Global Peace Film Festival Comes to Winter Park

Global Peace Film Festival Comes to Winter Park

Global Peace Film Festival Comes to Winter Park

September 19-25

Guest Columnist Charley Williams / September 6, 2022

Wander the globe without going through a single pesky TSA line. Leave your luggage in the closet where it won’t get lost. Catch up on your bucket-list destinations, as the world comes to Winter Park!

It’s the 20th Annual Global Peace Film Festival, Monday, September 19 through Sunday, September 25, with screenings at Enzian, the Rollins campus and the Winter Park Library.

Long and Short Documentaries in 23 Categories

More than 34 long- and short-format documentary films in 23 separate categories address issues which are top-of-mind in today’s world: voting, social justice, music, civil rights, environmental justice, ethics and immigration — to name a few.

Website Available Now

View trailers and film bios on the festival website  Most films will be screened multiple times. The website also lists panel discussions and art exhibitions. You can purchase tickets for in-person and virtual viewings on this site. Tickets for opening night are $12; all others are $10.

Virtual Screenings Available

From September 20 to October 2, virtual screenings will be available for movie lovers who are out of town or unable to attend in-person events.

Opening Night – September 20 at the Enzian

Opening night will be held at the Enzian theatre September 20th, with the screening of World Peace and Other 4h Grade Achievements.

Human Peace Sign – September 21 at the Library

As a bonus feature, Valencia College will celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace with the staging and photographing of a Human Peace Sign, Wednesday, September 21 at the Winter Park Library following the 6:00 pm screening of Mission Joy.

What are your personal choices?

My personal picks: Into the Canyon (750-mile hike thru the Grand Canyon); American River (Passaic River, NJ); Shepherds of the Earth (Kenya); Into Dust (Pakistan); The Long Break-up (Ukraine); and the Big Payback (discussing reparations solutions for past racial injustices).



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Possible Deal on Old Library Building

Possible Deal on Old Library Building

Possible Deal on Old Library Building

City Enters Period of Negotiation

by Anne Mooney / August 13, 2022

On Thursday, August 11, 2022, three Commissioners voted to enter into a 90-day exclusive negotiation period with Harbert Realty Services, which has submitted a proposal to renovate and manage the 43-year-old former library building on New England Avenue. Commissioners Kris Cruzada and Sheila DeCiccio and Mayor Phil Anderson were present at the meeting.

Commissioner Todd Weaver was out of town and Commissioner Marty Sullivan was representing Winter Park at the annual Florida League of Cities state-wide conference celebrating the centennial anniversary of that organization.

RFP terms limited proposals

The City’s Request for Proposal (RFP) had strict and limiting requirements. Respondents must agree to a land lease rather than a sale; they had to reuse the existing building; and the use had to be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

Limitations dictated by Old Library Reuse Task Force

The limitations in the RFP were not the arbitrary decision of this Commission, rather they stemmed from recommendations of the Old Library Reuse Task Force formed in March 2019. The task force held 10 public meetings, interviewed numerous stakeholders and solicited public comment both at meetings and through the City website and social media.

The Committee’s final report concluded, “Most public comment related to maintaining some sort of city control over the site. It was unclear . . . whether the passion for the site meant the building and land, or if just retaining ownership of the land was important. Few spoke to any aesthetic benefit of the structure, but many did speak to keeping property for city and community use.”

Harbert Realty Services the only respondent

In the end, the restrictive terms of the RFP limited the number of respondents to one – Harbert Realty Services. According to City staff, the chief limiting factors were the City’s refusal to sell the building and the requirement to use the existing building.

Harbert has proposed a 60-year term at $250,000 per year, with a 10 percent rent escalation every five years. In addition to the initial 60-year term, Harbert proposed four 10-year renewal options.

First floor would be focused on wellness

Harbert proposes to sublet the ground floor of the building to a combination of wellness-related businesses and a health food café. The upper two floors would host shared office space. Harbert anticipates investing around $10.5 million in the renovation of the building.

Office Space for Start-ups

Damien Madsen, Sr. Vice President and Managing Director of Harbert, stated Thursday that it already has a tenant for the upper two floors. Madsen described the tenant as a nationally branded company “. . .that provides shared workspaces, meeting and training rooms, huddle rooms and a variety of private [and] open seating office space.” The space would be geared primarily toward non-profits and smaller start-up operations who want small space and either short leases, usually for a year or less, or part-time leases for one or two days per week.


