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OPEN YOUR MIND

Mind Immersions puts you in the virtual reality universe. IN THEIR ELEMENT

FE ATURIN G

THE HOMES ISSUE Enter the doorway to historic sites, the Parade of Homes and trendy technology.

IN THE KITCHEN Papa Pineapples serves a different take on tacos.

Lake County band Made of Earth is catching fire.

Lakeside Landings

Resort Living Close to Home


YOUR

MULTI AWARD WINNING BUILDER

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A BIG THANK YOU TO WEST CONSTRUCTION! FROM START TO FINISH, WE ARE THRILLED WITH THEIR EXPERTISE, CRAFTSMANSHIP AND ATTENTION TO DETAIL. WE WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND DALE WEST AND HIS ENTIRE WEST CONSTRUCTION TEAM TO ANYONE LOOKING TO BUILD OR REMODEL. — KIM AND STEVE BAKICH

JOSEPH & DALE WEST

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CBC057387 WESTCONSTRUCTIONFL.COM


RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL ELECTRICAL

WORKS This family-owned company could be considered the “hometown pros” when it comes to electrical work, and that’s why numerous residents and businesses not only know our name but also utilize us for our services. Those services range from home repairs and electrical installations to wiring a new construction project from the ground up.

24 HOUR EMERGENCY SERVICE AVAILABLE • • • •

Landscape Lighting Pool & Spa Lighting Gate Systems New Services, Repairs and Upgrades

• Generator Systems • Mobile Home Connection • Lightning Protection

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Some things make your heart skip a beat‌


…our Urgent Care now has a heart specialist on staff to check it out.

S ET YO U R MIN D—AN D YOUR HE ART—AT E A SE. Every FHV Health Urgent Care now includes a practicing cardiologist. You never know when you may need a heart specialist. But now you’ll always know where to find one.

Leesburg 27637 US HWY 27 / 352.326.6001 MON-FRI 9am-7pm SAT & SUN 8am-5pm Lady Lake 201 LaGrande Blvd / 352.753.0606 MON-FRI 9am-7pm SAT & SUN 8am-5pm fhvhealth.com


OPTIONS? DO YOU KNOW YOUR BEST

FACELIFT, TEMPORARY FILLERS, OR PERMANENT FACIAL FILLERS

Liz had ImageLift, Laser, and filler treatments. Results are typical and do vary.

Kathy had a Laser ImageLift. Results are typical and do vary.


Free ImageLift seminars are being held at the following locations in March and April. Meet the doctor and enjoy free food, books, *drawings and door prizes.

YOU’RE INVITED TO FIND OUT! Double Board-Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Raffle drawings for free filler, a $995-$1200 value

UPCOMING FACIAL BEAUTY SOCIAL MIXER MAR 10 HILTON HOTEL SEMINAR, OCALA MAR 31 WATERFRONT INN SEMINAR, THE VILLAGES APR 28 WATERFRONT INN SEMINAR, THE VILLAGES CALL NOW TO RSVP - LIMITED SEATING

MEET THE TEAM!

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DR. RICH CASTELLANO

20 callers! Limited quantities (Retail $14.95)

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*Patient and any other person responsible for payment has a right to refuse to pay, cancel payment, or be reimbursed for payment for any other service, examination, or treatment that is performed as a result of and within 72 hrs of responding to ad for the free, discounted fee, or reduced fee service, examination, or treatment.

8630 East CR 466, The Villages 877.346.2435 // www.IMAGELIFT.com


MAR'20 V.16

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CONTENTS 1 of 2

FEATURES

The Mote-Morris House

038 044 050 057 The past …

the present …

… and the future

Historic homes are still standing in many communities across Lake and Sumter counties. Revisit the stories of four local landmarks: Baker House, MoteMorris House, Donnelly House and Clifford-Taylor House.

The annual Parade of Homes showcases new housing designs by local builders and offers tours for residents who want to gather ideas for their own homes.

Smart home technology is here today but always progressing rapidly. Find out what’s new, what’s on the horizon and how to maintain security.

STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

STORY: CHRIS GERBASI

STORY: JAMES COMBS

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SPECIAL ADVERTISIN G SEC TIO N

Ask the Expert Local professionals provide their expertise on everything you need to know about your home, from top to bottom.


We Listen. We Care. We Educate.

Liz Cornell, CASÂŽ

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Annuits foier sMa1rc0h1 Workshop

d and by RSVP only Seating is very limite

. th Mar. 4 | 9 a.m th | 9 a.m. Mar. 24 erfro nt Inn.

The Wat ges nding, The Villa Lake Sumter La th a.m. Mar. 2n,6How|ey9 -in-the-Hills

Mission In

352.350.1161

TBFinancialGroup.com 3261 U.S. Highway 441/27, Suite F-2 Fruitland Park, FL 34731 TB Financial Group Inc. is a licensed insurance agency for life, health, and annuities. We are not securities licensed.We are not tax advisors. Our seminars are very general in nature and not meant to replace the advice of your CPA, Tax Preparer, Investment Advisor or Attorney. We will not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax or legal professional for these matters.


MAR‘20 V.16

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CONTENTS 2 of 2

DEPARTMENTS

first

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agenda

THE HIT LIST 022 PERSON OF INTEREST 024 OUTSTANDING STUDENT 026 MY FIRST TIME 028 IN THE VILLAGES 030 THIS 'N' THAT 032

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THE TO-DO LIST 070 LOCAL TALENT 074 SOCIAL SPOTLIGHT 076 ATTRACTIONS 078 HI, SOCIETY! 082

menu

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columns

IN THE KITCHEN 100 FORK ON THE ROAD 104 SPIRITS 106 DINING GUIDE 108

FROM THE PUBLISHER 014 FINAL THOUGHT 124

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E ON TH R C OV E

106 MAR '20

L AKE & SUMTER

The Baker House Wildwood

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The

Homes

issue

Enter the doorway to historic sites, the Parade of Homes and trendy technology. AL SO

OPEN YOUR MIND

Mind Immersions puts you in the virtual reality universe.

IN THE KITCHEN Papa Pineapples serves a different take on tacos.

GET IN THE SPIRITS

Making moonshine is a tradition at Yalaha Bootlegging Co.

IN THEIR ELEMENT Lake County band Made of Earth is catching fire.

Lake and Sumter Style


Sharon Bassett, Owner/Broker HSE, SRES, MRP

12403 NE 52ND LOOP, OXFORD FAMILY FRIENDLY! Villages of Parkwood. LOVELY 4/2.5 “Evergreen” Model on a fenced private Homesite, Front covered and rear Screened Covered Lanai, Newer AC, Quartz countertops and ceramic tile floors. $239,000. 11200 SE SUNSET HARBOR RD., SUMMERFIELD Super Unique Property Featuring an Adorable 1 Bedroom, 1 Bath Home with a basement nestled on 7.2 GORGEOUS Acres with a POND! This charming concrete block home features: Basement, over-sized 1-Car-Garage, new electrical, fresh paint, baseboard heaters, mini-split A/C, “comfort height” commode, laminated floors, huge pantry & linen closet, Enclosed front porch, rear covered porch, ceiling fans, newer hot water heater and paved drive. $240,000.

1203 W MAIN ST., LEESBURG MIXED USE COMMERCIAL! Investment

Opportunity! Multi-Unit Retail on Main St. Downtown Leesburg, 2.32 Acres, Warehouse, Pole barn and room to build. $574,900.

1104 BECKER AVE, THE VILLAGES This Stunning 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath “Avondale” Courtyard Villa is nestled on a corner home-site located in The Village of Pine Ridge. Home comes completely “Turn Key” furnished, oversized 2-car garage, covered front porch and covered screened-in lanai, Gourmet Kitchen with Stainless appliances, Island, volume ceilings and much more! $349,000.

4972 NE 73RD DR., WILDWOOD STUNNING LAKE VIEW! BEAUTIFUL 3/2 Custom Waterfront Southern Plantation with 1/1 Guest Home privately nestled amongst (7) beautiful acres on LAKE DEATON. Includes; Barn and covered RV parking. $559,999.

1-352-307-2925

4880 NE 122ND AVE., OXFORD FAMILY FRIENDLY! Villages of Parkwood. BEAUTIFUL 3/3 open and spacious “Holly” model with circular drive, covered lanai, gourmet kitchen with granite and huge walk-in pantry, diagonal ceramic tile, and formal living and dining. $259,000.

9815 SE 173RD LN., SUMMERFIELD JUST GORGEOUS! Open and Spacious 3/2 “Dogwood” model home w/ water view. Vaulted Ceilings, laminate floors, golf car garage and MOVE IN READY! Perfectly and conveniently located in Spruce Creek South 55+ Gated Golf Community. $184,900.

BassettPremierRealty.com

Spruce Creek Professional Plaza | 10935 SE 177th Place, Suite 201, Summerfield, FL 34491


FROM THE PUBLISHER

History on parade Before modern marvels, the homes of pioneers put Lake and Sumter on the map.

he Parade of Homes has been a tradition in Lake and Sumter counties for many years—not since the late 19th century, but if the Home Builders Association of LakeSumter had existed back then, it would have put on quite a show. Many houses built around that time are still standing and have become historical touchstones: the Baker House, Wildwood, 1890; the Mote-Morris House, Leesburg, 1892; the Donnelly House, Mount Dora, 1893; and the Clifford-Taylor House, Eustis, 1910. For our annual Homes issue, we recall the history of these houses as a reminder of the area’s past. In the present, we preview the 2020 Parade of Homes, the tour staged across several communities by the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter. Each year, new home designs by local builders are judged in several categories and honored with awards. Those new houses are likely to utilize smart home technology, which may have unlimited potential in the

future. Read about the latest trends, as well as privacy and security pitfalls to avoid, in our feature story. In related stories, Lisa Templin-Rayborn, executive director of HBA Lake-Sumter, tells a funny story about getting a speeding ticket in “My First Time,” and our “Person of Interest” profiles Realtor Marie Rich and her hippie bus in Mount Dora. A new department, Attractions, will showcase landmarks, getaways, hidden gems and must-see sites for visitors and residents alike. This month, the Style staff gets a dose of virtual reality at Mind Immersions in Clermont. In Spirits, another new department added recently, we visit Yalaha Bootlegging Co. for a look at the modern age of moonshining. But there’s no need to hide the stills from the revenuers—it’s all legal! As always, have a great month and stay one step ahead of the law.

Have a story to tell? We’re always looking for stories about people who live and work in our area. Send suggestions to chris@akersmediagroup.com.

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Kendra Akers Doug Akers

OWNER/PUBLISHER kendra@akersmediagroup.com

DESIGN

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AT YOUR SERVICE

PRESIDENT doug@akersmediagroup.com

PHOTOGRAPHY

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EDITORIAL

Steven J. Codraro Chris Gerbasi

CREATIVE DIRECTOR steve@akersmediagroup.com

MANAGING EDITOR chris@akersmediagroup.com

Michael Gaulin James Combs

SENIOR DESIGNER michael@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER james@akersmediagroup.com

Volkan Ulgen Theresa Campbell

ART DIRECTOR volkan@akersmediagroup.com

OPEN YOUR MIND

MAR '20

L AKE & SUMTER

Mind Immersions puts you in the virtual reality universe. IN THEIR ELEMENT

Lake County band Made of Earth is catching fire. SPONSORED BY

MAR'20

STAFF WRITER theresa@akersmediagroup.com

GLUTEN GOING

Douglas Tyler Victoria Schlabig

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY douglas@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER victoria@akersmediagroup.com

Megan Mericle

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER nicole@akersmediagroup.com

GRAPHIC DESIGNER megan@akersmediagroup.com

CON TRIBUTIN G Anthony Rao WRITER S Joe Angione

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M A RK ETIN G

Tim McRae

VICE PRESIDENT, SALES tim@akersmediagroup.com

Melanie Melvin Dillon True

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING melanie@akersmediagroup.com

ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE dillon@akersmediagroup.com

Shaena Long

SALES ASSISTANT shaena@akersmediagroup.com

ADMI N IS TRATION Deb Matlock Aubrey Akers Simmons

DIRECTOR OF CLIENT SERVICES deb@akersmediagroup.com

Local beer that’s truly local. Fresh hops, fruit and other ingredients grown in Lake County.

10 tips for weight loss.

The

Homes

FE ATURIN G

THE HOMES ISSUE

issue

Enter the doorway to historic sites, the Parade of Homes and trendy technology. AL SO

OPEN YOUR MIND

Mind Immersions puts you in the virtual reality universe.

IN THE KITCHEN Papa Pineapples serves a different take on tacos.

GET IN THE SPIRITS

Making moonshine is a tradition at Yalaha Bootlegging Co.

DON’T FORGET YOUR VITAMINS

IN THEIR ELEMENT

Enter the doorway to historic sites, the Parade of Homes and trendy technology.

IN THE KITCHEN Papa Pineapples serves a different take on tacos.

Lakeside Landings

The benefits of taking supplements.

RUFF-ING IT

+

Ways to exercise with your dog.

Resort Living Close to Home

Lake County band Made of Earth is catching fire.

FRESH TODAY!

WHERE THE LOCALS GO

BIRDWATCHERS UNITE

Enjoy food picked fresh at a farm café, pick your own fruit, or take a hayride to relish agritourism.

Find the best places for outdoor fun, downtown adventure, and lazy life on the water.

Lake County is home to hundreds of bird species, including the native scrub-jay. TO L AKE COUNT Y • 1

Hot off the press! The latest editions of Lake & Sumter Style, Healthy Living, and Welcome to Lake County.

Get yours Subscriptions: Order a subscription of your favorite magazine to be delivered directly

to your home for just $84. Each subscription includes 12 consecutive issues of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Edition Style, or Healthy Living. Choose 2 or more magazines for $108 per year. To order, call 352.787.4112 or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. Change of Address: If you are a seasonal resident or have moved, send your address change request to general@akersmediagroup.com or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. Back Issues: Order a single issue by mail for $7, or 2 or more single issues for $9. To pick up a back issue from our office, please call 24 hours in advance.

OFFICE MANAGER aubrey@akersmediagroup.com

DI S TRIBUTION Scott Hegg

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER scott.hegg@akersmediagroup.com

Lake & Sumter Style is a proud member of

Winner of 200+ Awards for Excellence

LAKE COUNTY IS HOPPIN’

NO WEIGH TO LIVE The Baker House Wildwood

Nicole Hamel

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER anthony@akersmediagroup.com

SALES

FREE

TO LA KE COUNTY Recipes for people with celiac disease.

Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2020 by Akers Media. All rights reserved. Lake & Sumter Style is a registered trademark of Akers Media. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. For back issues or billing information, call 352.787.4112. Return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts and artwork if they are to be returned. Manuscripts are welcomed, but no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. “Paid Promotional Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.

Digitize your life Visit the Apple or Android app store today and download the Lake & Sumter Style or Healthy Living online magazine app for your mobile device.

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M A R ' 2 0 • L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M

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AMERICAN FAMILY HOMES CUSTOM CHANGES BENEFIT YOU

CHANGE IS GOOD

At American Family Homes we believe you deserve your new home, your way. This includes custom changes that make your home personal and special to you. That’s always been part of the American Family Homes experience. Bring us your ideas. Let’s collaborate on style, color and design features to create an energy efficient custom home, within budget, just the way you want it.

KNOW YOUR BUILDER

“Designing and building a custom home is a long process. A thousand decisions need to be made, one just as important as the next. The first decision you need to make is to hire the right builder with the right experience. Don’t underestimate the importance of the relationship with your builder. American Family Homes is Committed to Quality and 100% Satisfaction. We invite your inquiry today.” - Mike Neace CUSTOM HOMES “ON YOUR LOT” FROM THE $200s OFFICE/DESIGN STUDIO 312 South Bay St., Eustis FL 32726

HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF LAKE-SUMTER

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BE IN THE KNOW ABOUT LAKE AND SUMTER COUNTIES | PEOPLE. COMMENTARY. NEWS.

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THE HIT LIST News and notes from Lake and Sumter counties.

PERSON OF INTEREST Critters are a cause for Marie Rich.

OUTSTANDING STUDENT Riley Standifer speaks through art and the church.

MY FIRST TIME Lisa Templin-Rayborn learned to watch her speed.

IN THE VILLAGES Traveling to hot spots is an adventure.


THE HIT LIST

1

GET A TASTE OF LAKE COUNTY: Leesburg’s third annual Taste of Lake & Business Expo will be filled with signature food, live music and awards for the best entries. Sample food and drinks from restaurants and meet unique business vendors from all over Lake County from 5:30-8pm March 10 at the Venetian Center, 1 Dozier Court. leesburgchamber.com.

GRAB YOUR RUNNING SHOES: The Lake Minneola Half Marathon and 5K is scheduled for 7am March 28 at Clermont’s Waterfront Park, 330 3rd St. After running around Lake Minneola and on the South Lake Trail, participants will receive a finisher medal, colorful event shirt, live entertainment and an energy buffet. raceraves.com/ races/lake-minneola.

4

PARTY FOR A GOOD CAUSE: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at ShamRockin’ Fest with live music from Keeper and other DJs, bagpipes and more at 4pm March 17 at Gator Harley-Davidson, 1745 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg. Enjoy corned beef and cabbage, a full bar and $1 green beers until 7pm. Proceeds benefit St. Baldrick’s Foundation for children with cancer. 352.787.7878, ext. 050.

A NEW TOOTH FAIRY: Happy Grins Pediatric Dentistry recently had a ribboncutting ceremony for its official grand opening in Clermont. The boutique-style private practice, led by Dr. Patty Villalta, is committed to caring for children’s dental health needs. 17319 Pagonia Road, Suite 113. 352.653.1600.

5

‘WIND, FIRE AND ICE’ CONCERT: Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra will host Sten Heinoja, a virtuoso guest pianist from Estonia, playing the fiery Tschaikowsky piano concerto No. 1 at 7:30pm March 19 at Epiphany Celebration Anglican Church, 1724 S. Bay. St., Eustis, and 7:30pm March 20 at Family Christian Center, 2500 S. Highway 27, Clermont. floridalakessymphonyorchestra.com.


FRESH FROM THE FARM: Looking for fresh local produce, fruit, seafood, bread and more? Then consider attending the Mount Dora Village Market, which is open from 9am-2pm every Sunday this month at Sunset Park, 230 W. 4th Ave. This open-air venue was rated in the top 10 farmer’s markets by tripstodiscover.com.

BEND TO THEIR WILL: YogaSix is a new member of the South Lake Chamber of Commerce. YogaSix, 2305 S. Highway 27 in Clermont, offers six class types from hot and powerful to slow and mindful, as well as beginner classes and sculpting classes. 352.404.9483.

CONCERNED ABOUT ALZHEIMER’S? Led by trained facilitators, the Alzheimer’s Association of Central and North Florida Chapter hosts early-stage support groups in The Villages and Leesburg to share information on community resources and provide a safe place for people with dementia and their care partners to discuss their needs and feelings. Call 800.272.3900 to learn meeting sites and dates.

