Publisher's update: SInce this article's publication, homeowner has appealed notice of violation. A magistrate hearing that is open to the public is September 14 at 9 a.m. at City Hall.
Above: The orginal 1889 Van Gogh painting "Starry Night" hanging in MoMA in New York.
When Richard Barrenechea was commissioned to create a painting on a wall, he had no idea a storm would brew in this quaint Florida city that has built a reputation of supporting the arts.
Before beginning the interpretation of Van Gogh’s iconic “Starry Night,” the homeowner, who wished not to have her name published, sought permission from the City of Mount Dora Planning Department and was told no permission was needed to create a painting on her wall.
Above: Painting in progress commissioned by Mount Dora homeowner.
After a forty-foot section was nearly complete and receive praise on social media, the homeowner was cited by Mount Dora Police Department’s code enforcement officer for a graffiti violation. When the officer reportedly was unaware of the famous painting in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the homeowner advised her of its significance, but the citation was still issued.
"I feel disappointed the city doesn't appreciate a painting of the iconic work of van Gogh as art. I hope this gets resolved positively," said Barrenechea.
The city code (Section 22.960 b) pertains to “Maintenance Requirements” and reads “"The property shall be maintained free of graffiti or similar markings by removal or painting over with an exterior grade paint that matches the color of the exterior structure." The notice requires the wall to be repainted by July 31 (citation is pictured below)
One of three other nearby paintings on downtown Mount Dora walls.
The homeowner said she will appeal the violation, claiming that the City of Mount Dora first allowed the painting and later erroneously defined it as graffiti. She noted nearby downtown properties with high-visibility exterior paintings have not been issued the same citation. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Find out what's happening locally with just a tap on your phone by downloading the area's free mobile app. Monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
Code enforcement citation issued to homeowner on July 26.
It’s tough to find folks that don’t like green space. It’s long been a valuable asset in cities that strive to improve the quality of life for residents.
The City of Mount Dora is in the exploratory stage of adding a 12-acre park with panoramic views of Lake Dora to its public green space. The hilltop park would also include approximately 700 feet of lakefront. Read more
The large “Project X” party in Mount Dora on July 17 drew crowds that exceeded the capacity of Mieluz Grand Hall, according to the Mount Dora Police Department.
A fire inspection previously scheduled for today, resulted in code violations for unpermitted work, according to Mount Dora Police Chief, John O'Grady. As a result, the venue is closed until it becomes compliant with code.
The 35,000 square-foot venue located at 2728 Old U.S. 441 has a capacity of 522 people and is licensed to host large events. After heavy social media promotion as “one of the biggest parties in Central Florida,” the event attracted an estimated 1,100 partygoers. Charter bus rides from Orlando were offered on Facebook charging an extra $20 for partygoers without an I.D.
O'Grady stated preparations were made in advance of the event after they received information that Orange County “Project X” events drew large crowds and had a history of criminal activity. Assistance was sought by Lake County Sheriff’s Office in anticipation of potential issues.
MDPD sought counsel from an LCSO expert on obtaining an injunction against an event with a history of violence. Because the venue was legally licensed to hold large events and had no history of violence in Lake County, MDPD was reportedly advised there were no grounds for an injunction. As a result, MDPD & LCSO implemented an operational plan with approximately 10 law enforcement officers in attendance when the party began.
The venue may have oversold tickets, police were later informed, resulting in approximately 500-700 partygoers who claimed to have tickets being turned away. The over-attendance caused the venue’s parking and the large shopping center parking lot across the street to be filled with vehicles.
According to O'Grady, as the outside crowd’s frustration grew, officers called for additional assistance from LCSO and surrounding agencies, resulting in a total of approximately 25 officers. Law enforcement officers were able to calm the crowd and move them toward their vehicles. A previously planned traffic pattern was put into place, so when vehicles began exiting both lots at 1:45 a.m., it was done orderly.
Videos posted to social media showed a chaotic scene outside Mieluz Grand Hall when a group of females got into a fight. As a result, two people were tased and arrested. There were no reports of incidents inside the event.
During that fight incident, at approximately 2:30 a.m., LCSO received 911 calls regarding two vehicles firing guns in a neighborhood adjacent to one of the parking lots. Upon deputies’ arrival on the scene at Sheridan Road near Greenway, two black males were located, both having sustained gunshot wounds. One was a 21-year old Orlando man found in a car, deceased. A second victim was located nearby and transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center where he underwent surgery.
If the venue reopens, MDPD will provide them with a minimum number of days to notify the department of large events to enable better preparation and to research incidents of violence.
The department is also making every effort to ensure that Project X events don't occur in the city. Body and dash camera videos will be reviewed for any violations of ordinances, state statutes or fire codes by the venue.
Police were called to the Walmart at U.S. Highway 441 and Eudora Road around 9:23 p.m. Friday for a report of a shooting that happened in the parking lot.
