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News-Gazette Photo/Marc Clery
A homeless man stands at the intersection of U.S. Highway 192 and Bass Road holding a sign that reads “Homeless veteran needs work I don’t drink anything helps God bless.”

Volunteers to hit Osceola homeless camps for annual HUD count

Posted on January 28, 2015 at 2:44 pm

By Charlie Reed Staff Writer A list of Osceola County’s known homeless camps includes locations such as “Behind the 7-Eleven on Poinciana Boulevard” and “Near the flea market in St. Cloud.” These are wooded or abandon areas, where people live in tents and scrape by to survive. A team of community volunteers led by the Homeless Service Network of Central Florida will use the list tonight for an annual count

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  • Oaks golf course may be sold after hearing

    Posted on January 28, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    News-Gazette Photo/Marc Clery
Three sandhill cranes watch a golfer hit out of the sand trap at the Kissimmee Oaks golf course.

    By Ken Jackson Staff Writer Concerned residents of The Oaks worry their community’s golf course could soon close, temporarily or permanently. The results of a hearing Monday will determine the short-term fate of Kissimmee Oaks Golf Club, which opened in 1986. A hearing is scheduled at 10:45 a.m. at the Osceola County Courthouse for final judgment of an impending foreclosure by Canadian group Prudential Property Management unless owner Ramjit “Randy”

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  • The 39 Steps has final weekend, also Shakespeare’s Merry Wives coming to Central Florida

    Posted on January 27, 2015 at 3:38 pm

            By Peter Covino A&E Editor This is the final weekend for the Osceola Arts production of The 39 Steps. Directed by Jennifer Henderson, and based on the Alfred Hitchcock film, the high-energy adventure, is played mostly for laughs with a cast of four playing the many various  roles. One actor plays the hero, Richard Hannay, an actress plays the three women with whom he has romantic

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Kissimmee

News-Gazette Photo/Marc Clery
Kaileyanne Homan, left, photographs her sister, Alexandra, feeding their dog Roxy an ice cream cone at Lakefront Park in Kissimmee on Tuesday.

Downtown Kissimmee Lakefront Park environmental designs getting attention

Posted on January 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm

By Charlie Reed Staff Writer It’s been three months since the $34 million renovation of Kissimmee Lakefront Park was completed. Now it’s time to celebrate. Officially, that is. Thousands are expected to attend the grand opening ceremony Saturday for the festival atmosphere, the fireworks and musical performances by Sugar Ray and Frankie Negron. But the park itself has been a major draw for residents, tourists and anglers since the final

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  • Man tosses drugs from vehicle, lands on hood of police car

    Posted on January 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Police

    By Ken Jackson Staff Writer A vehicle passenger pulled over by  Kissimmee police for a traffic stop on Jan. 16 probably hoped that the bag of cocaine he threw out the sunroof landed somewhere else besides the hood of a patrol car. The passenger, Luis Vazquez, 30, was observed by a Kissimmee police officer throwing something out the sunroof of the gold-colored Acura when the officer attempted pull over the

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  • Kissimmee offers programs for kids, adults

    Posted on January 23, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    The city of Kissimmee announces programs offered for children and adults January through April. Detailed class information, including class­ descriptions, dates, fees and registration can be found online at www.kissimmeeparks.org, or by calling the  Kissimmee Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department at 407-518-2360.  Registration can also be completed at the Oak Street Community Center at 717 N. Palm Ave. between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through

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St Cloud

St. Cloud pups in Puppy Bowl. Rescue pups star in annual Animal Planet Super Bowl alternative

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 2:22 pm

                By Peter Covino A&E Editor When the 11th annual Animal Planet Puppy Bowl takes to the airwaves on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1, don’t be surprised if some of those puppy barks have a bit of a Florida drawl. More than a dozen of the puppies taking part in the playful event, that serves as a warm-up or even a diversion to

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  • Detectives investigating dead body found east of St. Cloud

    Posted on January 26, 2015 at 11:49 am

    The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help for information in a homicide investigation that began Wednesday east of St. Cloud when detectives were led to a dead body found in a residence on U.S. Highway 192 just east of Nova Road. The body has been identified as Charles Courtenay, 76, but have not released any other details other than the case is being worked as a homicide.

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  • Actions speak louder than words for St. Cloud’s employee of the year

    Posted on January 23, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    By Charlie Reed Staff Writer Matt Baker, who was recently named St. Cloud’s 2014 employee of the year, didn’t want to be interviewed for this story. He’s a humble guy and doesn’t want all the credit for helping out co-worker Felix Rodriguez, who could have died if it weren’t for Baker and a few other caring city employees. It was nearly a year ago when Rodriguez fell ill, so ill

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Poinciana

News-Gazette Photo/Marc Clery
A valedictorian  of the Community Vision nursing program, Erin Cody, 24, works on her laptop in her family’s Poinciana home.