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TAKE A HIKE! A free, guided early-evening exploration hike is set for 5pm March 8 at Pear Park Gateway, 26701 U.S. Highway 27, Leesburg. Make your reservation by contacting Justin Elkins at 352.630.7770 or jelkins@lakecountyfl.gov.

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PIZZA IS ALWAYS IN STYLE: You’ve eaten New Yorkstyle pizza. You’ve dived into Chicagostyle pizza. Now try St. Louis-style pie at Uncle Kenny’s St. Louis Style Pizza. The new shop is an addition to Uncle Kenny’s BBQ at 157 N. Highway 27 in the Citrus Tower Plaza in Clermont. 352.394.1225.

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PERSON OF INTEREST

PEO PLE

Marie Rich Realtor, animal lover—and hippie. INTERVIEWER: CHRIS GERBASI

≈ PHOTO: ANTHONY RAO

VITAL STATS

• Realtor with RE/MAX Premier Realty, Mount Dora. • Founder of Rich Critter Foundation. • Pets: One dog, seven cats. • Waitressed for 28 years.

Best part of job? I know this sounds so cliché, but it’s helping the people. It’s really about helping a buyer get their dream home or someone selling their home and they’re happy because they’re going to move on to something else. And I just love it. What does the Rich Critter Foundation do? We spay and neuter. I’ve raised money for people who can’t afford to get their dog or cat to a vet. On the second Friday of each month, I take my hippie bus, 1970 VW bus, to the Magical Meat Boutique in Mount Dora, and it’s called Vittles for Critters fundraiser. If you bring pet food for dogs or cats, then you get a free drink. Then I bring all the food to Lake Cares food pantry.

Celebrity crush? Paul McCartney. I actually saw Paul McCartney in May and I was in the second row and I had a sign that looked just Know a person of interest? Tell us!

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like the hippie bus. I put some lights around it, and it said, “Baby, sign my bus.” And you know what? Paul McCartney looked at me and read my sign.

What’s the story behind the hippie bus? I’ve always wanted a VW bus, and over in Orlando, this hippie bus was for sale on a Thanksgiving weekend four years ago. It was painted similar to now (with ’60s rock stars). I had the same artist redo some of it. The Who was where the Beatles are, and I didn’t like the Who—not as good as the Beatles. That bus just brings smiles.

Words to describe you: Enthusiastic, passionate, optimistic, confident.

Pet peeve: When people don’t answer their phone. I can’t stand it. And then they’ll text. Like, hello? Can’t you just answer the phone? The reason I’m successful is I answer my phone.

Email your recommendation to chris@akersmediagroup.com


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OUTSTANDING STUDENT

PEO PLE

Riley Standifer Senior at Leesburg High School is an artist and activist. INTERVIEWER: JAMES COMBS PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

L V I TA AT S ST

• Maintains 4.3 GPA. • Has taken five courses during his senior year as a dual-enrolled student at LakeSumter State College. • President of Leesburg High School’s National Art Honor Society.

H AS R IL E Y L A K E IN L IV E D R 14 T Y FO CO U N A R S YE

• President of Conference Connection on Youth Ministry for Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Favorite quote: Nothing is black and white. Everything is gray. My art background: I have always loved working with clay. I created a clapper dress by putting 200 miniature hands made out of clay onto a dress. That project won me Best of Show at the 2019 Leesburg Student Art Show

hosted by the Leesburg Center for the Arts.

My church involvement: The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church chose me to attend the United Methodist Church’s general conference in May 2020 in Minneapolis. The church will decide whether to split over allowing same-sex marriage and gay and lesbian clergy. I will fight for full inclusion because I feel God created all

Know an outstanding student? Fill us in!

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his children perfectly. I was one of the youngest people in the country selected to attend and one of only 20 delegates from Florida.

Favorite food: Sushi. Two words that describe me: Thinker and innovator. Future plans: I have applied to the University of Central Florida, where I hope to earn a bachelor’s degree in English.

Beyond that, I am unsure at the moment.

Interesting detail about my life: I have a twin sister named Avery. Having a twin is like having a built-in best friend.

Advice for younger children: Don’t let fear hold you back.

Pet peeve: Rude people.

Email your recommendations to james@akersmediagroup.com


“The quality of work was exceptional creating our pool paradise. The entire process was a total team effort from sales, design and the construction which made our experience hassle free. They met their time line schedule, were very responsive and approachable to any questions we had. Overall, Wiseman Pools did a very nice job, were efficient and true passionate professionals that exceeded our expectations.” — RYAN & TIFFANY LANGSTON, LEESBURG, FLORIDA

We know that every single customer is unique—Building Unique Pools is our company motto—and so every project we undertake is delivered to a client’s signature set of personal tastes and, where necessary, solves any challenges their property may present. 352-431-3766 | www.WisemanPools.com | 1517 W Main St., Leesburg Wiseman Pools is a family-owned-and-operated, licensed residential and commercial swimming pool builder with an extensive portfolio of projects. From the small—fountains and in-ground spas. To the large—million dollar installations with multiple pools and spas. Our customers, large and small, demand a quality swimming pool for a fair price. And we deliver.


MY FIRST TIME

PEO PLE

Lisa TemplinRayborn First speeding ticket teaches the lesson of ‘never say never.’ INTERVIEWER: THERESA CAMPBELL

was 17 and living in a small northeast Ohio town when one of my best friends, Margo, and I went to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, to see her brother and go to the Huey Lewis concert. I was driving her dad’s car, a blue Mustang convertible. It was cold, and we had the top down. As I drove on the base, or the “Yard,” as they called it,

What about your first time?

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≈ PHOTO: DOUGLAS TYLER

I asked Margo what the speed limit was, and she said 25 mph. But it was not 25, it was 15 mph. So, my first speeding ticket was at the Naval Academy, with the convertible top down, in the wintertime, with all these gorgeous men in uniforms walking around. I was embarrassed. I read the ticket thinking, “I don’t want my parents to know I got a ticket, I don’t want to lose my driving privileges, so I’m not going to tell them!” The ticket said you’re not allowed to drive in Maryland if you don’t pay the ticket, and in my naïve thinking at 17, I thought, “Well, I’ll NEVER

be back here!” So, I didn’t pay the ticket or tell my parents. Several months later, a summons comes in the mail to appear in court. My parents paid the fine, and I did lose driving privileges to the family car. But, here’s the irony. After getting my first speeding ticket there and thinking I would never drive in Maryland again, my son, Steel, is now at the Naval Academy. He will be commissioned as a Navy pilot in May. Now when I go to the academy and drive on the Yard, I have flashbacks every single time and I’m so careful about my speed limit.

If you’d like to share your first time doing a significant event, email theresa@akersmediagroup.com

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feels like home

A beautiful room just doesn’t happen by itself. It takes talent, experience, and resources to orchestrate such At Noland Lowell Interiors, we know how to enhance lifestyles and accentuate an endeavor.

personalities through the use of color, texture, furnishings, art, decor and all the other fine details. We showcase our talents by focusing on client needs and budgets to deliver well-thought-out interiors that are inviting, livable, fashionable and exciting. Whether it’s a custom home, condominium, historical home, new construction, or a remodel, Noland Lowell Interiors will fulfill your vision from start to finish so that you can live comfortably in a beautiful, well-appointed home.

www.nolandlowell.com

407.376.6318


IN THE VILLAGES

CO MMENTARY

Sailing through the ‘heart of Islam’ Traveling to hot spots can be safe if you find the right ‘seam.’ STORY: JOE ANGIONE

riends who know our travel history sometimes think my wife and I are missing the “fear gene,” or maybe even have a death wish. Often, we go to places that they’d never go near, fearing that terrorists would be waiting to do them harm, even take their lives. We gave these shocked friends their usual feelings of dread for us when, in late November through Dec. 19, we sailed through the “heart of Islam,” better known as the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. These are contested waterways separating Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, from Iranian incursions. Iran lies only about 70 miles away from these countries and sitting right next to Iran is war-ravaged Iraq. Experienced travelers learn that timing is everything. Sometimes, you’re risking your life to be in a hostile part of the world; then there are “seams” in time when the situation in a dangerous region is calm and peaceful. It was during our

22 days in the Middle East that we had hit one of those seams. Everywhere we went, we met no hostiles, we were not badly treated, we were not tracked by pirates who often terrorize these waters and we saw no enemy warships. The media wants you to believe the Strait of Hormuz—through which 70 percent of Middle Eastern oil travels to market—could become a “death trap” should Iran punish the West by blockading the strait. But the strait is so wide, it would be a tall order for Iran’s small, weak navy to accomplish a successful blockade. In the strait’s broad expanse of water, it’s difficult to locate any warships, even any commercial shipping. Besides, our Abraham Lincoln carrier strike force patrols the strait at all times. In every Middle Eastern country we visited, we felt as safe as we are here in The Villages. But peaceful “seams” in time can quickly change. Two weeks later, the Russians, Chinese and Iranians held naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman. Iranian missiles and rebel forces struck U.S. facilities. President Trump executed Iran’s top general, and Iran threatened revenge on U.S. personnel in the region. Travelers must always assess risk wherever they go. The State Department will help. If it doesn’t tell you not to go, then take the trip. Be cautious, but also be adventuresome.

Joe Angione loves to share stories of his adventures. If you want to contact him, email joeangione@aol.com.

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Fresh Seafood IS JUST A SHORT

R I D E A W AY !

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THIS 'N' THAT

CO MMENTARY

QUIET! Can’t a guy get a little peace around here? STORY: CHRIS GERBASI

≈ ILLUSTRATION: MEGAN MERICLE


hat is all that noise outside my office window? Landscapers blowing leaves. Sanitation workers sucking sewage from beneath the street. A semitrailer idling. Hammering from building renovations. Jackhammers breaking up concrete. Fire sirens, police sirens, tornado sirens, car alarms. Here come Hell’s Angels motorcycling down the street, followed by a high school marching band and the world’s loudest rockers, the Who. Is that the circus? I swear I hear an elephant roaring. Fireworks are blasting into the air, crisscrossing past helicopters that are dodging the Blue Angels’ flyover above a city that sounds like a bomb testing site. Hey, I’m trying to write a column here! Shut the @#$%& up! Is a special event coming to town? No, it’s just the daily cacophony of noise pollution. I hate to be “that guy,” but can someone please turn down the world? That damn Industrial Revolution. Imagine how quiet it must have been on the prairie before machinery. What could possibly disturb you? A coyote howling in the distance? Your neighbor, five miles away, mowing his lawn with grazing cows? A ranch hand playing “Oh! Susanna” on the harmonica? Back in the 1970s, when environmental consciousness became fashionable, I remember learning in school about different types of pollution. At that time, I thought the worst kind of pollution was noise pollution. I guess I’ve always been oversensitive to noise. Over time, I became a light sleeper, awakened by just about anything. Birds chirping, kids

“I HATE TO BE ‘THAT GUY,’ BUT CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TURN DOWN THE WORLD?”

playing, engines running. Oh, joy, it’s another bright, sunny day! Of course, noise is not limited to machinery. Conversational tones are lost on people who lack self-awareness. The person you’re talking to is two feet away from you. Why are you yelling at them? Don’t walk up behind me in line and start talking on your cellphone. I don’t want to hear “Aunt Gladys needs gallbladder surgery” or “They were out of earwax remover.” Why do people go to concerts if they plan on talking throughout the show? No one came to hear you; they came to hear Engelbert Humperdinck! At sporting events, I often wind up next to a know-it-all blowhard giving a running commentary, or worse, someone playing the radio broadcast. If I had wanted to listen to the radio, I would’ve stayed home. Home is no bargain, either, with garbage trucks, lawnmowers, weed trimmers, barking dogs, reverberating bass from passing vehicles and people still shooting off fireworks weeks after a holiday. Then there’s that guy in the little car with the loud motor. The car mocks me as it pulls away. You think the noise is gone, then you hear it again with each acceleration all the way down the street.

I sit down to watch the Lifetime tripleheader of “Psycho Party Planner,” “Psycho Wedding Crasher” and “Psycho Honeymoon Stalker,” and neighbors on each side of me start a symphony of slams with their car doors. One day, you’ll read about a clash in Lady Lake and Lifetime will turn it into “Psycho Noise Hater.” Is it too much to ask for a little peace? I don’t want to walk through life with headphones as a permanent fixture. Maybe I’ll head to Minnesota. Smithsonian Magazine reports that the quietest place on Earth is an anechoic chamber—free of echo—at Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota. The chamber is so quiet that the background noise is measured in negative decibels, and the longest anybody has been able to stand the silence is 45 minutes. Are you kidding? I’ll try 45 years. Utopia! Of course, your own noise is different. A lawnmower is almost musical if it’s you who’s doing the mowing. Home renovations sound like the Broadway show “Stomp.” And the stereo can’t be too loud if it’s playing your music. So, keep it up, noisemakers. The Who plays loud, and I’ve got every one of their albums.

I bet you can’t stay quiet for five minutes. Comment on this article or share ideas for new stories by emailing chris@akersmediagroup.com.

CHRIS GERBASI

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Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives PA I D

PROM O T IO N A L

F E AT U R E

According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 1,000 colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented each year if enough people get screened for the disease. But about one-third of adults aged 50 or older, the age group at greatest colorectal cancer risk, have not been screened as recommended. Screening can find precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) that can be removed before they turn into cancer, and can find cancer

early when it is easiest to treat. Five types of tests can screen for colorectal cancer. The best-known test is the colonoscopy, in which a colonoscope is inserted through the rectum into the colon. This thin tube has a light and lens for viewing and can also have a tool to remove polyps or tissue samples, which are then checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. A colonoscopy is more than just the best-known test. It is also

recommended if any of the other tests yields an abnormal result. The other tests include the following: • A fecal occult blood test checks for blood in the stool, which could be a sign of polyps, cancer, or other conditions. • A sigmoidoscopy checks the rectum and lower colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer. • A virtual colonoscopy (also called a computed tomography colonography, or CTC) uses X-rays that can show polyps or anything unusual inside the colon. • A DNA stool test checks the DNA in stool cells for genetic changes that might signal colorectal cancer. Talk with your doctor to see what type of screening is best for you.

Did You Know?

Among people who are uninsured, only 29.7% were screened for colorectal cancer in 2018. Even among people with private health insurance, only 64.3% were screened.

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3

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death from cancer in the United States

4.4% and 4.1%

Percent of men and women, respectively, who will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime

Reduce Your Risk There is no sure way to prevent colorectal cancer, but you can still lower your disease risk by doing the following: • Stay at a healthy weight and avoid weight gain around your midsection. • Increase the amount and intensity of physical activity. • Eat more vegetables and fruits, and limit your consumption of red and processed meats. • Avoid excess alcohol, especially if you're a man. • Don't smoke.

104,610 and 43,340

Join Us In Ocala! RBOI’s group Legal Guidance on Working While Dealing with Cancer meets on March 4 from 6 to 7 p.m. This free monthly group is open to the community. It is for women undergoing treatment for and survivors of breast and gynecological cancers. If you have not attended before, please call Amy Roberts at 352-732-0277 to register. RBOI’s next Look Good Feel Better workshop occurs on March 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. This free workshop is offered to women undergoing cancer treatment. Trained and certified beauty professionals give lessons on skin and nail care, cosmetics, wigs and turbans, and accessories and styling. Registration is required. Visit www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org and look for the Program Finder. Call Wendy Hall at 352-527-0106 or Amy Roberts at 352-732-0277 with any questions.

New cases of colon and rectal cancer, respectively, expected in 2020

45

American Cancer Society's recommended age to start regular screening for colorectal cancer for people at average risk

Patient-centered radiation oncology close to home The Villages 352.259.2200 Ocala 352.732.0277 Timber Ridge 352.861.2400 Inverness 352.726.3400 Lecanto 352.527.0106 RBOI.com

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The living is easy Water Oak Country Club Estates welcomes you home to everything you ever wanted. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

f you’ve dreamed of living the country club lifestyle, Water Oak Country Club Estates is an active 55+ community that offers all of the luxurious amenities of a resort in a prime location. Water Oak is an all-inclusive, pet-friendly, gated community that provides residents with daily leisure activities and tranquil privacy at an affordable cost. Spend your days enjoying our 18-hole championship golf course and putting green. After your round, check out the Golf Pro Shop for equipment and accessories or get a bite to eat at the Sandwedge Bistro Restaurant. Our sports complex and 20,000-square-foot lakefront clubhouse feature a state-of-the-art fitness center where you can work out and then relax your muscles in a jacuzzi, sauna or private shower. Cool off with a swim in our Olympic-size heated swimming pool, pamper yourself in the spa area or enjoy a second clubhouse with a heated pool. Hone your skills in tennis, pickleball,

shuffleboard, bocce ball and horseshoes. Stay social through clubs and sports, including basketball, softball and volleyball. If you’d rather stay indoors, specialty activity rooms are available for bingo nights and cards and billiards tournaments. The main clubhouse also hosts potluck dinners, ice cream socials and holiday get-togethers. Water Oak Country Club Estates is situated in Lake County, the land of more than 1,000 pristine lakes and rivers. The estates are nestled around gorgeous Lake Sunshine in a country setting where residents can stroll around 300 acres of fields, trees, lakes and winding paths. Community members are in close proximity to the small-town charm of Lady Lake, horse farms, state parks and The Villages’ wide range of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as world-class medical facilities. Travel just an hour south to Orlando and spend an exhilarating day at Florida’s most popular attractions, such as Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios.

Water Oak recently expanded to offer new home sites and updated amenities. Come see us today and tour our model home center and community. We have an outstanding selection of beautifully designed homes presented by the nation’s finest builders. Three models of quality homes can be customized with features to suit your needs: Open floor plans Tray and coffered ceilings Fully equipped kitchens Full brick skirting Spa tubs and Roman tiled showers Landscaping packages Large walk-in closets Modern decorative accents The residents of Water Oak Country Club Estates are cherished members of the community who receive the highest level of care and customer service from our outstanding team. Live vibrantly and enjoy active adult living in the heart of Central Florida.

888.321.6013 / WaterOakCountryClub.com / 224 Magnolia Drive, Lady Lake

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Country Club Living

MAIN CLUB HOUSE

FITNESS CENTER

GOLF COURSE

SPORTS COMPLEX

BISTRO RESTAURANT

Water Oak Country Club Estates is an all-inclusive, pet-friendly gated resort-like community that provides residents with luxurious and tranquil privacy at an affordable cost. Spend your days enjoying our 18-hole championship golf course, state-of-the-art fitness center with sauna and private showers, and our lakefront clubhouse with an Olympic-size heated swimming pool and spa area. Live vibrant and enjoy active adult living in the heart of Central Florida just minutes away from The Villages and local area attractions. Come see us today and tour our model home center and community. 888.321.6013 | WaterOakCountryClub.com | 224 Magnolia Drive, Lady Lake


The

evolution

homes of

With advances in architecture and technology, houses look very different than they did 130 years ago. Homes from the past, present and future reveal the history of Lake and Sumter counties, modern homebuilding trends and smart home technology that will continue to evolve.

the past:

Building a foundation STORY: JAMES COMBS

The Baker House On one section of County Road 44A in Wildwood, new homes are crammed side by side on tiny lots so as many people as possible can enjoy The Villages, America’s largest retirement community.

