Author Archives: Michael Flahaven

Say Thanks to Dad This Father's Day in Orlando 2019

Say Thanks to Day with These Father’s Day Events in Orlando

Free admission & discounts on Father’s Day in Orlando

  • Harry P. Leu Gardens is offering free admission for dads on Father’s Day, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Stroll through Orlando’s most beautiful garden. For everyone else, garden admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids.
  • The Orange County Regional History Center is celebrating with free admission to all dads on June 16, noon – 5 p.m.
  • Bok Tower Gardens is free for dads on Father’s Day.
  • Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens is free for dads on Sunday, June 16.
  • SAK Comedy Lab is giving dads the gift of laughter with a lineup of three shows on Father’s Day. Dad’s admission is free and general admission is $20. Reservations are recommended.
  • Winter Park is inviting everyone to relax in the park with their favorite superhero: DAD! Kids can make some fun gifts to celebrate dad at Phelps Park on Saturday, June 15, 10am – 12pm. Free event.
  • RDV Ice Den in Maitland is letting dad lace up for free ice skating on Sunday, June 16 with the purchase of one child’s public skate admission. Public skate times on Father’s Day: 2pm – 3:45pm and 5:30pm – 7:15pm.
  • Bass Pro Shops: Give dad a day out with the kids during Gone Fishing Event, June 8 & 9, 15 & 16, 2019 at participating Bass Pro Shops. Free catch and release ponds, certificate of first catch (while supplies last), and other special memory makers are available.
  • Stop by Orlando Brewing for a free tour (Monday – Saturday at 6 p.m.). On Father’s Day, dads get 2-4-1 pints and 20% off growler refills. 
  • Take a dip in one of Central Florida’s cool and natural springs. Choose from one of many parks near Orlando:
    • At De Leon Springs, you can cook your own pancakes at the Sugar Mill Restaurant, and then stay for the day to take a dip in the swimming area or rent canoes. 
    • Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka has boat tours, camping, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and snorkeling. The cost is $6 per vehicle.
    • Kelly Park/Rock Springs in Apopka is popular for the floating down the stream in an inner tube. Kelly Park also has a concession, picnic pavilions and playground. The tube rentals are available from vendors outside the park at an added cost, but we suggest bringing your own pool floats to save some cash. The cost to enter the park is $3-5 per vehicle.
  • It’s free to journey through the trails of Central Florida: Orange County trailsLake County trails and Volusia County trails.
  • The beach is just a 45-minute drive from Orlando. Pack the car for a day trip to Cocoa or New Smyrna Beach.
  • Boggy Creek Airboat rides takes you through Florida wetlands at speeds up to 50 mph for an up-close look at native wildlife.
  • Play volleyball, corn toss, enjoy live music and a take dip in the cool waters of the Wekiva River: all for free at Wekiva Island. This eco-recreation destination has an old Florida feel, a bar that serves beer and wine, and riverside cabanas. Admission is free during the week, but the charge is only a dollar or two on the weekends.

Florida Travel Calendar for March

Check out festivals and events in March across the state.

This list is organized by region.

Central Florida (including Orlando, Kissimmee, Daytona Beach, Sanford, the Space Coast, Lakeland/Polk and Lake County)

Through March 10: Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City. Strawberry celebration dating back to 1930. Features daily entertainment, agriculture shows, livestock and the Midway with more than 60 rides. This year headliners include The Oak Ridge Boys, Willie Nelson, Kool & The Gang, Martina McBride and so many more. Gate admission ranges $4 to $8, and headliner’s tickets begin at $20. At Plant City Festival Grounds. Admission required. 813-752-9194.

Through April 4: Universal Studios Mardi Gras, Orlando. A New Orleans party atmosphere is mixed up with a lineup of big-name concerts for another year of Mardi Gras at the Orlando theme park. The event which takes place for 64 straight nights features Cajun and Creole cuisine, a Mardi Gras parade, street performers, lots of bead tossing and Zydeco bands direct from Louisiana. On 13 select nights, major label musicians will perform. Included with Universal Studios ticket or annual pass. 407-363-8000.

