ICYMI: Early voting starts in Orlando, the City Beautiful gets its first poet laureate and more

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ICYMI: Early voting starts in Orlando, UCF president announces retirement, the City Beautiful gets its first poet laureate and more

Orlando appoints its first poet laureate:

The City Beautiful appointed Susan Lilley as Orlando's first official poet laureate after a regional search. Lilley, a teacher at Trinity Preparatory School and an adjunct professor at Rollins College, is a recipient of the Rita Dove Poetry Award and the Florida Individual Artist Fellowship. As well as being Orlando's official "storyteller," Lilley will serve as a representative in the city's cultural and literary arts scene and present original work at city events.

UCF begins search to replace longtime president John Hitt:

The University of Central Florida is searching for a new leader after its current president, John C. Hitt, announced he would be retiring in 2018. "I make this decision in good health and of my choosing," Hitt said in a statement. "The time is right for this decision because I've never felt better about UCF. ... I am proud of our reputation as one of the biggest and best universities in the country. Through our size and constant pursuit of excellence, UCF changes the lives of our students and our students change the world. Making this decision now provides the best opportunity for our momentum to continue." UCF officials expect to appoint a full committee to search for Hitt's replacement by Nov. 15.

Soto urges probe of Whitefish contract with Puerto Rico:

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto is among eight Democratic members of Congress who are urging the U.S. Department of the Interior to investigate a $300 million contract to rebuild Puerto Rico's entire electrical infrastructure that was given to a two-person Montana firm with connections to the Donald Trump administration. The Orlando representative wrote the letter to Mary Kendall, deputy inspector general at the department, asking her to probe "any potential impropriety" in awarding the contract to Whitefish Energy. "It is concerning that the arduous task of rebuilding Puerto Rico's energy grid post Hurricane Maria – the biggest infrastructural rebuild in the United States since Hurricane Katrina – is being contracted to a small, inexperienced firm with ties to the Trump Administration," Soto says in a statement. On Sunday, Puerto Rico canceled its contract with Whitefish after increasing criticism.

Early voting starts for Orlando City Council elections:

You can start voting in Orlando's municipal elections early today at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office at 119 W. Kaley St. City Commissioners Regina Hill (District 5), Robert Stuart (District 3) and Jim Gray (District 1) are all up for re-election against several challengers. Early voting ends Sunday, Nov. 5. On Election Day, Nov. 7, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For times and polling locations, visit ocfelections.com or call 407-836-2070.

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