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The homes are built with modern conveniences such as large kitchen islands and outdoor living rooms. Just about 100 yards away on the same side of the road is a jarring contrast. A

stately home sits alone on a five-acre property where Spanish moss dangles from ancient oak trees and a camellia bush planted in the late 1800s sheds its petals. Enter through the front door and


The Baker House

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ascend an old, winding, wooden staircase with hand-carved railing. Halfway up are multicolored stained-glass windows representing the four seasons: lavender for winter, green for spring, amber for summer and red for fall. This home isn’t just where the heart is. It’s also where history dwells. The Baker House, 6106 County Road 44A, was the home of David Hume Baker. A state senator from Kentucky, David and his wife, Mary, moved to Florida in 1886 to benefit from “Orange Fever,” a term given to Florida’s booming citrus industry at the time. David built the two-story home in 1890 using a rare combination of architectural designs. The Folk Victorian style is seen in the decorative detailing on the wraparound porches on both floors. The home’s roof with four sloping sides is a feature of the Second Empire style that originated in 16th-century France. Another unique aspect is that the home features two main structures: the main house with bedrooms, bathrooms, a foyer and a library, and another for the kitchen, dining room and servant’s bedroom. The structures are connected by a breezeway. “In those days, it was not typical for homes to have the kitchen and dining room right next to each other because of the heat released from the stove,” says Angela Love, museum history specialist. Five generations of the Baker family lived in the home until it was donated to the city of Wildwood in September 2012. For seven years, volunteers maintained the home and raised money for restoration projects. In November 2019, the city decided to conduct more events at the home. In February, Angela began offering history tours of the home from 10am2pm every Wednesday. The tour costs $10 per person. On March 21, the Baker House will host a heritage festival featuring Civil War reenactors, vendors, live music and house tours. Other events will include Christmas tours, weddings and special dinners. “We’re going to grow,” Angela says. “This house will be everything it has been and more.”

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The Clifford-Taylor House


The Clifford-Taylor House Old houses are typically known for strange noises—creaking doors, rattling walls and squeaking stairs. Inside the Clifford-Taylor House in Eustis, however, there’s nary a peep. “Most homes talk to you, but this house doesn’t say a word,” says Gary Marshall, curator of the Eustis Historical Museum, which is housed inside the Clifford-Taylor House. “I’ve been inside here at 1am and decided to go home because I needed a little noise.” Things do get a little noisier on Fridays and Saturdays when Gary provides tours of the home, located at 536 N. Bay St. History buffs step into the Clifford-Taylor House and receive a glimpse of architectural achievements, as well as lifestyles and traditions of the past. The home was built in 1910 on the shores of Lake Eustis by Guilford Clifford, Eustis’ first settler, who constructed the city’s first building, a general store located downtown. Guilford promised his wife, Unity Bell, that he would build her a grand home. The Clifford-Taylor House is constructed from Florida cypress, and the floors are made of heart of pine wood. The 4,500-square-foot home contains 18 rooms, including five bedrooms, two bathrooms, two great hallways and a basement. Two sets of stairways lead to the second floor—one that was used exclusively by the Clifford parents and another used by their servants and children. Each of the six fireplaces has different imported Italian tile and beveled mirrors on the mantels. A wood-burning stove in the basement provided heat for every room without a fireplace, with the exception of the upstairs guest room. “That was Mr. Clifford’s way of getting guests out of his home in the wintertime,” Gary says. Guilford died in 1919, and Unity Bell died three years later. In 1925, their eldest daughter, Lottie C. Taylor, moved into the home following the death of her husband, Robert Toombs Taylor. She resided there for 50 years. “In the early 1970s, the city was considering tearing it down,” Gary says. “Lottie would sit in her rocking chair in front of the window with no lights. People would walk by the house, see her silhouette and think it was haunted.”

Fortunately, the house was preserved after Lottie successfully got it listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The home became designated as the Eustis Historical Museum in 1983 thanks to the efforts of Eustis residents and historians Louise Carter and Ethel Ryan. One room inside the museum features exhibits about Dr. Edgar James Bank, a professor and archaeologist who retired in Eustis. He was the inspiration behind the “Indiana Jones” film character. Another room is filled with pictures of NASA astronaut David Walker, a 1962 graduate of Eustis High School who flew four space shuttle missions.

The Mote-Morris House

Nine thousand dollars. Today, that amount would be just enough to purchase a decent used car. That’s also how much it cost to build one of the most recognizable and historic homes in Leesburg. The Mote-Morris House was built in 1892 by E.H. Mote, a developer and hotel owner from Washington, D.C., who served eight terms as city mayor and one term in the Florida House of Representatives. Known for its Victorian Revival architecture, the home contains some interesting features. Among them is an L-shaped stairway leading to three bedrooms on the second floor, a clawfoot tub made of cast iron and a four-story turret, or small tower. “When you’re up in the tower, you can look out and see across Leesburg,” says Glorianne Fahs, a volunteer with the Leesburg Heritage Society. “To get to the tower, you have to take a staircase that is so narrow that there is not enough room for handrails.” A back stairway connects a kitchen to an upstairs servant’s room. This feature kept servants out of sight when E.H. and his wife, Lucretia, hosted elaborate parties. “Servants could answer the front door but not use it to enter to exit the home,” Glorianne says. “They could also clean furniture but not sit on it.” Several families have owned the home throughout the years. In 1908, E.H. sold it to Bishop Henry Clay Morrison, for whom Morrison United Methodist Church is named. Ten years later, John and May James Morris purchased the home, and a member of the

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The Mote-Morris House

Morris family would live in the house for the next 70 years. The home was sold to Morrison United Methodist Church in August 1988, and in September 1990, the 150-ton house was moved from 1021 W. Main St. to its current location at 1195 W. Magnolia St. The local landmark was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Residents such as Vi Pfahler have fond memories of the Mote-Morris House. “When I was a child, I’d walk past the house and take a stick and run it along the wrought-iron fence,” says Vi, also a volunteer with the Leesburg Heritage Society. “It would make a lot of racket, and May would run out yelling, ‘Quit that!’” Glorianne and Vi formerly gave public tours of the home one Saturday a month. However, the house was damaged by fire in February 2018 and is currently under renovation. When restored, the MoteMorris House will once again be available for weddings, tours and events. “We hope it’s restored by 2021, but that’s just a ballpark figure,” Glorianne says.

The Donnelly House A lighthouse with red-and-white horizontal bands overlooking Lake Dora. A hotel where former President Calvin Coolidge stayed for a monthlong vacation. An old railroad depot that now houses the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce. Indeed, Mount Dora has quite a few historic landmarks. But perhaps the most well-known of them is the Donnelly House, 530 N. Donnelly St. John P. Donnelly, who moved from Pennsylvania to Mount Dora in 1879, built the home in 1893 as a gift to his wife, Annie McDonald Stone. John served as the city’s first mayor in 1910 and founded the local yacht club.

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The Donnelly House

The elegant Queen Anne-style yellow-and-white home features beautiful stained-glass windows, an octagonal turret, a wraparound porch and three fireplaces—one in the foyer, one in the sitting room and one in the dining room. On the outside of the house, a concrete stairway leads to a basement, a rarity in Florida since the water table is about a foot or less below ground. George Barber was the architect of the home. A resident of Tennessee, he made a living by designing houses and selling the plans via mail in a series of catalogs called the Cottage Souvenir. Following John’s death in 1930, the home was temporarily owned by D.F. Gorham before being acquired by the local masons in 1935. Today, the Mount Dora Masonic Lodge No. 238 F&AM holds its meetings inside the home, as does the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls and the Mount Dora chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. “This is one of the most photographed houses in Florida,” says Henry Link, secretary of the Mount Dora Masonic Lodge. “During the Mount Dora Craft Fair and the Mount Dora Arts Festival, members of the Eastern Star serve breakfast and lunch inside the home to nearly 5,000 people.” Though much money has been spent on renovations throughout the years, parts of the original home remain intact, including the flooring, mantel pieces around the fireplaces and crown molding along the ceiling. The home has also survived harsh weather conditions such as 1993’s Storm of the Century. “We had about five or six tornadoes that lifted the building off its foundation, twisted it and then sat it back down,” Henry says. “Items from our storage room were found five miles away in Sorrento.” This architectural gem was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

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the present:

Parade of Homes showcases the latest designs STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

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our dream home is waiting to be discovered. The public is invited to see builders’ craftsmanship, new home designs and the latest technology trends at the annual Parade of Homes to be hosted from 10am March 28 to 5pm April 5 by the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter. The tour will showcase 23 homes—three as virtual designs—from Lake and Sumter’s custom and national builders. The lineup includes tiny houses and cottages that may be ideal for young couples starting out or retirees looking to downsize, as well as more spacious homes where families can raise their children. “It’s always exciting to see what new ‘Wow!’ factors people come up with because of technology, different


new materials to different colors,” says Lisa Templin-Rayborn, executive officer of HBA of Lake-Sumter. “I always look forward to seeing the homes.” She believes some of the homes’ open floor plans and large kitchens will appeal to people who love to entertain. Double islands in the kitchen are becoming popular. One island can be used as a cook/prep area, and the other for eating or serving foods. Some of the new kitchens are being equipped with double ovens, which can make holiday cooking and entertaining easier, too. “One of the things people are focusing on is the outdoor living area,” Lisa adds of popular new building trends. “People are wanting the firepits, the relaxing and inviting outdoor living room. They want the outdoor living room area to have things that are really inviting.” Harbor Hills Country Club in Lady Lake will be in the spotlight as the Parade of Homes’ “Dream Community” for 2020. The gated

community will showcase the latest amenities in two model homes: Royal Palm and Sabal. The tour also will feature homes throughout Lake and Sumter counties, from as far south as Clermont and north toward The Villages. Each home will be judged on its quality, solidity of craftsmanship and curb appeal from a panel of builders, architects and interior designers from outside communities. The home with the highest total of points will win the Overall Grand Score (Best of Show). Mainsail Solutions Inc. was the top winner in 2019 for its Flagler model home in Green Key Village in Lady Lake. The homes in the community are solar-powered, colorful and feature Key West charm. “It’s a wonderful thing to be recognized for what you’ve built,” says Kim Thomas, co-owner and developer of Green Key Village with her husband, Greg. Regarding the appeal of the Flagler design, Kim recalls parade visitors commented on the nice floor plan, open concept and the big glass sliders across the back leading onto the lanai. This year, Green Key Village is entering the Duval model, which is still under construction and will feature a gas fireplace. “We try to improve our plan for energy efficiency in the homes and we have just a unique style about our homes,” Kim adds. “It’s easy, laid-back, Key West-style living with some really unique ceiling details.” Briana West, office manager/marketing coordinator of West Construction in Mount Dora, says the Parade of Homes is a great way to interact with potential clients. “The parade provides a great setting for us to meet people who are looking to build their next home and also show off some of our work at the same time,” Briana says. “While we work hard to complete all of our projects to the highest standards possible, and have satisfied clientele to attest to that, it’s always nice to be recognized as meeting those standards by industry professionals through the judging in the parade.” Her company won two awards at the 2019 Parade of Homes: first place in the $275,000-$325,000 category and the Realtors Choice Award for Cottage on Clayton. This year, West Construction is entering a Mount Dora home close to town that is being judged at $264,000 while it has a base price of $219,000. “This project was particularly fun,” says Briana, adding it was a house built for her and her husband Joe, vice president of West Construction. “We both wanted something timeless and decided on a clean, somewhat modern craftsman feel that we think will appeal to a lot of potential clients.” All of the builders and locations of the homes will be published in a Parade of Homes tour guide that will be available at the end of March at several sites, including RoMac Building Supply Co., 700 E. Main St., Leesburg, and the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter office, 1100 N. Joanna Ave., Tavares. The tour guide will list times to see the different houses since some of the entries are owner-occupied and will be open only on weekends; others are model homes that may be toured anytime. To learn more, call the Home Builders Association of LakeSumter at 352.343.7101.

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The Bassano Model


Live & Play in

Lakeside Landings

Superior constructed, maintenancefree homes in a family-friendly neighborhood near The Villages® make this an ideal place to live and play. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

r. John Theeck cherishes living in Lakeside Landings, a short five-mile bike ride to his work at Legacy Clinic of Chiropractic in The Villages®. “A lot of my neighbors are working professionals in the area, so it’s a convenient location,” says John, a sevenyear resident. “I love the community, family lifestyle and the pool. It’s just an awesome community.” Kelly Luplow, a resident and lead real estate agent for the community, raves about the “small-town feel” and the sense of “belonging” she and her husband, Eric, share with their neighbors. “One of the things that I love about the community is that we do ‘life’ together. There are large events going on every month and smaller ones in between. Movie night, game night, trivia night. We do beach trips, day trips, comedy club,” she says, also noting events honoring veterans and fundraisers for special causes. “This is one of those places where you can be as involved or uninvolved as you want to be,” she adds. Lakeside Landings is home to a mix of retirees and working families with children. The non-age-restricted community is being built and developed by Power Corp. Dave Madden, a U.S. Army veteran and avid pickleball player, has called Lakeside Landings home for more than four years after moving to Florida from Indiana with a companion. “I was so impressed with the clubhouse area,” Dave says of touring the community. “I don’t golf and there is no bond (an extra tax). I kind of like being in an area where there are younger people. Everything we wanted, we saw in here.” Dave also was impressed with the tile roofs on the condominiums when entering the community. “I noticed it was classy and vibrant,” he says, adding the grounds were covered with colorful flowers and pavers, and

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he was attracted to the “great fitness center” and the large picturesque resort pool with waterfalls. Many residents have told their friends to come see Lakeside Landings’ amenities and the superb construction of the maintenance-free, single-family homes. Several model homes are open for public viewing, so it’s worth visiting the sales office at 10299 Hawks Gully Court in Oxford to begin the tour of homes. Each house is block and stucco construction. The windows are double pane/low E. There are hurricane straps on the trusses to keep the roof down, and many “upgrades” are standard features with Lakeside Landings’ homes, including quartz countertops, 42-inch maple or cherry wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances along with a washer and dryer, and an upgraded airconditioning system. “A lot of things that you think you’d have to upgrade, we put in the house,” says Eric Luplow, sales manager. “We have 14 different plans.” The price point starts at $240,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bath home with 1,652 square feet of living space, such as the Osprey, which Eric says is very popular with retirees, while larger homes go up to $400,000. One of the largest plans, the Cambridge, features four-bedroom, 3.5-bath homes with 2,612 square feet. “We have a lot of different floor plans, a lot of different looks, and that’s what sets us apart from some of the other area builders,” Eric says. “We don’t compete with The Villages®—the No. 1 retirement community in the world—we just try to offer something different — different plans, a good price range, quality construction.” Lakeside Landings will have 600 homes once the community is built out, with approximately 80 building lots left. Eric notes the location of being next door to The Villages® appeals to many potential buyers. “We are only a couple of miles from Lake Sumter Landing, Publix, Walmart and The Villages® Charter School. Everything is very close, so you’re not driving a distance to get to places,” he says. “There are a lot of families

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“I LOVE THE COMMUNITY, FAMILY LIFESTYLE AND THE POOL. IT’S JUST AN AWESOME COMMUNITY.” —DR. JOHN THEECK

working in The Villages®, including doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, and we also have a good amount of residents who have lived in other neighboring communities who don’t golf or participate in activities, but they do like to go to the (Villages) town squares that anybody can go to.” Former residents of other communities who have relocated to Lakeside Landings learn there are no bonds or community development districts because Power Corp. has paid for all improvements to be in the purchase price. However, residents do have two monthly association dues; one for maintenance and the other for amenities. “Combined, it’s about $265 a month and that takes care of everything outside.


The Berkshire Model

You own the house; you own the lot. We just maintain the lot and everything around it for you,” Eric says of lawn and landscaping maintenance, fertilization, mulching, irrigation, maintenance of all roads, pest control and garbage pickup. “I’ve lived here a long time and I have never once pulled a weed, mulched, cut the grass or sprayed for bugs,” Eric says, adding the maintenance-free lifestyle appeals to retirees and younger residents. “We have a lot of families who work five to seven days a week and they appreciate that it’s maintenance-free.” Sales agent Adam Brown adds that younger residents and families find the maintenance-free lifestyle gives them more free time to do the things they enjoy. “It’s a quiet community, and people love it,” Adam says. Residents can partake in a variety of Lakeside Landings’ common-area amenities, including the resort pool and satellite pool, hot tubs, lighted tennis court, two lighted pickleball courts, putting green, 140-foot fishing pier, sunning beach and gated entrance, and clubhouse amenities such as the fitness center, ballroom with dance floor and lighted stage, catering kitchen, billiard room, card room, craft room and a library with Wi-Fi. “If you have some kind of medical emergency and need your

The Berkshire Model

granddaughter to come live with you, that’s no problem. We get a lot of that,” Eric says. “A lot of places think they should be a 55-and-older community, but we want to offer homebuyers an opportunity to choose Lakeside Landings regardless of age because there are a lot of retiree’s who don’t mind living around kids. It’s not like we have a ton of families, but we have enough to where is feels like a different kind of community. There are residents who enjoy seeing children in the community, and we hear that a lot. We have a great mix.” It’s also a very pet-friendly community. Lakeside Landings has one dog run and is slated to have two dog runs once it is built out. When visitors tour the nicely manicured community and see the model homes, Eric says the common comment he hears is people raving about the quality of the houses and the amenities. “We hear that more than anything,” he says of the top quality. “People love that it’s maintenance-free, the big pool with waterfalls that looks like something out of Disney World, and the No. 1 thing they realize is that ‘I’m getting all this house for this price!’” Eric smiles proudly as he reflects on Lakeside Landings, the community where he works and calls home. “It really is a great place to live.”

