in McLean, Virginia. From college graduations and Miss Teen America, to pop culture conventions like MegaCon, the iconic international Star Wars Celebration and trade shows like the National Home Builders Association, we host events that are enjoyed equally by citizens and guests.

Other 2012 events that drew heavy traffic include the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, The Surf Expo, International Autobody Congress & Expo, Premiere Beauty, and the International Roofing Expo.

Additionally, NPE2012, the National Plastics Exposition, attracted more than 55,000 attendees and 1,933 exhibiting companies, making this global convention one of the largest tradeshows in the world. Thank you, OCCC staff and administrators, for making 2012 one of the most successful years in OCCC history!

Also in this month's newsletter, you'll learn more about our Christmas Fire Station grand opening, the importance of our Sustainability Seminar and the outcome of my 2013 Mayor for a Day Challenge.

As always, I thank you for your hard work, your continued support and for staying connected with your government.

Teresa Jacobs
Orange County Mayor

Community Sustainability Plan

Community Sustainability Plan Moves Forward

Orange County kicked off the development process of its Community Sustainability Plan by holding a seminar last month at the Board of County Commissioners Chambers.  When completed and implemented, the Community Sustainability Plan will help the county become a more economically vibrant, healthy, and livable community for current and future generations by addressing economic, environmental, social, and cultural issues in a holistic manner.

Mike Harcourt, the former premier of British Columbia and a three-time mayor of Vancouver, presented the seminar, which was followed by an interactive workshop. This seminar and workshop were made possible by a grant that Orange County received from the Department of Energy. The seminar is available on Orange TV.

An appointed Sustainability Committee, comprised of members from the community, will provide input on various parts of the plan as it develops. The committee acts in an advisory capacity and any recommendations will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners for final consideration.  

The committee's first meeting was held on March 20, 2013. Future meetings will be announced on our website.

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Youth Leadership Conference

Youth Leadership Conference Leads to Successful Mayor for a Day Challenge
Orange County School Board Chair Bill Sublette (left) and Sheriff Jerry Demings (right) joined me and local students at the Youth Leadership Conference.

As part of my initiative to connect our citizens with their local government, we held Orange County's second
Youth Leadership Conference in February. Geared toward student leaders from Orange County's public high schools, the YLC allows students to learn about county government functions, how best to participate in community initiatives, and how to strengthen their leadership skills.

More than 200 student leaders attended this year's event, and were challenged to post videos on Facebook, recapping what they learned at the conference, and competing for a chance to "job shadow" their Mayor for a day! Timber Creek High School student Mandy Marcinko won the 2013 Mayor for a Day Challenge, and will serve as "mayor" during her upcoming job shadowing experience. West Orange High School student Zach Biedermann will serve as "vice mayor" once arrangements are made with their principals and parents.

Close to 2,000 shared links were posted on social media, with the student's friends and family participating in the 2013 Mayor for a Day Challenge. Congratulations, Mandy and Zach. Orange County looks forward to your service!

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Fire Station 84

Christmas Fire Station 84 Grand Opening

Commissioner Ted Edwards, community resident Bobby Beagles and Fire Chief Otto Drozd III joined me at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In February, I was joined by District 5 Commissioner Ted Edwards and Fire Chief Otto Drozd III in a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the grand opening of Fire Station 84 in Christmas.

Located at 1221 N. Fort Christmas Road, the new 6,000 square foot fire station is staffed by five firefighters and houses a fire engine and an off-road fire engine, with space to include a rescue boat and other equipment.

The station is also hurricane-resistant, which allows responders to remain in the area during storms.

Orange County is fortunate to have such dedicated firefighters serving our citizens and our community. Congratulations on your new home. 

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Orange County Fire Rescue's Special Delivery

The Lozada family visited Orange County Fire Rescue Dispatcher Jody Thacker.

Dispatcher Jody Thacker from Orange County Fire Rescue recently took a unique call that required quick thinking and expert guidance

When local citizen Marco Lozada called 911, worried about his wife Nancy's sudden and intense labor pains, Jody talked him through some medical questions that would eventually help with the safe delivery of his son.

After realizing that the birth was imminent, Jody immediately provided detailed instructions on having a safe delivery at home. Seven minutes into the call, Marco was holding the newest addition to the family, just as firefighters and paramedics were arriving at the family's front door.

In a show of gratitude, the Lozada family visited Orange County Fire Rescue, reuniting with Jody and other members of her team for an introduction to baby Alex, who joins big brother Evan.

I wish to thank Jody and all of our emergency dispatchers for their continued dedication, commitment, and service to our community.

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News Worth Noting ...

  • Last month, I  attended a luncheon at the UCF Burnett Honors College where I spoke to students about engaging in their local government.
  • Orange County recently hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new splash pad at Bithlo Community Park. This project is a great example of what can be accomplished when a community and its government come together with a common goal.
  • My tour of the University of Central Florida's Nano Science Technology and Advanced Materials Processing/CREOL with Dr. Sudipta Seal was fascinating.   
  • It was my pleasure to serve as a panelist at the Orlando Business Journal's Meet the Mayors Breakfast.
  • I enjoyed attending the Central Florida Fair Opening Ceremony and meeting our citizens who make this annual event possible.
  • I am so proud of the many Orange County employees who supported my Dress in Blue to Fight Colon Cancer day.
  • Fire Chief Otto Drozd III and I presented the Mayor's Hero Award to Ronnell Hudson, an Orlando Sentinel deliveryman, who rescued a citizen from a burning house.
  • The University of Central Florida's College of Medicine has earned full accreditation. Congratulations to UCF President John C. Hitt and his staff for achieving this monumental milestone.
  • According to CBS MoneyWatch, more Americans are choosing Orange County as their new home.
  • I enjoyed being a panelist at the League of Women Voters of Orange County's Hot Topics Luncheon with Orange County School Board Chair Bill Sublette last month. 

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Mayor Teresa Jacobs
201 S. Rosalind Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801

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