Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Third term won by Florida Senator Bill Nelson

ORLANDO — Bill Nelson won his re-election bid on Tuesday, Nov. 6, achieving his third term as a Democratic senator for the state of Florida.

“A public office is a public trust, I will try to honor that public trust,” said Nelson during his victory speech at the Embassy Suites in Downtown Orlando.

Nelson states on his website that his top priorities are bringing investments and jobs to Florida, reducing the federal deficit and cutting federal spending, preserving Social Security and Medicare.

During the election cycle Nelson suffered his fair share of attack against his voting record while in office from his opponent U.S. Rep. Connie Mack.

“You don’t win in America by cheating, changing the rules, lying, disregarding the truth, bullying, and getting special interest money behind your cause,” said Nelson’s wife, Grace Nelson, as she introduced the senator.

Another personal goal of Senator Nelson is maintain a robust space program and support high-paying jobs on the space coast.

Nelson has been a long-time advocate for NASA and looks to enhance America’s role in space exploration. He recently gave encouraging words at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as it officially welcomed the Orion spacecraft, slated to be the symbol for the future of NASA in the post-space shuttle era.

He personally went into space serving as a payload specialist on the last successful mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia in Jan. 12, 1986.

“He has represented Florida amazingly well, I’ve known Senator Nelson for eight years now and I’ve never met a more sincere and honest elected official in my life,” said Scott Randolph the Orange County Democratic Party chairman.

By James Tutten

(Published: Nov. 7 issue of "Valencia Voice" on page 4. 

(Photos by James Tutten)

Jerry Demings re-elected as Orange County Sheriff

ORLANDO — To further his 30 years of service in public safety, Jerry L. Demings won his re-election to Orange County Sheriff.

Demings came out onto the stage at the Embassy Suites in Downtown Orlando to accept his victory with a group of supporters and his wife, Val Demings, at his side.

“Crime is down more than 20 percent in Orange County and we can do more,” Demings told supporters Tuesday evening

Demings was first elected as Orange County Sheriff in 2008 and has been an Orlando resident his
entire life.

Like most candidates in this latest political cycle his rival, John Tegg, scrutinized him heavily on his records.

Part of these negative acquisitions involved an ongoing investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement over alleged reclassifying crimes to artificially lower criminal statistics.

“I think he’s done a great job as sheriff,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

“He’s served the city of Orlando as police chief earlier in his career and during his tenure, crime has gone down,” Dyer said.  

Demings has pledged to continue his work overseeing his department and handling all the additional duties required of him by Orange County.

He also stated several times during his acceptance speech that he plans to return $5.3 million dollars to taxpayers working with local officials.

“What he has done for the past four years fighting crime, he will continue to do, keep drugs off the streets and keep our families and children safe,” said local businessman, Tino Patel.

By James Tutten

(Published: Nov. 7 issue of Valencia Voice on page 5.)

(Photos by James Tutten)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Final move of Atlantis marks end, new beginning


     MERRITT ISLAND Shuttle workers, current and former astronauts, NASA officials and thousands of public visitors gathered at Kennedy Space Center to view the last move of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on Friday as it traveled to its $100 million resting place.

     “We’re in the business of creating the future, and we’re in the business of taking science fiction and turning it into science fact,” said Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, at the signing ceremony event on Friday, Nov. 2.

     Atlantis moved from the Vehicle Assembly Building at the crack of dawn to begin its final mission. Atop the 76-wheel Orbiter Transportation System vehicle, the shuttle was moved to several locations at NASA's KSC as part of this send-off ceremony.

     As it left the VAB for the last time it was followed by a group of shuttle workers behind a signed banner that read “We Made History Atlantis.”

     The shuttle stopped at the signing ceremony in front of the KSC headquarters building led by members of the Titusville High School marching band. This marked the official retirement and transfer of title for Atlantis from NASA to the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex.

     “Although it's the end of Atlantis flying in space, it's not the end,” said NASA KSC Director, Robert Cabana. “It's not the end for KSC, we're charging into the future.”

     KSC has been the site for every manned space mission since the first Apollo missions in the 1960s. Though it is currently in a transitional phase due to the space shuttle’s retirement, manned missions are set to continue form KSC in the future.

     Atlantis was moved to Space Florida's Exploration Park after the transfer ceremony to give those in attendance one last up-close look at the shuttle from all sides.

     At this event were life-sized vehicle models of NASA and private industry projects set to be the future of space exploration in the post-shuttle era, including SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft and the Orion spacecraft developed by Lockheed Martin.

     This event had a bittersweet undertone for those personally involved with the 30-year-long space shuttle program. More than 30 astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin, led the way as the shuttle neared its exhibit location.

     Astronaut, Rex Walheim logged over 36 days in space as he flew on three missions for Atlantis.

     “It's a great adventure to fly in space and [kids are] the right age to come fly on the next wave of vehicles, beit commercial crew vehicles to the International Space Station or the Orion vehicle to the Moon, an asteroid and to Mars,” said Walheim.

     Atlantis’s 90,000-square-foot, $100 million exhibit is scheduled to open in July 2013. It will be suspended in the air, tilted at a 43 degree angle, with its payload bay doors opened and large robotic arm extended.

     Visitors will be able to look into the payload bay from a raised walkway and get a glimpse of what the shuttle looked like in orbit. They will also be able to walk underneath and view the tiles that worked to protect the shuttle upon re-entry to Earth.

     More information on this and other exhibits located at NASA's Kennedy Space Center can be found at

By James Tutten

(Published: Nov. 7, 2012 issue of "Valencia Voice" on page 8.)

(Photos by James Tutten)


'Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination'

     ORLANDO — The “Star Wars” films have inspired fans of science fiction since they debuted in the 1970s, and now they continue to inspire local in Central Florida at the Orlando Science Center.

     On display at this 10,000 square-foot are props, costumes and interactive features from all six “Star Wars” films. This provides a wide array of interesting sights from eight foot “Wookiees,” a full sized hovercraft “Landspeeder,” detailed models and much more.

     This exhibit also has several interactive areas were visitors can experiment with miniature magnetic trains, construct virtual complexes out of 3D imbedded cards and examine how a walking robot moves.

     “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” is open at the Orlando Science Center till April 7, 2013. Admission is $27 for adults, $26 for students and $20 for children.

By James Tutten

(Photos by James Tutten)

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