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Plus, what you said about the minimum wage increase.
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🎟 Black Mental Health Matters, The Van Gogh Affect, and Moulin Rouge

Plus, what you said about the minimum wage increase.

Happy Thursday to ya. 

The forecast says it’s going to be a sunny but overcast day with highs nearing the mid-80s and a low of 66. So go ahead and knock out that exercise early this morning or right after work because otherwise, the unmotivated bug’ll bite you. (I’m speaking from experience.) 

Movin' right along, in today’s newsletter, you’ll read about good news from The Contigo Fund, why one local woman needs our help, and what fellow readers had to say about the minimum wage increase. Plus, we've got five pretty cool ideas for the impending holiday just for our members.

Today's max read time is a cool six minutes and 42 seconds. 😉

I think this is what they call woosah. Thanks for the tag, @bankshelfrich. | 📸 Wanna see your photo here? Tag either #pulptown or @pulptown on Instagram to be featured as our IG of the Day! 

What Orlando is talking about 

If you or someone you know is facing potential eviction, there’s help coming your way.

Orange County commissioners unanimously approved a revised rental assistance program this week that will increase the money available to tenants who might be kicked out of their homes. 

The $4,000 to $10,000 payments per household will go directly to the landlords courtesy of the $33.4 million set away for such circumstances in the COVID-19 relief package that was passed by Congress in December. 

In more good news: You may still be eligible for rental assistance even if you’ve received aid through the eviction diversion program before.

The program won’t launch until March 1, and as of now, the application portal is still closed.

In other news… 

🌈 The Contigo Fund’s latest goal is raising $300,000 to donate to local grassroots LGBTQ organizations. The organization said yesterday its plan for this year’s grant cycle includes two significant funding streams: One of them seeks to tackle the HIV epidemic in Central Florida by engaging non-HIV specific organizations, while the other fund seeks to invest in new leaders in the area, specifically empowering LGBTQ+ people of color to run for office and win. The Contigo Fund started after Pulse with the goal of providing much-needed resources and financing to local LGBTQ+ communities of color. (Contigo Fund

🗣 The city of Orlando has partnered with Peer Support Space to host “Black Mental Health Matters” tonight, a virtual event featuring a powerhouse panel, live performances, and candid conversations about the need to raise awareness of and get mental health resources to the Black community. The event starts at 7 p.m. and is free, but you’ll need to RSVP to attend. (City of Orlando)

🎟 The Orlando Ballet debuts its take on Moulin Rouge tonight at the Dr. Phillips Center. Tickets start at $24 and rest assured, the seating chart allows for social distancing. (Orlando Date Night Guide

🖼 Snap! Orlando is debuting its latest exhibit, “The Van Gogh Affect”, at its downtown studio tonight. The exhibit explores Vincent Van Gogh’s powerful influence on creators even today, more than 130 years after his death. Opening night starts at 7 p.m. The exhibit will be up through May 29. (Orlando Weekly)

🆘 This Orlando woman needs your help in finding her dad’s cutout. Ashley Below purchased a cardboard cutout of her father’s likeness so that he could “attend” Sunday’s Super Bowl. But Below says she doesn’t even know if “he” made it into the stadium. (ClickOrlando)

💖 We played Cupid for our members

Today, Pulptown+ members are getting a guide on how to celebrate Gal/Pal/Valentine’s Day, pandemic-style. We scoured the internet for COVID-19 safe activities and put them together so our members can make sure the holiday is the best it can be even in this bizarre year. 

Want access to our special guides and the knowledge that you’re the reason why we can continue to make this newsletter every day? Become a member today.

🗣 You said it

In yesterday’s newsletter we broke down Florida’s minimum wage increase and why some state lawmakers are lobbying for a lower “training wage” for workers who are under 21, have served time for felonies, or are considered “hard-to-hire”.

