Style Magazine, Village Edition, January 2022

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JAN'22

VILLAGE EDITION

UNOVA HIP & KNEE CENTER

LIFE-CHANGING OUTCOMES HELP UNOVA HIP & KNEE PATIENTS PICK UP THE PACE.

DISCOVER MORE INSIDE


Get back in the game. UF Health Orthopaedics Leesburg is now open.

Our new clinic offers general orthopaedic services, sports medicine and total joint replacement so you can get back to feeling like you without traveling far for your care.

TO LEARN MORE, CALL 352.630.6250


CUSTOM CHANGES BENEFIT YOU

AMERICAN FAMILY HOMES

Let’s get started. Call me today.

Mike Neace: 352.589.6004 Award Winning Home Designer, Builder, Licensed Contractor CHANGE IS GOOD

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

KNOW YOUR BUILDER

“Designing and building a custom home is a long process. A thousand decisions need to be made, one just as important as the next. The first decision you need to make is to hire the right builder with the right experience. Don’t underestimate the importance of the relationship with your builder. American Family Homes is Committed to Quality and 100% Satisfaction. We invite your inquiry today.” - Mike Neace

CUSTOM HOMES “ON YOUR LOT” FROM THE $200S OFFICE/DESIGN STUDIO 312 South Bay St. Eustis

“Committed to Quality & Satisfaction”

AmericanFamilyHomesInc.com State License Number - CBC058306


LET ARS HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR RETIREMENT GOALS! ARS believes in empowerment through education. Come and learn more about the rights and options available to you now in retirement. Things are changing more than ever. Education is power! Choose one of our events and RSVP your attendance by calling 844.974.1030 or go online to yoursvp.org and enter code BAQNER

January Events Taxes in Retirement Tuesday, Jan 25th at 10am Wolfgang Puck Kitchen + Bar 3003 Brownwood Blvd., The Villages

Taxes in Retirement Thursday, Jan 27 at 5pm Red Sauce Italian Restaurant 1000 Canal St., The Villages

Premier Movie showing "The Baby Boomer Dilemma" (PG) Thursday, January 27th at 5pm The Old Mill Playhouse Lake Sumter Landing 1000 Old Mill Run, The Villages

American Retirement Specialists, LLC 1300 Citizens Blvd., Ste. 325, Leesburg, FL 34748 / 352.460.4390 / americanretirementspecialists.com


PALM DESERT

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BabettesOnline.com

3691 Meggison Rd, The Villages, FL 32163 Mon – Sat 10 am – 9 pm, Sun 12 - 5 pm


GET HIP!

LIVE LIFE PAIN FREE, AGAIN. At Advanced Orthopedics Institute we specialize in hips, knees, shoulders, ankles, wrists...and golfers. If you are experiencing hip pain, playing a round of golf, climbing stairs, walking through the grocery store, even driving can be a challenge. Our experience has expanded the boundaries of possibility in joint replacement, providing you with the most effective solutions for your unique needs, so you can get back to doing what you love most. Get moving. Call 352.751.2862.

G E T A-O K W I T H AO I


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

Alfred J. Cook, Jr., MD


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)

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

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YOU ARE INVITED! UPCOMING SEMINARS

FOLLOWING CDC GUIDELINES ON SOCIAL DISTANCING EXCLUSIVE SEMINAR PRICING Katie had ImageLift, Laser, and filler treatments. Results are typical and do vary.

BROWNWOOD HOTEL Wednesday, January 12th @ 2pm 3003 Brownwood Blvd.

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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 www.IMAGELIFT.com

*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.


JAN'22 V.18

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FEATURES

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TB

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Jan. 6th & 25th @ 9:30a.m. BROWNWOOD HOTEL & SPA 3003 BROWNWOOD BLVD, THE VILLAGES Seating is very limited and by RSVP only.

TB Financial Group Inc. is a licensed insurance agency for life, health, and annuities. We are not securities licensed. We are not tax advisors. Our seminars are very general in nature and not meant to replace the advice of your CPA, Tax Preparer, Investment Advisor or Attorney. We will not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax or legal professional for these matters.

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A

CONFIDENT

FR E E CO N S U LTAT I O N S | 3 52 . 259. 8 59 9 | P L A S T I C S U R G E RY V I P.CO M FAC E , B O DY A N D B R E A S T A E S T H E T I C S U R G E RY

YOU


FROM THE PUBLISHER

Tomorrow’s leaders today Meet 40 people under 40 who have inspired us with their work. t’s fun to reflect on the days when I was a young and an energetic go-getter. One of my fondest memories comes from the early 2000s when I was hired as a sales representative by Kathy Johnson, who at that time was publisher of Ocala Style. Several months after I started working there, I pitched the idea to Kathy about publishing a similar publication in Lake and Sumter counties. In those days, both The Villages and Clermont were exploding with growth. I knew the area could support a magazine. We launched Lake and Sumter Style in November 2004. Although I didn’t own the publication at the time, I felt it was my baby since I was the one who came up with the idea. Well, guess what? In November 2010 the publication did become my baby. Two years after starting Lake County’s Healthy Living, I purchased Lake and Sumter Style from Kathy. The publication has remained one of the leading sources of local news for 18 years. That’s a point of pride for me because, back then, I never realized I was destined to be an up-andcomer in the publishing world.

The new generation of business leaders have the same youthful ambition that I once did. That’s why I’m excited to bring you this year’s “40 Under 40” feature. The group of standouts being featured represents a variety of career fields, but they all have two characteristics in common: they’re innovative and passionate. Moreover, they have distinguished themselves professionally and are moving Lake and Sumter counties forward. We do many annual features in the magazine, but “40 Under 40” is undoubtedly one of my favorites. I know the future of both counties is in capable hands thanks to our youthful go-getters who are leaders and founders, partners, executives, and, above all else, trailblazers. With that said, I hope everybody has a healthy and prosperous 2022. And let’s pray that the word “coronavirus” fades away from our everyday vocabulary.

Kendra

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

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Kendra Akers Doug Akers

OWNER/PUBLISHER kendra@akersmediagroup.com

AT YOUR SERVICE

PRESIDENT doug@akersmediagroup.com

DESIGN / PHOTOGRAPHY / EDITORIAL Michael Gaulin James Combs

SENIOR DESIGNER michael@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER james@akersmediagroup.com

Volkan Ulgen Theresa Campbell

ART DIRECTOR volkan@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER theresa@akersmediagroup.com

Megan Mericle Roxanne Brown

GRAPHIC DESIGNER megan@akersmediagroup.com

JAN'22

JAN'22

L AKE & SUMTER

VILLAGE EDITION

STAFF WRITER roxanne@akersmediagroup.com

18 AL SO

Douglas Tyler

DIGITAL ART DIRECTOR douglas@akersmediagroup.com

NOT A STRETCH

Anthony Rao Kathy Porter

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/ VIDEOGRAPHER anthony@akersmediagroup.com

SALES

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FROZEN CONCOCTIONS Pepe’s Cantina Mexican Grill opened a margarita garden.

OLD PIECES, NEW LIFE Carolyn Wood takes pride in restoring old furniture.

UNOVA

FORTY FORTY Hot off the press! HIP & KNEE CENTER

Dr. Christina Yi, a plastic surgeon, is the new face of this year’s up-and-coming professionals.

LIFE-CHANGING OUTCOMES HELP UNOVA HIP & KNEE PATIENTS PICK UP THE PACE.

UNDER

CON TRIBUTIN G P H OT OGRA P H ER Nicole Hamel A N D W RITER

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER nicole@akersmediagroup.com

Horse rider Cara Blanchard Kilbourne now teaches yoga.

CON TRIBUTIN G WRITER S

Cindy Peterson

DISCOVER MORE INSIDE

The latest editions of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Edition Style, and Welcome to Lake County.

M A RK ETIN G

Tim McRae

VICE PRESIDENT, SALES tim@akersmediagroup.com

Melanie Melvin Shaena Long

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING melanie@akersmediagroup.com

ADVERTISING COORDINATOR shaena@akersmediagroup.com

ADMI N IS TRATION Aubrey Akers Simmons

ACCOUNT & CLIENT SERVICES aubrey@akersmediagroup.com

DI S TRIBUTION Scott Hegg

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 general@akersmediagroup.com or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. Back Issues: Order a single issue by mail for $8. To pick up a back issue from our office, please call 24 hours in advance.

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER scott.hegg@akersmediagroup.com

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

Find us on social media

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 2022 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.

FULL-SERVICE ADVERTISING AGENCY • VIDEO PRODUCTION • CUSTOM PUBLISHING AKERSMEDIAGROUP.COM • 352.787.4112

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Happiness Starts Here

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first PEOPLE. COMMENTARY. NEWS.

Leesburg High Senior Dencov Bryant poised to go far based on his outstanding nature and achievements.


THE HIT LIST

HOOPS HEAVEN: Four of the country’s top 20 basketball players in the class of 2022 attend Montverde Academy, according to 247sports.com, a recruiting site that ranks the players. Small forward Dariq Whitehead, ranked number four, will attend Duke University. Vince Iwuchukwu, a center who is ranked number 11, is taking his talents to the University of Southern California. Point guard Skyy Clark, ranked number 16, is attending the University of Kentucky. Shooting guard Jalen HoodSchifino, ranked number 19, will attend Indiana University.

HEALTH, A CLICK AWAY: Want to know where the best bike paths are in Lake County? What about finding important information on diabetes? Where can you sign up your children to play Little League? The answers to these questions—and much more—can be found on getfitlake.com, a comprehensive website where locals can find new, up-to-date information on fitness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles. Annacelia Gander launched the website in 2008 to inform local residents about the resources available in Lake County to help people achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles.

A BUDDING SUCCESS: Umatilla-based Treadwell Farms, a Florida family hemp company, is one of the first hemp companies in Florida to participate in the “Fresh From Florida” program through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). When a consumer sees the “Fresh From Florida” logo, they know it’s a high-quality product locally grown in Florida. “We appreciate FDACS allowing Treadwell Farms to participate in this program,” says Jammie Treadwell, co-owner of Treadwell Farms. “For the consumer, where their hemp and cannabidiol products come from should matter. Our goal as a company is to provide the most high-quality products for consumers, from seed to package.”

JAVA-LICIOUS! Gourmet coffee lovers, here is a day for you! According to foodimentary.com, Jan. 18 is National Gourmet Coffee Day. Of course we know you really don’t need an excuse to savor your favorite gourmet brew, but here it is anyway, and in Lake County, there are a wide variety of specialty coffee shops ready to cater to your tastebuds with lattes, fraps, cold brews, espressos, blends, cappuccinos, and much more. For information on where to go, just google “coffee shops near me,” on your smartphone or laptop. You’ll be awed by the number of choices in each and every town, so trying a new one every so often, is not out of the question.

MOVIE TIME! Epic Theatres in Mount Dora will be the site of the Central Florida Film Festival on Jan. 21-24. An all-access pass will allow participants to enjoy the nightly cocktail networking mixers and the Sunday night awards ceremony. For more details and tickets, visit filmfreeway.com.

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SINGING THE BLUES: Classic blues will highlight The Grimes Alley Blues Band concert at 4 p.m. Jan. 30 on the Howey Mansion lawn at Howey-in-the-Hills. Brothers Tom and Patrick Grimes will be joined by Tom’s wife, Teri, with Jeff Thomas on drums and Dev Zebra on bass. The group has opened concerts for Sister Hazel, The Marshall Tucker Band, and The Pat Travers Band. Tickets are available online at howeymusicseries.org. A cash bar will also be available.

A BIG HOOPLA: The Sunshine State Athletic Conference will host their annual Basketball Championships this year and will hold over 70 teams, both boys and girls teams combined, at The Big House, located at 1544 Lane Park Cutoff, in Tavares, on January 21-22, starting at 11 a.m. each day. For more information, visit sunshinestateathletics.com/ home or call Carlos Rene Merced-Cruz at 407.962.7906.

WEAVING A STORY: The Florida Storytelling Festival is returning to Lakeside Inn, 100 Alexander St., Mount Dora, for a three-day event, beginning 4 p.m. Jan. 27 and ending 1 p.m. Jan. 30. The nationally recognized festival is noted for its unique workshops, concerts, youthful voices, and sense of community. For the event schedule, visit flstory.com.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: The Clermont Performing Arts Center, located at 3700 S. Highway 27, in Clermont, will be host to Stars of the Sixties Peter Noone, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 3. On that night, Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, known for songs like: “I’m Into Something Good,” “I’m Henry VIII,” “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” “A Kind of Hush,” and “Listen People,” will be joined by Dennis Tufano, and Chris Ruggiero. For more information, or to purchase tickets, on sale now, call 352.394.4800 or visit clermontperformingarts.com/ stars-of-60s-herman.

CATCH OF THE DAY: The Abu Garcia Florida Big Bass Classic, presented by Lake County, will take place on Feb. 4, 5, and 6, starting at 7 a.m. each day, at Hickory Point Recreation Park, located at 27341 State Road 19, in Tavares. The event is part of the Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Big Bass Tour and $141,525 in payouts and prizes is guaranteed. Entry fees for the event, per angler, varies from one day for $110, two day for $160 or all three for $240. For more information, call 877.958.8687, email info@bigbasstour.com,or visit: bigbasstour.com/ tournaments/2021/harris-chain-of-lakes-florida.

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PERSON OF INTEREST

PEO PLE

L V I TA AT S ST

Kuehl McEachern Though his professional baseball days are behind him, a Eustis High School graduate still has a ball living life.

VITAL STATS

INTERVIEWER: ROXANNE BROWN

• Is an only child.

• Born in Eustis, lives in Wildwood.

• Enjoys fishing and boating.

• Retired minor league relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

• Holds bachelor’s degree on coastal environmental science from Flagler College.

When did you know you wanted to play baseball professionally? I started playing baseball when I was 4 years old, and it was my life growing up. Sometimes, I’d be on more than one team at once, but I really got serious about it in my early teens. If someone would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up then, I’d only have one answer – to play professional baseball. That’s all I wanted to do.

About my baseball career: Played baseball for Eustis High School (graduated 2011), for Lake Sumter State College and for Flagler College. I was drafted by the Boston Red Sox and played with them from 2014-2016. I was released following an injury, but after recovering, went on to play for the New Jersey Jackals from 2016-2017, for the Normal CornBelters (Illinois) from 20172018, then independently for the New England Jaguars and CanAm.

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• Pitched right-handed sidearm at speeds topping 95-96 mph.

Favorite baseball experience: Just being able to travel all over and see different things was great, but honestly, the best experience for me was bonding with all the players and coaches I met over the years. You’re spending everyday with these guys for half the year basically, and you really become friends. A lot of these guys are like brothers to me. I still stay in touch with them.

Guilty pleasure: Chocolate of any kind. What do you do now? I work as a

just in baseball, but in everything I’ve done. They’ve never doubted me, and they’ve always been there for me in every way.

Best advice to others: Stay positive and don’t be afraid to talk to someone you look up to when you’re struggling. You always go through rough patches, and you’ll have your slumps or downtimes, whether it’s in a sport or life in general, but seeking help from others is natural.

full-time delivery driver for UPS.

Hidden talent: I love cooking. My best

Favorite food: Ribeye steaks on the grill.

dish is chicken curry. I can also bake a great pie.

Three words that best describe me:

Person I look up to: My parents. I can’t say how much they’ve done for me, not

Family-oriented, outdoorsy, and shy, although I am more outgoing when I get to know someone.

Know a person of interest? Tell us!

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≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

Email your recommendation to roxanne@akersmediagroup.com



OUTSTANDING STUDENT

PEO PLE

Dencov Bryant No stopping this ambitious Leesburg senior who aims to work his way to the top in serving others. STORY AND PHOTO: CINDY PETERSON

s a fifth-generation Floridian and Leesburg resident, Dencov Bryant is making his mark. A senior at Leesburg High School, Dencov aims to make a difference as student body president and hopes to continue in a government career. “Our society needs young people to take an active role in government,” Dencov says. “In my opinion, government should be about serving the people and I don’t think there is any higher calling than serving others, whether it be military, first responders or government.” Throughout high school, Dencov has taken his mission seriously and enrolled in almost every service club possible, including Key Club, Student Government, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Ambassador Club and Students for Political Action. “I wanted to be involved in all of them because in some way or another, they all are giving back to the community,” Dencov says. Last year, Dencov had the opportunity to work on two local political campaigns who were each running for a spot as a Leesburg city

commissioner, something that only enhanced his love of politics. In June, Dencov was chosen as one of four boys from our area to be a delegate at the Florida Boys State mock state government in Tallahassee. “That was humbling and refreshing,” he says. “Hundreds of boys just like me were gathered, wanting to serve others and showing an active interest in government.” This semester, Dencov worked with Lake County Superintendent Diane Kornegay to create a superintendent student advisory committee, which provides input to the school board information related to student life. He served as the representative for Leesburg. “In any room where decisions regarding students are being made about students,” he says, “students deserve a seat at the table.” Although juggling service groups, political campaigns, and extracurricular activities, Dencov maintains a 4.1 GPA and is part of the first graduating class in Lake County to earn an Advance International (AICE) certificate in Education from Cambridge University. His greatest role models, other than his parents, are his best friends Lyera Pasternak and Ferrell Young, who he says always overcome adversity with elegance. So what lies ahead for Dencov? Like any good politician, his end goal is to become president of the United States. But for now, he plans to attend college after graduation and study public relations. “I want to start somewhere behind the scenes and work my way up to the one in front of the camera,” Dencov says. “It’s only up from here.”

Know an outstanding student? Fill us in!

Email your recommendations to editorial@akersmediagroup.com

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4040 UNDER

Success at any age is an outstanding accomplishment. But those who reach success before age 40 should be recognized for their hard work and achievements. Style is doing just that with our annual 40 Under 40 feature that showcases talented young businessmen and businesswomen who are bold and ambitious and have hit their strides in their respective careers. *Read their full stories at lakeandsumterstyle.com COMPILED BY: STYLE STAFF PHOTOS: DOUGLAS TYLER, VOLKAN ULGEN, AND NICOLE HAMEL DESIGN: VOLKAN ULGEN


23 KYLE TETZLAFF • OCCUPATION: Director of operations and government affairs for the REALTORS® Association of Lake and Sumter Counties. • HIDDEN TALENT: Filmmaking, including writing, acting, and directing. • NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Last film directed was selected in four film festivals. • ABOUT ME: Kind, dedicated, honest. • PASSIONATE ABOUT: Mental health awareness.

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JOSI SELLARS

26 • FAMILY: Two sisters, a brother, and lots of extended family. • OCCUPATION: Teach horseback riding lessons, and partner in apparel line called Cracker and Cur. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: Jesus and my family. • ABOUT ME: Blunt, honest, God fearing. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Sweets, but mainly donuts and chocolate.

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30 BRYTTANY PHILLIPS • FAMILY: Husband Casey, and two children, Eli, 6 and Ella, 4. • OCCUPATION: Owner of Orange Blossom Belle woman’s boutique in downtown Clermont. • HOBBIES: Spending time with my family and kids at Disney and SeaWorld. • GO-TO OUTFIT: Jeans and a cute top. • LIFE PHILOSOPHY: Everything happens for a reason.

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• FAMILY: Wife Brianna and son. • CAREER: Run and operate Polished to Perfection, an auto detailing company. • HOBBIES: Boating with my little family. • ABOUT ME: Honest, dependable, hardworking. • HIDDEN TALENT: Can fall asleep just about anywhere.

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CHAIS CHAVIS


AMY BREEDLOVE • FAMILY: Husband Cody and four children, ages 5 to 13. • OCCUPATION: Owner of Empty Hanger Boutique in Umatilla. • NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Opening a successful storefront in the middle of a pandemic. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Chocolate in all shapes and forms. • ABOUT ME: Persistent, strong, willing.

