January 2017

Each year I publish the " Year in Review," a comprehensive look at many of last year's accomplishments, milestones and challenges. This edition of the "Year in Review" will continue with that format, but for this report, I want to begin by sharing my personal thoughts about the defining events of June 12 at Pulse -- about what we lost, and what we learned about the heart and soul of our community. My prayers continue to be with the families, friends and loved ones of our 49 brothers and sisters lost in the early morning hours of that day. My prayers also go out to those who were physically injured, as well as those who were emotionally traumatized. 

Nothing can ever erase the harm, and no good comes from hatred and violence. Yet, as dark and devastating as June 12 was, my spirit was lifted and inspired by the strength, the unity, the compassion and the love that poured forth from all parts of our community in the wake of this nightmare.  

We focused our attention on what each of us could do to help. And the world focused its attention on us. The world watched as we mourned, and through our mourning -- we rallied with the common goal of supporting our LGBTQ and Hispanic communities. The world watched us respond to the victims' families, those who survived and those with broken hearts and broken bodies. The world saw our first and second responders at their very best. The world witnessed the extraordinary outpouring of acceptance and love that came naturally, from within the very fabric of our community. 

Through it all, the world gained a much fuller understanding of Orlando. But it was not just the world's perception of us that changed -- it was also our perception of ourselves. Through our response to the greatest attack we've ever withstood, the greatest loss we ever experienced, we've learned something wonderful about ourselves. We've known that our acclaimed culture of collaboration is vital to our region's economic success, but in the wake of Pulse, we learned that it is our culture of compassion that makes Orlando such an incredible place to live.  

As we embark on a New Year, I have no doubt that we will continue to support those still grieving and healing. But to honor those who perished at the hands of intolerance and hate, may we each vow to do our part in nourishing our extraordinary culture of compassion, acceptance and love of humanity - in all of its rich diversity.

Teresa Jacobs 
Orange County Mayor
Orange County Emergency Manager Ron Plummer, Orange County District 6 Commissioner Victoria P. Siplin, 
former Orange County District 5 Commissioner Ted B. Edwards, Orange County Fire Rescue Chief Otto Drozd III, 
Orange County Sheriff Jerry L. Demings and Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) 
CEO Edward L. Johnson join Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs for a press briefing on 
October 7 to deliver Hurricane Matthew recovery updates.
The year 2016 was filled with healing, promise and economic opportunity for Orange County and its residents.  

As a result of the region's culture of collaboration, Orange County remains No. 1 in the nation for job growth among large regions and continues to create thousands of new jobs. The quality of life for citizens of Orange County continues to be enhanced by investments in infrastructure such as roads and parks, cultural arts venues and programs that seek to aid our most vulnerable citizens.

Unfortunately, the community experienced an unthinkable tragedy on June 12, when 49 innocent lives were taken and hundreds were changed forever as a result of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. In response, Orange County, the City of Orlando and the extended community united in a way that the world had never seen before.  

"The compassion that was displayed, where we embraced one another -- not in spite of our differences, but because of them -- was remarkable," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. "It was our culture of caring and our genuine commitment to one another that allowed us to bear the unimaginable pain and loss of the Pulse nightclub tragedy." 

A few months later, during the early morning hours of October 7, the effects of Hurricane Matthew impacted Orange County and the greater Orlando area. The Category 3 hurricane was the first major storm to impact Central Florida since 2004.  

Orange County Government continually provides breaking news and updates on the region's strong economy, continued job growth, economic achievements and incredible milestones for Orange County's internationally-renowned sports, arts and cultural venues through its online newsroom.  

Orange County's mobile applications --  OCFL News, OCFL 311 and OCFL Alert - - also keeps citizens appraised of the latest regional news and emergency weather alerts. 

The Newsroom Media Center received more than 1 million page views and Orange County's website had 60 million page views in 2016.  

Here's a look at the top five 2016 articles featured in Orange County's Newsroom and the OCFL News Mobile App: 

From arts and culture to economic development and social services, Orange County continues to be one of the best places in the world to live, work and raise a family.  To learn more about Orange County's Key Initiatives, please visit our 2016 Year in Review web page, or click below.