As they lifted the dirt with their shovels, the group of Wedgefield residents felt that a 10-year wait was finally at an end. Their neighborhood was getting a school.
“It’s not just talk anymore. It’s not just a dream. It’s really happening,” says school supporter and Wedgefield resident Joel Thaw. At least one of his two grandsons will likely attend the new K-8 school that has begun #construction in their neighborhood.
Established in 1962 as “Rocket City,” a planned development midway between Orlando and the Space Coast, Wedgefield took a while to boom. Plans for a school or two in the neighborhood started about a decade ago, but then the recession hit. There weren’t enough children in the neighborhood to fill two schools.
Reacting to parent concerns, the Orange County School Board decided to build a K-8 school on a 52-acre parcel on Bancroft Boulevard that was originally planned as a middle school.
Students have been taking bus rides of up to 45 minutes to get to Columbia Elementary or Corner Lake Middle, which face overcrowding issues.
When the new plans faced opposition from a small group of neighbors, supporters mobilized.
“My kids are super proud of me for working for something that is going to be part of our community,” says parent and Wedgefield resident Evelyn Perez. She was among the organizers, helping order and distribute hundreds of blue T-shirts that read “Wedgefield K-8 School 2016.”
At least 200 people attended community meetings and shared notes online in support of the school.
And on June 27, it was time to celebrate.
At least 80 parents, children and members of the community gathered on the construction site. The ground was marked by tire tracks from heavy equipment, and stakes were in the ground where the concrete slab of the school will go.
“In Wedgefield, we don’t really have anything that brings us together,” Perez says. A school will provide that focus, she says. “Our kids are going to be there together and get even closer.”
She credited Orange County Public Schools for “going above and beyond” to serve the community and address concerns.
School Board Member Joie Cadle and County Commissioner Ted Edwards spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, and residents filled out commemorative postcards that students at the new school will read at a dedication ceremony. Commemorative coins marked the date.
The 138,730-square-foot school, which is set to be ready in time for school in August 2016, will have classroom space for about 1,030 students. It will include two multi-story classroom buildings, a light-filled media center, a gym, cafeteria, art and music labs and 21st-century digital technology throughout. The colors and textures inside the school will be inspired by the natural habitat.
The name, mascot and principal will be decided sometime next year.
By Lauren Roth, senior manager of facilities communications for Orange County Public Schools
Disney Springs is adding to its menu of Italian eateries.
Patina Restaurant Group, owners of Morimoto Asia, announced today that they will open Enzo’s Hideaway and Pizza Ponte, early next year. As we previously reported, the group is also opening the traditional Italian trattoria, Maria & Enzo’s in the same complex.
A statement released by the group describes Enzo’s Hideaway as a “Roman- aperitivo-inspired” speakeasy that pays homage to #Florida‘s rum running history.
The prohibition theme extends to Maria and Enzo’s, connecting to the restaurant through the building’s rum-running tunnels. Expect foods like Bucatini alla Carbonara, a hollow spaghetti with creamy egg dish with pancetta sauce and Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, square-cut spaghetti with pecorino and black pepper.
Pizza Ponte, on the other hand, is a “fast-casual concept” that will offer savory and sweet options from Sicilian-style pizza by the slice, Triangolo (stuffed pizza bread) and Bomboloni Italian doughnuts, to Sfoglia di Riso rice cream pastry and a classic Tiramisu.
The new #restaurants also come with the group’s development of The Edison, a “Industrial Gothic” style bar and restaurant expected to open by the end of 2017.
October 2017 is an exciting month for Central Florida foodies, with special dinners and food festivals happening all month long. In addition to the extension of Visit #Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, many places are celebrating Oktoberfest and National Taco Day, as well. Here are some of the great food and drink events you might want to check out:
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, Walt Disney World This annual event offers a literal dine around the world experience with kiosks representing different countries offer up native food and beverage samples. Samples run from $3 to $8 on average, in addition to park admission. Read our Epcot Food & Wine preview for more information.
OCTOBER 16 Bubbly & Cabernet at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Winter Park oct 16 Cost: $45 per person for Members/ $55 per person for Non-Members Hosted by Women for Winesense Central #Florida, this tasting of exceptional wines will be paired paired with some of the group’s favorite hors d’oeuvres from Ruth’s Chris chefs.
OCTOBER 17 Food For Thought Tour at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando Cost: Free During this one-hour information session you will learn more about who is hungry in our community and then take a walking tour of the food bank to see how they operate. A light lunch follows, prepared by the Second Harvest kitchen. It is free to attend, and good for the soul.
