Tag Archives: mayor buddy dyer

Orlando, you are #TRULYLoved

It’s been a heavy month for the world, and in Orlando specifically. Our local City and County government, as well as our LGBTQ and Latinx communities have been working through their grief non-stop since the tragedy at Pulse. People here are slowly healing but still, we can’t forget. But we can make it better, all of us.

#LocalLoveOrlando Map (Pulse Edition) by Macbeth Studio

#LocalLoveOrlando Map (Pulse Edition) by Macbeth Studio

As a citizen and resident, I knew I wanted to do something. More than just saying ‘thank you,’ more than just a friendly tweet of encouragement. Smiles were the first thing that came to mind. They’re free, and anyone can inspire one, anywhere and at any time.

Many individuals and Orlando agencies have had to work through their grief, non-stop, over the past month including; City of Orlando and Mayor Buddy Dyer‘s office and communications teams, City of Orlando District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Orange County and Mayor Teresa Jacobs‘ office and communications teams, Orlando Police Department and Chief John Mina, Orlando Fire Department and Chief Williams, The Center, Orlando’s LGBT Community Center of Central Florida, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Metro Orlando.

So… what’s the plan?

First things first – the smiles. I don’t know about you, but when I see one of Truly Nolen’s Volkswagen Bugs driving down the road, I immediately smile. From the ears on the roof to the tail on the back, I could be sitting in the worst traffic ever, see that mouse car, and smile. Did you know that Truly Nolen also has a Mouse Limo? It’s true! If seeing a huge, yellow Mouse Limo roll down the road doesn’t make you smile, I’m not sure what else will.

Truly Nolen Limo Side

Another thing that makes me smile? CUPCAKES. Win! Little cups of cake and icing, and enough joy to fit in the palm of your hand. Who doesn’t love a good cupcake? Even when they’re bad, they’re good. (Note: I have never had a bad cupcake, even ones I’ve baked myself. And I don’t cook.) 

So… I decided to combine the two, and thanks to Truly Nolen and Sprinkles Disney Springs, tomorrow’s JOYride will be a little sweeter!

How did I come to cupcakes and Mouse Limos?

At last month’s Mascot Games at the Amway Center, Jack Martin, who drives Truly Nolen’s Southeast U.S. Mouse Limo all over the country, offered to take me for a ride in the limo – and of course I said yes! After the attack on Pulse happened on June 12th, I knew I wanted to do more than just take a joyride around town in an unusual, but really cool limo.

Wait. JOY… ride. JOYride!! Makes PERFECT sense. 

Luckily Truly Nolen is as active in their communities (all over the United States) as Central Florida Top 5 and I are here in Orlando. In fact, we’ve teamed up a few times before. We received a not-as-scary-as-it-sounds bug education at Truly Nolen University and they also introduced us to a young quilting expert named Faith-Christina Duncan and her friends at the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida.

After brainstorming with Truly Nolen’s Community Events, Social Media, and PR Manager, Toby Srebnik, we came up with a plan. Why not share smiles with everyone in Orlando (including those on the road) on our Mouse Limo JOYride through Orlando?

Next, I needed to locate cupcakes… dozens of delicious, colorful cupcakes. The first company that came to mind, who was equally as community-minded, was Sprinkles Bakery.  Sure, they have an amazing new Cupcake ATM at Disney Springs, but could they fill a very tall order of 5 dozen cupcakes? A quick call to Sprinkles Los Angeles and Sprinkles Disney Springs sealed the deal! The answer was an immediate YES!

The answer is always YES to cupcakes. Especially Sprinkles cupcakes!

The answer is always YES to cupcakes. Especially Sprinkles cupcakes!

[To learn more about them, read our 5 Things You Never Knew About Sprinkles Bakery post!]

So, tomorrow, I will be hand delivering smiles and Sprinkles cupcakes, via Truly Nolen’s Mouse Limo (the Official JOYride Vehicle!) to – just a few – of the people who have tirelessly kept our Orlando community safe and loved; City of Orlando, Orange County, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and The LGBT Center of Central Florida!

