OCALA’S GUIDE TO ENTERTAINMENT, NIGHTLIFE & FAMILY FUN
T WO LO CA L P R O GRA MS A R E S E TTI N G TE E N S ON TH E PATH TO S U CCESS
29 +/- Prestigious Acres in NW Ocala
Country Club Farms 4.55+/- Acres
3 en-suite bedroom pool home. Just 8 miles to World Equestrian Center. Whether your passion is hunters, thoroughbreds or any other breed of horses, this property offers room to lay out your dream farm, plus room to ride, train and raise your horses or cattle. $2,997,000
4-bedroom, 4.5-bath pool home in gated, equine-friendly community. Chef’s kitchen is the hub for entertaining and is open to family room. 4-car detached garage plus a separate 1/1 perfect for guests or a gym. $1,450,000 Just minutes to the Florida Greenway’s and Trails.
Classic Elegance On 5.5+/- Acres
In gated, equine-friendly community of Summit II. 4 en-suite bedrooms. Owners suite offers separate bath. Spacious great room with fireplace and lanai access. Private lap pool. Stable offers 3 stalls plus additional covered parking and storage areas. $1,499,000
Located in Summit II on 3.81+/- acres. 5,900+ SF, 4-bedroom, 4.5-bath home. Luxurious kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances. Great room with fireplace, beverage area and access to pool and lanai. Attached 3-car garage. $2,290,000
Let Joan Pletcher, Realtor, list and/or sell your property.
2022 Sold Properties- $32,925,050 2022 Pending Properties - $12,259,800 For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | email@example.com | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.
Let Me Show You Ocala!
Great Opportunity To Purchase Ft. King Office
10+/-Acre Gentleman’s Farm
2-story office or two 1-story office spaces. Each floor offers: conference room, reception area, two restrooms, kitchenette and four large offices that accomodate multiple desks. Elevator. Zoned air-conditioned garage converted to office or storage. 15 parking spaces. $1,100,000
Located just minutes to premier shopping, dining, hospitals, and a short distance to the World Equestrian Center. 2-story home has a wraparound porch. 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, office, lit arena, 4 -tall barn, 4 $715,000 paddocks plus 3-car covered-open carport.
Your Choice! 132, 165, or 297 Acres located in NW Marion County! Magnificent 132+/- acre farm with majestic views of Live Oaks, gently rolling pastures with 3 gated entrances. Main residence, 16-stall barn with office, round pen, 6-stall barn, viewing area, plus a cottage for guests. $4,650,000
165+/- acre farm is brimming with amenities. Club house, 4/3 main residence, 12-stall barn, 24-stall barn, 2-story employee quarters. 2/1 carriage house, plus a large equipment area. One-of-a-kind equestrian $3,700,000 facility.
If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call today! List your property with Joan Pletcher... Our results speak for themselves.
For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | firstname.lastname@example.org | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.
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to to death. death. With over 30 years With over 30 yearsCity experience, Brick experience, Pest ControlBrick servesCity Ocala Pest ControlCounty. serves Ocala and Marion and Marion County. Whether your problem Whether your problem is with termites, ants, is with termites, chinch bugs, bedants, bugs, or chinch bugs, bed bugs, just garden-variety bugs,or just garden-variety bugs,and we’ll protect your home we’ll protect your home and family… guaranteed. family… guaranteed. Call (352) 732-4244 for your Callinspection, (352) 732-4244 forlove youryour free and we’ll free inspection, bugs to death.and we’ll love your bugs to death. Rand Hollon Owner Rand Hollon Owner
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“Passage of Time” by Denise Spates, Art of Aging 2021 exhibit at The Brick,photo courtesy of Marion Cultural Alliance; Myakka River State Park photo courtesy of Florida State Parks; Rashad Jones photo courtesy of The Food Network
CONTENTS // AUG 2022 FEATURE 20 // MA RIO N ’S MEN TO RS
Two mentorship programs in Marion County are making a difference in the lives of local teens and young adults.
6 // TO P 10 T H IN GS TO DO IN T H E 3 52 A handy guide to get you going and keep you busy this month.
WATCH 10 // BAC K TO SC H O O L
This fall, take a class in something you love.
12 // A RT & SOUL
Kimberly’s Center hosts an evening fundraiser to help local children and families.
14 // CO N C ERT S P OT LIG H T
Last-minute tickets and local shows you won’t want to miss.
EXPLORE 16 // A VILL AG E O F S ERVIC E
Volunteers, trainers and more help Patriot Service Dogs match veterans with the perfect pup.
18 // T H E MAG IC O F MYA K K A
On your next visit to the Sarasota area, plan a day trip to Myakka River State Park
CRAVE 28 // BIT E-S IZ ED BITS
Ocala’s own Master of ‘Cue, a new neighborhood market and save the date for Gainesville’s Brew at the Zoo.
3 0 // MA DE W IT H LOVE
Local entrepreneur Alexandra Dickson has a full house—and all are great taste testers.
ON THE COVER: Chief Drew Rogers, Marion County Fire Rescue & Captain Chris Hickman, Ocala Fire & Rescue photographed by John Jernigan
THINGS TO DO IN THE 352 : A HANDY GUIDE TO GET YOU GOING AND KEEP YOU BUSY THIS MONTH.
COLORFUL PLEASURES EXHIBIT // THROUGH JANUARY 17, 2023
This traveling exhibit is making a special stop at the Cade Museum in Gainesville. Take a look into the world of storytelling and create your very own animated production using such techniques as storyboarding, sketching, stop-motion movie making and more. The process will be broken down step by step by an entertaining group of characters and plenty of hands-on learning. This exhibit, created by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and made possible through funding from Visit Gainesville, Alachua County, is about giving visitors the power to experiment, learn and share their own stories through the art of animation. For times and ticket information, visit cademuseum.org.