Port & Chocolate Tasting at Texas de Brazil, Orlando Cost: $45 Start off the evening with the Port of Manhattan Martini and signature Texas de Brazil appetizers followed by special pairings of the Taylor Fladgate family and chocolate. This special event will be led by port and chocolate representatives, so be ready for an evening of enjoyment and education. Texas de Brazil will be donating $40 for each ticket sold to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Relief Efforts.
OCTOBER 18 Chef’s Night Series feat. Primetime Kitchen at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando Cost: $100 Chef Jim Colbert will cook the main dish, accompanied by notable local chefs, Tello Luna (Harrys Poolside Bar & Grill), Bruno Fonseca (Millenia 106) & Bryan Thoman (Canvas Restaurant & Market).
OCTOBER 19 Orlandough Flight Night at Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, Orlando Cost: $17 per ice cream/doughnut flight. Flights will include four mini ice cream sandwiches of different flavor combos.
OCTOBER 20 Crafted & Bold City Brewery Beer Dinner at CRAFTED, Orlando Cost: $34.95 Featuring 4 courses & 5 different beer selections. Bold City representatives & Crafted Chef Adam Dierks will be on-hand to help educate & inform throughout the evening.
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at STK Orlando at Disney Springs Cost: $75 Join Master Sommelier George Miliotes of Wine Bar George for a wine party on STK’s rooftop featuring pairings, with varietals such as Saperavi from Georgia and Macvin du Jura from France. Visit disneyworld.com for more information and reservations. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Cost: $199 Enjoy Asian cuisine while listening to the Dr. Jason Crane speak about the Siberian Crane Conservation project he supports in Asia.. Visit disneyworld.com for more information and reservations.
Harry’s Brewmaster Series feat Funky Buddha at Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill at Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando Cost: $55 Enjoy a 5-course seafood dinner plus Funky Buddha beer pairings. Complimentary valet and self-parking included. Visit the rosencentre.com for tickets and more info.
Jake’s Beer Festival at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando Cost: $35 – $45 Jake’s Beer Festival happens only twice each year and features more than 50 local and regional specialty craft beers, delicious and tasty foods, live entertainment and more.
Pink Out. Dine Out. Rock Out at The Mall at Millenia, Orlando Cost: $20 donation With a donation of $20, sample food and signature drinks from your favorite Mall at Millenia restaurants. Proceeds benefit the Florida Hospital Breast Cancer Care Fund.
Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate: Perfectly Paired at East End Market, Orlando Cost: $45 Learn how to pair wine, cheese, and chocolate together at this popular class featuring cheese from La Femme du Fromage, wine from Quantam Leap, and chocolate from Peterbrooke Chocolatier. A percentage of the proceeds will go to Hurricane Irma Relief. It’s also La Femme’s Anniversary so she is hosting a pre-class pop up in the courtyard from 5- 6:30pm with Happy Hour pricing on wine, beer, sangria and small plates.
OCTOBER 20-22 3rd Annual Crooked Can Oktoberfest at Crooked Can Brewing Company, Winter Garden Cost: Free admission and parking Enjoy three days of authentic German food and drink for purchase, live German music, arts, and crafts, and more.
OCTOBER 21 Oktoberfest at PB&G at Four Seasons Resort Orlando Cost: $75; 21+ only Enjoy Crooked Can’s Oktoberfest Brew and other classic German brews, plus housemade pretzels, sauerbraten sliders, wiener schnitzel and other German food, along with live German music, and more.
Taste of Nona 2017 at Courtyard by Marriott Lake Nona, Orlando Cost: $40 This year’s Taste will feature more than two dozen fantastic local restaurants, dessert makers, and catering services.
Third Annual TAPtoberfest at The Brass Tap – Mills Park, Orlando Cost: Free admission. Featuring German and German-inspired beers on tap, get ready for stein hoisting, boot chugging, and more.
OCTOBER 22 Orlando Weekly Oktoberfest Collaboration Tapping Party at Broken Cauldron Taproom, Orlando Cost: Free admission Treehouse Truck will be on site serving a German inspired menu and the Orlando Weekly will have special prizes and giveaways! $4 Pints of OBF Oktoberfest all night long.
Pastry in the Park at The Osprey Tavern, Orlando Cost: $65 per person; $20 additional for beverage pairing Enjoy a 7-course dessert tasting by some of Orlando’s top pastry chefs: Chef Amanda McFall (Urbain 40), Chef Esther Rodriguez (The Ravenous Pig), Chef Gloriann Rivera (1921 by Norman Van Aken), Chef Michelle Hulbert (K Restaurant), Chef Amy Gilbert (Canvas Restaurant), Chef Brian Cernell (Luma On Park/Prato/Luke’s), and Chef Kristy Carlucci (The Osprey Tavern/Seito Sushi/Reyes Mezcaleria).