The Bassano Model

352.330.4305 / LakesideLandings.net / 10350 Regatta Blvd., Oxford

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“Alexa, I’m home!” n the golden age of technology, those three little words can set into motion the “smart home” controls for a house’s lighting, temperature, door locks, TV, music, window shades, even the hot tub. “In fully integrated houses, homeowners really don’t have to do anything,” says John Ortiz, owner of Bob’s TV Audio and Video, a Summerfield business that also serves The Villages. Smart home technology is automation that allows users to control and monitor their connected home devices from smart home apps, smartphones, tablets, computers or wall-mounted controllers. Users can remotely control connected home systems whether they are home or away. Home automation systems actually have been around for decades. Bob’s TV has been installing systems from New Jersey-based Crestron for more than 25 years. Like most technologies, home automation has advanced rapidly in recent years. Systems can be built into new homes, or existing homes can be retrofitted. Smart homes gradually are becoming more popular, though high-quality systems are not inexpensive, John says. The options can range from controlling one light dimmer with your phone to walking into your house and turning on everything by saying, “I’m home”—voice-activated systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home are today’s rage. Homeowners may have different goals, but most want the technology for simplicity. “We give them what we call ‘scene buttons,’ like ‘Coming home,’” John says. “They walk in the door, they push the button, and we’ve already preprogrammed that this is the lighting they want to come on, this is where they want the music to turn on to and the air-conditioning temperature to switch (on). They can actually do a “Coming home’ scene

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from their smartphone remotely so that everything will already be that way when they get there.” Like any product, John says, as the quality level and the sophistication level increase, the price rises with it. The size and scope of a home may determine the type of system and the costs, which can be as low as $1,000-$1,500 or as high as the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The levels of integration and the costs depend on how many areas the homeowner wants to control with the touch of a button, either in the house or remotely. “Some people start very simple with a basic lighting control, and then we have homes that every subsystem at the home is integrated, including even the water heaters and temperature and energy management, so it can be as small or as elaborate as you like,” John says. Another trendy device is the Ring video doorbell, which allows homeowners

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to see who’s at their door from wherever they are. Motion sensors detect when someone walks into view, and the device automatically sends alerts to the homeowner. This security feature is among the most common requests from homeowners, who are increasingly asking for more technology to be built into their houses, says Mike Neace, owner and president of American Family Homes in Eustis. Homeowners are most interested in Wi-Fi control of the air conditioning thermostat and video cameras for the front door and rear yard. “Over the past year or so, we’ve put quite a few of those in, those systems where somebody can look and see if a package got delivered. They can look and see if the lawn maintenance guy is doing his job,” Mike says. Of course, technology isn’t always perfect the first time out on the market. John says homeowners may need time to


“train” systems like Alexa to understand commands because not everyone describes everything in the same way. “Alexa doesn’t really ‘think.’ She accepts commands you’ve given it, and it’s basically like pushing a button with your voice,” he says. “So, if you don’t push the right button, the right thing doesn’t happen.” In the near future, AI, artificial intelligence, will become more integrated into home automation, John says, though a timetable is unclear. “That will start to be the next thing that we’ll see,” he says. “They’re just now integrating Alexa and Google Home to where it’s becoming a little more reliable. But as far as AI totally integrating, that’s going to be a little down the road. “As technology keeps rolling, they keep figuring out ways to integrate it and sell it to us.”

The score on security

YourThings Scorecard, created by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina, ranks popular smart home technologies based on their security risks. Of the 45 published device profiles, 25 rated a C grade or worse on their network security, and 23 received a C grade or worse for their device security. Smart security cameras represent 47 percent of the most vulnerable devices in homes, according to research from SAM Seamless Networks Threat Assessment Lab. Coming in a close second are smart hubs such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

‘Smart’ may not be ‘safe’ against cybercrime Smart home technologies can make life easier, but they also can create security issues for your home network, according to Jerry Chen, CEO of Firewalla. The San Jose, Californiabased company creates smart firewall products to protect homes and small businesses from cyberthieves who use smart home devices to access private information stored on home or smallbusiness networks. As more homes add more smart home devices, security risks are being compounded, he says. Consumers may be worrying about smart security cameras and smart hubs such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa listening and sharing information about them with corporations. If companies are listening in, how can you be sure a cyberthief isn’t as well? If you have Wi-Fi-connected devices in your home, it is important

to take steps to protect your home network as thoroughly as possible from cybercriminals. Jerry offers these suggestions: Check for updates: If your router, modem and smart devices are not set to automatically check for software and hardware updates, make sure that you check at least monthly to find out if any patches or updates have been issued and download them immediately. Many times, these are issued because a company has discovered or been alerted to a gap in security that hackers could exploit. Beware of knockoffs: A less expensive option for a smart security camera or speaker that you find online can be tempting, but make sure you research the manufacturer before purchasing. A lower price could mean lower quality and a product that was developed to

get on the market as fast as possible with little to no concern about user security. Read online reviews and any statements the company has about privacy and user security. Monitor devices: After you connect a smart device to your home network, pay attention to what it is doing. You can do this by adding a smart firewall device to your network that monitors what devices are connected, gives insight into any data being downloaded or uploaded by the device and automatically blocks hacking attempts on all devices. Being alerted that a hacker has been blocked from taking over your connected security camera is better than discovering someone has been watching you for an unknown period of time when you happen to glance at the camera and see it moving on its own.

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A true sense of community Harbor Hills Country Club has homes and amenities to fit all lifestyles. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

BELLA VISTA ENTRY

veryone’s welcome in the neighborhood at Harbor Hills Country Club. Harbor Hills, a premier custom homebuilder and golf community in Lady Lake, appeals to all generations. In fact, the community expects to welcome many more millennials in the next decade. “We not only appeal to baby boomers and retirees, but we also appeal to professionals, millennials, Gen-Xers,” says Michael Rich, president and general partner of Harbor Hills Development. “They say the millennial market is going to be the hottest market in the 2020s. Millennials are going to buy more homes than any other age group.” Harbor Hills offers a variety of floor plans to suit all needs, and also custom-

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builds homes using the best Americanmade materials. For its quality and amenities, Harbor Hills has been named the “Dream Community” in the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter’s Parade of Homes for an unprecedented five straight years. The Parade of Homes, scheduled for March 28-April 5, offers a tour of new home designs. This year’s entry from Harbor Hills is the new Sabal model, totaling 2,505 square feet with three bedrooms and three baths and a media room. The luxury master bathroom includes the unique feature of a glass-enclosed spa with a huge walk-in shower and freestanding tub. A casual dining area opens into a center island social kitchen. The Sabal base price is $396,900, or $525,900 on a golf course lot. At the Harbor Hills Design Center, homebuyers can see their dream house come to fruition. The development recently built a 4,000-square-foot, two-

story house for a dentist with two young children, and a 3,500-square-foot home for a retired attorney. The community also offers 2,000-square-foot homes for couples who are downsizing or desire an economical purchase. All homes are affordably priced, without the CDD fees of other communities. Harbor Hills has universal appeal to all age groups because of the high-quality products used in the homes, the lifestyles and amenities and, most important, the security of a gated community. All visitors to Harbor Hills must stop at manned gatehouses with controlled gate arms, so no one can enter undetected. “Whether you’re raising a family or you’re retiring or you’re looking for a place to spend the winters, everybody wants to feel safe and secure,” Michael says. All Harbor Hills homes are designed with energy-efficient features. The homes are rated in the low 60s by HERS, the


Home Energy Rating System. The lower the number, the more energy-efficient the home. Harbor Hills rates favorably compared to Energy Star homes (70), the average new home (100) or the average pre-owned home (130). Brand-name products include Energy Star-rated, double-pane low-E windows, CertainTeed roofing shingles, Clopay garage doors, LiftMaster garage door openers and Plastpro front doors. In addition, pavers are used for driveways and walkways instead of poured concrete, which tends to crack under the hot Florida sun. The resort-style community continues to grow and improve, with about 712 homes currently and an expected buildout of about 949. More than 20 different model homes range from 1,580 to 4,000 square feet and are priced from the mid$200,000s to over $1 million. The centerpiece of Harbor Hills is the Lloyd Clifton-designed par-72 championship golf course, which was rated 4 stars by Golf Digest and is considered to be the Lady Lake area’s premier course. Golfers can enjoy scenic elevations, panoramic views of Lake Griffin, extrawide oak-lined fairways and a tranquil setting. Five sets of tees provide members and guests of all handicaps with both a fun and challenging experience. Recent renovations to the golf course’s clubhouse have made the building even more elegant. The clubhouse has new flooring, dark wood finishes, leather chairs and a bar area in a den-like atmosphere. An elevated patio provides a spectacular view looking down a fairway of the golf course and also overlooks a junior Olympicsize pool. A peacock strolls the patio, where tables and chairs have also been added for outdoor dining and seating.

“WHETHER YOU’RE RAISING A FAMILY OR YOU’RE RETIRING OR YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO SPEND THE WINTERS, EVERYBODY WANTS TO FEEL SAFE AND SECURE.”

CLUBHOUSE

—MICHAEL RICH

GOLF COURSE

Clubhouse amenities also include tennis and pickleball courts, a fitness facility that offers yoga and aerobics, and a pro golf shop. Club members may dine at the Signature Grill, which serves favorite dishes and hosts special events and social gatherings. Harbor Hills also has a private marina, dock and boat ramp access to the Harris Chain of Lakes. Harbor Hills’ picturesque location along Lake Griffin provides scenic winding roads, peaceful open spaces and natural landscaping. Neighborhoods are distant from crowds and traffic, yet close enough to shopping, entertainment and health-care facilities. High-quality homes, first-class amenities and superior customer service make Harbor Hills ideal for all homebuyers, whether they are young families, parents of college-age children or older baby boomers. “One of the good things about this area is the fact that there are a lot of professional jobs available because of The Villages and its health-care system,” Michael says. “This is a place where people who don’t want to live in a retiree-only community can move to and enjoy.” Welcome to the neighborhood. Harbor Hills Country Club is ready to build your dream home.

CANARY MODEL

DEVELOPMENT TEAM

352.753.7000 / harborhillsclub.com / 6538 Lake Griffin Road, Lady Lake

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Enhance Your Landscape

904.489.7963 | vidalrigo97@gmail.com 056 /

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R O D R I G O V I DA L

LANDSCAPING


Local professionals provide their expertise on everything you need to know about your home — from plumbing, roofing, flooring and electrical work to painting, window treatments, solar panels and outdoor furniture. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

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Electrical Joe Ciceri, Owner

≈ Electrical Works

352.460.0810 / ElectricalWorksFlorida.com / 8010 US Highway 441, Leesburg

Q. A.

Since Florida is the “lightning capital” of the United States, will surge protection adequately protect a home’s equipment from lightning strikes?

Lightning is one of the leading causes of damage and destruction of electrical and electronical devices in the home. Surge protection by itself protects your equipment from close lightning strikes and surges from the power company. It does not protect you from a direct lightning strike. The only thing that will protect your home from a direct lightning strike is a properly installed lightning rod system. A properly installed lightning rod system has to include surge protection. You wouldn’t want to spend all the money for a lightning rod system on your roof to protect from a direct hit and then you get a close lightning strike and your equipment is ruined. With most equipment being digitalized today, the equipment is very susceptible

to lightning strikes. You want surge protection on your entire electrical system and your low-voltage systems. There’s a myth that one surge protector will protect everything. That is simply not true. There are multiple ways that lightning and power surges can come in and destroy your television set, computer and other electronic devices because they’re connected to a low-voltage line. Companies make high-voltage surge protectors and low-voltage surge protectors. However many utilities you have coming into the home, you need a surge protector for each one. An important factor to consider when choosing a surge protector is the surge protector’s joule rating. The joule rating indicates how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. The

more joules it has, the better the protection provided. Homeowners also need to keep in mind that not all surge protectors are created equal. There are some cheap products on the market, so buyers need to do their due diligence and research the products out there before purchasing one. It’s also important to remember that surge protectors, like any other piece of equipment, can get worn down over time. Some models come with a light or alarm that warns you when the surge protector is compromised. This way, you know it’s time to get a replacement.


Roofing Rod Reisman, CEO & Jason Reisman, General Manager

Q. A.

≈ Eustis Roofing

352.343.4240 / EustisRoofing.com / Hours: 8am-5pm Monday-Friday

What are the advantages of a metal roof and using an established company?

Metal roofs have become a popular roof system! There are many factors that come into play when considering a metal roof on your home. One of the biggest pros of metal roofing is the energy savings, attractiveness and lifetime protection of your home. Once a metal roof is installed on your home, if done properly, you will never have to replace it whereas shingles usually must be replaced approximately every 12-25 years. If you’re considering installing a metal roof, it’s important to hire a professional company with knowledge and who has the mindset of building a lifetime roof. When working with Eustis Roofing one of the biggest parts of the equation are the people who install the roof and their quality craftsmanship as well as the proper equipment that has current and expanding

technology behind it. Eustis Roofing Company has a metal forming machine. The metal is brought in as a coil, loaded onto the machine and formed to the specifics of the roof we’re installing on. Eustis Roofing also has a high-performance CNC Machine in house. This machine gives us the capability to form, bend and fold customized metal flashings and detail work with high accuracy and excellent consistency. This machine is computer controlled to automate and monitor the movements of the machine with incredible accuracy. Metal flashings are a huge factor in any roof system. Eustis Roofing can make flashing to fit most any architectural design. Other components necessary to make a lifetime roof is the inspection and preparation of the home’s decking, underlayment, the fasteners used and gauge and finish of the metal panel. Proper decking is key. Any wood that may be rotten or compromised

with not grip a fastener to hold the metal securely to the roof. Over time the screw will back right up out of the panel with a leak potential imminent. A proper underlayment is a High-Temp PolySeal designed to provide metal roofs a resilient barrier against UV deterioration and moisture issues. It retains exceptional thermal stability under intense heat. This underlayment prevents unwanted moisture entry because it seals to the substrate and around penetrations. Proper fasteners are also key. Premium wood binder screws designed with a

helmet to cover the neoprene protecting from the sun’s harsh rays. Finally, the gauge of the metal is key. The lower the # of the gauge, the higher the strength. 24 Ga. Is heavy, 26 med and 29 extremely light (usually used on barn structures, not recommended for residential roofing). Eustis Roofing specializes in all types of roof installations, delivers expert craftmanship and stands behind all work. We’ve been serving Lake County and surrounding areas for 61 years!


Painting Amanda Kelley, Owner

≈ Kelley Painting Services of Florida

1207 W. Main St., Leesburg, FL 34748 / 352.267.7854 / kelleypsfl.com

Q. A.

I’m trying to find the right painter, what are the most important qualities to consider?

There are several variables to consider but the most important is experience. Even a small project can become a nightmare if you don’t hire someone with the necessary credentials. Personally I have 20 years of experience and all of my employees have several years of experience as well. Secondly look for painters who have your best interest at heart. My main focus is doing the best job I can for my customers, not how can I make the most money on this job! I always stay focused on helping my clients get the most bang for their buck based on their budget. References are also very important, and you should ask these questions – How do they communicate, how do they schedule and how many employees do they have? I have 30-40 painters working

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for me at any given time, and that allows me to fit a client in at any time, especially if it’s a tight time frame! Making sure that the painter is licensed and insured is critical and you should ask them to provide their license and proof of insurance in case something goes wrong on the job. Try and read as many reviews about the painter online – not every job is going to be perfect, but how were problems handled? We have project supervisors on every job who are there from beginning to end to make sure everything goes perfectly with your painting project. One thing I always stress is that customers should not be required to give a down payment for painting services. A reputable company should be able to float that until the job is complete and the customer is 100% satisfied with the job. Make sure that the painter is using the proper products for your job and not cutting corners

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for more profit. Every budget requires quality products, and knowledge of the wide variety of products that are available is essential to making sure every job turns out as promised! Find out about the company’s service policies – what happens if something goes wrong? Do they offer any kind of warranty and how is it handled if there is a problem like paint peeling for instance.

Kelley Painting Services offers a 10 year warranty on all painting projects! Personally the most important thing is communication, making sure my clients understand what they are getting and how the job is going to be accomplished. Exceeding my client’s expectations is what we are all about at Kelley Painting Services of Florida.


Outdoor Furniture Jan Slimp, Manager

≈ Leisure Living

352.315.8700 / LeisureLiving-Furniture.com

Q.

What are some high-quality brands of outdoor furniture?

A.

Our goal at Leisure Living is to carry as many American made companies as possible. Those include Lloyd Flanders wicker, which has been in business since 1906, and is based out of Michigan; O.W. Lee, a California based company that produces wrought iron and aluminum furniture and Berlin Gardens, which produces a polywood product. We also carry Tropitone, an aluminum based product, which is produced right here in Florida as well as Woodward, another Michigan based company that produces wrought iron and aluminum furniture. These companies offer warranties from five year for wicker based products up to 20 years for the polywood products. The average warranty of these companies is fifteen years. This furniture is designed to last and we are here to help you select furniture you will love for years to come.

Q.

What should customers expect when they decide to buy outdoor furniture?

A.

At Leisure Living, we pride ourselves on our customer service. We understand that furniture is a big investment for our customers and we want to help them design their outdoor space to meet their preferences

and needs. We can help them select frame finishes and fabrics so that is it is unique to them. Whether they have a small area they want to enjoy, or if they bring their blueprints for a whole patio, we can help find something that fits in the space and meets their personal needs. And even though we are the Sunshine State, we still get those chilly nights. For those days and nights, we have beautiful fire pit tables and fire pit groups.

Q.

What accounts for the longevity of Leisure Living?

A.

Leisure Living was started in 1974 and is a family run business, operated by Barney, Marcia and Tony Hatchett. They started with their original location in Ocala, which also houses their close out warehouse, and expanded to the Villages area in 2000. They care about their customers and are hands on in the day to day operations of the business. Our quality of service sets us apart, our staff does not work on commission and therefore our priority is helping the customer. We want to help you make your home the space you are dreaming of and enjoy the process of working with each customer to find the right fit for them. We take great pleasure in assisting our customers from the moment they walk in the door until our delivery staff leaves their home after setting up their new furniture. We want all customers to love the Leisure Living Furniture experience.


Solar Energy Ben Pauluhn, President

≈ Optimus Solar

1107 Robie Ave., Mount Dora, FL 32757 / 352.234.3552 / Optimus-Solar.com

Q. A.

Will Solar Really Save You Money?

Yes, it really will. In fact, in many cases, investing in solar energy offers a better financial return than investing in the S&P 500. Houses with southern roof exposure or a south-facing ground mounted system may expect a payback in as little as 6.5 years (depending on the utility company and system size). This payback comes with a 25-year warranty on almost all system components and since solar is the only energy production mechanism with NO moving parts, systems produce for decades. Over that time period, homeowners own their energy source, selling power back to the utility company and saving thousands over the life of the system. Homeowners and businesses can maximize their ROI by pairing solar with energy-reducing upgrades such as heatpump water heaters, better insulation, attic fans, modernized A/C units, etc. These measures minimize the size of the solar array required and increase energy efficiency. Additionally, transitioning to an Electric Vehicle after adding a solar energy system can offer an outsized return by keeping utility costs out of the highest band of utility charges.

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These financial returns do not even account for the Virtuous Cycle that solar creates, keeping money in local communities instead of sending it out of state or overseas for fuel. Other returns such as cleaner air that comes to the neighborhoods with EV adoption and the increase in property resale due to the marketability of the property are also substantial benefits. Adding solar to a residence or business makes financial sense. It is good for your bottom line and great for your community. It’s also tons of fun to track your solar output on your smartphone every day. The technology is efficient and long-lasting. Solar is also one of the few types of contract work that has built-in long-term

accountability. Each solar adopter has the ability to track their solar production for free over the life of the system. It’s fun, engaging, and ensures that your solar provider is being transparent. Using a qualified contractor of excellent repute is key to achieving these returns. Please reach out to Optimus Solar with your questions so we can ensure your solar dollars are maximized for the benefit of your family, business, and community.


Plumbing Daniel Dicus, Service Manager/Estimator

Q. A.

≈ Ross Plumbing

352.728.6053 / After Hours Emergency Number 352.267.3505 / TerryRossPlumbing.com

What are five signs that I’m beginning to have drain and piping problems in my house? 1.) A frequently clogged drain, especially a single fixture drain, that is always difficult for you always means a problem.

