Orlando is looking for its first poet laureate:
The city of Orlando is partnering with United Arts of Central Florida and local publisher Burrow Press to search for a poet laureate who will serve as the city's "official storyteller," Mayor Buddy Dyer says. The poet laureate will be chosen from three finalists selected by a committee made up of local poets and literary experts from places like the University of Central Florida, Valencia College and Rollins College. Read the requirements at unitedarts.cc/poet-laureate, and apply for the position until Aug. 7. Orlando's new poet laureate will be announced in October.
Orange County animal shelter reduces fees as population spikes:
Orange County's animal shelter is nearly full with stray and homeless pets this summer, prompting officials to reduce adoption fees to $10 or waive them in some cases. The shelter is almost at capacity with 539 dogs and cats, largely due to the breeding season that peaks during the summer months. County staff have already vaccinated, spayed and neutered many of the available pets. Animals that have been at the shelter for more than 10 days are being featured on the agency's social media pages, and adoption fees for those pets have been waived. Visit the shelter at 2769 Conroy Road in Orlando.
Pulse first responder with PTSD granted disability by board:
An Orlando Police officer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after responding to the Pulse massacre was granted a disability pension by the police pension board last week. Officer Gerry Realin took leave shortly after working for hours with the department's hazardous materials team to remove 49 bodies from Pulse. OPD offered him a desk assignment at City Hall, but Realin did not take the job. Last month, the department stopped paying him. During the meeting, Steve McKillop, an attorney for the police department, accused Realin of refusing to accept OPD's help so that he could obtain disability benefits and not return to work as a police officer. The pension board did not agree with OPD's argument, and voted unanimously to give Realin full disability benefits.
Police stop of State Attorney Aramis Ayala goes viral:
A video of Orlando Police officers stopping Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala got more than a million views last week. Ayala, Florida's first African-American state prosecutor, was pulled over by two white Orlando Police officers on June 19 after leaving FAMU Law School. Officers awkwardly tried to explain that they stopped her because her license plate tags didn't come up and because her car's window tint was too dark. Some accused the officers of racial profiling. Both Ayala and OPD concluded the traffic stop was consistent with Florida law, though Ayala did say she hoped to sit down with Chief Mina for a dialogue on how to maintain a "mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community."