Harbert’s proposal provides an annual cash flow of $250,000, plus escalation every five years, and it puts the property on the City tax rolls. There will be positive economic benefits from uses in the building, whereas if the building remains vacant it will continue to drain City resources.


According to City staff, the highest and best use of the property from an appraisal standpoint would be to allow multi-family residential instead of the proposed commercial uses. The property is currently zoned R-4.

Commissioners optimistic

Commissioners we spoke with seemed optimistic about the chances of successful negotiations. Mayor Phil Anderson pointed out that Harbert Realty Services was the only firm that was willing to take on the project. Commissioner Marty Sullivan summed it up this way. “Is the proposal perfect? No, but it’s pretty good. I hope we don’t let perfect get in the way of good.”

If, at the end of the negotiation period, Harbert and the City fail to reach an agreement, City Manager Randy Knight believes one of the two limiting conditions – land lease and using the existing structure – will likely have to change to generate more interest in a project at that location.

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Anonymous Threat Against Prospective Voice Editor

Anonymous Threat Against Prospective Voice Editor

Anonymous Threat Against Prospective Voice Editor

Hand-delivered, unsigned

by Anne Mooney / July 30, 2022

On Monday, July 25, a small, unmarked envelope – the kind that comes with a greeting card – was found slipped under the office door of a prospective Winter Park Voice editor, who has asked not to be identified in this article. Inside the envelope was a small strip of paper, shown in the photograph below, which contained the following message.

“[Name] if you take over the Winter Park Voice we will make sure you regret it. Don’t do it.”

On Friday, July 29, the would-be editor arrived at the work place to find the letters “F * C K [NAME]” spray painted on the grass in dayglo pink.

Word is on the street, apparently, that it was my intention to step down this fall as editor of the Winter Park Voice and that someone was in line to take my place. We had planned to announce this in early September once we had completed the administrative details of the transition. That will no longer happen, as the person in line to take over has withdrawn in the face of this intimidation and harassment.

No Responsibility Taken for Threat

There were no markings on the envelope. There was no signature on the message. And spray paint is anonymous. It is impossible, therefore, to know who the “We” is that was going to make sure the new editor regreted taking over the Voice. All we know about the person or persons who wrote and delivered these threats is a: he/she/they is/are a bully, and b: he/she/they lack the courage to sign their name(s).

On a personal note, it is disturbing and disheartening to realize, in our beautiful city, there is anyone so mean-spirited and angry that they would threaten the incoming editor of an online local news organization – before that person has written word one.

For now, the Winter Park Voice remains dedicated to unbiased, accurate reporting of the news and events of the city. If anyone has issue with our reporting we welcome and encourage debate in our forums and guest columns.

As these events occurred on City-owned property, the Winter Park Police Department has been made aware of the situation.

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Beware the Cock of the Walk

Beware the Cock of the Walk

Beware the Cock of the Walk

Orlando Residents Complain of Winter Park Peacock Invasion

by Anne Mooney / July 14, 2022

This reporter has always maintained the wisdom of remaining at a Commission meeting until the very end, because that’s when the best stuff happens.

Last night’s meeting was no exception. After a riveting budget presentation by the City Manager, followed by discussion of a couple of opaque ordinances regarding future land use on a residential lot, Commissioner Sheila DeCiccio reported receiving an email from an Orlando resident to let the City know that Winter Park’s iconic peacocks are moving south. The Orlando resident, whose car roof had been commandeered as a peacock roost, demanded the City come get the peacock and return it to Winter Park.

Symbol of Winter Park

It’s true, the iconic peacock is the oh-so-visible symbol of Winter Park. It is also true that the peacocks are wild birds, and Winter Park can no more relocate itinerant peacocks than they can move menacing mockingbirds or repatriate recalcitrant robins. Fish and Wildlife insists the wandering peacocks are not part of their portfolio either.

A peacock’s physical traits alone can justify a healthy respect for the birds. Though only male peafowl possess the bright trains of tail feathers for which the species is known, both peacocks and peahens are big, with some birds clocking in at close to 4 1/2 feet tall, with a wingspan of the same length. Peafowl have sharp beaks and talons, and emit a piercing shriek that can startle even a practiced avian caretaker.

