Style Magazine, April 2024

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ROB NICHOLS Professional country musician well known in Lake County
PG. 28

Did y kn ?


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Stars among us

We’re shining the spotlight on some of Lake and Sumter’s most talented people.

ey everyone!

April is here and so is our latest edition of Lake & Sumter Style magazine. And this one’s all about the cool, super-talented artists who make our communities shine, the people we should totally show love to for adding a splash of color to our lives.

Art is way more than just something to admire in our spare time. It’s like a mirror to what our community is all about — the good, the challenging and the things we dream about. It’s about feeling like we belong; and, when it comes down to it, art is how we tell our own collective story.

In this month’s pages, we get up close and personal with the rock stars of the local art scene. I’m talking about folks who have poured their heart and soul into creations that aren’t just pretty or interesting, but that carry the full weight of our shared moments in time.

We’re proud to introduce you to all sorts of creators — talented painters,

soul-stirring musicians, a creative baker, an inspirational jewelry maker, insightful writers and overall producers of greatness. Each one has a unique vibe and brings something special to the table.

When you read about their lives and what res their creativity, I bet you’re going to fall in love with the art you may walk past every day. Trust me, it deserves a double take.

And when you see something that touches you, please don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out to us on social media and tell us about the local art that knocks your socks o . Chat with your friendly neighborhood creatives. Pass the word around about the amazing stu happening right here. We want to celebrate the vastness of our collective creativity with you!

With a little bit of chit-chat and cheerleading, we can make sure our area’s art scene is buzzing for a long, long time.

Can’t wait to catch up with you in next month’s edition!


Shawnee Coppola DESIGNER

Alejandra D’Jermanos DESIGNER

Brittany Fogt DESIGNER



Christine Andola STAFF WRITER





Cynthia McFarland Amanda Valderrama



a story to tell?
Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2024 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. *Stories published may be assisted using AI generated software. Akers Media is a proud member of Kendra Akers OWNER/PUBLISHER Doug Akers PRESIDENT DESIGN / EDITORIAL / PHOTOGRAPHY
We’re always looking for stories about people who live and work in our area. Send suggestions to
Gary Corsair Katie Sartoris
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Exciting Developments in the Works as LassiterWare Adopts Acrisure Brand

n business, consistency is crucial. In Central Florida, LassiterWare has been a beacon of consistency in the world of insurance.

Founded in 1909 by pioneering insurance agent G.G. Ware, the agency became LassiterWare in 1943, following the hiring of J. Paul Lassiter.

T.R. “Ted” Ostrander Sr. joined the company in 1946, followed by Ted Jr., who led the company for 30 years as the agency opened additional o ces in the heart of Florida.

Growth continued under the hand of current President and Chief Executive O cer, Doug Childers, who has been with the company since 2005 and assumed leadership in 2013.

Doug, his wife Heather and daughters, Sydney, Charlee, and Saylah, are lifelong Sumter County residents.

Partnership and change

Recently, LassiterWare adopted the growing brand of Acrisure, leaving clients and employees alike looking forward to the opportunities of this new era.

Founded in 2005, Acrisure is already the largest property and casualty insurance broker in the United States. Thanks to a tremendous number of acquisitions, Acrisure is now the fastest-growing insurance broker in the industry’s history.

On July 1, 2017, LassiterWare o cially partnered with Acrisure, immediately making LassiterWare one of the largest agencies in the entire Acrisure network.

“Back in 2017 we had two dozen shareholders, and our board of directors was looking for a solution to perpetuate ownership and the operational integrity of LassiterWare,” notes Doug Childers.

“After several meetings, it was decided that the innovation from Greg Williams, the co-founder and CEO of Acrisure,


and the excitement around Acrisure would be the perfect partnership for us,” says Doug.

Originally, the plan was for LassiterWare and other agencies under the Acrisure banner to operate independently under their own brand and systems. This was the case from 2017 to February 26th, 2024, when all Acrisure agency partners in the Southeast formally adopted the brand of Acrisure.

“Acrisure has grown to 400 agencies in the U.S. and internationally in 22 countries with 17,000 employees. It made sense to capitalize on the strength of one national brand,” says Doug.

Continued growth

Since LassiterWare partnered with Acrisure in 2017, the agency’s legacy of growth, culture, and customer service has continued.

The company had 12 acquisitions and doubled in size under Doug Childers’ leadership since partnering with Acrisure.

LassiterWare added multiple locations and now has seven o ces. The most recent of these debuted on March 18, 2024, with the opening of their rst o ce in The Villages, a golfcart accessible location.

As operations and co-growth leader for the Southeast region, Childers oversees eight states and more than 40 core agencies across the Southeast.