I asked Pulptown readers if y’all were looking forward to the increase or were worried about the potential fallout on small businesses and mom-and-pop operations. Here’s what a few of you had to say (edited very slightly for brevity): 

“While receiving a living wage for an honest day's work is certainly a noble and fair idea, given the speed of technological progress lately (and likely into the future) a graduated 60%+ increase in the minimum wage seems like well-intentioned bad policy. 

“Every year that labor gets more expensive, the relative cost of labor-eliminating technology gets cheaper. Given that relatively few people are actually paid a minimum wage, this gradual rise in the cost of labor would seem to me to hurt people currently earning more than minimum wage but less than $15/hr. 

“The main argument for a minimum wage, to pay even the lowest workers on the totem pole a living wage, I believe should be attacked from the other side (supply) rather than mandated wage increases.  Housing reform (particularly zoning laws and impact fees), health care reform, transportation system improvement, etc. could all drastically lower the cost of living and thus bring the needed living wage down where technology would hopefully not eliminate as many jobs.” — Steve S. 

And on the other hand… 

“Are you looking forward to the minimum wage increase? Yes. Are you worried that it might have a detrimental impact on small businesses and mom-and-pop operations? Yes, but not due to the nature of raising the minimum wage (it’s largely been considered successful everywhere that’s done so), but because this state consistently lies about being ‘pro-business’ when they really mean ‘pro-multinational megacorps’. There could easily be subsidies and programs to help small businesses deal with the cost, but that would require taxing the people and corporations with more than enough. People need a living wage. One executive doesn’t need 10 times a living wage.” — Nick B.

Thanks Nick and Steve for answering my questions. If you’d like to weigh in, I’d still like to hear from you. My inbox remains open as it ever was.

Things to do

Submit your events to our calendar.

Today

🎶 Jam out to Kaleigh Baker and the Someday Honey band outdoors at Plaza Live (Milk District)

🛍 Shop local makers at this outdoor pop-up market weekly (Thornton Park)

🗣 Let's talk about social media censorship and what it really means (Winter Park/Online)

Tomorrow

🤖 Experience Otronicon and learn more about STEM with onsite and virtual experiences through Monday (Loch Haven Park)

🖥️ Connect with STEM experts and tech pros virtually to explore how science and technology can help you make your world a better place through Monday (Online)

🧗 Rock climb with a friend — buy a one-day pass and get the second for $5 (Downtown)

🎵 Check out award-winning jazz pianist, composer, and accordionist Ben Rosenblum at Timucua Arts Foundation (SoDo)

Saturday

🤖 If you're a student or recent grad looking to make a career in tech, check out Otronicon Tech Connect: A Day in the Life powered by Black Orlando Tech (Loch Haven Park)

💻 Donate your gently used technology to local students and families in need at Otronicon this weekend (Loch Haven Park)

💘 Shop the Valentine's Day Pop-Up at Paper Goat Post featuring local businesses and fresh flowers, sweet treats, art, and gifts (Ivanhoe)

🎉 Celebrate Black History Month with a two-day festival filled with food, fun, a run, and important dialogue in Hannibal Square (Winter Park)

🎟 Grab tickets to the Monster Energy Supercross event happening at Camping World Stadium (West Oaks)

Sunday

🍻 Make it a boozy V-Day with a local brew and pie pairing courtesy of Orlando Brewing and Winter Park Pie Company (SoDo)

💝 Head to Ivanhoe Park Brewing for a V-Day date night and the can release of its Valentine's special brew, I Choose Me (Ivanhoe)

🐕 Treat your favorite four-legged friend to a dog day afternoon at the brewery (Ivanhoe)

One more thing

Cloudy or not, it’s biking weather, baby! And lucky for us, the bike shares are back. HOPR has returned with its new e-bikes in tow, and personally, I couldn’t be happier for them. I’ve really missed the bikes — downtown is a madhouse of scooters these days, and two bigger wheels are better than any tiny ones for me. 

So yeah, get outside Orlando and go for a cruise from downtown to Lake Davis and back, whydontya?

– ✌️ Katie at Pulptown