Peacocks – territorial

Peafowl, especially the male peacocks, are aggressively territorial. Nesting peahens who have laid eggs will attack anyone who gets too close to their nest, and peacocks – who prefer to keep a harem of peahens to themselves when mating – will attack encroaching males. Combined with the peacock’s low intelligence, this has caused wild peacocks in urban areas to attack dark-colored luxury cars. A bird sees his reflection, interprets it as a second bird and attacks, which can spell ruination for the paint job on an expensive car.

2022 a good year for baby peafowl

DeCiccio reports the Windsong neighborhood in particular has experienced a bumper crop of baby peafowl this year. And, with the rapid increase in population, the Windsong peacocks have taken to claiming streets as territory and will try to prevent vehicles from intruding on their streets. She says the only way she knows to make the birds move out of the way is to bait them with food, such as a slice of bread. “Otherwise, those birds are not moving,” said DeCiccio. “If anyone goes around, it will be you, not the bird.”

Peacocks – slow and not terribly bright

While peacocks also have been seen chasing people to take their food, the good news is that because of their huge tails, they’re quite slow. Commissioner DeCiccio, who is currently wearing a boot to protect a broken foot, says even with the boot, she can outpace a peacock.

Peacocks are protected in Florida

Peacocks are not endangered, but they are protected under Florida laws. Many Florida cities boast large populations of the birds. Native to India and Southeast Asia, peacocks thrive in Florida and, like many exotic species, love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here to stay.

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What Does Democracy Mean to You?

What Does Democracy Mean to You?

What Does Democracy Mean to You?

Editor's Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.  

Guest Columnist Charley Williams / July 2, 2022

July 4th is the time to re-examine and to celebrate WHAT democracy means to each of us, to our families. to our close associates, to those with whom we may disagree.

Democracy is fragile. Our unique brand of American democracy is based not only upon representative government but also upon inclusiveness and a healthy respect for the minority point of view. The road to compromise begins with inclusion, healthy discourse and respect.

E Pluribus Unum: “Out of Many, One”

These words from the Great Seal of 1776 have formed our mantra for the past 246 years, thanks to John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. As we approach this July 4th, how will each of us renew those words? We should be intentional about engaging in these conversations. As Winston Churchill said, “A nation which forgets its history has no future.”


A free media is essential to a healthy democracy. Can democracy flourish in an environment where truth is neither honored nor respected? We have seen how propaganda works if unchecked and unchallenged. Misinformation causes real harm. Is social media an asset or a liability? Ask your kids.


One person, one vote. Have we strengthened the right to vote and maintained easy access to the ballot for all citizens? Have we made it more difficult to vote? Is our Achilles heel voter fraud or the simple fact that not enough Americans are voting?

Church and State

Are we maintaining the separation between church and state that was so important to our Founding Fathers?

Future Citizens

Our children are our country’s greatest asset. Are we investing enough in healthcare, education and skillsets that nurture productive and engaged future citizens?

Rule of Law

Do we know our own history? The United States is a nation of immigrants. It was almost dissolved over the issue of slavery and was further endangered by the “neo-slavery” which transgressed the rule of law for more than 70 years. With the exception of our native peoples, we need to remember that all our forebears came from somewhere else.


Are our institutions fostering trust by operating in a transparent and responsive manner, providing for the common good? Are our collective efforts focused on safe roads, safe drinking water, healthcare for people when they need it, and a fair and impartial judicial system?


Can we rely upon law enforcement at all levels to provide a safe and secure society even though we now live in a country where the number of guns far outnumbers the number of citizens?

When you start the conversation this July 4th, ask yourself first: “What does democracy mean to me?” Then ask yourself, when was the last time I heard the words: “I might be wrong,” or “I’m sorry?” Having begun the conversation, practice stepping back and listening to the person with whom you’re having this conversation.

More than ever, the weight of our country’s health rests on each of our shoulders. As political scientist Barbara F. Walter maintains, “Democracy only works if we want it to work.” And we have work to do to make sure our Democracy remains strong and healthy.

Charley Williams
Winter Park

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