Community Vision nursing program provides education, inspires hope

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 12:41 pm

By Charlie Reed Staff Writer Erin Cody got hooked up with Emily Moreland in July by happenstance. Cody was pursuing educational opportunities  – a way to get ahead, better herself.  And Moreland, who works for Community Vision, was the woman who could help. The nonprofit was recruiting for its new nursing and home health aid program. “I put my number out there,” said Moreland, who heads Community Vision’s Project OPEN,

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  • Poinciana Business and Community Expo set for March

    Posted on January 23, 2015 at 12:20 pm

     Lisa D’Cato Poinciana Writer The Ninth Annual Poinciana Business and Community Expo will be held Saturday, March 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event will be held at Liberty High School, 4250 Pleasant Hill Road. Vendor booth space is now available. The Poinciana Business and Community Expo is presented by the Poinciana Area Council, which operates under the umbrella of the Kissimmee/Osceola Chamber of Commerce. Sponsored by Poinciana

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  • Poinciana Medical Center to host health expo Jan. 24

    Posted on January 16, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Lisa D’Cato Poinciana Writer Poinciana Medical Center, 325 Cypress Parkway, will hold a Health Expo on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 9 a.m. Receive free health screenings and meet the hospital’s physicians. This is also an opportunity to see the hospital and learn about Poinciana Medical Center’s expansion. ooo For the 2015-16 school year, the Osceola School District will offer the pre-diploma program at Gateway High School and Celebration High School.

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Celebration

Celebration Foundation hosts mentoring mixer

Posted on January 16, 2015 at 12:13 pm

By Michelle Saldivar For the News-Gazette As a former Celebration High School student, the Celebration Foundation has been a great blessing to not only me, but many of my peers as well. The Celebration Foundation helps Celebration High School seniors through internships and scholarship opportunities in hopes of giving them some experience and financial support to succeed in college and their future careers. At an end-of-the-year reunion, the foundation invited

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  • Record number of Osceola students named to all-state band, orchestra

    Posted on January 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    This year, a record 49 students representing 24 music programs in the Osceola County School District have been selected into an all-state music group. The Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA) will be holding the 2015 FMEA Professional Development Clinic-Conference from January 14-17 at the Tampa Convention Center. The 49 students selected is a record high for Osceola County, according to a School District press release. Accompanying the conference, selected students

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  • Jeff Rupert and the UCF Professors to play

    Posted on December 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    By Paul Collins For the News-Gazette The Celebration Foundation Concert Series presents The Orlando Philharmonic along with Jeff Rupert and the UCF Professors of Jazz on Saturday Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. They will perform a tribute to one of the greatest tenor saxophonists of all time – Stan Getz. Stan Getz’s skill was so well known on the tenor saxophone among the jazz community it was referred to as

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Schools

School Logo

Six high schools see letter grades drop

Posted on December 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm

By Ken Jackson Staff Writer The state of Florida released the school letter grades for high schools for the 2013-14. While some schools maintained their achievement, others slipped a letter grade, in line with many other schools in the state. Harmony High School, Professional and Technical High School (PATHS) and The Osceola County School for the Arts each maintained their A grade from 2012-13. The other six public high schools

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  • Teachers to board: We can’t deal with state mandates

    Posted on December 3, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    School Logo

    By Ken Jackson Staff Writer During a time of the year when thoughts are about giving thanks for what people have, local teachers may be wondering what they have left to give. As the new Common Core Standards became the Florida Standards this year, demands of teachers have changed — and greatly increased as the state is dictating how students are to learn. At the same time that teachers’ workloads

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  • Number of Osceola homeless children on the rise

    Posted on December 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    School Logo

    By Charlie Reed Staff Writer Ten years ago, the Osceola County School District counted 129 homeless children among its student population. Today, the count stands at more than 3,100, with almost 2,000 more expected by the end of the school year, according to district officials. “We’ve got more homeless students now than this time last year,” said Leslie Campbell, director of the district’s special programs. Focused on identifying homeless students,

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Crime News

Detectives investigating dead body found east of St. Cloud

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 11:49 am

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help for information in a homicide investigation that began Wednesday east of St. Cloud when detectives were led to a dead body found in a residence on U.S. Highway 192 just east of Nova Road. The body has been identified as Charles Courtenay, 76, but have not released any other details other than the case is being worked as a homicide.

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  • Man tosses drugs from vehicle, lands on hood of police car

    Posted on January 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Police

    By Ken Jackson Staff Writer A vehicle passenger pulled over by  Kissimmee police for a traffic stop on Jan. 16 probably hoped that the bag of cocaine he threw out the sunroof landed somewhere else besides the hood of a patrol car. The passenger, Luis Vazquez, 30, was observed by a Kissimmee police officer throwing something out the sunroof of the gold-colored Acura when the officer attempted pull over the

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  • Arrest made in murder outside Kissimmee restaurant

    Posted on January 23, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Castillo-Caceres

    Kissimmee police detectives have made an arrest in the city’s first homicide of 2015. Jayson Omar Castillo-Caceres, 28, has been charged with first degree murder, attempted murder and carrying a concealed weapon in the shooting death of Juan Carlos Quiles in front of the El Cibuco Restaurant at 2231 Fortune Road in Kissimmee. Quiles, 24, of Kissimmee, was fatally shot and Marianne Crespo Rodriguez, 30, of Orlando, was shot in

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