To celebrate all agencies coming under the Acrisure banner, there was a brand launch party on March 6th in Orlando with 500 colleagues from across the Southeast region.

In Doug’s role as Operational Lead for the Southeast he will be guiding fresh and exciting initiatives that will create new jobs for Central Florida.

“We are in the process of designing a Regional Service Center locally that will ultimately house a signi cant portion of the Personal Lines and Community Business policies throughout the Southeast. We expect to create many new job opportunities,” notes Doug.

“We are in the process of designing a Regional Service Center locally that will ultimately house a significant portion of the Personal Lines and Community Business policies throughout the Southeast. to create many new job opportunities.”

“We are also excited about building a team to centralize the Southeast mail processing to a Leesburg address,” he adds.

More options

Clients of LassiterWare have known about the coming change for several years.

“When I knew the brand name was changing, I called Ted, our former CEO. As he said, ‘It’s not about a name, it’s about how we take care of our clients.’ Frankly, that conversation gave me clarity as we’re not attached to a name, we’re attached to a mission and the mission hasn’t changed,” says Doug.

“The north star we’ve always been guided by is, ‘If it’s good for our employes and good for our clients and community, it will be good for the company.’ This rings true for both the LassiterWare and Acrisure banners,” he notes.

Doug explains that as Acrisure, the agency o ers access to more cost-e ective and innovative products with national resources and expertise. Clients also bene t from additional market access and technological advantages,

including AI tools for quoting and selecting correct coverages, not to mention cutting-edge cyber security resources.

“Our employees are now part of an organization with 17,000 colleagues, so they’re taking advantage of the opportunity for growth and are excited about this,” he adds. “One of the most important things to me is when people come into this company and reach personal goals they never thought possible through the vehicle of what will now be Acrisure.”

The agency o ers all aspects of personal and business insurance options, including growing nancial services options.

“Growth, change and innovation are the things that will keep us in this community for another 100 years,” says Doug. “We are excited about the future under the Acrisure banner.”

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Groveland Councilwoman Barbara

up, especially when we try some DIY voodoo which inevitably makes things worse. Luckily, Clarissa and Aaron Brown of PC Wizards

If you’re thinking about buying a motorcycle, handling your rig safely is crucial to surviving the local roads, and motorcycle safety SafeRide Motorcycle Training o ers group and private classes in the Triangle Center at 355 Plaza Drive, near the State Road 19 overpass in Eustis. Classes last two days. Call 352.589.7233 to register. Motorcycle and loaner equipment is provided for those who need it.

The Villages have the experience, know-how and patience to help with your computer. They o er on-site and remote services for MACs, PCs, smartphones or tablets including back-up recovery, upgrades, custom builds, wireless and wired networking and malware and spyware removal. They also o er free Internet security for home users. PC Wizards The Villages work with both residential and commercial tech. 352.350.0610

watermelon, strawberries, guava, papaya and peaches are among in-season fruits in Florida.

Recipe for Spring Sangria:

In a large drink dispenser with an ice cone, soak half of your sliced or cubed fruit overnight in Sauternes or peach brandy. Just before serving, add an inexpensive box or jug of dry white wine, then throw in fresh sliced fruit, mint or edible flowers for a beautiful and tasty centerpiece at your garden party or backyard BBQ.

A TIME TO PLANT: For most regions of central Florida, April means that the threat of frost has passed. Soil temperatures are now consistently warm enough to plant a wide array of bare-root perennials, summer-blooming annuals, owering shrubs and owering vines. If you need a bit of back-up, try Fair eld Farms in Oxford. Fair eld o ers guidance and materials to help amateur and veteran gardeners achieve their botanical goals. Professional landscaping, in-person designers and monthly classes available. Fair eld is a supporting member of the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. 12472 US Hwy. 301 | 352.748.7333 |


Congratulations to Abundant Life Nursing School’s rst graduating class — the class of March 2024: (L to R) Willie Woods, Jeanette Lewis, Sharon Lewis, Ena-Lorraine Ebanks (Instructor), Aliyah Golden, Pashon McCloud and Tomalene Carr.



