Photo by Jason Greene
Local Color - Staff Picks
Published: July 13, 2011
Orlando police blow up a stuffed pony
In September, a menacing-looking stuffed pony was spotted lying in a cul-de-sac near an Orange County elementary school. A cautious (paranoid?) person reported the suspicious object to the police, and panic ensued. The elementary school was placed on lockdown, an explosives-detecting robot was brought in to examine the artificial equine and police eliminated the threat by placing an explosives packet next to it and blowing the toy to smithereens. Turns out that all of the freakout was for naught and the pony was just a discarded kids’ toy, probably left in the street by, well, some kid on the way to school.
Best new neighborhood
The Milk District
East Robinson Street and North Bumby Avenue
We know that technically this spot isn’t new to anyone, and we most definitely tip our hats to beloved Milk District stalwarts Sportstown Billiards (still going strong after more than half a century) and the Bull & Bush. But recently we’ve grown to love the Milk District (aptly named for its proximity to the T.G. Lee Dairy factory) even more – it’s home to a few of our favorite new haunts, like the Sandwich Bar, Spooky’s Black Cat Café and the Milk Bar (no nipple-drippings here, only 50 different kinds of craft beer). We love that the Milk District is an oddball destination where we can shop for affordable vintage fashions (Etoile boutique), scratch an eight ball (Sportstown) and sip organic wine in a pretty, open-air courtyard (Social Chameleon) with friends. All in one walkable strip.
Best student activist group
The graveyard of college-activist groups is vast, but a tombstone for UCF student group IDEAS – Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions – isn’t going to be chiseled anytime soon. The group has turned traditional activism on its head by stressing hands-on projects and scientific study, rather than theorizing and navel-gazing. For IDEAS’ work, whether it be simple trash cleanup, rebuilding a lake’s ecosystem or, say, creating a student-run office at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, the group has garnered numerous plaudits, including most recently the conservation organization of the year award from the Florida Wildlife Federation. The group’s organizing model is so effective (or infectious) that it has spread to nearly a dozen campuses across the country. OK, enough praise: Don’t get cocky, fellas!
Best unwitting response to a national conversation
3700 S. Orlando Drive, Sanford; 407-936-2222; nationstrucks.com
When Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured (along with 12 others) and six people were killed, including a little girl, by a Houston madman in January, the country inevitably did some gun-control soul searching. At one Sanford auto dealer, however, it was time to double down. Nations Trucks, which had already made international headlines for its “Buy a truck, get a free AK-47” offer months before, made damn sure that folks knew the offer still stood by placing a sign in front of the dealership featuring its signature assault rifle … and lighting it up at night for passersby! What are pro-gun-control hippies gonna do, anyway … protest the clearly strapped clientele? Bang, bang. They shot us down.
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