Style Magazine, Village Edition, October 2021

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OCT '21


Health The Villages

Enjoy a medical team that not only cares for patients, but more importantly, that cares about patients. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE VILLAGES HEALTH ON PG. 48

Superior cardiac care from leaders in health. Backed by the experts at UF Health, our cardiac team delivers the superior care you need close to home. As part of the most experienced program in the area, we perform thousands of lifesaving procedures each year, provide a full range of diagnostic services and are consistently recognized as an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology, delivering a proven level of expertise in advanced cardiac care.

Learn more at:

Close. Caring. Connected.



For life’s adventures – no matter how big or small – you need a seasoned team caring for you through it all. As Orlando Health Medical Group FHV Health, it’s easier than ever to connect with our awarded, nationally recognized healthcare system throughout Lake and Sumter Counties. For a quality partnership that delivers quality care, choose Orlando Health.


(352) 643-6430

(352) 728-5600

3691 Meggison Rd, The Villages, FL 32163 Mon – Sat 10 am – 7 pm, Closed Sunday

8345 US Highway 441, Leesburg, FL 34788 Mon – Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Closed Sunday *Restrictions apply. Excludes Lexington select Serta brands. Sale Ends 11/03/21.




At Advanced Orthopedics Institute we specialize in hips, knees, shoulders, ankles, wrists...and tennis players. Knee pain, stiffness, locking, giving way (buckling), creaking, swelling or inability to walk or play without pain can occur because of traumatic injury, arthritis, or overuse. Depending on the cause, conservative care such as a brace or therapy may relieve the pain. If not, rejuvenative stem cell therapy, arthroscopic knee surgery or partial or total knee replacement can be life-enhancing and allow you to return to your active lifestyle. Get moving. Call 352.751.2862.


John T. Williams, Jr., MD

1400 N US Hwy 441, Suite 552 | The Villages, FL 32159 phone 352.751.2862 | fax 855.420.1047 |

Alfred J. Cook, Jr., MD













LIST WITH US IN OCTOBER AND WE WILL PAY FOR YOUR HOME WARRANTY! Bassett Premier Realty is the most experienced and professional real estate experts you can depend on in the area. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, you can trust us to execute, negotiate, and navigate with you to achieve an easy and stress-free transaction as possible.




$12 Million MY 2020 SALES:

$19 Million 352.307.2925 / Spruce Creek Professional Plaza 10935 SE 177th Place, Suite 201, Summerfield

Sharon Bassett,


IMAGELIFT COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY Facial and cosmetic plastic surgery in Tampa and The Villages®

The ImageLift Guarantee: • We utilize the latest technology. • You will see our proven track record for natural results. • FREE CONSULTATIONS - Simply answer a few questions and we’ll immediately start guiding you through your very own ImageLift Experience™! FACELIFTS (SURGICAL AND NON SURGICAL)




is a Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon as seen on:

Schedule your appointment today!




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


Wednesday, October 13th @ 2pm 3003 Brownwood Blvd.


Thursday, October 28th @ 2pm 1105 Lake Shore Drive


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

Masks are required for guests and staff Must have reservation to attend

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

8630 East CR 466, The Villages

*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.

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Welcome back to Lake and Sumter counties Updating seasonal residents on new state and local laws. STORY:JAMES COMBS AND ROXANNE BROWN


Gunning for something different With various ranges, the Eustis Gun Club accommodates people of all shooting disciplines. STORY: JAMES COMBS


Deliver me from shopping Grocery giant Kroger, in partnership with the Ocado Group’s robotic technology, take Florida by storm with a commitment to efficiency and freshness; one refrigerated delivery van at a time. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

Publisher’s Note: Style Magazine recently learned about the death of Joe Angione, who wrote a monthly column for our magazine titled “In The Villages.” Our staff would like to thank Joe for his quality work and wish condolences to his wife, three children, and nine grandchildren. While Joe will be missed, heaven gained another angel.

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We Listen. We Care. We Educate.

352.350.1161 3261 U.S. Highway 441/27, Suite F-2 Fruitland Park, FL 34731

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Voices of PLUS


In the market for something new Grocery giant Kroger now makes home deliveries throughout Central Florida.

Ready! Aim! Fire! Gun enthusiasts have a blast at the Eustis Gun Range.

OCT '21


hope Five breast cancer patients share their inspiring stories.


Welcome back, seasonal residents

Discover what state and local laws have been passed.

Sure to float your boat

Take a paddle tour at Lake Griffin State Park.

Lake and Sumter Style

Health The Villages

Enjoy a medical team that not only cares for patients, but more importantly, that cares about patients. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE VILLAGES HEALTH ON PG. 48

Village Edition Photo: Cindy Peterson Model: Terry Redrum



your AFIB.




Leave the pills behind. Technological advancements in recent years have made treating AFib with medication a thing of the past.

Contact us today! Our team will show you how easy it is to say goodbye to medications for AFib, forever. Christopher Jones, M.D.

Vatsal Inamdar, M.D.

352.674.2080 | 8575 NE 138th Lane, Suite 203, Lady Lake 708 Physician Court, Suite 2, Leesburg


Living in Lake and loving it There are countless reasons Lake County has a special place in my heart. t’s October. College football is in full swing, the holidays are rapidly approaching, and cooler weather will soon replace the unbearable heat and humidity we’ve endured for months. This month, we’re acknowledging the return of our seasonal residents with a special feature called “Welcome Back.” We’ll look at new laws Gov. Ron DeSantis has implemented since April. No offense to seasonal residents, but I would have a hard time living anywhere else, even for just a few months. For me, being able to call this area home is one of the things I’m most thankful for in life. Here are some reasons why I feel this way.

• Contrary to popular belief, this is not a boring, desolate area. Simply put, with a population of 387,914 residents, Lake can no longer be considered rural. That’s more than three times the population of Wilmington, the largest city in Delaware. We have approximately 172,000 more residents than Des Moines, the largest city in Iowa. In fact, Lake is the 18th-largest county (out of 67) in the country’s third-fastest growing state. • You cannot possibly drive through Clermont, The Villages, and Mount Dora and tell me there’s nothing to do here. • Each town has its own identity. The tourist attractions in Mount Dora, the bustling events in Leesburg, the waterfront activities in Tavares, and the health-conscious options in Clermont make Lake a truly diverse county. • Ample opportunities for the avid outdoor enthusiast. Love to fish? Enjoy hiking? Want to discover birding? With various preserves, nature parks, and more than 1,000 named lakes, Lake County has you covered. • The wealth of events. Hold on to your handlebars because Leesburg Bikefest is not the only game in town. The Lake County Folk Festival, the Mount Dora Arts Festival, and the Sunnyland

Antique and Classic Boat Festival—the largest classic boat show on America’s East Coast—draw thousands of visitors to the area. Oh yeah, Eustis’ GeorgeFest is the second-longest-running festival of its kind in the country. • Lake is becoming a destination for niche sports such as beach volleyball and disc golf. In fact, the sand volleyball complex at Hickory Point is the largest in Florida and the third-largest in the United States. In the near future, the Lake County Disc Golf Trail will be completed and allow our area to host prestigious tournaments and world championships. • Last, but certainly not least, are the people. Lake County residents embody the true meaning of community spirit and would gladly give you the shirts off their backs if you needed it. Here, we don’t have neighbors; we have extended family.



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

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Kendra Akers Doug Akers







Volkan Ulgen Theresa Campbell



Megan Mericle Roxanne Brown


Douglas Tyler



Anthony Rao Lisa French


Nicole Hamel




Voices of


Tim McRae


Melanie Melvin Shaena Long




OCT '21


hope Five breast cancer patients share their inspiring stories.


In the market for something new Grocery giant Kroger now makes home deliveries throughout Central Florida.

Ready! Aim! Fire!



OCT '21



Gun enthusiasts have a blast at the Eustis Gun Range.


Welcome back, seasonal residents

Discover what state and local laws have been passed.

Sure to float your boat

Take a paddle tour at Lake Griffin State Park.

Health The Villages

Enjoy a medical team that not only cares for patients, but more importantly, that cares about patients. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE VILLAGES HEALTH ON PG. 48

Hot off the press! The latest editions of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Edition Style, 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 and Village Edition Style. 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 or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. Back Issues: Order a single issue by mail for $8. To pick up a back issue from our office, please call 24 hours in advance.


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

Akers Media is a proud member of

Winner of 200+ Awards for Excellence

Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2021 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.

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Not Just Lumps:

Know Your Breast Cancer Symptoms PA ID

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found a lump.” We hear this often when it comes to breast cancer detection, but breast cancer can exhibit other signs as well. Some may be due to other, benign causes, but see your doctor if these signs do not go away or if they get bigger or worse: 1. A thickening inside your breast or in your breast skin. 2. A breast dimple or indentation. 3. A crust on your nipple. 4. Redness, swelling, or heat in your breast that antibiotics don’t clear. 5. Nipple discharge not associated with developing breasts, infection, cysts, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. 6. Skin sores on your breast, usually associated with a hard lump. 7. A bump on the breast. (These can also be benign lumps or cysts.)

8. A nipple that flattens or turns inward. 9. Newly appearing blood vessels or veins on the breast or near the collarbone (if not connected to weight gain, breastfeeding, or Mondor’s disease). 10. Changing breast size, flattening, swelling, or drooping, not due to breastfeeding or menstruation. 11. Your breast looks like the dimpled skin of an orange and might change color. 12. A hard, immovable lump deep in your breast is the most common breast cancer symptom, though it may also be a cyst.

See your doctor if any of these signs persist or if you are concerned.

When a Mammogram is Not Enough Do you know whether you have dense breasts? It could spell the difference between finding a tumor and missing one. Dense breasts and tumors look similar on a mammogram, so further screening like ultrasound or a breast MRI may be needed. Talk to your doctor.

Researcher Spotlight: Dr. MaryClaire King Mutations in genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 can cause breast (and other) cancers. It took 17 years for Dr. Mary-Claire King to prove that BRCA1 was tied to breast cancer. King first discovered the connection in 1990, when she was a young assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She later discovered the BRCA2 connection.

Here For You RBOI’s Breast Cancer Support Group holds weekly meetings online. You can join us via Zoom or by phone. For more information, call Wendy Hall, LCSW, at 352-5270106 or Amy K. Roberts, LCSW, at 352-732-0277.

Should You Get Tested for BRCA Mutations? 281,550 Estimated new breast cancer cases in the US in 2021

12.9% Women expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life

BRCA mutations are linked to Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC). The chance of a family having HBOC increases if: One or more women are diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer at age 45 or younger. Are diagnosed with breast cancer before age 50 with an additional family history of some cancers. Breast and/or ovarian cancers occur in multiple generations on the same side of the family. A woman is diagnosed with a second breast cancer in the same or the other breast or has both breast and ovarian cancers. A male relative is diagnosed with breast cancer.

1 out of 100

Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and/or pancreatic cancer has occurred on the same side of the family. One has Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.

Breast cancer cases diagnosed in men

1.4% Average annual decrease in breast cancer death rate from 2009-2018

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

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Open to the public on weekends

Oct 1st - Dec 12th Admission: $15 Children 3 & under: Free

W I N N E R 2021

35 2 .2 5 3 .2 4 4 2 CVI N N I E S.COM

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FUN FALL ACTIVITIES Giant 6.5 Acre Corn Maze • Half-Acre Mini Corn Maze Night Maze • Mist Maze • Amazing Giant Playground Farm Tours • Zip Line for Kids • Labyrinth • Picnic Area Fishing • Beer, Wine and Food • Live Music • And More!

26216 County Road 448A, Mount Dora 352.383.6900 Sponsored by: Visit Lake


Through a ministry, Cheryl Cole helps teenage girls experience a magical prom and brides-to-be shine—at no price.

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WHAT’S YOUR HALLOWEEN STYLE? Ghouls, goblins and ghosts, oh my! With the spookiest day of the year just around the corner, perhaps it’s time to find out exactly how much Halloween spirit you have. Are you excited about giving out candy to pint-sized vampires and princesses, or are you a Scrooge who wishes this holiday didn’t exist? Halloween can be either superbly spook-tacular or hauntingly horrible, depending on your outlook.

IN DAYS LEADING UP TO HALLOWEEN, YOU: A. Begin decorating your yard with tombstones, skull lights, glowing spider webs and other props. B. Realize it’s time to make a trip to the candy store so you can pass out goodies to the neighborhood kids. C. Don’t put much thought into it. After all, your porch light and house lights will be turned off, a friendly way of saying don’t-come-a-knocking.

YOU GET INTO THE HALLOWEEN SPIRIT BY: A. Attending several Halloween parties as well as Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in Orlando. B. Watching old horror movies of notorious slashers like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers. C. Convincing yourself that your hard-earned money should be spent things other than candy, which gives kids a sugar high and contributes to poor hygiene.

A GROUP OF CHILDREN KNOCK ON YOUR DOOR. YOU AND YOUR WIFE GREET THEM: A. Dressed in your best Jack Sparrow and Elvira costumes. B. By complimenting the children on their adorable costumes. C. By asking them why they’re knocking on your door when the porch light is off.


IF YOU ANSWERED MOSTLY A, you are a Halloween-o-holic! This holiday brings out the kid in you. You have no shame in admitting that, evidenced by your awesomely decorated yard and Superhero costume you proudly don when greeting trick-or-treaters. Not to mention those 12 mini-peanut butter cups and three bags of candy corn you consume every year. You’re living proof that things you enjoyed as a child can still be enjoyed as an adult. IF YOU ANSWERED MOSTLY B, you are a casual fan of Halloween. You’re not going to exhaust yourself by putting up decorations or searching for the ultimate costume, but you still enjoy seeing a smile on children’s faces as you pass out those goodies. Plus, being an active participant in Halloween is a great way to meet new neighbors or reacquaint with old friends. And those leftover Butterfingers will satisfy your child’s sweet tooth for quite some time, saving you a trip to the grocery store.

A. Including paint and glitter to make yours stand apart from standard pumpkins. B. Incorporating a simple-yet-scary face that may make the neighborhood kids jump. C. Pumpkin? What pumpkin? They’re too messy and a waste of time. Plus, your mother-in-law’s pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving tasted awful.

A CHILD ACCIDENTALLY LEAVES HIS/HER FULL CANDY BAG ON YOUR LAWN. YOU: A. Visit each home in your neighborhood and work tirelessly to solve the mystery, as the thought of a child not enjoying candy troubles you immensely. B. Tell your child he can have the candy if the owner isn’t found. C. Greedily eat all the goodies yourself while celebrating the end of this dreaded holiday.

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IF YOU ANSWERED MOSTLY C, you are the Halloween version of Scrooge. And in a child’s eyes, your indifference and hostility to this holiday makes you scarier than the witches and vampires that invade the streets on this night. In your mind, Halloween comes with an age limit—the fictitious ghouls and candy is all child’s play. You’re simply not going to drain your energy and pocketbook on such a silly holiday. Let’s just hope in two months you can lose the ‘tude and embrace the Christmas spirit.

GET A LITTLE ARTSY! Artists, dabblers, and creative types are invited to the Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St., every Friday from 10 a.m. to noon to create art with like-minded people. Art Create Fridays are free to CFA members and their guests. “Check out our space, make some art, share tips and techniques and have fun,” Maria Stefanovic, CFA director, says on the center’s website. After Art Create, participants are invited to stay for coffee and a noon program. To learn about more things happening at CFA, visit

SCARY FUN Dressing up for Halloween isn’t just for kids. Adults have been placing online orders with Spirit Halloween since summer, and a customer service representative for the company says Beetlejuice and Michael Myers, the fictional character from the Halloween series of slasher films, have been top sellers. Spirit Halloween has a wide variety of Halloween décor, animatronics, costumes, and accessories that are perfect for trick-or-treating or throwing a Halloween party. To see what’s available, visit Spirit Halloween inside the former Sears store at Lake Square Mall, 1040 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg, or the Spirit Halloween in Clermont at the Publix/Belk Center, 2400 Citrus Tower Blvd.

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HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGGIE AT THE SHELTER? October is “Adopt a shelter dog” month, so why not celebrate by visiting the Lake County Animal Shelter to find the perfect fur buddy to take home and gift with a family. The process couldn’t be easier either, since adoptions can be initiated online or in-person as a walk-in or by appointment, by visiting the shelter at 12280 County Road 448, Tavares. “The Lake County Animal Shelter provides for public safety and animal welfare. The shelter promotes responsible pet ownership, reunites lost pets with their families and helps people select a new furry friend,” says the shelter online under their tab at where other information is also available. The cost currently to adopt a dog is only $20 and includes sterilization, vaccinations, basic vetting and a microchip.

GIVE SOME BLOOD OneBlood Blood Center often gives creative, unique design T-shirts to blood donors, but the most sought-after one is at Halloween time. OneBlood recently conducted an online poll where people could vote for their favorite Halloween design and the winner for 2021 features heart shaped skeleton hands with words: “I love to save lives.” The black tee will be available throughout October at OneBlood donor locations. “Our Halloween T-shirts are our most popular donor gift T-shirt,” says Pat

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Michaels, director of media and public relations for OneBlood. In Leesburg, OneBlood is located at 170 North Blvd. All blood types are needed, and walk-ins are welcome. It is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday; closed on Saturdays. OneBlood also has donor sites in Tavares at Advent Health Waterman Hospital; in The Villages at 1550 Bella Cruz Drive; and in Clermont at 1200 Oakley Seaver Drive, Suite 106.

A diagram on the website about adopting a shelter dog outlines the value of doing so, explaining that fleas/ heartworm prevention is worth $20, a distemper/parvo vaccine is $15, the spay/neuter surgery is $100, a rabies vaccine is $10, and ID tag is $10, to microchip costs $20, a heartworm test is $20 and deworming costs $15. The website states that the total value of all those things equals $200 for the mere cost of only $20, plus a lifetime of love, which is valued at ‘priceless.’ Shelter hours are 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and closed Wednesdays and holidays. For more information, visit or call 352.343.9688.


MOUNT DORA BOOKSTORE A PERFECT “10” The Barrel of Books and Games, owned by longtime Mount Dora resident Crissy Stile, celebrated 10 years in town on Sept. 1. “On the bookstore’s Facebook page on its anniversary, Crissy wrote: “Ten years ago today we opened the door to Barrel of Books and Games in downtown Mount Dora. Thank you to everyone that helped make our little indie bookstore so successful. Without your support we wouldn’t be the popular destination that we are and I could never thank you enough. Here’s to many more years of providing you with pages upon pages of a fantastic escape from real life. Thank you for ten wonderful years of getting to know you and your families. See you soon.” According to Barrel of Books and Games’ website, the building which has housed the book store since 2013, located at 128 W. 4th Ave. in downtown Mount Dora, was the city’s police and fire station from 1941 to 1969. The actual business originally opened on W. 5th Ave. in September 2011; however, so a 10-year celebration is underway, starting with a revamp of the bookstore’s online store and an expanded collection of popular books, games and puzzles that can be shipped to any location in the United States, or, for locals, quickly brought to them via curbside pickup or local delivery. Of course, people can also visit the shop for in-person browsing, the trading of gently used books for credit towards other used books, for special book-signing events, or to attend the store’s monthly book club session beginning at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. For more information, visit, visit their page on Facebook and Instagram, or call 352.735.1950.

