The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on September 11, 2009 · B2
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · B2

Orlando, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, September 11, 2009
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B2 Orlando Sentinel ABCDE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER11,2009 Central Florida Blogwatch Change the World ORLANDOSENTINEL.COM/CHANGETHEWORLD 9-11 now officially a National Day of Service and Remembrance For volunteers across the country, Sept. 11 is more than the anniversary of a horrific terrorist attack. It is now — officially — a National Day of Service and Remembrance. It is a chance to honor both the victims and the heroes of that awful day. Volunteer projects marking the anniversary are taking place in all 50 states, though not always today. Thursday, for instance, seven Orlando-area Mr. Handyman franchises spent the day working at Orlando Union Rescue Mission and SafeHouse of Seminole, a domestic- violence shelter, doing much-needed repairs and maintenance. An estimated 15 volunteers put in a collective 135 hours repairing drywall damage, painting, fixing plumbing leaks, tiling floors and adding new fencing. “We were looking at what we could do to give back to the community, and this was a perfect fit for us,” said Jennifer Gillon, franchise owner of a Mr. Handyman that serves southwest Orange County and Clermont. Her business closed for the day to help out at the Rescue Mission, where a water leak had ruined floors and drywall. “It’s really gratifying for us.” Meanwhile, Hands On Orlando, a nonprofit that organizes volunteer projects across the area, has three projects on tap this weekend in remembrance of Sept. 11. “Our project coordinators will ... lead a moment of silence at the beginning of each project,” said Executive Director Chris Allen. The volunteers — most of them just local residents who signed up individually to help out — will be painting and landscaping at Boys Town, throwing a birthday party for homeless children in Orlando, and cooking dinner and leading a bingo game for adults with developmental disabilities. —Kate Santich School Zone ORLANDOSENTINEL.COM/SCHOOLZONE Seminole, Volusia, Brevard among state’s ‘high-performing’ districts Twenty-one Florida school districts are to get the “academically high-performing” label this school year, according to the Florida Department of Education. Three local districts are on the list. Seminole is to get the designation for the third year, Brevard for the second and Volusia for the first time. The State Board of Education is slated to approve the list at its meeting Tuesday. Districts earn the label by snagging an A grade from the state, having no F-rated schools, meeting class-size rules and getting a good financial audit. What’s it mean? Well there’s bragging rights, of course, but also some “flexibility” to get out of some state rules. Some high-performing districts, including Brevard, used the designation to start the school year school ahead of the state-mandated date. Seminole plans to do the same in 2010. —Leslie Postal Write Stuff ORLANDOSENTINEL.COM/WRITESTUFF Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin apparently has sent a scathing memo to friends and supporters in Washington, lashing out at the work of the presidential committee reviewing NASA’s human-spaceflight plans and calling some of its recommendations “irresponsible.” In the 11-point e-mail sent Wednesday and made available to the Sentinel today, Griffin — the intellectual architect and champion of NASA’s Constellation Program of Ares rockets and Orion capsules —accused the committee of doing shoddy work and failing to make clear why Constellation isn’t viable and why the Ares I is afailed rocket. Griffin was unavailable to comment on the e-mail. But in it, he stops just short at points of calling the committee liars or accusing it of calling NASA liars. Interestingly, Griffin — who as administrator started NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services to coordinate the commercial delivery of crew and cargo to the international space station — saved his most barbed remarks for the committee’s support for the commercial space sector. “What commercial sector?” Griffin asked. “At present, the only clearly available ‘commercial’ option is [France’s] Ariane 5.” —Robert Block RED HUBER/ORLANDO SENTINEL Ex-NASA chief blasts committee Moms at Work ORLANDOSENTINEL.COM/MOMSATWORK Study: Middle-schoolers need more than sports to be well-rounded It takes more than football and field hockey to get your children to flourish, according to new research. If you want you kids to stay positive and stay away from risky and problem behavior, try getting them involved in other after-school developmental activities — such as Scouting or 4-H — in their tween and their early teen years, the study from Tufts University suggests. Kids in the fifth, sixth and seventh grade in the study who were involved in more than