February 16, 2011

Best Wishes to Pat Williams – Orlando Magic

Filed under: Florida News — ngw101 @ 8:37 am

Pat Williams, the Orlando Magic executive who’s credited with bringing the National Basketball Association franchise to Orlando in 1987, was diagnosed with blood and bone marrow cancer two weeks ago, the team has announced.

The 70-year-old senior vice president has multiple myeloma and underwent his fourth chemotherapy treatment.

“We have launched the treatment as fast and directly as possible,” Williams said on Orlando’s website. “The mission is remission. That’s the goal.”

Williams, who has written more than 70 books and raised 19 children, said he’s been told by his physician “the percentages are good” that he will reach remission.

“The only pain that I have is in my lower back area and some days are better than others,” said Williams, who has reduced his workload at the Magic’s office. “There’s a pattern of pain in my lower back and it’s intense at times.”

Williams led Orlando’s effort to get an NBA team in July 1986. On April 22, 1987, the league approved the franchise in Florida. We wish you well Pat… “fight the good fight, with all thy might.”

December 31, 2010

Florida Leisure – Top 10 Videos For 2010

Well today marks the last day of the year and it’s always fun to look back and reflect on some of the things that happened and what interested most people. That’s why we’ve taken a look at our YouTube.com/FloridaLeisure channel to see exactly what were the most popular videos from over 100 that we made in 2010.

Coming in at No. 10 is the Fun Spot video… this is the video featuring the two great fun parks in the Orlando area…one on International Drive and the other on US 192 at Old Town.

At No. 9 is the Sea World Up Close VIP Dolphin Encounter… a great way to get up close and personal with the dolphins at SeaWorld.

At No. 8 is the LPGA Golf video featuring the exciting finish to the tour when six of the ladies were in close competition for the leading titles in the World here in Orlando.

No 7 is the video from the AARP conference that came to Orlando in September and features part of Peter Greenberg’s talk on how to travel and save money.

No 6 is the visit I made to Disney’s Animal Kingdom… one of the more popular theme parks and evidence of that comes from the number of views the video attracted.

No 5 is the video featuring the World’s capital for water skiing. This was a video I made after calling in at the Water Skiing Hall of Fame…I’d often driven by the place but never stopped…I didn’t know what I’d been missing!

No 4 is the video I made featuring the opening day at the new Amway Arena here in Orlando… it’s the new home of the Orlando Magic and many of the concerts that come to town… a great place to visit to take in a game or listen to some great artists.

No 3 is the Restaurant Row video I put together after visiting the Sand Lake Road area of Orlando. This area really is a great place to visit and some of the best food in Florida can be found here…and you bet the place will be heaving tonight…New Year’s Eve!

Coming in at the No. 2 spot is the Discovery Cove video. A lot of people wonder about the experience at Dolphin Cove and this video goes behind the scenes and shows you everything you need to know.

And the No. 1 video for 2010 is the Hotel or Vacation Rental Home video with over 30,000 views showing just how popular vacation rental homes have now become. This video explains the differences and cost savings between vacation rental homes and hotels and points out that no matter whether you are visiting on business or pleasure, a vacation home really is the best choice for a more relaxing and enjoyable time that saves you real money into the bargain!

Hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the Top 10 Florida Leisure videos for 2010 and please do visit YouTube.com/FloridaLeisure to seee some of the videos that didn’t quite make the list… there’s a lot to choose from such as the SeaWorld Penguin Up Close VIP Encounter, the Harry Potter section at Island’s of Adventure and the Lego Imagination Center at Downtown Disney.

Have a wonderful evening tonight and here’s looking forward to a great 2011 and the chance to create more memories!

October 2, 2010

Amway Center Opens in Orlando

Filed under: Entertainment,Florida News,just for fun,Leisure,News,vacation tips — ngw101 @ 10:00 am

The 1st October marked the opening day of the new Amway Center area. I went along to check out the new home of the Orlando Magic and of concerts and other spectacular events in Orlando.  I’ve previously blogged about the new arena’s facts and figures here so I’ll keep this brief … simply watch this video and enjoy the pictures!