Mount Dora’s Hannah and William Parke are excited about bringing coffee roasted in Ireland to the United States, starting right in their own community. On Aug. 21, the pair opened the doors to Edge Coffee, located at 112 W. 3rd Ave., Mount Dora, in the building that formerly housed The Magical Meat Boutique before it relocated, and they couldn’t be more excited. On their Facebook page (@edgexcoffee) following their grand opening, the couple thanked the community for the warm welcome they received and shared a story about how just 18 months before, they were celebrating the grand opening of another Edge Coffee Shop, but back in their home town of Hollywood, Northern Ireland. “And here we are starting again 4,000 miles away,” the post reads. “Thanks Mount Dora for welcoming us like you did today, truly honored to be part of your town, and your community - we just know we are gonna serve you well.” Edge’s featured coffees are its 3FE coffee, roasted in Ireland

and Conquered Coffee, roasted in Lakeland. Edge Coffee also serves fresh teas, non-alcoholic beers, seasonal beverages, breakfast and lunch. They also have pastries from Buttermilk Bakery in Winter Park and a wide variety of vegan selections from Juniper Patisserie of Sanford, all in a large, bright dining area, with plenty of comfy seating and lots of “good craic,” or good times as they say in Ireland, for everyone. “We’re super excited to bring the same amazing coffee and great community space to Mount Dora that we have in Hollywood, Northern Ireland. We’re sure everyone will love it,” William says. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MondayThursday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday. For more information, visit edgexcoffee on Instagram and Facebook.

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Cheryl Cole Sumter’s own fairy godmother makes special occasions magical for local women and teens in need. INTERVIEWER: ROXANNE BROWN



• Family includes three kids, six grandkids, and five great grands. • Enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, the beach, shopping, and watching Florida Gator softball and football.

• Lives in Bushnell. • Employed by the Sumter County School Board – currently as a professional learning technician – and the State of Florida for 32 years.

Tell me about Cinderella’s Closet of Central Florida and Cinderella’s Bridal Blessings? A friend at church told me I should start a Cinderella’s Closet ministry. I found out there is a national headquarters in Kentucky and that you could become a part of their national ministry. I spoke with my pastor and Cinderella’s Closet of Central Florida, a ministry of the First Baptist Church of Wildwood, was born in March 2015. In December of 2020, Cinderella’s Bridal Blessings came about after a building was donated to house some wedding gowns we had at the closet to make room for the 2021 prom event. Four days later, a bridal shop called and asked if I wanted $50,000 worth of new wedding gowns to give away. I knew right away that was God wanting me to enlarge my territory and I said yes!

by giving them the wedding gown of their dreams.

Favorite food? My

How can people help? We take donations of new or gently used prom dresses (five years or newer) and wedding dresses, and always appreciate monetary donations to purchase the size gowns we do not have enough of.

grandmother’s coconut cake and my mom’s homemade biscuits.

Christian lady who loved unconditionally.

Your mission? We want every girl to

What part of the experience your ministry creates touches you most?

Guilty pleasure? Buying fresh flowers, especially sunflowers and roses, for myself.

feel like Cinderella for their high school prom without looking at a price tag or worrying about the financial burden to their parents. We want to do the same thing for young women getting married

When I watch the girls see themselves in the mirror and they smile and begin to cry because they feel so beautiful. We all cry with them, hug them, and tell them how beautiful they are.

Know a person of interest? Tell us!

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Name a person you admire greatly and why? My mother. She was a

If you could choose anyone, who would you have dinner with? My mom and dad. My mom passed in 2013 and my dad in 1984. I miss them.

Email your recommendation to



Alexis DeLand Competitive baton twirler and volleyball player is driven, loyal, and aspires to become a pediatrician. INTERVIEWER: THERESA CAMPBELL



• Freshman at Leesburg High School. • Daughter of Derek and Maile DeLand of Lady Lake. • Competitive baton twirler, a feature twirler,

and volleyball player at LHS. contestant, the highest possible level to • Three-time recipient of the Presidential Gold compete in DMA. Service Medal for community service hours. • Has won Miss Leesburg titles of Tiny Miss, • Recently qualified to become a DMA Elite Little Miss, and Junior Miss Leesburg.

Biggest influence in my life: My baton coach, Mrs. Cheri Howard. I started twirling for her when I was 3 years old. She has always encouraged me to be the best at anything I do, whether it’s baton, volleyball, or school. I do not have grandparents, so Mrs. Cheri kind of fills that role. She always does my hair and makeup for whatever event I am competing in, and I know that she will always be there for me, no matter what. I couldn’t ask for a better coach.

What I enjoy most about twirling: The memories and the friends I have made. I met two of my best friends, Meagann Goodridge and Sadie Perry, through baton. We spend a lot of time together at competitions throughout the year, so we’ve grown very close. Two words to describe me: Driven and loyal. When I set a goal for myself, I work as hard as I can to achieve that goal, and when I commit to something, I see it through to the end. Favorite subject: Biology. I like learning about different types of organisms, whether they are human or animal.

Advice to younger students: Believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you that

you cannot do something. If someone does tell you that you cannot do something, prove them wrong! Be true to yourself, and always be confident in who you are and how you look. God made you perfect, and I wish more kids would realize this.

Favorite food: A nice, juicy, medium-rare steak. It’s even better when it has A1 on top, and a lobster tail and salad on the side. I also love anything from Chick-fil-A. My life in 10 years: I see myself having just graduated college and working as a pediatrician in Atlanta. I also see myself with a lot of animals. Maybe close to being married and starting a family, but I want to be sure I have a stable foundation for myself before I make those commitments. Words I live by: “The sky can’t be the limit when there’s footprints on the moon.” I love this quote because it reminds me that no goal is too big or too impossible to achieve.

Know an outstanding student? Fill us in!

Email your recommendations to

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28 YEARS of Devotion and Innovation to Heart Health.

Miguel Bryce, MD, FACC Since moving to Lake County in 2002 and becoming the area’s first electrophysiologist, Dr. Miguel Bryce has been a pioneer in his field. He has conducted electrophysiology studies, performed cardiac ablations, and implanted biventricular devices, pacemakers and implantable defibrillators in thousands of patients. Dr. Bryce does not rest on his laurels. In the future, he’ll continue offering cuttingedge treatments. He is the area’s only cardiologist recently selected to implant new cardiac devices in patients with congestive heart failure. “I’m a perfectionist,” says Dr. Bryce, who completed all his post-graduate training at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. “I’m also very approachable and take the time to answer my patients’ questions in simple terms they can understand.”

L-R: Miguel Bryce, MD, FACC; Adina Ion, MD; Rama Krishna, MD, FACC, FSCAI; Theresa Mills, MD, FACC;

J. Henry Lesmes, MD, FACC; Samuel Goss, DO, FACC; Moises Fraifeld, MD, FACC

LEESBURG 352.323.5700 – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday 705 Doctors Court — across from UF Health Leesburg

TAVARES 352.742.1171 – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday 1879 Nightingale Lane, Suite A-1 & C-1 — across from AdventHealth Waterman |

Tony Pagano, General Sales Manager (left) Rick Jimenez, Salesperson (right)

Billy Graham

P L AZ A CA D I L L AC If you are going to go ‘First-Class’ then go with the car and the people at Plaza Cadillac. Special thanks to Rick Jimenez and Tony Pagano for a ‘job well done’! I am enjoying my new 2021 Cadillac Escalade Duramax 4X4 Sport Edition! — BILLY GRAHAM

8893 US HWY 441 | LEESBURG, FL 34788 | 352.787.1323 | P L AZ A C A D I L L AC . CO M

Harold and Pamela Durocher

Sherrita Smith, Salesperson (left) Paul Ives, Salesperson (center) Tony Pagano, General Sales Manager (right)

P L AZ A L I N CO L N Purchasing a new car can be stressful, but not at Plaza Lincoln. The sales team took the time to understand our needs and recommend the right model at a reasonable price. We are very satisfied with our decision and our purchase. — HAROLD AND PAMELA DUROCHER

8925 US HWY 441 | LEESBURG, FL 34788 | 352.787.1255 | P L AZ A L I N C O L N O F L E E S B U R G . CO M

m r a W ome c l e W To greet seasonal residents back to Florida, Style is laying down the law. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN AND JAMES COMBS

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ello, seasonal residents. Welcome back to The Sunshine State, or, as others call it, paradise. Just think. Some of your relatives and friends will spend the next few months donning heavy jackets and shoveling snow. Meanwhile, you’ll lay poolside or beachside with a cool drink, wander around outside in shorts, and likely have your air conditioner running on Christmas. Of course, there’s much more to talk about than just the weather. Seasonal

Leisure/ Entertainment ALCOHOL-TO-GO SB 148 authorizes “certain food service establishments to sell or deliver certain alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption under certain circumstances.” Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini says he thinks this new “Alcohol to Go” law is beneficial for both residents and restaurants, as it allows restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks with take-home meals, adding that: “The measure puts into law a practice that Gov. DeSantis began allowing last year to help restaurants that had to dramatically scale back operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

residents, a lot has happened while you were gone. Our governor, Ron DeSantis, our Florida legislature, and our city and county governments have implemented new laws or made changes to existing laws that may directly impact you. In case you haven’t been paying close attention, we’ve compiled a list, with help straight from the governor’s office, of state laws that have passed. We’ve also talked with city officials about things happening in Lake and Sumter counties that may prove interesting and worthy of checking out.

WILDLIFE CORRIDORS EXPANSION The Florida Wildlife Corridor Act incentivizes “conservation and sustainable development while sustaining and conserving the green infrastructure.” It will protect migratory routes for wildlife like the Florida Panther. $300 million has been set aside to protect wildlife corridors under the Florida Forever land conservation program.

SPORTS BETTING In August, the historic gaming compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida was approved by the federal government. This agreement, the largest gaming compact in history, will generate a minimum of $2.5 billion in new revenue to the state over the next five years and an estimated $6 billion through 2030. The Tribe is not currently making any revenue payments to the state. This mutually beneficial

agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation, and provide billions in new revenue to benefit Floridians. Most notably, the compact modernizes the gaming industry through the authorization of sports betting in Florida through the Seminole Tribe. The agreement also provides protections for pari-mutuel operations and the opportunity to participate in sports betting offered by the Tribe.


BROAD-BASED TAX RELIEF PACKAGE HB 7061 provides more than $168 million in taxpayer savings to families and businesses in the upcoming fiscal year, including more than $34 million in recurring tax cuts. HB 7061 creates Florida’s first permanent sales tax exemption for independent living items for seniors in our state. Items like bed transfer handles, bed rails, grab bars, and shower seats will be exempt from sales tax for individual purchases.

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SB 90 will limit the number of absentee ballots a person may return on behalf of others, mandate early voting ballot drop-boxes be available at election supervisors’ offices and early voting sites and increase voter ID requirements when requesting an absentee ballot. To vote by mail, Florida registered voters can request vote-by-mail ballots via writing, in-person or by phone. The voter’s physical address must be on file in the Florida Voter Registration System or, if directly instructed by the voter, their immediate family member or legal guardian. To receive the mail in ballot, the voter will need to provide their Florida driver’s license number, ID number or last four digits of their social security number in their request. If you already made a request for a mail ballot, it will be counted as a valid request through the 2022 general election. Regarding the new bill, Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays says, “Our voters probably won’t notice too much change,” explaining that his office has had drop boxes at each Early

Voting site for the last five years without issue. Still, he does offer a couple of tips for voters who choose to vote by mail ballot, as follows: • Don’t wait until the last minute to request your Vote by Mail ballot and for sure get it back to us as soon as you receive it. We will be asking for the additional information when requesting a Vote by Mail ballot. • Voters need to remember their current request for a VBM ballot expires in December 2022, so they need to renew that request in January 2023.

He also advises that any Lake County voters with questions, call his office directly or visit their website ( for information. “Thank you for the privilege to be your Supervisor of Elections and as we say here in the office, the “Head Coach” of a team of Champions! Please feel welcome to either call or email us your questions. We want to be your source of election information, so please don’t rely on information from others who aren’t really knowledgeable,” Alan says.

HEALTHCARE / COVID-19 Gov. DeSantis signed SB 2006, which bans so-called “vaccine passports” in the state of Florida. It means that a business or government entity cannot require individuals to show proof of vaccination as a condition of service or entry. Businesses are allowed to implement other COVID-19 measures, such as requiring negative tests for customers who do not volunteer proof of immunization. SB 2006 also suspended all remaining local COVID-19 restrictions and mandates on individuals and businesses. Local governments in Florida can recommend wearing masks if they want, but local authorities are not allowed to enforce these mandates by issuing fines, citations, or other penalties to people who choose not to. These actions are essential to ensure that Florida experiences a rapid restoration and recovery from the COVID-19 emergency, that systems of justice are fair everywhere in our state, and that Floridians are free from burdensome and unscientific local regulations. Businesses in Florida are free to set and enforce their own policies regarding masks and distancing; the state and local authorities do not enforce such policies on businesses. COVID vaccines are widely available in Florida. Florida is above the national average in vaccination rate, with more than two-thirds of eligible Floridians having been vaccinated. In addition, Florida

now has 21 state supported sites for monoclonal antibody treatment. As of September, more than 30,000 patients have been treated, and most report their symptoms subsiding in 24-48 hours. Regeneron is a clinically proven treatment for COVID-19 that cuts the risk of hospitalization and death by 70 percent in high-risk patients. There is no need for a prescription or referral from your doctor to get treatment at a state site, because the Florida Surgeon General signed a standing order. The treatment is free of charge. “While other states advocated for never-ending lockdowns during the pandemic, Florida followed the science and led the nation in ensuring opportunities for Floridians to go to school, go to work, and provide for themselves and their families,” says Gov. DeSantis. “The reforms enacted in 2021 exemplify Florida’s continued resolve and unshakeable economic foundation, while establishing Florida’s position as a nationwide leader in education, protecting our environment, creating a resilient economy, and ensuring public safety. We did all this while maintaining strong fiscal reserves and lowering taxes to make sure Florida families benefit this year and for decades to come. I appreciate the Legislature’s hard work on these important policy priorities for all Floridians and visitors to our great state.”

ONLINE SALES TAX: SB 50 As of July 1, online retailers are now required to collect and remit sales tax (6 percent) from Florida residents or any customer who places an order for delivery to Florida. Now, shopping at physical stores is taxed at the same rate as shopping online, so this levels the playing field to be fair to Florida brick and mortar businesses. By the time Florida enacted this law, 43 other states already had similar laws. Before this reform, online retailers without any physical presence in Florida (that did not collect sales taxes) had an unfair advantage over brick-and-mortar businesses in Florida (that collected sales taxes). Gov. DeSantis wanted to level the playing field so that Florida businesses would no longer be at a built-in disadvantage compared to out-ofstate online businesses. Revenue generated by this new tax will go toward replenishing the state’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund (UCTF). Jared Walczak, a researcher at the nonprofit Tax Foundation, has estimated that the reform means the average Florida consumer will pay approximately $40-50 per year in sales taxes for online purchases, because most Floridians were not voluntarily remitting unpaid sales taxes on online purchases – despite the law on the books before.

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City Happenings There are several cities in Lake and Sumter counties that implemented changes or added offerings you may not be aware of since leaving. You may want to take a moment to browse through the following list. You just might find something of interest and if so, here’s hoping that “what’s new” will enhance your warm winter stay in Florida.

LEESBURG • In June, the City of Leesburg held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of the Mote-Morris House which was damaged by a fire in February 2018. Tours of the home, built in 1892 by eight-term Leesburg Mayor E.H. Mote, and located at 1195 W. Magnolia St., have resumed.

EUSTIS • The Eustis Memorial Library has added over 1,000 new books to its electronic book collection that patrons can access through an app with their Eustis Library card and purchased a pre-programmed 3D printer. It also resumed programming for children and teens and its adult programs for financial literacy and assistance for health insurance. Additionally, the Eustis Elks Lodge #1578 was awarded a grant for the library, enabling it to purchase a Library AWE Literacy station that is bilingual and will help children learn math, computers, technology, reading and art. For more details, call Library Director Ann Ivey at 352.357.5302.

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• Lake County officials dedicated the Neighborhood Lakes Scenic Trail & Trailhead, located at 26656 County Road 46A, Mount Plymouth at a grand opening and ribbon cutting in September. This multi-use, paved trail is open to equestrians, cyclists, runners, and walkers, and is home to newly planted native trees, wildflower meadows and a variety of species of animals. The trailhead features vehicle and trailer parking, public restrooms and a covered picnic area and connects residents and visitors to the Wekiva Trail System. • The Lake County Historical Society, in conjunction with the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, introduced the Lake County Citrus Label Tour, an interactive educational tour that takes people from city to city to learn more about the area’s

rich citrus history. To do that, organizers placed 12 elaborate 4X4 foot signs highlighting various citrus labels at locations throughout the County that people can stop to look at. To learn more about the project and for a map of all locations, visit • New Lake County residents are encouraged to file online for the Homestead Exemption, that Lake County Tax Collector Carey Baker says it’s generally worth about $750. Also, if you previously had a homestead exemption within Florida, he says you might be entitled to carry over another exemption called “Save our Homes,” a provision that allows people with homestead exemptions with a taxable value that is capped, to use “Save Our Homes” to carry over the value of the capped amount.

TAVARES • The City of Tavares began broadcasting its city council meetings live on the internet on Feb. 3. This project was fully funded by the CARES Act, with a closed captioning service for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers which is fully compliant with the “Americans Disabilities Act (ADA)”. To watch live or ondemand visit • The Seaplane Base and Marina in Lake Dora along Wooton Park in Tavares has been reconstructed and recently re-opened. The rebuilding of the Seaplane Base and Marina occurred after it was destroyed by Hurricane Irma.