2.) Multiple slow draining fixtures in the house indicate a problem. 3.) Gurgling sounds. This is a sign of poor air flow. Hearing noises when water should be draining indicates drain troubles. 4.) You have water collecting on floors or water stains on the wall. These could be signs of a broken drain line in the wall or under the floor. 5.) Main sewer cleanout is overflowing. Where your pipe leaves the house, you can pull the cleanout cap off, and sometimes you’ll have a flow coming out. That tells you there is a problem between the house and septic tank or between the house and city sewer connection. Many factors contribute to clogs. In your lavatory, the problem is mostly jewelry, hair and toothpaste. Kitchen sink drains get gummed up with food particles and grease. Disposals often rust out or jam

up as well. Toilets, obviously, dispose of certain by-products. Excessive amounts of tissue paper and kids flushing their favorite toys down the drain are both common culprits. Soap scum and hair (again) wreak havoc on tub and shower drains. Soap and lint combine to clog washing machine connections. Adequate flushing and ventilation require positive air flow through drains. Without adequate ventilation to the plumbing system, with positive air flow, sanitary drain flow is compromised. Lead and cast iron piping, common to older systems, rust out, deteriorating to the point of having major holes. Effluent (sanitary waste) tries to drain through these holes instead of through the pipes. When the effluent does not drain through the pipe as intended, it backs up and clogs the drains. Even with PVC piping, the most commonly used piping today, tree roots can break pipes and fittings. Suddenly, you’ve got a root system in your plumbing system. Dirt settling can play a factor in underground piping, creating back fall issues. We, the trained professionals at Ross Plumbing, can come to you, run drain snake cables to clear obstructions, hydrojet drain lines and use our sewer drain cameras to inspect piping and

verify that all obstructions have been cleared. If any deteriorating sanitary drain systems require service, repair or replacement, count on Ross Plumbing to get the job done.

ROSS PLUMBING

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Flooring Miles Stewart, Vice President

≈ The Floor Shoppe

352.748.4811 / TheFloorShoppe.com / 9815 U.S. Highway 301, Wildwood / Hours: 9am-5:30pm Mon-Fri; 9am-3pm Sat; Sun closed

Q. A.

What is one of the biggest problems you see in your industry and how is The Floor Shoppe doing things differently?

Over the last 10 years, there have been some huge advancements in the product selections available when it comes to building showers. After the industry went away from mud-set shower walls, which are extremely labor intensive, a substrate called cement backer board became popular. The problem we most often see with the installation of cement board is not the material; it’s the waterproofing that has to be completed before the shower wall tile installation begins. You see, a cement board substrate is not waterproof in itself, and that is where many shower failures begin. Folks think that you can install the cement backer substrate, install the finish tile and complete your grouting and you have a waterproof shower. In the case of cement backer, the product we often use is a fluid-applied waterproofing. This solves the problem; you now have a complete waterproof shower that can be covered with a tile of your choice that will last a lifetime. Referring back to the advancements, we now have substrate products available

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to us that are both waterproof, vapor retardant and silica dust-free. The inhalation of silica dust has become a huge concern in our industry and is a problem presented when cutting cement board on the jobsite. These new extruded polystyrene foam panels allow for quick installation, and we now only need to treat the seams and screw holes with a fluid applied waterproofing product. These products do not hold moisture, so they

eliminate the concern of mold and mildew growth in your shower. The Floor Shoppe currently completes over a thousand showers per year and we are constantly working on ways to improve our process. Whether it be new innovative products or the latest installation techniques we are continuously learning and updating our process to put out the highest quality installation possible for our customers.


Window Treatments Roxanne and Alexa Stafford

Q. A.

What kind of systems or upgrades are available to enhance my window treatments?

The majority of our customers are retired and getting settled in their new “forever homes.” When shopping for the perfect window treatments, they always ask me, “What is now available that can enhance my experience and benefit my specific needs?” This is an important question to ask when purchasing window treatments because most people aren’t informed about all the customizable upgrades that are available unless they have experience with window treatments. You can now conveniently and precisely operate your blinds and shades with a touch of a remote through power motorization, with a gentle touch of a wand with SoftTouch motorization or through voice activation when paired with smart-home systems such as Amazon Alexa. There is even an app that gives you the ability to control your treatments remotely from anywhere in the world via your phone or tablet. Now, how cool is that? All of these new tech systems are awesome to show off at family cookouts, but for some people, integrating technology

≈ Window Reflections

352.330.2055 / 103 N Main St., Wildwood / WindowReflections.net

into their window treatments is a necessity. These systems can alleviate the physical stress of having to manually move and operate large, heavy or high-placed window treatments by allowing you to operate them from the comfort of your sofa. If simplicity is more your style, Literise, a manual system that eliminates all cords, may be for you. Upgrading your blind or shade to Literise gives your window a clean, uncluttered look. There is no constant adjusting—you simply raise and lower the product with your hand. Other notable upgrades include Duolite and Top Down Bottoms Up. The Duolite feature gives the best of both worlds by combining two fabrics, sheer and opaque, within a shade. The Top Down Bottoms Up gives full privacy control as a normal shade would, but also offers the ability to pull the shade down from the top to look out to a

beautiful view or raise them up from the bottom as standard. No matter which product you feel is best for your home and family, these are great upgrades that you may choose to enhance your window treatments. To see these features in person, stop by our showroom in Wildwood at 103 N. Main St., where someone will be happy to present you with the best options.

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We've been serving Central Florida since 1945 and this year, we celebrate a milestone.

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Leesburg | The Villages | Mount Dora | Ocala Building Materials | Lumber | Trusses | Windows | Doors | Garage Doors | Building Plans | Roofing | Drywall www.RomacFL.com


RoMac Building Supply has 60 employees with 10 years or more of service to the company.

THIS IS WHAT 1,051 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE LOOKS LIKE Thank you to every RoMac Building Supply team member Past and Present—who helped us make 75 years. On your next construction project let our experience work for you.


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MARK YOUR CALENDAR! PLAN YOUR TRIP! BE SEEN IN LAKE AND SUMTER! | EVENTS. TRAVEL. PEOPLE.

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THE TO-DO LIST What’s happening this month.

LOCAL TALENT Made of Earth band is a labor of love.

SOCIAL SPOTLIGHT Find your design at Parade of Homes.

ATTRACTIONS Open your mind to Mind Immersions.

HI, SOCIETY! See who is stepping out at events around town.


THE TO-DO LIST

mar. 2020

MAR

21

EVENT

Cycle your way to knowledge Put on your helmet, hop on your bike and learn more about Clermont, the largest city in Lake County. The Clermont Cycle & Seek Bicycle Scavenger Hunt consists of teams of two to four people pedaling their way to local businesses and historical sites to discover interesting facts about Clermont. March 21 @ 10am-3pm / Waterfront Park, 100 3rd St. / clermontfl.gov/events.

EVENT

MAR

13, 17

Irish for a day The St. Patrick’s Day Festival is perhaps the most popular of the holiday events in The Villages. At the free event, throngs of people will enjoy colorful characters and performers in the parade, along with live music and food and market vendors. Get there early or you’ll be cursing your clovers trying to find a parking spot. March 13 @ 4-9pm / Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, The Villages March 17 @ 4:45-9pm / Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages / thevillagesentertainment.com


MAR

14-15 FESTIVAL

STEAMROLLING INTO TOWN The 43rd annual Leesburg Art Fest continues to grow with a variety of attractions for lovers of the arts, highlighted by 100 artists displaying oil and watercolor paintings, clay, mixed media, photography, jewelry and more. Other features include workshops, interactive art stations, children’s activities, live music, theater and literary presentations, and an industrial steamroller to make prints from carved printmaking plates.

mar.ON STAGE Enjoy quality entertainment on the many stages of Lake and Sumter counties.

March 14-15 @ 10am-4pm/Downtown Leesburg/leesburgartfest.com

March 2 @ 5&8pm “MY MOTHER’S ITALIAN, MY FATHER’S JEWISH, AND I’M STILL IN THERAPY” Savannah Center, 1545 N. Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages

EVENT MAR

7

March 2 @ 7pm

IT’S A GOOD BET

“SPINOSAURUS: LOST GIANT OF THE CRETACEOUS,” BY NIZAR IBRAHIM The Sharon, 1051 Main St., The Villages

The 19th annual Taste in Mount Dora & Casino Night promises an evening of culinary delights prepared by the city’s finest restaurants. Sample entrées and beverages in booths along Alexander Street and 4th Avenue, then bid in the silent auction and try your luck at blackjack, Texas Hold ’em, roulette, craps and poker in the casino.

March 10-12 @ 7pm “THE PRODUCERS” Savannah Center, 1545 N. Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages

March 20-April 12 @ various times “A GENTLEMEN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER” Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse, 1100 N. Unser St., Mount Dora

March 24-26 @ various times “GREASE” Savannah Center, 1545 N. Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages

March 24-May 3 @ various times “OTHER DESERT CITIES” The Studio Theatre Tierra del Sol, 806 San Marino Drive, The Villages

March 27-April 11 @ 8pm

March 7 @ 6-10pm/Sunset Park, 230 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora/mountdora.com

ONGOI NG EV ENTS Events are subject to change and cancellation.

“LAZARUS” Mimi’s Community Theater, Montverde Town Hall, 17404 Sixth St.

EVERY MON

EVERY TUE/SAT

EVERY THU

EVERY SAT

1ST MON

Webster’s Farmer’s Market 6am2pm, 524 North Market Blvd., Webster

Lady Lake Farmer’s Market 9am-2pm, Lady Lake Log Cabin, 106 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27

Lake County Farmers & Flea Market 8am-1pm, Fairgrounds, 2101 N. CR 452, Eustis

Brownwood Farmer’s Market 9am-2pm, 2726 Brownwood Blvd., Wildwood

Senior Shakedown 1-3pm, Tavares Civic Center, 100 E. Caroline St.

3RD WED

PAWS Reading Dogs W.T. Bland Library, Mount Dora.

3RD THU

Mount Dora Food Trucks downtown Mount Dora.

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THE TO-DO LIST

mar.JAMS Move to the beat of one of your favorite performers at one of these great concerts or local venues!

3/1 @ 2:30 & 7:30pm

3/17 @ 2:30 & 7:30pm

RICKY SKAGGS Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

LEE GREENWOOD Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

3/1 @ 7pm

3/19 @ 7pm

PATTI LABELLE The Sharon, The Villages

GREG PANDO Mojo Grill and Catering, Belleview

3/5 @ 7pm

3/19 @ 7pm

STRING FEVER The Sharon, The Villages

PAUL ANKA The Sharon, The Villages

3/6 @ 7:30pm

3/19 @ 9pm

RIDERS IN THE SKY Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

DAN RODZ Oasis Saloon, Sorrento

3/6 @ 9pm

3/21 @ 8pm

TRACKSIDE BAND Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

THE ACCUZED Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/7 @ 2:30 & 7:30pm

3/22 @ 1:30pm

MELISSA MANCHESTER Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

DENNIS GALLO Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

She’s ‘Every Girl’

3/7 @ 9pm

3/24 @ 7pm

TRACKSIDE BAND Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

BILLY BUCHANAN City Fire, The Villages

Country singer Trisha Yearwood is bringing her Every Girl Tour to The Villages. In 2019, Trisha released the single “Every Girl in This Town,” followed by the release of her first full-length country record in more than a decade, “Every Girl,” and a nationwide tour. Hear her powerhouse voice in a show that’s in support of Lake Cares Food Pantry.

3/8 @ 5pm

3/24 @ 7pm

BILLY BUCHANAN Evans Prairie Golf and Country Club, The Villages

UKULELE ORCHESTRA OF GREAT BRITAIN The Sharon, The Villages

3/11 @ 7:30pm

3/26 @ 7pm

JEFF WHITFIELD Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

SANDY BACK PORCH Bees RV Resort, Clermont

3/13 @ 7pm

3/26 @ 7:30pm

March 13 @ 7pm/The Sharon, 1051 Main St., The Villages/thesharon.com or getoffthebusconcerts.com

TRISHA YEARWOOD The Sharon, The Villages

DONNIE LEE Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/13 @ 7:30pm

3/27 @ 9pm

EDDY RAVEN Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

SOUND THEORY BAND Clermont Brewing Co., Clermont

3/13 @ 8pm

3/28 @ 2:30 & 7:30pm

JUSTIN HEET Ruby Street Grill, Tavares

CRYSTAL GAYLE Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

3/15-18 @ 7pm

3/28 @ 9pm

DAVID FOSTER The Sharon, The Villages

SOUND THEORY BAND Clermont Brewing Company, Clermont

3/16 @ 5pm

3/29 @ 1:30pm

MICHAEL LONDRA Savannah Center, The Villages

AL MANFREDI Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

MAR

13

EVENT

Let us help you get the word out! To have an event considered for the calendar, send a short text description along with a color photo (if available) 45 days in advance of event to: calendar@akersmediagroup.com or Lake & Sumter Style Calendar, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749

1ST FRI

Street Party Downtown Eustis, 6-10pm

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Night Market 5th and Magnolia Streets, Leesburg, 5-8pm

2ND FRI

Art in the Alley Features artists and performers on the sidewalks of downtown Mount Dora, 6-8pm

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Open House 6-8pm Mount Dora History Museum, 450 Royellou Lane

Movie in the Park Free family movie starts at dusk in Donnelly Park, downtown Mount Dora.

1ST SAT

2ND SAT

Wine Tasting Stroll 6-8pm, Starts at Maggie’s Attic on Alexander Street and 4th Avenue.

Food Truck N Flick Night Entertainment, Leesburg Towne Square.

4TH SAT

Classic Car Cruise-In downtown Eustis.


BOOK CLUB

REVIEW

‘The Body in Question’ By Jill Ciment. An affair between jurors puts a murder case at risk. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

ill Ciment’s “The Body in Question” is set in Central Florida, where jurors are sequestered for a case in which a teenage girl on the autism spectrum is on trial for the murder of her toddler brother. The story takes place in the courthouse, the diner across the street where the jurors go for lunch every day and the Econo Lodge where they are sequestered. Jill stays true to the Central Florida setting, writing about the “artificial cold” from the air conditioning and the “watchers,” a group of nosy seniors who get bused in from The Villages to sit in on the trial. While the author could have elaborated more on the details of the case, the majority of the novel focuses on the affair between jurors C-2 and F-17. Protagonist Hannah Pilar, referred to as juror C-2, is a former nature photographer whose much older husband is in his 80s. She could have been excused from jury duty because of her husband’s declining health but chooses not to mention it to the judge. During jury selection, Hannah has an instant connection with a professor of anatomy, Graham Oliver, otherwise known as juror F-17. Flirtation soon transforms into a full-blown affair beginning the first night of the sequestration.

Ready to delve into this book?

Though the jurors are “babysat” around the clock to ensure they won’t discuss the trial, C-2 and F-17 somehow manage to sneak into each other’s rooms almost every night, getting caught by only one juror who quickly informs the other jurors but not the judge. Hannah ends the affair the night before deliberations. The affair is a huge factor in the decision of the jurors, serving as a distraction from the details of the case. Hannah is the only outlying vote for the girl’s innocence. Though some jurors thought she was opposing F-17 out of spite, she assures them that she is not and eventually submits to a guilty verdict. The affair obviously would be a conflict of interest in the real world. It is questionable why no one told the judge until after the prosecution, and the author ends the book without saying whether the verdict was overturned, though in a fair legal system, it is reasonable to think that it would be. Although it was a quick read, “The Body in Question” wasn’t what I expected it to be. As a lover of crime stories, I was hoping to read more about the murder case rather than an affair. There was little suspense and an underwhelming and disappointing verdict, as the jury voted opposite of what I would have based on what the reader knows of the case. Jurors reconvened on their own at lunch, and an unofficial “revote” revealed four guilty and two not-guilty votes. Imagine sending a teenager away for something you’re not sure she did.

This book can be found at amazon.com and goodreads.com

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LOCAL TALENT

PEO PLE

Moved by the wind and tides Made of Earth brings nature’s elements to the stage through its lyrics. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG Photo: River City Rock-N-Roll Photography

hen three Lake County musicians were trying to name their band, they looked to their Christian faith and the name “Made of Earth” just flowed. “As Genesis 2:7 says, ‘He took the dust from the earth and breathed it in and man was made,’ so we’re all really made of earth,” says Monica Dedmon, lead singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist for the rock band. Monica, rhythm and lead guitarist Royce Moreland and lead drummer Bill Bailey started creating lyrics and music as Made of Earth in October 2018, and then met keyboardist Tim Donovan and bassist and background vocalist Steve Schoener. An attraction to Earth’s elements is the inspiration for their lyrics, all of which were written by Monica for the band’s debut album, which they planned to release in February at the Daytona Original Live Music Festival. Each song has a certain meaning to Monica but different meanings to the other members. “It relates to the personal experience,” Bill says. “For the interpreter to interpret that into their lives, we have to come away with something. It’s pretty neat, we have the special gift of doing that.”

Left to right: Steve Schoener, While recently rehearsing Tim Donovan, Monica Dedmon, the bluesy “Behold the Moon,” Bill Bailey and Royce Moreland Monica was reminiscent of Tina Turner or Nina Simone as she filled the room with a deep, powerful voice and sang: “I see the stars and I behold the moon/I recall your smile and I’ll be calling soon/You hold back the tides while the waves wash over me/I cannot think of one time that you did not comfort me.” The band members have day jobs to pay the bills, but they hope to soon open for national acts and then make the studio their home. They record with producer Bobby Croft at Casa Croftorious Studios in Sorrento. “It’s a labor of love,” Bill says. “We all have our personal lives. We all have other things that we do, but this is who we really are. When we come together, we just feel it in the music because we just take it to a higher level.” Made of Earth will perform Saturday, April 11, at the ninth annual DeLandAPalooza festival. You can find Made of Earth’s first album wherever you stream music. Read more about Made of Earth at lakeandsumterstyle.com.

Do you know talented people in the community?

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Send recommendations to victoria@akersmediagroup.com.