just sports had the highest scores for “positive development,” defined as measures of competence, confidence, character, connection and caring. On the flip side, students who only did sports scored lower on characteristics of “positive development” and higher on bullying, substance use and depression than students who also took part in youth development activities. About 60 percent of kids in the U.S. are involved in sports, Tufts reported. So go ahead: Sign your middle-schooler up for band as well as soccer. —Kim Hays Political Pulse ORLANDOSENTINEL.COM/POLITICALPULSE 2want constitution to ensure legislators do all business openly Two Democratic lawmakers said Thursday that they will file a constitutional amendment to bring the Legislature fully under the umbrella of the state’s open-records law. State Sen. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat running for attorney general, and Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, D- Sarasota, said the public’s perception problem with how Tallahassee works was too great to ignore. Earlier this year, a Leon County grand jury indicted former House Speaker Ray Sansom in the addition of $6million in a state spending bill to build an airport hangar for a supporter. Gelber said the grand jury’s criticism of the closed budget-writing habits of lawmakers “rang true.” He also said many Republicans, including Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, are open to the idea. The joint resolution, which would require approval of the Legislature and then voters in November, would: ■ Require that budget bills be written in “plain language.” ■ Open any meeting with two or more budget negotiators to the public. Democrats screamed last spring that they were kept out of negotiations between top GOP leaders late at night or over the weekend. ■ Require a three-fourths vote to pass any floor amendments to bills during the last five days of a regular session or during a special session. ■ Give the courts “clear authority” to hear challenges pertaining to open records and “make it harder for the Legislature to reject open-records requests.” —Aaron Deslatte How does an immigrant go about becoming a citizen? The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service is launching an effort to answer that question for the many legal immigrants who qualify and want to become citizens. The agency is reaching out to immigrants now that it has reduced average wait times for citizenship applications from years to less than six months. It will require that all applicants take a new citizenship test starting Oct. 1. On Saturday, Orlando is among the first cities to have aclass to review those requirements. The agency estimates that about 8 million immigrants are eligible to become citizens. To qualify, they need to have been legal — and law- abiding — residents of the U.S. for at least five years — or at least three years if married to a U.S. citizen. Immigrants who become citizens gain the right to vote, serve on juries and run for office, but they first have to pay $675 in application fees, demonstrate good moral character and pass an English and civics test. About 700,000 people in Florida are eligible, and the agency — which is funded primarily through application fees — is looking to tap into that population. It wants to let them know that the naturalization process by which they can become citizens is not as difficult as some imagine, said Sharon Scheidhauer, the immigration serv- ice’s spokeswoman in Orlando. Some don’t apply because they fear they can’t pass the test or are concerned that the immigration status of relatives will hurt their chances. Michelle Camilla Suárez, a 20-year-old Colombian immigrant in south Orlando who came to the U.S. nine years ago, plans to attend the Saturday workshop. She expects to apply for citizenship within a couple of months. Her parents and brother have also decided to apply. To welcome people such as Suárez, the immigration service has prepared a package of materials that includes instructions on applying for citizenship, a brochure on the new citizenship test and even flash cards to study for the civics and English-language vocabulary parts of the test. The agency will give those out free at the Saturday workshop, but they are also sold through its Web site. Víctor Manuel Ramos can be reached at 407-420-6186 or Learn how to become citizen By Víctor Manuel Ramos SENTINEL STAFF WRITER If you go What: Naturalization Information Session by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. When: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Where: Orlando Public Library, 101 E. Central Blvd. Admission: Free. Details: 407-237-8941 or Sunday Edition No coupon necessary. Discount taken at register. Available at all participating retailers. Just $1 August 23 – Sept 27 + tax 05686380 1 Product: OSBS PubDate: 09-11-2009 Zone: FLA Edition: ROP Page: LOC2 User: wmzimmerman Time: 09-10-200919:35 Color: K

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