The re-build project was funded by an insurance settlement and was completed ahead of schedule and opened on May 14, 2021. Fuel is available for sale. For more information visit and click Play then click Marina, Fuel Dock, Transient Dock. • The Tavares History Museum, with help from the Tavares Historical Society, is now open and located at 305 E. Ruby St., at the Tavares Train Station at Wooton Park. Visitors can browse around for a closer look at train tools and artifacts from Tavares High School and more, plus some of the displays are interactive.

THE VILLAGES • The Fenney Recreation Center, located at 3212 Fenney Way, has re-opened, complete with new billiard tables, a game room, plus expanded fitness, and card rooms. • Water Lily Bridge – the final bridge in the series of three, which includes Brownwood Bridge and Chitty Chatty Bridge – is now open, making it even easier for people to explore new areas, recreation centers and experiences throughout The Villages. Its opening brings full connectivity to The Villages community and people can choose their mode of transportation when using any of the bridges, whether it is strolling, cycling, golf carting or riding a Segway across, to explore and venture out on.



• Kroger’s new 375,000-square-foot hightech distribution center, featuring Ocado’s cutting-edge robotics and automation system, opened and officially started delivering groceries to Florida customers in June. Overall, Kroger is America’s largest grocery retailer and locally, its distribution center holds about 30,000 products from groceries, paper products, small household items, spirits and more that people can choose from and have delivered straight to their door. For information or to place an order from Kroger, visit or download the Kroger app on your smartphone. A $10 delivery applies to most orders, but a current promotion allows unlimited deliveries within a one-year period for $79.99.

• The City of Clermont offers a series of programs for seniors that includes social activities, fitness classes, games, discussion groups and more through its Champions for a Lifetime programming. Learn more about in-person and virtual program options by emailing

Stay tuned for upcoming locations at • The City of Clermont continues to capture the fun with awardwinning events. Keep up with and never miss events like Light Up Clermont coming up in December and many more.

• Clermont Mayor Tim Murry began his monthly “Lunch with the Mayor” in August. Community members and Clermont residents are invited to join Mayor Murry at noon the first Monday of each month at different restaurants.

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WHEN CLEAN JUST ISN’T CLEAN ENOUGH. Ultimate Contract Cleaning is now using a breakthrough commercial cleaning process with the EMist Disinfectant Spray technology. This powerful, efficient cleaning system uses an electrostatic sprayer, that administers an even coating application that spans across hard-to-reach areas typically not touched by manual application.





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Members of the Eustis Gun Club feel at home on the range. STORY: JAMES COMBS


n the rifle range, Leesburg resident Jeff Binneveld’s Remington 40X rests on a sighting vise. Looking through a high-powered scope, he zeroes in his rifle at 100 yards to ensure pinpoint accuracy when he hunts prairie dogs in western states. On the shotgun range, a trap machine launches a small, orange disk into the air. Tom Bazzolo, a competitive skeet shooter from Mount Dora, squints down the barrel of his 12-gauge shotgun, traces its path, and shoots. The clay target shatters and showers the ground like a million fire sparks. At the pistol berm, loud pings fill the air and lead disintegrates into dust as Betty Woodburn of Grand Island shoots two single-action revolvers, a lever-action rifle, and a shotgun at steel targets. Betty is a member of the Lake County Pistoleros and competes in cowboy action shooting, a sport where competitors dress the part of the Old West and shoot guns from that period in a contest based on speed and accuracy. Although Jeff, Tom, and Betty enjoy different shooting disciplines, they all have one thing in common. They’re members of the Eustis Gun Club and feel they receive a big bang for their buck. “This is a very fine shooting facility,” Tom says. “It’s on par with any high-end gun club in the country.” For Betty, the Eustis Gun Club was one of the primary reasons she and her husband moved from South Florida to Lake County 16 years ago. “We’d drive here to compete in cowboy action shooting matches, and we liked the location, the friendliness of the people, and the way the club is maintained,” Betty says. “It’s a safe place to shoot.” The club was established 100 years ago in Eustis. In 1969, board members moved the club to a 27-acre property off Frankies Road in Tavares but kept the name intact. Today, the private club has approximately 2,000 dues-paying members who have access to different outdoor ranges, allowing them to shoot at various distances with pistols, shotguns, and rifles. Members can sharpen their shooting skills and cultivate friendships 364 days a year. The club closes on Christmas. “One day, I came to the range with members of the Lake County Sheriff ’s Department and Howey Police Department, as well as a Howey city councilman,” says Bruce Formhals, a club member who is actively involved in youth shooting events. “We sat in the pistol berm and fired 40 types of handguns. Seriously, members can come to the range and make a day of it. They can start on the shotgun range, move to the pistol berm, then shoot at the rimfire range with a .22-caliber rifle or pistol and then shoot an AR-15 or hunting rifle at our 200-meter range. The people you find here are patriotic and caring. They go out of their way to help others.” Marc Ouellette, who serves as treasurer of the club, echoes those sentiments. One of the biggest benefits of becoming a club member, he says, is connecting with others who have a shared interest. “The friendships forged here are key,” he says. “You meet new people, make good friends, and even improve your skills by watching others perform at a high level. Becoming part of a community that enjoys shooting as much as I do is very rewarding.” S A F E T Y I S PA R A M O U N T

The primary focus of the Eustis Gun Club’s eight board members is providing a safe and secure facility where members can enjoy their shooting sports. They’ve maintained a

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successful track record, as evidenced by the fact that there has never been a firearm-related accident in club history. “Shooting is the safest sport in the country,” Bruce says. “When you compare shooting to other sports like football and soccer, you see that shooting has fewer injuries. The reason shooting is a safe sport is because our members police one another. All members are very conscious about safety and that helps create a very safe atmosphere.” New members attend a safety briefing and receive a handbook that explains the rules for each shooting range. From there, members are placed on a probationary status until they demonstrate safe handling of a firearm on three separate occasions while being observed by a range safety officer. A range safety officer is always present to ensure members properly follow rules. “Safety is our primary concern,” says David Guminski, who has spent two years as a range safety officer at the Eustis Gun Club. “I make sure shooters are not pointing their muzzles at other shooters and that they keep their guns pointed downrange. We don’t want anyone getting hurt.” With training in first aid and CPR, range safety officers are adequately equipped to handle not only gunshot wounds but also medical emergencies. They are trained in operating automated external defibrillators, which are portable, life-saving devices designed to treat people experiencing cardiac arrest. The emphasis on safety is the main reason why Mount Dora resident Christopher Edwards joined the Eustis Gun Club in August. He enjoys shooting outdoors, but his only other option is an unsupervised range in the Ocala National Forest, a potentially dangerous situation he wishes to avoid. “You expect a quality person to spend money to shoot at a quality range,” says Christopher, a U.S. Army veteran. “Here, I don’t have to worry about riffraff or shooting next to people who have never handled a firearm and act recklessly.” Environmental safety is equally important. Because high-powered bullets can travel up to a mile, each range has a berm, or mounds of dirt and rock to stop a bullet. Since the backstop berms become packed with lead, board members have hired a lead abatement company to remove it regularly, since it can easily be inhaled or ingested when airborne. In addition, several safety and facility upgrades have been completed in recent months. The gravel road that winds around the Eustis Gun Club has been covered with stone to prevent flooding, and trees were trimmed in preparation for hurricane season. “There isn’t any other gun range like this in Central Florida,” says Marc, the club treasurer. “Lead gets cleaned up, trees get trimmed, and we maintain beautiful landscaping and greenery. We didn’t alter the environment for the gun range. We used what was here, respected the environment, and built the gun range around the environment.”

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For gun owners, competitive shooting sports are one of the best ways to enjoy their favorite firearms while simultaneously improving their skills. Members of organizations such as Cowboy Action Shooting, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), and American Trapshooting Association (ATA) utilize the Eustis Gun Club’s various ranges for events and sanctioned matches. The matches attract everyone from novices to world-class competitors. For 21 years, Leesburg resident Mark Kraemer has competed in IDPA, a handgun-centric sport based on simulated self-defense scenarios where shooters are scored on speed and accuracy. Mark currently serves as president of the Lake County IDPA. “This club offers us an outstanding venue to participate in our sport,” says Mark, who is also a member of the Eustis Gun Club. “The facility is well-kept and organized. You’re not going to find a finer shooting club in Central Florida.” Tom, the skeet shooter from Mount Dora, has competed in ATP tournaments for 12 years. Each Wednesday, he practices at Eustis Gun Club to hone his skills. “I always feel safe out here, and I appreciate that each member has been vetted,” he says. “The culture of this club is very positive.” As is the case with any sport, the question arises as to how adults will pass the love of shooting on to the next generation. Several shooting programs are held at the Eustis Gun Club to engage youth in shooting sports. One is the American Trap Association’s youth program AIM, which stands for Academics, Integrity, and Marksmanship. Another is Project Appleseed, a nationwide program that teaches marksmanship skills, as well as the heritage and history of the traditional rifle. Children and teenagers enrolled in Lake County 4-H come to the club to learn skeet shooting, clay shooting, and trap shooting. Kids are attracted to the level playing field of competition shooting, a sport where size and gender mean very little in how successful one can become. Board members of the Eustis Gun Club are ecstatic to see kids become involved in shooting sports. “Some of us are getting older,” Marc says. “One day, the younger generation will be operating the Eustis Gun Club, and we need them to maintain the passion we have for shooting firearms and also keep our membership levels where we want them.”

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nyone who lives in or has recently visited Florida, has surely noticed an abundance of Kroger delivery vans on the road driving alongside local traffic. It’s become a common sight, as the fleets are on route all day long, oftentimes until about 10 p.m., to people’s homes delivering blue bags full of groceries, and rightfully so, since Groveland now serves as the main hub for the company’s second-ever grocery fulfillment and distribution center in the country. The first is in Ohio and its third is set to open in Atlanta later this fall. In Groveland, Kroger broke ground on the 375,000-square-foot facility in July 2018, and with its technology-based U.K. partner Ocado Group, wowed officials, and area residents with talk about what was to come. Fast forward to April 2021, Kroger started its friends and family soft-rollout and by June 2021, was in full swing making deliveries throughout Central Florida and beyond. “If you look at the zip codes we’re covering, we’re literally delivering from Sarasota to Daytona, Jacksonville, almost all the way to Georgia, and everywhere in between,” says Brandon McBurney, general manager of the Kroger Fulfillment Network, stationed in Groveland. Brandon says what’s more, is that Kroger delivers to customers in rural areas where no other food delivery service will go, and in temperaturecontrolled vans to boot. “We’ve heard from so many customers in rural areas, especially not far from here,

saying, ‘We are so happy that somebody’s finally delivering to us,’ and ‘It’s just exciting that Kroger can deliver to people in places where no one else will,’” Brandon says, explaining that the company is just as excited as those customers to be able to offer the service in part, because of Kroger’s specially designed vans that make it possible to ensure groceries will arrive fresh, cold and still frozen when dropped at customers’ doors. He adds: “We deliver to every zip code across Central Florida, in some cases where our competitors don’t deliver; and we can ensure every item arrives at the perfect temperature. We’re thrilled to help customers who don’t have any other option. Some people just can’t get out because maybe they don’t have a car or for some other reason, so to me, it’s great we can make this available.” Even before any deliveries take place, however, hundreds of human associates, along with hundreds more robot counterparts, are working behind the scenes at the fulfillment center to make sure every order is picked, bagged, and loaded with the utmost efficiency and care. And all landed in Groveland because according to company officials, it is ideally situated in the middle of the state, providing quick and easy routes to Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville to efficiently deliver to customers throughout Central Florida. “We are very excited to be here and be a part of this community. Everyone really showed us a lot of love and people here really embraced us in so many ways,” Brandon says. “That has helped us with our staffing because we have linked with community partners to make sure everyone understands what we stand for here at Kroger, which is fresh food

for everyone, delivered to homes in a convenient manner, to deliver the highest quality food possible to our customers.” Overall, Kroger is America’s largest grocery retailer with $132.5 billion in total sales in 2020 and nearly 500,000 associates employed company wide. In some markets like Atlanta and Ohio, there are physical Kroger grocery store locations, but in Florida, Kroger is focused on the eCommerce model that is doing quite well. Officials say, “Our business is robust and continues to grow,” and verified it does the business of 20-25 stores. In fact, upon touring the three-story massive and very impressive Groveland facility, one can easily see why that is. Brandon, who led Style on a tour of the Groveland hub, explained how it all works, starting with the ground floor, which contains delivery bays where merchandise arrives and is separated between ambient or chill, then stacked and organized accordingly in large vertical and horizontally gridded storage areas 21-deep on the ambient side and 8-deep on the chill side called hives. Brandon says the area “goes about the length of a football field,” and that in all, the warehouse holds about 30,000 products from groceries, paper products, small household items, spirits and more. From there, delivery totes are bagged and made ready to fill by associates at picking stations where they pick and sort customer orders. Brandon says associates use Ocado technology software to confirm every item description, UPC code, and expiration date to ensure accuracy and when bagging, associates are prompted, as far as which items go in what bag, to make sure products are not crushed or damaged in the process.

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With all that in mind, Brandon says associates can pick customer orders quickly and efficiently. “In a traditional grocery store where someone may be using a traditional delivery service, it would take an employee about 30 seconds to pick one item, where here using our system, it takes us five seconds to do it. That means, to pick an entire order, between, chill, ambient and frozen, takes about 15 minutes.” There are other stations within the facility’s first two floors dedicated to quality assurance and loading, but the third floor contains Ocado’s robots, which are constantly on the go pulling product. The robots select items that they place in their “bellies,” then drop onto conveyor belts where they are moved to picking areas. “Our strong relationship with Ocado and their robot technology is the reason our order process is so efficient. The automated robots keep the hive organized and bring product to warehouse associates to fulfill orders,” a brochure detailing Kroger’s operation reads.

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Brandon Barkley, the operations manager for Ocado oversees the hive and works with 48 fellow Ocado specialists watching over the bots. “We have a little over 500 robots between the two different chambers – chill and ambient. The bots move and transport products, so they are actually picking and placing and sorting all the items, then taking what we bring in for a customer order to an outload,” Ocado’s Brandon says, explaining that the bots move about 5-milimeters between each other and at a speed of about 4-meters per second. Brandon adds: “They are covering ground pretty quick. They work on a 4D wireless network, similar to that of an aircraft control center, and that’s how they are communicating with each other to avoid crashes and interference.” As for Kroger as a whole, Brandon McBurney says there is more to it that meets the eye when you consider associate and community relationships they are building upon every day. Andrea Colby, Kroger’s eCommerce corporate affairs and communications manager agrees and says, “Kroger is invested in this building and in the community that’s around us. We want to build partnerships and be a good neighbor.” She says Kroger makes it common practice to donate food to organizations that help feed those in need, and they appreciate the partnerships developed with local non-profits and businesses since opening to help do that. “We want to be the employer of choice, we want to be the grocery option of choice and we want to be a good community neighbor,” Andrea says. On the same note, Brandon says Kroger has already donated 770,000 pounds of food to various food banks in the area. The company’s main partner is Second Harvest Food Bank, but they also work with other local organizations and with the city of Groveland sponsoring community-strong events like its Founder’s Day and Fourth of July celebrations. Most recently, Kroger partnered with the Education Foundation of Lake County and provided all the food area high school students and local chefs, in turn, prepared and served at the Stepping out for Education fundraiser that benefits teachers and students throughout Lake County.

Photos: Courtesy of Kroger.

Not only that, but sometime down the line, Kroger plans to work with area schools bringing students in for tours so they can see firsthand how the STEM concept can be applied to real life and work situations. Part of the goal is to inspire, motivate and pique student interest in robotics by showing them firsthand what robots can be programmed to do. “It’s a commitment to our community, to give back as much as they give back to us,” Brandon says. As for employees, Brandon says Kroger is still hiring and encourages people to apply. “We currently have about 500 associates in Groveland and plan to add another 250-300 more before the end of the year,” he says. Brandon says he personally has been with the company for 17 years and couldn’t be happier. He started out as a temporary worker counting pick slots in the freezer and doing data entry on the graveyard shift many moons ago, and the rest is history. “I came for a job and stayed for a career which is what we are really trying to create here. I love how this company can be that for so many of our employees. We really have that career path mentality for those who want that type of opportunity in their lives,” Brandon adds. Abdool Ghani, a customer service delivery driver from Leesburg who

has worked for Kroger for several months, says he appreciates the great leadership at the Groveland facility and what Kroger stands for. “I gotta tell you, I would have to say 99.9 percent of the customers I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with love what we do. They appreciate us, they love us, they love the customer service, and they love our groceries and products. They appreciate how fresh it is and some of them come to the truck because it’s interesting to think there is a fridge and a freezer in the truck for our deliveries,” Abdool says. “They are interested, so I will open the doors and show them my truck and when they say they love Kroger, I say I love Kroger, too.” Brandon says all those things combined is what makes Kroger strong and for those who think technology and automation will take jobs, he says, “It’s a misnomer and the opposite for us. The automation here allows us to be more efficient, it allows us to service more customers and therefore, have more jobs for our community.” For information or to place an order from Kroger, visit or download the Kroger app on your smartphone. A $10 delivery applies to most orders, but a current promotion allows unlimited deliveries within a one-year period for $79.99.