ADVENT HEALTH OCALA HOSPITAL TOUR // AUG. 10
This tour will highlight the hospital’s long history in the community, tour the various hospital departments and learn more about the current and upcoming hospital renovations taking place. The tour is free to participants, and guests will meet in the main Palmer lobby. The tour is a two-hour walking tour, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. The tour will take place from 10am12pm. For more details, visit adventhealth.com to register.
DATE NIGHT AT DISCOVERY // AUG. 19 Join the staff at the Discovery Center for a grownup night of fun and science. Guests will enjoy light appetizers and drinks during this kid-free playtime where Mom and Dad can explore the Center’s current exhibit and hands-on activities, including the animal encounters and science experiments. Doors will open at 6:30pm, and the event will conclude at 9pm. The August event centers around Spy Science. For more information and info on how to register, visit the Discovery Center’s Facebook page. CONTINUED ON PG 08
Colorful Pleasures artwork image courtesy of Christine Dozier; Animation Land photo couresy of Cade Museum
ANIMATIONLAND // THROUGH JANUARY 1, 2023
Visit the Ocala International Airport to take in the Colorful Pleasures exhibit by Christine Dozier. Originally from Tennessee but residing in Ocala, Christine studied at the Memphis College of Art, University of Memphis. She began her art career in watercolors before moving into oils an acrylics. Dozier’s works include still life paintings, pet portraits, landscapes, abstracts and more. Many of her paintings are part of private collections throughout the United States, hanging in corporate offices. A collection of her works can also be seen at Gallery B Art Gallery on the downtown square. The airport exhibit is free and open to the public and is located at 1770 SW 60th Avenue, Suite 600. To learn more about Christine, visit her website at christinedozier.com. For more info on the exhibit, contact the City of Ocala Cultural Arts and Sciences Division at (352) 629-8447.
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THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES // AUG. 19
IT’S ONLY LIFE // AUG. 18-27
Presented by the Insomniac Theatre Company at the Reilly Arts Center, The Vagina Monologues has been performed in more than 140 countries and has been translated in over 48 languages. This eye-opening production includes a local cast that will help unravel the mystique of the anatomy through sometimes outrageously funny and sometimes poignant stories. Ticket proceeds will benefit the PACE Center for Girls Marion. For ticket information and more details, visit reillyartscenter.com.
This musical production is described as “a musical revue about longing, fulfillment, loss, triumph and, ultimately, wisdom.” With music and lyrics by John Bucchino, the song selection in the production was the winner of LA’s 2008 Ovation Award for Best Book/Lyrics/Music for an Original Musical. Bucchino’s songs have been performed or recorded by some of entertainment’s greats, including Art Garfunkel, Yo-Yo Ma, Judy Collins and Liza Minnelli, among others. Be aware the show contains adult content and language. Performances will take place at The Studio Theatre Tierra Del Sol in The Villages. Show times will vary day by day. For ticket information and more details, visit thesharon.com.
4TH ANNUAL NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA OUTDOOR EXPO // AUG. 13
ash entry - 17 and under FREE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL // SEPT. HOME GAMES
A new school year brings a new football season. Check out the following varsity home games for the month of September.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Ocala Shrine Rodeo, one of Ocala’s most beloved events. Those wishing to attend can purchase tickets online at ocalashrinerodeo. com. The event will include tie down roping, saddle riding, bull riding, barrel racing, bareback bronc riding, team roping, steer wrestling and more. The event is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. The rodeo events begin at 7:30pm, and gates open at 5:30pm. Tickets are $25 for adults at the gate, and children 5 years old and younger are admitted for free. On Friday night, kids between the ages of 6 and 11 get in for $10 when accompanied with a paying adult. Visit ocalashrinerodeo.com for additional details.
August 13 | 9am-3pm World Equestrian Center Ocala NORTH MARION HIGH SCHOOL Sept. 9 | 7pm | Belleview Sept. 23 | 7pm | Suwannee Sept. 30 | 7pm | Eastside
DUNNELLON HIGH SCHOOL
OCALA SHRINE RODEO // SEPT. 2-3
Sept. 2 | 7:30pm | North Marion More info: 937kcountry.com/expo Sept. 9 | 7:30pm | Vanguard Sept. 30 | 7:30pm | Hernando
LAKE WEIR HIGH SCHOOL
Sept. 9 | 7pm | Ridgeview Sept. 16 | 7:30pm | George Jenkins Sept. 23 | 7:30pm | Palatka
WEST PORT HIGH SCHOOL Sept. 2 | 7pm | Winter Springs Sept. 16 | 7pm | South Lake Sept. 23 | 7pm | Gateway
BELLEVIEW HIGH SCHOOL Sept. 2 | 7:30pm | Crystal River Sept. 30 | 7:30pm | Vanguard
FOREST HIGH SCHOOL Sept. 16 | 7pm | Belleview Sept. 23 | 7pm | Dunnellon
VANGUARD HIGH SCHOOL Sept. 23 | 7:30pm | Buchholz
HANDS ON A HARDBODY // SEPT. 1-18 Hardbody truck that is. The Ocala Civic Theatre will open its 2022-2023 season with this story of luck and grit. They say everything is bigger in Texas, including the prizes. Adventurous people are encouraged to enter Nissan of Longview’s contest for their chance to win a shiny red pickup truck. The forecast calls for sunny weather, and upbeat country music is on the radio to keep participants in good spirits. How do you win? Be the last person to still have a hand on the truck. Ticket exchanges and Flex Pass reservations begin August 1. Single tickets will be on sale to the public beginning August 8. Evening shows will take place at 7:30pm and matinees at 2pm. Call the theatre’s box office at (352) 236-2274 for more information or visit ocalacivictheatre.com.
