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Monivette Cordeiro

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Recent Stories from Monivette Cordeiro

Image: Photo via Publix on Facebook

Shoppers continue to boycott Publix for supporting Adam Putnam



Is there a more beloved brand in Florida other than Publix? Probably not. The Lakeland grocery store chain has been conquering hearts since 1930 with its free cookies, chicken tender Pub Subs and heartwarming holiday commercials. There is a limit, though, to some Floridians adoration, and its name is the National Rifle Association. Shoppers have been threatening to boycott Publix this Memorial Day Weekend over the company’s support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. Over the years, Publix has donated about $670,000 to the Agriculture Commissioner’s campaigns, which is a record amount to a single candidate for the chain. By supporting Putnam, though, Publix is supporting a candidate who touts himself as a “proud NRA sellout.” The Bartow politician has …


Image: Valencia College, orlandoweekly.com

Valencia and Seminole State College adjunct professors scramble to make a living wage and now, they want a union



Jennifer Copp is at the end of her rope. The 46-year-old has two degrees in photography. She’s taught college students as an adjunct professor for about 14 years, giving lectures at various institutions across Central Florida. And yet, Copp only earns $18,000 to $19,000 a year in a career that offers her no benefits. She teaches two to four classes every semester at Seminole State College – but to make ends meet, she also adjuncts at nearby colleges and universities. Copp drives around less now because she has to take care of her 7-year-old daughter, who has special needs. To help pay the bills, Copp’s 80-year-old mother also teaches part-time at Seminole State. Copp and other adjunct professors at Seminole …


Photo by Jeremy Reper, orlandoweekly.com

Noor Salman’s trial gave us the best glimpse of what actually led to the Pulse shooting



Last week, a federal jury found Noor Salman not guilty of aiding and abetting her husband, Omar Mateen, in his plan to murder 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse. Despite the verdict, many in Orlando still have questions about what happened on June 12. The confusion has only been increased by the trial’s anonymous jury foreman, who said the jury was convinced Salman “knew” what her husband was planning, despite not knowing the day or location. But federal prosecutors were not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Salman “knew” about the attack. Their case against the widow consisted of an alleged confession she gave to FBI agents. They interrogated her for 11 hours – though they chose …


Image: FEMA logo, wikipedia.org

Hurricane Maria Survivors Still Struggle in Central Florida



Desiree Torres knew exactly what she would do when things fell apart. She would fasten her baby in his stroller and grab her two other children by the hand. Together, they’d get on a bus for a 30-minute ride to Kissimmee City Hall. Inside, Torres and her kids would find a spot to sit and wait for the help that was promised. “Where is the help you’re giving me if you’re throwing me out onto the street with my kids?” she asks in Spanish. In February, it had been five months since Torres and her children survived Hurricane Maria, took a plane to Orlando and ended up in this Super 8 motel room off Highway 192. She thought it would …


Image: Split Oak Forest by Monivette Cordeiro

Environmental activists rally to save the Split Oak Forest from an expanding toll road



Off the sandy path, Dave Wegman squats near a small burrow hidden behind scrub. “Careful,” he warns, pointing to the white sand circling the half-moon hole like a skirt. Gopher tortoises lay their eggs under the smooth surface, but it looks like no one’s home today. For several months, Wegman and other environmentalists have led treks through the Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area, a nearly 1,700-acre preserve on the outskirts of Orlando’s Lake Nona community. Aside from harboring the threatened gopher tortoise species, Split Oak is home to Florida scrub jays, sandhill cranes, Sherman’s fox squirrels, gopher frogs and bald eagles. No hunting, camping or biking is allowed in Split Oak – only hiking and permitted horse riding. …


Image: photo by Daymon Gardner for Dear World, orlandoweekly.com

More than a year and a half after the Pulse massacre, first responders still struggle with the trauma



Every night for the past 19 months, Omar Delgado has had the same exact nightmare. He’s back inside Pulse. He’s dragging someone who’s still alive through blood and glass, away from the bodies strewn across the dance floor under the blinking disco light. Then he hears the puncturing sound of bullets in the air. Another officer screams, “Get down, get down!” He falls down as shots continue to ring, waiting for them to stop and for his body to wake up yelling and screaming. Delgado, a former corporal with the Eatonville Police Department, is now beginning to adjust to civilian life after being let go from his job in December, months after he was proclaimed a hero for responding to …


Photo by Monivette Cordeiro, orlandoweekly.com

Lack of housing in Central Florida for Puerto Rican Evacuees



More than 100 days after Hurricane Maria’s apocalyptic winds tore through Puerto Rico leaving floods, collapsed houses and bodies in its wake, the island remains shrouded in darkness. Half of 3.4 million U.S. citizens on the American territory are living without power three months after Maria made landfall on Sept. 20 – and many will likely remain that way until May. As Puerto Rico’s situation continues to deteriorate, hundreds of thousands of people have escaped to Florida for a respite from the despair. Instead, they’ve fled headfirst into the state’s affordable housing crisis. Local officials and nonprofits have been scrambling to accommodate evacuees who haven’t been staying with family members into hotels and temporary lodgings as they wait for relief. …


Photo by Monivette Cordeiro, orlandoweekly.com

Access to Healthcare for Puerto Ricans in Florida



Glorimarie Rodríguez knows staying behind in Puerto Rico’s darkness would have meant certain death for her 2-year-old son. In the week before Hurricane Maria hit the island, Matthew González was in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer and complications related to his disorder that required surgeries. After the storm, most of the island lost electricity and access to running water, including hospitals. Rodríguez knew Matthew needed the care of specialists immediately, and the chances of finding that during a humanitarian crisis were slim. So like thousands of others fleeing deteriorating conditions, Rodríguez and her toddler boarded a plane to Orlando. Unlike many who have made their way to Florida and remained uninsured, Rodríguez says she was able to get Medicaid …


Image: orlandoweekly.com

Tourism Campaign Declares Orlando’s Signature Dish



Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs gathered the region’s tourism leaders last April to ask a question with no answer: “Does Orlando have a signature dish?” Philadelphia has cheesesteaks. London has fish and chips. But Orlando? Despite being one of the world’s top destinations and home to unrivaled culinary talent, the City Beautiful isn’t known for a particular delicacy – our gastronomic delights in the eyes of visitors include gargantuan turkey legs, Dole Whip and butterbeer. So Jacobs proposed a meeting of the minds – the best local chefs in the city’s burgeoning restaurant industry would gather with our quasi-public tourism agency, Visit Orlando, to create a signature dish. After Jacobs’ call to action, local foodies proposed a number of native …


Photo by Monivette Cordeiro, orlandoweekly.com

The Puerto Rican Exodus to Central Florida



Two years ago, Betsy Franceschini was getting at least 100 inquiries a day to her Kissimmee office from Puerto Ricans desperate for a better life. Thousands of families fled the U.S. territory in 2015 for the metro Orlando area because of its crushing financial crisis and $72 billion debt. As the director of Florida’s regional Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration office, Franceschini helped new arrivals connect with agencies that could provide help. It was overwhelming then – but Franceschini says it’s nothing compared to the “unprecedented” exodus of Puerto Ricans who are now trying to escape to places like Orlando in the face of deteriorating conditions on the demolished colony in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Florida is expected to …



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