September 27, 2010

Amway Facts & Figures

As we look forward to the opening of the new Amway Center here are some facts and figures about the project:

From a vision to blueprints to reality.

The Orlando Magic served as the developer of the new downtown Amway Center which will compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows. The facility is owned and operated by the City of Orlando on behalf of the Central Florida community.

The Amway Center was designed to reflect the character of the community, meet the goals of the users and build on the legacy of sports and entertainment in Orlando.The building’s exterior features a modern blend of glass and metal materials, along with ever-changing graphics via a monumental wall along one façade. A 180-foot tall tower and spire serves as a beacon amid the downtown skyline.

At 875,000 square feet, the new arena is almost triple the size of the old Amway Arena. The building features a sustainable, environmentally-friendly design, unmatched technology, featuring 1,100 digital monitors and the tallest, high-definition video-board in an NBA venue, and multiple premium amenities available to all patrons in the building.

Every level of ticket buyer will have access to a number of premium amenities, including the:

· The Budweiser Baseline Bar

· Club Restaurant

· Nutrilite Magic Fan Experience

· Orlando on Demand Info. Garden

· STUFF’s Magic Castle presented by Club Wyndham

· Gentlemen Jack Terrace

· Sky Bar

· Multiple indoor-outdoor spaces which celebrate Florida’s climate.

The Magic were major financial participants in the public-private partnership – contributing $50 million toward construction of the Amway Center, $10 million toward the arts center, and $25 million toward construction of five community recreation centers. The Magic’s other contributions toward operations, fund-raising and financing push the team’s total participation in the downtown venue projects to more than $150 million.

In a historic move, the Magic agreed that Amway Center would be designed and constructed to meet the certification criteria for an environmentally “green” building development standard.

Populous, formerly HOK Sport, was selected as designer of the Amway Center. Hunt Construction group was selected as the construction manager. The official groundbreaking celebration was held July 25, 2008. The events center was named the Amway Center on August 5, 2008 and the building opened to the public for the first time on October 1, 2010.

Inside the arena, patrons will find modern amenities in a comfortable setting – perfect for hosting family events as well as basketball games. Concourses are spacious, offering unique concessions and activities for kids and adults alike. The Budweiser Baseline Bar on the main Terrace concourse overlooks the event floor, and children will enjoy spending time in the kid-oriented STUFF’s Magic Castle presented by Club Wyndham and retail opportunities on the upper Promenade concourse.

The Magic’s old home, Amway Arena, housed 17,500 seats in just 367,000 square feet of space. The new arena features 875,000 square feet of space – more room to incorporate more modern day amenities found in most professional arenas of the day – and seating which will be expandable to more than 20,000 seats to accommodate major national events.

The new $380 million facility features eight levels, five public concourses, 37 restrooms, 55 concession points of sale, 60 suites, 68 loge boxes, 1,400 club seats. The Amway Center features up to 17 hospitality spaces for rental on a per event basis.

To celebrate Central Florida’s moderate climate, the building is filled with a variety of indoor-outdoor spaces. For instance, once guests enter the voluminous, 80-foot-tall Disney Atrium main lobby, they are able to return to the outdoors via a spacious balcony, the Gentleman Jack Terrace, overlooking Church Street.

The arena was designed to respond to its distinct urban setting while revealing the activities occurring within. Bounded by Church Street, Hughey Avenue, South Street and Division Avenue, the arena’s primary entrance faces north to Church Street, creating a natural extension of the nearby downtown entertainment core. The Church Street entry features a large public entry plaza connecting the arena’s spacious entry lobby.

The massive construction project served as a boon to the local construction business in a time when jobs were scarce because of the sharp downturn of the nation’s economy. The Magic and City of Orlando worked closely with local minority and women-owned businesses — some of which were based out of the nearby Parramore community — awarding them with more than 30 percent of the contracts totaling $90-plus million, exceeding the 24 percent benchmark established by the City of Orlando.