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34 DANIELLE MATHIS

• FAMILY: Husband Marc; three children, and one on the way. • OCCUPATION: Owner and APRN at Advanced Primary Care Associates, P.A. • HOBBIES: Spending time with my family. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Reality TV. • ABOUT ME: Compassionate, motivated, empathetic.

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MATTHEW JONES

29

• FAMILY: Wife Sierra, son Jensen, and newborn daughter Nova. • OCCUPATION: Owner and licensed building contractor at Jones Homes LLC., specializing in home remodeling. • HOBBIES: Firing up the smoker, hunting, and fishing. • ABOUT ME: Loyal, family-oriented, driven. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Homemade cheesecake.


N E T S S I I R T K ET P

d an is, t t Pe h. de nna a W va nd r Sa a b hte us ing : H daug dd of Y e L : W er MI old FA eard, ON Own I g. • T ine hin 2-y UPA her/ m s r i f C rap . ete re OC otog to Co ,d ho c s i • f t f e oo ph Pho :O gt erg S n P i n E K y I E Bu E: BB E: HO UT M . R • SU . O nt EA oots AB tie L • mpa P irl b i Y ILT cowg U G ny • ma

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

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• FAMILY: Wife Amber; one daughter and two sons. • OCCUPATION: Owner/ operator of Eustis Roofing Company. • HOBBIES: Car racing, spending time with my kids and family, and running 5K events. • NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Eustis Roofing was 1 of 8 companies nominated for 2021 Top Roofing Company in United States. • ABOUT ME: Passionate, relentless, motivated.

JASON REISMAN


24 LINDSAY SANDERS • FAMILY: Husband Bryce and two dogs Boomer and Chanel. • OCCUPATION: Realtor at Morris Realty & Investments. • HOBBIES: Remodeling our 1960s home with my husband, and outdoor activities. • NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Surpassing yearly sales goal in first few months of my career. • ABOUT ME: People person, goal-getter, determined.

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

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CH DI RI S NO T I N LF A I

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

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C n AR ac atio EE • R N t ca nal : B lle to as I h OT p ad AB d M urin s p ad g lay tr lay th LE • o a e r e GU op se op AC ison ock r f s • o H r p b i R I o e I B L ve s ort EV is an r a i o be IGG TY r ng d u PL sea f co nit EM . h ca E EA s. nc y t EN th eal use ST o • er T: em pe o PA SU ts B R to opl f its SS f Tr UC o E e r A av KE get an ab ION : P he d ili : iz ha las elin T ve ka, g LIS r. bri ty t Mu za. ng o sic no th to H T , t v e o a ITE is nly wa M ite ii : d. two an st d at es I

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TO DI M PI ET RO


27

• FAMILY: Husband Brady, and daughter Amelia, 3. • OCCUPATION: Owner of Cates Creates Nails. • HOBBIES: Spending spend time with my family and friends. • BIGGEST PASSION: To help and make a difference in people’s lives. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Coffee.

CATHERINE SMITH


29

MARK BOYER • FAMILY: Wife April, and two daughters Zuri and Zella. • OCCUPATION: Owner of Mark Boyer Construction and Roofing. • HOBBIES: Saltwater fishing, spending time with and traveling with my family. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Chocolate milkshakes. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: Family and community.

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

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32 • FAMILY: Wife Katie, daughter Maci, 8, and son Case, 5. • OCCUPATION: Owner/operator of Quality Filters and Pumps. • HOBBIES: Camping, hunting, fishing. • ABOUT ME: Dependable, trustworthy, hardworking. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Strawberry milkshakes from Sunsational Farms.

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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 • J A N ' 2 2

CHASE NORRIS


ASHLEY DANIELS • FAMILY: Boyfriend Mike, two daughters, and three bonus kids. • OCCUPATION: Owner of Arch & Ash Salon, a small boutique salon in Umatilla. • HOBBIES: Going to our children’s sporting events, boating, fishing, and hunting in Georgia. • BIGGEST PASSION: My family and my friends. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Cookie dough! I love to sneak a couple pieces late at night.

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

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ANDREA FLYNN • FAMILY: Two children, ages 4 and 21 months. • OCCUPATION: Aesthetics physician assistant at Ocala Plastic Surgery. • HOBBIES: Spending time with my family, crafting, listening to audio books. • ABOUT ME: Passionate, cautious, honest. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Psychological thriller fiction.

37


ERICA MCNAMEE

33

• CAREER: Chief executive officer of Olson Insurance Agency. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: Being a mom and wife. • HIDDEN TALENT: My memory is really good, and I am really good at numbers. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Watching Dateline and any kind of murder mystery. • ABOUT ME: Am very giving and would do anything for anyone.

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

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36

GR E EL T T LI A S • F th AM 3, ree ILY • O and ch : Hu A CC n ild sb Fa PR UP ewb ren an • , d m N a AT H ily t I orn Bri Co O O l ex B E e d M Ell N ed is : O llie y, 1 y a at erc BI 2 n • I E i n w c h in te n Kat , W d BI ea isin S: e e . gra r a ie. ayl an GG lth g, Fis • on sh hi tiv n y d E A re o ng , Go ST e d ha BO d. P sta ppin , h U u A rd T SS ura g, nti w nt an ng or ME I O ki : N s. d e , ng P S: at , s ass in M el io g y f-m na fa m ot te, ily iv at ed .


AN AS DR K I EW NS

34 •

FA CA MI an R LY: • E H d S ER Gir an OB hin : O lfri • en e d BI G Su wn d p E Sa pp er Na UIL add S: • o R ra ly f le id LI tty TY h. D C b i e n P F L e o is E ig LE ar g m nt tai t h th im P r l di ts A H ng y H al F ing e pi e fl ILO ! SU . a lo ie R rle lori Unl E: t. s; SO d im yth P So ite Da a. e HY m d vi go : e d so od Th ic e n, -c ne e b ol w ad d s is ne yo ws u’ re •


32 048 /

BLAKE BOZARTH • FAMILY: Wife Lexi, children Bear, 3, and Blakely, 2. • OCCUPATION: Founder of CoThryve, a leadership development/ talent sourcing company. • NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENT: Started a podcast called “Leadership on Purpose.” • GUILTY PLEASURE: Watching “The Bachelor” with my wife. • ABOUT ME: Wrote a children’s book called “I want to be a leader when I grow up.”

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


LEXI BOZARTH • FAMILY: Husband Blake, and two sons, Bear and Blakely Rae. • OCCUPATION: Owner of Innvitation, a new bed & breakfast in downtown Clermont. • HOBBIES: Hosting dinner parties and events, volleyball, hip hop dancing, and working out. • ABOUT ME: Passionate, bold, hospitable. • HIDDEN TALENT: Knowing the lyrics to almost every song.

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

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Y E L R H S E A ETT F , hris d C lly, n a o sb gM : Hu ILY r, 6, do M A • F n Ashe imon. r of wne ny so cat S O : N pa and TIO a com erie A P t , rcu CCU raze • O cial G tes cha s. e So cura box t N: tha ds and SIO r S a A o P ul . b ST ningf eople E G a IG g me with p B • in s E: Mak ection SUR the n A n E o l c g/ PL ng al TY i okin UIL watch nd co G • l, a ge Bin , trave s. w d st, foo ng sho one i H k : a E b . TM fun OU nded, B • A enmi op

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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 • J A N ' 2 2

3 3


SAYLER KOTTKE

• FAMILY: My father Tom, mother Stacey, and brother Weston.

27

• OCCUPATION: Co-owner of Above and Beyond Pest Control in Eustis. • ABOUT ME: Outlaw, leader, organized. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Dirty martinis. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: My business and my vehicle, a Dodge Cummins Laramie.

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

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PIERCE DOERFLER • FAMILY: My wife, Kaitlin, and three children: Lucy, 7, Jack, 5, and Madeline, 1. • OCCUPATION: Managing production facility of our company, Doerfler Manufacturing Inc. • ABOUT ME: Worker, dreamer, overthinker. • HIDDEN TALENT: Ability to work through exhaustion while staying focused. • BUCKET LIST ITEM: Seeing the Northern Lights.

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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 • J A N ' 2 2

31 3


PRISCILLA “PJ” SVEJDA

• FAMILY: Boyfriend German Lemus, his three children, and my son Yaari, 5. • OCCUPATION: Co-owner of Studio ArtFarm art studio/gallery in downtown Mount Dora. • NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENT: Selected to show my work in Miami’s Art Basel. • ABOUT ME: Passionate, driven, silly. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: Positively impacting the world around me.

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

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HA ST ND RO L E NG R

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

F an AM d da 2 ILY • O ugh -ye : W te ar ife E CC an lect UP r L -old Ale xi El d O ric AT ayl s • a. ec w al IO H t c N n r o O i e c, r nt : g B LL of ra tim olf BI E a C. CS cto an e nd S • : S r BI d d with sp Pla Go GG aug m end yin • g h y i d ES A an T ter wi ng f . De BO d e fa PA pa di UT ss ca M mil SS y. IO io ted E na , : N : te ,k in d.

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

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O’

NE

32

SA BO R YKA IN IL


KYLIE BRYAN

15

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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 • J A N ' 2 2

• OCCUPATION: Making bracelets. • NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Teen Miss Lake County 2021. • ABOUT ME: Respectful, genuine, trustworthy. • HIDDEN TALENT: Baking cookies. • HOBBIES: Cheerleading and being involved with Interact and TRIAD clubs.


• FAMILY: Wife Lauren, and two daughters Kinley, 10, and Kamryn, 7. • OCCUPATION: Owner of Fickett Fence, Inc., a sales, crew management, and logistics company. • NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Maintaining the same loyal employees from day one. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: My family and being outdoors. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Enjoying a refreshing cocktail while sitting near a burning fire.

RYAN FICKETT

34


23 • OCCUPATION: Owner of Blu Sky’s Boutique.

• HOBBIES: Going to the beach. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: My business, and making women feel beautiful and empowered. • ABOUT ME: Creative, determined, fearless. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Getting Starbucks every day.

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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 • J A N ' 2 2

SKYLEE CASEY


A

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s, ter s i s nd wo : T r, ten ce a Y L e nie MI th r/ FA e bro , one s. • ne a w on sins hew Te :O u co o nep EER agic ora. M tD R tw CA or of oun g, Y M erat in M din a • e op rket : R ith ES ut w ing, I Ma BB g o pp s HO ngin , sho park • t s a n . h nd e s e fri usem seum u am d m T: s LE EN er/ an B es M TA VE own usin O N HIE ng a b • i AC com r of f 21. e B erato ge o rt, : trove op the a E M ex at UT ate, O AB ssion us. • Pa moro hu

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3


LING JIANG

30

• FAMILY: Husband Eric, three kids, and two puppies. • OCCUPATION: Owner of Momiji Japanese Restaurant in Sorrento, and Magic Tea Market in Mount Dora. • HOBBIES: Spending time with my family. • ABOUT ME: Strong, successful, independent. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Shopping.

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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 • J A N ' 2 2


• FAMILY: Husband Kendir Felix, and three boys, Kendrian, 15, Kayson, 13, and Jovi, 2. • CAREER: CEO of Kenkay Solar, aka Women in Solar. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: Leadership and volunteering. • NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Leading with Christ and raising my children. • HOBBIES: Community pastoring, kayaking, teaching yoga, rock climbing, and pottery.

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

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38

• FAMILY: Wife Anne Gardiner, and three children, Ava, 9, Zoe, 8, and Owen, 3. • CAREER: Owner of J&C Gardiner Concrete. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: My business and my family. • ABOUT ME: Funny, caring, loyal. • GUILTY PLEASURE: A good steak, good whiskey, and gambling.

CLIFF GARDINER 062 /

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


DR. DANIELLE ROSIER

• FAMILY: Husband Joe Chan, and 2-year-old daughter Anna. • OCCUPATION: Doctor of audiology at TruEar in The Villages. • HOBBIES: Spending time/traveling with family, yoga, reading, jogging, kayaking. • HIDDEN TALENT: Writing poetry. • GUILTY PLEASURE: Salt and vinegar chips; re-watching “The Office.”

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24

TAYLOR GAFFNEY • OCCUPATION: Part-time registered ER nurse/Owner of Native Roots/employee of Old Florida Foliage. • ABOUT ME: Strong-willed, fun-loving, ambitious. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: Loving my family and trusting my God. • LIFE PHILOSOPHY: Live each day like it’s my last. • BUCKET LIST ITEM: Traveling to Montana.

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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 • J A N ' 2 2


• FAMILY: Wife and three boys ages 6, 4, and 1. • OCCUPATION: Co-operator of Doerfler Manufacturing, Inc. with my brother and father who is president. • BIGGEST PASSIONS: My family and my faith in God. • ABOUT ME: Humorous, competitive, happy. • NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: Getting our company set up to become GMP certified.

34

DREW DOERFLER


From Office to O.R. From subtle reshaping and beautiful enhancements, to dramatic reconstruction, our Central Florida Plastic Surgery patients appreciate our personalized, boutique approach from the moment you walk in the door. Dr. Fernando Serra and his staff bring together a unique combination of professionalism, compassion, expertise, and cutting-edge procedures while maintaining a personal patient relationship throughout. This is the same team that will meet you when you arrive at the stateof-the-art Santa Fe Surgery Center. Our intimate practice knows you by name, knows your background, what we’ve already discussed and knows your objectives. From Office to O.R. - who you see here, you see there. It is part of our unwavering commitment to continuity of care, and a dedication to ensuring you’re treated with dignity and compassion, rather than as a patient number with a procedure code. Rodlynn Stephens, CST Certified Surgical Technologist

Call today to schedule your complementary consultation with Dr. Serra.

Dr. Fernando Serra, MD, FACS Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

American Board of Plastic Surgery

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

drserra.com | 352-259-0722

American College of Surgeons

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


PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

No Patient Left Behind, Removing Obstacles to Minimally Invasive Outpatient Total Hip and Knee Replacements hen you are in pain, nothing else seems to matter. When it is your hip or knee that brings the pain, everything from walking to getting up out of a chair can seem brutal. For many adults, surgery may be the only option for relieving that pain. Determining if a patient can or should be eligible for pain-relieving surgery is a decision that should be made by a patient only after consultation with his/her doctor. While patients with complicated health concerns have been overlooked in the past, two local orthopedic surgeons are working hard to change that reality. The forward-thinking physicians at UNOVA Hip & Knee Center have developed a comprehensive Patient Partnership Program to ensure every patient has an equal opportunity at hip or knee replacement.

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U N O VA H I PA N D K N E E . C O M

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Reforming Patient Care Through Choice s the aging population of Americans grows, adjustments must be made to the way healthcare services are managed and provided. One of those major changes rolled out last year when Medicare allowed total knee replacement surgery to be eligible for payment in the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) setting as of January 1, 2020. On January 1, 2021, Medicare added total hip replacements to its approved outpatient ASC list.

Thomas McCoy, M.D. and Jeffrey Mandume

replacement surgery are covered by Medicare,

Kerina, M.D., orthopedic surgeons

however until recently they were not permitted

leading the UNOVA Hip & Knee Center in

to have their surgeries performed in outpatient

Lady Lake, Florida, are optimistic about

centers. Drs. Kerina and McCoy’s extensive

these changes and what they mean for

experience allowed them to immediately begin

total joint replacement candidates. Drs.

offering this service to their Medicare patients

Kerina and McCoy have been performing

when this changed for total knee in 2000 and

outpatient joint replacement surgery

total hip in 2001. Now, 90% of UNOVA Hip &

since 2008, longer than most orthopedic

Knee Center’s Medicare total joint replacement

surgeons in the country.

candidates are done in a freestanding

The majority of patients who require joint

outpatient surgery center.

99% of patients are able to walk out of the surgery center and go home on the day of surgery, 70% without the use of prescription narcotic drugs. PG2

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U N O VA H I PA N D K N E E . C O M


The Practice NOVA Hip & Knee Center located in

advanced outpatient surgical techniques

Lady Lake, Florida, specializes exclusively

and implants, and access to a team of hand-

in the treatment of hip and knee

picked orthopedic leaders, UNOVA empowers

disorders. The team strives to minimize pain,

patients to continue participating in an active

increase mobility and improve performance

and healthy lifestyle.

through both nonsurgical

Patients work

and surgical

with staff

modalities. The Center delivers remarkable outcomes using a personalized care strategy.

OUR PROMISE

members who

We promise to give you outstanding personalized care by addressing your needs while striving to meet our shared expectations.

“We believe

have been chosen for their positive attitude, motivational skills, and desire to provide outstanding service. At UNOVA Hip &

each patient is unique. Our processes and

Knee, services include but are not limited

procedures are modifiable giving every

to surgery, imaging, therapy, pre- and

patient the opportunity to access outpatient

post-operative care, including home care

arthroplasty, even those with other health

coordination. Personalized patient care is

conditions.,” states Dr. Kerina.

comprehensive and often involves working

By combining a comprehensive Patient

with both patients and their families spanning

Partnership Program, technologically

the pre-, peri- and post-operative periods. U N O VA H I PA N D K N E E . C O M

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THE PROVIDERS

Dr. Thomas McCoy and Dr. Jeffrey Mandume Kerina NOVA Hip & Knee Center

have a passion for continually

is led by two world-class

improving “the process.” As Dr.

orthopedic surgeons, Dr.

Kerina likes to point out, “having

Thomas McCoy and Dr. Jeffrey

surgery is a process, not a

Mandume Kerina, both known

procedure. It is our job to make

for their contribution to surgical

sure patients are:

advancements in their field.

Together the board-certified

functional, and mental state

orthopedic surgeons bring a

before surgery,

combined 63+ years of hip and completing more than 35,000

approach to maximize

hip and knee replacement

outcomes, minimize

surgeries.

complications and foster long-term success, and

Desire to Put Patient Care First

deliver individualized care for the local population and

U N O VA H I PA N D K N E E . C O M

provided a one-of-a-kind, patient-tailored, surgical

over their strong desire to

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knee replacement specialization,

Drs. McCoy and Kerina bonded

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in their best physical,

have access to a team of orthopedic leaders offering exceptional, continuous care that leads to increased mobility, strength and longevity.”


Dr. Thomas Hatton McCoy,

Dr. J. Mandume Kerina has

orthopedic surgeon, has

been an orthopedic surgeon

performed more than

in private practice in Lake

24,000 hip and knee

County, Florida since 1993,

replacements throughout his

spending his full practice life

career, Dr. McCoy is arguably

in the community. Serving

one of the most experienced practicing

what started out as a rural farming community

orthopedic surgeons in the country. He is

and watching it grow into a vital community of

well known and respected amongst his peers,

vibrant seniors. He is the founder of the UNOVA

having been one of the founders of the largest

Hip & Knee Center.

private orthopedic practice in the country, OrthoCarolina, and trained more than forty hip

“We are entrusted to take care of a very special

and knee surgery fellows, many of whom have

segment of the population here in Central

gone on to establish themselves as leaders in

Florida, our seniors over the age of sixty-five. It

the field of orthopedics.

is imperative that we do all we can to ensure our patients’ safety, while delivering the best

I went into medicine to help the least, the last, and the lost.

possible outcomes to maintain both their health and quality of life,” stated Dr. Kerina.

− DR. MCCOY

Using an individualized, patient-centered,

He has championed the kinematically aligned

improving both the outcomes and quality of life

total knee replacement and is the first surgeon

of his patients. He also works to reduce waste in

to introduce this tissue-sparing total knee

the delivery of care—lowering both the cost of

technique to Lake, Sumter, and Marion counties.

care and preserving resources.