Choosing Worry-Free Health Care…

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You have an important choice to make when it comes to Medicare enrollment during Annual Enrollment Period. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

urrent Medicare recipients should know that every October they have the option of enrolling for the first time or changing their current coverage during Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). This provides them with an opportunity to review their current benefits and assess how their health care needs may change in the coming year. This special period only comes once per year October 15 through December 7. When it’s time to choose a health insurance plan for the following year, it is important to find a plan that meets your specific needs. Sadly, with so many numbers and coverage details to remember, health care plans leave many Americans feeling overwhelmed, leading to bad decisions and less-than-desired coverage. Thankfully, The Villages Health has some tools to lessen the hassle of these important decisions. This Annual Enrollment Period, as in past years, The Villages Health welcomes the opportunity to help patients simplify their options by providing the clinicians and resources they may need to stay healthy and live the active lifestyles they deserve. Adjacent to each of its six primary care centers (and one slated to open mid-October) is Health Insurance Resource Centers (HIRCs) where friendly, knowledgeable licensed


insurance agents are on-hand to guide you every step of the way. Patients are encouraged to meet face-to-face with these agents who can answer questions about the Medicare Advantage options accepted by The Villages Health, assess their individual health care needs, and review various plan options and benefits. The Villages Health accepts several Medicare Advantage plans for primary care services as well as additional plans for specialty care services. These agents go above and beyond to find the right plan with the right coverage at just the right time. Why is this important? The right plan not only covers a patient’s medical needs but also helps them avoid large medical bills that can cause financial hardship. Moreover, choosing a plan with the assistance of knowledgeable insurance agents saves patients the trouble of navigating the often challenging world of health insurance and helps alleviate the stresses many face when they turn the age of 65. The Villages Health accepts United Healthcare Medicare Advantage and Florida Blue Medicare Advantage. Effective in 2022, the medical group will accept a specific Humana Medicare Advantage plan for residents living in select zip codes in Sumter, Lake, and Marion counties. Patients may sign up for this new Sumter County only plan during AEP. When patients choose a plan that is part of The Villages Health’s network, they’ll receive continued access to the organization’s doctors, medical

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technology, and compassionate care that so many already know and trust. Moreover, they instantly have a wealth of health care services at their fingertips provided by an organization that prides


itself on building better relationships with patients, improving their overall experience, and addressing all their health care needs. The Villages Health is an innovative health care system offering everything from primary care physicians and specialists to educational classes, same-day appointments, a Saturday EZ-Care clinic, telehealth appointments, and much more. Patients experience the difference the first time they walk through the door. A warm, inviting ambiance awaits in the living room—it’s not called a waiting room at The Villages Health—where hanging chandeliers, television sets, and

cozy couches set the scene for a warm, homey atmosphere. Don’t get too comfortable, though. Your wait time will likely be shorter than you are used to… they pride themselves on their doctors arriving on time. Next comes the real treat because you’re not on the clock and won’t be rushed out the door. Instead, a physician will spend adequate time with you, eager to learn about your medical history and steer you on a path to health and wellness. It’s a mission which shines through in The Villages Health’s motto: Keeping You Healthy and Healing You Quickly. Throughout your visit, a team of receptionists, nurses, and clinicians will make you feel like your presence is valued and your concerns will be addressed. Your subsequent visits will be just as enjoyable. That’s because The Villages Health looks forward to building a lasting, trusting relationship with each patient while combining the best of both worlds— hospitality with great health outcomes.

Primary and specialty care The Villages Health offers six primary care centers and will soon be opening its seventh location in Lake Deaton. They also have two locations for their specialty care services—both within a short drive from all of their care centers. Each location is staffed by board-certified doctors who have undergone extensive training. A key

component of the medical group’s patient-centered model is care coordination, which ensures that primary and specialty care clinicians effectively share information and manage patient referrals to enhance convenience and minimize cost, confusion, and inappropriate care. Simply put, The Villages Health gives patients the right care, at the right time, and at the right place so they can receive all the benefits of expert care in a seamless manner. Additionally, a patient’s individual health needs and desired health outcomes are the driving force behind all health care decisions. The Villages Health offers the following specialty care services: Audiology, Behavioral Health, Cardiology, Diabetes Education, Dietetics, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Gynecology, Interventional Pain, Neurology, Podiatry, Rheumatology, and Urology. They also have local collaborations in place for Dermatology, Orthopedics, and General Surgery services as well.

Take a tour Step into one of The Villages Health’s care centers. At first glance, you may wonder whether you’re really in a doctor’s office. Patients who tour one of The Villages Health’s primary care centers

are wowed by the aesthetically pleasing design and décor that instantly wins their trust. A homey atmosphere replaces the stuffy, clinical feel of most doctor’s offices. An in-person tour is the ideal way to gain a better understanding of the wealth of amenities and services conveniently offered under one roof, including x-rays, lab work, audiology, a procedure room, and behavioral health. Each primary care center employs a new patient specialist who excitedly shows prospective patients around the facility and answers any questions they may have. First-time visitors are eligible to receive a free welcome gift. Each care center also provides a New Patient Specialist who can help you navigate becoming a new patient of The Villages Health. This specialist will provide a free tour and connects you with the licensed insurance agents at the HIRCs.

World-class care right at home As you can see, The Villages Health has implemented a new vision in the way health care is delivered. All these wonderful services and programs explain why the company’s Net Promoter Score is a near-perfect 94, earning the distinct title of “world-class.” The Net




New Patient Visits



Annual Wellness Visits



Follow up Visits



On-site Labs & X-Rays

On-site Audiology & Behavioral Health

Wound Care Program

Hospitalist Program

Saturday EZ-Care Clinic at Creekside Care Center

13 In-House Specialties

Paramedics at Home Program

Promoter Score, or NPS, is considered the gold standard in measuring a customer’s overall satisfaction. In addition, The Villages Health has a 98 percent patient satisfaction rating and is in

the top one percent of the nation’s health systems. Consider becoming a patient of The Villages Health, where a patient’s individual needs are met with the highest quality of care and a friendly smile.

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Chelsea Allen

Susan Bell

Liz Bowman

Traci Boyt

Kent Cameron

Joslyn Colon

Taylor Ebersole

Allison Grant

Dana Ingram

Janie LeBeau

Lacey Maher

Barbara McDonald

Lisa McGuire


Shane Finley

Michael Garwood




Cindy Ivy

Donna Lane




Stacy Marlatt


Kyler Newcomb

Rienie Newlan

Laura Rodrigues

Stacee Schroeder

Fay Sellers

Jason Shannon

Alexis Ball-Sheats

Julia Skillman

Josh Voorhees

Kasey Welch


352-751-6622 JoJo Thomas

Keriann Varney


Dale Henry, a speed painter, loves showcasing his high-energy, fast-paced style of art.

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oct. 2021




Quite crafty

In 2019, Sunshine Artist magazine ranked the Mount Dora Craft Fair as the country’s fourth-best fair of its kind in the country. The event features original works of 350 of the country’s best crafters. More than 250,0000 visitors attend the event each year. Oct.23-24 / Downtown Mount Dora /


PEDAL POWER Imagine feeling a cool, gentle breeze as you ride past some of Lake County’s beautiful sights: pristine lakes, historic downtown buildings, and rolling hills. Thousands of bikers will experience this feeling during the 46th Mount Dora Bicycle Festival. There will be rides of varying lengths for bicyclists of all skill levels.



Oct.7-10 / Downtown Mount Dora /

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Row, row, row your boat Come to Hickory Point Recreational Facility and learn about paddling from experienced staff. Novice paddlers will learn about paddling basics and safety. Participants will then practice during a short paddling adventure on Lake Harris. Oct.17 / Hickory Point Recreational Facility, 27341 S.R. 19 Tavares / 352.324.6141






The Clermont Police Department joins other law enforcement agencies from throughout the country by participating in National Night Out, an annual community-building event that promotes strong partnerships between police and the residents they serve.

ON STAGE Enjoy quality entertainment on the many stages of Lake and Sumter counties. A SUMMER TO REMEMBER

Through 10/ 10

Oct.5 / Waterfront Park / 330 3rd St. Clermont / 352.708.5975

Melon Patch Theatre presents the play “Overdue Bills,” a story about a 14-yearold boy who is grounded during the summer for not paying a school library bill. Though he is stuck at home with his grandfather who has dementia, the summer turns out more exciting than he originally thought. Melon Patch Theatre / 311 N. 13th St. Leesburg /




GHOULISHLY GRATIFYING The spirit of Halloween is alive and well at Anastassia Ballroom and Dance Studio, host of the Spooktacular Halloween Dance Showcase. Wear your favorite Halloween costume and enjoy an evening of food, brews, and dance festivities.



Meet the Modern Gentlemen, who keep alive the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll, doo-wop, and soul by adding four-part harmonies to songs by the Beach Boys, Dion, the Beatles, Frankie Valli, and the Four Seasons. Clermont Performing Arts Center / 3700 S. Hwy. 27 Clermont / 352.394.4800

Oct.30 / Anastassia Ballroom and Dance Studio / 32624 Blossom Lane, Leesburg / 352.533.7400

ONGOI NG EVENTS Events are subject to change and cancellation.





Clermont Farmer’s Market 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Downtown Clermont

Downtown Mount Dora Village Market 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Mount Dora

Webster’s Farmer’s Market 6 a.m.-2 p.m. 524 North Market Blvd., Webster

Lady Lake Farmer’s Market 9 a.m.-2 p.m. 250 Rolling Acres Rd., Lady Lake

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



A DOGGONE GOOD TIME There’s nothing like spending a paw-stomping, tail-wagging, fun-filled day with your dog. The Humane Society of Lake County’s WestMUTTster Dog Show will allow you to do just that. For $10, pet owners can enter their canines into two show categories, which include “Best Kisser,” “Best Costume,” “Best Hair,” “Best Trick,” and “Wiggliest Butt.” There will also be food trucks, vendors, and a silent auction.

10/2 @ 7 p.m.

10/23 @ 7 p.m.

FLEETWOOD MASK Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

SOUL SACRIFICE Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

10/9 @ 11 a.m.

10/23 @ 5 p.m.

BUSTER TUBBS Sunsational Farms, Umatilla

CRYSTAL VISION DUO Cody’s Original Roadhouse, The Villages

10/9 @ 7 p.m.

10/23 @ 7 p.m.


ROWDY JOHNSON Buster Tubbs, Tavares

10/15 @ 6 p.m.

NILE Wooton Park, Tavares

CRYSTAL VISION DUO Lake Veterans Club, Tavares

Oct.17 / Ferran Park / 250 Ferran Park Drive, Eustis / 352.589.7400

10/30 @ 1 p.m.

10/16 @ 7 p.m.

JIMMY HUNTER Lake Harris Hideaway, Tavares

TURN THE PAGE (BOG SEGER TRIBUTE) Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

10/30 @ 5 p.m. CRYSTAL VISION DUO Hurricane Dockside Grill, Tavares

10/16 @ 5 p.m. CRYSTAL VISION DUO Cody’s Original Roadhouse, The Villages

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: or Lake & Sumter Style Calendar, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749

10/17 @ 4 p.m. C.O.D. FLORIDA Hurricane Dockside Grill, Tavares

10/22 @ 9 p.m. SEPTEMBER DOGS Frank’s Place, Leesburg

10/24 @ 3 p.m.

10/30 @ 7 p.m. DENNIE AND THE JETS Elks Lodge 1578, Tavares

10/30 @ 7 p.m. ESCAPE (JOURNEY TRIBUTE) Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale







Lake County Farmers & Flea Market 8 a.m.- noon 250 Rolling Acres Rd., Lady Lake

Eustis First Friday 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Downtown Eustis

Clermont First Friday Food Trucks 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. 685 W. Montrose St., Clermont

Graveland Farmer’s Market 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Lake David Park, Groveland

Plaid in the Park 5 p.m.-9 p.m. 230 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora

Eustis Classic Car Cruise-In 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Downtown Eustis

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Fall in Love Huntsville

With Senior Living


Call today to schedule your personalized experience! THE VILLAGES CROSSING

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(352) 329-6612


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(352) 656-7971

ALF# 13179/12467


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On the fast track A Lake County artist finds success and happiness showing off a splashy and rare art form that wows and inspires. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN


ace-to-face, Dale Henry is a relatively quiet, laid-back guy who loves to paint, but get him on stage and he creates a spectacle. “I hear people say all the time, “Man, I’ve never seen anything like that,” says Dale, also known as, Dale Henry Paintman. Dale, a performance speed painter, has wowed audiences all over the country with live stage performances fabulously choreographed to music, lights and deliberately huge double-fisted paint strokes that end up one-of-a-kind paintings he creates in just minutes. Oftentimes, he tosses brushes, splatters color and starts out with an upside-down canvas, before a flip reveals masterpieces of famous subjects like an American Eagle, a Florida State Seminole, Johnny Depp, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Willie Nelson, Einstein, and more; each one eliciting cheers. “It’s the closest thing to being a rock star I’ve ever experienced,” the Paintman says, explaining that he’s been drawing and painting since childhood. In his 20s, Dale made a career of painting and hand-lettering billboards, signs and illustrated buses. He also traveled the world doing vehicle airbrushing, until vinyl wraps overtook the market, leading him to interior and exterior mural work in The Villages, Central Florida and beyond. In between commercial work, Dale traveled the country displaying fine art

pieces at various art shows, and that’s when he found his calling. “There was an art show in Las Vegas where I witnessed a speed painter and it lit a fire in me,” Dale says. He worked hard at the medium, did one free show for a friend to see if he could pull it off publically and recalls: “At the end of it, the whole place went wild and I realized, ‘This is it, this is what I’m going to do.’” Since then, Dale has done shows at local and national event stages, including Leesburg’s Bikefest, the MGM Grand in Vegas, Princess Cruise Lines, Madison Square Gardens and at many charity galas where his paintings are auctioned for top dollar to raise money for various causes. In 2020, however, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt but this year, he traveled to Chicago for a show in August and painted all murals for The Amsterdammer, a new Dutch-inspired tavern in downtown Leesburg where he displays and sells paintings. Dale says he can’t wait to get back to full swing because while his shows create intrigue and excitement for audiences, they feed his soul with satisfaction and joy, adding: “When I’m on stage, all I’m thinking about is the music, the vibe, the artwork, the time, everything. When I’m in my element, it becomes a flow, you just get into a groove and you enjoy it completely.” For more information, search Dale Henry Paintman on Google, follow him on Facebook or visit

Do you know of a talented person in our community?

Email their story to

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Explore ‘Real Florida’ Friends of Lake Griffin tour guides lead daytime and moonlight canoe and kayak tours on local waterways. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

ust off bustling U.S. Highway 441/27 in Fruitland Park nestles the peaceful tranquility of Lake Griffin State Park, where visitors can explore 620 acres of “Real Florida” on the park’s hiking trail, enjoy a picnic, fish, or go out on a kayak or canoe to experience a serene, guided daytime or moonlight tour of Lake Griffin’s Dead River marsh. One never knows what they might see out on the lake. Villages resident Stephanie Hayano has witnessed baby herons hatching and a nose-diving osprey spear a fish. “You just cannot stage those kinds of events,” says Stephanie. “Lake Griffin is a hidden gem, and people don’t realize how beautiful it is until they get out there on a boat.” She became certified as a Florida State Parks’ paddle tour guide. Certification included testing of kayaking skills, safety, and assisted water rescue techniques, first aid and CPR/AED training, and completion of the U.S. Coast Guard safe boater’s online course. Stephanie is now one of 11 guides who leads kayak eco-tours at Lake Griffin State Park as a volunteer with the non-profit Friends of Lake Griffin State Park, a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to conserve, protect, restore, and enhance the natural, historical, cultural, and recreational resources of Lake Griffin State Park for present and future generations. The group also provides fundraising, awareness, and volunteer opportunities. Villager Linda Morrison also enjoys volunteering as a paddle tour guide. “I love offering these tours because people realize Florida is not just Disney World; it’s a real world of wilderness and people come away with a better understanding of that,” says Linda, who educates visitors about Florida wildlife. “I really enjoy talking to them about alligators because they have a natural fear of these animals. I explain to them that alligators are predators of opportunity.” Florida has 175 state parks and Lake Griffin is one of the small ones, which means it has a smaller budget compared to larger parks, but it does receive support from 250-plus friends.

“The Friends of Lake Griffin is a nonprofit that raises money and buys things for the park,” says Linda. “We bought eight new kayaks last year, put up an outdoor fitness trail, and we also paid for a motor for the pontoon boat to take people out on a tour. We provide the tools and equipment that the park needs.” More people are encouraged to join Friends of Lake Griffin, which cost $15 per year, and allows a member to receive 12 free park entrances, one free kayak or canoe rental, and emails about park events and news. To learn more about the group or dates of upcoming ecotours, moonlight tours, kayak 101 classes, visit

Moonlight Tour “It’s a different world at night,” Friends of Lake Griffin notes on its website. “We launch in the early evening and watch the sunset from the water as the wetlands inhabitants prepare for nightfall. As the stars come out, we turn on our headlamps and scan the shoreline searching for reflections of alligator eyes. The full moon rises over the treetops as we follow its silver path across the water and return to the launch ramp.” The $40 fee includes kayak rental, paddle, PFD, whistle, boat safety light, and headlamp. The tour runs 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Eco-Tours Visitors can explore Lake Griffin’s Dead River Marsh by kayak or canoe with certified Florida paddle guides and experience the beauty of the wetlands ecosystem while seeing wading and flying birds, land-based and aquatic plants, massive trees, and other native and exotic species. “Learn the truth about alligators, an often-misunderstood resident of this area,” notes the Friends of Lake Griffin website. The $30 tour fee includes a sit-upon kayak, paddle, life jacket, and whistle. The tour is 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Kayak 101 Classes Learn basic kayaking techniques and safety in this 2 1/2-hour class that includes demonstrations, land-based practice, paddling exercises, and a mini eco-tour. Topics include basic orientation, safety, proper fit of the life vest, types of kayaks, basic paddle strokes, encounters with wildlife, and maneuvering in boat traffic. “We’ll spend about 45 minutes on ground school, then paddle near the launch, and finally venture out into the wetlands,” states the Friends of Lake Griffin website, adding participants will have ample opportunities to ask questions from the Florida certified paddle guides that will be “right beside you throughout the class.” The $30 fee includes sit-upon kayak, paddle, life vest, and whistle.

Photos provided by Linda Morrison.

LAKE GRIFFIN STATE PARK 3089 U.S. Highway 441/27, Fruitland Park, FL IF YOU GO

Park admission of $5 per vehicle is collected at the entrance. To contact Friends of Lake Griffin: Contact the park: 352.360.6760 To register for tours or classes or for more information, visit

Know of a cool local attraction you’d like us to feature? Contact us at least three months in advance and provide all the details to


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Scan this code to view all photos on

Charlotte Helms

Ofc. Brent Seeley, Chief Adam Bolton, Lt. David Seeley, Umatilla PD with Lake County Junior Miss Addisyn Melanson

Master Deputy Scott O’Neil, LCSO Marine Unit Roy Baker Band

Deputy Daniel Roman, K-9 Unit; Master Deputy Alexander Kilfoyle, School Resource Unit and Master Deputy Cory Sommers, K-9 Unit

Lt. David Clark and First Lt. Scott Scheider, Lake EMS

Ofc. Lauren Wellons, Umatilla PD

9/11 Remembrance Car


@ SUNSATIONAL FARMS ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. Local heroes were honored on Sept. 11 during the First Responder’s Appreciation Day at Sunsational Farms in Umatilla. The free event featured music, food trucks, law enforcement officials, and other guests visiting the Memorial Flag Garden to pay special tribute to the 2,977 victims, including 412 first responders who lost their lives 20 years ago during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Sunsational Farms also revealed plans to raise $50,000 to benefit Lake County Sheriff ’s Charities, Lake County Fire Rescue, and Lake County EMS.