Of the 170-plus minority and women-owned firms which worked to construct the facility, 61 were African-American-owned firms, 51 women-owned firms, 36 Hispanic-owned firms, 20 Asian-American-owned firms and two Native-American-owned firms.

Sustainable design and construction specifics focused on the opportunities to create an environmentally-friendly building in various categories. Among them: providing water efficiency; optimizing energy and atmosphere protection; conserving materials and resources; monitoring indoor environmental quality and health; selecting environmentally preferred operations and maintenance.

These elements combine to create one of the most environmentally-friendly, high-performing professional arenas in the country.

Amway Center includes such sustainable design and construction elements as:

· Remediating a brownfield site that is connected to numerous high density residential, retail and community developments

· Creating a pedestrian-oriented, vegetated plaza area at arena entrances

· Treating storm water runoff from the arena site

· Incorporating a special roofing material to reduce the building cooling load

· Installing low-flow plumbing fixtures

· Improving the building ventilation and lighting systems with various monitoring devices

· Using recycled content materials during construction, and monitoring construction waste to divert materials from landfills

· Implementing a green housekeeping program

· Providing space for storage and collection of recyclable materials

· Incorporating green building signage elements throughout the building to educate visitors about sustainability.

Most technologically advanced building in North America

Harris Corporation is the official technology partner of Amway Center. The arena has more than 1,100 screens of high-definition content via Internet Protocol Television and a state-of-the-art digital signage network which maximizes fan engagement and interaction, distributes an unprecedented amount of patron information, as well as providing unlimited opportunities for advertisers and sponsors.

The Daktronics center-hung scoreboard alone includes four primary high definition LED video displays with 840 lines of resolution, eight auxiliary video/scoring/statistics displays and two LED ring displays. The venue will be the first in the world to utilize high resolution 6 mm surface mount LED pixel technology on all of the center-hung digital displays. More than 9 million individual LEDs will be used in the 18 displays incorporated into the center-hung scoreboard. Overall dimensions of the center-hung scoreboard are 42 feet by 41 feet by 41 feet (HxWxD), making it the tallest and most capable of any in NBA venues. Complementing the primary scoreboard will be two LED ribbon boards mounted on the interior fascia of the seating decks.

The bigger size, flexibility and advanced technology allows Orlando to attract bigger concerts, major political conventions and compete for more major sporting events such as conference and NCAA tournaments.

Amway Center is located just south of Church Street on the west side of I-4 in downtown Orlando.

Amway Center Fact Sheet

Opening Date: October 2010

Cost: $380 million (total construction cost)

Location: Downtown Orlando; bound by Church Street (north); Hughey Avenue (east); South Street (south); Division Avenue (west)

Owner and Operator: City of Orlando

Primary Tenant: Orlando Magic

Functions: NBA and collegiate basketball, arena football, indoor soccer, concerts, hockey, circuses, stage shows and exhibitions

Design Architect: Populous (formerly HOK Sport)

Local Architects: C.T. Hsu + Associates; Baker Barrios Architects, Inc.

Construction Manager: Hunt Construction Group in association with Rey Group, R.L.

Burns, Inc., HZ Construction and Albu & Associates, Inc.

Program Manager: Turner Construction Company

Theming and Environmental Graphics Designer: RipBang

“Champion of the Community” Founding Building Partners: Harris Corporation; AirTran; PepsiCo; GEICO; Disney; Florida Hospital

Site Acreage: 8.75 acres

Number of Levels: 8: Event Level (E); Mezzanine (Level 1); IOA Founders (2); Terrace (3); Club (4); Promenade (5); Sky (6); Press (7)

Square Footage: 875,000 square feet

Seating Capacities: 19,700 (center stage concert)

16,000 (end stage concerts)

18,500 (NBA)

20,000 (NCAA basketball)

17,200 (hockey/arena football)

Premium Spaces: 60 private suites; 2 bunker suites; 2 super suites; 1,400 club seats; 68 loge boxes (328 seats); and overall 17 hospitality areas available on a per event basis.

