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COLUMN

Happytown

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It's been a while since we got re-motely excited about a 2-year-old's birthday party – yes we love unicorns, but there is such a thing as too many unicorns – so the fact that we're decking out Happytown™ HQ in catheters and stethoscopes and colostomy bags like it's some kind of sicko party drunk on anesthetics is something of a welcome novelty (and also kind of gross). Anyway, this not-so-terrible 2-year-old we're celebrating isn't as cute as it is necessary: March 23 marks the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, y'all, and not surprisingly the Democrats want you to know that, even though everybody's all atwitter about tampons and the pill right now, the ACA has already quietly been saving lives in Florida.

A report released on March 13 by President Obama's campaign spotlights the victories in the Sunshine State as follows: 4.7 million residents have already received free preventive care, 9.3 million Floridians have been protected from skyrocketing insurance rates or benefit caps, 960,000 kids with pre-existing conditions will not be turned away by insurance companies, other kids can stay on their parents plans through 26, Medicare is stronger, and women – yes, women – will not be charged increased rates because they have ladyparts. Awesome, right? And we haven't even made it through the U.S. Supreme Court yet!

To honor the weeklong occasion of this tiara toddler'sextended celebration, the Know Your Care campaign at Progress Florida is popping up all over the state to appeal to different demographics about what they know regarding their care (savvy Happytown early birds can hit up a presentation for young adults and kids at UCF on Wednesday, March 21). It's part of a larger strategy, naturally, to rev up support for Obama in a state that's about to have to deal with the worst party ever: the GOP convention in August. There won't be enough anesthetics in the world to take that pain away. Still, happy birthday, ACA! Next year we can let you out of the house.

We know how much everyone loves to bitch about how bad/lame/nonexistent public transportation is in Orlando. You know, in Portland they have light rail, and you can ride buses all around downtown for free and they even have bike racks on them. (FYI: Our Lynx buses aren't free, but they are equipped with bike racks.)

Well, when the city's latest efforts to transform itself into Portlando, Floregon, begin to take shape, we might have that, too.

Lymmo, the city's “bus rapid transit” system, lets people ride around downtown for free, but the route is limited. It runs from South Street up Magnolia Avenue to the Lynx Central Station on Amelia Street and back again, and it hits many of the downtown high points: the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, City Hall, the downtown drinking corridor.Plans are in place to extend Lymmo service as far east as Summerlin Avenue and as far west as South Westmoreland Drive, and Lymmo is also looking into further expanding its service north as far as Florida Hospital and as far south as SoDo. It has been surveying the community to gauge interest in these lines, which could potentially link Ivanhoe Village Main Street, College Park and possibly the Virginia-Mills neighborhoods via the Lymmo system.

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