Video: Your travel guide to Sebring, Florida


Video: Your travel guide to Sebring, Florida

Central Florida Explorer: An action-packed day at Westgate River Ranch Resort

Universal: New Potter coaster goes into forest, backward, at 50 mph

Central Florida Explorer: My 4 favorite things at the Central Florida Fair

Central Florida Explorer: My four favorite things at the Central Florida Fair

Through May 5: SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival, Orlando.  Held on Saturday and Sunday with concerts on each day. Discover unique Asian, Latin, European, Polynesian and North Atlantic dishes throughout the park and feature a wide array of wine, specialty cocktails, and local and international craft brews. Seven Seas is included with regular park admission beginning at $59.99. For more on the menu and other details, go to:

March 2: First Saturday Workshops & Jam, Barberville. On the first Saturday each month visit the Pioneer Settlement music workshops and a free open music jam. Workshops begin at 10 am and jam sessions begin at 1 pm in the auditorium. Admission is free for members. 1776 Lightfoot Lane, 32105 386-749-2959.

March 2: Brevard County 4-H Family 5K, Melbourne.  All Brevard County 4-H members and their families are welcome to participate as we run, walk, bike, or scooter to the finish line. Registration is $6 per child, and must be paid upon check-in at the event. Parents are able to participate in the event at no cost. The run will begin at 4:00 PM, but please plan to arrive by 3:30 PM to check in. The race will start and end at the Wickham Park Community Garden, adjacent to the Fantastic 4-H Farm in the horse stables. Healthy snacks will be available at the finish line. More Information:

March 2-3: Lake Mary-Heathrow Festival of the Arts, Lake Mary. This is the 32nd Annual Art Fair.  View fine art and craft exhibits and enjoy live entertainment. Local food trucks offer great local food. Free. Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to p.m. At Oval Park, 900 International Pkwy; 407-323-1142 or:

March 2-3: Floral City Strawberry Festival, Floral City. The Citrus County Chamber of Commerce hosts the 32nd Annual Floral City Strawberry Festival, with more than 200 arts and craft booths. Special features include an antique car show, pony rides, rock climbing wall, pie eating contest, Strawberry Princess pageants, and continuous children’s activities. Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. At Floral Park. A shuttle bus will be available. 352-795-3149.

March 2-3: The Grant Seafood Festival, Grant. This is the 53rd year of the infamous Grant Seafood Festival. In addition to delicacies from the sea, the festival features entertainment and crafts exhibits from more than 100 artists at 4580 First Street. Festival hours are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission and parking are free. For information, visit

3 Tips About Downsizing Dilemmas You Can’t Afford to Miss!

You’ve done it.  You’ve made the commitment to downsizing.  That was hard enough to do but what comes next can be downright daunting.  You have to actually do the downsizing.

While this part can become overwhelming quickly and get the best of you, there are strategies that can help you overcome downsizing dilemmas and achieve your goal of living a less cluttered and happier life.


There you stand in your garage, attic or in front of the door of that closet so overstuffed you’re scared to open it and you just feel lost.

This is where you begin to feel overwhelmed, but now is definitely not the time to give up.  Just take a breath and apply this tip.

Start small.  Choose one closet or one drawer.  Sort, clean and immediately remove unwanted items from your home.

Do one smaller space, such as a drawer, each day and one bigger space, such as a closet, each weekend.  When you’re consistent with this, you’ll make great progress.

The key here is to continuously remove the items you don’t want or you will build up scattered piles of junk around your home, and we certainly don’t want that.

Make a habit of bringing a bag of removable items with you every time you leave the house.  You can bring those books you wish to donate to your local library with you when you have to return borrowed books or are going to be in the area of your library.  You can bring clothing to local drop-offs for shelters, thrift stores or VA organizations when you know you have the time to make the extra trip.

When you repeat these actions regularly you’ll form great habits for yourself.  This will not only help with your project of decluttering your home but will make keeping your home clutter-free second nature for you.  That’s called a win-win!


You love it, but you don’t use it.  But you love it.  But you don’t use it.

This vicious circle can drag you down. You own something that is either truly sentimental or maybe reminds you of a special time in your life or that special someone who isn’t here anymore, but you don’t use it.

