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Jessica Bryce

Orlando Weekly

Recent Stories from Jessica Bryce

Image: Orlando Weekly Cover: Lime Bike, Photo by Rob Bartlett

Orlando is the first city in Florida with a fleet of “dockless” rental bikes

In October, city officials passed a new ordinance that allowed the electric bike rental company Lime to operate downtown. This one-year pilot program makes Orlando the first city in Florida with a fleet of “dockless” rental bikes. With dockless bikes, convenience is the point. Download the app, locate a GPS-chipped bike on the map, and you’re off. When you get where you’re going, leave the bike wherever you like, so long as it’s not obstructing vehicle or pedestrian traffic – there’s no need to return it to a docking station. Lime charges $1 to unlock the bike and 15 cents per minute to ride, with no membership fee. Also convenient is the lithium-battery power assist, which helps the less athletic …

Image: Jose Belen photo by Jen Cray, orlandoweekly.com

Central Florida veteran fights the federal government over classification of marijuana

Central Florida combat veteran Jose Belen struggled with PTSD for more than a decade after his 14 months in Iraq. After severely adverse reactions to the opiates and tranquilizers prescribed by VA doctors, including years-long bouts of suicidal urges, he began self-medicating with cannabis and found relief. That’s why he joined a lawsuit against the federal government to challenge the Schedule 1 classification of ‘marihuana.’ These drugs are said to have “no currently accepted medical use.” On December 12, his case landed in federal appeals court. During oral argument, one of the panel of judges pointed out, “We have a situation where one part of the government [FDA] said it’s a medicine and another part of the government [DEA] says …

Image: Equality Florida Logo ,www.eqfl.org

2018 has been one of the deadliest years for transgender people

2018 has been one of the deadliest years ever for transgender people. The Human Rights Campaign says that so far this year, at least 24 have been killed violently. And no state has more recorded murders of transpeople than Florida. It started Feb. 4 with Celine Walker, shot dead in a Jacksonville hotel room. Four months later Antash’a English died in the hospital from gunshot wounds after she was found lying between two abandoned houses. In June, deputies found Cathalina James, gunned down at another Jacksonville hotel. Less than a month later Sasha Garden’s beaten body was discovered behind an Orlando apartment complex. In September in North Port, Londonn Moore was found lying in a road, shot to death. As …

Image: Air gun array on a research vessel, used for reflection seismic profiles in the ocean ,HANNES GROBE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Seismic airguns approved for oil in Atlantic despite fears for marine life

Two weeks ago, this commentary addressed the latest push for offshore oil drilling, launched just days after Florida voters approved a ban on drilling in state-owned waters. So the Petroleum Council is trying to sell us — or more precisely, our elected representatives — on the benefits of drilling under federal waters, 3 nautical miles offshore. Now, this week the Trump administration has approved the use of seismic airguns to search for oil along the Atlantic Coast, from New England to Florida. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, these airguns generate pulses of sound 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine, going off every 10 seconds for 24 hours a day, often for weeks on end. These …

Image: Photo via News Service of Florida, orlandoweekly.com

Florida voters decided to ban nearshore oil and gas drilling beneath state-owned waters

Last week a federal judge called Florida a “laughingstock,” thanks to our shambolic voting process. When it comes to amending our constitution … that was ridiculous this year too. Especially so was Amendment 9, titled: “Ban Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling and Ban Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces.” However absurd it was to bundle vaping and drilling together in one proposal, voters approved Amendment 9 by almost 70 percent. Maybe they didn’t read the fine print, or were too excited about the chance to register their disapproval of vaping, because Amendment 9 doesn’t exactly ban drilling – it “prohibits drilling … beneath all state-owned waters.” And barely two weeks later, the Florida Petroleum Council is back to pushing for offshore …

Image: Hops grown in Florida Photo by Matt Roberts, orlandoweekly.com

Local Beer Made With Florida Ingredients

What comes to mind when you imagine the aroma and flavor of a beer made with only Florida ingredients? If your first thoughts are sunscreen and swamp water, think again. Local brewers are determined to create an all-Florida beer, and climate change, of all things, is helping the dream come true. Barley and hops don’t do well in our tropical conditions and sandy soil. Another drawback is the length of daylight in summer – it’s actually shorter here than up north because of the angle of the earth as it tips toward the sun. But climate change has increased drought in the Western states, where most American hops are grown. And warmer temperatures overall mean even less risk of a …

Image: Francesco Cairo, (1607-1665), Judith with the Head of Holofernes, ca. 1633-37, Courtesy of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum: Dangerous Women

Dangerous Women. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum may not have done it intentionally, but their latest show is incredibly timely. The current cresting wave of female rage – and the pushback against it – makes this collection of Baroque and Renaissance paintings perfectly modern. These women are “dangerous” because they fought back. Here’s the Jewish widow Judith, decapitating a general who’d sworn to annihilate the Jews. Here’s Salome, relishing John the Baptist’s head on a platter for daring to slander her mother. Mary Magdalene, Esther, Bathsheba – all of them extraordinary for refusing to knuckle under to injustice. Some of the artists were just taking advantage of biblical stories as a socially permissible way to paint beautiful naked ladies, but …

Image: Monarch Butterflies nectaring on Swamp Milkweed. Photo by Peg Urban

Native Milkweed is important to the success of the Monarch Butterfly

As summer weather winds down, conservationists are keeping an eye on the annual monarch migration. And many local gardeners are trying to do everything they can to support the black-and-orange butterflies on their journey south – but they might be loving them to death. Pollinator gardens help monarchs by providing them with their preferred food, milkweed. There are dozens of varieties of milkweed. Tropical milkweed lives in Florida year-round, which is cool if you just want to see butterflies in your yard all year. But if you want to help rebuild the declining population, you need to plant the right kind of milkweed – a native variety that dies back in the fall. If monarchs stay here all winter stuffing …

Image: New Generation” by Elizabeth Catlett

Dual-location exhibition portrays scenes of the African American experience

Too often art by what we refer to as “minorities” is forced to bear a double weight. We expect it to be not just beautiful, but also educational. Under that expectation, looking at art by women, people of color, disabled people and other artists in marginalized communities can then feel more preachy than pleasurable. Without leaving meaning or history behind, the show currently co-located at the Crealdé School of Art and the Hannibal Square Heritage Center is a pleasure to take in. Vibrant Vision is a selection of works by 20th-century African American artists drawn from the collection of Charleston painter Jonathan Green. Barbara Tiffany, Crealdé’s exhibitions curator, has chosen 26 works, some that “told profound stories about the artists …

Image: Jamilah Sabur, Untitled, 2017, Video still ,rollins.edu/cornell-fine-arts-museum

Cornell Fine Arts Museum: Ibine Ela Acu by Jamilah Sabur

Before she left Orlando, Cornell Fine Arts Museum curator Amy Galpin organized a show by Miami artist Jamilah Sabur called Ibine Ela Acu/Water Sun Moon. It’s Sabur’s first solo show in a museum, but it’s unlikely to be her last. Sabur works in performance and multimedia installation, often incorporating video of herself performing ritualistic actions. In this show, the videos give the viewer the feeling of having trespassed on a secret rite, a hidden process by which Sabur physically unearths memory, transforming history into intention. The title, Ibine Ela Acu, is in the now-dead language of the Timucua, the extinct indigenous Northern Florida people, and this show uses Florida’s history of violence and colonialism, as well environmental erosion, pollution and …