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SOCIAL SPOTLIGHT

EVENT

The rites of spring Mount Dora’s annual arts and crafts festival adds food and drinks from local favorites to the lineup. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

ount Dora’s Spring Festival is back for its 23rd year, bigger and better than ever. Each year, the festival brings in artists and handcrafters from all over the country, with more than 225 vendors expected this year. When Janet Gamache took over as the main organizer years ago, the festival was an antique show. Then, for the first couple of years of the festival, it was a collectibles show. But organizers have been slowly weeding out “buy/sell” vendors, and Janet has been transitioning the festival to arts and crafts. This year, about 95 percent of vendors will be handcrafters and artists, as organizers strive to display more unique art. The Spring Festival also is expanding this year with a food court and wine-tasting area. Food will be provided by assorted vendors who specialize in festival food like kettle corn and funnel cake, as well as from local restaurants. The wine tasting will be provided by Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, of Clermont. The new Mount Dora Marketplace on Donnelly Street will provide a larger seating area. Beer, wine and liquor can be

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purchased from kiosks or at local restaurants, and visitors will be able to walk around the event with their drinks. Janet’s favorite part of the festival is being able to shop around. “I just like going and seeing all of the original, neat ideas that everybody has, then the highquality, one-of-a-kind items that are there,” she says. As the artists come from all over the country, visitors can expect to see all kinds of unique and even personalized products, including Laura Adams’ handcrafted and personalized hats. The Texas native followed her only child


Hats by Laura Adams

Hats by Laura Adams

and grandchild to Florida 10 years ago. A third-generation millinery, Laura was making hats “from when my feet hit the floor. Every single weekend, every night and after school,” she says. When she first arrived in Florida, Laura began designing a ladies’ line. She makes everything by hand. She sizes, seams, shapes and weaves all of her hats, which can be a complicated process if you don’t know what you’re doing, she says. Anyone interested in finding a new hat can make sure they get the perfect one right there at the festival. “I make all handmade bands, silk flowers. I do from shabby chic to vintage to modern. I do a lot of custom work. I actually will do a custom fit right in my booth,” says Laura, who lives in Mount Dora. Making the hats, she says, actually is just a job. What she really loves is going to shows, meeting people and helping them find something they’ll love. She has been participating in Mount Dora’s Spring Festival for about eight years, though she travels to arts shows all over the country, including a three-month trip to Michigan every year, to sell her one-of-a-kind hats. Laura’s hats

are packable and adjustable, and she ships them all over the world. “The pleasure is that I’m fitting the hat and making them feel good about the hat. If you don’t get that ‘aha’ moment when you put on a hat, then it’s not your hat,” Laura says. She assures that she can find the perfect hat for anyone, even if they tell her they are not normally a “hat person.” Ladies’ visors are among Laura’s most popular hats, especially in Florida. They’re bigger than the average visor and popular among most people, especially female golfers. Laura and the other artists should see plenty of customers. The festival usually hosts more than 50,000 visitors throughout the weekend, and organizers hope to bring in even more this year with the bigger

variety of vendors, food and drinks, and the improvements they have made. Parking will be available in the Mount Dora Plaza parking lot, where a shuttle will be available to take visitors to the festival. For more information on shuttle schedules and details about parking and lodging, visit mountdoraspringshow.com/. You can find Laura’s hats and a schedule for her shows on her Facebook page at facebook.com/hatsbylauramichaels.

IF YOU GO

What: Mount Dora Spring Festival When: 9am-5pm, March 21-22 Where: Downtown Mount Dora mountdoraspringshow.com

Want to see your event in Social Spotlight? Contact us at least three months in advance and provide all the details to victoria@akersmediagroup.com.

VICTORIA SCHLABIG

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ATTRACTIONS

PL ACES

GAME CHANGERS Forget those old arcades of the 1980s. Mind Immersions in Clermont offers a new reality in the gaming industry. STORY: JAMES COMBS

≈ PHOTOS: DOUGLAS TYLER

ayhem ensues in the once peaceful town of Clermont. As hordes of blood-soaked zombies lurch through the streets, locals run frantically to avoid being bitten and becoming one themselves. Then, the unlikeliest of heroes emerge to save the day. Two middle-aged, pistol-packing journalists show up on the scene and confidently draw their weapons. Five zombies come toward them with arms outstretched. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Five headshots, five down. They spin around and see four more zombies approaching from their rear. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Their adrenaline pumps. Their hearts race. For the fate of mankind rests solely in their ability to destroy these bloodthirsty monsters. Actually, the above scenario is only partially true. One recent afternoon, colleague Chris Gerbasi and I took a break from the real world and received a

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dramatic introduction to the world of MIND IMMERSIONS OWNER FINDS virtual reality gaming. It took place at AN ALTERNATIVE EXPERIENCE Mind Immersions, a Clermont company The gaming center is that allowed us to test our survival skills Jesse Domeracki’s “day job” small in size but as big as against hordes of the undead. is designing the interiors of It was quite an experience for us hospitals. By night, he oversees a the imagination, with 35 old-timers accustomed to playing video world of zombies, space stations, stimulating games designed for all ages to enjoy in an eyegames like Pac-Man and Pong on a Old West shootouts, car races catching environment. screen. This technology actually puts and kids’ birthday parties. Jesse “We want the ‘Wow!’ factor you in the game. created and designed Mind when you walk in,” Jesse says. The game we played is called “Time Immersions Virtual Reality He says Mind Immersions is Zombies.” We stepped into a spacious Experience, which opened in battle arena, where general manager Clermont a little over a year ago. the only multi-experience VR facility of its kind, with four Raquel Brumell and team leader Joshua “I wanted to do something single-player bays, five racing/ Anderson equipped us with wireless fun,” he says. “I live in the coaster simulator chairs and a headsets. Once the headsets were business world right now. I’m battle arena for two players, plus secure, they handed us our weapons— sitting in company meetings, free games on tablets. one pistol for each hand. sitting around a table. I Good news for gamers: Suddenly, we were immersed in a needed a change of pace. This Jesse hopes to open more postapocalyptic courtyard where zombies is not replacing what I do, locations and create franchise with glowing eyes and limbs barely but it just adds excitement to opportunities in the near future. clinging to their rotting frames emerged the day-to-day.” from behind dilapidated structures. It felt very real—so real that the only thing more noticeable than the colorful graphics was our colorful language. “Take that you (bleep).” “Oh (bleep). I’ve got three coming from my backside.” On the surface, it seemed like we performed OK. I had 53 kills, while Chris had 47. He managed 30 headshots to my 23. Mad props to him. Those are difficult to achieve when you feel like something is actually coming at you. However, despite this being our first experience with virtual reality gaming, Josh wasn’t overly impressed when asked how we fared. “Not too, too bad,” he says with a hint of pity in his voice. Translation: In the event of a real zombie apocalypse, Chris Journalists-turned-zombie killers Chris Gerbasi, left, and James Combs and I would be dead meat.

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ATTRACTIONS

NOT YOUR CHILDHOOD ARCADE STORY: DOUGLAS TYLER

The moment you open the front door of Mind Immersions, you can see this isn’t your normal arcade. It’s something you’ve never experienced before. The entire place has this cool, neon-green glow to it that consumes you. Light strips run diagonally, up, down and around the entire place, providing an aesthetically pleasing futuristic vibe you just don’t find in Central Florida. In addition to a main stage and racing simulators, four private rooms for solo gaming experiences offered a lot of games, from running a convenience store to rock-climbing in a canyon. So, I ordered a beer

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and walked around while deciding on my first virtual adventure. I always loved Need for Speed while growing up, so I chose to sit in one of the racing simulators. After sitting behind the wheel and placing my feet on the gas and brake pedals, the attendant donned my helmet and I immediately was transported into a new world. I was now inside an Indy speed car, suddenly seeing my arms covered down to my fingertips in protective racing gear, gripping onto the wheel of a car I really felt like I was sitting in. The experience was vividly realistic and completed by the surround sound of the earbuds you wear while driving. After racing, I decided to try one of the games in the private rooms. I chose to enter the dark side and played a game called Beat Saber, where I was a Jedi knight holding two lightsabers and slashing musical notes as they came flying at me to the rhythm of the music. It was probably the most fun I’ve had playing a game in years, physically dodging left to right in order to stay alive! It was the most intense experience I had there and one I can’t wait to have again. For my last game, I asked what the most popular game was, and to my surprise, it was Job Simulator, where the player was a gas station attendant. I laughed and gave it a try. I don’t remember how long I played but I do know that it was the game I played the longest. It was fun to do something different and so relaxing that I completely lost track of time.


RUN FOR YOUR VIRTUAL LIVES! STORY: CHRIS GERBASI

Many motorists who commute on U.S. Highway 441 probably have imagined that they’re driving a race car. Southerners may favor a NASCAR scenario. This Michigan boy thinks about the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. Think again. The Assetto Corsa racing simulator at Mind Immersions is not a Sunday drive, at least not for this beginner. The game requires the player, much like an actual race car driver, to use both feet; the left on the brake and the right on the gas pedal. I drove like I had two left feet.

My only problems were steering, accelerating and braking. Raquel, the general manager, warned that the steering wheel was ultrasensitive, but I failed to grasp that concept. I was all over the place, like a madman at a Demolition Derby. In my panic, my four limbs started to work independently of each other. I headed full speed into turns and careened from barrier to barrier, then sputtered to a stop by braking too hard. At one point, I found myself slowly rolling through pit lane. But there were no trophies, no champagne, no pit girls.

The “hot lap” of virtual reality was more like the cold slap of reality. I was so shaken up afterward that I needed to retreat to the tranquil environs of the Blu, where I virtually communed with whales, squids and jellyfish. No steering required. Fortunately, the virtual track was closed to virtual spectators and there were no virtual fatalities, just wounds to the pride. Raquel notes that she sees 9-year-olds master the racing game pretty quickly. Thanks, Raquel. But let’s see a 9-yearold navigate 441 during rush hour.

Mind Immersions

2410 E. Highway 50, Suite B, Clermont / 407.559.1090 / Hours (vary by season): 3-8pm Wednesday-Friday, noon-8pm Saturday, noon-7pm Sunday; closed Monday-Tuesday // mindimmersions.com.

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HI, SOCIETY!

Troy Stutt, Shane Files, and Coach Johnnie Saunders

Fire Chief Mike Swanson and Police Chief Gary Calhoun

Tami Roundtree, Pete Kenjosian, and Chris Getchell

Jose Villafana Sr., Dalie Villafana, Whitney Drake and Jose Villafana Jr.

D E D I CAT I O N T O COMMUNITY @ LAKE EUSTIS AREA CHAMBER

Tina Ashby, Kevin Jenness and Penny Jenness

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≈ PHOTOS: DOUGLAS TYLER.

Community Service Awards were recently presented by the Lake Eustis Area Chamber of Commerce to TEDxEustis, Dr. Tiffany Scott, Davis Walkins, Ron Neibert, Eustis High School girls’ bowling, Oscar DeVere Morris, Officer Lauren Brown, Carla Rodriguez, Joshua Thompson, Bob Davis, Keith Totten, Dr. John Radnothy, Wolf Branch Brewing Co., Black Bear Golf Club and United Southern Bank. The Hall of Fame Award was given to Glenn Tyre, of Tyre & Taylor Realtors.

See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety

Marie Aliberti and Tiffany Scott

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Otis Taylor and Fred Logan Brandon Matulka and David Colby

See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety

HI, SOCIETY!

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Jeff Powell and Ray Villegas

BIG GER , BET T ER BOAT R A M P ≈

@ WATERFRONT PARK PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO. Clermont hosted a Susan and Taco Proper

Lori Wuchevich, Gail Ash and Regina Cruz-Morales

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ribbon-cutting ceremony in January for its new boat ramp along the southern bank of Lake Minneola, east of Waterfront Park. The $2.49-million project is part of Clermont’s $22 million Downtown Waterfront Master Plan to enhance and reenergize the area. “The new boat ramp will be a great asset to our waterfront,” City Manager Darren Gray says in a press release.


Chiropractic Medical Massage Acupuncture Homeopathic Injections P O W E R E D B Y L E G AC Y C L I N I C O F C H I R O P R AC T I C Legacy Clinic is a highly reviewed and award winning wellness clinic providing quality chiropractic care, massage therapy, health and wellness in the heart of The Villages. Local athletes and active adults seek our care to achieve their wellness and performance excellence with a non-surgical and drug-free approach to their health.

ENOCK FRANCOIS Local team USA wrestler trying out for 2020 Olympics. Powered by Legacy Clinic of chiropractic for pain and rehabilitation in The Villages, Florida.

DR. AARON PERRY, DOM LMT; DR. PATRICIA JEMISON, D.C.; DR. JOHN THEECK, D.C.; DR. CHRIS KESSLER, D.C.; DR. ANGELA BOYAZIS, D.C.

This chiropractic office has a team of physicians and therapists dedicated to tackle your biggest pains. Legacy Clinic is an award winning integrative clinic featuring chiropractors, physicians, acupuncturists, and massage therapists.

352.259.0024 | LegacyClinic.org 1950 Laurel Manor Dr., Ste. 204, The Villages MM25149 | MA25126


HI, SOCIETY!

Abel Biri and Jim Moffett

Charity Allmond, Jasmin Moreno and Marisol Ramirez

Charity Allmond, Jessica Ortiz, Vickie Thomas and Shanna Haller

Kurt Wagner MD and Veronica Chastain MD

H E A LT H CA R E A R O U N D T H E C O R N E R ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. AdventHealth Waterman rolled out the red carpet in January for the opening of the AdventHealth Medical Plaza in Mount Dora. The two-story, 22,260-square-foot facility is the first of its kind in northern Lake County. The first floor of the facility is home to physicians Dr. Veronica Chastain, Dr. Devlin O’Connor, Dr. Anielka Rodriguez and Dr. Kurt Wagner, and Estrellita Lu, an advanced practice registered nurse. The second floor is slated to open at the end of the year and will house pediatric care and specialists. @ ADVENTHEALTH MEDICAL PLAZA

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See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety

Mayor Cathy Hoechst, left

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC


NEW YEAR, NEW CAR!

Plus, a $250 Cash Bonus* to start the year off right! Finance a new or used vehicle or refinance your existing auto loan from another financial institution with Insight and receive a $250 Cash Bonus*! Limited time only. Call us today at 407.426.6000 or Toll-Free 888.843.8328, or visit one of our convenient locations for more information and to apply today! INSIGHTCREDITUNION.COM *Members can receive a $250 Cash Bonus when they finance a new or used vehicle with Insight Credit Union; or refinance an existing auto loan from another financial institution with Insight Credit Union. Membership restrictions apply. Must be a minimum auto loan amount of $20,000. Direct auto loans only. Indirect or dealership loans are not eligible for this promotion. Existing Insight Credit Union auto loans are not eligible for refinance or the $250 Cash Bonus. No other discounts may apply. If the loan is paid in full within six (6) months of the contract date, member will be required to repay the $250 Cash Bonus. Loan application subject to a $35 Loan Application Fee. Approved refinance loans subject to Lien Recording fee. Other fees may apply. Loan subject to normal underwriting guidelines. Actual interest rate will be customized based on credit characteristics. Interest accrues from the date of contract. Offer valid January 2, 2020 through March 31, 2020, and may be withdrawn at any time. Other restrictions may apply. Federally insured by NCUA.


HI, SOCIETY!

Marci Duke, Brad Weber, Glenda Weber, Jason Pittman, Maureen Pittman, Casey McCray, Jason McCray

Deserae Williams and Landi Sherman

MC Candice Hage

Beth Hunt and James Morris

Lance Kinney, Drew Arnstein, Robbie Shoemaker

S U M T E R’ S 9 7 T H AWA R D S G A L A ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. Sumter County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual dinner and awards gala in January at Savannah Center in The Villages. Awards were presented to Beth Hunt, community outreach coordinator at the Sumter County Sheriff ’s Office, for Volunteer of the Year; the Rotary Club of Wildwood for Outstanding Nonprofit; Allstate Insurance/The Kevin McDonald Agency for Small Business of the Year; and Primus Pipe & Tube for Large Business of the Year. Mary Beth Locke, owner of Back Road Berries in Oxford, was named Business Woman of the Year, and Jim Duncan, CEO of SECO Energy, was honored as Business Man of Year.

@ SAVANNAH CENTER

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See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety

Jessica and Tim Kelly

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Membership is open to anyone in Alachua, Marion, Lake and Sumter counties.5 May not be combined with any other offer. Offer subject to change without notice. 1. OFFER NOT AVAILABLE ON EXISTING CAMPUS CHECKING ACCOUNT OR LOANS. 2. Within the first 90 days member must elect to receive eDocuments and establish Direct Deposit of at least $200 per month. If the requirements are met and the account remains open after 90 days, the $300 reward will be made available to the member. $300 is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. 3. Credit approval and initial $50 opening deposit required. Member must elect to receive eDocuments. 4. Lines of Credit, Commercial Loans, CD/Shared Secured Loans, Signature Loans and Real Estate Loans are not eligible. Cash bonus is 1.25% of amount financed up to a maximum of $300. Limit one per household. Must present offer at time of loan closing. 5. Credit approval and initial $5 deposit required. Federally insured by the NCUA.


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Hunter Morse, Jorge Cendejas, Marci Palmer and Joe Izzoi

Jeff Moore and Dr. Dee

Kim Allman, Josh Cauthen, Gina Curry, Chris Curry, Michelle Morell and Nicole Lora

Leesburg High School Culinary Class

C H I L I A N D B B Q F O R A CAU S E @ GATOR HARLEY-DAVIDSON ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. The seventh annual Lake County Firefighters’ Charity, a two-day chili cookoff and barbecue competition, was hosted in January at Gator Harley-Davidson in Leesburg. The event attracted 30 teams preparing barbecue and chili, and nearly 4,000 visitors—the largest crowd ever, says Lake County Firefighters Charity President Brian Gamble. The event netted about $5,000 for the firefighters’ charitable causes, including aiding local firefighters battling cancer, PTSD and other medical issues.

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See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety

Orlando Firefighters’ Benevolent Association

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Welcome to caskey's mower shop!

A family owned and operated business in Tavares, Florida for over 50 years. Offering sales and services for lawn mowers and outdoor power equipment. We have the best selection of lawn mowers and outdoor power equipment in lake county and all central florida. With our variety of brands, we are sure we can meet your residential and commercial outdoor power equipment needs.

Jason West, Owner

caskey's mower shop caskeysmowershop.com | 31333 SAUNDERS CIRCLE, TAVARES | 352.343.2151

Our priority. Your health. Your time.

John Joseph Im, D.O. Graduate of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Serving the urgent care needs of The Villages and surrounding area for over 15 years

The only urgent care center with the full capabilities of an ER X-rays and Labs performed on site with results in 15 minutes or less

Internship at Weill Medical College of Cornell University Residency at Seton Hall University

352.391.5200 • ExceptionalUrgentCare.com New Location!

13767 US HWY 441, Lady Lake / Next to Takis in front of Bealls. Hours: Mon–Fri 9am–5pm / Saturdays 9am–3pm / Closed Sunday Golf cart accessible!

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RETIREMENT SALE!

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dear customers; It has been a great honor and pleasure to have served you the past 30+ years. Thank you! However the time has come for me to tend to my health and my family more than ever. This Retirement Sale, our biggest sale yet, will be held in our beloved store located in the downtown square of Ocala and must liquidate all of our inventory. Please come in early for the best selection and unbelievable savings on these magniďŹ cent, hand-made rugs, personally handpicked from all over the world. Forever grateful, Bahram Cyrus Assary

Cyrus Rug Gallery 352.629.3200 20 se broadway st., ocala, fl cyrus-rug.com


An Elegant Twist on Chops

IN THE HEART OF THE VILLAGES® COMMUNITY

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DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW FOR YOUR KITCHEN, GET THE SCOOP ON EATING OUT, AND TOAST THE WINE! | FOOD. DRINKS. REVIEWS.

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IN THE KITCHEN Papa Pineapples has new take on tacos.

FORK ON THE ROAD Diners feel at home at Rae Rae’s.

SPIRITS Take a shot at Yalaha Bootlegging Co.

DINING GUIDE Our area restaurants appeal to all tastes.