• William Shakespeare - April 26, 1564

• Queen Elizabeth II - April 21, 1926

• Charlie Chaplin - April 16, 1889

• Thomas Jefferson - April 13, 1743

• Marvin Gaye - April 2, 1939

• Jane Goodall - April 3, 1934

• Jackie Chan - April 7, 1954

• Dolores Huerta - April 10, 1930

STOMP THE DIVOTS!: You don’t have to go far to see the exciting fast-paced sport of kings. The Villages Polo Club o ers seasonal matches, general admission and pass packages, tailgating and a champagne divot stomp. Watch the polo ponies from the grandstands after you take a “basics” course 30 minutes prior to the match. There’s also an academy for beginners interested in getting in the saddle. The Spring season runs March through May. The Villages Polo Club

700 N. Buena Vista Blvd | 352.750.7656 |

• Leonardo da Vinci - April 15, 1452

• Jack Nicholson - April 22, 1937

LEADER OF LEADERS: The South Lake Chamber has announced its 2024 Board Chair: Sheri Olson of Orlando Health South Lake Hospital. In a press release, Chamber President and CEO David Colby expressed his enthusiasm for Sheri’s leadership. Sheri says she aims to elevate the membership experience and support local businesses to achieve success and prosperity.

FUR BABY HEAVEN: If you are planning a trip and don’t want to leave your pooch or kitty alone, you can take them to Miss Kate’s Bed and Biscuit. With ve acres of shady land for running and playing, this “Five-Paw Resort” o ers 24/7 sta , pick up and drop o , tours and the comfort of knowing you can see your baby from your cell phone anytime. Grooming and training are also o ered. 751 NW Lane, Oxford 352.575.2020

KUDOS!: Style is thrilled to announce that several of our sta members have been honored as winners of 14 awards from the Florida Press Club 2022-2023

Excellence in Journalism Competition. Among the recipients (L to R) are Style Magazine’s Managing Editor Roxanne Brown, Graphic Designer Shawnee Coppola, Digital Editor Cindy Peterson and Creative Director Michael Gaulin. We also celebrate Contributing Writer/Editor Gary Corsair and the late James Combs, a beloved and longtime sta writer who we miss dearly. Each award recipient has demonstrated exceptional talent, dedication and professionalism in their work and we extend a heartfelt congratulations to them all.


Representative District 3

• Former Public Servant for Federal Government

• Certified Etiquette Consultant

• Fashion Enthusiast

Councilwoman’s stylish stride and etiquette guide her in leadership roles.

I wanted to use my skills and knowledge to I am responsible

Etiquette lessons: Be sure to handwrite a thank you note after receiving a gift, favor or an interview. Stay away from controversial topics such as sex, politics, or religion. Ew . . . please don’t use your napkin to blow your nose or sneeze into your hand. Your cell phone should never be on the table while dining.

A saying I live by:
“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.”
- Jay Danzie, author

etiquette. It gives me great pride in assisting people to be the best version of themselves because etiquette is not about following rigid rules but about being respectful, considerate and gracious to others.

In order to succeed: Understand the pros and the cons of your passion and take initiative. Network with others who share your interests. Get involved and attend public meetings, events or workshops that are relevant to your passion and network with local leaders, o cials and experts who can o er guidance and support.

My hobbies include: Listening to light jazz and 80s music, interior decorating and fashion.

Know a person of interest? Tell us! Email your recommendation to

Barbara Gaines

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Wiseman Pools is a family-owned-and-operated, licensed residential and commercial swimming pool builder with an extensive portfolio of projects. From the small—fountains and in-ground spas. To the large—million dollar installations with multiple pools and spas. Our customers, large and small, demand a quality swimming pool for a fair price. And we deliver. 352.431.3766

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South Sumter High senior making a name for himself with good form and an academically focused mindset.


• South Sumter High School Senior

• Born in Leesburg

• 18 years old

• 5.0 GPA

• Regional Championship Weightlifter

• Linebacker and defensive end for South Sumter Raiders

which you need to have for the future and in a career. It lets me know my abilities to endure pain and hardship, while still being able to keep going and pick up my teammates as well.

My career path for the future: Is to get my master’s degree in civil engineering. I’m looking to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They’ve given me an o er to continue playing football there and they are one of the top schools in engineering. They have a 14% acceptance rate so them reaching out to me has really

My role models are: My mom, dad and sisters. They are all intelligent and athletic. My dad and both my sisters went to South Sumter High School. That tradition really helps drive me to make a name for myself at the school like they have, as well.

My advice to fellow student athletes is to: Trust the process and really focus on the student part instead of the athlete part and everything will come together. It’s like a domino e ect. Once you put the student aspect in front of it, then you’ll really start to become more involved. In turn, people will see that and recognize you as a smart person.

My chosen superpower would be: To y around and visit family across the pond that I’ve never met. I would want to see family that I have in Germany where my dad was born.

If I had a time machine: I would go back and watch all the greats playing in the NFL like Barry Sanders and Herschel Walker, people that were really shaping the game

Know an outstanding student? Fill us in!