Does all of this sound goofy or sweet? I’m okay with either. As long as smiles are smiled tomorrow, it’s a good day. We’ll have to play it by… ear. (Ha! Mouse… Ear.)

I will also make a small delivery of wheelchair afghans and cuddly stuffed frogs for an out-of-state friend to Give Kids the World at some point on Wednesday! Please, I-4, be kind to us!

You can follow my Orlando JOYride on Google Maps! I will also post a link tomorrow beginning at 1pm from the app Glympse, so you can follow our JOYride in REAL TIME, and maybe catch a glimpse of Truly Nolen’s Mouse Limo. (More puns! Okay, I’ll stop.)

Want to join in on the fun? When you’re out tomorrow, if you see us on the road or at one of our ‘sweet’ stops, snap a picture of Truly Nolen’s Mouse Limo and hashtag it #TRULYLoved!

Not in Central Florida? No problem! Snap a picture of you and your friends smiling or forming a heart (with your hands, arms, pencils, a drawing – anything you like) and share it on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or Facebook using #TRULYLoved! We’ll be sure to share them all!

Also, be sure to follow @TrulyNolen, @CentralFLTop5, and me, @jenvargas on Twitter for live, on the road and inside the Mouse Limo updates!

 

About Truly Nolen
Founded in 1938, Tucson, Arizona-based Truly Nolen of America is the largest family-owned pest control company in the United States. Our East Coast Operations Office is proudly headquartered in Orlando and is visible off Interstate 4. Truly Nolen has over 80 branch offices in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The company also has independently owned and operated franchises in an ever-growing number of territories including Kentucky, Georgia, New Jersey, Canada, Puerto Rico and over 60 countries. To learn more about Truly Nolen, visit www.trulynolen.com or follow us on Facebook(www.facebook.com/TrulyNolenand Twitter (www.twitter.com/TrulyNolen).

About Sprinkles Cupcakes
Sprinkles Cupcakes opened “the world’s first cupcake bakery” in Beverly Hills, as reported by the Food Network, and is credited by the Los Angeles Times as “the progenitor of the haute cupcake craze.”  Founded by Candace Nelson, judge on Food Network’s hit show “Cupcake Wars,” and husband Charles, Sprinkles has inspired long lines of devoted Hollywood stars and serious epicureans alike.  From Tom Cruise to Oprah Winfrey, Blake Lively to Ryan Seacrest, celebrities are abuzz about Sprinkles!  Baked fresh in small batches throughout the day, Sprinkles Cupcakes are handcrafted from the finest ingredients and contain no preservatives, trans fats or artificial flavors.  Sprinkles has 20 locations nationwide, a traveling Sprinklesmobile – the world’s first cupcake truck, and sells its cupcake mixes at over 250 Williams-Sonoma stores throughout the US and Canada.  In 2012, Sprinkles debuted the world’s first Cupcake ATM and continued its foray into classic American desserts with the launch of Sprinkles Ice Cream. For additional information and a list of future locations, please visit www.sprinkles.com.

Fun Spot America + Gatorland = Gator Spot

By: @jenvargas

Gatorland's Mark McHugh and Fun Spot's John Arie Jr

Fun Spot America and Gatorland are broke ground yesterday on a new partnership. As a show of gratitude, Fun Spot thanked the community, who was queued up around the block, by giving away a free breakfast and unlimited wristbands!

Area businesses, partners, fans and friends came out for the occasion including local government officials like Orlando District 6 Commissioner Samuel Ings, (representing the 5th congressional district’s Corrine Brown, Area Director) Ronita Sanders, 10th District Congressman Daniel Webster and City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who proclaimed January 20th, 2015 “Gator Spot Day at Fun Spot.

Gator Spot Day Proclaimation

This is just an awesome thing for our community. I love Fun Spot, my kids loved it when they were growing up and now my grandkids love Fun Spot,” remarked Congressman Daniel Webster who stopped by while in town. “I think this is just something great for Central Florida and our economy. Our economic generator, one of the major ones is tourism. We have to have people come here, and they do! Many of them come and they visit. They have fun and they go home and tell their friends and their friends come back.

Mayor Dyer agrees, “I spent a lot of time at Gatorland growing up. I’m from Kissimmee so that was OUR tourist attraction. I got to see a lot of gators up close and personal so  I’m proud to be here for the kickoff of Gator Spot.