OCTOBER 26 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at Flying Fish at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort Cost: $199 Savor an Evening of Culinary Treasures and Jewels of the Vineyard With Chef Tim Majoras and Master Sommelier George Miliotes of Wine Bar George.
]Homestead Harvest at Whisper Creek Farm at The Ritz-Carlton at Grande Lakes, Orlando Cost: $135 per person; VIP $160 The Highball & Harvest team will be joined by Bravo’s Top Chef star Kenny Gilbert from Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen and Gilbert’s Social. Local talent including Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon, James Petrakis of The Ravenous Pig, Kevin Fonzo previously of K Restaurant, Austin Boyd of The Osprey Tavern, and many more, will also be cooking up bites at the event. The one-night-only food and beverage event will benefit Fleet Farming.
OCTOBER 27 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Signature Dining at Chef’s Table at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Cost: $259 The evening begins with an innovative reception and champagne toast in the Catering Kitchen before progressing through a secret entrance to the Chef’s Table. Here, you’ll enjoy 6 courses, all presented and finished on-stage and accompanied by an outstanding wine selection.
OCTOBER 27– 28 8th Annual Food and Wine Classic at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Cost: $115; add beer garden access for $25; seminars additional This delicious annual festival offers up food from the resort’s culinary team and restaurants. Add on access to the beer garden for an additional cost. You can also enlighten your knowledge of food and beverage with seminars each day including wines, cocktails, beer, pasta-making, cheese pairing or the fine art of sushi and sake for an additional charge per seminar.
OCTOBER 28 Central Florida Veg Fest 2017 at Festival Park, Orlando Cost: Free admission The event will include healthy living and eco-friendly exhibitors, speakers, and presentations; non-profits; fun and games for kids; dog and cat adoptions; restaurant booths; food preparation demonstrations, and live music and entertainment.
OCTOBER 29 Sunday Bubbles Brunch with J Vineyards and Winery at Il Mulino New York Trattoria at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Cost: $88.50; three seatings This lavish brunch will feature traditional and not-so-traditional items prepared by our award-winning Chefs. One glass of champagne or specialty mimosa will be included in the menu price, along with the option to upgrade to bottomless champagne and mimosas at the time of seating. Visit swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com
The CoreLogic Housing Credit Index is a robust credit index that measures mortgage credit risk using six mortgage credit attributes. The HCI spans more than 15 years, covers all loan products in both the prime and subprime lending segments and includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia, permitting peak to trough business cycle comparisons across the U.S.
The CoreLogic Housing Credit Index (HCI) measures the variation in mortgage credit risk attributes and uses loan attributes from mortgage loan servicing data that are combined in a principal component analysis (PCA) model. PCA can be used to reduce a complex data set (e.g., mortgage loan characteristics) to a lower dimension to reveal properties that underlie the data set.
The HCI combines six mortgage credit risk attributes, including borrower credit score, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, documentation level (full documentation of a borrower’s economic conditions or incomplete levels of documentation, including no documentation), status of investor-owned (whether property is a non-owner-occupied investment or owner-occupied primary residence and second home), and property type (whether property is a condominium or co-op). It spans more than 15 years, covers all loan products in both the prime and subprime lending segments and includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia, permitting peak-to-peak and trough-to-trough business cycle comparisons across the U.S. The CoreLogic Loan-Level Market Analytics data include loan-level information, both current and historical, from servicers on active first-lien mortgages in the U.S. and the Non-Agency Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) data include loan-level information from the securitizers. In addition, CoreLogic public records data for the origination share by loan type (conventional conforming, government, jumbo) were used to adjust the combined servicing and securities data to assure that it reflects primary market shares. These changes across different dimensions are reflected in the HCI. A rising HCI indicates increasing credit risk and a declining HCI indicates decreasing credit risk.
After a brief improvement in June, home sales continued their downward slide in July, with buyers signing fewer contracts to purchase existing #homes.
An index of so-called pending home sales, which represent closings one to two months from now, fell 0.8 percent compared with June, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is the fourth monthly drop in the past five months. June’s reading was also revised lower. The index is now 1.3 percent below a year ago and has fallen on an annual basis in three of the past four months.
“Buyer traffic continues to be higher than a year ago, the typical listing has gone under contract within a month since April,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors. “The reality, therefore, is that sales in coming months will not break out unless supply miraculously improves. This seems unlikely given the inadequate pace of housing starts in recent months and the lack of interest from real estate investors looking to sell.”