Email your recommendations to


Vivienne Cunningham’s Heart for Service WINS

Her Realtor of the Year Award

ften referred to as “the dancing realtor,” Vivienne Cunningham was dancing up the aisle to receive the Realtors Association of Lake & Sumter Counties Realtor of the Year award at their annual awards gala in February.

“I actually stood up to start applauding the winner, not realizing they were going to call my name,” Vivienne says. “I never thought I would be the winner because I didn’t nominate myself. Turns out, my friend nominated me. I was so surprised.” Originally from Jamaica, Vivienne began her professional career in the medical eld as a dental assistant and surgery technician. She also ran her own cleaning service for more than 30 years. But watching her Aunt lose two homes propelled Vivienne to enter the world of real estate.

“Around 2008, my aunt somehow acquired two homes while only making $1,200 (monthly) at the hospital,” Vivienne says. “The lender put a letter in her le that her take-home pay was more than she took home and she ended up losing both properties because she couldn’t a ord the mortgages. It was then I decided that someone needed to be the voice for the community and make


Vivienne was mentored under the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), becoming a public policy member where she can lobby and speak about home ownership.

“There’s not enough a ordable housing in our area,” she says. “But there is a lot of help out there that people don’t know about. That’s why I teach a rst-time home buyer class to help people nd the way of getting them into a home.”

According to Vivienne, families need only a few thousand dollars saved to initiate homeownership when equipped with the proper resources. She works directly with individuals to address their credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, grants and fees, ensuring they secure the best possible deals.

“The money is out there,” Vivienne says. “I know because I’ve closed on many houses where people get the help they need, and then I have Realtors calling me asking how I did it. I just tell them to attend my rst-time homebuyers class.”

Seeing the excitement and relief of homebuyers when they close on their home is what drives Vivienne to continue. She said it is de nitely not for the money.

“A lot of people get into real estate because they think they are going to make a lot of money,” she says. “There can be money in it, if you have a golden spoon handed to you, and I was starving. I am starving. But helping people keeps me going.”

Income for Realtors can be as unpredictable as the weather. Closing a deal is rewarding, but unforeseen circumstances can lead to contract cancellations, causing disappointment for the Realtor, buyers and sellers. Thankfully, Vivienne has a whole team of dedicated people supporting her.

“I can’t thank my husband, Alberto Watson, enough, along with the rest of my family,”

Vivienne says. “No matter what I need, they are there.”

Vivienne has dedicated her life to serving others, and not just in real estate. She won the Lake County Volunteer Award three years in a row for her work with the nonpro t, New Beginnings, along with voluntarily feeding homeless in South Clermont.

“For seven years I served the homeless,” she says.

“Now I just want to help people put a roof over their heads. It changes people when they have a home. It gives them a sense of purpose.”

Vivienne's impact on the community is continually recognized by her peers, as she continues to be a leader in her eld.

“Vivienne is an example of a servant leader who challenges everyone she meets to grow,” says Steve McDonald, CEO at Realtors Association of Lake & Sumter Counties. “She inspires vision and empowers achievement.”

With an emphasis on honesty, integrity and transparency, Vivienne plans to continue doing what she loves while making the world a better place.

“I want to thank Kara Wisely for nominating me, and Pamala Tarver, and my board of directors for always pushing me and supporting me,” Vivienne says. “I also want to thank my God for just blessing me abundantly. I want to thank Carolyn Maimone and Kimberly Ducharme Levensohn for asking me to get involved. This means the world to me.”

Realtors® Association of Lake & Sumter Counties, Inc. is located at 3001 State Road 19 South in Tavares. For more information, call 352.343.3003 or visit

GOT TALENT Lake & Sumter’s

Embark on a journey through local creativity as we unveil some of our community’s hidden gems. From captivating performers and artists to inspirational writers, artisans and more, our talent section is a testament to the boundless imagination and skill flourishing in our midst. Join us in celebrating the unique voices and talents that make our area shine.



is in her element on stage. Widely known as “Indiana Jana,” the Indianapolis native is a familiar face around The Villages’ town squares as the lead singer of the disco band Studio 77 and Top-40 band Dance Express, which play a square two or three times a month. “Sequins, glitter and fringe all day long. I miss that we don’t dress like that now,” says Jana, who loves the 70s, even though she’s a few years too young to have experienced the disco years. “Something about that music made people get

“That energy and movement is good for your body and good for your soul,” she continues, adding that the hit song “Boogie Oogie Oogie” perfectly

As the only woman on stage with Studio 77, Jana says with a laugh that someone has to drive that Partridge Family bus.