Rv Image courtesy of North Central Florida Media Group; Ocala Shrine Rodeo photo courtesy of Ocala Shrine Rodeo; Hands On A Hardboy artwork courtesy of Ocala Civic Theatre
This popular annual event is perfect for all those adventure seekers and nature lovers. The event is your go-to source for a variety of outdoor adventures, including fishing and boating, RVing and camping, shooting, hunting and much more. The event, presented by Wind-FM and 93.7 K Country, will take place at the World Equestrian Center and will last from 9am-3pm. A variety of vendors will be on hand to share insight and ideas. Entry fee is $5 cash at the door for adults. Those 17 and under are admitted for free. For more details and a complete list off participants and vendors, visit 937kcountry.com/expo.
Your Story Go Up in Smoke
If smoking’s played a big part in your life story, the risk of developing lung cancer is something you may have considered. But if you wait until symptoms present themselves, it could be too late. A quick, painless, Low Dose CT Screening from RAO can help our board-certified radiologists detect signs of lung cancer in its early stages. One simple scan can save your life.
Talk to your doctor about getting an LDCT screening, and choose RAO for a higher standard of care.
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Back To School “Passage of Time” by Denise Spates, Art of Aging 2021 exhibit at The Brick,photo courtesy of Marion Cultural Alliance
This fall, take a class in something you love. // B Y M E L I S S A P E T E R S O N You’re never too old to learn a new trick. These local education and enrichment programs offer classes in a variety of topics, including classes to help you in your career and fulfill your personal pursuits.
COLLEGE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA’S CORPORATE COLLEGE Whether you’re learning a new computer skill from scratch or simply wanting to brush up on the latest features, Corporate College can provide tailored training for your needs. Online classes include: accounting, digital photography, Spanish and French language classes, grant writing, search engine optimization, Microsoft and Adobe classes, QuickBooks training, basic computer skills, new career training and much more. See the full catalog of classes at cf.edu/academics/ noncredit-courses/corporate-college/.
SENIOR LEARNERS, INC. Since September 2014 Senior Learners, Inc. has provided educational opportunities to seniors 50 years old and over, covering a broad range of academic interests, including health, science and technology, the arts, history and languages. The organization’s outstanding instructors come from a wide range of backgrounds and include current and retired artists, musicians, teachers, professors, doctors, engineers and scientists. Classes are offered in person at the College of Central Florida and online. The full schedule can be found at seniorlearners.org.
MASTER THE POSSIBILITIES Master the Possibilities, Inc. is a not-for-profit public charity, fulfilling its educational purpose as a lifelong learning center. The center provides quality instruction and learning experiences for 10
thousands of adult students throughout Marion County and beyond. The center aims to inspire students to explore their interests, uncover their passions and leverage their talents to make positive changes within themselves and their communities. Class topics include astronomy, DSLR photography, cooking, dance, guitar and piano, technology and computer basics, art, history, healthy living and more. Learn more and register at masterthepossibilities.org.
OCALA CIVIC THEATRE’S EDUCATION AND ENRICHMENT DEPARTMENT Ocala Civic Theatre’s Education and Enrichment Department offers year-round multi-generational programs that build confidence, compassion and community through creative arts. Through the exploration of stories, OCT develops learners’ self-worth and empathy while nurturing their confidence and sense of responsibility. Classes
are available for both adults and kids in topics such as theatre and acting, dance and fitness, improv, and musical theatre and performance. Check out the fall and winter schedule at ocalacivictheatre.com/education-enrichment.
LUNCH & LEARN SERIES AT MARION CULTURAL ALLIANCE Presented by Marion Senior Services, the Gifts of Aging series will take place every Wednesday in August from 11:30am-1pm as a free lunch talk featuring health leaders discussing topics geared toward the senior community. The series is part of the Art of Aging exhibit, which celebrates Ocala’s creative senior community, with art on display made by local artists ages 55+. The exhibit and lunch talks will take place at the Brick City Center for the Arts, located at 23 SW Broadway Street in Ocala. For more information, visit mcaocala.org or call (352) 369-1500.
AND EVERYTHING OUTDOORS!
More info: 937kcountry.com/expo
August 13 | 9am-3pm World Equestrian Center Ocala
50 Years o NG
$5 cash entry - 17 and under FREE
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Certified Arborist Advisory Tree Trimming Tree Removal Stump Grinding Storm Recovery Debris Removal Land Clearing
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Art & Soul Kimberly’s Center hosts an evening fundraiser to help local children and families. // W R I T T E N A N D P H O T O G R A P H E D B Y R O N A L D W. W E T H E R I N G T O N
he World Equestrian Center was the setting for an evening to remember as Kimberly’s Center hosted its annual Art & Soul fundraiser. The evening featured a cocktail hour with delectable dishes, music by the talented Left on Broadway, keynote speakers, inspiring stories of trauma recovery and the much-anticipated silent auction. The silent auction featured six beautifully created pieces of art, painted by a select group of children as part of their trauma therapy. Each year these art pieces are the stars of the show, raising over $150,000 this year alone. A total of over $260,000 was raised in this single evening. Kimberly’s Center’s Executive Director Dawn Westgate, at the end of the evening, said, “I’m truly touched by the generosity of this community and by those who support our mission. Our donors continue to help us change children’s lives right here in Ocala/Marion County, and we are so grateful.” Chaired by Board President Melissa Bianculli and Board Member Angie Clifton who believes “Art & Soul is designed to raise critical funds to relentlessly continue to prevent further trauma, build stronger cases for conviction of abusers, enable healing for children after abuse, and establish safe and emotionally healthy homes and families,” they both explained. As Kimberly’s Center boldly marches into the future, the need to provide life-changing services to children who have suffered from the trauma of abuse and neglect continues. Kimberly’s Center’s multidisciplinary approach to child abuse investigations is based on a national model, specifically designed to prevent children from being further traumatized by the investigative process. Each child’s plan of care is specifically designed for them and their families with the goal of setting a course for a heathy future. Kimberly’s Center offers tours on the first Friday of each month. Contact Kristina Donohue, development director, at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for this transformative experience. The team at Kimberly’s Center welcomes opportunities to share their mission with corporations and local businesses.
