Archive for February, 2007

Noel Heimburg: 1976-2006

Today a family remembers a son, a father and a friend. A year ago an armed robber shot and killed 29-year-old Noel Heimburg on the stairwell of his Marina Landing apartment in Metro West. He died in his wife’s arms, leaving behind a 9-year-old son and a devastated family. A year later, the crime remains listed as unsolved.

Since then members of Heimburg’s family, especially his mother Patricia Small, have become staunch advocates of improving the safety of our city and combating the increasing crime rate. Small was present recently at the presentation of Gov. Charlie Crist’s “Anti-Murder Act,” part of a $21.8 million proposal designed to jail repeat offenders who violate their probation. Small also joined the Guardian Angels in early January. The family also held a blood drive last year in Noel’s honor and set up a memorial website to remember him. Currently Patricia Small has become involved with the League of Women Voters and they plan to meet with our state senators in Tallahassee on March 18-19 to talk about juvenile justice. It is believed that the man that murdered Small’s son was only 16-years-old. Small and a group of other mothers in similar situations plan on taking advantage of Governor Charlie Crist’s open door policy and meeting with Crist, the head of the Department of Juvenile Justice Walter McNeal and Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp to discuss the issue of juvenile justice. These are the efforts of a family that would see Noel remembered for the man and father he was, and to ensure his death not be in vain.

We all remember last year being the ‘Deadliest Year’ for Orlando and Orange County. By December 31st, 2006 there were 49 murders in Orlando, and 64 in unincorporated Orange County. Each one of those murders is someone’s son or daughter, someone’s mother or father; they are not statistics or mere numbers. Many of these cases sit shelved and unsolved. Many families are still without answers. Even the highly publicized case of Jennifer Kesse, the young former UCF student who disappeared last year, still has police left looking for answers.

What else can be done so that another family doesn’t have to go through what the Heimburg’s, the Kesse’s and many other families have had to go through? Floridians by nature want more spending on crime and crime prevention yet aren’t willing to deal with the tax cuts. We as citizens must be willing to accept a slight increase in taxes if we want our police force to be properly funded. Police forces are only as good as the manpower and money that is spent on them. An overworked, underpaid and understaffed police force is an ineffective one.

Just the fact that recent events have brought the attention of the Guardian Angels to our city sends chills up my spine. While I applaud and respect them for their pro-active efforts, I’m willing to bet that they wish their presence wasn’t necessary, and the fact that it is should send a message to the city that it needs to tighten its belt and rein in the crime in Orlando. If that means upsetting a few taxpayers in order to fund the police force, hire more officers and fund enforcement programs, then so be it.

Noel Heimburg should not be forgotten, nor the score of other murders last year. Each one is a tragic and disappointing blight on our city and we can only hope that we don’t have similar tragedies this year.

The Sentinel filed a story today on the further efforts of Patricia Small which includes an audio interview with Small where she talks about her son’s murder and her mission to combat crime in Central Florida.

If you have any information regarding this or other unsolved cases, please call CrimeLine at 407-423-8477.
See the Florida Blood Center for information on how you can donate to those that need it.

MegaCon 2007 – Opening Day Continued

Says he, “I’m just going to download the photos off the camera card and be right back.” I should’ve known he was sneaking out to beat me to the first post. LOL

megacon 2007 farscapeSo why I don’t I pick up with where the Masked Blogger left off. We did indeed catch the “Farscape” panel. I’d only seen a few random episodes but I was interested in seeing what made this show so popular. The small conference room was packed when the four actors entered to a round of applause. Since the actors on the series were mostly in costumes and body paint to portray their alien characters, this was the first I’d seen what the actors really looked like. My second surprise was finding out they were all Australian. Even though I wasn’t that familiar with all the storylines it was interesting hearing about what it was like filming the show, including working with the puppets that portrayed certain alien characters. It became very apparent that the castmembers – Gigi Edgley (Chiana), David Franklin (Captain Braca), Wayne Pygram (Scorpious/Harvey) and Virginia Hey (Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan) — were all good friends from working together and they quite often made personal jokes at each other. After hearing what went into filming the series, I think I’m going to add it to my list of DVD boxsets to look for.

MB and I were going to catch the sing-along panel to the Buffy episode, “Once More With Feeling,” but it was abruptly cancelled with no advance warning. With nothing else on the schedule that looked appealing, we decided to call it a day.

Some of my personal highlights from Day 1:

megacon 2007 browncoats1] Holy Batman! And Wolverine! And Black Cat (the lovely Amanda pictured in MB’s blog below)! And more! It was only day one and the MegaCon sales floor looked like it was an unofficial superheroes’ day off. Some really well made and worn costumes were making the rounds of the convention center. Major kudos to all those who got their geek on with the look. I’m really tempted to bring my fairy wings tomorrow.