Before moving to Florida in 2011, Jana literally lived around the world, performing on cruise ship tours, as well as in New York

Today, she and her husband Antonio, who is also a musician, live in Groveland with their

Her day job at Universal Studios is a big hit with her boys; the family loves hitting the

“I love being on stage, especially in The Villages,” she says. “Everyone enjoys the music and there’s a lot of energy.”

Check the bands’ Facebook pages or The Villages’ entertainment listing for



Performing has always been part of Kathleen Kane’s life.

“I do love singing in church and that’s where I started,” says Kathleen, who’s been at home on stage since childhood. “I feel very blessed that I am able to entertain and sing.”

Born in Philadelphia, she’s lived in Florida since 1997.

With her vocal range of contralto to soprano, there’s no musical genre she can’t sing.

She’s done off-Broadway, including her one-woman show, “Kathleen Kane: Here I Am.” Her voice landed her a house gig with Disney singing jazz. She sang country at SeaWorld and performed with the band Katie Bar the Door in The Villages.

In addition to entertaining full time, she was with The Villages’ radio station WVLG from 2008 to 2021, first as a DJ, and then as a manager. Her powerful voice has also benefited voiceovers for videos and PowerPoint presentations.

As an actress, she’s appeared in many productions, including with Maestro Bill Doherty’s Central Florida Lyric Opera



In 2017, Alfreda Kinsey-Lee, a retired pediatric nurse and mother of four, decided to switch gears and share her love of baked goods with the public. So, she started Keke’s SweetTreats. “My daughter Keke came up with the idea when I started baking cupcakes and selling them at her brothers’ football games,” she says. “Keke was my inspiration.”

Mostly self-taught, Alfreda admits that she was challenged by the visual side of baking, but says her flavors were on point so she went back to school to study the art and science of pastry. And that was just the beginning of her quest to broaden her culinary knowledge.

“I spent countless hours on YouTube watching videos and paying attention to trends,” Alfreda says. “I also wasted a

lot of cakes, but thankfully my children were my guinea pigs.”

Her signature peach cobbler pound cake is a source of pride that became an instant hit once she posted the flavorful treat online.

“That particular pound cake was all over the Internet, and once I started getting favorable posts the orders came in and I knew I was onto something,” she says. The peach pound cake is made with peach cobbler in the middle and a glaze on the outside with cinnamon and caramel, which reflects her idea of combining two cakes in one.

Alfreda loves to teach others her craft with online videos and encourages followers to get creative with their cakes, pies and breads.

“I always tell people to make it their own,” she says. “We all have that signature flavor inside of us and by baking we can share it with the world.”

You can find Keke’s SweetTreats on Youtube with the handle, Kekes SweetTreats How To.


Alex Santoriello makes his home in The Villages, but Broadway is where he made his name.

Alex was part of the original company for “Les Misérables” when it opened on Broadway in 1987. The iconic play became a sensation that allowed him to do three Broadway shows and three Broadway national tours.

He also appeared in the musicals “Chess,” “Cats,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Threepenny Opera” with Sting.

Voice training started early and in a rather unconventional place for Alex, who was born and raised in New Jersey.

“I’ve been singing since my mom made me sing the Mickey Mouse birthday song during toilet training,” he says with a laugh.

Today, he’s known for singing Broadway classics in concerts he produces, including his popular Sinatra show.

Recently, he showcased his talents in the musical “Grumpy Old Men” at the Savannah Center and will be doing concerts there on April 5 and 6.

Alex, 67, has had an adventurous life. He spent four years in the Army, owned and operated the only parasailing company in the history of New York City, moved to Barbados after 9/11 where he started a piano bar that became one of the islands’ top nightclubs. Alex sailed his own boat from England to Barbados and qualified as a yacht master who can commercially deliver boats anywhere in the world. He’s also been a pilot since 1977 and is a flight instructor.

Alex and his wife, Karen, moved to The Villages in 2014 to be close to his dad, who just turned 92.

“I get to do the stuff I love and my dad’s still here. I consider myself pretty fortunate,” Alex says.


East Ridge


f the glitz and glamour of Broadway have always seemed out of reach, think again. The vibrant world of musical theater is closer than you realize; it’s thriving within community theater companies and high schools of Lake County.

Among them, East Ridge High School’s (ERHS) Musical Theatre program shines as a beacon of talent and dedication with exceptional performances and recent accolades, including being a state-level Mainstage winner last year.

The program is the only one in the county with a dedicated team: Theatre Director Christa Whittaker, Technical Director Martin Rohleder, Dance Director Jenn Stewart and Music Director Robert Walker.

Students interested in becoming part of the auditiononly team go through a rigorous selection process. And unlike many other schools, students don’t need to stay after school for rehearsals since the program runs for two periods each day during regular school hours.