“The housing market remains stuck in a holding pattern with little signs of breaking through. The pace of new listings is not catching up with what’s being sold at an astonishingly fast pace,” Yun added.
Closed sales to buy existing homes fell more than expected in July, with Realtors citing the lack of supply as the primary reason. Prices are also a factor though. The median price of a home sold in July hit $258,300, the highest July price on record. Mortgage rates have been falling through the summer and are now sitting at 2017 lows, but they are still slightly higher than one year ago. Rates have been so low for so long that they provide little relief from the fast-rising prices.
California, which boasts the priciest and tightest #housing market in the nation, saw sales slip across the board in July. The number of homes for sale fell yet again and prices hit decade highs.
“The San Francisco Bay Area posted modest year-over-year gains in home sales this May and June, but a tight inventory and waning affordability have taken a toll, and July 2017 sales fell to the lowest level for a July in six years,” said Andrew LePage, research analyst at CoreLogic.
Pending home sales in the Northeast fell 0.3 percent for the month and were 2.4 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest, sales decreased 0.7 percent for the month and were 2.8 percent lower than July 2016. In the South, sales declined 1.7 percent from June and were 0.2 percent below last July. In the West, sales rose 0.6 percent for the month but were 4.0 percent below a year ago.
Yun noted that national sales numbers could weaken more than expected this fall, due to the disruption in the Houston housing market from Hurricane Harvey.
We work hard during our careers to enjoy a comfortable retirement, and for many of us, that means settling down someplace where our nest eggs can go the furthest. But for some folks, finding an affordable place to retire is a matter of basic survival. More than 40% of households aged 56 to 64 have no retirement savings to show for, or so states the Economic Policy Institute. And even among older workers who are saving, confidence about retiring comfortably is declining. With that in mind, WalletHub recently did a review of the top cities to retire in this year, as well as the least desirable cities for retirees. Here’s what they came up with.
What makes for a happy retirement?
Though money isn’t everything when it comes to retirement, it’s a big factor to consider. Even if your tastes are modest, and you’re naturally not such a big spender, you’re bound to encounter certain expenses outside your control. Take healthcare, for example, which, according to recent projections, could cost the average healthy 65-year-old couple today over $400,000 in retirement. It therefore stands to reason that finding a city with a relatively low cost of living can be crucial to your overall happiness as a senior.
But while #affordability is one of the metrics WalletHub reviewed in its recent study, it’s not the only one. Factors such as recreation, senior services and population, hospital systems, and even climate were all considered in compiling this list.
So which cities offer the best overall quality of life for retirees? Among the 150 cities reviewed by WalletHub, here are the top 10:
|Rank: Best Overall||City|
|6||Salt Lake City, UT|
|10||Las Vegas, NV|
DATA SOURCE: WALLETHUB.
Keep in mind that these 10 cities aren’t necessarily the most affordable. In fact, some, like Honolulu and Denver, scored relatively low on affordability alone. If a low cost of living is paramount in your mind, here are the top 10 cities you might consider as a retiree:
|Rank: Most Affordable||City|
|3||St. Petersburg, FL|
|5||San Antonio, TX|
DATA SOURCE: WALLETHUB.
Of course, what you gain in affordability, you might forgo elsewhere. Take Laredo, Texas, the cheapest city for retirees. Though you might snag housing and groceries on the cheap, Laredo scored pretty low with regard to activities and amenities, and it came in nearly last on healthcare.
So which cities might you try to avoid as a senior? Here’s what the list of the 10 worst retiree states looks like:
|Rank: Worst Overall||City|
|3||San Bernardino, CA|
|10||Rancho Cucamonga, CA|
DATA SOURCE: WALLETHUB.
Most of the cities on this list scored relatively low in terms of affordability, and all landed at the bottom of the heap with regard to healthcare. Interestingly, none of the cities with the highest cost of living, including New York, New York; San Jose, California; and San Francisco, California, came even close to making the bottom 10 overall, which goes to show that money shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when determining where to live as a senior.
Finding the right place for your senior years
Clearly, the place you spend your days in retirement will have an impact on not just your budget but your everyday quality of life. If you’re not sure where to go once you stop working, try asking yourself the following questions:
- How much do I want to spend on housing, transportation, and essentials? The more you fork over to cover your basic costs, the less cash you’ll have available for leisure. On the other hand, if you choose a city that offers much in the way of free entertainment, it might be worth the higher rent or mortgage. Furthermore, don’t just consider how much you want to spend but also what you can afford to spend. You might dream of retiring in Honolulu, but if your nest egg won’t hold up there, you’ll need to pick someplace with a lower cost of living.