Sustainable Design: Anticipated LEED Certified: Sustainable building design will exist in various categories, including a sustainable site; water efficiency; energy optimization and atmosphere protection; materials and resource conservation; indoor environmental quality and health; and environmentally preferred operations and maintenance

Technology: Harris Corporation is the official technology partner for the Amway Center. The arena will have more than 1,100 screens of high-definition content via Internet Protocol Television and a state-of-the-art digital signage network which will maximize fan engagement and interaction, distribute an unprecedented amount of patron information, as well as providing unlimited opportunities for advertisers and sponsors.

MWBE Participation: Commitment to Blueprint; Achieved in excess of 30 percent MWBE participation, above the benchmark goal of 24 percent.

Amenities: The new Amway Center will feature more value than ever before for ticket holders. All patron price levels will have access to premium amenities in the Amway Center such as:

· Budweiser Baseline Bar and Food Court

· Club Restaurant

· Nutrilite Magic Fan Experience and Orlando on Demand Info. Garden

· STUFF’s Magic Castle presented by Club Wyndham

· Coors Light Mountain Bar; Gentleman Jack Terrace; Ozone Bar; Sky Bar

· Outdoor plaza and covered box office

· Retail stores and novelty stands

· Multiple, wider concourses with convenient access to concession stands and restrooms.

· Improved sightlines for all locations and wider seats.

· Unmatched technology, featuring 1,100 digital monitors and the tallest, high-definition videoboard in an NBA arena.

· Accessible seating in all seating levels and for all seating products.

· Parking: 11,000 parking spaces available to the public within 14 garages and surface lots near the Amway Center. There are: 5,000 spaces less than a five-minute walk, of which 2,100 are directly adjacent; 2,500 spaces between a 5-10 minute walk and 3,400 spaces via Lymmo, the downtown circulator; All parking locations will have accessible parking.

Amway Center Additional Features:

· Iconic 180 foot-tall tower with sky bar and sky terrace at top

· Graphic wall on I-4 exterior façade

· 31,000 SF arena floor can be used for exhibition/trade show space, banquets and meetings

· Six banquet rooms and a board room on IOA Founder’s Level

· Information kiosks distributed throughout the arena

· Enclosed pedestrian bridge to connect to GEICO parking garage

· Two street-level retail locations on Church Street, including Metro PCS digital loft

· Terrace concourse with average 30’ width

· State-of-the-art Daktronics center-hung scoreboard with video capability; auxiliary boards located throughout the seating bowl; two LED ribbon boards, one 270-degree on the IOA Founder’s Level and a 360-degree board on the Club Level fascia

· Full basketball practice court that can also be used for events seating up to 500 people

· Two NBA locker rooms; home hockey locker room; home arena football locker room; visiting hockey/arena football locker room; officials’ locker room; six star performer dressing rooms; green room for staging and hospitality; additional auxiliary locker room for show personnel

· 13,500 SF of office space for team administration and 15,000 SF for City Venue administration

· Media interview room and working media facilities on Event Level

· Eight enclosed truck docks and ramp

· Wide variety of food & beverage options

· ADA accessibility on every level

· 18 men’s restrooms and 19 women’s restrooms

· 18 elevators

· Minimum one concession point of sale for every 125 spectators

· ATM machines at each entrance lobby

Ticket Pricing: The Orlando Magic will continue its practice of affordable pricing options in the new Amway Center. Ticket highlights for 2010-2011 in the new Amway Center include:

· 2,500 seats priced $15 or less, 7,000 seats priced $25 or less, and 10,000 seats priced $50 or under per game, while supplies last.

· For the first time ever, the introduction of a $5 per game ticket (more than 600 available).

Design Principles: Amway Center is designed to reflect the character of the community, meet the goals of the users and build on the legacy of sports and entertainment in Orlando. The building’s exterior will feature a modern blend of glass and metal materials, along with ever-changing graphics via a monumental wall along one façade. A 180-foot tall tower will serve as a beacon amid the downtown skyline.

Civic Building: Created a community gathering place for Orlando and Central Florida, with a clear front door.

Context: Designed each façade with respect to its distinct environment; responded to the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the specific façade.

Sustainable: Implemented design strategies to create one of the country’s most environmentally friendly arenas.