Dr. McCoy, in partnership with some of the world’s largest medical device manufacturers, designs and develops new orthopedic surgical techniques, instruments, and implants. He played a pivotal role in developing the Quadra-P total hip stem with his European colleagues at Medacta International and was the first surgeon in the United States to implant

research-based approach, Dr. Kerina focuses on

To build sustainable healthcare systems, we need to focus on individualized care designed with local populations and resources in mind. − DR. DR. KERINA

the hip stem, and the first surgeon in the world to implant the Quadra-P cemented stem.

U N O VA H I PA N D K N E E . C O M

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Advanced Surgical Techniques for Hip and Knee Replacements

The Hip and Knee Center team is experienced at performing the most advanced techniques and procedures for joint replacement surgeries including: Outpatient Total Hip/Total Knee Replacement Opioid/Narcotic-Free Anesthesia & Recovery Direct Anterior Approach for Total Hip Replacement Kinematic Alignment for Total Knee Replacement High-Performance Partial Knee Replacement

Hip Replacements Hip replacements performed at UNOVA Hip & Knee utilize an anterior intermuscular pathway. This technique is minimally invasive and tissue sparing, allowing for minimalized pain and scarring, as well as faster recovery times.

Knee Replacements

High-Performance Partial Knee/Unicompartmental Knee Replacement

Partial knee replacement uses

The minimally invasive high

the damaged bone and cartilage

Kinematic Alignment Knee

performance partial knee

Replacement Surgery

replacement is designed

resurfaces arthritic or damaged

for patients who have bone

knees through a technique that

on bone arthritis in one

allows surgeons to replicate

compartment of the knee

the knee’s natural pre-disease

without relief from standard

alignment and orientation.

non-surgical treatments.

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U N O VA H I PA N D K N E E . C O M

a smaller incision than a total knee replacement because only are removed. All the normal cartilage, bone, ligaments, and tendons are left in place.


PATIENT SUCCESS STORIES

Sherry D. | 54 YEARS OLD TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT: NOVEMBER 2021

Why did you pick UNOVA Hip & Knee

And with Dr. Kerina’s surgery, I didn’t

Center?

have to take pain pills. I don’t do well

Initially I had a referral for Dr. Kerina, so

with pain pills, I get pains in my stomach

I did A LOT of research online because

and lightheaded. So I was very glad I

I wanted to make sure he was the right

could recover without them.

surgeon. His reviews were

How are you

outstanding.

moving around

He is almost a

now compared to

5-Star doctor,

before surgery?

which you don’t

I can walk with

see often, if

no cane! I have

ever.

a little swelling in my ankle, but

What issues/

that can last up

challenges were

to one year. I’m

you having

only six weeks

before surgery?

post op, so I think

I had

it will continue to

become very

get better.

complacent. I am 100% glad I

I had been limping for two years, and it hurt to

had this surgery done. Everyday life was

even walk.

bad before surgery, especially socializing and exercising. I may not be 100% cured

How was your actual surgery?

after six weeks, but I am getting there.

Surgery was fine. I was very happy to come home and recover in my own

Any advice for people who are thinking

home. I was in surgery at 8:45a.m. and

of getting surgery?

home before 2:00p.m. the same day. I

Do not wait! It makes a world of

had only had one major surgery before

difference.

this and I had to recover in a hospital. I did not care for that at all.

U N O VA H I PA N D K N E E . C O M

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PATIENT SUCCESS STORIES

Kathleen O. | 72 YEARS OLD

TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENT: RIGHT - SIDE JANUARY 2021, LEFT - SIDE NOVEMBER 2021

Why did you pick UNOVA Hip & Knee

still some surgical discomfort, but that

Center?

quickly went away.

I was referred to Dr. McCoy. I liked him as soon as I met him. I trusted him

How did you feel after surgery?

from the start. I was impressed with his

I felt fine after surgery. I was in and

knowledge and demeanor.

out. I went in early in the morning, and by the afternoon I was home. They

What issues/

coordinated

challenges

in-home care

were you having before surgery? I was in a lot of pain. I put the first one (surgery) on

I liked him (Dr.McCoy) as soon as I met him. I trusted him from the start. I was impressed with his knowledge and demeanor.

for me. It was excellent care. How are you moving around now compared to before surgery?

hold, but when I met Dr. McCoy, I knew

I can take a walk and I don’t limp

right away I could do it. I had pain, but

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surgery I could stand up and there was

through after surgery, but well worth it.

no pain. It was wonderful. There was

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Finding the right doctor is essential to good health. The 2022 Health Pros Guide is designed to help make that decision easier. Categorized by Practice, Procedure, and Profile, it’s an easy-to-use directory of the best health-care providers in their field. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE


PRACTICE PROCEDURE PROFILE

New Hip, Shoulder Or Knee Today, Home Tonight

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hile most patients of Dr. Alfred J. Cook, Jr., and Dr. John Williams, Jr. can be treated without surgery, up to 80 percent of those who need a joint replacement of the hip, shoulder or knee can now have surgery in the morning and go home the same afternoon. Benefits of Outpatient Joint Replacement • Recovery is in the comfort of your own home • Reduces risk of infection and exposure to communicable diseases • Pre/post-surgical education guides you through a successful recovery Ideal Candidates are: • Highly motivated and able to follow post-surgical instructions; • Generally healthy, active and independent; • Supported by a strong network of family and friends First in Florida with mymobility® Advanced Orthopedics Institute was the first practice in Florida to use Zimmer Biomet’s mymobility® with Apple Watch® app, which keeps patients connected to their surgeon and care team throughout this process to assist them in: • Optimizing their health prior to surgery • Learning what to expect the day of surgery • Helping minimize complications after surgery • Offering guidance toward regaining mobility If hip, shoulder or knee pain is affecting your quality of life and holding you back from participating in activities you once enjoyed, outpatient joint replacement surgery may be the solution. We’re here to provide you with life-changing relief.


PRACTICE PROCEDURE PROFILE

Alfred J. Cook, Jr., MD Dr. Cook is among the nation’s leaders in reverse shoulder replacements to restore rotator cuff function, performing more in a year than many orthopedic surgeons do in a lifetime. The majority of his shoulder replacements are now being done as outpatients. These types of revolutionary procedures are helping patients who are “pseudo paralyzed” from their conditions return to the sports and activities they most enjoy.

John T. Williams, MD Dr. Williams is at the forefront of hip and knee replacements and revision surgeries nationally. As director of the Einstein Medical Center Total Joint Program, in Philadelphia, he introduced some of the most-advanced surgical techniques available to reconstruct and replace hips in adults. He now performs most of his total knee and hip replacements on an outpatient basis for patients who are good candidates.

Advanced Orthopedic Institute

phone 352.751.2862 / fax 855.420.1047 / 1400 N US Hwy 441, Suite 552, The Villages / goaoi.com

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Feel at home Providing skilled nursing care in the comfort of your house.

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killed nursing care involves trained, licensed professionals administering services to patients due to injury or illness. If you or a loved one needs intermittent skilled nursing services, Lake Centre Home Care should be your choice for home healthcare providers. CEO and Administrator Shayna Grunewald and Lori Davis, COO at Lake Centre Home Care, take pride in their team. Lake Centre Home Care has skilled clinicians including, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, registered nurses, home health aides, certified nursing assistants and social workers. “With concerns about infection increasing, more people are choosing to recover at home. While we understand the need for in-patient rehab for some situations, people tend to improve faster when they rehabilitate in their own home,” says Shayna. She explains that patients who rehab in a familiar environment are given the opportunity to improve emotionally as well as physically. After a surgical procedure or

Lake Centre Home Care

major medical event, most patients cannot wait to get home. Lake Centre Home Care understands the importance of this and gives patients the chance to recover as quickly as possible with the assistance of skilled home health. Patients who may benefit from skilled home healthcare are those deemed homebound or who have been diagnosed with a new disease or condition. Others may include postsurgical patients recovering from heart, orthopedic replacement surgeries, various cancer surgeries and more. Most patients don’t realize that they can choose their home health care provider just as they can choose their physician. The only requirement for home health care is a physician’s order. With that, the team at Lake Centre Home Care can set up a plan for specific services. “We have clinicians and therapists to help patients get back to being able to do things on their own,” says Shayna. “Our only goal is to help you heal.”

352.315.0050 / 310 Market St., Leesburg / Golchc.com

LAKE CENTRE HOME CARE

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PROCEDURE PRACTICE PROFILE

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Top Left to Bottom Right: S.K. Steven Houston III, MD; Ruwan A. Silva, MD, MPhil; William J. Dunn, MD, FACS, CHE; Elias C. Mavrofrides, MD; Alexander C. Barnes, MD; Matthew A. Cunningham, MD; Jaya B. Kumar, MD and Thomas A. Barnard, MD

n the 17 years since it opened in Lake and Sumter Counties, the Florida Retina Institute (celebrating 40 years) has grown from a small practice, to what is now considered the largest Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery practice in the area. With that, the Institute takes great pride and feels fortunate to have developed a group of extremely well-trained, top-notch physicians, all with the same focus of providing quality care in a very positive environment to all their patients. In Lake and Sumter, patients are seen at offices located in Lady Lake, Mount Dora, and Clermont.

Please meet the doctors who would love caring for you: ALEXANDER BARNES, MD • Bachelor of Science, Arizona State University, Barrett Honors College, Doctor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine. • Board-certified, Fellowship trained Vitreoretinal Specialist at Emory University. • Joined in August 2020. “There is no better feeling than being able to intervene on sight-threatening complications so that a patients can continue to enjoy the things they love to do,” says Dr. Barnes.

MATTHEW CUNNINGHAM, MD • Bachelor of Science, Interdisciplinary Studies in Basic Biomedical Sciences Cum Laude, University of Florida, Doctor of Medicine Cum Laude with Honors in Research, University of Florida College of Medicine. • Board-Certified, Fellowship Trained Vitreoretinal Specialist at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. • Joined in 2013. “Retina is not a one-sized fit all specialty and I tailor treatment recommendations using a personalized, but research-driven, approach.

Every patient is important to me and I treat every patient like they are family,” says Dr. Cunningham.

S.K. STEVEN HOUSTON III, MD • Bachelor of Science, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida Doctorate of Medicine, University of Virginia, School of Medicine. • Board-Certified, Fellowship Trained Vitreoretinal Specialist at Wills Eye Hospital. • Joined in July 2015.

JAYA B. KUMAR, MD • Honors Bachelor of Science, Saint Louis University, Doctorate of Medicine, Saint Louis University. • Board-Certified, Fellowship Trained Vitreoretinal Specialist at Cleveland Clinic Foundation. • Joined in August 2018. “Despite the challenging and humbling experiences we face throughout our careers, there are these precious moments we can bring to our patients by restoring their vision,” says Dr. Kumar.

Florida Retina Institute

ELIAS MAVROFRIDES, MD • Bachelors of Science degree from University of Florida, medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine. • Board-Certified, Fellowship Trained Vitreoretinal Specialist at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. • Joined in August 2004. “My goal is to try and take what I say are really stressful problems and sometimes anxiety provoking treatments, and help patients relax and have a positive experience. It’s a very gratifying job,” says Dr. Mavrofrides.

RUWAN AMILA SILVA, MD • Bachelor of Arts, Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude with Highest Honors, Masters of Philosophy, Neurobiology, Cambridge University. • Board-Certified, Fellowship Trained Vitreoretinal Specialist at Stanford University. • Joined in June 2021. “My main goal is that the patient understands their eye condition, and if possible, leaves with a plan to improve it,” says Dr. Silva.

FloridaRetinaInstitute.com / Offices in Lady Lake, Mount Dora and Clermont

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PROCEDURE PRACTICE PROFILE

Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers Celebrates 11 Years of Providing Exceptional Care

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ince opening in July 2010, Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers (FLDSCC) has provided patients across Central Florida with compassionate and extraordinary care. As our offices celebrate this milestone, we want to take a moment to recognize our patients and providers for contributing to our success for the past 11 years. FLDSCC takes pride in providing a full spectrum of dermatology and skin care services across all 12 of our locations throughout the Sunshine State. FLDSCC’s team of providers are experts in diagnosing and treating skin cancers; skin conditions and diseases such as eczema, rosacea, dry skin, rashes, and warts; and chronic skin diseases and infections, while simultaneously tackling aging skin, wound care, and a multitude of other skin, hair, and nail concerns. Several FLDSCC providers are fellowshiptrained in Mohs micrographic surgery, an effective state-of-the-art treatment for most types of skin cancers. Mohs surgery involves

minimal discomfort and encourages the greatest preservation of healthy tissue, which means less risk of scarring and superior cosmetic results. Since its founding 11 years ago, FLDSCC has had the privilege of remaining committed to the Central Florida community by caring for and supporting thousands of patients in their journey of finding quality dermatologic treatment. “We have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet and exceed the needs of our patients over the last decadeplus,” says Medical Director of FLDSCC, Dr. K. Wade Foster. “We are grateful for the opportunity every day to educate and treat our patients, and give them the best chance for favorable outcomes.” From everyone at FLDSCC, we thank our patients for their patronage as well as constructive feedback, which has helped our team continue to improve and flourish during our time together. We also wholeheartedly express our gratitude to our team of physicians, APRNs, and PAs. We wouldn’t be

Florida Dermatology and Skin Care Centers

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(855) FLD-SKIN / fldscc.com

where we are today without their dedication to dermatology, and their immense concern for our patients’ wellbeing. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for our practice, continuing to serve our community, and again express our appreciation to all those who have been an integral part of all our accomplishments thus far. Happy anniversary to FLDSCC!

Dr. K. Wade Foster, Medical Director


PRACTICE PROFILE PROCEDURE

Dr. Summer Young Brings Smiles to Eustis D

r. Summer Young is the owner and dentist at Eustis Lakeside Dental. A Florida native and graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry, Dr. Young practices a comprehensive approach to dental care with an emphasis on patient education and building doctor-patient relationships. Her passion for helping others and her commitment to serving her patients and community are the reasons that she joined Dr. Wade Winker in 2020 and purchased his practice in 2021. They work so well together Dr. Winker decided to remain in the practice and work alongside Dr. Young to continue serving the Lake County community.

Eustis Lakeside Dental

When asked, “What should patients know about you?” Dr. Young replied “As a private practice owner, Eustis resident and active member of my community, my patients know they can depend on me. I have their best interest at heart. My primary goal is to provide a pleasant dental experience and quality dental care. Dr. Winker and I share the same treatment philosophies and value structure, making us the perfect team to care for our patients.” Community involvement and commitment to philanthropy are cornerstones of Dr. Young’s practice. She works with multiple organizations to facilitate dental clinics, dental missions, community outreach and education opportunities. Over the past 4 years, she has personally donated 400+ hours of free dental treatment. Locally, she has been involved in many Lake County efforts, including donating school supplies, leading children’s educational events and donating her time and resources to organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Lions Club, Elks Club, Moose Lodge, Helping Hands, Life Point Church, Life’s Choices and the Baptist Convention’s dental mission bus. Dr. Young’s passion for service comes from her own experience. Due to difficult family circumstances, she found herself caring for her two young brothers and supporting herself as a young teen. She credits her drive to help others to her personal belief that she would not be where she is today without the help of others. Dr. Young is a hardworking wife and mother who enjoys karaoke, boating, biking, and fishing with her family. Eustis Lakeside Dental is a team of dedicated dental professionals on a mission to provide high-quality dental care while creating a friendly treatment environment.

352.357.2564 / 15 W. Atwater Avenue, Eustis, FL 32726 / eustislakesidedental.com

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Welcoming A a new era of orthopaedic care UF Health Orthopaedics— Leesburg gives patients access to a new level of musculoskeletal care.

n avid runner who competes in marathons. A backyard gardener who loves planting flowers. A grandfather who throws a football with his grandson. Today, more people are living active lifestyles than ever before. Unfortunately, there are times when problems arise with joints, muscles, and bones. These problems can impede people from enjoying activities they love. Fortunately, they don’t have to spend the rest of their lives being a spectator. That’s because University of Florida Health is ushering in a new era in orthopaedic care right here in Lake County. UF Health Orthopaedics—Leesburg, located at 701 Medical Plaza Drive, features a talented and experienced

team of board-certified orthopaedic specialists who are adequately equipped to address the pain and functional limitations that come with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. The convenient location gives patients and their families a full range of services to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions—all under one roof. Having these services in a single facility means patients no longer have to drive to larger cities for orthopaedic care, saving them time, money, and hassle. UF Health Orthopaedics—Leesburg provides care for both routine musculoskeletal problems as well as highly specialized orthopaedic care at this location, including evaluations for joint replacements and treatment for spine, foot, ankle, and hand and upper extremities.

Meet the team at UF Health Orthopaedics-Leesburg! CEDRIC TANKSON, MD

PAUL E. M. JOHNSON, MD

JAY B. COOK, MD

ISAAC MITCHELL, MD

Dr. Tankson is a familiar name in Lake County, having practiced here since 2005. To say he’s excited to join UF Health Orthopaedics - Leesburg is an understatement. “This is a great opportunity to expand the scope of UF Health and provide comprehensive, quality care to our community,” he says. “Because I’ve been in this community for a long time, I pride myself in delivering a high standard of care to each patient I treat.” Dr. Tankson is a foot and ankle specialist who performs reconstructive surgery and arthritis management.

Dr. Johnson recently moved to the area from South Florida, joining the practice to bring cutting-edge techniques, such as muscle-sparing procedures and robotic-assisted surgery to Lake County. His focus is knee and hip replacement. “It’s an honor for me to be part of the UF Health team,” he says. “UF Health’s reputation speaks for itself. I look forward to helping people whose lives have been interrupted by pain. I want them to get back to the activities they enjoy.”

As a physician in the U.S. Army and a private practice, Dr. Cook has practiced in Iraq, Hawaii, and South Georgia. Now, the 2001 graduate of Leesburg High School is happy to be home. “I’m so glad to be close to family again after being away for 20 years,” he says. “This is a great area with great people. Also, I am proud to join a practice comprised of first-rate physicians who will undoubtedly improve the quality of orthopaedic care in Lake County.” Dr. Cook treats conditions of the shoulder, knee and hip as well as other common orthopaedic injuries throughout the body.

Anyone with a shoulder problem is in capable hands with Dr. Mitchell. He has traveled extensively to teach other surgeons how to perform shoulder replacements. In addition, other surgeons have come to the area to train under him in shoulder replacements. Dr. Mitchell, who has practiced in the area for 18 years, is excited to continue delivering the same quality of care that countless patients have come to expect from him. “What makes Leesburg truly special are the people,” he says. “I look forward to serving their orthopaedic needs to the best of my ability and help them lead the active lifestyles they desire.”

UF Health Orthopedics

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352.630.6250 / 701 Medical Plaza Drive Leesburg, FL 34748 / ufhealth.org

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PRACTICE PROFILE PROCEDURE

CEDRIC TANKSON, MD ISAAC MITCHELL, MD JAY B. COOK, MD PAUL E. M. JOHNSON, MD

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Why Do We Get Varicose Veins and What Can We Do About It? Have you started to notice veins in your legs becoming darker and more noticeable? As you age, you might find this increasingly common.

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Sotero Peralta, MD, Board Certified Vascular Surgery

aricose veins are not considered a serious medical condition, but they can be an uncomfortable feeling, make some people feel self-conscious, and, if left untreated, can lead to more serious medical problems.

The chance of developing varicose veins increases with age, since veins weaken as we get older and have increased varicosity. There’s also a greater chance for development if someone else in your family has them because genetics play a role.

