Inside Poinciana Florida

Archive for June 2010

Osceola County -Osceola County Sheriff’s detectives need the public’s help in identifying armed robbery suspects. The investigation began on June 20 at approximately 11:49 p.m. when they responded to the area of Florida Parkway and Aspenwood Drive in Kissimmee. Upon arrival, deputies spoke with the victim who indicated she was walking on Osceola Parkway toward Buenaventura Boulevard when she heard a car pull up behind her on the grass. A black female exited the vehicle and demanded her purse at gunpoint. The suspects took the victim’s phone and purse, and fled the area.
The victim describes the suspects as two black females driving a white Ford Focus.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office at (407) 348-2222 or Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS (8477). Calls made to Crimeline remain anonymous and, tips that lead to the felony arrest of suspects and/or the recovery of stolen property and drugs are eligible for cash rewards of up to $1,000 dollars.

Ribbon Cutting Event Osceola County, Florida –Park Place Behavioral Healthcare’s new satellite office in Poinciana celebrated its grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony along with Commissioner Brandon Arrington of District 3. The Vice Chairman of the Osceola County Board of County Commissioners initiated the celebration with the traditional ribbon cutting, joined by organization President James A. Shanks.

Vice Chairman Arrington thanked Park Place staff for their efforts and encouraged them to continue their hard work “Park place provides a much needed service for our community. In these tough times transportation can be challenging for some, and this satellite office will allow those in need a more convenient option; you are an important piece of our community” said Arrington.

Park Place has several residential facilities for both adults and children at different locations in the county, but this is the first off-site clinic facility for the agency.

“Although this is a difficult economic climate in which to expand any business, it has always been our philosophy to go where the need is greatest,” said Jim Shanks, Park Place CEO. “Our own data shows us that a significant number of our clients live in the Poinciana area; many of these clients have difficulty making their appointments at Park Place in Kissimmee because of transportation issues and financial struggles, which only exacerbate their fragile emotional state. We hope that this new office will alleviate those hardships,” concluded Shanks.

The Poinciana clinic is located at 2940 Pleasant Hill Road, and will offer all routine outpatient services, including physician visits, counseling and individual therapy, group therapy sessions and psycho-social-rehab day treatment programs.

For more information, please contact Park Place Behavioral Health Care at 407-846-0023.

Originally posted by: Kevin P. Connolly, Orlando Sentinel
Updated: 7:40 AM 6/11/2010
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The main suspect in the murder of a 39-year-old man whose body was dumped in a ditch last month has been returned to Osceola County.

Jonathan Beharry, 33, of Poinciana, was recently booked into the Osceola County Jail on a murder charge.

Authorities tracked his movements from Osceola to Miami, Trinidad, Toronto and New York, where he was arrested.

Beharry and another man have been connected to the slaying of Angel Luis Pagan, whose body was found May 11 in a ditch on Old Tampa Highway near State Road. 532.

The other suspect is Luis Angel Pagan Rodriguez, 39, of Kissimmee.

Beharry is a mutual acquaintance Pagan and Rodriguez, officials have said.

Officials with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office announced Beharry had been returned to Osceola County in a statement Thursday.

The statement didn’t reveal a possible motive.

Originally posted:

An argument among a group at the Poinciana Denny’s restaurant led to one in the group being stabbed early Sunday morning, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office deputies reported.

Deputies arrested Brian Allen Vieira, 21, of 516 Lakeview Court, of Poinciana, in the incident. They found him sitting in his vehicle at the 840 Cypress Parkway restaurant after they arrived on scene at around 4:16 a.m. that morning.

After deputies spoke with several witnesses, they charged Vieira with aggravated battery. He also was charged with introduction of contraband into a detention facility after corrections officers found marijuana on him as he was being booked into the Osceola County Jail.

The stab victim’s injuries were minor. He was taken to the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

By Marvin G. Cortner

Osceola County commissioners June 7 agreed to join with Coral gables-based Avatar Properties in requesting more than $55.3 million in a federal grant to fund construction of the proposed Poinciana Parkway.

The 10-mile road, which would cost as much as $174.7 million to acquire right of way, to engineer and then build, would run through parts of Osceola and Polk counties. The roadway would begin at Marigold Avenue and Cypress Parkway in Poinciana and run northwest to County Road 54 and U.S. Highway 17-92 in Polk County, providing access to Interstate 4.

Before the economic downturn, Avatar proposed building the roadway itself and has spent approximately $40 million so far on the project. The company cannot continue to develop Solivita, its active adult community, without additional roadway capacity to handle the additional traffic.

County Commissioner Brandon Arrington, whose district includes the Poinciana area, said another way in and out of the community is desperately needed and that if the county does fund the roadway using public money, then it would become county property.

The parkway would be the first leg of a route going from the St. Cloud area to Poinciana and then to I-4, with the proposed Southport Connector going around the southern end of Lake Tohopekaliga as another leg of that roadway, Arrington said.

The Southport Connector would allow traffic from Poinciana to get to Florida’s Turnpike to go north to Orlando or south to Miami without first having to go through Kissimmee via U.S. Highway 192.