Orlando continues to be the most visited place in the world,” says Mayor Dyer. “Over 59 million visitors, and when the official count comes out I think it’s going to be close to 62 million for last year. The I-Drive area is an important component of that. Over 5 million visitors last year and 32,000 employees along the I-Drive corridor.

This is really an exciting time for us and Gatorland!” said John Arie Jr, Chief Operating Officer of Fun Spot America Theme Parks. “We’re really happy that Gatorland is part of the family and the Fun Spot family has now come together to make a HUUUGE expansion!

Since Gator Spot is an added value experience at Fun Spot America, what can one expect to see and do? John Arie, Jr. explains, “Gatorland will be providing a very rare white alligator, they’re going to have the only twelve foot and above alligators on I-Drive – that’s not allowed anywhere else. We’re going to have some reptiles, some birds, some snakes… there’s going to be photo opportunities and opportunities to feed the gators as well.

Here’s more from the groundbreaking ceremony including remarks from Mayor Dyer, John Arie Jr, Samuel Ings, Gatorland President and CEO Mark McHugh #throughglass!

Mayor Dyer appoints two new Deputy Chiefs

Deputy Chief Smith   Deputy Chief Rolon

September 5, 2014 – ORLANDO, FL – Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the appointment of two new Deputy Chiefs.

Mayor Dyer has appointed Orlando Rolon, a 21 -year Orlando Police Department veteran, to succeed Deputy Chief Charles Robinson as he retires after more than 27 years of service at the City of Orlando.  Additionally, Mayor Dyer has appointed Eric Smith, a 20-year Orlando Police Department veteran to succeed Deputy Chief Carl Metzger as he retires after more than 25 years of service at the City of Orlando.

“As Mayor, my top priority is the safety of our community and investing in the Orlando Police Department by providing the latest training, technology and working closely with our residents,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.  “I am confident Deputy Chiefs Rolon and Smith will continue to work diligently with us in protecting our City against crime.”

Newly promoted Deputy Chief Rolon will now be responsible for the Administrative Services Bureau which includes the Communications Division, the False Alarm Reduction Program, Property and Evidence and the Records Unit.

During his 21-year tenure with the Orlando Police Department, Deputy Chief Rolon has worked in many capacities including Southwest Patrol Sergeant, Parramore Heritage Bikes Sergeant, Public Information Officer, North Patrol Watch Commander, Mayor’s Assistant and Liaison for Hispanic Affairs, Downtown Bikes Commander and Traffic Enforcement Section Commander.  Most recently he served as the Professional Standards Commander and in addition to his regular job assignments has served on the Emergency Response Team and as the Crisis Negotiations Team Commander.

Rolon is a graduate of Colonial High School and served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves.  He also served as the president of the Central Florida Chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association.  Rolon is currently working on a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Columbia College.

Newly promoted Deputy Chief Smith will now be responsible for the Special Services Bureau which includes the Airport Division, K-9 Unit, Mounted Patrol Unit and Traffic Enforcement Division.

During Smith’s 20-year tenure with the Orlando Police Department, he has worked in multiple units including, East Patrol Sergeant, K-9 Sergeant, West Patrol Watch Commander, Tactical Operations Commander and Metropolitan Bureau of Investigations Narcotics Commander.  Most recently, he served as the Orlando International Airport Division Commander.  Additionally, Deputy Chief Smith has served on the Special Weapons and Tactics Team for 19 years and served as the SWAT Commander.

Deputy Chief Smith received his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida.  He is a graduate of the DEA Command School, constantly works with the Surrey Criminal Lawyer, which helps him gain experience, the U.S. Army Counter Drug School, and the Florida Law Enforcement Leadership Academy.

“I have worked closely with both Orlando Rolon and Eric Smith for over twenty years and look forward to having them on my senior staff.  Each of them have extensive experience in police operations and are up to the task of keeping Orlando a safe city.”

The appointment of Deputy Chief Rolon will go into effect on September 1, 2014 and the appointment of Deputy Chief Smith will go into effect on October 1, 2014.