Causes of Varicose Veins

When to Be Concerned

Varicose veins are usually seen in the legs and feet of women ages 50 and older, but they can be anywhere on the body, and anyone can get them. They look like bulging, blueish strands running through the skin’s surface. Sometimes they’re surrounded by spider veins, which are smaller, thinner-looking veins resembling a spider web. Spider veins are a milder version of varicose veins and are not as noticeable or uncomfortable. Varicose veins are considered common because they can be caused by any condition that puts extra pressure on the legs or abdomen. This could include obesity, pregnancy, or even simply standing for long periods. When your body has blood flowing through a vein, there are valves that open and close to allow blood to flow properly. If the valves are not working properly, because of built-up pressure, varicose veins can develop when the muscles are working harder to push the blood.

Many people with varicose veins report aching, heavy, even sore legs or muscles, along with swelling, especially after standing. These are uncomfortable symptoms, but overall manageable and nothing to be concerned about.

AdventHealth Waterman

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However, you should contact your doctor if: · A varicose vein has been injured, resulting in a loss of blood; immediately add direct compression and elevate the area · The skin over the veins becomes flaky or discolored

Your doctor will look at your overall health history and the condition of your varicose veins before recommending treatment options. First, they may suggest trying compression stockings and/or over-the-counter medications to help with discomfort. In most cases, varicose veins don’t need to be removed, but it’s an option if they become too painful. You and your vascular specialist may discuss the possibility of one of these methods to eliminate the veins: · Ablation · Laser treatment · Sclerotherapy · Surgical removal Treatment depends on the area of the body, the severity of the condition and your unique health history. More Information on Our Vascular Care

· Your varicose veins are red, warm and tender; this could be a sign of a blood clot Most often, spider veins and varicose veins can be treated easily at home. To help relieve discomfort, your doctor may suggest a variety of treatment options.

352.385.3022 / AdventHealthCardiovascularInstitute.com

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Treatment Options for Varicose Veins

When you need the advice and care of vascular specialists, we’re here to help. To learn more, visit AdventHealthCardiovascularInstitute.com or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sotero Peralta, call us at (352) 385-3022.


PRACTICE PROFILE PROCEDURE

Dr. John McCleerey B

oard-certified in family medicine, Dr. John McCleerey is pleased to be part of Aegis Medical Group, serving patients at the practice’s Ocala office. He recently moved from Elizabethtown, Kentucky with his family and is enjoying the warmer Florida weather and the ability to be closer to his wife’s Lake County relatives in Leesburg and Astor. Throughout his 16 years of private practice, patients have praised Dr. McCleerey for his pleasant bedside manner, compliment him for listening, and for running on time regarding their appointments. He even has a patient who travels from Kentucky to see him. With Aegis Medical Group, our priority is managed care, so I would say 90 percent of my patients are 65 and older, the Medicare age,” says Dr. McCleerey. “I want that population to be able to continue to do what they want to be able to do.” Helping patients achieve the best quality of life is what he believes is important, and he advises them on ways to prevent health concerns from becoming big problems. “I like the variety,” Dr. McCleerey says of family medicine, and he enjoys being able to treat the whole patient, everything from their mental health, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. He also coordinates his patients’ care between their different specialists and is mindful of the prescribed medications from the different providers, to make sure they work properly in the patient’s overall care. Being in Florida, Dr. McCleerey has personally witnessed the advantage of the warmer climate on a person’s health. “There’s definitely less joint pain and definitely less illness,” he says. “Humidity does help the joints better and warm air is better than the cold or dry air that is in the north.” However, he notes allergies can be better or worse, depending on what a patient is allergic to, and if the same triggers are in Florida that they experienced up north. Dr. McCleerey graduated in 2003 from Indiana School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana, and completed his residency at St. Joseph Regional Center in South Bend, Indiana, in 2007. He also did research work and was a teaching assistant at Purdue University, and he has additional training in psychiatry and behavioral medicine. In his free time, Dr. McCleerey enjoys golf, reading, writing and time with his family.

Aegis Medical Group

362.758.2597 / 1630 Southeast 18th St., Bldg. 400, Ocala

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PROCEDURE PRACTICE PROFILE

True Visionaries Ocala Eye will soon open another location to better serve residents of The Villages.

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n an era where medical practices come and go, Ocala Eye celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021. This milestone was made possible through superb patient care and a team of innovative ophthalmologists and optometrists. A large specialty-based practice, Ocala Eye provides the full spectrum of eye care—from routine eye exams to surgeries for conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts. Now, Ocala Eye will be offering its services to more residents of The Villages. In March 2022, the practice will open an additional office at 1556 Bella Cruz Drive in the Publix Super Market at Spanish Plaines Shopping Center. This will allow Ocala Eye to better serve residents who live in the Spanish Springs area. “We are excited to expand into this area of The Villages bringing easier access to top-quality eyecare.” says Zora Harrison, chief operating officer. “We look forward to making a positive impact in this community.” The 1,500 square-foot office is Ocala Eye’s seventh location, and its second in The Villages. Zora says the new facility will serve as an extension of our organization’s wide range of services from comprehensive eye care to contact lenses and eyeglasses. In 2023, Ocala Eye will open its eighth location near the Village of Fenney, which is located south of Brownwood Paddock Square. “That area has grown considerably, so we felt like we needed a presence there,” Zora says. “It’s important that we expand to better serve patients who have entrusted us with their care. That way, we can provide them with more prompt service and allow better access to our amazing network of doctors.” For Ocala Eye, 51 years of maintaining satisfied patients is a result of providing cutting-edge eye care and developing longstanding relationships. It’s all about personal relationships and treating patients like family.

Ocala Eye

352.430.3356 / 1950 Laurel Manor Drive, Suite 250, The Villages

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PROCEDURE PRACTICE PROFILE

Feel younger, live better Aviv Clinics, The World Leader in Healthy Aging.

I DR. MOHAMMED ELAMIR

t’s no secret how residents of The Villages approach aging. They participate in softball, pickleball, golf, bowling, dancing, and a slew of other activities. Their main concern is not their lifespan, but rather their health span: how many years they remain active and healthy. The Aviv Medical Program offered at Aviv Clinics perfectly complements the active lifestyle that retirees in The Villages desire. The clinic focuses on optimizing their clients’ quality of life in their later years through increased mental and physical performance. “When our company was looking for sites to open our first clinic, we initially thought of big cities like New York,” says Dr. Mohammed Elamir, who operated a primary and internal medicine practice in New Jersey before moving to Florida to join the Aviv Clinics team. “Then we realized The Villages has the biggest concentration of healthy aging individuals and knew this would be an ideal location.” Clients enroll in a three-month program that begins with a thorough evaluation of their cognitive, biological, genetic, and physical functions. Cognitive evaluations test a client’s memory process, while anatomical imaging of the brain allows physicians to see the damage that has occurred throughout life. The physical evaluation measures

body composition, athletic performance, cardiovascular performance, and hand-eye coordination. Metabolic evaluations provide a DNA analysis and help physicians assess dietary and nutritional needs. A molecular evaluation tests the clients’ telomeres, which are the protective caps on the ends of the strands of DNA called chromosomes. They shorten as people age, causing the cell to stop dividing or die. “We take all that evaluation to see how the aging process has unfolded over time and now we have a patient’s baseline,” says Dr. Elamir. “We use that as a way to individualize and fine-tune a client’s treatment program.” With a baseline understanding of the client’s physical and mental composition, the clinical team goes to work creating a bespoke treatment plan for each individual. Clients undergo 60 hyperbaric oxygen treatments (five days a week for 12 weeks) in addition to mental and physical training programs designed by a team of physicians. The human brain requires oxygen to perform its best. However, as people age, their bodies become less efficient at channeling oxygen. During hyperbaric oxygen treatment, the body is flushed with oxygen and stem cells are mobilized. While inside the chamber, Aviv clients undergo brain exercises focusing on working memory, reaction time, and attention to detail. The exercises mobilize blood flow and stem cells to the damaged areas of the brain. “Through our innovative protocol, we increase the amount of stem cells to help


PROCEDURE PRACTICE PROFILE

build new brain cells, new blood vessels, new cardiac tissue, and new muscle cells,” Dr. Elamir explains. “Thus, we help reverse the aging process by building and regenerating cells in the body. A final assessment at the end of 12 weeks determines how much a patient has improved cognitively and physically. “I’ve witnessed a lot of amazing things in our clients who undergo the program,” Dr. Elamir says. “I’ve seen some people increase their telomeres by 55 percent, their cognitive scores by 20 percent, their blood perfusion to the brain by 38 percent, and an improvement in cardiovascular performance by 20 percent. And that’s just a healthy aging individual with no major medical problem. On the flip side, I’ve had stroke patients come in using a wheelchair and come out using a cane.” Dr. Elamir has witnessed other promising results.

“I have 82 -year-old people who want to improve their tennis game because they don’t want to decline. In the middle of the program, they approach me and talk about how others are noticing their tennis game has improved. They’re faster, more accurate, and have more endurance. That’s the mantra of who we are and what we do.” Some clients have seen improvement in symptoms that they associate as long-term side effects of early dementia, traumatic brain injury, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), changes in brain chemistry, and Lyme disease.

AVIV TRULY CARES

However, in the past year, they’ve earned a new moniker. They’re stewards of the community. In an effort to give back to the community and share the revolutionary benefits of its healthy aging program, the team at Aviv launched Aviv Cares. During the next five years, Aviv will donate up to 100 treatment packages at a greatly reduced cost to patients who normally could not afford to pay for the program. “Our goal from the very beginning was to be an integral part of the community, and Aviv Cares is an important part of that,” Dr. Elamir says. “This will allow us to care for even more people so they can remain healthy and vibrant as they age.”

You could call the medical team at Aviv Clinics lots of things. They’re caretakers, warriors of wellness, life-changers, and even life savers.

Aviv Clinics

352.488.2848 / 2955 Brownwood Blvd. Suite 100 in The Villages / aviv-clinics.com

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A heart for helping Spending time and listening to patients is one of Dr. Vatsal Inamdar’s biggest strengths.

H

earing the news that you have a heart condition can be extremely frightening. Therefore, it’s important to choose a reputable electrophysiologist as the first line of defense. That’s why patients with arrythmias put their heart care in the hands of Dr. Vatsal Inamdar, an electrophysiologist with Village Heart and Vein. Dr. Inamdar has an impressive list of credentials. He is certified in clinical cardiac electrophysiology and cardiovascular disease by The American Board of Internal Medicine. He also completed two fellowships—one in electrophysiology at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and one in echocardiography at the University of Alabama. But perhaps the most important quality he possesses in his medical toolbox is the time and capacity to listen to patients, hear their stories, and educate them fully on their condition and treatment options. This is extremely important. After all, modern medicine’s true healing potential requires more than a doctor’s credentials and skilled surgical hands. It also requires shared knowledge between physicians and patients to create a viable care plan. “For me, it is essential to explain their condition, help them understand what is

Village Heart and Vein

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happening to them, and form a solution or resolution to their problems,” Dr. Inamdar says. “That means I have to spend an adequate amount of time with my patients. Having the patient involved in their care means you get a better outcome.” That patient-centered approach explains why many of Dr. Inamdar’s patients come to him. “As a practice, Village Heart and Vein is very welcoming,” he says. “We provide the best care and we also put our patients at ease by making them feel at home. We’re all very approachable.” As an electrophysiologist, he treats issues with the electrical signals in the heart that cause arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms. Treatment options such as pacemaker placement or catheter ablation can resolve the problem. And that is what excites Dr. Inamdar about being an electrophysiologist.

352.674.2080 / 8575 NE 138th Lane, Suite 203, Lady Lake / villageheartandvein.com

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


PROCEDURE PRACTICE PROFILE

Attention to detail The goal at Central Florida Plastic Surgery is to lift bodies and spirits for a killer cosmetic experience, one patient at a time.

B

esides stellar workmanship when it comes to ensuring every one of their patients is treated with dignity contouring, sculpting, or re-shaping, Central Florida and compassion, rather than as a patient number with a Plastic Surgery offers something bigger practices procedure code. in the area can’t always deliver – an unmatched level of Rodlynn adds: “We get excited to see our patients go intimacy and personalized care. through a transformation that enhances their presence. Plastic surgeon Dr. Fernando Serra says that from office We can help patients look on the outside like they feel on to OR, patients can count on consistency when it comes to the inside, and in the most comfortable way possible.” their encounters with Central Florida Plastic Surgery. “Patients are not a number here, we’re not volumedriven. It’s just one patient at a time, one masterpiece at a time,” Dr. Serra says, explaining when he opened 23 years ago, Rodlynn Stephens has been his surgical first assist for 21 years, and Joy Vermillion has been the office manager for 10 years. “I’ve always remained a small specialty boutique, a very intimate practice with the same three faces patients will encounter throughout their whole journey. With that comes a continuity of care I think our patients really appreciate,” Dr. Serra adds. Similarly, people can always count on a familiar setting, since all procedures either take place in their office or at the nearby Santa Fe Surgery Center in The Villages. “Neck, facial and laser liposuction are performed as in-office procedures with oral sedation and local anesthesia. As well as simpler procedures like skin cancer and skin lesion removals,” Dr. Serra explains. “As for bigger body contouring and breast procedures, they are performed at The Santa Fe Surgery Center here in The Villages, a very personalized, small surgery center, but with all FERNANDO SERRA, MD, FACS the technological amenities of a large hospital BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON to handle any cutting-edge procedure we’ll be performing.” RODLYNN STEPHENS, CST “We see it as a beautiful extension of our CERTIFIED SURGICAL TECHNOLOGIST intimate office experience,” he says. Additionally, Dr. Serra prides himself on getting to know every patient, something he strongly believes elicits the most successful end results. “What makes a great plastic surgeon is not just how well he or she cuts or sews, but getting to know patients, understanding their medical history, and getting to know what their goals and aspirations are to find the right procedure, the right course of action to obtain the results they’re looking for,” says Dr. Serra. He says it’s all part of the practice’s unwavering commitment to continuity of care, and a dedication to

Central Florida Plastic Surgery

352.259.0722 / 910 Old Camp Rd., Ste. 142, The Villages / drserra.com

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With over 29 years in the local community, Cardiovascular Associates of Lake County is your

Partner for Life

Contac t us dir ectly to see cardiac one of our s assess pecialists to and im prove your ca vascula rdiac and receive r health and the compa personal touch y ssionate o tender u and your heart n eeds.

J. Henry Lesmes, MD, FACC A founding member of CVA in 1992, Dr. Henry Lesmes specializes in Invasive Cardiology and Cardiovascular Disease and holds certifications in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease. He and his team of five cardiologists and three nurse practitioners together strive to provide quality, compassionate patient-centered care as their top priority while introducing cutting-edge procedures to this community. Dr. Lesmes serves as an active board member of the American College of Cardiologists Florida Chapter, ensuring that adequate cardiology services are available in Lake County.

352.742.1171 // cvalakecounty.com

1879 Nightingale Lane, Suites A-1 & C-1, Tavares, FL 32778


agenda EVENTS. TRAVEL. PEOPLE.

Mount Dora’s Carolyn Wood gives old furnishings a little love and a whole new life.


THE TO-DO LIST

SH O PPIN G

HIDDEN TREASURES AWAIT Renninger’s Antique Extravaganza features one of the larges gatherings of antique dealers in the South. More than 800 dealers will showcase their antiques in the show field, antique center, and under the on-site pavilions. Jan. 14-16 / Renninger’s Farmer and Flea Market / 20651 U.S. Hwy. 441 Mount Dora / 352.383.3141

JAN

14-16

jan. 2022

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HISTO RY

Battle lines are drawn JAN

1

On Dec. 28, 1835, nearly 200 Seminole Indians ambushed 107 federal troops in Sumter County. Only three U.S. soldiers survived the battle that became known as Dade’s Massacre and sparked the Second Seminole War. The reenactment of this battle will include period soldier and Seminole camps, games, cannon firing, children’s activities, and vendors. Jan. 1 / Dade Battlefield Historic State Park / 7200 Battlefield Parkway, Bushnell / 352.793.4781


jan.

JAN

15

R ACE

ON STAGE

BE A CHAMPION

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

Champions Trail Race, presented by Sommer Sports Events, is for people of all ages. Participants will walk or run a 1-mile course two times. The course offers some diversity—grass, sand, and some hills. It’s fitting that the race is held in Clermont, which is known as the Choice of Champions.

REMEMBER THESE CASTAWAYS?

1/6-9

The Clermont Performing Arts Center presents Gilligan’z Island, a (less than) three-hour tour you’ll never forget. Remember some of the unforgettable characters from the show that aired from 1964 to 1967, including the movie star, the professor, and the Howells. Perhaps they’ll get off the island this time. Clermont Performing Arts Center 3700 U.S. Hwy. 27., Clermont / 352.394.4800

Jan. 15 / Clermont Arts and Recreation Center 3700 S. Hwy. 27 / sommersportsevents.com

FESTIVAL

SO THE STORY GOES

BEAUTIFUL BONDING

1/14-16, 1/21-23, 1/28-30

People throughout Florida and beyond attend the Florida Storytelling Festival to explore and savor the art of storytelling. Attendees can immerse themselves in workshops, storytelling concerts, story swaps, and informal gatherings. There will also be a Story Store offering a wealth of storytelling resources.

Melon Patch Players presents “Yes, Virginia,” a tale of two older women living in the suburbs of Detroit who navigate the perils of aging. On Christmas Eve, they share memories of their loved ones and bond in a way that they never could in the past. Melon Patch Players 311 N. 13th St., Leesburg / 352.787.3013

Jan. 27-30 / Lakeside Inn / 100 N. Alexander St. / flstory.com/festival

TUNE INTO THIS

1/14-30

“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a musical review of the songs of Thomas “Fats” Waller. Five performers present an evening of raunchy and humorous songs, including “Honeysuckle Rose,” “The Jitterbug Waltz,” and “Cash for Your Trash.” Bay Street Players 109 N. Bay St., Eustis / 352.357.7777

JAN

27-30

ONGOI NG EVENTS Events are subject to change and cancellation.

EVERY SUN

EVERY SUN

EVERY MON

EVERY TUE

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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THE TO-DO LIST

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

JAN

20

1/7 @ 6 p.m.

1/19 @ 7 p.m.

DOCTOR PAUL Black Bear Country Club, Eustis

THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS The Sharon, The Villages

1/7 @ 7 p.m.

1/21 @ 7 p.m.

AN EVENING WITH JUDY COLLINS The Sharon, The Villages

ETTA MAY AND THE SOUTHERN FRIED Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

1/8 @ noon

1/22 @ 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

OFF WHITE BETTIES Lilly’s on the Lake, Clermont

LORRIE MORGAN Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

1/8 @ 6 p.m.

1/22 @ 7 p.m.

THE HOPPERS First Baptist Church of Leesburg, Leesburg

CHICAGO REWIRED Cascades of Groveland, Groveland

1/8 @ 7 p.m.

1/23 @ 3 p.m.

ELVIS BIRTHDAY BASH Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

POLISH WIENIAWSKI PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA The Sharon, The Villages

1/9 @ 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. URBAN COWBOY REUNION Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

EVENT

ARE YOU READY FOR TEDDY?

1/28 @ 7 p.m. WILLIAMS AND REE Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

1/9 @ 7 p.m. THE VILLAGES PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA The Sharon, The Villages

The fifth annual TEDxEustis event, based on the worldrenowned TED conferences, will feature 14 speakers and several performers sharing their inspirational stories. The speakers were selected from a record 115 applicants from across the U.S. and around the world.