Sue Keuntjes & Amy Graham
Ken & Phyllis Marino, Danielle Marciano & M’Lissa Greatches
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Rich Bianculli, Cynthia & Steve Tieche
Bill & Cindy Nassal & Maryann & Kevin Donahue
Frank DeLuca & Angela Grace
Meghan Darling, Kyle & Victoria Clifton
Lt. Ryan Robbins, Davis & Kim Dinkins, Melissa Bianculli
Dr. Howard & Dr. Cheryl Rogers, Reese Bourgeois & Dawn Westgate
Navroz & Shaida Saju, Chad Christianson
Dr. Howard Rogers & Brittany Cecil
Lauren Debick, Andrew Hinkle & Katie Hunnicutt
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ADAM MARTIN The Black Sheep // every Friday 7-10pm
HOUSTON KEEN Bank Street Patio Bar // August 2
FRACTURE The First & Last Tab Food & Spirits // August 5
SANDRA & ALEX LEKID Infinite Ale Works // August 6
$ BUY NOW Amalie Arena, Tampa // September 3
Amalie Arena, Tampa // October 7
Amway Center, Orlando // September 14
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville // October 7 Amway Center, Orlando // October 12
Camping World Stadium, Orlando // September 15
JACK WHITE Hard Rock Live Orlando // September 21
LIZZO Amalie Arena, Tampa // September 24
EARTH, WIND & FIRE St. Augustine Amphitheatre // September 27
ALICE IN CHAINS AND BREAKING BENJAMIN WITH BUSH
ZAC BROWN BAND MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // October 8
PITBULL Amway Center, Orlando // October 16
GRETA VAN FLEET VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena // October 21 Amalie Arena, Tampa // October 26
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre at the FL State Fairgrounds, Tampa // September 30
THE WAR ON DRUGS
St. Augustine Amphitheatre // November 4-5
House of Blues Orlando, Orlando // October 4 St. Augustine Amphitheatre // October 6
PANIC! AT THE DISCO Amalie Arena, Tampa // October 5
THE SMASHING PUMPKINS AND JANE’S ADDICTION
Amalie Arena, Tampa // October 27
CARRIE UNDERWOOD Amalie Arena, Tampa // February 4 VyStar Veterans Arena, Jacksonville // February 6
BILLY BUCHANAN & HIS ROCK ‘N’ SOUL REVUE Circle Square Commons //August 13
THE MUDDS La Cuisine French Restaurant // August 27
A BROTHER’S REVIVAL Reilly Arts Center // August 13 Led by Allman Brothers’ bassist (‘78-’82) David “Rook” Goldflies, A Brothers Revival is a legacy Allman Brothers Band whose bandleader spent years learning from and performing with Gregg, Dickey, Butch and Jaimoe.
KRISTOPHER JAMES Marion Theatre // September 9 A Florida-born Americana/soul songwriter and performer, Kristopher James can seamlessly transition from crooningly elegant falsetto to soaring soulful bellows, as his vocals and melody shine in the spotlight of the stage.
DOUG STOCK STEELS THE SHOW Orange Blossom Opry // September 10 Doug Stock will entertain you with the iconic sound of classic country music and subtle twang of the steel guitar. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear one of the top steel guitar players in the country. *Editor’s Note: Tickets were available for all concerts as of date of publication. Dates are subject to change at the discretion of the venue.
Photo courtesy of thealabamaband.com
ROD STEWART WITH CHEAP TRICK
Yellow Pony // August 12
NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA’S LITE MUSIC STATION Elton John•Hall & Oates•Chicago•Phil Collins U2•Billy Joel•The Eagles•& Much More
99.5 FM Gainesville
99.7 FM Ocala/The Villages
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A Village Of Service Volunteers, trainers and more help Patriot Service Dogs match veterans with the perfect pup. // B Y M E L I S S A P E T E R S O N
Public Access test before they can graduate.” PSD operates a program called WOOF (Women Offering Obedience and Friendship) at the Lowell Correctional Facility in Marion County, which pairs puppies with inmatetrainers who are serving prison sentences. “The Women of WOOF do the initial training of every puppy to teach them the basics (how to sleep through the night, putting on their service
dog vest, housebreaking and basic commands); the technical training service dogs need, like turning on and off lights and opening doors; and the ‘fine tuning’ done at the final stage of training to make sure the dogs are ready to be matched with a veteran,” says Victoria. “All dogs return to WOOF periodically throughout their training to learn new skills.”