“We’re always working out the best use of time, so whether it’s vocals, choreography, running scenes, working with soloists, we can achieve the quality we deliver because we’re not strictly after school,” Christa says. “We don’t usually have any after school rehearsals until the week before a show.”

ERHS’s Technical Theatre: Set Design & Production classes manages sets, props, lights and sound, with guidance from Mr. Roh. Some of the costumes are even

sewn by ERHS students, with direction from Christa, whose vast theater background includes a passion for costuming. The school also offers advanced acting courses and pre-AP classes in dance and theater.

With a parent organization supporting their efforts, the program has grown to involve over a hundred students in each production, including cast, crew and support roles.

Christa expresses her love for the program and the satisfaction she feels from seeing her team and everyone involved come together to help transform students into confident performers.

“We just have amazing people,” she says. “No one thinks they’re better than each other. Everyone helps each other grow. It’s just a huge family and we all motivate each other.”

There is a competitive aspect, though. Robert says that the experience of thespian competitions and the prestigious nature of the Applause Awards presented by the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is invaluable. ERHS’ program has seen students perform at the Dr. Phillips Center, with some receiving prestigious awards for their work. Adjudicators evaluate characters and overall production, resembling a high school version of the Tonys. Robert says the students’ caliber and being able to excel at such events adds another layer of recognition to the program.

“We compete in thespians competitions and last year we took a show to Tampa, which is our equivalent of a


state championship,” Robert says. “It’s a challenging but rewarding experience.”

The student perspective sheds light on the program’s impact on personal growth. ERHS senior and Stage Manager Brooklyn Smith reflects on her journey from a quiet freshman to the crucial leadership role she’s thriving in today.

“I think that being able to work with both the cast and crew really helped me grow and learn because you really get to see both sides of it,” she says. “A lot of times, if you’re just crew or just cast, you don’t realize what the other side goes through.”

Alli Ayres, a senior and ensemble member, says she’s benefitted from the supportive and collaborative nature of the program.

“What set me back in my earlier years was just my lack of confidence in myself, but because of this program, I’ve grown to know that I am capable. I just go out there and do the best that I can for every show, and I just put myself out there,” Alli says, adding that she likes how tight knit the group is and that “everybody helps each other.”

Tristan O’Hea, a senior involved in various aspects of the program, including his role as president of improv, says he appreciates the opportunity to be a part of such a trailblazing program.

“I know this program is one of the better ones in the whole county because they have a dedicated team and venues here for us. I really like being able to tell stories

and share another world with general audiences,” Tristan says. “I also enjoy being a part of a story with my peers and the performative aspect of the shows, but I also like the actual literary portion of how the story unfolds and each character’s role inside it.”

Senior Hayden Middendorf acknowledges the positive impact on personal confidence provided by the directors and fellow students.

“I’ve definitely gotten more comfortable because I’m around people that I’m friends with and the directors are so inviting and just care so much about us. You can see that through how they direct and treat us,” Hayen says. “Before, I wouldn’t talk or open up to people as much as I do now.”

Joelle Hamad, a junior, emphasizes the program’s role in helping students build confidence and open up.

“Being in this program and in this community has really helped me get out of my shell,” Joelle says. “It’s similar to the real world. You stay dedicated to this program and you always have somewhere to be and something to do. And the directors have been extremely helpful and supportive. They’re really, really amazing at what they do and their primary goal is helping us become the best actors we can possibly be.”

For a list of upcoming shows, to purchase tickets or to learn more about the ERHS Musical Theatre program, visit



The pageant circuit may have a frivolous and shallow reputation, but many of the young women who participate say the experience goes much deeper than what the public sees.

For Mariah Derby-Wine, competitions saved her from shyness and a feeling of vulnerability.

“My mom thought that pageants might be good for me because I was quite timid and found it hard to fit in at school,” says the 17-year-old junior from Leesburg. “With pageants, I’m surrounded by likeminded people, so I feel safe.”

Mariah won her first Sumter County pageant in 2016 when she was just 9.

In 2019, she was crowned Miss Junior Teen.

She is currently USA National Miss Florida Teen and says she is proud that the USA National Miss Organization is based on scholarship and community service.

“The focus isn’t on winning.” Mariah says. “It’s about being an ambassador and having a servant’s heart while focusing on kindness and compassion and being the girl I want to be.”


Pageants also inspired Mariah to create a year-round mentorship called “Crown Church” which she hosts on Zoom each Monday at 6 p.m.

“It’s a safe space for young women and girls who may feel lost and vulnerable,” says Mariah. “I want them to know they don’t have to figure everything out on their own.”