Really, it just sits there, taking up space and it’s such a wonderful thing that someone could put to good use.  The hard part is deciding who that someone could be and if it’s expensive, whether to sell it or gift it away.

Try this as a solution:  Give the things you care about the most to the people you care about the most.  When they use them (and they will) they’ll always think of you.  It’s part of how you carry on traditions or even create your own legacy.

Let’s say though that the item is very expensive and not that sentimental.  You also don’t want it to go to just one person.  You have a few people in mind for this item or even items.  What do you do?

Sell it and split the profits how you see fit among the people you wish to give it to.  Depending on how much money is involved, you may need to get a lawyer or accountant or Realtor involved to help you handle the sale and the best way to divide the monies you gain from the sale.


Oh boy, this one takes forethought and a bit of common sense to conquer.

That shirt you know you’re going to fit in again.  Those bright colored pants that will come back into style, someday.  The roadmaps of all the states that will come in handy when you finally take that cross country RV trip.  Those five toasters sitting in your garage…because, well, you know, toast.

Look, we’re all guilty of it.  We keep thing we don’t really need in the hopes that we’ll get good use out of them one day.  This makes us feel like we’re prepared for that someday.

The truth is, they’re just taking up space.  That shirt you want so desperately to fit in someday would be put to better use in a thrift store whose proceeds goes to help the homeless get back to work.  Those bright colored pants were never really in style.  Sorry, about that one, but it’s nearly always 100% true.  Feel free to follow us on Facebook and message us a photo to prove us wrong.  We’d love to see them.

There’s a Netflix show that’s brimming with popularity right now called,  ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’.  Mari Kondo, an organizer from Japan, goes to different homes to help people organize and declutter their lives.  She speaks of holding an item to see if it ‘sparks joy’ in your life.  Any item that sparks joy you keep.  Any item that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ goes into one of two piles, trash or donate.

It’s a very simple method, but oh so effective.  Another great tip; watch an episode or two of the show before you begin your downsizing.  It’s amazing and if you like her bright, pleasant personality, like the tens of millions of her devotees, you too will be going around your home seeing what ‘sparks joy’ and what doesn’t as soon as you finish watching.


Remember, the reason you’re downsizing is more important than the reason you’re keeping these items in the first place.  Maybe it’s creating space in your home.  Maybe you’re moving to a smaller home.  Maybe you’ve bought that RV and you are going to travel the continental US on that trip you’ve always said you’d make.

Whatever the reason, the other side of downsizing is a side that is less cluttered, more organized and cleaner looking home than what you’re staring with right now.  Take it easy, go step by step and apply these tips to overcome any downsizing dilemmas that may cross your path along the way.

Pass AOB Reform Now!

Charles and Wendy Snellgrove of Clearwater shared their first-hand experiences with Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse related to repair work on their homes when they testified before the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee yesterday. The Snellgroves encouraged lawmakers to pass AOB reform legislation this session.

The Snellgroves signed an AOB to repair a leak under their kitchen sink. They thought they were authorizing repair work to start but, in fact, were signing over control of their insurance policy to the restoration company. The company proceeded to gut their kitchen and charge their insurance company $26,000 for considerably more work than was necessary.

It turned out the leak was minor and did not justify removing the kitchen but, by then, it was too late. The Snellgroves tried to rescind the contract, but the water remediation company refused and sued them for breach of contract. In the end, it took the Snellgroves more than a year and a half to get their kitchen restored.

“It angers us tremendously that repair companies are using AOB to take advantage of people,’’ Charles Snellgrove said. “No one should have to go through what we did.’’

The consumers’ testimony was part of a workshop spread out over two full committee meetings to discuss AOB as it related to property and auto glass claims. Senator Doug Broxson, Chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, has introduced legislation – SB 122 – to address the awarding of attorney fees under insurance policies and contracts, which is fueling AOB abuse. AOB abuse has become a cottage industry for trial attorneys working in cahoots with shady vendors, including home restoration organizations, looking to make a quick buck.

The Consumer Protection Coalition, which is spearheaded by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, applauds Broxson and the Senate for their attention to this issue so early in the session and for recognizing the problem.


