Plus, Orlando ranks at the tippity top of best places to retire and all of Orlando City SC is fully vaccinated.
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🏡 Top 4 places to buy a home in Central Florida

Plus, Orlando ranks at the tippity top of best places to retire and all of Orlando City SC is fully vaccinated.

By Katie Johnston

Hi there and welcome to Tuesday. 

We’re kicking things off with some rather exciting news — we're officially only a day away from the first-ever, all-civilian space launch.

Inspiration4 is a group of four everyday civilians — a billionaire who funded the mission, a physician, an educator, and an engineer — planning to board the SpaceX Crew Dragon tomorrow night at Kennedy Space Center and make their way beyond the International Space Station where they’ll “hang around” in orbit for a few days before coming back to Earth. 

Head here to get to know the crew, where the name originated, how this mission even came to be, and so on. Then set your alarms — launch time is currently scheduled for sometime after 8:02 p.m. tomorrow night. 

Look, I know nothing tops a quick jaunt to space, but keep reading for news on how Florida's responding to last week's announcement regarding federal vaccine requirements, what's going on with mask mandates in schools, and where we landed on the list of best places to retire. (Spoiler alert: It's at the top.)

CitiTower giving off some major Florida vibes this morning. 📸: @mrchrisregan | 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

Gov. Ron DeSantis doubled down on his stance regarding vaccine mandates on Monday and said that any city or county that requires COVID-19 vaccination of employees will face a $5,000 fine per infraction.

Here we are, confused as ever, only a few days removed from President Joe Biden's announcement of federal vaccine requirements for employers with more than 100 workers where he said that you'd need to either get a COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing.

At yesterday’s Alachua County news conference, DeSantis said, "We are gonna stand for the men and women who are serving us. We are gonna protect Florida jobs. We are not gonna let people be fired because of a vaccine mandate." 

Speaking of mandates, Orange County is one of those places that has a vaccine requirement in place, requiring all employees to be partially vaccinated by Sept. 30 and fully vaccinated by Oct. 31. 

Mayor Jerry Demings said yesterday that while he hadn’t yet heard of the governor’s directive, the county would look into it and “consider our legal options." He went on to say: "I'm not going to take actions that will adversely impact the safety of our community. Sometimes, quite frankly, I question whether or not the governor really sees it that way. He may say that he does but I believe that many of the decisions that he makes are purely politically motivated."

Earlier this year, DeSantis signed an executive order that banned so-called vaccine passports or requiring proof of vaccination. The law is set to go into effect on Thursday and would be enforced by the Department of Health.

In other news… 

😷 An appeals court sided with Gov. DeSantis last week in the battle over mask mandates in Florida schools. On Friday, the Florida First District Court of Appeal overruled Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper’s previous determination that the policy was an overreach of the governor’s powers. Meanwhile, the mortality rate for Florida children infected with COVID-19 has almost doubled since late July. (AP News / Business Insider)

⚽️ All Orlando Pride and Orlando City SC players are 100 percent vaccinated. According to a club official, every player on the two rosters has received the COVID-19 vaccine. That said, the club does not currently require fans to show proof of a vaccination record or a negative COVID-19 test, nor does it require mandatory masks at Exploria Stadium on game day. (Orlando Sentinel)

🍊Orlando is the best place in the U.S. to retire according to WalletHub’s latest survey. The City Beautiful ranked No. 1 ahead of Charleston, South Carolina; Scottsdale, Arizona; Tampa, Florida; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Of the 180 cities judged, we were No. 13 for affordability, No. 9 for an abundance of activities, No. 70 for quality of life, and No. 68 for access to good health care. (Fox 9

🏡 Looking to buy a home in Central Florida? Well for starters, good luck. 😬 Here’s what the latest numbers from GrowthSpotter (paywall) said: Homebuyers are finding success in places like Lake Nona, ChampionsGate, Sawgrass Bay in Clermont, and Riverbend in Seminole County. (Orlando Sentinel

🌎 Sierra Club is hosting a virtual chat with Rep. Val Demings to discuss the upcoming infrastructure bill and what it could mean for climate change and specifically, its effects on our area. You’re invited to join the public conversation — just make sure to have your questions ready for Demings' stance on the issue. The event’s scheduled for 7 p.m. tomorrow on Zoom. RSVP at the link. 👉 (Facebook

📌 Lift Orlando’s Heart of West Lakes Wellness Center is in need of a café operator. Know someone looking for a brick-and-mortar space? A biz in need of community traffic? Reach out to Keeyon Upkins at and see what’s available. And here’s a link to the RFP if you need more information. (Lift Orlando)

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🗺️ Learn how to find your dream job and how to make useful work connections for the future (Online)

🎟 Appreciate Orlando Ballet performers up close and personal at this intimate performance (Loch Haven Park)

🍷 Make it a date night and sample six wines for $20 at Swirlery's weekly blind tasting (SoDo)

🛶 Bring your own board and enjoy a sunset paddle of Lake Ivanhoe then stick around for food and drinks after (Ivanhoe)


🗣Tune into a virtual discussion between the Sierra Club and Rep. Val Demings on environmental challenges facing the country (Online)

⚽️ Cheer on Orlando City to a win over CF Montreal at Exploria Stadium (Parramore)

🍿Watch the cult classic "Beerfest" on the big screen outdoors at Orlando Brewing (SoDo)

☮️ Kick-off your Wednesday with a morning yoga practice in the garden weekly (Winter Park)


🏠 "Meet" the authors of "Battle of the Bands" and enjoy a panel discussion about what it takes to put together an anthology (Online)

🇲🇽 Celebrate Mexico's Independence Day with taco and drink specials and live music on the patio of Tamale Co. in the Hourglass District (Curry Ford West)

🖼 Support local artists at this monthly opening night reception of downtown art exhibits (Downtown)

🎴 Grab your ladies for a night of tarot readings and wine consumption at The Falcon weekly (Thornton Park)

🖼 Don't miss the immersive art exhibit feat. works from Van Gogh, Renoir, and Monet happening at the Dr. Phillips Center now through Sept. 26 (Downtown)


🍿Watch the movie "Trick R Treat" on the big screen in the parking lot of Ivanhoe Park Brewing (Ivanhoe)

👻 Get to know the local spirits that haunt the city at this walkabout town (Sanford)

🎃 Get in the Halloween spirit at the drive-through Scream 'n Stream through Oct. 31 (Oviedo)

🎟 Grab a ticket to "Fun Home", the latest performance by Theatre West End happening now through Oct. 3 (Sanford)

🛍 Shop local makers like @pippasresinartanddesign at this monthly pop-up mart at Oviedo Brewing Co. (Oviedo)

😀 Check out The Spot, a Milk District space transformed into a gallery, adorned with murals and interactive art for visitors to explore (Milk District)

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One more thing

Ya know, I feel pretty adventurous more oft than not, but put me in the middle of the springs on a paddleboard with alligators around and I start to feel super insignificant and in immediate need of my dad. I don’t know what I would’ve done had I been this Ocala woman at Silver Springs State Park last weekend, and it sounds like nudging a gator with a paddle isn’t the right answer either. What about you? Ever had a run-in with an alligator? What'd you do?

Alright, that’ll do it for today, folks. See you back here tomorrow, bright and early. 

– ✌️ Katie at Pulptown

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