Best of news 2011

54-acre tug-of-war

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  • | 12:28 p.m. December 27, 2011
The Ravaudage development was proposed nearly a decade ago.
The Ravaudage development was proposed nearly a decade ago.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Pulling out of the depths of a recession, city governments still struggled in 2011, but there was progress in Winter Park and Maitland. Some local residents gave neighbors reasons to cheer, and Observer Newspapers won recognition statewide.

Cashing in on red lights

After a trial run of red-light cameras proved lucrative, Winter Park and Maitland expanded their programs to total seven intersections between the two cities, with plans to add six more. The camera systems were the center of controversy about whether they did more harm than good, with some types of collisions reducing and others increasing. After the state Legislature weighed in, the majority of the money collected from the $158 fines per infracting went to the state, and 45 percent of the money went to the camera companies. Visit

A 54-acre tug-of-war

Winter Park and Maitland both wanted to be a part of the massive Ravaudage mixed-use development planned for a parcel of land stretching between the two cities. At one point the project’s developer and spokesman, Dan Bellows, suggested that the entire development should go to Winter Park to speed up the process. But after a series of starts and stalls and legal threats the project remains in limbo heading into the New Year. Visit

Hello, Miss Florida

In a five-month span Kristina Janolo went from a marketing student at UCF to being crowned Miss Florida for 2011. In July, she became the fourth UCF student in nine years to win the state crown. Earlier in the year she became Miss Winter Park after the pageant was revived for the first time in 2008. Visit

Observer nabs awards

Observer Newspapers won eight awards on July 1 in the Florida Press Association’s Better Weekly Newspaper Contest, making 2011 the most successful year yet for the company. Editors and writers for the company won accolades in Outdoor Writing, Feature Story, Sports Feature Story, Original Local Editorial Cartoon, In-Depth News Reporting, News Story, Health and Education. Visit

Maitland’s cornerstone

A new City Hall broke ground and rose toward the sky in May 2011 as citizens awaited a building that officials hailed as Maitland’s cornerstone. The City Hall, along with a new fire station and police station, was approved after the City Council terminated a development agreement with Brossier Co. that would have set the stage for a new downtown project. Instead the Council voted to begin the downtown revitalization piece by piece. Visit

Operation Gratitude

Fifteen-year-old Andrew Weinstock has been on a mission for the past three years: to collect as much candy as possible. But he wasn’t becoming his own dentist’s worst nightmare; he was doing it for the troops. By December he had collected 5,666 pounds of Halloween candy to send to deployed soldiers as part of Operation Gratitude. Visit


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