2] Getting to talk to the artists who actually made such beautiful art. I can’t draw for anything, so I’m totally amazed to watch these people sketching out a new creation while holding a conversation with me. If I tried to do that, I’d need full concentration and I’m sure my tongue would be sticking out to help me do that.

megacon 2007 ent3] Browncoats represent! I’m a diehard fan of the Firefly/Serenity universe and was thrilled to see these ladies with some unique handmade merchandise that I hadn’t seen before.

4] I met an Ent! I’m still surprised this costume didn’t win first place in this afternoon’s contest. Though at least the Fruity Oaty Bar girl placed. She was my second favorite costume of the day, so congrats to Tami Salame for a well-done outfit.

megacon 2007 duplis5] Speaking of which, it was great meeting the incredibly funny Chris Duplis who emceed the contest. He reminded me of Greg Proops (from “Whose Line Is It Anyway”) and it turns out he and his wife run a “he-said, she-said” podcast on all things sci-fi. I will definitely check it out after this weekend is over.

6] Talking famous robots from film and TV, courtesy of the SciFi Robot Invasion. Seriously cool stuff.

It’s going to be a full day tomorrow – hope to see some of you out there.

MegaCon 2007 – Opening Day

megacon2007_01.jpg

This post is coming to you live from the floor of Orlando’s largest and longest running Comic Book, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Anime and Media extravaganza, MegaCon 2007.

I’m here with fellow Orlando MetroBlogger Michelle, and so far we are enjoying ourselves tremendously. This year’s convention is chock full of good stuff (see Michelle’s previous post for a complete rundown) and we are burning up our digital cameras clicking shots of dealers, costumed attendees, neat looking merchandise and…well just about anything that grabs our fancy.

megacon2007_blackcat.jpgWe arrived shortly after the doors opened at noon and quickly obtained our press passes (thanks Beth!), then after getting ourselves put on the list for tonight’s after-party at Coliseum of Comics on South Orange Blossom Trail at Holden, we began strolling through the dealer’s, writer’s, artist’s and celebrity area of the main floor. I don’t usually buy anything the first day of the Con, preferring to look around and make a final decision on the second or, usually, the last day (when things are marked down because dealers would rather not haul it back with them), but I saw a couple of small things I HAD to pick up for Blog Girl, Blog Princess and Mikey,

After checking out the entire main floor, we made our way to the costume contest at 3pm. 15 contestants competed for 1st ($100), 2nd ($50) and 3rd ($25) place and here are the winners below. From left to right and 3rd place to 1st: the cartoon girl from “Serenity”, Mal from the same movie (and the TV series “Firefly”) and The Huntress from DC Comics.

megacon2007_costumecontest.jpg

Later we’ll be attending the “Farscape” Q & A session and the Buffy (the Vampire Slayer) Musical episode to close out the day here. But the festivities continue with an after-party (mentioned above) and more MegaCon all day tomorrow and Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center, where Internet Access is an astounding $5.00 an hour or a bargain at $25.00 for the entire day. Ouch!

Tigger Cleared Of All Charges

News 13 reports that Tigger Bounces Back (my hat is tipped to the editor for that nice title) and the employee, Michael Fedelem, who donned the classic Disney character costume was cleared of any wrongdoing in the recent video tape hub bub of an alleged assault at MGM Studios. It appears presecutors decided not to pursue the case, assumably after realizing the tape makes it pretty obvious this was just a scam to illicit money out of the park.

Let’s hope Monaco junior and senior get the proper harrassment and embarassment they’ve earned as their peers constantly poke fun at claiming to be beaten by the plush furry glove of a cartoon character.

Metbloggers Out and About

Just a short note to let y’all know that The Masked Blogger and I will be at MegaCon all weekend covering the event. I’m not sure which of us will post first, but I’m looking forward to hanging with MB and getting my geek on.

Anybody else going this weekend? Or do you have alternate plans?

Anberlin Launches New CD With Instore Appearance

AnberlinOrlando-area rockers Anberlin are launching their newest cd, Cities, with a special late-night performance at Park Ave CDs main store on Monday, February 19.

Cities is the band’s third cd and the performance will lead into a midnight sale for the new release, as the cd is not officially released until February 20. Anticipating a huge turnout, Park Ave CDs is using a wristband system for this event. You must pre-order the new cd at the store in order to receive one of these wristbands.