Indoor-Outdoor: Celebrated Central Florida climate by allowing movement indoors and out.

Front porch: Created an entry design element that relates the design to local architecture.

Landscape: Integrated a variety of native landscape forms of various scale and type.

Pattern and Texture: Used a variety of design elements in both horizontal and vertical surfaces.

Alive: Brought the building to life with color, graphics and signage.

Public Art: Identified key locations for public art to further define the building’s personality coordinated by Sports & The Arts.

Amway Center: By the Numbers

270,181,975 Pounds of concrete used to build the Amway Center.

9,400,000 Pounds of total steel used to build the Amway Center, including six, 380-foot, 150-ton roof trusses which were locally fabricated just six miles from the arena site. The total length of all arena steel roof framing equals 55,287 feet or 10.5 miles.

9,000,000 Number of LED lights in the center-hung videoboard, the tallest and most high-definition in an NBA venue measuring in at 42 feet high and weighing in at 80,000 pounds.

875,000 Square footage of the new Amway Center – almost triple the size of the old 367,000 square foot arena.

800,000 Gallons of water saved annually in the environmentally-friendly building which employs a rain water collection system for irrigation and high-efficiency water flow fixtures in restrooms. Water consumption will be reduced by 40 percent over a comparably sized building.

750,000 Estimate dollars in annual energy savings because of the high efficiency “green” systems in place in the Amway Center. Overall the environmentally-friendly systems will cut energy consumption by 24 percent over a comparable, code compliant, designed building.

20,000 Maximum number of seats in the flexible Amway Center. Orlando Magic seating will be 18,500.

13,000 Number of light fixtures in the building.

10,000 Number of parking spaces within a 10-minute walk of the arena.

7,000 Number of Magic tickets priced $25 or less, including the first-time ever introduction of $5 tickets (while supplies last).

2250 Number of construction workers who built the Amway Center.

1,196 Number of plumbing devices in the building, including 563 toilets/urinals.

1,100 Number of high-definition video displays in the new Amway Center.

470 Combined number of devices used (240) to make the Amway Center wireless, and touch screen control-based units (230) for patrons to order food, beverages and merchandise.

340 Number of pieces of art work (140 original pieces and 200 museum quality photographs) in the Amway Center, as part of the public arts program for the building. Fourteen Central Florida artists contributed an estimated 110 pieces to the collection.

248 Combined number of Pepsi soda taps (113) and beer taps (135) in the building.

227 Food and beverage points of sale in the new Amway Center. There are 18 permanent concession stands and 45 portable units, while 40 percent of the stands have cooking capability.

180 Feet the iconic spire atop the tower overlooking downtown reaches into the sky.

177 Number of local/minority and women-owned companies that were awarded contracts to construct the Amway Center. Of the total businesses, which received more than $90 million in contracts, 67 were African-American-owned, 52 women-owned, 36 Hispanic-owned, 20 Asian-American-owned, two Native-American-owned.

68 Number of loge boxes.

60 Number of suites.

48 Miles of cable used to wire the Amway Center.

37 Number of restrooms (19 women’s/18 men’s) in the new Amway Center, as compared to just eight restrooms in the old building.

20-24 The range of seat widths in inches in the new Amway Center, compared to an average 18-inch width in the old building.

18 Number of elevators, compared to four in the old building. In addition there are 19 staircases and six escalators easing vertical travel over the seven levels of the building.

17 Number of hospitality spaces available for rent on a per event basis.

10 Fan interactive areas open to all level of ticket buyers, highlighted by the Nutrilite Magic Fan Experience, Orlando on Demand Info. Garden, STUFF’S Magic Castle presented by Club Wyndham, the Budweiser Baseline Bar and Gentleman Jack Terrace.

9 Number of retail locations, anchored by the Orlando Magic’s Team Shop, presented by adidas.

9 Miles of pipe in the event floor used to make and melt the ice surface.

5 Number of public concourses in the new Amway Center, averaging 30-feet in width, compared to one twenty-foot wide concourse in the old building.

