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Osceola County

‘Florida Project’ shines a bright light on hidden homeless

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Sean Baker‘s “The Florida Project” takes place in a blindingly purple low-budget motel named the Magic Castle, just down Route 192 from Disney’s Magic Kingdom. For the children of single parents who live there, the Kissimmee, Fla., motel is a playground — even if they’re living in poverty.

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Frank Attkisson killed in bicycle-car crash

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Former Osceola County chairman, Florida state representative, and Kissimmee Mayor Frank Attkisson was killed Thursday night when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a car, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Attkisson, 61, was riding on Kissimmee Park Road near St. Cloud around 6:30 p.m. Thursday when his bike was struck from behind by a car driven by 26-year-old Kristie Jean Knoebel of St. Cloud, according to the patrol. The crash is being investigated. Attkisson was transported to Osceola…

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Airbnb housing in Florida doubles again in 2016, reaches 1.5 million

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The number of visitors to Florida choosing to stay in private homes through the Airbnb home-sharing app continues to explode and has topped 1.5 million for the 2016 year, the company announced Tuesday. With Florida attracting more than 100 million visitors a year Airbnb still represents a tiny fraction of the market. But it now has captured more than 1 percent of Florida’s visitors, with survey evidence that some of those visitors wouldn’t have come otherwise. And the company discusses…

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Duke Energy Florida brings 17-acre Osceola County solar power plant online

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Osceola County commissioners will celebrate the newest Duke Energy solar plant providing Central Florida consumers clean, renewable power. The Osceola Solar Facility, owned and operated by Duke Energy, contains 15,000 solar panels and is roughly the size of 13 football fields. The plant, which officially began operation May 12, produces nearly 4 megawatts of carbon-free energy. The solar plant will be honored at the Aug. 1 Osceola County Commission meeting, according to a Duke Energy news release. At 1:30 p.m.,…

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Judge could be suspended for “deceptive” campaign flier

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A judicial discipline panel has recommended a public reprimand and 90-day suspension for a judge who “circulated a deceptive, misleading advertisement.” Its members also suggested paranoia on the part of Circuit Judge Kimberly Shepard, who believed that “sinister forces (were) at work” trying to defeat her, they said. Shepard, who sits in Osceola County, ran for office and won her seat in 2014. During the campaign, she handed out fliers that “implied that the Orlando Sentinel had endorsed Ms. Shepard, when it had, in fact,…

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Adam Putnam talks about traps for mosquitoes to test for Zika virus

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At the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Kissimmee, trained scientists will be working this summer to stop the spread of the Zika virus before it becomes a problem in Florida. At a news event Thursday morning, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said there were no Zika cases that originated in Florida yet. Although there are currently 158 cases of Zika in Florida, Putnam reassured that all of them were travel-related — none had originated here. Putnam’s fear, however, was…

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As summer arrives, Bill Nelson calls for more funding for mosquito control

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As an afternoon storm blew through downtown Orlando, Florida Senator Bill Nelson addressed a group of reporters at his regional office Friday and called for more funding from the government to fight mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus that can come with such storms. The Zika virus has been spreading in a way Nelson and other worried officials call “a full-blown crisis.” And Congress, Nelson said, isn’t doing enough. He stated that they had been acting “irresponsibly” by not giving enough funding to…

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