Best Of 2016

Best Opportunity for an Eager Sanitation Company

Baldwin Park

Hey, friend. Do you have that get-up-and-go entrepreneurial spirit? Do you have the kind of drive that says, "I just need to find something people need that no one else is doing"? Well, your opportunity awaits you in the swanky New Urbanist village built on the contaminated remains of a decommissioned Navy base! Baldwin Park, you see, has issues: lots of dogs and a lot of space between trash cans. Someone who wanted to install a few more, maybe with some of those little compartments that dispense tiny plastic bags – well, that person could really clean up (geddit?). But why stop there, when the ground is also littered with the oddest remnants of drunken nights out the world has ever seen? (Like, we get all the fast food wrappers, but who the hell cuts off a ponytail and leaves it on the sidewalk ... still in a scrunchie?!) And we haven't even touched on the lack of public recycling containers. For a community based on concepts of more environmental planning, this sure would be a great place to see a business that cares about the environment.

Local Color: Orlando's best in media, politics, charitable groups and more

Local Color
Best LGBT Voice

Patty Sheehan

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

Best Act of Kindness

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.

Best Waste of Campaign Cash

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.

Best Kept Secret

1. City of Sanford, sanfordfl.gov

2. Gods & Monsters, godmonsters.com

3. Uncomfortable Brunch, uncomfortablebrunch.com

Best Local Activist Group

1. The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, thecenterorlando.org

2. Zebra Coalition, zebrayouth.org

3. Orlando Food Not Bombs, facebook.com/orlandofoodnotbombs

Best Local Big Shot

1. Jim Philips, WTKS Real Radio 104.1 FM

2. The Orlando City Unicorn, twitter.com/orlandounicorn

3. Daniel Dennis, tomanddan.com

Best Local Charitable Group

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

Best Local Hangout

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

Best Local Instagram Feed

1. @tomanddanofficial

2. @orlandoweekly

3. @orlandobungalower