Milk District, East Robinson Street
Anchored by the monochromatic monolith that is T.G. Lee Dairy (when will they let someone mural their massive white walls!?), this black-sheep neighborhood is on the up and up. Its affordable, gently run-down apartment buildings and bungalows, only a five-minute bike ride from downtown, have sheltered a smorgasbord of creatives and hipsters over the years, resulting in a strong, quirky retail scene. Long-held tenants like Sportstown Billiards, Etoile Boutique and Kyle's Bike Shop are shoulder-to-shoulder with newer bars – gnome-sized venues that encourage heavy craft-beer drinking to stay cool (in both the temperature and with-it-ness senses) – and new foodie favorites Se7en Bites Bakeshop and Market on South. Tasty Tuesdays and the Milk District Market bring in the crowds on a regular basis, making this one of the most happening districts in Orlando. Unfortunately all of this has brought out the wolves: Developers are circling the neighborhood, buying up and tearing down older properties and raising rents, thus driving out both longterm residents and the plucky people who made the neighborhood what it is right now.
During the tragedy on June 12, Orlando's openly gay commissioner, Patty Sheehan, was near the gay nightclub Pulse to comfort others. She was also there to shut down politicians who offered their "thoughts and prayers" but were slow to mention that the victims were LGBT. And she had some choice words for the shooter himself. "If you think that you're going to stab at the heart of us by doing this horrible, violent act, you're not, because we love," she reminded the world on that day. Sheehan has also been instrumental in calling for unity in Orlando with the Muslim community. Tough situations bring out people's real personalities, and we learned after the Pulse mass shooting that Sheehan is one tough advocate
Blood donors from the Central Florida community who stood in long lines for hours after the Pulse shootings
After waking up to find that 49 people who'd been their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers had been killed in a mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse, it would have been reasonable for local residents to shut down and hide in their homes. But they didn't. Instead, they took to the hot streets outside local blood banks and waited for hours in blocks-long lines to give blood for people fighting for their lives at nearby hospitals. Others helped out by providing pizza, water and snacks to the hot, sweaty donors. On a day filled with darkness, these wonderful souls were a beacon of hope and a reminder that good exists.
The Paul Paulson campaign for mayor of Orlando
Remember that guy? Last November, Paul Paulson tried and failed to become Orlando's newest mayor by dishing out more than $800,000, outspending incumbent Mayor Buddy Dyer. Apparently, spending $100 for each vote didn't make much of a difference for Paulson, because he received a third of the vote. Maybe next time instead of wasting money on mailers that won't work, he can spend money on hiring a designer for a decent logo instead of swiping one from the internet.
1. City of Sanford, sanfordfl.gov
2. Gods & Monsters, godmonsters.com
3. Uncomfortable Brunch, uncomfortablebrunch.com
1. The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, thecenterorlando.org
2. Zebra Coalition, zebrayouth.org
3. Orlando Food Not Bombs, facebook.com/orlandofoodnotbombs
1. Jim Philips, WTKS Real Radio 104.1 FM
2. The Orlando City Unicorn, twitter.com/orlandounicorn
3. Daniel Dennis, tomanddan.com
1. Second Harvest Food Bank, feedhopenow.org
2. Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida, cnfl.wish.org
3. Yellow Brick Road: The Holden Flynn Foundation, ybrf.org
1. Stardust Video & Coffee, 1842 E. Winter Park Road, 407-623-3393, stardustie.com
2. Wekiva Island, 1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood, 407-862-1500, wekivaisland.com
3. Johnny's Fillin' Station, 2631 S. Ferncreek Ave., 407-894-6900, johnnysfillinstation.com