1/28 @ 7:30 p.m. THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL The Sharon, The Villages

1/14 @ 7 p.m. PHIL DIRT AND THE DOZERS Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

1/15 @ noon OFF WHITE BETTIES Lilly’s on the Lake, Clermont

Jan. 20 / Eustis High School Auditorium / 1300 E. Washington Ave. tedxeustis@gmail.com

DIAMOND RIO Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

KENNY CETERA’S CHICAGO EXPERIENCE Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

1/29 @ 5 p.m. OFF WHITE BETTIES Lilly’s on the Lake, Clermont

1/16 @ 2:30 p.m.

1/29 @ 6 p.m.

THE VAN-DELLS Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

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

THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL The Sharon, The Villages

1/29 @ 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

1/15 @ 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Let us help you get the word out!

1/29 @ 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

THE INSPIRATIONS Astatula Baptist Church, Astatula

1/18 @ 7 p.m. THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS The Sharon, The Villages

2/4 @ 6 p.m. DOCTOR PAUL Black Bear Country Club, Eustis

EVERY THU

1ST FRI

1ST FRI

2ND FRI

2ND SAT

4TH SAT

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

Groveland 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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LOCAL TALENT

PEO PLE

Talented artisan Carolyn Wood brings beauty, freshness, and new life to old furniture pieces. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

ust as a cosmetic surgeon does makeovers to enhance one’s appearance, Carolyn Wood does the same by bringing a fresh new look to old, outdated furniture, and her customers love it. “It is fun to take before and after pictures and see the customers’ faces when they come to pick it up,” Carolyn says of the finished pieces. She does furniture refurnishing in the back room of her downtown Mount Dora store, Love Home Harmony, 438 N. Donnelly St. Carolyn often begins her days at 7 a.m., quietly working on her furniture projects before opening Love Home Harmony at

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

11 a.m. to the public. The popular shop features an appealing array of artfully curated collections of new, vintage, and custom-made furniture, art, home décor, jewelry, and unique gifts. On one recent weekday behind the checkout counter of her shop, Carolyn was white-washing and distressing a rocking chair and table. “They were just dark wood, probably 50 years old, and they were beat up,” says Carolyn, pleased by the fresher appearance from the white-washing detail. “A lot of times folks will text me pictures of what they have and send me pictures of what they want it to look like.” Many customers are those who move to Florida from the north with dark wood furniture that they wish to have lightened up to reflect more of a coastal or Floridian décor.

Do you know of a talented person in our community?

One couple had a dining set for years that they wanted redone. “We kept budget in mind and the seats were in great shape,” recalls Carolyn. “So, I said ‘why don’t we have fun and just replace the back panels with something bright and cheery.’” She painted the panels with colorful tropical flowers. “When I took a furniture painting class a long time ago, the instructor said, ‘the furniture will speak to you’ and I believe it,” says Carolyn. “Sometimes when you see a piece and think about it for a little bit and look at it, I start to think this is what is going to make sense. I don’t force anything.” Carolyn plans to offer furniture painting classes this winter to the public. To learn more, visit lovehomeharmony.com or sign up at her shop to be on the email list.

Email their story to theresa@akersmediagroup.com

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ATTRACTIONS

FESTIVAL

BEST FESTS Attending Lake and Sumter festival attractions is a great way for festivalgoers to have fun while supporting local causes, businesses. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

Night Train, a Guns ‘n Roses Tribute Band, during Mardi Gras Party in the Streets in 2020

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he local festival scene is rich in history and accolades. From a list of the top 200 festivals nationwide, the Mount Dora Craft Fair was recently ranked the No. 1 All-Time Favorite Arts and Crafts Festival and a photo of the popular event appeared on the cover of the 50th anniversary issue of Sunshine Artist magazine (published August 2021), which was a big thrill for Janet Gamache, the interim director of Mount Dora Center for the Arts. “Every year they (Sunshine Artist) rank the top 200 festivals, and a couple of years


ago we were ranked No. 4, says Janet, adding she and co-coordinator Brian Young have flown to Chicago and Ohio, sites of previous No. 1 festivals, just to see what makes them great. The pair sat down with coordinators in those cities and talked with exhibitors. “We got some great tips and ideas,” adds Janet, “and we try to incorporate some of those things into our events.” The goal is to always make festivals the best they can be, and Janet will be working on nine Mount Dora festivals in 2022, along with additional festivals in Longwood and Apopka with Brian. “Georgia wants us to come up there,” says Janet, who notes she has enough to keep her busy here. She’s currently focusing on the

47th Mount Dora Arts Festival to be hosted 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 5-6 in the downtown area of Mount Dora where over 250 artists will vie for $18,000 in prize money, including the $5,000 for Best of Show. “We have the best of the best, and we try to keep a nice eclectic mix of art,” says Janet, everything from clay artists, fiber, jewelry, 3D, and paintings. She says nearly 600 artists nationwide submitted their works for consideration in the juried Mount Dora show. Janet is hopeful for a good crowd of festivalgoers. “I always hear we have the best variety, and they love that everything is handmade by the artists.” After the February art festival, Janet will coordinate these additional events:

Mount Dora Spring Festival of Arts and Crafts on March 19-20; Mount Dora Earth Day Celebration on April 17; Mount Dora Blueberry Festival on April 23-24; Mount Dora Craft Fair on Oct. 23; and the Mount Dora Plant and Garden Fair on Nov. 12-13. Asked to name her favorite festival, and Janet hesitates to answer. “That’s hard because they are all so different, and they all support a different cause like the Blueberry Festival is so much fun because there is the blueberry pie eating contest, and all the blueberries are locally sourced from local farms,” says Janet. “We take all of the ingredients to Umatilla High School and the culinary department makes all the pies and all the

FESTIVAL TIPS • During two-day events, Sunday is often the best day to attend with fewer crowds. • Wear comfortable shoes. Mardi Gras Party in the Streets

• Bring cash; the internet could be down and cause problems making purchases from exhibitors. • “Mount Dora is pet-friendly, but we always encourage people to keep their pets at home because the events get so crowded and the animals can get scared,” says Janet Gamache. • Plan your day by checking the festival’s event schedule of activities that is posted on the hosting city or sponsor’s website. • Take advantage of free parking or those offering shuttle service; some residents or organizations offer affordable parking too. • Food vendors and restaurants often have special menus so that people can get in and out quickly.

Leesburg’s Craft Beer, Wine & Food Festival Georgefest

• Visit local shops surrounding the festival. Often the stores will have specials or attractions that make it worth checking out. • In walkable towns like Mount Dora, festivalgoers can order alcoholic beverages at a kiosk or at one of the restaurants. “You can walk around with your cocktail at one of the events and that makes it special for a lot of people,” says Janet.


ATTRACTIONS

2022

LOCAL FESTIVALS JAN 7

JAN 15

JAN 12-14

JAN 22

JAN 27-30

First Friday Street Fest

The Kickoff Festival

Central Florida Film Festival

Lake Sumter Arts & Craft Festival

Ferran Park, Eustis

Minneola Trailhead Park, Minneola

Epic Theatres, Mount Dora

Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages

Florida Storytelling Festival Lakeside Inn, Mount Dora

JAN 30

FEB 5-6

FEB 5-6

FEB 11

FEB 10-11

FEB 12

Jazz on the Lawn Howey Mansion, Howey-in-the-Hills

Mount Dora Arts Festival

Art & Crafts Festival

Sumter Winter Extravaganza

Central Florida Dulcimer Festival

Mardi Gras Party in the Streets

Downtown Mount Dora

Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages

Sumter County Fairgrounds, Bushnell

First Baptist Church, Mount Dora

Downtown Leesburg

FEB 12-13

FEB 17-20

FEB 18-20

FEB 19-20

FEB 25-27

MAR 4

Spanish Springs Craft Festival

Bassmaster Elite Series

Lake County Balloon Festival

Georgefest Downtown Eustis

First Friday Street Fest

Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages

Venetian Gardens, Leesburg

Sheets Airport, Groveland

Scottish Highlands Festival

proceeds go to Lake Cares Food Pantry. And with the Plant and Garden Fair, the event supports the local nurseries; we have all of these really exotic plants that you can’t find at the big box stores.” She also loves seeing the Spring Festival of Arts and Craft and the Mount Dora Craft Fair in the fall each attracting 425 crafters to showcase their talents, and she’s proud the festivals are free events for people to enjoy. Janet can often be spotted on a Segway overseeing the festivals and interacting with the crowd. Hearing the words “best show ever always feels good,” she says.

Mardi Gras fun Leesburg will kick off 2022 with a festival Mardi Gras celebration, and it all starts with the Mardi Gras Mixer Kick-Off, 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 13, at Leesburg Center for the Arts, for a fun-filled night with rival

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Ferran Park, Eustis

Downtown Mount Dora

contestants vying for votes to be King Rex and Queen Divine of Mardi Gras. A $5 cover charge gets attendees a full cash bar, DJ, dancing, and great food. “We are really looking forward to the Mardi Gras season,” says Joanie Smalley, executive director of the Leesburg Partnership, adding in addition to mixers, there will be a reverse draw, Mardi Gras Ball, and the festive Party in the Street with three parades, games, festive food, and music. The crowning of King Rex and Queen Divine will be the highlight of the Mardi Gras Ball, 7-11 p.m. Feb. 11, at the Venetian Center, where admission runs $25 to $50, and the event is expected to attract 500 to the ball. Up to 5,000 people are expected to attend the free, festive Mardi Gras Party in the Street on Feb. 12, which will start with the 11 a.m. kids’ parade, 2 p.m. pet parade, and 7 p.m. main parade. The Party in the

Street will feature live entertainment, street performers, stilt walkers, jugglers, tight rope walkers, fire eaters and more. Festivalgoers will also be entertained by the sounds of great New Orleans style Marching Jazz Bands, Cajun Zydeco and Blues all live on two stages.

120th Georgefest Eustis lays claim for having the longest running festival in Florida to celebrate the birthday of George Washington, and it’s also the second-longest-running celebration behind Laredo, Texas, in honoring the nation’s first U.S. president. The city’s 120th Georgefest will be a three-day celebration Feb. 25-27 in the heart of Downtown Eustis, and will feature a carnival, live music, fireworks, big parade, vendors, food, etc., with an overall festival theme of “Let the Good Times Roll.” Fireworks will light up the sky around 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, followed by the


MAR 4-6

MAR 4-12

MAR 11-13

MAR 18

MAR 19-20

APR 7-16

The Villages Balloon Festival

Sumter County Fair

Leesburg Arts Festival

Wine & Seafood Festival

Spring Festival of Arts & Crafts

Lake County Fair

Villages Polo Club, The Villages

Sumter County Fairgrounds, Bushnell

Downtown Leesburg

Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards, Clermont

Downtown Mount Dora

Lake County Fairgrounds in Eustis

APR 16-17

APR 17

APR 23-24

JUN 3

JUN 11

JUL 1

Arts & Craft Festival

Mount Dora Blueberry Festival

First Friday Street Fest

Clermont Caribbean Jerk Festival

First Friday Street Fest

Brownwood Paddock Square, The Villages

Mount Dora Earth Day Celebration Downtown Mount Dora

Downtown Mount Dora

JUL 3

JUL 4

JUL 4

AUG 13-14

SEPT 15-17

SEPT 17

Freedom on the Waterfront

Leesburg’s Fourth of July Celebration

Red, White, & Boom

Florida Highwaymen Art Show

Mount Dora Elvis Festival

Downtown Clermont

Elizabeth Evans Park, Mount Dora

Venetian Gardens, Leesburg

OCT 23

OCT 22-23

Mount Dora Craft Fair

Great Floridian Multisports Festival

Downtown Mount Dora

Waterfront Park, Clermont

Ferran Park, Eustis

Ferran Park, Eustis

Waterfront Park, Clermont

Sips & Salsa

Downtown Mount Dora

Community Building Theater, Mount Dora

NOV 12-13

NOV 26

DEC 2

DEC 31

Plant & Garden Fair

Light Up Mount Dora

Christmas Walk

New Year’s Eve Celebration

Downtown Mount Dora

Downtown Mount Dora

Downtown Mount Dora

Downtown Mount Dora

Waterfront Park, Clermont Note: Additional festivals being planned for 2022 did not have dates set by the magazine’s press time.

George Washington Birthday Parade, traditionally hosted the following morning, at 10 a.m. Feb. 26, where the streets of Eustis will be flooded with people of all ages gathered to see the artistic floats that will glide through Bay Street. The theme “Let the Good Times Roll” will be on display during the parade. Georgefest’s modest beginning can be traced back to the Ocklawaha House that was built in 1876 as a hotel to serve the many tradesmen traveling through the area. Historical records note in 1902 construction was in the works to enlarge the hotel, and on Feb. 22, 1902, Eustis residents held a celebration to honor of Washington’s birthday and Florida’s early heritage.

The city expanded with a parade of Ford Model Ts and over the years Georgefest has grown immensely, and this year’s parade is expected to feature over 60 parade entries. Eustis organizers are working away to make the 120th Georgefest a great event. “It’s the 120th one and it is very exciting and definitely awesome,” says Christine Guiffre, events’ assistant to Miranda Muir, the tourism and events manager for Eustis. “We usually see on average between 20,000 and 30,000 people for the three-day weekend in total.” Christine says Georgefest is a festival Eustis residents and businesses look forward to since it brings a lot of people downtown.

“I just love seeing how much the citizens enjoy the event. The city always has these free to the public, so it’s a great event for people to come out and enjoy with their families,” she says, adding there will be plenty of free parking. The parade is a top attraction along with headliner entertainment. The bands and performers for Georgefest were not available at press time. However, Christine encourages festivalgoers to check Eustis.org closer to Georgefest for a full schedule of festival events and entertainment.

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 theresa@akersmediagroup.com

THERESA CAMPBELL


HI, SOCIETY!

Joshua Adams, Alex Foster, Alfred Josey, and Lynne Winker

Dave Espey, Ian Blackmore, and Chad Swaggerty Jim Boss and Andre Nacaxe

Reed Sanders, Devin Melvin, Melanie Melvin, and Kristine Howard

Shane Hamilton, Austin Carlson, Jason Kendall, and Kevin Carlson

Jake Boyce and Ben Brumels

Tom Fross, Steve Autry, George Lasko, and John Moreland

TA K I N G A I M @ BLACKJACK SPORTING CLAYS ≈ PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO. At Blackjack Sporting Clays in Sumterville, firearm enthusiasts squinted down the barrel of their shotguns and pulled the trigger. Clay targets shattered in the air and showered the ground like a million fire sparks. This was the scene at the Bourbon, BBQ & Bustin’ Clays event. Those who purchased tickets were treated to a continental breakfast and barbecue lunch and received ammunition and a golf cart rental. An award ceremony recognized the event’s top sharpshooters.

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Matt Fernandez, Condi Falanga. Josh Gonzalez, and Liz Cornell

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CJ Welch

Heather Moore

Back Row: Reeses Ponds, Meagann Goodridge, and Makenna Richey Front Row: Hartley Sellars, and Allison Carter

Randy and Sue Keuntjes

S K I B E AC H E XC I T E M E N T @ VENETIAN GARDENS ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. Ski Beach Bar & Restaurant construction kick-off on Nov. 17 was attended by hundreds of people eager for a glimpse of what they can expect when Leesburg’s first Lakeside venue opens in the summer of 2022. Guests were treated to an exciting water ski-show, beer, wine, giveaways, and food samples of the Florisiana cuisine the Ski Beach Bar & Restaurant will feature. Owner Randy Keuntjes says the foods will be a fusion of Cajun, Creole, low country, barbecue, and Spanish flavors. The event was sponsored by Jenkins Auto Group of Leesburg.

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HI, SOCIETY!

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC


villages PEOPLE. PLACES. EVENTS.

The sweet sounds of nostalgia

Time well spent

A real Jedi you’ll be

Bobby Vignapiano has a way of soothing the soul and transporting people back in time.

Nancy Stampahar gives Villagers great tips on living the good life after retirement.

The Villages Light Saber Club gives members the opportunity to wield the force, all in the name of fun.


IN THE VILLAGES

CO MMENTARY

Strive for a happy, healthy New Year Villagers, make 2022 your best year yet. COMMENTARY: JAMES COMBS

emember the 1980s hit song “I’m so Excited” by The Pointer Sisters? With 2022 here, I’m very excited and I just can’t hide it! Actually, I have this joyful feeling with the arrival of each New Year. Why? Because I look at it as a new beginning; a time for a fresh start. Most likely, you experienced some disappointing moments in 2021. I know I did. Yes, I was diagnosed with cancer. But rather than dwell on that, I look to the future with great hope and expectations. I feel confident that 2022 is going to be an outstanding year. Why? I took the time to methodically plan out lifestyle changes—small changes that will lead to big results down the road and help me overcome this awful disease. Now that Christmas is over and every last crumb from all those holiday goodies are long gone, you have the opportunity to make similar changes. Perhaps you can lose weight, exercise regularly, or stop smoking. Whatever changes you desire, set goals, and map out a plan to achieve them. Try not to become derailed on your journey to better health. A positive, ‘can-do’ attitude will go a long way in helping you reach your goals. Think how these changes will enhance your life and make you a more confident, happier person. There is NO excuse why you cannot make healthy lifestyle changes. As residents of The Villages, you have an abundance of resources right at your fingertips. Why not look into joining The Village Canoe and Kayak Club or The Village Bicycle Club? Or why not join a dance class, yoga class, or martial arts class? Not only will you experience better health; you will also meet new friends. Socializing is an important aspect of maintaining good health. I wish everybody the best of luck in fulfilling all your 2022 goals. With that said, I feel it’s appropriate to end this column with an inspirational quote by Neil Gaiman, an English author. “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”

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

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MEET A VILLAGER

PEO PLE

Nancy Stampahar A compassionate woman helps retirees live meaningful and fulfilled lives. INTERVIEWER: JAMES COMBS

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

Career: I am a retirement life coach, which means I concentrate on the nonfinancial aspect of retirement. I focus on the emotional, mental, and physical well-being of retirees. There are lots of changes that happen when we leave the workplace. Retired people think they’re going to be free, but they become shocked when they retire. Struggles that retirees face: They have an identity crisis. Who am I and what am I without my work? The other big change people go through is relationships. Their social network from the workforce is gone. If they’re an empty nester, the kids are gone. Also, the activities of retirees change. If they struggle to take care of their health, then they’re not going to play golf, softball, or other fun games.

Desired tombstone inscription: Be kind. Be happy. Passion for your career: I love being of service. Growing up, my mom was a single parent. I had a special-needs brother and grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease. I was forced into a caregiver role at a young age. I had to bathe my grandmother and help get her ready for doctor’s appointments. That’s where I started my affinity for seniors. Another reason why I’m drawn to seniors is because I formerly served as a domestic violence community

educator working with elder abuse. What I learned is that it’s friends, a child, a niece, or nephew who are the abusers. They take their assets or refuse to give them their medications.

Hobbies: I walk three or four times a week. I’m also involved in a group for The Villages called Working Women. There is a huge population of Villagers working in some capacity. One word to describe myself: Enthusiastic. One food I love but probably shouldn’t eat: Publix fried chicken.

Pet peeve: I don’t like negative attitudes. You can whine for a while, but eventually you must do something about it.

Role model: My mom, Carol Boll. She went from being on welfare to earning a law degree at age 37. She was a single parent who completed nine years of night school to earn her degree. I followed in her footsteps. I dropped out of high school and ended up earning a degree in human resource management at age 35. Favorite color: It has always been green but is now shifting to blue. Seriously, it’s a tossup.

Do you know an interesting Villager?

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Email james@akersmediagroup.com


new year

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MUSIC

TURNING BACK THE

CLOCK Bobby Vignapiano brings back the timeless songs of yesterday.