  1.  Thank Senator Doug Broxson for supporting AOB reform. Encourage him to stay strong and to help SB 122 pass this session.
  2.  Share this message with your friends and family, and encourage them to sign the petition seeking AOB reform.
  3. Like us on Twitter and Facebook.

This post is a di

Consumer Protection Coalition
Florida Chamber of Commerce
136 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301

March Newsletter


Right now, in your bones, a process called bone remodeling is occurring. In essence, cells in your bones remove old, weak bone and replace it with new, strong bone. Thanks to this normal process, every 10 years, you’ll have a brand new skeleton to support your body. However, sometimes this remove/replace system falls out of sync, and bone will be broken down faster than it’s rebuilt. Your bones naturally have spaces and holes inside them, but when more bone is removed than rebuilt, these spaces and holes grow too large. Your bones become weak and are more prone to fracture. When this happens, it’s known as osteoporosis. Many different things can cause the bones to weaken, including age, some medications, inflammatory diseases, and hormonal changes like menopause.

Fortunately, advances in osteoporosis research have opened up new treatments that can help keep bones strong and promote bone growth. As a rheumatologist for the past 18 years, it’s exciting to be able to offer these options to my patients and watch them get stronger and avoid breaking any bones. But managing osteoporosis isn’t just about medication. Here are the most common tips I share with patients for living well with osteoporosis.


Calcium helps strengthen the bones, so it’s important for people with osteoporosis to make sure they’re getting enough of this nutrient. In the past few years, research has shown it’s best to get your calcium naturally through your diet, rather than from supplements. Foods high in calcium include dairy products like yogurt and cheese; leafy greens like kale and collard greens; beans and lentils; and seafood like sardines, salmon, and shrimp. Some people, however, have trouble getting their calcium from food and will want to take supplemental calcium tablets. Different kinds of tablets get absorbed differently by the body, so ask your doctor for his or her recommendation when it comes to choosing the right calcium supplement.


Along with diet, exercise is also crucial for managing osteoporosis. The more sedentary you are, the higher your risk for bone loss. I recommend patients get as much aerobic exercise as they can, whether it’s brisk walking, biking or time on the elliptical. Anything that gets your heart pumping will be helpful. These exercises are beneficial for osteoporosis patients since they help build and maintain bone density.


Smoking is a major risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fracture, so if your bones have already started to weaken, it’s important to stop smoking. Studies have found a direct relationship between tobacco use and weak bones, and it can also negatively impact how well your bones heal after a fracture. Ecessive alcohol hurts bone health as well, since it reduces how much calcium your body can store and can increase your risk for falls. Chronic heavy drinking can also cause hormone deficiencies, which can also increase osteoporosis and fracture risk.


One of the hardest parts of my job is the limited amount of time I get to spend with my patients. This can be frustrating for both parties. I encourage my patients to use their appointment time wisely. Come prepared with questions you’d like answered, and keep a daily or weekly log of symptoms you can reference during your time in the doctor’s office. It’s also important to find a doctor you really connect with, who is available by email or phone when you need guidance in between appointments.


It’s important to develop an open, trusting relationship with your doctor. Make sure you find someone you’re comfortable with, who will listen to your concerns and take them seriously. But you as the patient should also have an open mind and understand that, while the doctor is there to help you, he or she might not always agree with your opinions. As a rheumatologist, I’m dedicated to my patients. I try to keep up with the latest data and read rigorously peer-reviewed journals in order to know what’s best for my patients. That’s why I cultivate a trusting relationship with them, so they feel confident in my guidance and make changes to control their osteoporosis and live healthier lives.

Dr. Allen Anandarajah is a board-certified rheumatologist and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He directs the Early Arthritis Clinic at URMC and has also authored several journal articles and textbook chapters focusing on rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

THIS CONTENT DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. This content is provided for informational purposes and reflects the opinions of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding your health. If you think you may have a medical emergency, contact your doctor immediately or call 911.


Dr. Allen Anandarajah is a board-certified rheumatologist and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He directs the Early Arthritis Clinic at URMC and has also authored several journal articles and textbook chapters focusing on rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
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