According to the band’s label, Tooth & Nail, Anberlin’s acoustic performance at the store will also be immortalized for a possible later cd or dvd release. The event also kicks off the band’s US tour for the cd.

For more information or directions to the store, visit the Park Ave CDs website.

Metroblogging Welcomes San Jose To Our Family

san jose trolley Though it sits in the shadow of it’s larger neighbor, San Francisco, San Jose is a mighty urban force all its own. The third largest city in California, San Jose has been rated the Safest Big City in America (500,000+) for five consecutive years.

But why let me tell you about the city, when you can read about it from the people who actually live there?

Metroblogging Orlando sends a hearty welcome aboard to the newest member of our family, San Jose, which you can find at sanjose.metblogs.com.

MegaCon 2007 Set To Roll Into Orlando This Weekend

Sean Astin, Mary McDonnell and Jamie Bamber to appear at Orlando's MegaCon 2007Orlando is quickly becoming a hub for quality scifi and comic conventions. One of the city’s best is scheduled to take place this coming weekend, when MegaCon 2007 rolls into the Orange County Convention Center starting Friday, Feb 16 through Sunday, Feb 18.

The event combines celebrity guests from film and tv with comic/graphic novel guests in a weekend sure to make any fanboy/girl happy. This year’s celebrity guests include Sean Astin (“Sam” from the Lord of the Rings movies), Kevin Sorbo (“Hercules,” “Andromeda”), Mary McDonnell and Jamie Bamber (“President Laura Roslin” and “Commander Lee ‘Apollo’ Adama” from “Battlestar Galactica”), Efren Ramirez (“Pedro” from Napolean Dynamite), and castmembers from “Lexx” and “Farscape,” among many others. These guests will be signing autographs daily (for a fee) and most will also be appearing in panels scheduled throughout the weekend.

For the comic/graphic novel fans, MegaCon has lined up such talent as Dick Giordano (“Batman: Hollywood Knight,” “Watchman”), Adam Kubert (“Ultimate X-Men,” “The Incredible Hulk”), JG Jones (“Wonder Woman,” “Black Widow”), George Pérez (“JLA Avengers,” “The Return of Donna Troy”), Brian Pulido (“Lady Death”) and over 100 more artists and writers. Even better, there are panels running throughout all three days addressing topics of interest not just to fans, but aspiring comic/graphic novel artists & writers.

To top it off, there are dealer booths throughout the venue to blow plenty of your hard earned cash on.

Admission is $48 for a pass that gets you into all three days of events or $22 for a daily pass if you can’t spare the whole weekend.

MegaCon starts Friday at 1pm (with early admission at noon for those with a 3-day pass) and runs to 7pm. Saturday’s hours are 10am-6pm and Sunday’s are 10am-5pm. There are several tracks of programming that run later than these times, so please check the online schedule. There are also two offsite events: a party Friday at Coliseum of Comics on O.B.T. and a “MegaCon Bowl-a-thon” Saturday that will benefit The Hero Initiative, a charity that helps out comic book veterans in times of need.

Metroblogging Welcomes Pittsburgh To Our Family

Downtown Pittsburgh from the Metroblogging Pittsburgh Flickr groupTwo weeks ago, Metroblogging opened up its 52nd local blog for the fine denizens of Pittsburgh, PA. So I’d like to offer a hearty welcome and a “Happy Anniversary” to the newest member of our fine Metroblogging family.

Already, our fellow Metrobloggers have discussed everything from local politics and sports to what connection the recently departed Anna Nicole Smith had to the city. They’re busy and they’re talking.

So if you want to know what’s happening in Pittsburgh, head on over to pittsburgh.metblogs.com and say hello. :)

Park Ave CD instore with JJ Grey of MOFRO

JJ Grey of MOFROPark Avenue CDs is holding a special afternoon instore with musician JJ Grey of Jacksonville’s MOFRO on Saturday, February 17. If you’ve never heard of MOFRO, they play a delightful mix of blues and southern rock tinged with a liberal dose of funk set in a sparse arrangement that never overwhelms the songs. You can hear some of their older tunes at the MOFRO MySpace page.

Grey will be doing an acoustic set of some of the band’s tunes, including previews off their upcoming release, Country Ghetto, due out Feb 20 on Alligator Records. The instore starts at 4pm at the main store location at 2916 Corrine Dr here in Orlando.

Additionally, if you preorder the cd on Feb 13 at Park Ave CDs, you’ll get one free ticket to MOFRO’s show at the House of Blues on Febrary 17 (yes, later that evening, after the instore).

For more information or directions to the store (including special parking restrictions), visit the Park Ave CDs website.

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