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Loretta and Elaine Nancy Humes, Larry Humes, and Stephanie Payne

Issac Mitchell, MD

Heather Long, MSN

Greg Lewis, Roger Beyers, Cedric Tankson MD, Isaac Mitchell MD, Jay Cook MD, Dr Dee, Bruce Mast MD, Lynne Winker, Kevin Behrns MD, Heather Long MSN, and Ed Jimenez MBA

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Bill Lorenze, Amie Richason, Chris Wood, and Alex Chang


Jay Cook, MD

NEW SITE FOR ORTHOPAEDIC CARE @UF HEALTH ORTHOPAEDICS ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. University of Florida Health celebrated the opening of UF Health Orthopaedics –Leesburg, located at 701 Medical Plaza Drive, which is available for residents’ orthopaedics needs. During the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 31, guests learned the facility’s board-certified orthopaedic specialists can provide care for routine musculoskeletal problems and highly specialized orthopaedic services at this site, including evaluations for joint replacements and treatment for spine, foot, ankle, hand, and upper extremities.

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building unique pools

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.

“Our family could not be happier with the way our pool turned out. Our design was very unique with features that Wiseman Pools incorporated without issue. It was a pleasure doing business with an honest company and our family and friends look forward to more wonderful memories at our beautiful Ocala Oasis.” 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.

352.431.3766 | | 1517 W Main St., Leesburg



Chief Broadway Eddie Rivera and Emily Feltner

Anamary Sentiago, Jeremy Martinez, Kathryn Springstun, Alyssa Milner, Tyler Fields, and Destiny Davenport, Tina Watkins, James A Watkins Sr, Hergina Green, Jakara Green, and Nicole Johnson

See all the photos for this event at

Tim Simpson, Christina Pizzimenti, and Mandy Riddle

Donna DiGennaro and Roxanne Brown E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC

Tim Murry, Jailene Espinosa, Hannah Pickard, and Jerome Brouhard Laura Hilderbrandt, Dina Simpson, Michelle Madonna, Sandi Moore, Linda Ricketson, and Julie Held

DA NCING FOR EDUCATION ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. The Education Foundation of Lake County’s 15th annual Stepping Out for Education benefit, a local version of “Dancing with the Stars,” was a huge success on July 23-24 at Clermont Performing Arts Center. Lake County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Emily Feltner won the prestigious mirror ball. She was the top female dancer both nights and Clermont Mayor Tim Murry was the top male dancer. Also dancing at the event were Renew Day Spa owner Dina Simpson, Maggie’s Attic Manager/Sommelier Jerome Brouhard, and Deputy Tax Collector Tyler J. Borowski. The fundraiser generated $26,000 for Lake County Schools, which will be matched 100% by the state.


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Stepping up Villagers Mark and Susan O’Brien offer social dance classes.

All the right moves Members of The Villages Chess Club keep their minds sharp.

Helping voices be heard Meet Bob Rivernider, legislative representative for National Write Your Congressman.



Bob Rivernider Villager serves as legislative representative for National Write Your Congressman. INTERVIEWER: THERESA CAMPBELL


How long have you lived in The Villages? I moved to the area a little

How did you get involved with NWYC? As a former Sumter County

over a year ago. I grew up in South Philadelphia. I have lived in Florida since 1990, mainly in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

field organizer for the Republican party, and after working on the Senate recall races in Georgia, I was looking for a way to help preserve the freedoms we enjoy. NWYC gives We The People a platform to exercise our First Amendment right to peacefully speak up and “petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

What inspired the move here? My father had been living in the area. I came here to spend some time with him. He got COVID in October 2020 and passed. I have decided to stay.

What is National Write Your Congressman? With National Write Your Congressman our mission is to encourage responsible Americans to use their influence in government to preserve the freedoms set forth by our Founding Fathers. We give your voice power on Capitol Hill.

How does NWYC help businesses? Small businesses today are under attack like never before from government agencies who are imposing new and more restrictive regulations. NWYC informs our members through action alerts that break down legislation and regulations into brief understandable non-partisan analyses allowing them to simply click a link to join responsible Americans nationwide who are acting on the same issues at the same time.

Do you know an interesting Villager?

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Any successful examples? A few years ago, the EPA quietly moved to implement a new rule that would have allowed them to accuse any business of a violation, levy a fine and, if not paid, take the money out of your bank account without any due process. After we issued a regulation alert the EPA had to withdraw the rule due to adverse public comment. This one regulation could have cost businesses thousands of dollars. We The People shut down a federal agency dead in its tracks. That's why all responsible Americans need to have a voice and speak up. Final thoughts? I have found many responsible Americans in the tri-county area who love this country and are taking action to preserve the freedoms we inherited to pass on to our children and grandchildren. It is our time to fight. We need all hands-on deck at this critical time in America.



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MISTER, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL Men need to effectively communicate when stressful situations arise. STORY: JAMES COMBS

or most of your adulthood, life has been one smooth ride. You were gainfully employed and now you’re happily retired in The Villages, better known to some as the “Disney World for Adults.” Sharing that home with you is a beautiful, loving wife. You’re blessed with a great circle of friends and socialize with them regularly. In recent months, though, things have spiraled out of control. Your 93-year-old mother has run out of money and needs a place to live. Your oldest son is going through a nasty divorce and frequently calls you for advice. Your best friend is battling cancer and you do yard work at his home each week so his wife can focus on being a caregiver. Pressure, stress and anxiety begin mounting. How will you address this? If you’re a man, you will likely fail to communicate your worries and concerns to family members, friends, and counselors. Men have a wall—it’s called pride. That wall contains five feet of concrete and 10 layers of steel. We protect this wall to protect pride; that’s how we’re built and wired. Where men commonly fail is not being able to communicate their problems effectively. We carry burdens on our shoulders, and at some point, the burden becomes too much causing us to break down. Men need to have an effective outlet to deal with adversity in life. The key is finding the proper coping mechanism for you. Every man needs an outlet to deal with problems. Here are some ideas you can explore. • Call local churches and find out whether they have an available life coach or other licensed professional with whom you can share problems with. Perhaps you can talk to several life coaches or professionals before sticking with one who makes you the most comfortable. • Ask around and see if there are local men’s groups. Maybe you’ll make a friend or two who are experiencing similar problems in life. You can openly share your problems and formulate solutions. • Find a golf group that meets on weekends. You can always chit-chat with someone while riding on the golf cart. • Simply take a walk in the woods and reflect on everything that’s troubling you. Getting away from our usual surroundings and enjoying new scenery can be healing.

Villagers, do you have a topic that you'd like to see covered in The Villages? Send in your ideas, via email, to

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For one Villages club, it’s all about capturing a knight, attacking a king, and queening a pawn. STORY: JAMES COMBS

erbert Menendez carefully processes information and plots his next move. He attempts to outthink and outmaneuver his opponents. Yet, for the longtime chess player, there’s more to the sport than saying “checkmate.” For him, the complex intricacies and elaborate strategy involved in the sequence of moves make it a visually beautiful game to play. “It’s human nature to look for patterns in colors or in paintings or in sounds,” he says. “In chess, we’re looking for patterns, but our world is restricted to 64 squares with six types of pieces. As you move, you create patterns of attack and defense. It’s an activity of primal aggression converted to an activity of pure thought.” Herbert is one of 50 members of The Villages Chess Club, which gathers five days a week to play at various recreation centers throughout The Villages. Chess is a game that keeps players coming back. The prototypical club member was introduced to the game as a child, played sporadically throughout his or her career, and became actively involved again after retirement. Such was the case for club president Mike Moschos. During his youth, he spent time outdoors playing typical youth sports like football. However, he discovered his passion when his retired neighbor invited Mike inside his home to play chess. “My neighbor taught me a lot. I was in junior high at the time so he would give me Coca-Cola and candies. He loved the game. So much so that he played chess up to the day he passed away.” Herbert’s mentor wasn’t quite as knowledgeable. “When I was a child in Indiana, my older cousin taught me the game and how to move the knight. Unfortunately, everything he taught me was wrong. I had to unlearn what

600,000,000 The number of people who play chess worldwide.


The average number of moves in a chess game.

20 15 hours

minutes The time it took for the longest match in history to end.


years old The age of Garry Kasparov when he became the youngest world chess champion in 1985.

5,949 moves The longest chess game theoretically possible.

269 The number of moves in the longest chess game in history.



Roberto Alvarez Ferreiro, winner of the Florida Senior Open Chess Championship 2021 via tie breaker

Photos provided by Mike Moschos.

Theo Slade, winner of Section A (Rating 1800 and over) of the 2021 The Villages 21+ Class Tournament

Dr. Heriberto Menendez, MD, winner of Section B (Under 1800 rating) of the 2021 The Villages 21+ Class Tournament

Michael Damey (R) and Mikhail Zlotnikov (L), International Master (IM) Kevin Pryor, President of the Florida Chess Association (FCA)

he taught me, but once I learned the right way, I really began loving the game.” Today, that love remains intact. While some may erroneously assume chess has faded into obscurity, Mike and Herbert are delighted to see that interest in chess is as vibrant as ever. In recent years, they’ve arranged for several United States Chess Federation (USCF) tournaments to be held in The Villages, including the Florida Senior Open Chess Championship and The Villages Open. Both tournaments attract chess aficionados throughout the state. In 2018, 33 people participated in The Villages Open. That number increased to 66 players in 2019 and 98 players in 2021. Members of The Villages Chess Club also compete against chess players from other active adult communities, such as Solivita in Kissimmee. “People love playing chess because it’s an addictive game,” says Mike, who retired to The Villages six years ago. “Some

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people do puzzles to keep their minds sharp. We play chess. We have people in their 70s and 80s, and you’d be amazed how sharp their minds are.” In July, the Florida Senior Open Chess Championship and The Villages Open were held simultaneously. “These tournaments allow us to compete against talented players and sharpen our skills,” Mike says. “Plus, it allows chess players from other parts of Florida to experience The Villages. They were in awe with the Laurel Manor Recreation Center because the facility has nice seats, nice lighting, and nice tables. Nowhere else do you find facilities like what we have here, and that’s why other players love coming to The Villages.” Mike feels the surging popularity of chess has been fueled by Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” a miniseries about a female chess prodigy who quickly became a cultural phenomenon. After the show premiered in October 2020, sales of chess sets have skyrocketed, while

CHESS FACTS • During World War II, top chess players served as code breakers and served on the team that broke the Nazi Enigma code. • The word “checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means “the King is dead.” • In 1988, a computer called Deep Thought became the first computer to beat an international grandmaster. • A German named Dr. Emanuel Lasker retained the title of champion for the most time: 26 years and 337 days. • The world’s most expensive chess set is valued at over $9.8 million dollars. This is the Jewel Royale Chess Set created in Great Britain and commissioned by the Royale Jewel Company. Sources:,


others began competing in virtual tournaments online to comply with social distancing guidelines., a social network and chess server website, has added several million new members since the end of 2020. Herbert, who has been a member of the USCF since the late 1970s, appreciates the growing opportunities to compete in chess, whether he’s hovered over a board or playing online. His competitive nature remains strong as ever. “It’s very gratifying to beat the snot out of your opponent,” he says. “Somebody once said that you learn more from chess games you lose than from games that you win. If that was true, I’d be a grandmaster.” Win or lose, immersing himself in a chess match keeps his brain healthy and his mind clear. “When you’re playing, your whole world is 64 squares,” Herbert says. “Mentally, I’m in a different world, and therefore I forget about any problems or worries I may have.” For Mike, improving his game is a never-ending learning process. He reads books, takes lessons from instructors, and watches videos. “Like anything else, you have to practice, practice, practice,” he says. “And learn from your mistakes. I’ve been playing chess all my life, and one thing I know for sure is that chess is a humbling game because you’re eventually going to lose.” For more information about The Villages Chess Club, please visit

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Villagers Mark and Susan O’Brien delight in making social dancing more fun, enjoyable and attainable for couples. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL PHOTO: VOLKAN ULGEN

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Susan began dancing at age 3 and was one of the rofessional dance performers youngest ballet dancers at the Morgan Dance Company in and instructors, Villagers Mark Chicago when she was 8. After performing in theaters as a and Susan O’Brien captivate audiences with their professional, she earned her bachelor’s degree with dance beautiful dancing, lifts in the air, and their love for concentration and later a master’s degree in dance from dancing the tango, a sensual ballroom dance that the University of Michigan. She is proficient in ballet, tap, originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the early ballroom, Hawaiian, Tahitian, Irish, folk, African, Flamenco twentieth century. modern, and lyrical dance. Susan also has a master’s degree “When we were in Argentina, we were working in behavioral psychology and worked as a behaviorist for a cruise,” Susan recalls of their favorite trip before the several systems. coronavirus pandemic broke out. “It was special because After Susan and Mark got together, he asked for lessons we got to tango in the streets of Argentina, and that was on dance techniques and ballroom dance. He learned on my bucket list.” quickly and for 20 years, the O’Briens have danced all The O’Briens also have been fulfilling the bucket list over the world, mostly teaching and performing on cruise wishes of many of their Villages neighbors by teaching ships, which they hope to social dancing in easy, simple, resume in 2022. and fun step patterns to a “Without him, I could not do variety of rhythms and music. the things that I do. I need him “The reason most people as my base when he lifts me, really enjoy our classes is that and when he drags me,” Susan you’re not in competition and says of the shows they do. “A lot I’m not going to tell you your of women ask me: ‘Is Mark your hold is all wrong. It doesn’t husband or just your dance matter,” says Susan, who partner?’ I say I’m lucky I got notes she and her husband are both in one!” giving social dancing a facelift. Some of the O’Briens’ “At this age, we’re working students on cruise ships have with bad knees, bad backs, —SUSAN O’BRIEN been passengers afflicted and those who find it hard to with multiple sclerosis and memorize. We are working Parkinson’s disease, and they’ve with what they’re capable taught couples a wedding dance of doing. We will teach you in just four to five lessons. basics, we’ll even adapt and They’ve been invited to give cheat on steps,” she says, adding mini rumba lessons at different 55-plus communities in the many women are delighted to learn steps with their area outside of The Villages, and in all their classes, the partner. “Who doesn’t love a guy who can dance?” O’Briens encourage students to have fun and enjoy social The O’Briens will lead eight weeks of social dance dancing, which they regard more as “jam dancing.” classes for couples starting Oct. 6 at The Villages “Just like musicians jam, just get out there and jam and Enrichment Academy, a continuing-education program of then you learn to be your own choreographer, because we extra-curricular courses for residents and nonresidents won’t be with you forever,” says Susan, who believes dancing of The Villages. is most beautiful when the music is meaningful. Social dancing is one of more popular courses at the “I don’t dance with my feet, I dance with my heart and academy, where participants may learn basic steps of soul,” says Susan. “You can see the difference of the people swing, cha cha, foxtrot, waltz, rumba, tango, and more. who dance with their feet and dance with their soul. I walk “We try to keep our beginning dances very simple, so like a ballet dancer, and Mark looks like average Joe, and yet after you do four basic steps in the waltz, the turn comes he’s got it.” in. For rumba, the four basic steps, and a turn,” says “The music is the motivation,” Mark says of when he Mark, a retired machinist who believes by being older and feels the most comfortable to get up and dance, and he a little heavier, he makes it more relatable for men to feel believes social dancing is a delightful activity couples comfortable to dance. can enjoy together. “It just gives a different dimension to “Mark is an excellent dancer,” says Susan, recalling the a relationship.” first time she danced with him over two decades ago. She To learn more about the social dance classes taught by the says she immediately noticed “he had the music in him, O’Briens, visit he had the rhythm.”


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Individuals and business owners alike are realizing that today’s world is happening online. Don’t be left out of the conversation because you don’t have a website or yours hasn’t been updated in years. Tell us about your business and we’ll design a website catered specifically to your needs so you can get back to being you.

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'The Splendid and the Vile' By Erik Larson. A saga told by intimate narrative of Churchill, family, and defiance during the Blitz. STORY: LISA FRENCH

rik Larson is a master of narrative nonfiction. His book, “The Splendid and the Vile,” details Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister of Great Britain from May 1940 until the United States entered the war in December 1941. Churchill, Britain’s top naval official, was chosen prime minister on May 10, 1940, amid widespread discontent with the current leader. He was not the obvious choice. He was intense, erratic, and even eccentric. But he had a reputation for personal courage. The author focuses on that courage and how Churchill skillfully leveraged it into a sustainable national courage against daunting opposition. On Winston Churchill's first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. When France surrendered to the Germans in June 1940 the threat of a Nazi invasion of England became very real. Britain only remained to defeat the Nazis. Churchill declared they must and could succeed yet knew they needed the money and military might of the United States to do it.

The next great stressor came in September 1940 when the German Luftwaffe began relentlessly bombing London and other targets. They continued almost nightly for the next twelve months. Larson provides a vivid depiction of life during the Blitz conveying the omnipresent terror of it. Churchill must devise a military strategy to defend England from the brutal aerial assaults, keep up morale among the British, clearly signal to Germany that they will simply “never surrender,” and would prevail. Plus, convince President Franklin Roosevelt to send help in time. Larson’s talent as a superb storyteller includes detailing narratives of the immense and the mundane. Chapters depicting Churchill’s extraordinary war efforts alternate with personal family concerns — his debts, his youngest daughter’s maturing, and the misadventures of his profligate son Randolph. Daily life details of Londoners are mixed in with military strategy and events in London and Berlin. The diaries of his personal secretary detail Churchill’s weekend at home and various other locales. “The Splendid and the Vile” is a history, a gripping novel and an entertaining read. Knowing how things turned out does not detract from the danger and the gallantry of Winston Churchill.

Want to read more about Winston Churchill’s plight as prime minister during the 1940s? “The Splendid and the Vile,” can be found at Target, Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, or on Amazon

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Feeling all the feels After almost losing it all, a Mount Dora woman is living life true to herself, while helping others along the way. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

haron Simmons is a believer in the old saying regarding what one should do when life gives you lemons, but with one twist – instead of making lemonade, she’s spreading joy and helping others achieve it. In the past year, Sharon, never an artist, began creating beautiful


paintings to express her feelings. She’s also taken to writing poetry and has garnered quite a following on TikTok. In her videos, recorded under the handle of ‘funoutgoingme,’ Sharon talks about her life experiences and free-style dances to selected music. Sharon hopes that sharing her newfound joy and energy, along with personal stories of pain, growth and transformation, will inspire. “I truly believe God wasn’t done with me yet,” Sharon says. In 2015, Sharon was rushed to the emergency room with a high fever, severe pain, bruising and swelling in her legs. Doctors discovered she’d developed sepsis from plastic surgery she’d undergone, placed her in a medically induced coma and relayed a 5-percent chance of survival to her family. When she woke up, burns covered her hands and legs and she came close to having toes and limbs amputated. A couple of years later, she ended up in a foot cast for six weeks that slowed her down again. Still, Sharon feels grateful for the faith and self-love that resulted from both incidents. She feels it was God’s way of giving her the time she needed to reflect on those things she neglected during a dysfunctional 30-year marriage and

subsequent bad relationships, the loss of thousands of dollars and a job she loved, and the nagging desire to change her looks, which she mistakenly thought would bring her happiness. “I realized it was all about finding my worth just the way I am,” Sharon says. Today, Sharon – an outgoing, confident, happy and healthier woman after shedding some weight, but most of all, the pain of her past – is on a mission to help other women going through similar situations by giving them hope and courage. She does it by talking about the good and bad of her entire journey via TikTok and speaking engagements people can book by contacting her. Additionally, she advises that women, whether married or not, care for themselves by considering self-help techniques like counseling, journaling, meditation, surrounding themselves with positive people, not beating themselves up and engaging in solo activities that elicit peace and joy. “I want them to know I wasn’t like this in my divorce, in losing all that money or almost dying. I was on the couch crying, but through my season of growth and the process of God stripping me of false identities, through painting these pictures that tell my story and finding myself, I feel I belong to myself,” Sharon says. I didn’t like the person I once was, but I love who I am now.”