STORY: JAMES COMBS

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL ≈ DESIGN: MEGAN MERICLE

he room goes dark. As the singer makes his appearance on stage, a spotlight projects a bright beam of light onto him. Simultaneously, batteryoperated candle lights turn on at each of the round tables where men and women wearing tuxedos and dresses smile and laugh. Then, their attention turns to the singer’s beautiful voice. He performs timeless music from simpler times, a blast from the past. Dean Martin’s “Return to Me” and “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.” Frank Sinatra’s

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“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Nice n’ Easy.” Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and “Rags to Riches.” The scene is reminiscent of the lounge shows popular in the 1940s and 1950s at venues such as Copacabana in New York City and various Las Vegas lounges. They were small, intimate venues where spectators would excitedly listen to popular singers and clink their glasses in celebration. On this night in October, though, the performance described above took place at the Seabreeze Recreation Center in The Villages. The singer, Bobby Vignapiano, spent 10 months


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“I KNOW THEY’RE HAVING A GOOD TIME BECAUSE I LOOK OUT IN THE AUDIENCE AND SEE PEOPLE SMILING AND NODDING TO MY MUSIC. IT BRINGS THEM BACK TO THE DAYS WHEN THEY WERE IN THEIR PRIME.” — B O B BY V I G NA P I A N O

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planning for the show, which he affectionately named “Lounging With Bobby V.” All the hard work is worth it. After performing 35 songs, he receives a standing ovation and is showered with compliments. “I wanted the atmosphere to resemble the old lounge room acts with the room decorated like the old supper clubs,” he says. “My show was a tribute to that era and people just loved it. I’ve been to a lot of shows in The Villages and never remember the audience being that quiet and hanging onto every word I sang and every story I told. I got up there on stage and sang each song without having to look at a screen. God blessed me with a good memory.” This is a comeback for Bobby, who became enthralled with music at a young age. During his teenage years, he listened to guys in his Brooklyn neighborhood who were hanging out on street corners singing, “Shooby dooby wap” in four-part harmonies. Man, the sound was sweet. So much so that Bobby eventually became lead singer of a doo wop and rock band called the Demolyrs, which performed from 1964 to 1982 in bars, lounges, and at wedding venues throughout New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. After years away from the music scene, Bobby, a 75-year-old resident of The Villages, has once found his way back onto the stage. He’s sings songs from the Great American Songbook, which is not actually a book but rather a term that applies to classic songs so familiar they are woven into cultural fabric. Bobby primarily performs in country clubs and recreation centers in The Villages. For his growing fanbase, the music is a personal time machine to youth and cherished memories. “Radio stations no longer play this kind of music because the audience for ‘50s and ‘60s music is declining,” Bobby says. “Therefore, it’s a lot of

fun for people in The Villages to hear live music and songs they enjoyed in their younger years. I know they’re having a good time because I look out in the audience and see people smiling and nodding to my music. It brings them back to the days when they were in their prime.” Bobby, a retired architectural consultant, moved to The Villages in 2016 with no plans of resuming his singing career. However, he experienced a change of heart after attending several live music shows at local country clubs. “I thought to myself, ‘I could do this again,’” he says. First, he had to transition from performing with a group to performing solo. Second, he needed a way to distinguish himself from other entertainers. “People loved big bands from the Great American Songbook,” he says. “I started singing those songs and people started attending my shows. People remember these songs from their youth, and that helped me develop a nice fanbase.”

HIS JOURNEY INTO MUSIC When Bobby was growing up, doo wop bands could be found on every street corner in Brooklyn. Doo wop was an inexpensive and creative outlet that could be sung anywhere, by anyone, at any time. All a musician needed were some voices and a street corner. Many young singers of that era did not have access to instruments or music lessons, making a cappella music like doo-wop an inexpensive creative outlet. Fortunately, doo-wop could be sung anywhere, by anyone, at any time. Many doo wop groups emerged from the streets of northeastern cities like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York City. Groups would sing in subway stations, in stairwells of apartments, and in high school bathrooms. Then they would stake out a street corner and sing for anyone

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MUSIC

who would listen. For teenagers in the 1950s and early 1960s, doo wop brings back memories with friends at the malt shop, Friday night dances, and first romances. Bobby fell in love with the genre and eventually formed his own doo wop band, the Demolyrs. The band seemed destined for stardom after signing with United World Records, a recording company in New York, and then releasing three 45 RPM records. Unfortunately, the Vietnam War brought the band’s momentum to a screeching halt. All five band members were drafted into the service. One never returned. “The record company pulled back on two prior releases, and the first release didn’t go anywhere,” Bobby says. The band adapted by performing rock n’ roll in the late 1960s and then doo-wop revivals in the 1970s. In fact, the band toured with some of the earliest doo-wop groups such as The Platters, The Angels, and The Shirelles. “We’d work in clubs and bars from about 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.,” he recalls. “We had lots of fun, but we’d certainly be tired by the end.” The Demolyrs later performed at weddings and in lounges before disbanding in 1982. “I loved being an entertainer, I loved being on stage, and I loved the opportunity to let the audience have a good time and dance to our music,” Bobby says. “Fans kept coming back to listen to us. It wasn’t just a group of people who happened to stop at a restaurant, and we were there. They kept coming back week after week because they enjoyed our music.”

TAKING CENTER STAGE AGAIN Today, Bobby is equally excited about being back in the musical spotlight. Though he now performs solo, he feels completely at ease being alone

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on stage without a band or dancers to keep him company. “It’s not a problem for me, and I enjoy being the center of attention,” he says. “For good showmanship, you have to have confidence to be able to awe your audience.” One of Bobby’s favorite venues is the Moyer Recreation Center, where he performs a half-hour show on the first Thursday of each month. “The room is set up like a concert venue,” he says. “The show brings 150 people who are in folding chairs, and I’m on the same floor level as the audience. My personality lends me to have intimate contact with the audience.” Of course, Bobby utilizes more than his beautiful voice and big personality to captivate a crowd. Sharing interesting stories of singers and songwriters also helps him connect with his audience. One such story revolves around songwriter Johnny Mercer, who had a long-running affair with actress Judy Garland. After Judy ran off and married someone else, Johnny was crushed, prompting him to write the song “One for my Baby.” The song was later recorded by Frank Sinatra. “Singers and songwriters don’t just write songs out of the blue; there are emotions behind the words,” Bobby says. “The audience really enjoys some of these stories because they are hearing the story for the first time. People come up to me and tell me that every time they hear a certain song that they’re going to remember the story I told them about that song. It makes them appreciate the song even more.” Both the songs and stories trigger a deeply nostalgic emotional experience for his audience. “I know I have the audience under control when they’re looking at me and smiling,” he says. “That’s a great feeling. Singing also gives me so much enjoyment and keeps me young.”


Photo provided by Bobby Vignapiano.

“SINGING ALSO GIVES ME SO MUCH ENJOYMENT AND KEEPS ME YOUNG.” — B O B BY V I G NA P I A N O

IF YOU GO

Bobby’s 2022 performances with Blast From the Past include:

2/24 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Riverbend Recreation Center

3/3 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

3/17 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Aviary Recreation Center

4/7 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

5/5 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

6/2 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

7/7 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

8/4 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

9/1 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

10/6 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

10/20 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

11/3 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center

11/17 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Aviary Recreation Center

12/1 @ 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Moyer Recreation Center *Writer’s Note: Bobby is also planning a repeat performance of his one-man show, “Lounging With Bobby V,” though a date has not been confirmed.

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BOOK CLUB

REVIEW

Timely book ‘Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World’ by Vivek H. Murthy, MD. STORY: KATHY PORTER

r. Vivek H. Murthy is the 19th and 21st Surgeon General of the United States. In his groundbreaking book, “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World,” his vast research cites loneliness as the root cause of many physical ailments, including, depression, alcoholism, and opioid addiction. But just as this book was going to press early in 2020, the United States faced its greatest test in one hundred years as the COVID-19

pandemic swept the world. Overnight, the closeness we as humans crave became dangerous and potentially lethal. The expression “social distancing” was added to our vocabulary. Dr. Murthy maintains that now, more than ever, it is imperative to find ways to meet the crisis together. He offers four key strategies to weather the pandemic and deal with the extreme loneliness we feel: 1. Spend time each day with those you love. Devote 15 minutes each day to connect to those you love and care about. Reach out, not only to immediate family members, but to friends and acquaintances by phone or video conference. 2. Focus on each other. Give the other person the gift of your full attention, making eye contact, if possible, and genuinely listening.

3. Embrace solitude. The first step toward building stronger connections with others is to build a stronger connection with oneself. Meditation, prayer, art, music, and time spent outdoors, all can be sources of solitary comfort and joy. 4. Help and be helped. Giving and receiving strengthen our social bonds. Checking on a neighbor, seeking advice, even just offering a smile to a stranger six feet away, can make us stronger.

In addition to the key strategies above, Dr. Murthy’s book offers us many insights on how to combat loneliness. The book fills us with hope as we read about the people who have emerged from loneliness to lead healthier and better lives. As another COVID variant rears its ugly head, Dr. Murthy gives the tools to conquer the loneliness that has been thrust upon us.

Want to read more about how Dr. Vivek H. Murphy, M.D. suggests you fight loneliness? “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World’,” can be found at Target, Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, or on Amazon.

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SOCIAL CLUB SPOTLIGHT

PEO PLE

‘Star Wars’ action The Villages Light-Saber Club allows members to enjoy the fun and safety of fencing like a real Jedi. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

n a galaxy far, far away, virtuous Jedi knights use lightsaber weapons to cut through any surface and deflect energy bolts, but in The Villages, one doesn’t need the OK from Master Yoda to act out their “Star Wars” fantasy of lightsaber fencing. In the fencing square, the Villagers’ swords are polycarbonate weapons with a long tubular light blade flashing in different neon colors and the hilt (handle) has a sound card and speaker to emit the thwacking, clashing, whooshing sound effects that are reminiscent of the iconic weapons Yoda and other characters wielded in George Lucas’ blockbuster movies. And that’s part of the appeal for the 12 members (and growing) of The Villages Light-Saber Club, which meets twice a week at 9:30 a.m. Mondays at Odell Recreation Center and 11 a.m. Thursdays at El Santiago Recreation Center. The group—the first and only one in Florida—formed in the spring of 2019 and is affiliated with the parent organization, Lightspeed Saber League of CA.

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≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

“We are the only (lightsaber) group for 50 or older possibly in the world,” says Mark Ackerle, the local club’s lead representative, who considers the sport a fun activity and one that is great for balance. Cindy Ackerle learned of the sport first and told her husband, “I want to do this!” She looks forward to every chance to suit up in safety equipment of helmet, and protective gear for her body, arms, and gloves to participate in the full-length, face-toface bouts of lightsaber fencing. During a typical meeting, the group also practices drills and light bouting exercises. Non-sparring members are welcome and may assist as timekeepers, referees, and supporters. “I enjoy the activity and the camaraderie that we have,” says Cindy. “These are like my brothers and sisters, and they are awesome. The activity is exhilarating, and it is great exercise. Afterwards, we will be drenched.” She adds that Gary Thiedman is one of her favorite people to fence. “He looks scary, but he is a teddy bear.” There are several styles of light-based fencing, and Mark says the Lightspeed Saber League’s style makes the most sense for the club to follow in The Villages. He adds the league’s way was easiest to implement, get started, and that it offered well-defined rules regarding safety and procedures.


"THIS IS JUST AS GREAT AS WHEN YOU WERE A KID AND IT’S FUN." –MARK ACKERLE

He also liked that it could accommodate Villagers’ individuals’ abilities and older age of being 50-plus. The league advocates using a longer, thinner diameter tubular blade, which Mark noted is faster, less impactful, and safer to fence with and against. “After researching the sport, Lightspeed Saber League appeared to have the best and most logical style which with to affiliate,” says Mark. “The lighter, longer, faster blades, with a life-like combat format, specific rules, and rigorous safety standards were just too good to say ‘no’ to.” The physicality of a lightsaber duel also is one reason why the French Fencing Federation has recognized lightsaber fencing as an international sport, and the Villages LightSaber Club strives to grow its membership of male and female participants and to see the sport be included in The Villages Senior Games in the future. Many of The Villages’ lightsaber members also are active in The Villages Fencing Club, which has been in operation for six years. Fencing activities have included bi-weekly practices, an annual club tournament, and an

open USFA-sanctioned tournament each year in the Veteran 50+ age group. As the lead Florida representative in the Lightspeed Saber League, Mark can assist any group of individuals in other communities interested in forming their own club of light-base fencing, all within following the parameters of the league’s regulations. Mark and his peers believe one of the fun aspects of the sport is that it’s a modern-day, fast, safe, realistic version of fencing that they enjoyed playing as kids. “Who among us as children has not practiced fake sword bouts, like the action we used to see in movies?” says Mark. “This is just as great as when you were a kid and it’s fun.” Mark encourages Villagers interested in the sport to watch videos that are available at The Villages Light-Saber Club website: lightspeedSaber.com. Residents can also obtain more information about the local club by emailing him at mackerle@hotmail.com.

Want to see your club in Social Club Spotlight? Send your suggestions to theresa@akersmediagroup.com

THERESA CAMPBELL

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healthy living MIND. BODY. SPIRIT.

Cara Blanchard eases stress and anxiety using yoga, breathwork and her riding companions.


INSPIRATION

PEO PLE

HANDLE WITH CARE The Villages doctor helps restore best quality of life. STORY AND PHOTOS: CINDY PETERSON

na Sapijaszko is a doctor of physical therapy aiming to improve the lives of those who suffer from balance and lymphedema issues at her new practice, Fyzical Therapy & Balance Center in The Villages South. “When patients come to me, many of them can’t walk, or can’t walk well,” Ana says. “It’s so very heartwarming to see people start to enjoy their life again as we identify the problem and work to restore their quality of life. You can see their entire mood and mental health change. Falling, stumbling, leg and arm swelling is debilitating and really takes a toll on their confidence, and we want to restore that.” Ana graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of the City of Manila in the Philippines in 2004, and came to practice in the United States in 2015. She moved to The Villages and worked firsthand with the major issues hindering most patients’ post-surgery, treatment, and injury. Not only was imbalance a leading cause in injury, but many patients also who have undergone surgery, cancer treatment, trauma, radiation, or infections suffer from lymphedema which causes swelling of a body part in the lymphatic vessels caused by fluid buildup. Seeing these issues, Ana widened her scope and earned her doctorate in physical therapy from Utica College in 2019. She is a certified lymphedema therapist, LSVT Big provider (Parkinson’s Disease) and a vestibular therapist.

“Someone falls every 11 seconds due to balance issues,” Ana says. “Balance is the number one complaint of patients over the age of 70 and if not taken care of, it can lead to injuries like hip fractures or worse.” At her practice, Ana uses state-of-the-art technology to identify the cause of balance and dizziness issues which fall into one of three categories: visual, sensory, and vestibular. Through a personalized one-on-one physical therapy plan, Ana works to restore the issues and get the patients back to their best quality of life. “Another issue that is major in this area is lymphedema,” Ana says. “A lot of people aren’t aware of it. I had a patient come in who just thought she was gaining weight. After a while, she found out she had cellulitis and it became a life-or-death situation. She came in very depressed and asked if I could help her. Her legs were so swollen, she didn’t want to wear garments that showed her legs. I was able to work with her and watch how excited she became through her journey.” Ana’s biggest advice to anyone with balance or swelling issues is to get checked out before injury happens. “I am here to serve,” Ana says. “Everyone deserves to love their life and live it to the fullest.”

Do you know someone who is a healthy inspiration? Email your recommendations to editorial@akersmediagroup.com

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BODY

v

A breath of fresh air If looking to learn how to ride, stretch or breathe better, there’s a one-stop barn in Eustis that can have you gaiting in that direction successfully in no time. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

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Photo taken by Nicole Hamel.

orses are Cara Blanchard Kilbourne’s passion. She’s been riding since she was a child and today, she not only competes nationally in dressage, but teaches others the art form by way of a professional training program she developed more than 16 years ago. “I was in middle school when I decided that horse trainer was what I was going to do with my life and I just kind of dove in head first,” Cara says, explaining that between teaching, competing and showing her horses, she cannot think of anything else she’d rather do. In 2020, and like all of the world after being suddenly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, Cara could not teach or show. Looking back now, however, she considers it somewhat of a blessing in disguise because during that time off, several new passions of hers were born. The first is Ian, a baby boy she and her husband Matt Kilbourne welcomed into the world, and the second is yoga, a technique Cara tried in order to get back in the shape physically after giving birth to Ian. The third presented itself unexpectedly when things began opening back up and Cara began talking about getting back into showing her horses, that is, until Matt pointed something out that opened her eyes to a whole new world. “When I started talking about getting back into showing, my husband was like, ‘Are you sure you want to do that? Do you really have fun doing it, because when you are showing, your nerves are through the roof?’” Cara says Matt asked her. And that is when something just clicked. “After that, I began thinking about my own experiences. I also began watching my students more closely, and realized just how many equestrians have horse show anxiety. It’s a problem to the point that some riders can’t even perform, and some people forget what they’re doing. It’s bad and it’s crazy when it really should be fun,” Cara says. With that, she explains why. “It’s just that everybody works so hard at it. You train, you practice, but yet, we have zero control over what our horses do, like for instance, you wonder if they’re going to get spooked, how they’re going to act, what

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BODY

the weather’s gonna be like, because things like that affect horses’ moods,” she adds. After that, Matt asked Cara to try something he’d come across on YouTube, and that had been helping him deal with his own stresses – deep breathing; and more specifically, the Wim Hof breathing method. “Wim Hof is well known for being able to withstand freezing temperatures, but most of all, for his breathwork meditations. He’s been on Joe Rogan, and on other huge podcasts, and even Joe Rogan has said he does the Wim Hof breathing before he goes on stage in front of 30k people, so I began doing it,” Matt says. “I told Cara about it because I thought it might help her like it was helping me, since she was always so stressed before shows, but she was very resistant at first.” “She basically told me, ‘I don’t need anyone telling me how to breathe,” he adds. Pretty soon, however, Cara realized that breathing was a big part of the yoga she was already doing, so she gave it a try. Her only regret is not having discovered it sooner. “I started doing it and noticed a huge change in my nerves and I convinced my students to do it at horse shows this year and it’s helped them, too,” Cara says. “The most basic exercise only takes five minutes, but it’s really changed our lives, so I thought, you know what? I have to get certified.” Today, Cara is not only certified as a breathing coach, as a yoga instructor, in Yin Yoga, mediation, mindfulness, Chakra Energy Healing and the Law of Attraction, but she leads classes that combine yoga’s stretching and flexibility exercises, with breathwork, mindfulness, the law of attraction and yes, her horses. Cara’s yoga studio, Stable Yoga at Cara Blanchard Training, is outside in her barn, alongside her long-time riding companions. And Cara says her yoga classes may be a little different than the traditional classes people may expect or be used to. “We’re just hanging in the barn doing yoga and the horses are doing their thing so people may hear some snorting, and other horse noises

and sounds, but it’s nice,” Cara explains. “Another thing is I don’t do music with my yoga classes, because we are listening to nature out here in the stables. We’ll hear the trees scraping on the roof, the wind, birds, the horses, whatever goes on outside in nature.” As for the benefits, Cara says they are everything one may expect from a yoga class and more. “I feel much stronger from doing yoga, and without straining anything. Also, I personally love the health benefits of breathwork and how much it’s elevated my confidence level.” Cara says, explaining further how it works. “What we control with our breath is our nervous system, which is turn, controls our digestive system, which is why when we get anxious, we get an upset stomach,” Cara says. “Our CO2 (carbon dioxide) is cut off when we are anxious because we breathe quicker, so while we’re getting more oxygen, we’re not getting as much carbon dioxide to our bloodstream and we need our vascular system dilated, which is where CO2 comes in. It helps with our digestive system, so that’s why they say your stomach is in knots because everything is all connected.” According to information on wimhofmethod.com, the breathing technique is first and foremost premised on inhaling deeply and exhaling without any use of force. Additionally, the benefits of the Wim Hof’s breathing exercises include stress reduction, faster recovery from physical exertion, better sleep, improved sports performance, enhanced creativity, more focus on mental clarity, and the reduced symptoms of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, asthma, sarcoidosis, vasculitis, and several autoimmune diseases. “I think it’s fascinating,” Cara adds. She also uses the breathwork and law of attraction training for her dressage students. “For instance, people constantly think about all the bad things that could happen with horses, like if they are going to get spooked, about them bucking, things like that, but what if instead, we focus on, ‘What do we want it to look like and feel like?’” Cara says. “If we focus on the perfect circle, on


“I FEEL MUCH STRONGER FROM DOING YOGA.” Photos of Cara riding horse and yoga class provided by Cara Kilbourne. Photos of Cara (on left) and Cara and her horse (center) taken by Nicole Hamel.

