Monday Morning Political Headlines: Daytona Beach City Commissioner arrested, Early Voting Begins

It’s Monday. Early Voting is also underway. This election cycle will be over before you know it.

We start off with early voting. In my opinion the best way to vote. 14 early voting locations will open in Orange County, in efforts to make it as easy as possible for voters to get it, vote, and get out. The August 24th primaries saw a very low turnout.

We also have a Daytona Beach City Commissioner who was arrested over the weekend for assault. Robert Gillilan is accused of punching a 66 year old man in front of a gate community at about 1am on Saturday night. The 66 year old man was in the car in front of Gillilan and thought the Commission was drunk. He tried to take the keys and the altercation occured.

These stories lead your Monday Morning Political Headlines.

WESH 2: Daytona Beach city commissioner faces battery charge

WFTV 9 Eyewitness News: Daytona Beach commissioner arrested, charged with battery

CF News 13: Medical marijuana business summit held in Altamonte Springs

Police: Daytona Beach city commissioner arrested for battery

Early voting begins Monday across Central Florida

WOFL FOX 35: Daytona Beach commissioner arrested for battery

WKMG Local 6: In debate over medical marijuana, some see dollars

Orlando Sentinel: Voters face big decisions on 3 Orange County Charter Amendments

Crist rallies with supporters in Downtown Orlando

Former Governor Charlie Crist was in Orlando today, just 24 hrs after his last visit to the City Beautiful and his rally with First Lady Michelle Obama. The Republican turned Democrat has been ramping up his efforts in Central Florida as he tries to take back the Governor’s mansion from his predecessor Rick Scott on November 4th.

Crist was introduced by the Chairman of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee Carlos Smith, who praised his position on Women’s Right’s and same sex marriage. Smith pledged victory for Crist and the other Democrats running for office in the County.

“What’s important to remember here in Orange County is that Charlie is not going to do this alone. We need to remember reelect Karen Castor-Dentel, to reelect Joe Saunders, and to reelect Linda Stewart. Because Republicans are scrambling to secure a veto majority because they’re scared they’re losing this race.” he closed “I made a pledge to Charlie that we would not only deliver Orange County to Charlie Crist but deliver on the margins necessary to elect Charlie back to the Governor’s mansion on November 4th.

When Crist took the microphone, he kicked off his speech by thanking a young volunteer and the others who had worked for his efforts on the ground. He reminded supporters of the money they were competing against.

“I’m reading reports that he (Scott) decided to write a check for 22 million dollars for the last two weeks. It’s crazy. He’s already spent more than 50(mil) and he never gets above 42%.”

Crist didn’t forget the “Fangate” episode from the last debate, that has had the country talking.

“It’s really a metaphor for the whole race. He just doesn’t want people to be comfortable. I’m telling you. It’s just petty and silly. I’ve never seen a moment in a campaign like that in my life. It’s shocking to me”

He closed urging his supporters to get to the polls.

“Friends. As the Chairman said. It all comes down to the vote. If we vote we win. We’ve have got to make sure everybody votes. The numbers are on our side. You don’t want to get up the morning of November 5th and read the Orlando Sentinel headline ‘Rick Scott reelected'”

After his speech Crist spoke with OPO about the First Lady’s visit and how he feels as the race heads to the finish.

“It’s a great event. I’m overwhelmed by the support. The intensity has made me stronger. It’s time to vote and as a result people are really tuned in.” about the First Lady he added “She was wonderful. Michelle Obama, she couldn’t have been better. She was with us here and in Miami. It was electric.”

Below are some photos from the event

Crist being introduced by OCDEC Chairman Carlos Smith

Crist being introduced by OCDEC Chairman Carlos Smith

Crist thanking a young supporter

Crist thanking a young supporter

Crist talking to supporters

Crist talking to supporters

Interview with Regina Hellinger, Candidate for Orange County School Board District 3

Good Morning!

With Education taking the lead among important issues this election cycle, I’ve been happy to bring you interviews with several candidates for school board. Today, I’m happy to bring you another. Regina Hellinger is running for School Board in Orange County District 3. A teacher herself, she took some time to answer some questions for us.

Have a read below……..

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Frank Torres for OPO: How is the campaign going? And what concerns are you hearing from parents?

Regina Hellinger: Our campaign to bring an award winning teacher and proven leader in education to our school board is going great! Parents, teachers, and educational support staff from all over Orlando are cheering “Regina Hellinger for School Board”! They know that it is time to bring a leader to our board who actually knows what it is like to be in the classroom so that we can make smarter decisions to help our students. Did you know that with Rick Roach retiring, there will only be 1 board member left who has any background in education? As I am talking to parents, that is a huge concern of theirs. They feel that our leaders are not in touch with what our schools really need. There is too much testing and pressure on students, often to do things that aren’t even developmentally appropriate for them. They want people in charge to actually have an understanding of what our students need, and they recognize me as clearly being that person!

OPO: On your website, you promote smarter spending in our schools. What are some ways we can improve on how our tax dollars are being spent.

Hellinger: First, we need to spend less money on testing. We spend millions of dollars each year on designing tests, printing test material, and administering tests. Then we spend more money on material for test preparation and remediation. If we cut the amount of testing we do in our district, we would be able to put that money into meaningful learning experiences for our students. We could also use that money to give fair raises to our teachers and support staff without having to burden our taxpayers.

OPO: You’re a teacher and there are several others running for various offices here in Central Florida. What do you think has motivated educators to get out of the classroom and into public service?