Do you know someone who is a healthy inspiration? Email your recommendations to

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Making a Area doctor strives to reduce risk of breast cancer in her patients by offering extra knowledge, time and support. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

or Dr. Yadira PerezVelez, being a doctor means ensuring every patient has the support and tools they need to carry out the recommended treatment to ensure the best possible outcome for any ailment. To do that, Dr. Perez-Velez, takes her time during visits to explain things thoroughly. “My satisfaction as a doctor comes from seeing that my patients get what they need and that they get better, but it also comes from patients letting me know they are grateful and telling me they appreciate me taking the time to talk to them and explain things to them,” she says. One group of patients Dr. Perez really goes out of her way to educate are women over 40. She says she spends time stressing the importance of mammograms and having them done every year.

“In our office, we start doing annual screening mammograms at age 40 in accordance with the industry guidelines, but if there are risk factors or any other concerns, we can do it earlier,” Dr. PerezVelez says. “It’s all about education and promoting awareness because if cancer is detected early, we can treat it early and the survival rate increases.” She says women over 40 need to be extra vigilant. “The main risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and getting old,” Dr. Perez-Velez says. “Other risk factors like family history and race we can’t change, and we cannot avoid being a woman or getting old, so it’s important to do everything we can.” “There are other risk factors of course, including things like smoking or alcohol usage and obesity, but at least those, we can control.” Dr. Perez-Velez says some signs and symptoms to look for are any lumps in the breast or arm, dimpling of the skin, persistent breast pain, sensitivity or

redness in the nipple, leakage, or a change in the size and shape of the breasts. “I always recommend that my patients do self-exams often(every month), and I tell them that if they notice anything wrong or abnormal, to call the office for an appointment and we can check it out,” she says. Dr. Perez-Velez has practiced general medicine for 15 years, the last three with Aegis Medical Group. She was born in the United States but completed medical school in Mexico at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, then completed her internship at the Bella Vista Hospital in the USA Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Dr. Perez-Velez is fluent in English and Spanish. Dr. Yadira Perez-Velez

352.448.1984 / / 18540 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora

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pho e

Five breast cancer patients with one thing in common: a fighting spirit. STORY: JAMES COMBS


ith October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’ll undoubtedly be bombarded with statistics, studies, and stories about the latest treatment methods. Sometimes, the human element becomes lost. It’s important to put a face and a name to a disease that will transform the lives of 281,550 women who are newly diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Style is sharing the stories of five breast cancer patients. Although they face similar challenges, no two cancer journeys are the same. Learn how these brave women discovered the ‘can’ in cancer and marvel at their candid accounts of perseverance and strength during a time of great adversity.

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M “canammograms are pai n l e ss , and definitely save your life.” Leigh


Leigh Neely has an important message for all women. Don’t forget to schedule an annual mammogram. Leigh, a 69-year-old resident of Leesburg, speaks from experience. During a mammography screening in March 2018, doctors noticed a small, abnormal spot and scheduled her to have a follow-up mammogram six months later. The spot had grown. After undergoing a needle biopsy, Leigh learned that she had Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma. Leigh will never forget the encouraging words she received from her surgeon prior to undergoing a lumpectomy, a procedure to remove cancer and abnormal tissue from her left breast.

“I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT A STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM AND A POSITIVE ATTITUDE ARE.” “He told me, ‘You’re one lucky lady.’ He said that because my cancer was so small, they were able to remove most of it during the needle biopsy.” To this day, Leigh credits mammography not only for early detection but also from enduring a long, painful recovery. She never underwent chemotherapy, saving her from the embarrassment of losing hair, and only endured one week of radiation. Surgery

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left her with a tiny scar on the underside of her arm. “I really think my recovery was easy,” she says. “I did not experience a lot of suffering, and I didn’t even take all of my pain pills. I credit that to faithfully having mammograms every year since I turned 35. Mammograms are painless, only slightly uncomfortable, and they can definitely save your life.” For Leigh, the worst part of battling cancer was the horrible timing. Six months prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer, she tragically lost her husband, Richard, in an automobile accident. “It was staggering when I got my diagnosis, and I began wondering what else is going to happen to me,” she says. “Richard’s death was so sudden and horrible that I was in shock for two months. I was still deep in the throes of grief when I was diagnosed with cancer.” She was more concerned how the news would affect her three children—Stephanie, Dale, and Scott. “They had just lost their father, and now they had to face the fact that their mother had cancer,” Leigh says. “I felt terrible for them.” Fortunately, her family provided much-needed support. Leigh stayed with Dale’s family in Tallahassee while receiving treatment at Capitol Regional Cancer Center. During recovery, Stephanie came from Atlanta to spend three weeks with Leigh, and Scott came from London to visit for one week. Leigh

also received a visit from her best friend, Jan Powell, who resides in Tennessee. “I cannot stress enough how important a strong support system and a positive attitude are,” she says. “They drove me to my appointments and took great care of me. We became much closer as a family.”


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Jamie Losito was only 33 when she received a breast cancer diagnosis on May 24, 2019. That was scary enough. However, the most shocking news came five days later. Jamie learned she was in the early stages of pregnancy. The news left her dumbfounded. Just several years earlier, two gynecologists and two fertility doctors informed her she could not become naturally pregnant. In fact, she underwent three years of fertility treatments to have her first son, Landon. “The first oncologist I visited said I didn’t have time to wait to beat cancer and I can’t beat cancer while being pregnant,” Jamie says. “That made the hair on my neck stand up. I was more distraught about giving up my pregnancy than having cancer.”

“LIFE IS ABOUT SLOWING DOWN AND FEELING THE BREEZE ON YOUR FACE.” Reluctant to terminate her pregnancy, Jamie received a second opinion at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. She felt a sense of peace when oncologists told her breast cancer does not affect a baby’s development in the womb and chemotherapy is safe because it does not cross the placenta, which acts as a wall protecting the baby. “The physicians there have treated pregnant breast cancer patients in the past, so I felt very comfortable making the decision to

keep my baby and moving forward with treatment,” Jamie says. During her pregnancy, she underwent a mastectomy of her right breast and 12 rounds of chemotherapy. Through it all, she bravely fulfilled her roles as a wife, mother, and businessowner. Jamie, a certified financial planner and owner of a wealth management company, Canopy 360, mustered enough strength to continue working full-time. “I knew I had to keep moving to keep my baby healthy, but I needed to continue working for my clients and my business partner since there were only two of us who worked there at that time,” she says. “Each of those kept pushing the other ones along.” Her perseverance and determination allowed her to experience one of life’s most precious moments. In January 2020, Jamie gave birth to a beautiful and healthy girl, Madison Grace. The girl has developed a big personality, sporting an adorable smile for everyone she meets. For Jamie, who today is cancer-free, holding Madison in her arms is a constant reminder of how adversity can be conquered through hope, courage, and strength. “My battle with breast cancer really puts things in perspective,” she says. “Sometimes I look back and I’m not sure how it all happened and how I was able to accomplish everything I did. Every day is about the width instead of the length. Life is about slowing down and feeling the breeze on your face.”

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As a lifestyle medicine expert and owner of Total Nutrition and Therapeutics, Lori Esarey gives her patients hope. She has dedicated her career, her passion, and her life to helping patients lose weight and overcome disease. But in September 2019, the role was flipped. Lori became the patient after being diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. The diagnosis was shocking for Lori, who earned a master’s degree in nutritional medicine and metabolic medicine from the University of South Florida. She has spent her adult life eating a diet rich in whole foods and nutritionally dense foods, and her daily runs provide time for reflection and to strengthen her relationship with Christ.

“I’M VERY GRATEFUL FOR MY LIFESTYLE BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW HOW LONG THE CANCER WAS THERE.” Unfortunately, cancer does not discriminate. Not even against health enthusiasts like Lori. Her diagnosis brought forth the usual emotions—denial, anger, and frustration. “It made me question everything,” Lori says. “I wondered what I had done wrong, and I was mad at myself. I had lived a very clean lifestyle, and I began wondering if I was living a lie. I questioned whether the healthy

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platform to which I lived my life was completely wrong.” Lori was spared from undergoing chemotherapy because her cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes. Still, she was confronted with a difficult choice: have a lumpectomy, a targeted surgery that removes only the tumor, or have a double mastectomy to remove both breasts. Lori opted to have a double mastectomy in fear that cancer might develop in her left breast. “If I would’ve had the lump removed, then I would undergo routine mammograms, ultrasound, and other diagnostic tests. My internal anxiety would have been high, and I didn’t want to endure that on a regular basis.” For Lori, spending countless hours researching breast cancer empowered her to make that decision. She strongly urges patients to make their own treatment choices and advises family members and friends to refrain from giving unwanted and potentially bad advice. “Ultimately, nobody should give advice unless they have experienced breast cancer,” Lori says. “People would always tell me, ‘If this were me, this is what I’d do.’ That’s like fingernails down a chalkboard to me. Family members should pray, be supportive, provide a listening ear, and be by their side. But don’t provide treatment advice on something you know nothing about.” Lori’s surgery was successful. In fact, six weeks after undergoing the procedure, she was a guest speaker at the 2019 American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine’s 27th Annual World Congress in Las Vegas. She eventually realized

her healthy lifestyle paid big dividends, after all. “I’m very grateful for my lifestyle because I don’t know how long the cancer was there,” she says. “My recovery was fantastic as a result of the groundwork of years of good nutrition that gave me my bounce back.” Most importantly, she has developed a great deal of empathy for breast cancer patients. “Diversity either grows you or destroys you,” she says. “My walk with cancer opened up an opportunity for me to minister to women who come to my clinic with breast cancer.”

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Receiving a cancer diagnosis causes many complex emotions to surface. But for breast cancer patients like Joy Breeze who were diagnosed during the coronavirus pandemic, those emotions are exacerbated. Joy, a 44-year-old resident of Tavares, learned that she had Stage 2 breast cancer in December 2020. Because of visitor restrictions, no family member or friend could accompany her to doctor’s appointments and take notes. Moreover, her compromised immune system forced her to remain inside her home from January to July.




Loneliness and social isolation took a toll. “It was hard not having a support team at my doctor’s appointments,” she says. “And being confined to my home became so lonely. The only time I really went out was when I was visiting a doctor. I would pass the time by binge watching shows on Netflix.” The side effects of chemotherapy made those long days seem endless. Joy experienced temporary vision loss and constant nausea. She also had to endure the stress of undergoing a mastectomy of her right breast in June. “The surgery was difficult,” she says. “You have tubes coming out of your body, and doctors take some tubes out after two weeks and other tubes out after three weeks.

I didn’t like having tubes in my body for so long.” Despite the hardships, Joy continues battling cancer with laser-light focus. She has no choice. Her sons, Alex, 17, and Lenex, 13, had already suffered tragedy when their father died of a heart attack 13 years ago. Joy wasn’t about to let them lose another parent. “I kept thinking that if something happened to me my boys would be without their mom and dad. That was a driving force for me to beat cancer.” Her young boys happily stepped up to the challenging role of caregivers. Alex ran errands while Lenex completed household chores. “I’m proud of my boys because they gave up a lot,” Joy says. “They couldn’t have friends over, and I couldn’t attend their sporting events. That was so hard for me.” As of this writing, Joy’s tumor has shrunk from 5 centimeters to .2 centimeters. She has one more treatment of targeted radiation, and following that, she’ll undergo periodic imaging tests to make sure the cancer has not returned. For Joy, battling breast cancer came with challenges but also led to moments of self-discovery. “I learned that I could do a lot more than I thought I ever could, and I also realized I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought,” Joy says. Soon, Joy hopes to volunteer for a cancer-based organization and return the goodwill she received. “Cancer organizations sent me things like robes, chap stick, and a bracelet,” Joy says. “When I received a surprise package it would make my day. I would like to pay those kind deeds forward and do my part in helping other breast cancer patients.”

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Most cancer survivors remember their day of diagnosis as easily as their birthday. For Grand Island resident Lynn Haynes, the dates are identical. In January 2016, Lynn received an unpleasant surprise on her 45th birthday when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, HER2-positive. This cancer occurs when breast cancer cells have a protein receptor called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, which promotes the growth of cancerous cells. What was supposed to be a day of celebration turned into a day of uncertainty and fear. Lynn canceled plans to go out with her husband, Michael, and several friends.

“I stayed positive and told myself, ‘I am going to battle this,’” she says. “There was no other option.” That positive mindset helped Lynn persevere through a total of 16 chemotherapy treatments, as well as radiation and surgery. The chemotherapy robbed her of her beautiful hair, and the radiation left scarring on her lung. However, neither could touch her indomitable spirit. Lynn coped with hair loss by purchasing two wigs that closely matched her hair color and length. And every morning, she showered, dressed herself, and went to work as a real estate agent. “I wanted to continue living as normally as possible,” Lynn says. “I didn’t want to be someone who

“IF YOU SIT THERE AND THINK ABOUT CANCER ALL THE TIME, IT’S EASY TO FALL INTO DEPRESSION.” “I didn’t feel like being with anyone; I needed to digest it all,” Lynn recalls. “It’s very hard receiving news like that and not knowing the magnitude of my condition. I didn’t know how far it had spread or what stage I was in.” The answers to those questions came days later. Lynn’s cancer had advanced to stage 3 and metastasized to a lymph node under her arm. That grim news did not spark a defeatist attitude. Instead, it produced a warrior’s spirit.

exists merely to battle cancer. If you sit there and think about cancer all the time, it’s easy to fall into depression. Working allowed me to remain strong.” By June 2016, imaging tests no longer detected cancer in her body. As of this writing, Lynn has not experienced a recurrence.

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Reflecting back, Lynn discovered a silver lining during her grueling battle with cancer. “Going through cancer taught me what is most important in life, and that’s friends and family,” she says. “Before my diagnosis, I was a work-a-holic and realized I needed to slow down and take time to enjoy life.” Today, Lynn spends valuable time with Michael and her daughter, Nicole. They create wonderful memories through nature walks, swimming, kayaking, and traveling. For Lynn, each birthday is no longer a celebration of being one year older. It’s a milestone to celebrate being a survivor.

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Taste of Home At Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant, the goal is to satisfy the palates and health requirements of every customer, all while making them feel at home. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

om and Dad’s Italian Restaurant in Lady Lake has been serving authentic and delicious from-scratch “just like grandmother used to make” dishes to the community since it first opened in 1962. The only difference today, is that the recipes behind those dishes – passed down for three generations – have been tweaked slightly and thoughtfully by owners/chefs Elainna and Ricky Tucker to accommodate even more of their beloved customers’ health needs. “The restaurant was originally opened my grandparents, who were immigrants from ABruzzio, a providence in Italy, so we specialize in southern Italian food from that region,” says Elainna. “The recipes we use were my grandmother’s and without sacrificing their authenticity or beautiful favor profiles, we have adapted many of them so that they are gluten-free.” Elainna says that along with the perfectly seasoned and grilled Delmonico Steak they serve, their lasagna, made with seven layers of homemade pasta smothered with meat, ricotta and three other cheeses,

plus their Spaghetti A-La Bruzzi, a house specialty baked spaghetti with meat sauce, mushrooms and three cheeses, are three of their most popular dishes. But regardless of what’s ordered, customers can rest assured that everything, from Mom and Dad’s fresh breads and sauces to its delicious desserts and pastas, are homemade and many of them made two ways: traditional and gluten-free (with gluten-free options noted on the menu). To make sure of that, Elainna and Rick arrive at Mom and Dad’s about six to eight hours before opening, and stay for hours after closing each day, to prepare everything. Elainna says the time she and her husband Ricky spend in the kitchen allows them to maintain the top-quality food they serve, and they are very proud of that. “When we have customers say they get the feeling of home again because the food they get here reminds them of what their grandparents or their parents used to make, it’s very satisfying because that’s what it means to us too,” Elainna says. “It’s all about sharing my family heritage and keeping my parents’ and grandparents’ legacies alive by bringing food like they used to cook to the public.”

MOM & DADS ITALIAN RESTAURANT Full Gluten-Free Menu 352.753.2722. / 304 U.S. Highway 441, Lady Lake / Open 4pm-9pm Wednesday through Sunday / Closed Monday and Tuesday.

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Caleb Samson and his wife, Anna, own Cal’s Kitchen in Montverde. The couple have perfected the art of making piping-hot, mouth-watering pizza.