Mariah strives to be relatable, authentic and genuine while sharing her Christian values with other pageant girls.

“We get to connect and grow together in our relationship with God and that gives me a true sense of purpose,” Mariah says.

You can find Mariah on Instagram @mariah_ faith_dw for the zoom link to Crown Church.


Bill Doherty has built his career around a simple The Sumter County resident has one of Central Florida’s most powerful voices. He’s also a conductor, a composer, a pianist, a voice teacher

A native of upstate New York, Bill attended The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music before moving to Orlando in his early 20s. He founded Central Florida Lyric Opera in 1988 and has taught opera and voice to career-oriented young singers who went on to have global success.

Bill directed the TV program Sunday Celebration service at Church on the Square for 15 years.

Today, he’s the music director at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church.

“So I’m there for mass every morning,” says Bill, who has lived in The Villages since 2016.

He continues to produce shows in The Villages at the Savannah Center and the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center and throughout the world.

“We’ve been bringing opera to The Villages since 1994 and will be doing a full production of ‘Madame Butterfly’ in January 2025 at The Sharon,” says Bill.

In 2012, he wrote a Requiem Mass that was commissioned by The Vatican. The world premiere was held in Jerusalem at what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus Christ.

When live performances halted during the pandemic, he and friend Angie Rose wrote “Change the World.” The song circulated on the Internet before coming to the attention of the Salzburg Festival organizers in Austria. Bill and Angie Rose performed the world premiere of the song at the festival, later performing it in Vienna and Munich. This March, Bill produced a concert based on the same concept at The Sharon in The Villages.



For professional country musician

Rob Nichols, Groveland evokes memories of a simpler time when South Lake County was known for orange groves and swamps, not suburban sprawl.

“I loved growing up here back in the 70s,” Rob says with a country twang. “We ran around and played among the trees and on the lake then just came home when the sun went down.”

Shy as a kid, he was musically inspired by his Pentecostal upbringing and by Elvis, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. Rob used his dad’s letter opener as a microphone and sang along with his mom’s 45s. He also had support from musicians in his extended family

“My uncles played banjos, guitars and fiddles,” Rob says. “They told me if I learned on my own, practiced

consistently and didn’t give up, it would pay off.”

He eventually learned how to play guitar. At age 18, he entered a contest in Sanford and won a dream trip to Nashville.

“Once I got there, I ended up working as a demo singer for songwriters and began to book gigs on a regular basis,” he says.

These days, Rob travels the Southeastern United States playing mostly traditional country, rock, and blues. But he prefers to stay close to his beloved hometown and near his wife, family and other local fans, some who eagerly follow his performances.

“I love playing in Lake County because it keeps me humble and connected to my roots,” he says. “I feel lucky because as much as I’ve played here, they haven’t gotten tired of me yet.”


Main Street Antiques in Downtown Leesburg is a labyrinth of collectibles, tchotchkes and treasures.

Perhaps the most precious gem is Willie, the sweet-faced rescue chihuahua who holds court at Serenity and Survival, a specialty jewelry stall owned and operated by his mom, Angie Ward.

“He makes people smile and gives me comfort,” Angie says. “I always say that we rescued each other.”

Angie, a former bartender, began her second career as a self-taught jewelry artist eight years ago when she broke her foot and could no longer do physical labor. She credits Main Street Antiques for giving her a chance and embracing her vision.

“I got a stall and began selling personal items then moved on to making keychains, brooches

for Life and other 12-step recovery groups,” she says. “Eventually my work evolved into more ornate pieces.”

Completely self-taught, she now creates and repairs unique pieces for customers who often become friends.

“The recovery process is a part of the community of artists and jewelry designers,” she says. “I’m in it for more than the money . . . I’m actually fueled by praise and hugs.”

Angie has been sober for 14 years and isn’t shy about her journey because she feels a sense of purpose by sharing her talent with others in recovery.

“I think being in the shop is like having a mini-meeting most days,” says Angie. “I also believe my DUI was the best $10,000 I ever spent because it got me sober and created a path to what I’m doing now, which I love.”



Spend any time talking to Marilyn Ferguson

Vallely and it’s obvious she tells a great story. Even better, her memorable and often hilarious tales are true.

Marilyn jovially shares adventures from her 40 years as a major wedding planner in her native Scotland in her books “All My Big Fat Scottish Weddings,” published in 2022, and “More Big Fat Scottish Weddings,” published in 2023.

Most of the nonfiction stories in her books are lighthearted, but a few tug at the heartstrings. One doesn’t have to be a bride to enjoy the read and the occasional witty “Scotticism.”