September 26, 2010

Orlando Amway Center Set To Open

Filed under: Entertainment,Florida News,hidden orlando,Leisure,News — ngw101 @ 8:49 am

Orlando is getting set to welcome its brand new sports, concert and events facility… the all brand spanking new Amway Center. The countdown is on for the 1st October opening to the general public and it promises to be a magnificent occasion.

On Friday, the new Amway Center will open its doors to the Central Florida community for the first time. Opening Weekend at Amway Center will feature a series of free, community events that showcase all of the fan amenities and state-of-the-art technology available only in Downtown Orlando’s new events center.

Opening day activities will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, October 1 on Church Street in front of the Amway Center. At precisely 10:01 a.m. on 10/01, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando Magic President Alex Martins, Orlando City Commissioners and other Central Florida leaders will open the doors to the new Amway Center for the first time to the public. Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting and building dedication, the community will be invited into the lower bowl for Mayor Dyer’s Annual State of Downtown Address. This year, the State of Downtown is a free event where the entire Central Florida community can participate in this historic day.

On Saturday, October 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mayor Dyer invites Central Florida residents back to the Amway Center for a free, community open house. This event will feature self-guided tours, entertainment and local performances, free popcorn and soda and commemorative items to celebrate this historic accomplishment. Representatives from the Orlando Magic and Orlando Predators will also be on-hand. Residents can experience a “taste of the Amway Center” with a sampling of the newest food offerings available for purchase.

The self-guided tour of the Amway Center will take patrons through the most technologically-advanced events center in the country, showcasing two levels of spacious concourses that include an impressive array of concessions; a stop along the way so the kids can climb STUFF’S Magic Castle, then up to the contemporary, open-air setting of Gentleman Jack’s Terrace, then up 100 feet to the Sky Bar spotlighting some of Downtown Orlando’s best views; past the player locker rooms and ultimately in the lower bowl where you can see the largest arena video board in the country.

Keep reading this blog…as I’ll be updating you during the week on how things are progressing…

March 16, 2010

Orlando Magic Home is Coming Along

Construction on the future home of the Orlando Magic is moving along nicely. Magic officials released a photo Friday of the inside of the Amway Arena which is under construction in downtown Orlando.

The new arena is set to open October 10, 2010. Looks good.  Here’s what it will look like:

June 15, 2009

Congrats Lakers

Filed under: Blog,Entertainment,Florida News,News — ngw101 @ 1:42 am

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant carried the Los Angeles Lakers to their 15th title with a 99-86 victory over the Orlando Magic in Game 5 last night and it has to be said they were much the better team in this best of seven series.

The Lakers won their 15th world championship – and 10th since the team moved to Southern California in 1960 from Minneapolis and also assured their coach, Phil Jackson, of finally pulling ahead of the Boston Celtics’ Red Auerbach as being the only one ever to have 10 NBA titles on his resume.

It was a comprehensive victory as they finished off the Magic in style after a slow first period in which at one stretch they trailed by nine points (19-10) but they went on a frenzied 16-0 spurt in the second to take a 56-46 half time edge and they widened the gap during the final 24 minutes in which they never were seriously threatened.

As always, it was Kobe Bryant artfully orchestrating the proceedings with his scoring (30 points) passing (five assists), defense (two steals, four blocks, six rebounds), not to mention relentlessly cajoling teammates to keep playing hard and not to let themselves down.

The series was keenly fought and at times extremely close but overall the Lakers had the one man who was the vital difference and they emerged the worthy winners.

June 4, 2009

Disneyland v Disney World

Filed under: Disney,just for fun,Leisure,theme parks,vacation tips — ngw101 @ 11:19 am

Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton and Disneyland President Ed Grier are having some fun with their hometown teams making it to the NBA Finals. The two have made a friendly wager on the outcome of the best of seven series between the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Apparently, if the Magic win, Grier will walk down Disneyland’s Main Street wearing blue and white Mickey Mouse ears. If the Lakers win, Crofton will walk down Main Street in Disney World in purple and gold mouse ears!