— CARA BLANCHARD KILBOURNE

the perfect halt, or envision riding safely and peacefully, things like that, we can make it come true as best as possible. It helps calm any fears.” Two of Cara’s yoga students: Dawn Fauvet from Umatilla, and her daughter Brianna Furtes from Eustis, are loving the entire experience. “I have a long history of some unfortunate traumatic events and suffer from stress and anxiety, but Cara’s class and the breathwork she’s teaching us, has done a lot for me, as far as dealing with that on a regular basis,” Brianna says. “I’ve also had some physical injuries, but the yoga helps stretch my muscles using easy movements, and the best part of it all, is that it’s outside with the horses all around us in the stables. I’ve been around horses all my life and just love it.” Dawn has anxiety and has ridden in the past. She has been thinking about getting back into it, but hasn’t completely gotten over her fears following a horseback riding accident she was involved in about 20 years ago. Dawn says she hopes that being around the horses and practicing the breathwork Cara teaches, will allow her to regain her confidence and ride again one day. For now however, her goal is better sleep.

Cara’s yoga favs and more: Favorite pose: Warrior 1 Hardest pose: Crow pose Best stretch: Child’s pose Best leg stretch: Happy Baby Best poses for breathwork: Easy pose and Savasana

“I had never heard of breathwork, but it is amazing. In fact, after the first time trying it, I didn’t feel anxious about anything; it was probably the most relaxed I’ve been in so long,” Dawn says, adding that she has issues sleeping, so she’s eager to see if the breathwork will help her relax and fall back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night. “I feel taking these classes has been a really, really interesting experience. From the minute I stepped foot on the property, it felt so tranquil there, and Cara’s personality is calming.” But Cara’s students are not the only ones benefitting. “I own eight horses, four are part of my dressage riding school, the others are my personal and retired horses. My barn is slowly on its way to becoming a retirement home for my 4-legged kids,” Cara says on Facebook, adding that, “Instead, it’s now a yoga studio.” Cara offers dressage training classes during the week and on Sundays and selected Tuesday nights, she offers the Stable Yoga classes. Soon, she will also be offering pre-recorded online courses. Through that, she hopes to continue making a difference by helping riders and people just looking for more balance in their lives. Cara says if you would have asked her five years ago, what she’d be doing, yoga probably wouldn’t have been a mention, nor would breathwork. Now, like her horses and riding, she can’t imagine life without them. “I can say I’ve never been happier. I’ve enjoyed seeing how this transforms people almost immediately, and recently, many of the training lesson spots I’ve filled have all been riders who have anxiety, so it’s really been rewarding to be able to help them,” Cara says. For more information about classes, dates, and times, visit CaraBlanchard.com or search Stable Yoga at Cara Blanchard Training on Facebook or Instagram.

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2023

Presents

2023 LAKE COUNTY TEACHERS OF THE YEAR

s e e n i m No

RACHEL SADLEMIRE KELLY COTTA CHRISTINE WINIFRED CLARK BRIDGET WENDT MELISSA MCCORMICK ANGELICA GOMEZ Astatula Elementary Beverly Shores Elementary Carver Middle Clermont Elementary Cypress Ridge Elementary East Ridge High

JOIE MOREY Eustis High

LONNIE KEYES JUDITH ARBELO Eustis Elementary Eustis Heights Elementary

KAITLIN BAXTER KATHERINE SELF ELIZABETH PRESLEY LAUREN WILKINS MICHELLE COLEMAN DANIEL VANDEMARK JESSICA A. ROBAUS KATELYNN COLEMAN Fruitland Park Elementary Grassy Lake Elementary Gray Middle Groveland Elementary Imagine South Lake Lake Minneola High Lake Pointe Academy Eustis Middle

DERRICK SNEED KATHY ROBERTS Lake Success Academy Lake Technical College

LAURA BURY Lake Virtual

MELISSA THORNTON KELLI ANN KILLION AMY SAWYER Mount Dora Middle Pinecrest Lakes Middle High Pine Ridge Elementary

CHRISTINA FARYNA Spring Creek Charter

JENNIFER MARTIN East Ridge Middle

LOUISA BELL Tavares Elementary

COURTNEY STOKES Tavares High

DANIELLE NEWTON Leesburg Elementary

AMY WIDMANN Rimes ELLC

PATRICK KELLY Leesburg High

MAGGIE COVENEY MARISOL MONTERO Mascotte Charter Lost Lake Elementary

DAVID HAMILTON Minneola Charter

ALEXANDER MEROLA CHRISTINA ELEMEN-LEES ROBIN STEWART TRISTA SPENCER Round Lake Charter Sawgrass Bay Elementary Seminole Springs Elementary Sorrento Elementary

MICHAEL UHRICH Mount Dora High

ELIZABETH BAINS South Lake High

SUZANNA DRASHEFF LASHONNA PEREZ THERESE GIARDINO JANETTE WATKINS ALEXANDRA BOLIVAR DUSTIN STRATE The Academy of Lake Hills North The Academy of Lake Hills South Treadway Elementary Triangle Elementary Umatilla Elementary Tavares Middle

Presented by

THERESA GRAHAM-VANN Umatilla High

AMANDA YATES Umatilla Middle

CYNTHIA MOORE Villages Elementary

JESSICA WOODS Windy Hill Middle

Marian S. Shuck Trust


Be Your Own

Advocate PAID

P R OM OTION AL

”E

F E ATUR E

verybody has to be an official partner in our healthcare team nowadays,” says RBOI social worker Wendy Hall, LCSW. Being proactive is central to that partnership. Several tools can help us advocate for our healthcare needs. One such tool is a medication list, which includes dosages of both prescription and over-the-counter medications. “If you’re on any supplements or tried any new vitamins, things that might have changed since your last visit,” Hall says. Those changes could include medications one might not think about, like eye drops. “Some eye drops you might have for legitimate reasons may have steroids or cortisones in them, and that’s important for the doctor to know about.” Hall suggests keeping a journal or a notebook, “a ledger of everything.” Changes in life circumstances are also important to discuss. “For instance, if our spouse died and we’re going through a grieving process, or something tragic happened to a family member,” Hall explains. “There are also very sensitive things that we often avoid talking about with our physician.” Those topics can include bowel movements and incontinence, sexuality, alcohol usage or drug (including pharmaceutical) overuse, smoking, fatigue, and memory problems. “Those things might be very relevant in our whole healthcare picture.” Hall recommends that we create a plan before seeing the doctor. “Oftentimes we’re going to feel pressured and a little nervous, so the more things we have in our hand to go by, we won’t have to remember every single thing that might be needed or asked. Make a list, a few days before your appointment,


About

and then double check and add to it if something else occurs to you. Have there been any hospitalizations or new illnesses that are relevant, or weight changes or appetite changes? Have you moved? Has there been any stress?” Stress can include the effects, both direct and indirect, caused by COVID-19. “It might have led to a depression or an anxiety that is not who you normally would be,” Hall says. “And that’s something legitimate to talk about with your physician as well.” Hall recommends that we prioritize our concerns, to make sure that the issues most important to us get discussed.

Are We On the Same Page? In addition to knowing what questions to ask, we need to make sure that we’ve heard the answers correctly. Don’t be shy, Hall says. If a doctor is explaining a diagnosis and treatment or a nurse is giving instructions, it’s okay to ask for clarification. “So, what I think you’re saying is (fill in the blank). Did I get that right?” Our understanding affects our treatment choices, Hall explains. “Pursue communication until we’re all on the same page.”

25% Amount of information given at a medical visit that patients accurately remember

More than

90%

Patients with advanced cancer who say they want to be actively involved in their care

1 out of 3

An Extra Pair of Ears Medical appointments can be unnerving. A friend can lend support and can help absorb the information a healthcare worker provides. “If you can bring somebody with you, then do that,” Hall says. “If you can’t, you can always ask the doctor if you can tape the conversation.” RBOI allows both options. For more information, including more ways to be your own healthcare advocate, give us a call.

Cancer patients who were not satisfied with how much they participated in making their treatment decision

More than

20 million

Americans with children who start to feel stressed about the holiday season by the beginning of November (Total Brain survey, 2019)

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

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menu FOOD. DRINKS. REVIEWS.

The new Margarita Garden at Pepe’s Cantina offers tasty drinks with a side of fresh air.


IN THE KITCHEN

RECIPE

Tasty delights Army veteran finds new passion in southern-style cuisine, that according to his restaurant’s motto, features “flavors that will make your taste buds explode.” STORY AND PHOTOS: CINDY PETERSON

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rowing up in Brooklyn, New York, Trayon “Tray” Lewis was surrounded by people who loved to cook. With a large family of his parents, 14 aunts and uncles, and with all his cousins, food was plentiful. To Tray, there was nothing better than his mother’s home-cooked Caribbean food. “I remember growing up watching my family cook, but I never really thought much about it,” Tray says. “This idea of opening my own restaurant basically found me because I never in my life thought this is what I would do.” After graduating high school, Tray served eight years in the United States Army. As a staff sergeant, Tray led groups to Iraq in both Operations Iraq Freedom 1 and 2. “I did two tours in Iraq doing detaining transfers,” Tray says. “Basically, I was the driver who transported people between Iraq and Baghdad. I wanted to do something different with my life and felt like enlisting in the Army was a great way to spread my wings.” While deployed, Tray put his first cooking skills to the test. “In Iraq, we only had access to grills, so I started to barbecue,” Tray says. “We had steaks and chicken, I found some charcoal and we made it work. We had a designated cook, but I enjoyed taking the reins from time to time, although that brother was talented. He could make rice and peas on a grill.” Being in the service taught Tray time management, leadership, and a keen attention to detail that he knew he would need the rest of his life. Little did he know that would carry over into his restaurant. After returning home from Iraq, Tray began working as a project manager for Bright House from 2005 to 2009, then Comcast from 2009 to 2020. A turn of events, however, inspired him to change careers completely, and become a chef. It all started earlier that year, when Tray was invited to a friend’s birthday party. He and his wife, Michelle Perez, brought his signature Mac & Cheese and it was a hit. “I had never made it for Michelle, and she thought it was the best she’d ever tasted,” Tray says. “Everyone told me I should open my own restaurant and from there, the wheels in my head began turning. I just kept thinking about it so I decided to see if I could make it happen.” In April 2021, it did happen. At age 39, Tray opened Tray’s Cookout in the Lake Square Mall in Leesburg, combining his love of BBQ with the Caribbean flavors he grew up with. Tray’s Cookout specializes in southern favorites like collard greens, corn bread, black eyed peas, cheeseburgers, steamed cabbage, mashed potatoes, plantains, candied yams, sautéed


Tray Lewis


IN THE KITCHEN

RECIPES

S AU T É E D S H R I M P

T R AY ’ S FA M O U S M AC & C H E E S E

T R AY ’ S M E AT PA S TA

pound of shrimp, peeled and cleaned

INGREDIENTS

1

pound lean ground meat beef

1

stick of butter

1

teaspoon of salt

3

tablespoons olive oil

1

teaspoon of olive oil

3

cups of water

1

cup chopped onion

1

teaspoon of sea salt

1

teaspoon of black pepper

3

garlic cloves, minced

1

teaspoon of black pepper

1

teaspoon of seasoning salt

2

tablespoons tomato paste

/

block of cheddar cheese melted

3

cups of favorite spaghetti sauce

INGREDIENTS

1

teaspoon of seasoning salt

12

14

/

cup of water

12

/

stick of butter melted

1

cup of red, green and yellow peppers, sliced

12

/

cup of shredded cheese plus some for topping

1

INGREDIENTS

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 12

ounces dried spaghetti or favorite pasta shape

3

cups water for boiling

12

/

cup shredded parmesan cheese

/

cup chopped fresh tomato

Chopped chives for garnish DIRECTIONS DIRECTIONS

Peel, clean and pre-cook shrimp. Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add shrimp and water and lower the heat. Let simmer for a few minutes, stirring so the shrimp won’t stick. Add peppers and olive oil and season with seasoning salt, sea salt and black pepper. Let it cook for 10 minutes, flipping them every few minutes so they don’t stick and cook evenly. Remove from heat, garnish with chopped chives and serve.

Boil the water and add salt to the water. Once water is boiling, add elbow pasta and let boil for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain water and place pasta in mixing bowl. Melt a block of cheddar cheese in a saucepan on low heat. Keep stirring to avoid burning. Once completely melted, add to the pasta. Add seasoning salt, pepper, melted butter, green onions and shredded cheese to the pasta and cheese mixture and mix together. Place mixture in a 9x13 baking dish and top with additional shredded cheese. Spray the dish with olive oil to avoid sticking. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees until the top is golden brown, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

12

DIRECTIONS

Add the olive oil to the frying pan and heat over medium heat. Add the ground beef to the frying pan and season with seasoned salt, garlic and onion. Keep stirring to avoid burning or sticking. Let the ground beef simmer on low heat while you prepare the pasta. Boil water and add pasta with salt. Cook for 20 minutes on medium heat. As the ground beef finishes browning, add tomato paste, chopped onions and minced garlic to the beef. Keep stirring until all of the beef is cooked and no pink is remaining. Once pasta is done, drain and mix in pasta sauce of choice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Tip: Spice up your favorite sauce with dry red wine or broth. Boil a little longer to make the sauce thicker. Mix in fresh tomato to the ground beef mixture and add to the pasta. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.


“WE HOPE TO KEEP ON PUSHING, WORK HARD, AND SEE WHAT THE FUTURE HAS IN STORE.” — T R AY O N “ T R AY ” L E W I S

shrimp, pasta, and chicken every which way—fried, stewed, BBQ, jerk and curried. And of course, the restaurant’s offerings wouldn’t be complete without Tray’s famous Mac & Cheese. Also on the menu, there’s one recipe that has become their most popular item—the BBQ chicken, featuring Tray’s secret sauce. The recipe, adapted from that of a close friend of his, is top secret and Tray says people can’t get enough of it. “I have never been so full in my life,” customer Mary Emery says. “I got the stew chicken with mashed potatoes and mac & cheese, and I am not disappointed. Anyone in the Via Port (Lake Square mall) needs to stop and check out Tray’s! You won’t leave hungry.” On Friday and Saturday, Tray offers oxtail and curry goat which he says he cooks all day because it literally sells out as soon as it’s ready.

The food is served buffet style in to-go containers for customers to enjoy in the mall’s food court or on the go. Plus, Tray’s offers daily lunch specials, discounts for veterans, first responders and mall employees, and catering. “It means a lot of have my own place,” Tray says. “The food industry is one of the toughest to maintain and stay open. Right now, I’m just trying to beat the odds, because 85 percent of restaurants close within the first year, and I’m so close to that year mark. I just want to keep going.” Tray has enlisted the help of his daughters, close friends, and cousins to help him with the restaurant, but he said everyone is family to him, whether by blood or not. “I really want to thank my mom, Heather Weeks, for always supporting me and believing in me,” Tray says. “We hope to keep on pushing, work hard, and see what the future has in store.”

IF YOU GO

TRAY’S COOKOUT Lake Square Mall Food Court 10401 U.S. Hwy 441, Suite 82, Leesburg Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 12-6 p.m., closed Monday. 352.530.1346 trayscookout.com

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

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FORK ON THE ROAD

REVIEW

Comfort foods A Clermont couple finds great joy in serving customers heaping plates of flavorful foods with plentiful sides of friendship and the feeling of home. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

arc and Brandi DeVita opened the doors to Clermont Café three years ago with the goal of bringing friends and community together in a restaurant setting that feels like home – right down to serving huge portions of made-from-scratch foods made with extra love and care. “We want people to be happy with whatever they order, and to never leave hungry. That’s my thing,” says Marc, the chef at the restaurant, located in downtown Clermont at 824 W. Montrose St. Previously, Marc owned a pizza shop in Boston, and after moving to Florida, he remained in the industry, cooking at various restaurants. Brandi was in charge of social media and marketing for different resorts in the Disney area. After tying the knot in 2018, the two made good on their wish of opening a restaurant together, and to this day, they have remained busy and satisfied with the venture. “We just thought it was time to do something on our own and we found this little niche,” Brandi says.

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Personally, Brandi says she enjoys a couple of other perks. “I think my favorite part is that my husband and I are always together. It’s a little husband-and-wife team and everybody kind of likes that,” she says. “It’s also nice getting to know all our customers. After the first time you come in here, you’re our friend and we’re just thankful.” Brandi adds: “I especially like it when customers say, ‘Tell your husband how good everything was,’ then I say, ‘I’ll do that, and I’ll even kiss him for you, too.” On weekdays only, from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., the Clermont Café opens for breakfast with featured menu items like burritos with your choice of meats and veggies, a variety of omelets, biscuits and gravy, fresh bagels brought in from New York, and a hash brown casserole Brandi says is made using the one recipe she closely guards – her mom’s. For lunch, served from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, the menu is filled with all kinds of cold and hot wraps and sandwiches on bread brought in from New England, including unique takes on common favorites like Pastrami on Rye, French Dip, BLT, and Tuna Melts, and gourmet selections like Hummus and Veggie or Greek Salad Wraps, a Turkey Pesto, and a Veggie Caprese. They also offer a kid’s menu, a variety of specialty salads, Marc’s famous ‘death by


Marc and Brandi DeVita

chocolate’ cake, and other scrumptious desserts, plus his homemade horseradish and hot sauce served with a meal or by the bottle to take home. Additionally, Brandi says a board behind the counter lets people know the day’s featured soup. “Lately, people have been calling Marc the ‘soup master,’ and rightfully so,” she says with a chuckle. “If you are a soup person, you should definitely come in and try the soup no matter which flavor is on the board, because it will be delicious.”

Groveland’s Jacqueline Tice, a regular, says that besides the great food she’s always served at the Clermont Cafe, she loves the atmosphere. “The owners are very pleasant and they always know my name,” says Jacqueline. Eliana Ascolese, at the restaurant with her four children and mom Yvette Richardson, says that’s part of what she loves about the Clermont Café too. “My husband and I come pretty often and so we’ve tried every sandwich on the menu. The food is so comforting, and you get a

“AFTER THE FIRST TIME YOU COME IN HERE, YOU’RE OUR FRIEND AND WE’RE JUST THANKFUL.” —BRANDI DEVITA

While there, Style photographer Nicole, ordered a Philly Cheese Steak Sub, and not only did she love the taste of it, but was in awe by the huge size. I ordered the broccoli cheese soup, which was delicious, and a Southeast Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, and let me tell you, it was loaded high with sliced turkey, roasted red peppers, red onions, spring mix, swiss cheese, and a delicious homemade tangy white BBQ sauce. What I enjoyed most about my sandwich, however, was how it was toasted to perfection, and Brandi told me why. “Marc toasts everything on the grill. Doing that just adds an extra layer of goodness,” she says, adding that their homemade muffins can be toasted too.

lot, but what we like best about coming here is the friendly service we always get from Brandi and Marc,” says Eliana. And if that’s not enough, customers can shop for art at the Clermont Café, since the paintings – all by local artists – on the restaurant’s walls are for sale. “We felt it was a good way to decorate, and help local artists at the same time,” says Brandi explaining that they’ve sold more than 200 paintings since opening. “We are grateful for all the loyalty everyone has shown us, and happy we can do something for the community in return.” For more information, visit clermontcafe.com, or visit their page on Facebook or Instagram.