Between their time in WOOF, dogs are placed with puppy raisers who teach the dogs how to use the skills they learned with the inmate-trainers in the real world. Puppy raisers also teach the dogs how to work in public places and introduce them to household items not found in prison, like vacuums, dishwashers and sliding glass doors. “This partnership between puppy raisers and inmate-trainers gives our dogs the best of both worlds of training, since the puppy raisers don’t have as much time or training to teach new skills and the inmatetrainers don’t have the ability to teach the dogs in public,” says Victoria. PSD is currently looking for volunteer puppy raisers, and potential volunteers can specify the amount of time they are interested in volunteering. The organization is in need of longterm puppy raising (12 to 18 months), seasonal
Photos courtesy of Patriot Service Dogs
ounded in 2009 by Julie Sanderson and Susan Boltan, Patriot Service Dogs (PSD) serves veterans across Florida by training quality service dogs free of cost. Earlier this year, PSD was certified by Assistance Dogs International. With less than 150 organizations worldwide being ADI certified, the certification shows that the organization upholds the very high standards required by ADI. To qualify to receive a trained service dog, veterans must have served in any branch of the armed services and have been honorably discharged, have a letter from a medical provider stating they would benefit from a service dog, have the ability to financially care for the dog after graduation, be able to attend one week of training in Central Florida and have a willingness to participate in check-ins after graduation. The application to be considered is on the organization’s website, and once they receive a veteran’s application, a follow-up call to better understand the veteran’s needs will take place. “Once we have a group of dogs ready to graduate, we match the dogs’ strengths with the veteran’s needs to make good teams,” says Victoria Sanderson, communications and volunteer coordinator with PSD. “We also do home visits and further conversations before making a match. We take the matching process very seriously and try to get as much information as possible to ensure we are doing our best for the veterans and for the dogs.” PSD trains its dogs for two years. Once they have matched a dog with a veteran, the veteran attends “Warrior Week,” a one-week training program to teach the veteran how to work with the dog. “Usually, three to four veteran-service dog teams go through Warrior Week together,” says Victoria. “The comradery of a group helps everyone learn and feel comfortable. Teams must pass the Assistance Dogs International
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I’ve made new friendships. I didn’t expect it, but PSD has become more than just a volunteer position for me, it’s a part of my life now.” As for Victoria, she knows it truly takes a village to train a quality service dog and is always impressed at the way the PSD village steps up to help. “I’m lucky enough to receive a lot of the videos and pictures our puppy raisers take,” she says, “and it’s always so nice to see the dogs,
UPCOMING EVENTS S E R V I C E P U P P Y PA R T Y ! Celebrate the first birthday of three service dogs in training and learn about volunteering with PSD // September 17, 11am-1pm, at the Tuscawilla Park group pavilion // Several PSD dogs-in-training will be attending, so please do not bring personal dogs. puppy raising (approximately four months) and mid-term puppy raising (one to two months). “We cannot train quality service dogs for veterans without volunteers,” says Victoria. “Puppy raisers are critical to our mission. We cannot overstate their importance, but we understand that we are asking volunteers to give a lot of their time and a lot of their hearts to our dogs, so we strive to make our community supportive, hands-on and fun. As a volunteer, you will literally help change the lives of veterans and their families. We encourage volunteers to attend the graduation ceremonies so they can meet the veterans and see the final outcome.” The volunteer application is on the organization’s website. After receiving the application, PSD will call to set up a video call interview. PSD covers all dog costs, including food, vet care, toys and treats. They do their best to match the abilities and lifestyles of volunteers with the personalities, training levels and ages of our dogs. Russ Palecek, an Army veteran, began volunteering with PSD in 2019.
CANINES AND WINES November 6, 5-8pm, at Whispering Oaks Winery, Oxford // $40 ticket includes barbecue dinner, one drink, raffles prizes, entertainment and the chance to meet the dogs of PSD. Tickets available at patriotservicedogs.org. A R M Y N AV Y G O L F C L AS S I C September 24, 8:30am shotgun start // Juliette Falls Golf Club, 6933 SW 179th Ave. Rd., Dunnellon // $35 per person to register (includes golf cart and range balls)
“Being a veteran that did not see combat, I feel it’s my duty to give back to those who have,” Russ says. Little did he know, volunteering with PSD would become more than a way to give back; it would become a personal mission. As Russ worked hard to become a skilled service dog trainer, his role in the organization grew from puppy raiser to Warrior Week Assistant Trainer to WOOF Program Assistant and now to an integral part of the organization. “I feel like I’ve found my purpose after retiring in PSD,” says Russ. “I’ve learned so much about service dogs and what they do for veterans, and
who I met as an uncontrollable ball of fur at 8 weeks old, in the bookstore or shopping for groceries or at a restaurant. And it’s equally rewarding to see how much work the puppy raisers put in and how much they make the dogs a part of their lives. It’s a real-life, in-person, community working hard to do something positive, and that feels a little rare these days.” Patriot Service Dogs // Find them on Facebook and Instagram: @patriotservicedogs // Sign up for the blog and digital newsletter at patriotservicedogs.org AUG ‘22
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The Magic of Myakka On your next visit to the Sarasota area, plan a day trip to Myakka River State Park. // B Y K A R I N F A B R Y- C U S H E N B E R Y
Photos courtesy of Florida State Parks
he Myakka River was Florida’s first river to be designated a wild and scenic river, and it flows through 58 square miles of Sarasota’s Myakka State Park, one of Florida’s largest and oldest parks. “Between the 1850s and 1930s, the lands of what would become Myakka River State Park were used for cattle ranching,” says THE PARK FEATURES THE Tim Linafelt of the CANOPY WALKWAY, A FIRSTFlorida Department of Environmental OF-ITS-KIND EXPERIENCE Protection Division The park features THAT ALLOWS VISITORS of Recreation and an abundance Parks. Bertha TO OBSERVE LIFE IN THE of recreational Palmer, a progressive opportunities and TREETOPS OF AN OAK/PALM businesswoman from amenities, including Chicago, came to HAMMOCK. seven miles of paved Sarasota and bought roads for bicyclists -TIM LINAFELT, FLORIDA DEPT. OF a vast amount of land. who will cycle ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION DIVISION She established her alongside grassy OF RECREATION AND PARKS own Meadow Sweet marshes, the shore Pastures, and the land of the Upper Myakka became known as the Palmer Ranch. Lake and shady hammocks. Bike rentals are “Following Palmer’s death in 1918, one available at the Myakka Outpost, and you can program of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s grab a map at the ranger station to navigate New Deal in the 1930s created the Civilian your route before heading out. Conservation Corps (CCC) and funded the A great variety of birds call Myakka’s 37,000purchase of 17,000 acres of the Palmer plus acres home, including migratory birds, estate,” says Tim. “This land was used to songbirds, wading birds, raptors and more. The develop Myakka River State Park. The park was Wings Over Florida program is a self-guided officially created in 1934 and is one of eight program for those interested in observing some Florida State Parks developed by the CCC of Florida’s favorite winged friends. during the 1930s.” Myakka River State Park also offers guests
a 45- to 60-minute boat tour, which leaves the dock at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm. The cost is $20 for adults and $12 for kids ages 3-12. No reservations are necessary, and the tours are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. No visit to a state park is complete without a hike to explore the surroundings, taking in the native flora and fauna. The Myakka Trail includes a nearly 40-mile hiking loop that is maintained by the Florida Trail Association. “The park features the Canopy Walkway, a first-of-its-kind experience that allows visitors to observe life in the treetops of an oak/palm hammock,” says Tim. “During your time at Myakka River State Park, you may encounter limpkins, osprey, otters, bobcats, alligators and turtles, among others.” Myakka River State Park // 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota // (941) 361-6511 // floridastateparks.org
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If there’s one thing every single teen and young
are able to stay in the program and repeat
adult could benefit from, it’s a good mentor.