Good for them… it’s nice to see that some executives can relax and enjoy some friendly banter… and I have no doubt that Disney will benefit with more sales of their merchandise.

June 3, 2009

1995 … and all that!

It all starts again tonight. The Orlando Magic are in the NBA finals and instead of the Rockets it’s the Lakers that stand between them and immortality.

The last time…and the first time the Magic made it to the finals was in 1995 so I thought it would be fun to rewind the clock and see what happened back then.

1995 was the year that:

The World Trade Organization was established on January 1st and Super Bowl XXIX saw the San Francisco 49ers become the first National Football League franchise to win 4 Super Bowls as they defeated the San Diego Chargers in Miami.

Also on 23 February the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 4,003.33…the first time ever it closed above 4,000 but in UK, Barrings Bank collapsed after rogue trader, Nick Leeson lost $1.4 billion by speculating on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile in March, Scott Amedure revealed on the Jenny Jones Show that he had a crush on his friend Jonathan Schmitz who promptly rewarded him by killing him a few days later.

March 24 was also a historical day in Belfast as for the first time in 26 years, no British soldiers patrolled the streets. April saw the US House of Representatives vote 246 to 188 to cut taxes for individuals and corporations but it was also the month that Timothy McVeigh and his accomplices set off the Oklahoma City bomb killing 168 people.

May saw Jacques Chirac elected as President of France and Finland somehow managed to win the ice hockey world championship. The America’s Cup was won by Team New Zealand in San Diego as they handed out a 5-0 whipping while a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Neftegorsk in Russia killing at least 2,000 people.

June saw US astronaut Norman Thagard setting a space endurance record of 14 days, 1 hour and 16 minutes aboard Russian space station MIR while OJ Simpson put on the pair of gloves that were worn by the person who presumably murdered his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman.  The Stanley Cup was won by the New Jersey Devils as they swept the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings and South Africa won the Rugby World Cup. On June 29 Space Shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian Mir space station for the first time while in July the Irag disarmament crisis reached boiling point as Iraq admitted for the first time that they had an offensive biological weapons program.

John Major also won his battle to remain the leader of the Conservative Party in UK and the NASDAQ Composite index closed above 1,000 mark for the first time on July 17. August saw Microsoft release Windows 95 and in September the DVD, an optical disc computer storage media format was announced.

In October ten people were convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in 1993 and OJ Simpson was found not guilty of the double murder of his former wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman. On November 1st, the US House of Representatives voted to ban partial birth abortions by a vote of 288 – 139 and on 21 November the Dow Jones Industrial closes at 5,023.55, its first close above 5,000 thus making 1995 the first year where the Dow surpasses 2 millennium marks in a single year.

On 22 November, Toy Story was released by Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures…the first ever full length computer animated feature film and 5 days later President Bill Clinton signed the National Highway Designation Act which ended the federal 55 mph speed limit.

In December, France is paralyzed by strikes in the public sector but that doesn’t stp the Dayton Peace Agreement being signed in Paris on 14th. On December 15th the European Court of Justice rules that all EU football players have the right to a free transfer at the end of their contracts and this becomes known as the Bosman transfer in subsequent years.

1995 was also the year that the world population reached 5,674,380,000 with North America accounting for 299,438,000 while by far the biggest population was in Asia at a massive 3,430,052,000. The Metro Orlando Population was 1,410,877 (2008 – 2,103,480)

Notable deaths in 1995 were Peter Cook, Fred Perry, Murray Rothbard, Ron Luciano, Donald Pleasence, James Herriot, John Minton, Davie Cooper, Tony Lock, Kenny Everett, Art Fleming, Ginger Rogers, Al Sanders, Elizabeth Montgomery, Harold Wilson, Mickey Mantle, Alec Douglas-Home and Dean Martin.

So what will 2009 bring? Will it be the year of the Magic or will the Lakers take the title again?

May 30, 2009

ORLANDO…Where Amazing Happens … It’s MAGIC

HAHAHAHAHAHA bye bye LeBron …

 You’re next, Kobe!!!!

How do you feel Nike and NBA?

Better start building the “Superman” puppet.