IN THE KITCHEN

RECIPE

TACOS WITH A TWIST Papa Pineapples’ aromatic Hawaiian-influenced foods are made with ‘a whole lot of love.’ STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

≈ PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO

pend time chatting with Papa Pineapples general manager Telly Carr and his assistant, Brannon DeGraw, and one can’t help but chuckle hearing about the aromatic “power” of the restaurant’s enticing foods. Brannon was walking past the window of the Leesburg eatery at 314 W. Main St. when she caught a whiff of slow-cooked chili lime chicken and pineapple salsa being slightly grilled. “It was just a fragrant aroma in the air, and I had to come in and check it out,” Brannon recalls with a giggle. “My nose was dragging me in like a cartoon with a pie. It was intoxicating. I came in and said, ‘Are you hiring? Oh, please tell me you’re hiring.’” Her nose landed her a job.

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“Boy, I’m glad it did because I landed on a gem,” Brannon says. She had restaurant and food truck experience when she began working a couple of days a week, first assisting on the Papa Pineapples food truck at events before she joined full time to work with Telly at the Leesburg location. The business was the brainstorm of owners Scott Snyder and his wife, Natalie, of Summerfield, both Army veterans. Scott was stationed for five years on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, where he loved the culture, cuisine and fresh pineapple, so it seemed natural to bring the island theme to the food truck circuit. “When we started on the food truck, we had to have something quick to get out the window when we’d go to events,” Scott says. “We figured tacos were great, but I didn’t want to have the same


Brannon DeGraw

Telly Carr

thing that everybody did. We wanted to do something trendy, and because of my military background in Hawaii, we wanted to tie it all together.” One of his friends suggested the name Papa Pineapples. “I think it became more popular than we ever thought it would,” Scott says. The success of the food truck led to customers requesting a brickand-mortar location, so the Snyders opened their first Papa Pineapples in

September 2019 in Leesburg, followed by a second location in Ocala. Scott says the Leesburg site was successful within the first two months, which led to branching into Ocala. “I would like to have five total,” says Scott, who envisions another spot in Ocala, along with possible locations in Gainesville, Wildwood or Inverness. “Scott is ambitious. He is the only person I know to open two restaurants in less than three months,” Telly says.

Papa Pineapples is in good hands with Telly and Brannon running the Leesburg restaurant, according to Scott. As a trained chef with many years of experience, Telly says he has tasted a lot of different food combinations, but Papa Pineapples’ menu offerings have tantalized his taste buds like no other. “I believe in the food. It’s fresh, real food. We are really proud of the product we put out

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IN THE KITCHEN

and proud of the service we provide. We use really simple ingredients and a whole lot of love,” Telly says. Telly notes that the chili lime chicken tacos were instantly popular on the food truck. In addition to the chicken and pineapple salsa made with fresh pineapple, the tacos include red bell peppers and sweet red onions, and the salsa has bits of jalapeño peppers “We take out all the seeds and all the hot stuff out of it, and we dice it. Before we serve it, we grill it a little bit and then we put a fresh avocado crema on it,” Telly says. Other taco combinations, available in grilled flour or corn tortilla shells, are pineapple-cilantro pork, mango black bean, Hawaiian BBQ chicken and the Ohana, which features fiesta grilled steak topped with tomato-lime red onion salsa and sriracha mayo. The Korean, one of Telly’s and many customers’ favorite tacos, has tender, marinated ribeye steak topped with shredded cabbage, carrots, tomato-lime red onion salsa and sriracha mayo. Brannon can’t name just one as her favorite. “The pineapple-cilantro pork is amazing, the chili lime chicken is amazing and the Korean is wonderful ribeye steak that is really tender and the Ohana is a little spicier,” she says. Papa Pineapples also offers burritos made with steak, pork, chicken stuffed with white rice, black beans and the diner’s choice of toppings, including cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, cilantro, jalapeño, red onion, pineapple, guacamole, avocado crema, jalapeño cilantro lime or sriracha mayo. The restaurant also serves quesadillas and burrito bowls without the shells. “We give out samples of our stuff all the time,” Telly says. “Most people come

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“WE USE REALLY SIMPLE INGREDIENTS AND A WHOLE LOT OF LOVE.” —T E L LY C A R R


PA PA P I N E A P P L E S C H I L I L I M E C H I C K E N INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

10

pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

2

cups olive oil

2

cups lime juice

13

/

cup chili powder

13

/

cup brown sugar

1

tablespoon cumin

1

tablespoon garlic powder

1

tablespoon onion powder

1

tablespoon paprika

Combine all dry and wet ingredients. Add chicken to slow roaster or crock pot. Next, pour combined wet and dry ingredients over chicken. Put lid on and set to 250 degrees for at least 4 hours. When done, shred meat with two forks. Serve in grilled flour or corn tortilla shells with a pineapple salsa made from fresh pineapple, red bell peppers and sweet red onions, and top with fresh avocado crema.

Brannon DeGraw & Telly Carr

in are not quite sure what Papa Pineapples is. Most of the time, we get people who walk in out of curiosity.” Telly and Brannon love talking about food and experimenting with new ideas. They recently created tasty queso and salsa made from scratch for people to enjoy with tortilla chips. “Everything we do is small batch, so we’re always cooking something. Whether it’s steak on the grill, grilling our salsas, there’s always some kind of aroma in the air and there are times when we prop that door open and let it go out,” Telly says, grinning. “One day it was really slow, and Brannon was sitting at the outside table eating. It wasn’t too long before people came in.” Brannon savored her tacos, saying “Mmmm” with each bite. “I wasn’t even discreet,” she says. “I looked like this poor hungry girl on her break who was really enjoying her food. It was amazing how quick it happened (drawing customers in).”

Scott noted that the pineapple-cilantro pork tacos have been on the menu since the beginning five years ago, and the tacos are just as popular in Ocala as in Leesburg and at food truck events. “A lot of the stuff on our menu, we slow-cook the meat and that is why it is really flavorful,” he says. The Papa Pineapples food truck still traverses the Florida circuit, often going to weekend events in Orlando and Gainesville, and the tacos have been a hit at Leesburg’s Food Truck-N-Flick Night. Diners may be surprised that there is no microwave at Papa Pineapples. The staff relies on slow cookers and grills to create their menu items in an open kitchen format, where people can watch some of the foods being prepared. “And whenever my coffee gets cold,” Telly says with a chuckle, “they laugh at me because I put it on the grill to warm it back up.”

Hey, readers! Do you have a favorite dish or memorable cooking story? Tell me about it! Email me at theresa@akersmediagroup.com

THERESA CAMPBELL

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FORK ON THE ROAD

REVIEWS

Just like home Popular Rae Rae’s serves fresh comfort foods to a cast of regulars. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

hen Christine Rohan was growing up in New England, her grandmother used to bribe the kids to go pick blueberries by telling them, “If you pick this bucket of blueberries, Grammy will make you blueberry biscuits.” “The berries were so tiny, and it would take us hours to pick a bucket of blueberries because we’d end up eating them, too,” Christine says. “She’d say, ‘Yeah, I think you ate more than you picked, but I’ll still make you some blueberry biscuits.’”

Today, blueberry biscuit squares are among the most popular items at Rae Rae’s Restaurant, owned and operated since 2012 by Christine and her husband, Tim. The Fruitland Park restaurant is a quaint, friendly, downhome kind of place where diners can savor made-from-scratch homestyle foods for breakfast or lunch. Rae Rae’s has generated a following of regulars who crave the specialty treats on the menu. The blueberry biscuit squares are topped with a light, sweet glaze. The batter is spread in large pans, baked, and each pan is cut into 20 squares. The biscuits, and other breakfast items, are worth ordering anytime.


“If you like the sweet taste, people really love our Banana Foster French Toast,” Christine adds. “We take our homemade cinnamon buns that we get delivered fresh from an Orlando bakery and we slice it in three slices, dip it in the French toast batter and grill it. We have a homemade Banana Foster sauce that we smother it in with sliced bananas that have been slightly grilled with whipped cream. It is so incredibly good. We actually sell it as a dessert as well.” The bustling small diner was named in honor of Tim’s sister, Rae, who was the only girl in a household of six brothers. She became a mother hen who learned to cook at an early age, after the sudden death of her father, to help her mother feed the hungry flock of growing boys. Rae became a special education teacher and whenever she visits Rae Rae’s from her Gainesville home, her proud brother embarrasses her by making sure diners are aware Rae is in the house. “With Florida being the Sunshine State and Rae being our ‘ray of sunshine,’ we invite you to sample from our menu inspired by the love of a sister,” the menu reads. Family photos and Florida nature scenes adorn the restaurant’s bright aqua-colored walls. Some diners are at the restaurant every morning for breakfast, and others are regulars for lunch or the weekly Fish Fry Friday, the only day when Rae Rae’s stays open to 7pm. “Fish Fry Friday is our biggest day and it’s New England style,” says Christine, who grew up in her aunt’s restaurant, washing dishes at 11. “As I got older, she started teaching me how to make stuff in the kitchen, and one of those things was cutting potatoes for New England chowder.”

Ron Proodian, of The Villages, dines at Rae Rae’s four times a week and loves Fish Fry Fridays. “The food is good. It’s fresh and it’s better than a chain,” Ron says, recalling one funny time when he was served a different meal than what he ordered but still found it tasty. He joked that he’ll eat whatever the kitchen crew fixes him. The restaurant doesn’t have a microwave, so everything is homemade, fresh and made to order, including hand-cut french fries. Christine is proud of the restaurant’s Rubenizer, featuring homemade corned beef brisket (not deli meat) for the Reuben sandwich that is piled high with sauerkraut, Reuben dressing and swiss cheese on rye or Texas toast. “We cook and hand-cut our brisket, and that is what we use to make our Reubens. It’s the best ever,” she says. The Rohans created a tasty breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, which they credit on the menu to Bob, an Indiana native friend. After several requests for the sandwich, the Rohans went to work handpounding pork and applying an egg wash and breading before deep-frying the meat to juicy tenderness with a nice, crunchy coating. It’s served on a bakeryfresh kaiser roll. One social media reviewer says Rae Rae’s makes diners feel like they’re in Mayberry, waiting for the gang from “The Andy Griffith Show” to walk in. But Christine is reminded of a different classic sitcom. “It’s like the show ‘Cheers’ in here, where everybody knows your name, especially with the regulars in the early morning,” she says.

Rae Rae’s Restaurant

2468 U.S. Highway 441, Fruitland Park (south of Phillips Buick GMC in Park Central Plaza. / 352.323.1595. Hours: 7am-2pm Tuesday-Thursday; 7am-7pm Friday; 7am-1pm Saturday-Sunday; closed Monday. / facebook.com/raeraesrestaurant.

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SPIRITS

Doug McCormack D RINK

Let it shine Yalaha Bootlegging Co. is making moonshine—legally. STORY: JAMES COMBS

building made from Southern heart pine and resembling an old-time general store has become one of Yalaha’s most popular destinations. Hanging from the ceiling are nail kegs converted into lighting fixtures, and shelves are stocked with barbecue sauce, sweet potatoes and real baby alligator heads that are a hit among children. But what keeps visitors coming back is the scent of fermenting mash and the bottles of homemade moonshine that come in a variety of flavors. Yes, that moonshine. The one that conjures up images of mountain men dressed in overalls jumping into their beat-up trucks and driving deep into the woods of the

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≈ PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO Appalachian Mountains to an illegal distillery. The location was top secret because they chose not to pay taxes on their products. People like Doug McCormack have helped the moonshine industry emerge from the backwoods and make a comeback in legal fashion. He and his wife, Amanda, are owners of Yalaha Bootlegging Co. Using only one 50-gallon still, Doug proudly describes his company as the “second-smallest distillery in Florida.” For the record, he’s unsure which distillery is the smallest. Size hasn’t impeded Central Floridians from flocking to the distillery in large numbers. Moonshine’s renegade reputation is alluring to customers who want to taste tradition and indulge in slightly naughty adventure without breaking any laws. “Many people are surprised to find out that it’s now legal,” Doug says. They’re also surprised to learn how Doug’s moonshine differs from traditional moonshine, which was typically made from


corn grain. The idea for his concoction was born several years ago when his u-pick blueberry business, Blue Bayou Farms, began struggling. “It’s hard to make money being a small blueberry grower,” he says. “I would see hundreds of blueberries on the ground that went to waste, and the sight would just crush me. You have to be able to adapt, especially when you’re in agriculture.” Doug adapted and carved out a niche by becoming Florida’s first distillery that uses organic blueberries to make 100-proof moonshine. Since then, he has created other moonshine flavors such as Southern pecan, peach, watermelon, apple and cranberry. Most of the fruit is purchased from farms in Plant City. “When you use top-quality ingredients, you’re going to end up with a better finished product,” Doug says. Consumers typically purchase the moonshine as a gift or for hosting parties. Much like wine, the brands of moonshine are diverse. For instance, because the Southern Pecan tastes similar to bourbon, many people enjoy it with an after-dinner cigar. They blend another brand, the Original Moonshine, with margarita mix to craft a rum margarita and enjoy it on a sunny day. A distillery license makes Doug’s operation legal and keeps him from having to look over his shoulder. But he has to be careful about sharing the intricate details of the moonshinemaking process. “It’s federally illegal to tell someone how to make moonshine,” he says. “Also, I’ve won several awards, so I don’t want my competitors to know how I’m doing it.” But here’s how the basic process works. Doug ferments organic blueberries from his farm with yeast, sugar and water to create a mash. The mash becomes alcoholic and is distilled for eight hours. Then it’s stored inside a 10-gallon barrel and ages for six months. “Nothing is bottled until I approve of it,” he says. “I strive hard to provide a quality product and I think that’s why a lot of regulars who come here say it’s the best moonshine they’ve ever had.” Judges at renowned spirits competitions have been equally impressed with the quality. Yalaha Bootlegging Original

Yalaha Bootlegging Co.

“MOONSHINING HAS BEEN IN MY FAMILY FOR 150 YEARS. I’M THE FIRST ONE TO DO IT LEGALLY.” — DOUG MCCORMACK

Moonshine received a silver medal in 2017 at the American Distillery Institute’s annual competition. In 2018, the same brand won a gold medal at the Great American International Spirits Competition. One year later in the same competition, his Apple Smack received a gold medal. Of course, moonshine isn’t the only sought-after product at Yalaha Bootlegging Co. Customers can purchase homemade jams and jellies made by Doug’s mother, Glenda McCormack, and the ever-popular pies carefully crafted by his sister-in-law, Sandi McCormack. “Everybody loves our pies,” says Lauren Beard, a lifelong Yalaha resident who serves as bookkeeper of Yalaha Bootlegging Co. “Just last Saturday, we sold 60 of them.” Live music is offered from noon-3pm each Saturday. Customers are welcome to sample the moonshine and pick blueberries in season, which typically starts in April. While browsing through the store, it’s hard to miss black-andwhite photographs of Doug’s great-grandfathers—one in Apopka and one in Alabama—who also were moonshiners. “Moonshining has been in my family for 150 years,” he says. “I’m the first one to do it legally.”

8222 County Road 48 // 352.324.4069 // yalahabootleggingco.com.

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DINING GUIDE

dine

OUT Whatever your favorite dish, you can find a great place that serves it in this area. Check out what's nearby or take a little drive to a new place! Denotes locations where you can find Lake & Sumter Style

A S TAT U L A Race Car Diner 25641 Monroe St. 352.253.6940 ASTOR Blackwater Inn Williams Landing 55716 Front St. 352.759.3802 Castaways Restaurant 23525 US SR 40 352.759.2213 Sparky’s Place Restaurant 24646 SR 40 352.759.3551 William’s Landing 55716 Front St. 352.759.2802 BUSHNELL Chuck’s Odd Cuples Café 117 W Belt Ave 352.568.0408 Hong Kong Restaurant 2229 W CR 48 (352) 568-8888 Howie’s Family Restaurant 840 N. Main St. 352.793.8582

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TJ’s Family Restaurant 412 W. Belt Ave 352.793.8877

Friar Tuck 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd. 352.404.6818

CLERMONT

G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900

801 City Grille 801 Montrose St. 352.394.6911 Akina Sushi Bar & Asian Fusion Bistro 4300 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.8988 Calabria Ristorante 13900 CR 455 407.656.5144 Cheeser’s Palace Café 707 W. Montrose St. 352.404.9431 Clermont Brewing Co. 750 W Desoto 321.430.2337 Corelli Italian Restaurant 1042 E. Hwy. 50 352.989.5924 Devenney’s Irish Pub 16909 High Grove Blvd. 352.432.3925 El Cerro Restaurant 811 W. Hwy. 50 352.241.9884

Green Garden 1790 E. Hwy. 50 352.243.2077 Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Hwy. 27 352.241.9884 Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.243.1118 Lilly’s on the Lake 846 W. Osceola St. 352.708.6565 Napolis Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Robata Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar 1500 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.404.9688 Root and Branch Bistro and Bar 1200 Seaver Dr. 352.708.4529 Sanctuary Ridge Bar & Grille 2601 Diamond Club Road 352.243.0411

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Sarah’s Greek Cuisine & More 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd., Ste. 305 352.404.8031 The Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.4808 Troy’s Cuban & Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295 Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 157 Hwy. 27 352.394.1225 EUSTIS Combat Café 1602 N. Hwy. 19 352.483.0250 Haystax Restaurant 15439 Hwy. 441 352.489.0510 Jeannie’s Place 209 E. Gottsche Ave. 352.359.0027 Kiku Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar 15211 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.483.8288 King’s Taste Bar-B-Que 503 Palmetto St. 352.589.0404

LaCabana Mexican Bar and Grill 2060 S. Bay St. 352.357.4600 Nalan Sultan Mediterranean Grill 1 N. Eustis St. 352.357.4444 NightOwl Caribbean Restaurant 929 S. Bay St. 352.589.0256 Stavro’s & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. CR 44 352.589.9100 Taki’s Pizza House 2824 S. Bay St. 352.357.0022 Thai Sushi America 925 N. Bay St. 352.357.1949 The Crazy Gator 402 N. Bay St. 352.589.5885 The Great Pizza Company 23 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.357.7377 The Oyster Troff 936 N. Bay St. 352.357.9939 Tillie’s Tavern & Grill 31 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.602.7929 Tony’s Pizza & Subs 2760 E. Orange Ave. 352.589.9001 F RU I T L A N D PA R K Fruitland Park Café 3180 US Hwy. 441/27 352.435.4575 ibar-be-que Express 3170 Hwy. 27 352.315.4227 Legends Cafe 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.728.0006 NY Deli N Diner 3325 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.365.0051 Rae Rae’s Restaurant 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.323.1595 Stavro’s 3223 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.315.0028

The Rose Plantation 200 Rose Ave., Fruitland Park 352.805.4340

Brick & Barrel 209 W. Main St. 352.431.3069

G R OV E L A N D

Cedar River Seafood 8609 S. U.S. Hwy. 441 352.728.3377

Coyote Rojo 214 W. Broad St. 352.557.8999 Ikaho Sushi Japanese 7965 SR 50, #900 352.557.8988 James Barbeque 262 W. Orange St. 352.557.4050 Lil Anthony’s Pizza 7965 SR 50 352.429.7499 Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. SR 33 352.429.2997 H OW EY- I N THE -HILLS JB Boondocks Bar & Grill 704 S. Lakeshore Blvd. 352.324.3600 La Hacienda Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.3910 Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.2718 L A DY L A K E Bamboo Bistro 700 Hwy. 441 352.750.9998 El Ranchito 1 Lagrande Blvd. 352.750.3335 Lady Lake Harbor Hills Country Club 6538 Lake Griffin Rd. 352.753.7000 Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 504 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.753.2722 The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. 514 Hwy. 441 352.614.9000 LEESBURG Blooms 610 W. Main St. 352.787.1004