Hellinger: I am the only teacher in this race for school board. For years now our leaders have been making decisions about our schools that are not in the best interest of our students. I never imagined being a “politician” but I couldn’t stand by and continue to watch our leaders neglecting to do the right things for our students. Others, like me, realize that the time is critical to bring people to leadership who truly understand what our schools need. We need people in leadership who are there because they want to stand up and do the right thing for our community, not because they want a career in politics. That is the person I am – I am a leader who wants to stand up and be the teacher’s voice and our students’ advocate on our school board. This isn’t about politics, its about our children and our future.

OPO: Now, you’ve got an opponent. Why should the voters choose you?

Hellinger: Voters should choose me because I have proven myself in our local schools and in our community as an award winning teacher, a parent, a small business owner, and a professional leadership coach and conflict resolution mediator. I have experience in many levels of education, from pre-k to adult education. I have worked in urban and suburban schools. I have taught remedial reading and gifted education. I have won several Teacher of the Year awards. I have led professional development on the district level and have presented at national conferences and I have advocated on behalf of our schools in Tallahassee and to our local school board. I will be the voice of ALL children on our board, because I understand their needs and their experiences first-hand. I am the only candidate who can say that. In addition to that, I am a proud parent of two children in OCPS. I understand what parents go through and need. I have been very involved as a parent on PTA, SAC, and through sponsoring various clubs and activities, earning many trophies for Endeavor Elementary School on a regional level. My business experiences have been education related and have helped me develop my skills in communication, collaboration, and creative problem solving – all things our school board will benefit greatly from!

OPO: Finally, I always like to end my interviews on a positive note.
What life accomplishment are you most proud of?

Hellinger: I am most proud of the campaign I have run over the past 8 months. I had no idea what this would be like. I had no idea how much time it would take and how much help I would need. Each and every day I have done my absolute best to get my message out to voters – and it is paying off! People are excited and this grass roots campaign has become a symbol of what is possible when people who care about something get together and work toward creating the change they want to see. We have hundreds of everyday people, mostly teachers and parents, who have volunteered countless hours of their time and donated their hard-earned money to make us so successful. Together, we are knocking on doors, calling our neighbors, and spreading the message to bring a teacher to our school board everywhere we go. I am proud that I have been able to include my family in on this. My husband, Kurt, and my two sons, Andrew and Ethan, have been key volunteers. Many people warned me that a campaign could be very challenging for a family to get through, but this campaign has actually brought us closer together as a family. For that, I couldn’t be more grateful or proud.

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I’d like to thank Ms. Hellinger for taking the time to interview with us. She faces Linda Kobert on November 4th, who has also been invited to interview.

As always if you’re running for office in Central Florida, I want to talk to you! Don’t miss this great opportunity to take your message to the voters.

Regina Hellinger, Candidate for Orange County School Board District 3

Regina Hellinger, Candidate for Orange County School Board District 3

Saturday Morning Political Headlines: FLOTUS in Orlando, Batterson sentenced

Saturday Morning. Not too many of these left before election day and we’ve got a lot to cover.

First Lady Michelle Obama was in Orlando yesterday, supporting Charlie Crist as we head down the homestretch in the Governor’s race, where he’ll face his predecessor Rick Scott. Obama stressed how Crist helped her husband during his time in office, and pushed for supporters to get out the vote.

Also, former Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority Board member Scott Batterson was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in his bribery case. The state was only seeking 3, and Batterson is out on bail while his sentence is being appealed, which could take up to a year.

These stories lead your Saturday Morning Political Headlines. Have a great weekend.

WESH 2:

Scott Batterson sentenced to 7.5 years in prison

Gov. Rick Scott asks CDC for more help on Ebola prevention

Michelle Obama campaigns for Charlie Crist in Orlando

WKMG Local 6:

Former Orlando-Orange County Expressway member sentenced to 7 years in prison

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WFTV 9 Eyewitness News:

CF News 13:

Michelle Obama campaigns in Orlando for Charlie Crist

Scott Batterson sentenced to prison for bribery

WOFL FOX 35:

Michelle Obama in Orlando to support Charlie Crist

FOX 35 News Orlando

Orlando Sentinel: Michelle Obama, Crist call for voters to go to polls

Sea World, Busch Gardens awards 1million in grants for conservation projects

Coming off of a week, where a high profile business partner cut its ties due to animal captivity controversies, the Sea World Conservation fund, a non-profit arm of Sea World Entertainment, announced it would be awarding 1 million dollars in grant money to Conservation Projects all over the world.

Some of the project’s highlighted in the release include an Anti-Poaching Organization protecting wild African Dogs, protection for leather back turtles off the coast of Costa Rica, and a penguin rehabilitation center.

A location hit hard by the Ebola outbreak earlier this year, the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leon was awarded a crisis grant to restore negative impact funding and preserve Chimpanzee care.

This was badly needed positive news for the Blackstone Group owned property, who was in the news earlier this week after Virgin America cut it’s marketing partnership with Seaworld. The latest chapter of the “Blackfish” controversy that has put pressure on the company over the dolphins and killer whales held in captivity within the parks.

A juvenile orphaned chimpanzee at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leon, Africa. The Ebola outbreak has negatively affected tourism in the area, resulting in a decrease in funding for the Sanctuary.

A juvenile orphaned chimpanzee at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leon, Africa. The Ebola outbreak has negatively affected tourism in the area, resulting in a decrease in funding for the Sanctuary.