- How’s my health? Though having good access to healthcare is important for all retirees, if you have a known medical issue, you’ll need to pay even closer attention to how local hospitals and doctors are ranked. The last thing you want as a senior is to have to travel long distances to receive quality medical care.
- How important is it for me to live near family? Your family might serve as a key social outlet and support system in retirement, so be sure to factor in proximity to children, siblings, and grandkids when deciding where to live. If you’re not willing to relocate to get closer (say, your family lives in an expensive city or someplace whose climate isn’t ideal), consider the cost of traveling from your city of choice to where your loved ones live, because you don’t want to grapple with perpetually pricey air fares when you’re stuck on a fixed income.
Choosing the right place to retire is crucial to your overall happiness. The more thought you put into where you retire, the more content you’re likely to be down the line.
More #homes and townhomes/condos sold and the median sale price increased in the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area in May when compared to the year-ago period, according to the latest housing data released by #Florida Realtors. In May, 3,428 homes and 983 townhomes/condos sold in metro Orlando. The number of homes sold was up 8.8 percent from May 2016, while the number of townhomes/condos sold rose 17.6%.
Along with an increase in units sold in the Central Florida area, median sales prices also were up. Last month, the median home sale price in the area grew 7 percent to $240,788 and the median townhome/condo sale price increased 12.1 percent to $150,000.
These year over year increases are no surprise to President of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, Bruce Elliott. “Orlando has strong job growth and a great quality of life that makes this area a great place to live. There have been a lot of third-party sources, from Forbes magazine to WalletHub, showing a variety of different statistics about how good Orlando is.”
Along with higher numbers in metro Orlando, the state also saw an increase in the number of homes and townhomes/condos sold in last month when compared to May 2016.
“Closed sales of existing homes in the Sunshine State not only rebounded from a relatively flat April, they positively surged to record highs in May of 2017,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Brad O’Connor. “To be more specific, May’s sale totals of 27,850 existing single-family homes and 11,538 existing condos and townhomes were the most ever recorded [by Florida Realtors] for a single month in either property type category. In both cases, these totals were also markedly higher than the very strong number of sales racked up in May of 2016.”
The median sale prices also rose when compared to last year. Last month, the median sale price for a home in Florida grew 7.7 percent to $239,000 and the median sale price for a townhome/condo rose 8.1 percent to $178,000 when compared to the year-ago period.
- The spring #housing market continues to be plagued by a lack of #homes #for sale
- Home shoppers signed 1.3 percent fewer contracts to buy existing homes in April compared with March
- That drop comes after a larger-than-expected drop in closed home sales in April.
Pending home sales down 1.3% in April
Home buyers pull back again in April, signing fewer contracts
The spring housing market continues to be plagued by a lack of homes for sale. Home shoppers signed 1.3 percent fewer contracts to buy existing homes in April compared with March, according to a monthly index from the National Association of Realtors. March’s reading was also revised down. The index is 3.3 percent lower than April of 2016.
“Much of the country for the second straight month saw a pullback in pending sales as the rate of new listings continues to lag the quicker pace of homes coming off the market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors, adding that foot traffic is higher than a year ago.
The drop comes after a larger-than-expected drop in closed home sales in April. More sellers listed their homes in April, but the number of listings was still 9 percent lower than a year ago. Tight supply continues to put upward pressure on home prices, which are now rising at three times the rate of incomes.
“We know two things heading into the summer selling season. One, home prices continue to leap forward. Two, homebuyers continue to jump into the market.”
“The unloading of single-family homes purchased by real estate investors during the downturn for rental purposes would also go a long way in helping relieve these inventory shortages,” said Yun. “To date, there are no indications investors are ready to sell.”
Weaker sales are not due to a lack of potential buyers, especially this year, as millennials age into their home-buying years and confidence in the U.S. #economy improves. Home buyer demand surged in April, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. The number of clients requesting home tours jumped 12 percent.
“We know two things heading into the summer selling season. One, home prices continue to leap forward. Two, homebuyers continue to jump into the market,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “A pop of new listings only encourages more homebuyers to barge their way into this crowded and competitive, low-inventory market in order to take advantage of still-low mortgage rates.”
Regionally, pending home sales in the Northeast decreased 1.7 percent for the month and are 0.6 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index fell 4.7 percent for the month and 6.1 compared to a year ago. In the South, sales fell 2.7 for the month and are 2.3 percent below last April. The index in the West rose 5.8 percent in April but is still 4.2 percent below a year ago.