Cafe Ola 400 N. 14th St. 352.365.0089

Chesapeake Bay Grill 4467 Arlington Ridge Blvd. 352.315.0066 Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442 Dance’s BBQ 1707 South Street 352.801.8885 Frank’s Place 201 N. 1st St. 352.323.1989 Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 CR 44 352.365.2177 God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447 Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St. 352.474.2739 HP Grill 1403 S. 14th St. 352.314.0006 Ichiban Buffet 10301 Hwy. 441 352.728.6669 Kountry Kitchen 1008 W. Dixie Ave. 352.323.0852 La Palma Mexican Grill 1690 Citrus Blvd. 352.323.1444 Lilly’s Super Subs 2339 CR 473 352.343.4663 Magnolia’s Oyster Bar 201 W. Magnolia St. 352.323.0093 Main Street Cantina 205 W. Main St. 352.435.7279 Mrs. T’s Place, Southern Restaurant 305 Pine St. 352.431.3217 Naples Italian Restaurant 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.323.1616


Osaka 1401 Citrus Blvd. 352.728.0788 Papa Pineapples 314 W. Main St. 352.801.7097 Pine Street Bar-B-Que 408 Pine St. 352.728.1293 Plantation Oaks Restaurant 4720 Plantation Blvd. 352.530.2680 Ramshackle Café 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565 Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 US Hwy. 27 352.319.8093

MASCOTTE Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093 MINNEOLA Jack’s Barbecue 100 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.2673 Lil Anthony’s Pizza 205 N. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.1516 Minneola Grill 117 W. Washington St. 352.394.2555 Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 Hwy. 27 352.243.7500

J.K. Thai & Sushi 116 E. 5th Ave. 352.385.5470 Let’s Do a Maine Lobster Roll 426 N. Donnelly St. 352.735.3702 Magical Meat Boutique 112 W. Third Ave. 352.729.6911 Mount Dora Pizza & Subs 2718 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.5303 Olive Branch MediterraneanItalian Grille 115 W. 3rd St. 352.729.6734 One Flight Up Coffee, Dessert & Wine Bar 440 N. Donnelly St., Ste. 100 352.758.9818

San Jose Mexican 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174

The Surf Bar and Grill 650 N. Hwy. 27 202.527.0100

Sip Restaurant and Wine Bar 707 W. Main St. 352.435.7840

Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232

Stokes Seafood Market and More 719 W. Main St. 352.787.3474

MOUNT DORA

Sully’s Smokehouse 10820 CR 44 352.483.7427

Anthony’s Pizza 17195 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.357.6668

Shiva Indian Restaurant 140A W. 5th Ave. 352.735.4555

Barnwood Country Kitchen & Smokehouse 3725 W. Old US Hwy 441 352.630.4903

Sidelines Sport Eatery 315 N. Highland St. 352.735.7433

Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344 Pint Sized Pub 110 S. 5th St. 352.460.0383 The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717 The Kitchen Cooking School 712 W. Main St. 352.901.6537

1921 Mount Dora 142 E. Fourth Ave. 352.385.1921

Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St. 352.383.4101 Bocce Pizzeria 925 E. First Ave. 352.385.0067 Café Gianni 425 N. Alexander St. 352.735.3327

The Mojo Grill & Catering Co. 9925 US-441 352.787.0494

Cody’s on 4th Cafe 111 E. 4th Ave. 352.735.8426

The Old Time Diner 1350 W. North Blvd. 352.805.4250

Copacabana Cuban Cafe 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000

Turners 114 S. 5th St. 352.530.2274 Vic’s Catering 352.728.8989

Frog & Monkey English Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352. 383.1936

Wolfy’s 918 N. 14th St. 352.787.6777

Highland Street Café 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446 Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444

Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave. 352.385.2669 PizzAmore’ 722 E. 5th Ave. 352.383.0092

Sugarboo’s Bar-B-Que 1305 N. Grandview St. 352.735.7675 The Bavarian Haus 433 N. Alexander St. 352.735.8387 The Country Club 1900 Country Club Blvd. 352.735.2263 The Goblin Market 331-B Donnely St. 352.735.0059 Tilted Grill & Bar 4025 N. U.S. Hwy. 19A 352.483.3855 Whale’s Tale Fish House 2720 W. Old U.S. Hwy 441 352.385.1500 SORRENTO Del Franco Pizza Place 31436 CR 437 352.383.8882

Lisa’s Kountry Cafe 23911 CR 46 352.735.3380 TAVA R E S Angelo’s Italian Restaurant 2270 Vindale Rd. 352.343.2757 Fish Camp Lake Eustis 901 Lake Shore Blvd. 352.742.4400 Hurricane Dockside Grill 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.508.5137 Kalua Hale Beach Bar 181 S. Joanna Ave. 352.609.5910 Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313 Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 CR 448 352.343.6823 O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and Restaurant 115 S Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157 Palm Gardens Restaurant 1661 Palm Garden St. 352.431.3217 Puddle Jumpers 111 W Ruby St. 352.508.5862 Ruby Street Grille 221 E. Ruby St. 352.742.7829 Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744 The Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585

T H E V I L L AG E S Amerikano’s Grill 998 Del Mar Dr. 352.633.8027 Belle Glade Country Club 446 Moyer Loop 352.205.8208 Bravo Pizza 1080 Lake Sumter Landing 352.430.2394 Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627 Chengs Chinese and Sushi Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678 China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965 City Fire Brownwood & Paddock Square 352.561.2078

Legacy Restaurant Nancy Lopez Country Club 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475 Margarita Republic 1102 Main St. 352.753.4600 Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant and Bar 320 Colony Blvd. 352.753.3824

Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 297 Colony Blvd 352.751.0400 Giovanni’s 3439 Wedgewood Lane 352.751.6674 Glenview County Club 3914 Glenview Rd. 352.753.0077 Habaneros Mexican Grill 3551 Wedgewood Ln. 352.633.2080 Hemingway’s at Havana Country Club 2484 Odell Circle 352.430.3200

Fish & Chix 100 N. Central Ave. 352.669.7145 Gator’s 9 N. Central Ave. 352.669.6969 Greg’s Haystax 526 Umatilla Blvd. 352.669.1555 Old Crow Real Pit Bar-B-Q 41100 SR 19 352.669.3922

NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994

Shanghai 531 N. Central Ave. 352.669.2004

Orange Blossom Country Club 1542 Water Tower Circle 352.751.4501

The Mason Jar 37534 State Rd. 19 352.589.2535

Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.750.4499

W I L DWO O D

RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.2930

Evans Prairie Country Club 1825 Evan’s Prairie Trail 352.750.2225

U M AT I L L A

Ricciardi’s Italian Table 3660 Kiessel Rd. 352.391.9939 Sakura 265 Colony Blvd 352.205.7393 Takis Greek and Italian Restaurant 13761 U.S. Hwy. 441 N. 352.430.3630 The Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille 925 Lakeshore Dr. 352.753.7800 Tierra Del Sol Country Club 806 San Marino Dr. 352.753.8005 VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 1004 Old Mill Run 352.259.9887

China Jade 420 W. CR 44 352.330.5913 Continental Country Club 50 Continental Blvd. 352.748.3293 Cotillion Southern Café 101 N. Main St. 352.748.1223 Los Magueyes Mexican Restaurant 346 Shopping Center Dr. 352.461.0577 O’Shucks! Oyster Bar and Grill 1016 S Main St. 352.399.2200 Traditions Café 3107 Hwy. 44 352.748.1077 Woody’s Bar-B-Q 1220 S. Main St. 352.748.1109 YA L A H A Yalaha Bakery 8210 CR 48 352.324.3366

Stavros & Sons of Eustis Stavros Pizza is a family tradition since 1974. The first location opened in Daytona Beach before the family later settled in Lake County. The Eustis location features homemade meatballs, baked lasagna, Greek salads, gyros and pita bread sandwiches, grinders, calzones and stromboli. The golden crisp pizza combinations include the vegetarian, meat lovers, Hawaiian and the Stavros Deluxe: five meats and four vegetables. Stavros & Sons also offers catering for parties. 2100 W. County Road 44, Eustis / 352.589.9100

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GOOD GRUB

THIS MONTH'S EDITOR'S PICK

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DINING GUIDE

Let’s Do “A Maine Lobster Roll” 352.735.3702 | 426 N DONNELLY STREET, MOUNT DORA If you are looking for a Maine Lobster Roll or New England Clam Chowder, Let’s Do “a Maine Lobster Roll” in Downtown Mount Dora, it will be the right place. It is a cute charming place on Donnelly Street between 4th and 5th Ave. You will get sweet, tasty Maine Lobster, steamed then chilled mixed with light mayo and that’s it! Served on a warm toasted “New England” hot dog roll. Ask for the overloaded roll, you will never forget it. Additionally, they serve delicious creamy New England clam chowder, grilled hot dogs, Angus beef burgers and grilled sandwiches such as tuna melts, reubens, and a lot more. Between Monday and Friday they have a sandwich lunch special (ham, turkey, tuna, and egg or chicken-salad) for just $6.45 including one side and FREE homemade ice tea. You can also enjoy a beer, a glass of wine, or Margarita with your Maine Lobster Roll.

Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 352.753.2722 | 304 US-441, LADY LAKE

11am-5pm Saturday.

Open 4pm-9pm Wednesday through Sunday.

Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant in Lady Lake has the distinct honor of calling itself a true family-owned restaurant. In fact, five generations of family members have represented the restaurant since its humble beginnings in May 1962. As many generations of customers have dined there throughout the years thanks to the outstanding service and scrumptious dishes such as Spaghetti a la Bruzzi, Delmonico steak, and lasagna. This food savvy family prepares everything from scratch, crafting everything with love to satisfy your taste buds.

Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Subway

Custom-made, fresh sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads made right before your eyes. The “healthy” alternative to fast food.

SUBWAY.COM LADY LAKE | 208 W. GUAVA ST. | 352.750.4929 EUSTIS | 469 PLAZA DR. | 352.357.7827 MOUNT DORA | 18870 U.S. HWY. 441 | 352.735.4376 LEESBURG | 2013 CITRUS BLVD. | 352.787.6442 10135 U.S. HWY. 441, SUITE 4 | 352.326.3234 27405 U.S. HWY. 27, SUITE 4 | 352.314.8847 THE VILLAGES | 1580 BELLA CRUZ DRIVE | 352.750.9600 8796 S.E. 165TH MULBERRY LANE | 352.750.9991 1070 LAKE SUMTER LANDING DRIVE | 352.205.8535 349 COLONY BLVD. | 352.391.1657 WILDWOOD | 480 W. GULF TO ALANTIC HWY. | 352.748.8800

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Open 11am-3pm Monday to Sunday.

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Full Gluten-Free Menu


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DINING GUIDE

Yalaha Bakery

Open Daily 8am-7pm

352.324.3366 | 8210 STATE ROAD 48, YALAHA The family owned German Bakery since 1995, is an award-winning Bakery that offers to customers high-quality German products made with the highest culinary standards. Fine European pastries and breads are made with organic flours, chocolates, and spices, butter, and imported European ingredients. Take home tortes, tarts, and wonderful pretzels, but before you go home, enjoy something from our delicious deli menu. We serve breakfast from 8-11am and lunch and dinner are served 11am-7pm. Enjoy German specialties like Nurnberger breakfast, Hunterschnitzel with Spätzle, Bratwurst, Reuben, Quiche, typical German soups, and maybe Semelknoedel (bread dumplings with mushroom sauce) for lunch or dinner. We offer a fine selection of German beers and wines. Whatever time of day, you’ll find something you love at Yalaha Bakery.

A German Bakery Like No Other!

On the weekends you can come and enjoy various events and music concerts on Saturdays and Sundays at our Beer Garden. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or via our website www.yalahabakery.com

Would you like to see your restaurant in our dining section? CALL US AT 352.787.4112

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Compassionate Pet Care From Your Other Family Doctor!

Services • New Puppy And Kitten Exams • Yearly Wellness Exams • Flea And Heartworm Prevention • Yearly Blood Screening • Maintaining A Healthy Geriatric Pet • Cold Laser Therapy • Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy

Dr. Cara Erwin-Oliver

352.347.3900 // 10725 SE 36th Ave www.BelleviewVeterinaryHospital.com


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Are you under 65 and unable to work? 352.326.5009 1 0 1 E B E R C K M A N S T, F R U I T L A N D PA R K 1 0 2 0 N E 8 T H AV E , O C A L A

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M A R ' 2 0 • L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M

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FULL TIME MASTER INJECTOR Introducing our new injector… KAITLYN SAPIA our new Advanced Practive Registered Nurse in The Villages® community office, 5 days a week!

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Welcome to a new era in health care.

UF Health and Central Florida Health are joining forces. We’re excited to welcome UF Health Leesburg Hospital and UF Health The VillagesŽ Hospital to the UF Health family. With enhanced access to the latest medical breakthroughs, expanded treatment options, clinical trials and more, the future of health care is happening here. UFHealth.org


When you’re ready to make your move, we’re here for you.

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OUTPATIENT TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT? The area’s FIRST Outpatient TOTAL Knee Replacements are available from Unova Hip and Knee Center. Our specialty trained surgeons use the latest medical advances and rapid recovery technology to get you moving sooner, and back to enjoying life again!

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CS_HELOC2020Ad_LakeMarionCo.qxp_Layout 1 1/21/20 12:28 PM Page 1

Start that project now! WITH OUR LOW-RATE HOME EQUITY LINES!

We will pay closing costs on lines up to $250,000!* Variable rates as low as Prime Rate, currently 4.75% minus .25% (4.50% APR)**, plus .25% (5.00% APR)***, or plus 1.00% (5.75% APR)**** Marion County Branches Belleview: 352.307.2009 10990 U.S. Hwy 441 S.E., Belleview, FL 34420 Boulevard: 352.368.6800 1632 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, FL 34470 Quail Meadows: 352.479.0500 4905 N.W. Blitchton Rd., Ocala, FL 34482 SR 200 & SW 65: 352.854.4004 7755 S.W. 65 Ave. Rd., Ocala, FL 34476

Lake County Branches Groveland: 352.429.2480 1105 W. Broad St., Groveland, FL 34736 Leesburg: 352.323.9000 903 W. North Blvd., Leesburg, FL 34748 Tavares: 352.589.2226 1892 E. Burleigh Blvd. Tavares, FL 32778 CenterStateBank.com

HOME IMPROVEMENTS | DEBT CONSOLIDATION | COLLEGE | VACATION | MAJOR PURCHASES *Total closing costs generally range from $0 - $7500. Examples of closing costs paid by the bank are fees for a credit report, flood determination, title insurance and other costs. Bank paid closing costs will include up to $200.00 toward appraisal fees. Customer is responsible for paying any additional appraisal fees over that amount. Line must be funded by 50% or $10,000 at closing, whichever is greater. CenterState Bank will waive reimbursement of closing costs as long as your account is open for at least 2 years. Offer is available for primary residences only. Manufactured Homes/Mobile Homes are not eligible for a home equity line of credit. **Rate based on minimum beacon score of 721, ***Rate based on minimum beacon score of 700, ****Rate based on minimum beacon score of 640. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may increase after consummation. Maximum APR is 18%. Property insurance is required, and if applicable, flood insurance will be required. All loans subject to credit approval. Rates and terms may change at any time. Other restrictions may apply. CenterState Bank N.A. NMLS #403455

WHAT EXPERTS SAY ABOUT LEESBURG’S BEACON COLLEGE Our remarkable outcomes for neurodiverse students have earned Beacon top recognition as the leading college for students with: • Learning Differences • ADHD • Autism Learn about our lifechanging summer, short-term, and degree programs for high school and college students and their families.

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REGENERATE BEFORE YOU OPERATE! Discover advanced treatment options with STEM CELL therapy. At Advanced Wellness & Orthopedics we can use STEM CELLS to treat: • Knee and Hip Arthritis & Cartilage Issues • Rotator Cuff Injuries • Chronic Tendonitis • Sports Injuries • Joint Pain & Other Musculoskeletal Conditions

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FINAL THOUGHT

The grass is greener on the other side … but the skies were grayer on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

couple of years ago, I lived in Galway, Ireland, for five months during a study abroad program. During that time, I did a lot of traveling on the weekends and was able to visit more than 15 countries in Europe. However, I also traveled around Ireland and was able to experience its culture, landmarks, nature, food and drinks. I took a lot of bus tours around the country and visited the famous Cliffs of Moher in County Clare; Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim; Blarney Castle and the Jameson Whiskey Distillery in Cork; Kylemore Abbey in Connemara; and, of course, the Guinness Factory and Temple Bar area in Dublin. I also saw more cathedrals and castles than I’d like to reminisce about. I also learned the ins and outs of Galway, which sits on the West Coast of Ireland about three hours from Dublin. It is the city where the Claddagh ring originated,

the inspiration for Steve Earle’s song “Galway Girl,” as well as for Ed Sheeran’s modernized version of “Galway Girl.” (The music video was filmed while I was living there, though we were unfortunately traveling that weekend.) One of the coolest things I got to experience while in Ireland was St. Patrick’s Day. Having lived in Galway for about three months at that point, I probably saw more Americans in Galway that weekend than I had seen throughout Europe in the entire three months. I couldn’t count the number of green Guinness hoodies, four-leaf clover beads and leprechaun hats if I wanted to. The morning parade was comparable to the scene I witnessed when my plane was landing in Dublin for the first time: rolling fields of lush, green grass. Even though Ireland is well known for frequent rain, I didn’t see too much of it while I was there between January and May. There would be an occasional 20-minute downpour followed by clear blue skies, less than once a day. The morning parade started out under a light drizzle that the dancers, band

and other participants had to endure, but in minutes, the skies turned to pouring rain—I mean heavy downpour, drenched clothes and rain so loud that you couldn’t hear the person next to you. The narrow, cobblestone streets of Galway were flooded with puddles the size of small lakes, which were impossible to avoid considering the number of people trying to seek shelter in the already overcrowded bars. Once we navigated to our favorite bars and realized they were already overcapacity, we moved on to the less popular bars down the street, where we tried baby Guinness shots (a shot of black sambuca with just a little bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream to represent the foam on a pint of Guinness), danced and dried off as much as possible. St. Patrick’s Day is such a big holiday in Ireland that it’s a family event, so it was odd to see young kids at the bars with their parents. Though I spent the day in soaking wet clothes and bone-chilling weather, I’m so glad to have been able to spend St. Patrick’s Day in the country where it counts the most.

Hey readers! Have any interesting travel stories of your own? Tell me about it! Email me at victoria@akersmediagroup.com

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VICTORIA SCHLABIG


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STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, March 2020  

STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, March 2020