“Transportation is a huge issue in Poinciana where roads have not caught up yet with development,” Arrington said, adding that the county would make the roadway a toll road as a way to help pay off construction costs and to reimburse Avatar for its investment in the project.

The commissioner also said the recent approval by Gov. Charlie Crist of an expressway authority for Osceola County is a “huge step in solving the county’s transportation issues.”

More specifics on

the federal request

The joint county-Avatar request is for $55,341,000 through the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery II program, or TIGER II, a competitive grant program that has $600 million available for surface transportation projects. According to information on the U.S. Department of Transportation website, individual awards can be from $10 million to $200 million, with up to 80 percent of project costs eligible for federal funding. Projects in rural areas are eligible for 100 percent reimbursement, with $140 million available.

No one state can receive more than 25 percent of program funds. The grant program runs through Sept. 30, 2012, and pre-applications must be submitted by July 16, with final applications due by Aug. 23.

Priority for grant funding, according to the department, would be given to projects that contribute to the economic competitiveness of the nation, that foster livable communities and increase transportation choices and access to transportation services, that improve energy efficiencies and reduce dependence on oil and finally and that help create and preserve jobs.

In addition to the grant, the county has requested approximately $55.3 million in funding through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or TIFIA. This federal program provides federal credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees and standby lines of credit to finance surface transportation projects of national and regional significance.

According to the county manager’s office, the total cost of building the parkway would include TIFIA credit fees of $6.97 million. Funds needed to build the roadway beyond the federal grant and federal loan would come from other sources, such as state or federal government appropriations.

Fernando Valverde, a Poinciana community leader, said another roadway in and out of Poinciana is badly needed, especially during any possible emergencies

Originally found at

The new hospital that Osceola Regional Medical Center plans to establish in Poinciana is still on track to get built, and the firm constructing it has even purchased some land for the facility.

That was the good news that Dan Miller, president of Hospital Corporation of America,

brought to a standing room only audience June 1 at the Poinciana Community Center.

“I know that a lot of you have had a very positive impact on this hospital,” Miller said. “This is one of those communities where I really believe that the community support for this hospital really made it happen.”

The crowd wasn’t quite as pleased, though, when Miller noted that it could take longer than initially expected – and possibly by the middle of next year – before construction work could begin.

“When is all this going to happen?” Miller asked. “Right now we’re in the process of finding a developer. I would hope we would have something under construction in the next six to eight months.”

This has been a major project for the fast-growing community that cuts across Polk and Osceola counties, and now has a population that exceeds 70,000. But Osceola Regional Medical Center’s initial bid for state approval to build a hospital in Poinciana was challenged by neighboring hospitals, including Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center in Haines City and St. Cloud Regional Medical Centers, which argued that a third major hospital in the area would exacerbate an already problematic nursing shortage.

Osceola Regional finally received a preliminary certificate of need from the state in March 2009, and was given an 18-month time frame to begin construction. As Miller noted, HCA West Florida, which is building the medical center for Poinciana, asked for state permission to extend that deadline from 18 to 36 months – a request the state approved.

“They took that action as the economy was tanking and hospitals we’re going to them saying ‘We cannot get this hospital started yet because we can’t get the funding,'” Miller said.

Miller said HCA wants to begin construction much sooner than the new deadline of March 2012.

“That is the timeline we are working on,” he said. “I am not going to stand here and say we are waiting until February 2012 to get things started. I don’t think that’s the case.”

The good news, he said, is that HCA has concluded land negotiations with Avatar, the main developer in Poinciana, and signed a contract last month for 10 acres of land where a new Poinciana Emergency and Outpatient Care Center will be built. HCA also has an option to purchase an additional 30 acres of property.

“We have a two-year option on the other 30 acres,” Miller said. “Why am I going to pay our good friends at Avatar two years in advance?”

He added that HCA would not need to secure bank financing to get construction started.

“We don’t go out and get debt financing to build hospitals,” he said. “We build hospitals out of our own cash flow.”

Although residents would have liked to have seen the project get built faster, “I think we’ve made good progress,” he said.

As for how quickly construction could begin, he added, “It takes about 18 months for the actual construction of the hospital. We hope to be open by 2012. I’m just trying to be honest, guys. This is all good news. In the world of hospital construction, this is not a bad timetable. What I am giving you is my best guess after being with this company for 30 years. We don’t wait until the last minute because when we do, things go wrong.”

The best news, he said, is that “What you will have when this is finished is the most modern, up-to-date hospital in the state of Florida.”

Despite the delayed timeline for this project, local residents welcomed the news that it was still moving forward.

“At the very least, the contracts have been signed,” said Wendy Farrell, the former chairwoman of the Poinciana Area Council.

Poinciana resident and business owner Allan Collins urged Miller to consider using this construction project to create jobs in the community.

“There’s probably only two contractors in the state that can handle a project like this,” he said.

“Will you pledge that the majority of the contractors will come from Osceola County and Polk County or Central Florida?”

Miller said his firm uses contractors from around the entire country and couldn’t make a pledge like that, while Brian Marger, the COO of Osceola Regional Medical Center, added, “We’re in an area where there’s a pretty good pool of talented labor to work on this.”

June 2010

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