Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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Survey interview series

OCN has been surveying local leaders, influencers and residents since it incorporated in January 2021. Some were recorded in text and some were recorded with video but all have been extremely valuable in teaching the OCN team what local information people are most interested in.

McKinney was photographed with U.S. Representative Stephanie Murphy at OCIA’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.

Danny McKinney, treasurer of Oviedo Citizens In Action, Inc., said he thinks the area’s biggest information needs center around education and religious news. He said he gets local information from the City of Oviedo’s newsletter and from his church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Oviedo.

Oviedo Police Department Chief Dale Coleman said he gets his local news from city leaders and locals, but said with some subjects “sometimes it’s hard to get the full story.”

Oviedo resident Carol J. White shared her top community concerns.

Jessica Sokoly with Editor-in-Chief Megan Stokes at Citizens Bank of Florida, where Sokoly is vice president/branch manager.

Jessica Sokoly, Red Bug Office Vice President of Citizens Bank of Florida and an Oviedo resident of 22 years, was excited to talk about what kind of local news coverage she’d like to see.
“I’m a huge animal advocate so anything involving animals, I’m all over that,” she said. “I’d like to know about things the public could take part in to make a difference. We don’t always know about [city] issues that are coming up that we might have an opinion about. Also fun things. It’d be nice to know about someone who did something good.”

Hagerty High School Principal Rob Frasca

Paul J. Hagerty High School Principal Rob Frasca said he’d like to get more information about the school and its athletic program out into the community and discussed a possible cub reporter program with Oviedo Community News.

Winter Springs Police Department Chief Chris Deisler shared what he believes are the most important community issues.

Kevin McCann is the mayor of Winter Springs.

Kevin McCann, former president of the Tuscawilla Homeowners Association and former publisher of the Tuscawilla Today, was sworn in as Winter Springs mayor on April 26. Asked what he thinks are the most important things members of the community need to know, he said the facts.
“With prolific use of social media, there’s an incredible amount of false information out there, on all levels,” he said. “It is disheartening to see and hear and read information that I know is absolutely false and it’s repeated and repeated and repeated until people think it’s true.”

Mary Lawler Tysor, Live Oak Reserve resident

OCN bumped into Oviedo resident Mary Lawler Tysor in her Live Oak Reserve neighborhood. She said she’d like to see news coverage about growth, education and providing more community physical activities.
“I’m a retired P.E. teacher and coach so I think the more you put out there as far as opportunities for kids to be productive and out from behind the screens, the better,” she said. “I’d love to see more community clubs so they get to know each other outside of school.”

Winter Springs resident and Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Deaconess Bettie Miller discussed what she thinks is the most important issue in the community.

Garrett Turner, Core Group Real Estate agent

Garrett Turner, a real estate agent and former Oviedo High School teacher, coach, student and football player, said that positive, local stories to relieve people from negative, national headlines is what he’d like to see in local news coverage.
“Highlight the positive coming out of the community and report accurate, relevant information the local community can relate to,” he said.

Florida State Representative David Smith, a Winter Springs resident, discussed what he considers to be the most important community issues.

William Jackson, treasurer of Johnson Hill Washington Heights Community Outreach

OCN asked Johnson Hill Washington Heights Community Outreach Treasurer William Jackson what he considers to be the biggest issue in the community. “If we can’t communicate, and we’re not open and honest in our communication, then we can’t understand each other,” he said, adding that a community meeting discussing residents’ needs, wants and desires is necessary.

Nature photographer and defender David Pellar, an Oviedo resident, discussed what he believes is the top community issue.

Oviedo resident Kendal Rivera

Kendal Rivera, of Oviedo, said he’d like to read about local education, saying “it’s important to see how schools are doing with COVID, whether children going back to school are safe.”

Oviedo Historical Society former President Desta Horner gave OCN a tour of The Lawton House Museum. Here’s a clip from that tour as well as Horner’s thoughts on the importance of sharing Oviedo’s history.

“I think it’s curious and interesting — everything from the time the bank was blown up, to the time that the town burned down, to the time that the great freeze of 1895 put us on our knees, and how from each one of those events, we recovered, grew, prospered. It wasn’t the end of the world, which sent the town into collapse. Instead, it moved on with vigor and optimism. It can be fun to do history. It can also be instructive and inspiring.”

Oviedo High School Principal Trent Daniel

“I think the biggest issue in the community is that we have no affordable housing anymore,” Oviedo High School Principal Trent Daniel said, adding that six teachers and an athletic trainer retired from the school this year.
“Any teacher who is hired now cannot afford to live in Oviedo and not even in the apartments. They’re unaffordable for them on the salary they make. Funny enough, I know that personally because my daughter is a teacher and she cannot afford to live anywhere in Seminole County.”

Oviedo High School PTSA President Elizabeth Montgomery discussed what she believes is a top community issue.

Linda Wiggins with her three daughters at The Tack Shack in Oviedo

For Linda Wiggins, owner of The Tack Shack in Oviedo, the biggest community issue is the lack of local horse-related activities. She said without a horse park in Seminole County, folks must travel to Clarcona Horseman’s Park in Apopka for horse shows.
“The horses are being pushed out by the growth. You can’t stop progress but there are so many people who own horses here,” she said.

Oviedo resident Xavier McGinnis and his 4-year-old son, Tristan

Oviedo resident Xavier McGinnis said his biggest community concern is a lack of sports activities in the area for his 4-year-old son, Tristan.

Connor DiMatteo, member of Oviedo’s Sustainability Task Force and the Oviedo Historical Society, discussed what he believes are the most important community issues.

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