the process as long as they like. Over those 12
A partnership between Ocala Fire Rescue and
weeks the cadets engage in physical fitness
Marion County Fire Rescue is providing kids in
conditioning that rivals the training required
our community with just that.
at the Florida State Fire College, but that
Plans for the Ocala-Marion Mentorship
doesn’t mean it’s only appropriate for athletes
Program began in 2017, and the program rolled out in 2018. Emphasizing physical conditioning and skills learned and mastered through emergency services and firefighting, the mentorship program also focuses on life
MARION'S M E N TO R S
skills needed to become a productive member of society. Chris Hickman, captain with Ocala Fire Rescue and coordinator of the mentorship program, and Drew Rogers, division chief of training for Marion County Fire Rescue, joined
TWO MENTORSHIP PROGRAMS IN MARION COUNTY ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF LOCAL TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS. THE OCALA-MARION MENTORSHIP PROGRAM AND THE OCALA PUBLIC SAFETY MENTORING PROGRAM PROVIDE YOUNG PEOPLE WITH
forces to offer the program to Marion County
INSIGHT AND TRAINING INTO CAREERS IN FIRE
high school students ages 15 and up.
RESCUE AND POLICE WORK. AND ALSO, MUCH
“When we first started, we focused on those over 21, but we found through trial and
MORE THAN THAT. B Y K A R I N FA B RY- C U S H E N B E RY
the best leaders was to introduce people to
or the physically fit. The duo says that anyone,
the program while still in high school,” says
any gender, size or shape, can join and reap
Hickman. “Today we take kids ages 15 and up.”
benefits. In addition to fitness, cadets will learn
The all-inclusive program is free of charge
how to put on firefighter protective gear, work
and runs in 12-week cycles; although, cadets
with ladders and recognize life-saving tools.
Photographed by John Jernigan
error that the most successful way to prepare
And although the program may cater to those interested in firefighting or EMS, it’s definitely not limited to it. “Even if the cadets don’t grow up to take a job as a first responder, they will still grow
THEY GO FROM A ME TO A WE MENTALITY. THE LESSONS THE CADETS LEARN ARE TAKEN HOME WITH THEM, AND IT’S CHANGING Photographed by John Jernigan
OUTCOMES AND FAMILY DYNAMICS. C A P TA I N C H R I S H I C K M A N , O C A L A F I R E R E S C U E & M E N T O R S H I P C O O R D I N AT O R
up and make a positive influence on the community,” says Hickman. “A lot of programs give teens activities but not accountability. There is an age of entitlement right now. We develop responsibility in our cadets by giving our kids tasks and projects and ensuring that they see them through.” “It’s important to learn the importance of setting and obtaining goals and then setting new goals,” says Rogers. “We focus on self-respect, respect, self-discipline and accountability.” Hickman and Rogers, along with their countless volunteers have learned that the kids gain far more than bigger muscles from the mentorship program. “The consistency we provide holds the kids accountable, but the support system we provide allows the kids to effectively police themselves and hold each other accountable,” says Hickman. “Kids need activities and experiences that help develop life-long skills.” 22
The leaders meet with the kids three times a week in training for nine to 12 hours; plus, cadets are expected to attend certain events or happenings around town from time to time, racking up 100 volunteer hours while in the program. Hickman says it’s almost like a parttime job for the teens. But no matter who you ask, the program is worth the time and effort. Seeing the cadets change from within, altering their decision making and making good choices is what Hickman says matters the most. “They go from a me to a we mentality,” he says. “Kids today are given things we didn’t have until we were in our 20s or 30s. It’s a wild world we live in, and we’re doing more than just changing an individual. The lessons the cadets learn are taken home with them, and it’s changing outcomes and family dynamics.” One recent graduate of the program,
Richard Allman, was involved for two years. Richard entered the workforce right out of high school and thought he had missed his opportunity to become a firefighter. “When Hickman invited me to come [to the program], it sparked that passion and desire I once had for this career,” he says. “I went hoping I could change my life, and I’m so glad I did.” Richard acknowledges that the program wasn’t always easy. Unhealthy choices sometimes made the exercises difficult, and full-time responsibilities meant it wasn’t always easy to get to the lessons and meetings. “Being out of shape and a smoker, just completing the workouts was a challenge for me,” he says. “But with every step I became better and stronger, which was ultimately one of the best things I got from the mentor program.
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MENTORING, WHETHER IT BE FOR NEW HIRES AT THE STATIONS OR JUST HELPING A TEEN START OFF WITH A SOLID FOUNDATION IS I learned that with hard work and dedication anything is possible.” Today Richard is a firefighter/EMT and is in his second semester of paramedic school at the College of Central Florida. “I would highly recommend this program to all who are considering this career path or to anyone who is wondering what path to choose,” Richard says. “This program is life changing, and you will forever be grateful for not only the hands-on skills you will learn but also the life lessons, friends and mentors you will gain.” “It’s almost impossible to measure the true impact the Ocala-Marion Mentorship Program has on its cadets,” says Ocala City Council Woman Kristen Dreyer. “Not only does it equip them with life skills, it also prepares them mentally and physically to succeed in any profession they choose. The dedication of the cadets is to be commended as is the dedication of our staff to impact generations.” For those in the program who are interested in pursuing a career in EMS or firefighting, the mentorship program sponsors students multiple times a year. 24
INCREDIBLY REWARDING. CHIEF DREW ROGERS, MARION COUNTY FIRE RESCUE
“Every four to six months we administer a test for our top cadets,” says Rogers. Those who are awarded scholarships are given the means to attend and succeed in EMT and firefighting school. “Mentoring, whether it be for new hires at the stations or just helping a teen start off with a solid foundation is incredibly rewarding,” adds Rogers. Ending 2021, the program saw 129 participants, 26 of whom secured employment through connections made in the internship program. Another four cadets enlisted in the military. In the summer of 2021, Ocala Police Department Major Steve Cuppy visited and observed the Ocala-Marion Mentorship Program in action. Cuppy and his department immediately saw the benefits of the program, and it wasn’t long before the OPD offered up a mentorship program of its own.
