Central Florida 100: Behavioral Health, Basquiat and Helping Ukraine

Gloria Pickar, President Emeritus, League of Women Voters of Orange County

Last week: MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS: Local elections have the greatest impact on our quality of life. Our city council taxes us and determines local land use, transportation, parks, libraries, water, waste management and public safety. On March 8, Apopka, Belle Isle, Maitland, Oakland and Winter Park elect mayors, city council and charter amendments. The Eatonville election will take place on March 5. Early voting will take place February 28 through March 4 at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office and March 1 through March 6 at the Apopka Community Center. Mail-in ballots must be cast by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Because voter turnout is generally lower, our vote makes an even bigger difference. Every vote counts!

Look forward: I-4 ULTIMATE OPENS: After seven years of dangerous construction and $2.4 billion, our local travel could be made easier with the opening of all 12 I-4 Ultimate lanes. Called Florida’s costliest highway project, this highly anticipated 21-mile expansion is finally complete. To use all four express lanes, we will pay a high traffic-adjusted fee to maintain 50 mph, charged to accepted transponders (like SunPass) with no cash or license plate billing options. Free until March 4, introductory fares are $3.50 to travel the entire route east and $3 west. Let’s get more cars off our roads! Encourage mass transit by developing SunRail, Lynx and Brightline.

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