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Simply buono! A local family is doing just what they love from the comfort of their passionfilled, from-scratch, aromatically pleasing kitchen in Montverde. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN


Caleb, Katerina, and Anna Samson

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fter years caught up in the hustle and bustle of the big restaurant world, Caleb and Anna Samson discovered that the key to success, happiness and reaching their creative potentials, was to slow things down. That’s why in 2020, Caleb, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando with a very impressive resume spanning 13 years, going from prep and line cook to sous and executive chef in some high-end kitchens, and Anna, a natural born cook and experienced server with more than 10 years under her belt, opened the doors to a little from-scratch kitchen in Montverde they dubbed Cal’s Kitchen. “I was working 80-hour weeks and under a lot of stress, so I wanted to reel it back to more independent roots. I wanted to spend more time with my family and Anna comes from 10 years of serving and teaching. She has that fantastic bedside manner that I don’t have, so we put our heads together and we came up with this,” Caleb says, describing Cal’s Kitchen as an Italian-inspired, primarily “to go,” family-run restaurant. “I don’t call it an Italian restaurant because I’m not Italian, I’m English. I trained in a French school, then worked at Italian places in America, so it couldn’t be more diverse, plus my wife is Ukrainian and comes with that wealth of understanding food, food preservation and slow-cooked meals.” Historically, Anna and Caleb met on the job in 2013 at a restaurant in Orlando where Caleb was a sous chef, and she was a server. The two were married in December 2016 and about two years later, welcomed their daughter Katerina Elena Samson – nicknamed “Kitty” – into the world. In 2019, while visiting Kirk Park in Montverde to entertain Kitty, they noticed that a local pizza restaurant had vacated a building up for lease nearby that Anna was immediately drawn to. “I remember thinking pizza’s our favorite thing and we already bake it at home all the time, that Caleb’s been working mostly Italian restaurants all his career and that we love baking bread and all that stuff, so I just looked at it and I said, “Hey listen, how about we move in here?” Anna recalls suggesting. Anna says they began researching the possibility and ran the idea by Caleb’s parents, when things started falling into place. “It was honestly a bit of a joke almost, but we spoke to the landlords, came and looked at the place and although it needed a lot of work, it sounded great,” Anna says. “Caleb’s mom was like, “You must. You have to do it.” Anna says originally, Cal’s Kitchen was set to open in March 2020, but it was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdowns. Still, with just a handful of items on their menu, and a newly remortgaged house that paved the way, they opened in July 2020 and flourished. “The community was great. They knew we were moving in and the minute we opened the doors, they just poured in,” Anna says. “They were trying to help us, and with that first month’s profit, we were able to buy more ingredients and add more dishes.” Today, the menu is much broader than the five items they started with and continually expanding, but the one thing that remains the same is Caleb and Anna’s passion; not just for food, but for serving the people in the community they’ve come to love and appreciate. “This is like a little oasis for us, where we can create some really highquality food in a lovely little quaint town,” Caleb says. “We have regulars who actually walk here from their houses, from the school, and all the people we’ve met, some who we consider friends, makes it all worth it.”


Loaf of focaccia bread 3

large ripe tomatoes Half a red onion



leaves fresh basil


ounces roasted garlic


teaspoon minced garlic


tablespoon olive oil Salt, pepper, red wine vinegar to taste


Small dice all the vegetables, chiffonade the basil, slice focaccia and toast with oil. Dress the veggies with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and arrange on the focaccia toasts, then top with arugula.

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ounces pizza dough


ounces low moisture mozzarella cheese


ounces heavy cream


ounces roasted garlic


ounces oven-roasted mushrooms


slices bacon, (cook soft as it will crisp up in the oven, then roughly chopped or hand torn)


ounces ricotta Handful of baby spinach Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste


Preheat oven to at least 500 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pizza stone inside of your oven (the pizza stone is vital if you want a crispy crust with a beautiful char. If not using the stone, lay the dough directly onto an oiled nonstick sheet tray). Sprinkle semolina onto a wooden pizza peel. Stretch or roll out your dough to the desired thickness, carefully put it on your pizza peel, spread fresh spinach leaves all over, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Drizzle with heavy cream, add the rest of the toppings. Then gently slide it onto your (very hot) pizza stone. Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes on high heat until desired crispiness and color is obtained. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese upon coming out of the oven, let rest about 5 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Anna adds: “This community is really nice. It’s made up of mostly families, it’s very quiet and very hospitable and people are always really kind and smiling.” In all, Cal’s Kitchen is known primarily for their artisanal pizzas, but they also serve fresh baked bread, bruschetta, a variety of pasta dishes, salads, subs, wings, calzones and Stromboli, all inspired by travels throughout France, Spain and Italy. Many dishes are named after friends, family members and people they like or who have helped them along the way, and all made from scratch, using the freshest of ingredients. Anna says the pizzas they make, for example, are cooked directly on the oven

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stones, to give them char. Caleb says their pizza dough is fermented for three days and contains no sugar, like most of the things on their menu, minus the scrumptious desserts. “When we were deciding on the dough, we wanted a clean profile. We didn’t want any extra flavors, just the taste of the dough, so we add no sugar,” Anna says, explaining that they love the idea of cooking simply. “We love working with our hands, we love cooking, and we love giving all that back to people, almost how it was done before phones or technology.” Caleb says quality cooking involves three things: simplicity, freshness, and passion.

“I love the passion of the food and the respect of the ingredients, and it goes back to the simplicity. You buy a fresh, good, quality ingredient and you let it shine,” Caleb says. “The secret ingredients in our food are freshness and passion. Being a chef is not doing just one thing right, it’s about all the prep and all the little things you do beforehand.” What fuels Anna is that they are working together like the fictitious Belcher family does in one of her favorite television shows. She says even Kitty, now 3-years-old, enjoys helping with little things, like sprinkling semolina for the pizza dough alongside Caleb.



apples, peeled and cored, sliced thin


cup sugar


ounces cornstarch


ounces fresh lemon juice Cinnamon to taste Ginger to taste


Mix well and lay evenly on an ovenproof dish. Add nutmeg to taste and a light grating of nutmeg over mixture.






cups flour


cups cold butter, cubed



cup white sugar

pound of penne rigate cooked al dente


tablespoon minced garlic

ounces crumbled Italian sausage


ounce of vodka

Salt and pepper to taste


ounces marinara

Sprinkle of chopped parsley


ounces heavy cream


ounces chopped green

Parmigiano-Reggiano and green onions cut on the bias

Dash of vanilla extract Pinch of salt

cup brown sugar


Mix all ingredients together until a light crumb forms, then sprinkle over filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, then at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

onion stalks






Sauté minced garlic, sausage, and green onion stalks, deglaze with vodka, add marinara and heavy cream and let simmer for 2 minutes on low heat. Stir in pasta, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano, chopped parsley and green onions.


quart cream


ounces confectioner’s sugar


Whip to stiff peaks and top crumble with it.

“We love the idea of Bob’s Burgers, which is a show on Fox and it’s about family. The dad is a chef in a tiny little place, but he makes the best burgers around. He’s so passionate about his burgers, he uses only the freshest ingredients he can get his hands on, and then there’s a crazy wife who is so full of love, and then there’s children,” Anna says with a huge smile. “It’s a good story, it’s hilarious and we love it. It’s just like what we wanted; a place together with our kids – that God willing we’ll have more of – doing what we love doing, which is cooking, and serving people the best tasting food we can.”


CAL’S KITCHEN 17415 7th St., Montverde, FL Hours: 11 a.m - 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Closed Mondays. For more information, follow Cal’s Kitchen on Facebook (@calspizza), on Instagram (cals.montverde), visit or call 407.544.2352.

Hey, readers! Do you have favorite recipes or know a chef we should profile? Comment on this article or send story ideas to


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Tiny bubbles Magic Tea Market in downtown Mount Dora generates raves over variety of its crafted boba-inspired beverages and imported snacks. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

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ince opening last spring in downtown Mount Dora, Magic Tea Market has drawn loyal boba tea drinkers and those interested in experiencing a new taste sensation of flavored beverages of the Far East. It’s also a pleasant surprise to see the business sells imported Asian sweet and savory snacks and colas, along with cold treats of soft serve matcha and vanilla ice cream with homemade waffle cones, and containers of traditional Japanese red bean ice cream. Magic Tea’s marketplace items and the wide variety of boba teas (also called bubble teas), fruit teas, thick slushes, and creamy milk teas with decadent foam toppings have been generating raves. “We hear, ‘Oh my gosh! The boba tea is really good and I drive from Orlando to come here,’” says Amy Chen, one of the owners. “There is a whole bunch of competition in Orlando with like a million boba teas over there, so for someone to drive 45 minutes to come to small town Mount Dora for boba tea is the ultimate compliment.” The boba culture reportedly began in Taiwan in the late 1980s, when shaved ice and tapioca balls were popular desserts, along with tea as the most popular beverage. As the story goes, a creative Taiwanese food vendor combined the three elements into one drink—tapioca pearls on the bottom, topped with a layer of shaved ice, and then milk tea to fill the rest of the cup. Now three decades later, boba has evolved into a plethora of flavors and Magic Tea notes on its website: “the signature pearls now come in a variety of flavors and textures, including tapioca, jelly, popping and crunch.” Amy credits her sister, Jialing “Ling” Jiang, with the inspiration of starting Magic Tea Market in Mount Dora. “My sister always had a dream to open up a boba tea shop because it is something she really likes,” says Amy, adding the family also owns the Japanese restaurant, Momiji in Sorrento. “So, we decided to put it all together because I used to manage a boba tea shop up north.” Amy was in New Jersey for four years, running a boba tea shop, and now she’s interacting with a new customer base in Lake County, where she says favorite orders include the milk teas and fruity ones. “The crème brulee is one of our most popular milk teas because people love the fire from the torch on the top, so that’s like an entertainment thing for them,” says Amy. “And our fruit teas are like a fruit salad in a drink at the same time. Every day we buy fresh fruit, sometimes we go to farms and pick the fruit straight off the trees, everything from peaches, oranges and whatever is in season.” For regular iced tea drinkers like me, I found the Magic Tea offered a visually appealing and delightful taste sensation. The

colorful strawberry mango tea with a coconut jelly topping is a pretty drink filled with pieces of fresh strawberries and mangos at the bottom. Style photographer Nicole Hamel savored the taste of the crème brulee. “I like the toasted cream and heated milk. It mixes really good together, and has a natural sweet taste to it,” says Nicole. Julissa Brown, daughter of Style reporter Roxanne Brown, enjoyed the Taro (purple sweet potato) Bubble Milk Swirl with Tapioca Boba. “It had a sweet and very unique flavor to it,” says Julissa. “When you tell people Taro is a vegetable, they may not think it will taste good or even sweet, but it does if it’s made right, and this one definitely was.” Magic Tea Market has its social media fans, too. Tyler Walker posted: “This establishment is the first bubble tea place on the east coast I have actually enjoyed. I thought this quality of tea could only be found in Asia, and that I would never hope to get something so good in the states, but I can confidently say that I have had the TWO best bubble teas I’ve ever had here, and I’ve only been twice so far. Highly recommend.” Kathy Martoi also posted on social media that Magic Tea Market is a great place to bring the family and experience new products. “The owners are awesome and always happy to explain the different drinks on the menu.” IF YOU GO

MAGIC TEA 118 E. 4th Ave., Downtown Mount Dora, FL Hours: 1-7 p.m. Tue., Wed., Thu.; 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.; 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Sat.; 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.; closed on Mondays. For more information, call 352.729.6644 or visit

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Left: Cindi Falanga, Citizens First Bank. Center: Joe Ciceri, Electrical Works. Right: Chris Langley, Citizens First Bank.

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Make the switch to Citizens and get to know your Banker today!

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TAKE THE CHANGE THE LIFE OF A CHILD WITH A SERIOUS ILLNESS Make plans now to be a part of the 11 th Annual Challenge Ride. This year’s event will be hosted in two different ways, in person and virtually! Cyclists can take the challenge in person at Wooton Park in Tavares, Florida or individuals can choose to get active virtually. We look forward to bringing together the cycling community and ALL those who love and want to support the mission of Camp Boggy Creek by making a commitment to GET ACTIVE! Eligible event participants will have a chance to receive FUNdraising prizes, event goody bag and dry fit t-shirt. Join us in person — Saturday, Nov 6, 2021 • Starts and ends in Wooton Park — Tavares, FL • 14, 35, 60 or 78 mile routes available • NEW - Family Fun Walk/Run course - 2 miles

Participate Virtually — Nov 1-6, 2021 • Take the “Challenge by Choice” — cycle, walk, run… GET ACTIVE by doing your favorite activity • Get your family involved or create a team with your friends

• Catered lunch and live entertainment

• Participate in our virtual event posts and engagement throughout the week on social media

Register and create your own FUNdraising page to raise funds to change the life of a child with a serious illness!

• Support Camp Boggy Creek from ANYWHERE in the world!


For more information on this event or if you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact the Events Department at 352-483-4125 or Due to COVID-19, this event is subject to change. All changes and event details will be communicated with registrants prior to the event date.



Bubble up to mimosas Creativity is everything for the owners of Bubbles + Juice in Mount Dora. STORY: JAMES COMBS


en and Jenny Falcone are palate pleasers. Their first business venture took them to farmer’s markets throughout Central Florida, where they sold homemade pies with that delicious light and fluffy filling. Next, they opened Winter Gardenbased Sir Benji’s Donuts, known for its sweet, plump, and hot mini donuts covered in sprinkles and many other toppings. Then, they decided if they could craft tasty pastries, they could also craft a successful cocktail. In October 2019 they opened Bubbles + Juice in downtown Mount Dora and began serving mimosas, a cocktail made of equal parts champagne and chilled orange juice. Transitioning from pastries to mimosas might seem like a big leap to some, but for the Falcones, the change made perfect sense. “With our piemaking business, we used seasonal flavors and good ingredients,” Ben says. “We wondered how we could incorporate those ingredients into our drinks. Crafting both a successful dessert and a successful cocktail requires a mastery of techniques. Plus, mimosas are becoming increasingly popular. Beer can be a little heavy, and mixed drinks can become overpowering. Mimosas are a sweet spot in the middle to get a refreshing and relaxing taste.” There is no bar seating at Bubbles + Juice, located at 100 E. 4th Ave. Customers simply walk up to an open window and make their selection from

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a menu that includes “Fresh Orange,” “Grapefruit,” “Strawberry Jalapeno,” and “Orange Lavender.” The open-window concept is part of the appeal. Visitors can stroll through the downtown area while browsing at interesting shops hidden along narrow alleyways and old buildings with rich histories. Then they stop at Bubbles + Juice for a soothing mimosa. “A lot of people come down here on Saturday or Sunday and stroll around,” Jenny says. “It’s hot outside, so they’re longing for a cool, refreshing drink. They come here and get their mimosa and then they can legally walk around with it in this city. The drink gives them a little buzz, which allows them to enjoy the city that much more. We do everything with quality and purchase our own rosemary, lavender, and mints. It adds that extra layer of craftsmanship to a drink.” The Falcones refer to their concoctions as “craft mimosas” because they do not always use the standard orange juice and champagne. For instance, the strawberry jalapeno mimosa is slightly spicy and sweet and has become one of the most popular flavors on their menu. Sipping their watermelon-flavored mimosa might transport some back to their childhood because, according to Ben, “It tastes like a Jolly Rancher that gets you tipsy.”



BUBBLES + JUICE 100 E. 4th Ave. Mount Dora Hours (subject to change): 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Closed Monday and Tuesday.

They also tap into their creativity to create seasonal mimosas, such as a hot cider flavor in the winter and the “Vampire Blood” mimosa for Halloween featuring blackberries, champagne, and sparkles. “We take inspiration from our culinary past,” Ben says. “We always tried to do a traditional pie with one thing unexpected. We implement that same concept with our mimosas. We refer to it as simple, high-quality with a little twist.” In addition to tasty drinks, customers love interacting with personable manager Cheri Lang, whom Ben affectionately refers to as “the bubbles to our juice.” “I like working here because we don’t cut corners when it comes to quality,” Cheri says. “We use all natural 100 percent juice and our champagne, Spumante, comes from Italy. We also make sure the ratio of champagne and juice is balanced. This town is already a wonderful place to visit, and I feel like Bubbles + Juice enhances the Mount Dora experience.” There’s one other reason she loves her job. “During downtown events, we have the best view of anybody,” Cheri says.

Do you know a place where we can drink? Comment on this article or send story ideas to


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We want to help make Medicare simple. Discover a plan that may work to your advantage. If you’re over 65 and have recently moved or lost your health coverage, you may be able to enroll in a Medicare plan right now. If you do, it’s a good time to consider a Medicare Advantage plan from UnitedHealthcare®, which may offer more benefits than Original Medicare without costing much more. We can help you see if you are eligible to sign up now. We can also assess your needs and find a plan that’s right for your needs and your budget.

Attend a Medicare plan meeting to learn how to make the most of your Medicare coverage. Mount Dora Office Hours Tues - Fri, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM HIRA Office Renaissance Bldg.

Mount Dora Outside hours available upon request HIRA Office Renaissance Bldg.

1 on 1 Appointments Your Home, Our Office, You Pick!

Virtual appointments also available.

To see if you qualify to enroll, call today. HEALTH INSURANCE AND RETIREMENT ADVOCATES, INC. Licensed Sales Representatives

352-735-7795, TTY 711 411 N. Donnelly St. #300 Mount Dora, FL 32757

If you have this card, call UnitedHealthcare today.

