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 That will no longer happen, as the person in line to take over has withdrawn in the face of this intimidation and harassment.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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15th Annual Shred Event

15th Annual Shred Event

15th Annual Shred Event

Are you drowning in paper? Tax returns from the 1980s? Love letters you wouldn’t want to discuss?
Get rid of that old paper. Commerce Bank & Trust on Orlando Ave. can help.

15th Annual Shred Event

No binders, trash, metal clasps or disks.

When: Friday, June 17, 2022 from 9:00 – Noon

Where: 1201 South Orlando Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789

Limit 6 boxes per vehicle;
call 407-622-8181 for larger quantities.


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Local News Matters

Local News Matters

Local News Matters

Guest Columnist Geri Throne / May 25, 2020

Local news matters. It connects our community. It keeps us informed about major city decisions that affect our quality of life. It keeps track of government, shining a bright light on the actions of government officials, both elected and appointed. It helps foster political involvement.

Each spring, the Winter Park Voice seeks donations and pledges to support its newsgathering efforts. I hope you can respond generously. As a reader and a journalist, I believe that financial support of the Voice is more important now than ever.

Why? Because Winter Park is one more example of the precarious state of local news coverage nationwide. Just a few years ago, the Voice’s Anne Mooney had plenty of company at City Hall when she reported and researched stories. Fellow journalists from the Orlando Sentinel and the weekly Winter Park Observer also attended City Commission meetings and wrote about City Hall news.

But in 2019, the Observer ceased covering Winter Park. And as the Sentinel continues to trim its staff, its local news coverage has greatly diminished.

Meanwhile, in Winter Park, the Voice remains.

From its inception 10 years ago, the Voice has strived to be an impartial, reader-supported source of local news. Like a growing number of online “hyperlocal” news outlets throughout the country, it focuses on local government. After all, what happens at City Hall has the most direct effect on residents – from zoning decisions and parks improvements to bond issues and tax increases. The Voice not only reports and publishes articles online, but also invites community members to submit columns and comments. It moderates the Winter Park Voice page on Facebook.

As a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel in the 1980s and 1990s, I quickly learned that failure to pay attention to government boards or agencies, no matter how insignificant they may seem, could result in decisions that have little to do with the public good.

Unfortunately, Central Florida’s struggling news industry mirrors a nationwide trend that began with the rise of the internet. Declining advertising revenues over a period of 15 years has shuttered more than a quarter of our country’s newspapers. More than 60 dailies and 1,700 weeklies have closed. Remaining newspapers often lack the resources to cover routine public meetings and hold public officials accountable. The Voice does not need bricks and mortar to keep local news alive in Winter Park, but it does need your support.

Keep in mind — the less we pay attention, the more we pay the price. Your contributions are vital to sustaining the Voice. Please give as generously as you can.

Thank you.

Geri Throne, author of the recently published novel “Secret Battles,” is a frequent contributor to the Winter Park Voice.

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Local News Matters

Top Young Composers Coming to Steinmetz

Top Young Composers Coming to Steinmetz

by Geri Throne

After a two-year hiatus due to Covid, the National Young Composers Challenge will return April 10 to Orlando. The Composium – part concert, part competition, part seminar – will be largest in the NYCC’s 17-year history. It will be held in the new Steinmetz Concert Hall at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Admission is free. Winning compositions will be rehearsed, discussed and recorded before the live audience. The NYCC receives submissions from throughout the United States for the event. A panel of judges selects the top three orchestral and top three ensemble compositions to be performed. Because of the Covid hiatus, twice as many composers as in past years will be featured.

The national event is billed as a chance for audience members to connect to the orchestra and view the inner workings of orchestral composition. Christopher Wilkins again will serve as maestro and audience guide. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, expanded this year with 11 more string players, will perform the works. It also will perform winning compositions from the 2021 national challenge and from the previous two years.

Founded in 2005, the NYCC is a non-profit charitable organization whose goal is to promote the creation of new orchestral music and foster the careers of the next generation of American composers.

The Composium begins at noon and continues through 6 p.m., followed by a reception. Attendees can come and go during the day, but they are encouraged to register online in advance at


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Partnering for Parks

Partnering for Parks

Partnering for Parks

by Geri Throne / March 28, 2022

A unique alliance between the city and a local non-profit group could mean extra money for city parks.

In a deal thought to be a first for Winter Park, the city and the Winter Park Land Trust have agreed to share the cost of hiring a grant writer focused exclusively on pursuing parks funding. The city and the non-profit each will contribute up to $30,000 a year toward the position.

City commissioners unanimously approved the alliance at their last meeting.

“It’s kind of a historic thing,” said Steve Goldman, chair of the Land Trust’s board. Formed in 2018, the Winter Park Land Trust is an independent 501c3 dedicated to making sure the city has sufficient parks and open spaces. Like other public land trusts, it seeks to identify, acquire and preserve land for the benefit of the public. The United States has more than 1,200 of such organizations, but relatively few are in Florida.

Grant writers not only research the availability of funding from a variety of sources, but also write grant applications.

Under the agreement, the city and Land Trust will identify properties they both agree would be worthwhile to add to the city’s green space or to improve for better public use. That list will serve as a foundation for the grant writer’s research. The grant writer must have the city manager’s and Land Trust chair’s approval before applying for any grant.

At their meeting, several city commissioners stressed that for this alliance to work, good communication about the city’s priorities will be essential. Goldman agreed on the need for mutual consensus. “The city and the Trust have to come to agreement on each individual project.”

Grants for parks can come from a wide variety of sources. For example, Goldman said, “there’s a lot of federal money available for stormwater and transportation” that could also benefit parks. Several commissioners made that same point at their meeting. Commissioner Todd Weaver noted that the city of Orlando received grants for its Dubsdread Golf Course from the Florida Department of Transportation because the course’s improved ponds now serve as stormwater retention for the expanded Interstate 4.

Commissioner Marty Sullivan later expressed similar optimism. “This is a new kind of venture. City staff has worked on this and the city commission has looked at it and said, Yeah, let’s do it. I think there’s lots of county, state and federal opportunities” for money for green space improvements.


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