The OPD already offered an ongoing Explorers program for young people in middle school to early high school, but the Ocala Public Safety Mentorship Program is different in that it caters to high school juniors and seniors, runs in 12-week cycles and coincides with the school year. Students in the program meet once a week on Thursday nights for two hours. “The mentorship program offers a snapshot into many areas of law enforcement for those who have a piqued interest in police work,” says Cuppy. “The program is geared toward hands-on activities and training when possible. It’s about getting the kids up and out of their chairs. They won’t just come and sit listening to lectures. The program is much more interactive.” Over the 12-week mentorship, the teens will get first-hand knowledge and experience with a variety of law enforcement procedures
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and equipment, all supervised by volunteer officers who will either help assist or act as safety officers. “Program topics include handcuffing, less lethal weapons such as an ASP or taser, investigations and report writing, a firearm simulator, driving, building search techniques, latent fingerprint processing, conducting a traffic stop and more,” says Cuppy. Participants will also be immersed in a law enforcement-based scenario by visiting a local business and interviewing witnesses and detainees to a staged crime. They will then go back to the station and write a probable cause affidavit. Students may also be given the opportunity to take part in an actual marked patrol car ride along with an OPD officer. “The kids will also visit our dispatch center,” says Cuppy, “going into the communications center and seeing the interworkings of that department. Polygraph is another topic covered. A polygraph is a tool used in our hiring 26
process, and this gives the kids the chance to sit down in the chair, get hooked up and experience the process.” “We take 25 kids two times a year,” adds Cuppy, “and our students are accepted through an application process. We hope to draw from every high school, including homeschooled students.” Cuppy, along with his staff of employees and volunteers aims to provide the students with key leadership skills that will be beneficial regardless of their chosen path in life. “For us, it’s about trying to ID those who have the potential to be successful in the program and helping them along the way to their law enforcement career,” says Cuppy. “I personally don’t recommend turning an 18- or 19-year-old [kid] into a sworn officer, but we have many non-sworn positions that allow young people to begin their job in law enforcement, including evidence technicians, dispatchers, jobs in the supply section and
more. After some experience, they can move to being a sworn officer.” Cuppy says that in today’s world it’s important for kids to have responsibility and direction. “We have this community outreach program that we believe has value,” says Cuppy. “Police work is a very noble profession. Our society wouldn’t function without law enforcement, and good law enforcement isn’t easy. A lot of work goes into keeping a professional and successful agency. We want to inspire the next generation and leave the community in capable hands.”
OCALA-MARION MENTORSHIP PROGRAM For more information or to apply to the program, please call Chris Hickman at (352) 390-0322 or visit ocalafire.org/mentor.
OCALA PUBLIC SAFETY MENTORSHIP PROGRAM For more information or to apply to the program, contact Steve Cuppy at (352) 427-3298 or email@example.com.
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Rashad Jones photo courtesy of The Food Network
MASTE R OF ‘CU E Rashad Jones, owner of Big Lee’s – Serious About Barbecue, was recently crowned ‘Master of ‘Cue’ during the Food Network’s newest season of its show BBQ Brawl. The show features superstar chefs Anne Burrell and Jet Tila challenging the undefeated champion, Bobby Flay, for a chance at leading Food Network’s next ‘Master of ‘Cue’ to victory. The season premiered on May 9, and Rashad was named the champion on June 27. Through the season’s eight episodes, Bobby, Anne and Jet mentored and coached nine upcoming stars, including Rashad, in the barbecue world with culinary battles that tested their skills and their ability to work together as a team. With the captains guiding their teams every step of the way, a panel of judges featuring barbecue legend Rodney Scott, famed chef Brooke Williamson and lifestyle personality Carson Kressley ultimately decided that Ocala’s own Rashad was worthy of being crowned Master of ‘Cue. Rashad will now appear across Food Network’s digital platforms and become its official barbecue expert for the year. If you missed the show while it was live on TV, you can check out past episodes of BBQ Brawl on the streaming service Discovery+.