For accommodation of persons with special needs at meetings, call 352-735-7795, TTY 711. Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in the plan depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare. © 2019 UnitedHealthcare Services, Inc. All rights reserved. Y0066_170717_130724 Accepted

SPRJ35825 0028C47B

Proud to serve patients at our nine Lake and Sumter county locations. Patrick Acevedo, MD Ahmed Al-Hazzouri, MD Roy Ambinder, MD Jennifer Cultera, MD Imad El-Jassous, MD Adewale Fawole, MD

Ralph Gousse, MD Maen Hussein, MD Meera Iyengar, MD Vasundhara Iyengar, MD, FACP Sachin Kamath, MD Pablo Reyes Jr., MD

Rakesh Rohatgi, MD Sandeep Thaper, MD Ram Tummala, MD Marays Veliz, MD




From classic diners and lakeside restaurants to fine dining and everything in-between, Lake County’s culinary scene is booming. Your favorite meal is sure to be served with a side of hospitality. 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 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 Williams Landing 55716 Front St. 352.759.2802 BUSHNELL Beef ‘O’ Brady’s 2586 W CR 48 352.568.7000 Darryl’s Diner 2237 W CR 48 352.444.2318 Howie’s Family Restaurant 840 N. Main St. 352.793.8582 TJ’s Family Restaurant 412 W. Belt Ave 352.793.8877 CLERMONT Akina Sushi Bar & Asian Fusion Bistro 4300 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.8988

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Cheeser’s Palace Café 707 W. Montrose St. 352.404.9431

Lilly’s on the Lake 846 W. Osceola St. 352.708.6565

Clermont Brewing Co. 750 W Desoto 321.430.2337

Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill 230 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.394.0036

Corelli’s Italian Restaurant 1042 E. Hwy. 50 352.989.5924

Robata Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar 1500 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.404.9688

Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.7808 Devenney’s Irish Pub 16909 High Grove Blvd. 352.432.3925 El Cerro Restaurant 811 W. Hwy. 50 352.241.9884 Friar Tuck 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd. 352.404.6818

Root and Branch Bistro and Bar 1200 Seaver Dr. 352.708.4529 Sanctuary Ridge Bar & Grille 2601 Diamond Club Road 352.243.0411 Sarah’s Greek Cuisine & More 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd., Ste. 305 352.404.8031

G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900

Southern on 8th Kitchen & Bar 801 W. Montrose St. 352.394.7777

Gators Dockside 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.242.1825

The Outpouring Coffee 2560 E. Hw.y 50 352.989.4406

Goomba’s Pizzeria 2395 S. Hwy 27 352.989.4403

Troy’s Cuban Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295

Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Hwy. 27 352.241.9884

Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 157 Hwy. 27 352.394.1225

Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.243.1118

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EUSTIS Jeannie’s Place 209 E. Gottsche Ave. 352.359.0027 Gators Dockside 15241 US Hwy 441 352.357.1255 Kiku Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar 15211 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.483.8288 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 Oyster Troff 936 N. Bay St. 352.357.9939

Tillie’s Tavern & Grill 31 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.602.7929

La Hacienda Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.3910

Tony’s Pizza & Subs 2760 E. Orange Ave. 352.589.9001

Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.2718

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 Mystic Ice Cream 1217 W. Miller Blvd. 352.812.1366 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 US Hwy. 441 352.315.0028 The Rose Plantation 200 Rose Ave., Fruitland Park 352.805.4340 G R OV E L A N D Coyote Rojo 214 W. Broad St. 352.557.8999 Ikaho Sushi Japanese Restaurant 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

L A DY L A K E Bamboo Bistro 700 Hwy. 441 352.750.9998 El Ranchito 1 Lagrande Blvd. 352.750.3335 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 OakWood Smokehouse & Grill 860 S. Hwy 27/441 352.751.5640 Takis Greek and Italian Restaurant 13761 U.S. Hwy. 441 N. 352.430.3630 LEESBURG Breakfast Station 2229 Citrus Blvd. 352.315.0291 Brick & Barrel 209 W. Main St. 352.431.3069 Brooklyn’s Pizzeria 27405 US Highway 27 352.728.2020 Coffee Snob 1101 W. North Blvd. 352.460.4570 Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442 Donut King 708 S. 14th St. 352.805.4888

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 Mamma Mia Pizza 755 North 14th St. 352.326.0101 Mammoth Oak Brewing Company 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.326.0100 Mrs. T’s Place, Southern Restaurant 305 Pine St. 352.431.3217 Mystic Ice Cream 314 W. Main St. 352.812.1366 Naples Italian Restaurant 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.323.1616 Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill 2775 U.S. 27 352.435.4633 Arigato Steak House 1401 Citrus Blvd. 352.728.0788

Frank’s Place 201 N. 1st St. 352.323.1989

Pine Street Bar-B-Que 408 Pine St. 352.728.1293

Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 CR 44 352.365.2177

Plantation Oaks Restaurant 4720 Plantation Blvd. 352.530.2680

God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447

Ramshackle Café 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565

Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 US Hwy. 27 352.319.8093 San Jose’s Original Mexican Restaurant 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174 Sip Restaurant and Wine Bar 707 W. Main St. 352.435.7840 Sully’s Smokehouse 10820 CR 44 352.483.7427 Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344 The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717 The Mojo Grill & Catering Co. 9925 US-441 352.787.0494 The Old Time Diner 1350 W. North Blvd. 352.805.4250 Turners 114 S. 5th St. 352.530.2274 Wolfy’s 918 N. 14th St. 352.787.6777 MASCOTTE Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093 MINNEOLA 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 The Surf Bar and Grill 650 N. Hwy. 27 202.527.0100 Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232


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

Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313

BlueFin Grill & Bar 2738 Brownwood Blvd. 352.571.5344

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

Lake House Bar & Grill 315 N. Highland St. 352.735.7433

Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 CR 448 352.343.6823

Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627

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

Sugarboo’s Bar-B-Que 1305 N. Grandview St. 352.735.7675

O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and Restaurant 115 S Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157

Chengs Chinese Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678

Orange Blossom Country Club 1542 Water Tower Circle 352.751.4501

China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965

Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.750.4499

1921 Mount Dora 142 E. Fourth Ave. 352.385.1921

Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St. 352.383.4101 Café Gianni 425 N. Alexander St. 352.735.3327 Cody’s on 4th Cafe 111 E. 4th Ave. 352.735.8426 Copacabana Cuban Cafe 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000 Fiesta Grande 421 N. Baker St. 352.385.3540 Frog & Monkey English Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352. 383.1936 Highland Street Café 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446 Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444 J.K. Thai Garden 116 E. 5th Ave. 352.385.4700 Let’s Do Lunch 426 N. Donnelly St. 352.735.4577 Magical Meat Boutique 322 N. Alexander St. 352.729.6911 Mount Dora Pizza & Subs 2718 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.5303 Olive Branch Grille 115 W. 3rd St. 352.729.6734 One Flight Up 440 N. Donnelly St., Ste. 100 352.735.1446 Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave. 352.385.2669 PizzAmore’ 722 E. 5th Ave. 352.383.0092

The Bavarian Haus 433 N. Alexander St. 352.735.8387 The Country Club 1900 Country Club Blvd. 352.735.2263

Puddle Jumpers 111 W Ruby St. 352.508.5862 Ruby Street Grille 221 E. Ruby St. 352.742.7829

Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant and Bar 320 Colony Blvd. 352.753.3824 NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994

Chop House at Lake Sumter 1045 Old Camp Rd. 352.750.6000

RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.5272

Gators of Umatilla LLC 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 Shang Hai Restaurant 531 N. Central Ave. 352.669.2004 The Mason Jar 37534 State Rd. 19 352.589.2535

Evans Prairie Country Club 1825 Evans Prairie Trail 352.750.2225

Ricciardi’s Italian Table 3660 Kiessel Rd. 352.391.9939


Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744 Tavares Ice Cream 214 E. Main 352.508.5342

Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 297 Colony Blvd 352.751.0400

Sakura 265 Colony Blvd. 352.205.7393

Continental Country Club 50 Continental Blvd. 352.748.3293

The Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585

Giovanni’s 3439 Wedgewood Lane 352.751.6674

Whale’s Tale Fish House 2720 W. Old U.S. Hwy 441 352.385.1500

Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill 118 W Ruby St., Tavares 352.508.5783

Glenview County Club 3914 Glenview Rd. 352.753.0077



Pho Saigon 11707 N. US Hwy. 301 352.492.9423

Amelia’s 1105 Lake Shore Drive 352.750.8265

Habaneros Mexican Grill 3551 Wedgewood Ln. 352.633.2080


Amerikano’s Grill 998 Del Mar Dr. 352.633.8027

Hemingway’s at Havana Country Club 2484 Odell Circle 352.430.3200

Belle Glade Country Club 446 Moyer Loop 352.205.8208

Legacy Restaurant 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475

The Goblin Market 331-B Donnely St. 352.735.0059 The Pizza Shop 925 E. First Ave. 352.735.3411 Vincent’s Italian Restaurant 5914 Orange Blossom Trl. 352.735.4578

Del Franco’s Pizza 31436 CR 437 352.383.8882 Lisa’s Kountry Cafe 23911 CR 46 352.735.3380

Margarita Republic 1102 Main St. 352.753.4600

TAVA R E S Bella Nona Pizzeria 280 Silverado St. 352.508.9370 BTW (Burgers, Tacos & Waffles) 115 E. Main St. 352.508.9287 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

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 Wolfgang Puck Kitchen + Bar 3003 Brownwood Blvd. 352.626.1500

China Jade 420 W. CR 44 352.330.5913

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


Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria 2468 Burnsed Blvd., 352.626.1059

Combat Café 831 S Central Ave. 352.483.0250

Traditions Café 3107 Hwy. 44 352.748.1077

Fish & Chix 100 N. Central Ave. 352.669.7145

Woody’s Bar-B-Q 1220 S. Main St. 352.748.1109 GOOD GRUB


Cousin Vinnie’s Delicious, award-winning wings take center stage at Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant, which features 35 flavors of wing sauce and six seasonings. Of course, the menu features so much more. Start with appetizers such as the sausage and cheese fire balls or the Buffalo chicken and cheese dip. From there, consider the double burger, personal pan pizzas, ribeye cheese steaks, healthy wheat wraps, and homemade salads. The restaurant is also an ideal venue to watch your favorite collegiate or professional teams on a big-screen television set or participate in a game of Texas Hold ‘Em or Trivia night with family members and friends. 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 / 352.253.2442

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

La Palma Mexican Grill

Wednesday-Sunday 4pm-9pm Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Full Gluten-Free Menu

Open Daily 11am–9pm

1690 CITRUS BLVD., LEESBURG | 352.323.1444 | LAPALMAGRILL.COM The entire staff invites you to a delicious dining experience at La Palma Mexican Grill. The recipes used for the restaurant’s unique dishes are a blend of old-school traditions from Mexico, combined with culinary inspirations from California and Louisiana. Homemade Mexican entrees such as Tacos Azteca, carnitas, fajitas, Chori Pollo, tamales and more, are flavorful and prepared with only the freshest of ingredients. Sit comfortably in the beautiful dining room, the festive bar, or outside on the patio deck with a serene view of the grounds and of the fun wild animals that can be spotted in the trees. Enjoy fast and friendly service, reasonable prices, three-for-one margaritas all day, every day, and a party room, available by reservation, for large parties or meetings. Full menu at AK! Call for daily specials. BWWAA

Lunch Specials 11am–3pm

Margarita Mondays! Enjoy $5 margaritas all day every Monday.

’clock It’s five ohere! somew

Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 U.S HIGHWAY 27, LEESBURG | 352.319.8093 | RODELLOS.COM Chef Amadeo Avila invites you to enjoy authentic and fresh Italian cuisine in a friendly, comfortable dining environment at Rodello’s Italian Restaurant. The recipes used for his dishes are a blend of old-school traditions from Italy—the restaurant is named for a city in the old country—with new culinary inspirations that Chef Amadeo has learned during many years in the restaurant business. Flavorful, homemade Italian entrees such as Pistachio Crusted Lamb, Salmon Saltimbocca, Lobster Ravioli, Shrimp Risotto, and many others are classics and prepared with only the freshest ingredients. The lunch menu features personal pizzas, calzones, subs, and pasta. Sit in the spacious dining room or enjoy drinks or desserts like delicious gelato in the cozy lounge, which features a full bar, wine menu, and an array of specialty cocktails. Always look for new features on Chef Amadeo’s menu, available on the restaurant’s website,

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Open Daily 11am-9pm

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

Subway 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

Lunch: Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday Taking reservations from 4:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Rose Plantation 200 ROSE AVE, FRUITLAND PARK | 352.805.4340 THEROSEPLANTATION.COM Enjoy an early 20th Century dining experience at The Rose Plantation, located in a home built in 1917. This charming and delightful restaurant on Fountain Lake serves up outstanding dishes with a side of elegant ambiance, starting with the glass-enclosed garden room and veranda, eclectic china, live piano, fine silverware, linen tablecloths, and the rose garden out front. The chefs are given creative freedom to make memorable dishes such as grilled scallops, half-roasted duck with sweet potato mash, rack of lamb, and crab cakes with cauliflower puree, black bean, corn relish, and key-lime avocado crema. All dishes are upscale in both quality and presentation. Customers can also choose from 140 varietals of wine. The restaurant, which seats 128 guests, includes private dining rooms for small parties. Four additional dining rooms will be added within one year.

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

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U O Y E AR ? E M G N I D D I K OUTPATIENT PARTIAL KNEE REPLACEMENT? Because of the minimally invasive nature of the partial knee replacement, patients return to a higher level of function than those with a total knee. Not only will a higher percentage of patients with a Partial Knee Replacements return to sporting activities than those with Total Knees, they will engage in more sporting activity sessions for longer periods of time.



Introducing A Way To Bank Better In Mount Dora. It comes with free checking and more. Members also enjoy: • Lower rates on loans • Internet & Mobile Banking* • Network of more than 20,000 surcharge-free ATMs throughout North America

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American Society of Plastic Surgeons AmericAn Society of AeSthetic PlAStic Surgery

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery AmericAn BoArd of PlAStic Surgery | 352-259-0722

American College of Surgeons

AmericAn college of SurgeonS | 352-259-0722

Lake Sumter Landing Professional Plaza | 910 Old Camp Rd. Suite 142 | The Villages


Celebrating 10 Delectable Years! NOV. 4, 2021 | 5 - 8:30 P.M. CLERMONT’S WATERFRONT PARK LIVE MUSIC FROM ROB NICHOLS

Purchase tickets at



November 19, 2021 Blackjack Sporting Clays

on, BBQ b r ou



2nd Annual

8 a.m. 3372 CR 526 Sumterville, FL 33585 Includes ammunition, golf cart rental, clays, continental breakfast, and BBQ lunch with live music.


Sporting Clay Fundraiser

Top Range: $10,000 ✪ Range: $7,500 Breakfast & BBQ: $5,000 ✪ Ammo: $3,000 Corporate: $1,500 ✪ Foursome: $800 ✪ Individual: $200

Reserve your place now!

Presenting Sponsor

Top Range Sponsor

Breakfast & BBQ Sponsor

Media Sponsor

Special appearance By


Horse Soldier Bourbon will do tastings, sell cocktails and signed bottles of their bourbon.

Contact: Joa Harpster at or phone 352.323.5506


Mid Florida Prosthetics & Orthotics Welcomes Frederick Estok as Chief Prosthetist in Lake County, Florida Mr. Estok is a state licensed prosthetist with over 35 years of experience. His special interests involve working with adults and pediatrics with all levels of limb loss. He served as the senior prosthetist at the Shriners Hospital in Tampa for 13 years. Since leaving, he has worked as a traveling prosthetist and managed an outpatient orthotic and prosthetic clinic for 12 years.


THE JOURNEY BEGINS HERE… In step with you.

STEP UP TO BETTER HEALTH Contact us today and let us help you find your inspiration!

Victor Bustamante, OWNER/PRESIDENT; L.P.O.

Mid Florida Prosthetics & Orthotics has been in Colby Curtis,


Brandon Courtade,



LEESBURG Leesburg Medical Plaza 601 East Dixie Hwy., Suite 806, Leesburg 352.435.4500

business serving markets in North Central Florida for over 35 years. There are six offices from Lake City, Gainesville, two in Ocala, The Villages and Leesburg. We service patients and referral sources with custom and off the shelf bracing needs and prosthetics, 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. Mid Florida Prosthetics & Orthotics focuses on Timely, Quality Care.

THE VILLAGES Oakland Hills Professional Center 13940 US Hwy 441, Suite 302, Lady Lake 352.259.3084

Your solution for



vid eo p ro d u ctio n website social m ed ia manage m e nt b ran d i ng o n li ne re p u tatio n manage m e nt p h otog rap hy

AKERSMEDIA 352.787.4112

Follow me into the forest for fantasy and fun Lake Idamere-Tavares, FL State Road 19 and C.R. 448, Tavares, FL 32778

Lady of the Lakes

Nov 5-6-7 • Nov 13-14, 2021 10:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.

AT GATE: $17 adult • $10 child EDUCATION DAY: November 5 9:30a.m. - 3:00p.m. $5 at gate for students 352.326.1265

SENIOR DAY (OVER 62): November 7 $8 at gate VETERANS DAY: November 14 $8 Military ID GROUP SALES FOR 15 OR MORE:

es Skip the Lin at e Order Onlin om e.c lakerenfair 6 5 3 52.32 6.12


352.326.1265 | PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT



Shame on vaccination shamers Quit needling people into getting the jab. STORY: JAMES COMBS

re these coronavirus vaccines worth a shot? That’s a question millions of Americans were forced to answer last spring when several biopharmaceutical companies rolled out vaccinations. For myself, the answer was obvious. Being an obese man, I became alarmed last March when a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report revealed that 78 percent of people who were hospitalized, needed a ventilator, or died from Covid-19 were overweight. To me, the minor risk of vaccine side effects paled in comparison to a lengthy hospital stay or premature death. However, I realize this is a very personal choice. Some might have legitimate reasons why they are hesitant to take the vaccine. I don’t believe in lecturing or ridiculing anyone for their decision.

Vaccine shamers have a different opinion. Their shots must have come with 1,000 milligrams of selfrighteousness because they decided to make a temporary career out of pro-vaccine activism and shame the unvaccinated. Shaming is a worthless and ineffective strategy. Yet, they feel shaming is justified because they’ve convinced themselves that a personal decision on whether to become vaccinated is a referendum on someone’s character. I’ve heard and read the insults being hurled. “You’re self-important and don’t care about others.” “You are selfish to think that your freedoms and liberties supersede public safety.” “You are stupid and gullible to believe all this disinformation.” Name-calling will do very little to change the minds of people targeted as coronavirus rulebreakers. Pointing fingers and casting blame will only cause

people to dig their heels in and make them more distrustful. Painting them as heartless, evil creatures will make them less likely to listen to real-world data on the minimal risks and considerable benefits of vaccines. It’s time to tone down the rhetoric, vaccine shamers. At the end of the day, everyone has the God-given right to weigh the risks and rewards of becoming vaccinated and ultimately make the decision for themselves. And let’s not automatically assume they’re not doing their part to prevent coronavirus. While you anoint vaccines as the holy grail, they might see homeopathic medicines, Vitamin C IV therapy, zinc, Vitamin D, and lots of sunshine as superior options. Yes, I got the vaccine. I wish others would. But I won’t judge those who didn’t. After all, an unvaccinated citizen is far less troubling than a society that shames people into thinking their integrity and love for humanity is based on whether they received a shot.

Hey, readers! Is there a particular subject that you would like me to write a commentary about? Tell me, via email, at

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L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M • O C T ' 2 1


Beginning Sat., Oct. 2nd Come see the amazing, creative, themed Scarecrows displayed down Main Street in Historic Downtown Leesburg throughout the month of October!

Sat., Oct. 30th @9a.m.

Leesburg Christmas House is Coming Back to Downtown!

Kids Activities & Kids Costume Parade at 11 a.m.

310 W. Main Street, next to God’s Cafe

ck Be sure to che

info. .com for more ip h rs e n rt a P out Leesburg

SNEAK PEEK October 28th 2-7p.m. OPENS Mon, November 1st through Sat, December 11th


Presented by:

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Providing exceptional urological care for over 30 years

Non-invasive treatment options • Full range of diagnostic services including but not limited to:

• Urodynamics • Digital Cystoscopy

• Urinalysis • PSA Screening

• Prostate Ultrasound • Image-guided Prostate Biopsy

• Vasectomy • Erectile Dysfunction

Same day appointments are often available

808 Highway 466, Lady Lake, FL 32159 • (352) 751-0040 • Fax: (352) 751-2825 •

Be you.



DR. CHRISTINA YI, 3 52 . 259. 8 59 9 | W W W. P L A S T I C S U R G E RY V I P.C O M 6 07 C R 4 6 6 A , F R U I T L A N D PA R K