Ever wonder what cops say to each other? Neither did we, until we heard they were talking about us. We spent an entire morning poring through a 2-inch stack of e-mails released as part of the ongoing dispute between the Winter Park Police Department and the city's one and only titty bar, Club Harem. (For the uninitiated, it's the building on Lee Road that looks like a pair of boobs.) Club Harem likes us — we tip well — so they let us peek at their records.
The cops? Not so much.
On Nov. 6, 2008, the same day we published a story `"Winter Park's war on sin"` detailing the city's repeated and ardent efforts to shut down such unwholesome spots as tattoo parlors and Club Harem, former deputy chief Bill McEachnie told a colleague to "get a copy." But not for him, no sir. "I refuse to read the piece of crap left-wing liberal give-a-way rag."
Precisely 14 minutes later, McEachnie — at the time, this very professional department's second-in-command — reiterated his antipathy. "Like I said u may read it and tell me about it. I refuse to read that free give-away, poorly written, foul, nasty, left-wing rag. I do not like it either."
Poorly written? That cuts to the core, chief.
Two weeks later another of Winter Park's finest, Willard McCurdy, told McEachnie and others that he liked our writing. "Just wanted to share the latest Orlando Weekly article regarding the Club Harem investigation with you all. I particularly enjoyed the line stating that the club ‘stuck its proverbial middle finger in the air and told the city to go fornicate with itself.'"
We won't bore you with mundane details of the e-mails, which date back to 2006 — there's a lot of talk about fishing and the Florida Gators football team — but we thought it might be fun to pass along some insights we gleaned about the department. For instance, they have a serious department crush on our friends at the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation; according to McCurdy, it is "the best job in America." Also, Winter Park police chief Brett Railey likes to tack on George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan quotes to his e-mails.
What else did we learn? There is, or was, allegedly an issue with men giving one another hand jobs in the bathroom of a certain chain bookstore in city limits; some underage Rollins kids found a business to sell them booze; a particular massage parlor has a secret spot to stash unlicensed workers when the cops pop in; and there's a dude in Winter Park whose MySpace page suggests he's a "real life super hero." (The cops are keeping an eye on that guy because you can't be too careful.)
Oh, and the Winter Park cops aren't above getting drunk with "investigative funds."
On March 23, 2006, McCurdy and Touckay Laochareun, an Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco agent, were discussing a drink to celebrate Laochareun's transfer to the MBI. Laochareun suggested that they and other ABT agents gather for a drink March 31, to which McCurdy responded without a hint of electronic jest: "If you guys want to come up this way, we can do it ‘on the clock' with investigative funds."
That strikes us as improper, but what do we know? We're just a free giveaway, poorly written, foul, nasty, left-wing rag.
Here's a first: The proposed Afashee Theatre in the proposed $36 million Renaissance at Carver Square development in Parramore "is the first entity to be awarded Cultural Facilities dollars without having a standing establishment," reports the May newsletter from Carver Theatre Developers. "The Afashee Theatre Board applauds this year's panel(s) for their openness to consider a new type of applicant."
Translation: Don't bother to build it, and the county will still give you money. Don't you wish your life worked that way?
Slated for completion in 2010, the Afashee Theatre, a 320-seat black-box theater to be located within the Renaissance at Carver Square, is making amazing progress considering it exists only on paper. The city of Orlando already opened its (your) wallet to the tune of $17 million. Now the Orange County Board of County Commissioners has approved a $125,000 grant to outfit the interior of the theater, which we remind you does not exist on this plane of reality.
Frankly, plans aren't concrete for the Afashee. An article at RealEstateChannel.com reports that it is one of "four projects awaiting improvement in the tourist hotel tax collections and the completion of Orlando Events Center."
Translation: Don't plan on attending a show at the Afashee any time in the foreseeable future. But now they have money to build out the interior, which, as we've pointed out too many times now, is as real as a herd of unicorns.
When we last left the Junkyard Saloon and the Dungeon, the oddly amalgamated metal/biker bar on North Orange Blossom Trail, owner Nika Santonino was staring down charges of disrupting her neighbor's peace after said neighbor, Vincent Robinson, deluged the cops with phone calls complaining about the noise emanating from the music venue `see "The devil's music," April 30`. Meanwhile, Robinson was facing an injunction after Santonino accused him of threatening her employees and patrons, and Orange County code enforcement and zoning officials were trying to figure out if Robinson was living on his property — his house is listed in county records as "commercial" — legally.
Good news! Santonino is off the hook. Earlier this month, the state attorney's office dropped the charges against her — and really, they should have. According to Orange County Sheriff's Office records, her bar wasn't too loud, officially speaking. But that didn't stop the cops from arresting her April 10 for breaching the peace.
Not all the chips fell her way. On May 18, a judge dismissed her injunction against Robinson; Santonino says she's appealing. The next day, the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, which regulates bars, rejected Robinson's effort to have Santonino shut down. Can't stop the rawk.
Remember when you thought it was a good idea to have children? You know, that liquor-breathed, Pontiac-backseat moment when you overlooked the legroom issues and the condom in your wallet?
Well, now Pontiac is going out of business, you are fat and you have a child. To assuage this judgment lapse, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is coming to the rescue. In the absence of school lunches during the summer, the charity organization is once again reaching out to the less fortunate through a number of summer camps and churches, offering free lunches at noon, followed by free snacks at 3 p.m. from June 4 through Aug. 21 at a number of its affiliates (check www.foodbankcentralflorida.org for a full list of locations).
Last year, Feeding America, the national parent group of Second Harvest Food Bank, doled out some 18.5 million pounds of groceries, with Second Harvest itself helping more than 54,000 people locally. The monies for this particular program — the Summer Food Service Program for Children — come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are handled by our friends at the Florida Department of Education. Second Harvest expects to hand out about 500 meals daily, or about 27,000 meals this summer. That's one less thing to worry about, until your kids start sexting on their iPhones, firstname.lastname@example.org