BREW AT THE ZOO
There’s a new farmers and artisan market in the Ocala area. Blue Oaks Market opened for business on June 18 at the Blue Oaks Plaza, located at 11175 SW 93rd Court Road. “We want to showcase local small business owners from around the area to showcase their products and services,” says Davina Mohabir, who manages the market alongside her parents, Sita and David Mohabir, and other family members. “We have local Ocala vendors, as well as vendors from close cities like Gainesville and Orlando.” The market takes place every third Saturday of each month from 10am-2pm and offers both an outdoor and indoor market. A variety of vendors have attended the market thus far, offering goods like homemade cookies and jewelry and promoting services like photography. As a newer market, vendors are welcome to apply, whether you’re a new startup or established business. Vendors can sign up by contacting the market via their Facebook page or by completing the application in their bio link on Instagram. Blue Oaks Market // 11175 SW 93rd Court Road, Ocala // Find them on Facebook and Instagram: @blueoaksmarket
Gainesville’s Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is hosting its inaugural Brew at the Zoo on Saturday, August 13 from 4-7pm. Guests 21 years and older are invited to the zoo after hours for an evening of live music, craft beer tastings, animal encounters, food and more. All funds raised from Brew at the Zoo will directly support the zoo and its mission to educate, inspire and secure a future for wildlife. Tickets are $60 and must be pre-purchased at showpass.com/brewatthezoo. All ticket sales include after-hours admission to the zoo, animal encounters, four 4-ounce beer pours, live entertainment, games and a commemorative souvenir cup. Additional pours will be available for purchase during the event. Participating breweries include Swamp Head Brewery, First Magnitude Brewing Company, Cypress & Grove Brewing Company, Daft Cow Brewery, Azalea City Brewing Company and Hiatus Brewing Company. Learn more about the zoo and the event at sfcollege.edu/zoo. 28
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Made With Love Local entrepreneur Alexandra Dickson has a full house—and all are great taste testers. // B Y M E L I S S A P E T E R S O N
Photo courtesy of Three Wise Dogs LLC
he owner of and baker for Three Wise Dogs, which she launched in February of this year, Alexandra Dickson makes homemade pet treats. These treats are sold through the online website Etsy as well as at pop-up markets and farmers markets in Central Florida, including the Ocala Downtown Market. Alexandra moved to Florida from Colorado three years ago with her husband, Scott, and their two dogs, Turner and Dyna. Since moving to the area, however, they’ve added a few family members. “We have rescued a sweet little guy that we have named Pinto Bean and two really cool cats named Clawdia and Salem,” says Alexandra. “My husband and I definitely have a full pack right now.” Although the official company is a new venture, Alexandra has been making dog treats since she was in high school, and in her short time in business, her treats have already been picked up by an out-of-state bakery. “I originally started making dog treats because I was in an animal science class at a vocational school during my junior and senior years of high school,” she says. “After high school, my treat-making became strictly personal. With the support of my family and friends, however, I finally decided to go into business.” It wasn’t a huge career change for her, though. She graduated from the New England Culinary Institute with a degree in culinary arts and worked in the culinary business in Colorado until moving to Florida. For Alexandra, making her own pet treats is a way to make sure her pets—and now yours—are consuming the healthiest ingredients. “The market is saturated with preservativeladen treats and treats that have no health benefits at all,” explains Alexandra. “I decided I
wanted something better for my pets. My treats are made with a very limited list of ingredients, each with a purpose. Very recently, I also created a cat treat that my cats and I are very happy with.” Alexandra’s two best-selling dog treats are Mutts for Nuts and Pumpkin Nut, but her cat treats are also selling at very high numbers. Both the Pumpkin Nut and cat treats are grain free and very gentle on the stomach. The Mutts for Nuts treats are just 1 inch in size, so they’re great for smaller dogs or to use during training sessions. All her treats have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration, and of course, Alexandra is very aware of ingredients that both cats and dogs need to steer clear of. “Some ingredients we stay away from completely are added salt, garlic, onion, avocado, cane sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and food dye,” she says. “Using natural ingredients to change the color of a treat is a great way to achieve a specific color. Peanut butter is a favorite of most pets, but when choosing a peanut butter to work with, I always make sure there are no added sugars. In particular, a sweetener called xylitol can be very harmful.”
Alexandra’s Etsy shop is always open for orders, and she also keeps her social media accounts updated with markets that she plans to attend, like the Ocala Downtown Market’s Woofstock event on August 31 from 4-8pm. This fall she will also be at the Market of Marion in Belleview and the Sumter County farmers market in Webster. Ultimately, Three Wise Dogs and baking nutritious treats for pets is simply an act of love. “I get to create something delicious and healthy for dogs and cats, two of my biggest loves,” she says. “You know how they say ‘It’s not work if you’re doing what you love?’ Well, I never believed it was a real thing until I started this business. I couldn’t imagine any job being so enjoyable it didn’t actually feel like work. But now I understand. It really isn’t work if you’re doing what you love.” Three Wise Dogs LLC // threewisedogs.etsy.com // Find her on social media: @ThreeWiseDogsfl Editor’s note: Talk to your veterinarian before adding any new ingredients into your pet’s diet.
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35 SE 1ST AVE | OCALA CANTINAOCALA.COM 352.325.8226 SCAN CODE TO ENTER
LA CUISINE FRENCH RESTAURANT
Two Locations: 3790 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala // (352) 694-1401 // Mon-Sun 11am-10pm // 3510 SW 36th Ave. (SR 200), Ocala // (352) 291-2121 // Mon-Sun 11am-11pm
48 SW 1st Ave Ocala // (352) 433 2570 // lacuisineocala.com Tue-Sun 5-9pm // Sun 11am-2pm // Closed Monday
Head to El Toreo for the best Mexican food this side of the border! Enjoy all of your favorite traditional Mexican dishes in a friendly and festive atmosphere. Beyond the outstanding Mexican food, El Toreo simply offers a warm, fun place to be— whether you’re dressed up or casual. Any day is a good day for one of El Toreo’s tasty margaritas: Mondays and Wednesdays $2 margaritas, Saturdays 2-for-1 margaritas and 2-for-1 happy hour every day from 4-7pm (excluding margaritas).
Treat yourself to a memorable dining experience at La Cuisine. Only the highest quality ingredients and produce are used to create traditional French fare in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Reminiscent of a quaint Paris bistro, La Cuisine offers an ambiance that is ideal for a family brunch, a business dinner or a romantic evening out. With award-winning dishes that are prepared fresh, in-house, each meal includes personal touches that only La Cuisine can provide. Indoor and outdoor patio dining is available in the heart of beautiful downtown, and you’ll enjoy live music on Fridays and some Saturdays. AUG ‘22
3035 SE MARICAMP RD STE 104, UNIT 168 OCALA, FL 34471
Every Minute Matters Know where to go in an emergency.
From stopping a heart attack in its track to treating a stroke at the first sign of symptoms, our team is ready for every emergency. And, with three locations in Marion County, AdventHealth makes it convenient to access expert emergency care 24/7. So when minutes matter most, you never have to delay getting the care that can save you or your loved one’s life.
To find an AdventHealth ER near you, visit TheERExperts.com