Let’s do lunch or dinner Tell us about a great restaurant by emailing roxanne@akersmediagroup.com

ROXANNE BROWN

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SPIRITS

REVIEWS

Mad for margaritas A popular Mexican restaurant in Clermont decided to take the party outside with a recently planted Margarita Garden. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

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≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

he words “Don’t drink the water, Drink Tequila,” are very colorfully and brightly lit on a sign attached to a greenery selfie wall inside the main dining area, and right next to the bar, at Pepe’s Cantina Mexican Grill in downtown Clermont. To help, the restaurant offers many ways to do just that, with shots and beautifully prepared margaritas in what seems like every brand, style, and flavor imaginable. Classic Margaritas like strawberry, mango, guava, passion fruit, or watermelon, are served frozen or on the rocks, and more unique flavors include the Watermelon Tajin, Spicy Pineapple, Jalapeno, Avocado, Altos Raspberry Mint, and many more. Additionally, a special section on the menu is reserved solely for Upside-Down Margaritas, meaning the Margarita is served with a beer, hard seltzer or Topo Chico placed upside down into the glass, and another for tequila shots like Altos, Patron, Teremana, Casamigos Silvers and premium selections like Vocan Cristalino, Casa Dragones Anejo, Avion, and more. Pepe’s General Manager Daniela Angula says no matter what people order they should prepare their tastebuds. “Our Margaritas are special because we don’t use standard sour mixes in any of our specialty flavors, because sometimes it makes them taste artificial. Instead, we make our own, and we use fresh-squeezed lime juice, like a flavor upgrade,” Daniela says, explaining that they also use fresh flowers and fruit garnishes to make each glass look as beautiful as possible, because, she adds: “Si se ven ricos, se saven ricos,” which in English means, ‘If they look delicious, they taste delicious.’ Additionally, there are plenty of options where people can raise their glasses for a toast; including at the bar, at one’s table with lunch or dinner, and most recently, in the Margarita Garden, located literally in Pepe’s backyard – or back patio.


Outdoor night photo and indoor photo provided by Roxanne Brown.

The addition was inspired by Owner Frank Chavez’ desire to expand on the restaurant’s outdoor seating near the front entrance, and after the one-year anniversary of the Pepe’s Cantina Clermont location on Oct. 26 (there is another Pepe’s Cantina in Winter Park that Frank opened in 2015). “We figured we have the space, a beautiful view from the back of the restaurant overlooking Lake Minneola, the perfect year-round Florida climate that lends itself to free-air dining and drinking, so why not?” asks Daniela. “Plus, people love the idea of being outside, enjoying the fresh air, and the most beautiful breezes off the lake.” Plans for Clermont’s Margarita Garden were revealed in October 2021 and by November, it was a done deal, complete with brick pavers, cute patio tables and umbrellas, stand up heaters, and overhead light-strings for a fun and festive feel after sundown. “The new Margarita Garden is amazing, it’s a breath taker,” says Orlando’s Joseph Murray, a regular customer at Pepe’s Cantina, there with wife Kimberly Autenrieb while in Clermont visiting his mom Donna Pesce. “I just love the view of the lake, the fresh air, and the relaxed feel.” And if people are wondering, tequila-rich drinks are not the only spirits Pepe’s offers. Daniela says people should take notice of the wide selection of Mexican beers available, including Dos Equis, Modelo Especial, Tecate, Corona, and Pacifico. People can also order cocktails like Red Sangrias, Malibu Pina Coladas, Mojitos, Twisted Watermelon Daiquiris, and Mexican Mules, bottled or draft beers, red and white wine, and dessert cocktails, including Nicos Milk, made with Rumchata,

Jameson Irish Whiskey and Frangelico, served with a caramel rim and topped with a churro. Plus, if in need of munchies, Pepe’s is known for its tableside Guacamole, made fresh by servers who customize it specifically for the people at each table before their very eyes. Other appetizers include mini tacos, the Pepe’s sampler, which comes with a shredded chicken quesadilla, jalapeno cheese poppers, shredded chicken flautas, bean nachos, queso dip, lettuce, pico-degallo and sour cream, which can be ordered vegetarian or seafood style, and Ceviches Daniela could not recommend enough. Additionally, the menu includes wonderful sounding entrees that Daniela says are made only with the freshest of ingredients and the highest quality meats, plus a good variety of vegetarian, vegan, and children’s options. And if that’s not enough, there is a separate Sunday Brunch menu, complete with bottomless Mimosas, Sangria, and draft

Tecate Light, Chilaquiles, breakfast bowls, Huevos Rancheros, a brunch burrito, and a Mexican Crepe (tortilla), stuffed with Nutella, then topped with fresh bananas and raspberries, caramel sauce, and whipped creme. While there enjoying the garden experience, Style photographer Nicole and I enjoyed chips, salsa, and the best guacamole we’ve had in a long time, the Pepe’s Sampler, the Nutella Crepe, which was amazing, and last but certainly not least, some mouth-watering Margaritas. Nicole relished the Altos Rasberry Mint Margarita and my favorite was the Spicy Pineapple. It definitely had a kick to it, but at the same time, the sweet notes of pineapple evened it out perfectly. I will be back, more than once, to try every Margarita on the Pepe’s menu, and more items! Pepe’s Cantina opens daily, but for exact hours, specials, and a complete menu, visit pepescantina.com or search Pepe’s Cantina on Facebook or Instagram.

IF YOU GO

PEPE’S CANTINA 794 W. Minneola Ave, Clermont Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 11:30a.m.- 9p.m.; Friday - Saturday: 11:30a.m.- 10p.m. 352.989.4921 pepescantina.com

Do you know a place where we can drink? Comment on this article or send story ideas to roxanne@akersmediagroup.com

ROXANNE BROWN

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DINING GUIDE

dine

OUT

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

Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.243.1118

Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 157 Hwy. 27 352.394.1225

Clermont Brewing Co. 750 W Desoto 321.430.2337

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

EUSTIS

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

Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill 230 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.394.0036

Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.7808

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

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 G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900

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

Gators Dockside 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.242.1825

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

Goomba’s Pizzeria 2395 S. Hwy 27 352.989.4403

The Outpouring Coffee 2560 E. Hw.y 50 352.989.4406

Green Mountain Pizza 303 Hwy. 50 352.432.3380

Troy’s Cuban Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295

Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Hwy. 27 352.241.9884

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The Crazy Gator 402 N. Bay St. 352.589.5885 The Oyster Troff 936 N. Bay St. 352.357.9939

JB Boondocks Bar & Grill 704 S. Lakeshore Blvd. 352.324.3600

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

L A DY L A K E

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

Jeannie’s Place 209 E. Gottsche Ave. 352.359.0027

NY Deli N Diner 3325 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.365.0051

Gators Dockside 15241 US Hwy 441 352.357.1255

Rae Rae’s Restaurant 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.323.1595

Kiku Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar 15211 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.483.8288

Stavro’s 3223 US Hwy. 441 352.315.0028

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

H OW EY- I N THE -HILLS

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

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

God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447 Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St. 352.474.2739 HP Grill 1403 S. 14th St. 352.314.0006 Ichiban Buffet 10301 Hwy. 441 352.728.6669 Kountry Kitchen 1008 W. Dixie Ave. 352.323.0852 La Palma Mexican Grill 1690 Citrus Blvd. 352.323.1444 Lilly’s Super Subs 2339 CR 473 352.343.4663 Magnolia’s Oyster Bar 201 W. Magnolia St. 352.323.0093 Main Street Cantina 205 W. Main St. 352.435.7279 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 Pine Street Bar-B-Que 408 Pine St. 352.728.1293

Donut King 708 S. 14th St. 352.805.4888

Plantation Oaks Restaurant 4720 Plantation Blvd. 352.530.2680

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

Ramshackle Café 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565

Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 CR 44 352.365.2177


Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 US Hwy. 27 352.319.8093 San Jose’s Original Mexican Restaurant 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174 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 Wings Ranch Restaurant & Bar 10601 US 441, C12 352.901.6193 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

MOUNT DORA

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

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

Chengs Chinese Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678

Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.750.4499

The Mason Jar 37534 State Rd. 19 352.589.2535

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

China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965

RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.5272

W I L DWO O D

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

Chop House at Lake Sumter 1045 Old Camp Rd. 352.750.6000

Ricciardi’s Italian Table 3660 Kiessel Rd. 352.391.9939

Evans Prairie Country Club 1825 Evans Prairie Trail 352.750.2225

Sakura 265 Colony Blvd. 352.205.7393

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 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

Puddle Jumpers 111 W Ruby St. 352.508.5862 Ruby Street Grille 221 E. Ruby St. 352.742.7829 Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744 Tavares Ice Cream 214 E. Main 352.508.5342 The Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585

Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 297 Colony Blvd 352.751.0400

The Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille 925 Lakeshore Dr. 352.753.7800

Giovanni’s 3439 Wedgewood Lane 352.751.6674

Tierra Del Sol Country Club 806 San Marino Dr. 352.753.8005

Glenview County Club 3914 Glenview Rd. 352.753.0077 Habaneros Mexican Grill 3551 Wedgewood Ln. 352.633.2080

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

Hemingway’s at Havana Country Club 2484 Odell Circle 352.430.3200

OX F O R D

THE V I L L AG E S

Pho Saigon 11707 N. US Hwy. 301 352.492.9423

Amelia’s 1105 Lake Shore Drive 352.750.8265

Legacy Restaurant 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475

SORRENTO

Amerikano’s Grill 998 Del Mar Dr. 352.633.8027

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

Belle Glade Country Club 446 Moyer Loop 352.205.8208 BlueFin Grill & Bar 2738 Brownwood Blvd. 352.571.5344 Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627

VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 1004 Old Mill Run 352.259.9887 Wolfgang Puck Kitchen + Bar 3003 Brownwood Blvd. 352.626.1500 U M AT I L L A

Margarita Republic 1102 Main St. 352.753.4600 Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant and Bar 320 Colony Blvd. 352.753.3824

Combat Café 831 S Central Ave. 352.483.0250 Fish & Chix 100 N. Central Ave. 352.669.7145 Gators of Umatilla LLC 9 N. Central Ave. 352.669.6969

China Jade 420 W. CR 44 352.330.5913 Continental Country Club 50 Continental Blvd. 352.748.3293 Cotillion Southern Café 101 N. Main St. 352.748.1223 Los Magueyes Mexican Restaurant 346 Shopping Center Dr. 352.461.0577 Marco’s Pizza 5806 Seven Mile Dr. Ste. 101 352.571.2400 O’Shucks! Oyster Bar and Grill 1016 S Main St. 352.399.2200 Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria 2468 Burnsed Blvd., 352.626.1059 Traditions Café 3107 Hwy. 44 352.748.1077 Woody’s Bar-B-Q 1220 S. Main St. 352.748.1109

Greg’s Haystax 526 Umatilla Blvd. 352.669.1555

NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994

Old Crow Real Pit Bar-B-Q 41100 SR 19 352.669.3922

Orange Blossom Country Club 1542 Water Tower Circle 352.751.4501

Shang Hai Restaurant 531 N. Central Ave. 352.669.2004

GOOD GRUB

THIS MONTH'S EDITOR'S PICK

Magical Meat Boutique Magical Meat Boutique is a trendy British pub and restaurant located in downtown Mount Dora. Guests enjoy the friendly service, British décor, delightful music, and relaxing ambiance. They also enjoy delicious dishes such as the Camden Doner Burger, made with lamb and spices and topped with chopped tomato, onion, mint parsley, and garlic sauce. Another favorite is the Real Shepherd’s Pie made with ground sweet Australian lamb, swede, carrot and onion in a bistro stock. The Beatles gave us the British invasion of good music, and Magical Meat Boutique gives us the British sensation of great food. 322 N. Alexander St., Mount Dora / 352.729.6911

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DINING GUIDE

Claire’s Creperie 850.776.9820 | 100 E. 4TH AVE., MOUNT DORA FACEBOOK.COM/CLAIRESCREPERIE Claire’s Creperie in Mount Dora does “all things crepes,” offering a large selection of both sweet and savory crepes, weekly specials featuring locally sourced ingredients, as well as keto and gluten-free options. Owner Claire Ernst grew up making crepes with her dad, and her signature crepe is the Something Good, filled with cheesecake cream and fresh strawberries, and topped with powdered sugar and strawberry sauce. You also can try the Monte Cristo, a savory crepe with turkey, ham and Muenster cheese topped with powdered sugar and raspberry glaze. The creperie also has specials, such as the Croatian and the Macedonian, inspired by international students who have been hosted by Claire and her husband.

La Palma Mexican Grill

Tuesday & Thursday 10am–6pm Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10am–8pm

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 lapalmagrill.com. 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

Marco’s Pizza 5806 SEVEN MILE DRIVE SUITE 101, WILDWOOD 352.571.2400 | MARCOS.COM The most delicious dishes are made with lots of love. That’s certainly the case at Marco’s Pizza, which is owned by business partners Peter Hiles and Roger Mellen. They opened the restaurant last April off County Road 466A in Wildwood and already have plans to open five additional locations. And why not? Everyone loves pizza, but they appreciate a quality pizza much more. At Marco’s Pizza, everything is made daily, including the dough and sauce. In other words, everything is fresh and never frozen. The popular three-cheese blend is another aspect that makes the pizza so satisfying. Marco’s Pizza also offers calzones, specialty pizza bowls, subs, salads, and wings. Expect to always be welcomed by a warm, friendly staff whether you dine inside the restaurant or call for delivery.

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Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.


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

Full Gluten-Free Menu

Open Daily 11am-9pm

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.

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, Rodellos.com.

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

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DINING GUIDE

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.

Wings Ranch 10601 U.S. HIGHWAY 441, LEESBURG | 352.901.6193 The Wings Ranch restaurant, located at 10601 U.S. Highway 441, in the Publix shopping plaza near Lake Square Mall, is known for its cool western vibe and chicken wings Slavko Grguric has perfected over the years, but there’s more! The menu includes international and unique food selections like Schnitzel and Chevapi, an eastern-European delicacy made from pork and beef, Lobster Bisque, Fish and Chips, specialty burgers, Pork Chops, Ribeye, Prime Rib, Peel and Eat Shrimp, and a variety of from-scratch soups. The Wings Ranch also sports a full bar with happy hour every weekday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and live entertainment Friday and Saturday evenings from 4:30 p.m. to close. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Carry out and dine-in are available. For more information, menu updates, and live entertainment schedules, visit Wings Ranch on Facebook or call 352.901.6193.

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.

Open 7 Days a week: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Live Entertainment: Friday-Saturday 4:30 p.m. to close

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

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Wings and more Wings Ranch offers great food, great drinks, and great prices all with one catch — a cool western vibe! PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

hen one walks through the doors of the Wings Ranch restaurant in Leesburg, it’s like stepping into a western movie. There’s a pergola that resembles an “old county jail” at the entrance, and a barn feel to the main dining room, including a life-size John Wayne cut-out, red checkerboard tablecloths, and beautifully crafted wagon wheel light fixtures that perfectly illuminate the natural wood color scheme throughout the place. “I’m fascinated by American old west. I always liked old cowboy shows and movies and I watch Gunsmoke all the time, so after naming the restaurant Wings Ranch, I wanted to give it a barn look,” says owner Slavko Grguric, explaining that he just recently opened in October 2021 at 10601 U.S. Highway 441, in the Publix shopping plaza near Lake Square Mall. “It was just four walls, and I did everything myself, every nail, every board, he says. “The only thing I didn’t construct is the pergola.” As for the food, Slavko calls what they serve international and unique, featuring some of his family’s old Croatian recipes, like Schnitzel and Chevapi, an eastern-

European delicacy made from pork and beef. The signature drink, from Canada where he once lived, is called a Bloody Caesar, made with Clamato (clam-tomato) juice, instead of tomato juice, like in its sister drink, the Bloody Mary. Other popular dishes include Lobster Bisque, Fish and Chips, a Rosie or Cowboy Burger, Pork Chops, Ribeye, Prime Rib, Peel and Eat Shrimp, a variety of from-scratch soups, and chicken wings Slavko makes, that family and friends have been raving about for years. In fact, the wings are the reason behind opening the restaurant. “People would eat my wings, then always comment on how I should open a restaurant, so that’s what I did,” Slavko

352.901.6193 / 10601 U.S. Highway 441

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says. “The wings are seasoned, lightly breaded, and fried, and they’re fantastic.” The Wings Ranch also sports a full bar with happy hour every weekday afternoon from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and live entertainment Friday and Saturday evenings from 4:30 p.m. to close. Slavko is also featuring a football playoff special through Feb. 13, consisting of 10 chicken wings, two beers or two well drinks for $15, and a free beverage anytime, with mention of this article. The restaurant’s hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Carry out and dine-in are available, and reservations are required for parties of eight or more. For more information, menu updates, a full menu, and live entertainment schedules, visit Wings Ranch on Facebook or call 352.901.6193.


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FINAL THOUGHT

CO MMENTARY

Be a good sport Don’t force an unwilling child into playing sports. STORY: JAMES COMBS

ess Lair, a former Montana State University professor who wrote a bestselling book on self-help, gave us this thought-provoking quote. “Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.” In other words, let a child be who he was created to be instead of what others want him to be. Unfortunately, we live in a sports-crazed culture where parents have dreams of their child becoming the next Tom Brady or Stephen Curry. They force their child into playing a sport and become overly invested in their child’s sporting experiences. They probably are more nervous before competitions than their child, more excited when the child succeeds, and more disappointed when the child fails to perform up to expectations. They yell at their child from the stands, fill their child’s schedule with after-school workouts, and sneer when the child asks to do something unrelated to the sport. Imagine being a young boy or girl and knowing your parents’ happiness rests squarely on your shoulders. That’s quite a burden. Moreover, parents are sending a terrible message. Basically, they’re saying this: “We want you to achieve greatness in sports, so

you’d better do it. We want you to become an athletic star, so you better make that happen regardless of your interest in the sport or skill level.” This kind of unnecessary pressure may lead to feelings of stress and inadequacy from children who lack the desire and ability to become star athletes. It also may explain why the average kid spends less than three years playing sports and drops out of sports completely by age 11, according to a 2019 survey conducted by the Aspen Institute and Utah State University Families in Sports Lab. Your child likely has immense talent, but it might be outside the realm of sports. He or she might be a talented painter. He or she might have a beautiful singing voice. He or she might be extremely gifted at playing the piano. He or she might feel comfortable with the lead role in a play. Parents, your force will likely be met with opposing force. Don’t automatically assume you know what’s best for them because you enjoyed football and baseball when you were a kid. You are not your child. Don’t be that parent who fails to recognize your child’s abilities and push them into something that is not their forte. Instead, play a vital role in harnessing your child’s talent and help them pursue their true passion. Provide them with nurturing, love, and support so their talent can blossom. Help them unfold. Don’t attempt to mold.

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

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JAMES COMBS


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