Once on the scene, officers found two victims both were airlifted to area hospitals.
A black male who was shot in the back and flown to Orlando regional medical center with no life-threatening injuries. A second white Hispanic male, possibly in his twenties, was located in the same parking lot with a gunshot in the leg. He was flown to Central Florida regional medical center in Sanford with no life-threatening injuries reported.
After the shooting, the suspects fled the scene. It is unknown at this time how many suspects were involved. Detectives are actively investigating and seeking security video.
Hours later, Lake County Sheriff's Office responded to a separate, but nearby shooting in Mount Dora. The incidents are not believed to be related at this time.
At approximately, 2:30 Saturday morning, Lake County Sheriff’s Office received 911 calls regarding a possible shooting in the area of the 2000 block of Sheridan Road outside Mount Dora city limits.
Upon deputies’ arrival on scene, two black male victims were located, both suffering from gunshot wounds. One victim found in the car deceased, a second victim was located nearby and transported to ORMC where he is undergoing surgery. The deceased victim is a 21 year-old man from Orlando.
At this time, LCSO believes this incident is related to a large "Project X" party held nearby at Mieluz Grand Hall located at 2728 W. Old Highway 441 in Mount Dora. The company describe's the event venue as 35,000 square feet with three bars. Capacity is reportedly 712.
Off-duty law enforcement officers from the police department and LCSO were hired for event security.
It was estimated that the rave party was attended by over 1,000 people who were mostly bused in from areas outside Lake County, such as Orlando and other parts of Orange County.
The vehicle the victim was located in was reported stolen from the Tampa area. LCSO is working with the Tampa Police Department regarding details of the theft.
Authorities are aware another party at the club is scheduled tonight and stated extra patrols will be monitoring and patrolling the area and surrounding parking lots.
Meanwhile, LCSO Major Crime Detectives are working to develop leads and will be actively investigating this case throughout the day. Anyone with information, please contact Crimeline or the Lake County Sheriff's Office.
Suspects at the Papa John's burglary in Mount Dora on July 18.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office is working with the Mount Dora and Tavares Police Departments to identify suspects who burglarized several businesses in the Golden Triangle area over recent days.
The burglaries occurred in Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis and are believed to be related.
The Sheriff's Office responded to reports of burglaries Tuesday morning to the Domino's Pizza and the Laptop Repair Service Center, both located in the strip plaza at 17855 US Highway 441 in Eustis. Deputies found that multiple suspects forced entry into the Domino's Pizza, but were not able to steal anything of value. The same subjects also made entry into the computer repair store next door and stole a laptop computer valued at $1,000.
Tavares Police Department also responded Tuesday morning to a burglary to the Firehouse Subs located at 2712 East Burleigh Boulevard. During this incident, security video showed three suspects entered the business just after 3 a.m. and attempted to remove cash from the registers. They were unsuccessful.
Mount Dora officers responded to a burglary Tuesday morning at the Papa John's Pizza located at 16894 US Highway 441. During this incident, entry was also made by smashing the front door and cash was taken The Mount Dora Police Department is also working two previous burglaries to the Jersey Mike's Subs, located at 17256 US Highway 441. The first incident occurred during the early morning hours of July 1, during which several subjects forced their way through the front of the store and took an undisclosed amount of cash. The second incident occurred during the early hours of July 15, during which two suspects forced their way into the store and again removed an undisclosed amount of cash.
Detectives say these burglaries are related and they are seeking the public's help at identifying and locating those responsible. Anyone with information concerning any of these incidents should call Central Florida CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS, where they could possibly be eligible for a cash reward.
One of the involved vehicles is described as a four-door, dark-colored sedan.
The City of Mount Dora will host the 9th Annual Community Back-to-School Youth Rally on Saturday, July 29, 2017.
This is a fun and free event for Mount Dora’s kids as they prepare to head back to school in August. In addition to free hot dogs and soda, the rally also provides free books and school supplies to all students. The event will also feature a water slide and music for families to enjoy.
The rally is a joint effort between the City of Mount Dora, W.T. Bland Public Library, UCAN Leaders of Lake County and Lake Cares Food Pantry.
The rally will be from 9 a.m. to noon at the Frank Brown Sports Complex located at 1245 Pine Avenue in Mount Dora.
One of the three finalists for Florida's Assistant Principal of the Year has been selected as the new principal of Triangle Elementary. Marlene Straughan, the former assistant principal at Mount Dora High School, said she is thrilled to join the Manatee family at Triangle.
A lifelong resident of Lake County, Straughan graduated from Umatilla High School in 1997 and later attended the police academy earning dual certifications in law enforcement and corrections.
She changed careers in 2008 when she began teaching at Mount Dora High School. Straughan earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Stetson University. She has spent the past four years as the popular assistant principal at Mount Dora High School.