“The books I write are not serious. People are funny,” says Marilyn, whose stories focus on the quirkiness of her characters, who happen to be real people.

As for her own story: Marilyn met her husband, James, an American teacher, back in the late 60s when she went to Detroit for a journalism internship.

The couple lived in Scotland and raised their son and two daughters there.


It’s rare that a happily married wife plays matchmaker for her husband, but for musical duo Tonya Tibbets and Tom Brown, aka T & T, that’s exactly how it happened.

“My wife Diane introduced us,” says Tom, a retired police officer and guitarist. “She saw Tonya sing on the internet and kept telling me that we should form a duo and play locally but I wasn’t interested.”

Then, in August of 2016, fate brought the pair together at a South Leesburg retirement community mixer. Both Royal Highlands residents were there to meet and greet fellow members when Diane found Tonya in the crowd.

“Diane recognized me from YouTube and introduced me to Tom,” says Tonya, a full-time realtor. “Once we started rehearsing it was magic.”

Tom says he was also impressed with Tonya.

“Not only does

With her journalism background, Marilyn worked as an editor at Collins Publishers and launched a wedding dress rental service from home in 1971. What started humbly from a spare bedroom grew into one of Scotland’s top wedding specialists, providing full wedding packages from cakes to photography to limos and everything in between.

In 1997, Marilyn and James bought a second home in Leesburg. They live here most of the year.

Last fall, Marilyn went on a grand book tour in Europe. She’ll return this year to promote her second book.

Both books are available online on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Because she occasionally performs songs with her book signings, her Facebook page is titled, “All My Big Fat Scottish Weddings and the Singing Authoress.” Visit Marilyn’s page to follow her and find out about upcoming events.

she have an incredible voice but she has this infectious positive energy,” he says.

Tonya adds that she appreciates the fact that Tom bends his accompaniment to her particular style of singing. “He allows me to find the music that suits my voice and plays

The pair creates “theme” sets around artists like Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Janis Joplin and Linda Ronstadt, to

They rehearse at the Brown residence twice a week, which Diane helps arrange. Tonya’s hubby, Lance, is also very supportive.

“At the end of the day, the four of us have a lot of fun together and that support allows us to shine,” Tonya says.



In a realm where most see the world as a sequence of people, places and things, William “Bill” Delia sees untold stories waiting to be penned into literary existence.

Born in Connecticut, Bill lived in nine states throughout his lifetime before settling in upstate New York where he spent 15 years in the ministry. Before that, he worked in nonprofits for 30 years. More recently, when his son relocated to Orlando, Bill and his wife, Regina, moved to Florida to be closer to their grandchildren and family.

Bill started writing during his seminary years. He said it’s something he’d dreamed of doing since childhood. He started with a short story that ended up being his debut novel, “Home to the Mountains,” followed by the acclaimed “Healing River.”

In 2022, one of his books took the Florida Writers Association’s Silver Award and in 2023, “The Mayor of Pudding Hill” won the Gold Award for mainstream literary fiction.

Reflecting on his creative process, Bill shares insights from his 17-book journey.

“Getting the first one out can be tough; kind of like opening a jar of olives,” he muses. “But once you get that first one out, the others seem to come easier.”

Bill consistently offers readers a glimpse into the lives of “ordinary people navigating extraordinary circumstances.” His works are often filled with spiritual or uplifting themes.

“If you read what I write, I think most of the time you come away feeling like there’s a happy ending,” Bill says. “The reason is to find some sense of encouragement or hope from what happens in the stories.”

Beyond books, Bill enjoys songwriting and singing with The Kings Ridge Ramblers, a musical group he’s part of. His songs are a cross between country and pop, influenced by artists like Peter, Paul and Mary, Jackson Browne and James Taylor. He also enjoys collaborating and sharing what he’s learned with others in two writers groups he leads.

“People bring what they’re working on, they share it, we give each other feedback and that really helps all of us to get better at what we do,” Bill says.

Whether guiding aspiring authors or sharing anecdotes with strangers, Bill embodies the essence


Sales Representative


Mike Killngsworth

General Sales Manager


After making 4 purchases over the last 10 years at my former dealership, I became concerned about their dwindling enthusiasm to retain me as a 50-year GM customer. And so, I traveled to Plaza Cadillac to attempt a new relationship. The sta at Plaza Cadillac was just the ticket. Personable, customer-focused, and accommodating; a pleasure to work with. All were active listeners and did not turn our stay into a marathon visit. No hard sell here—just a pleasant and rewarding experience, with none of the (usual) remorse on the way home in our new XT4. The Mark of Excellence.

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We purchased a new 2020 Lincoln Nautilus from Plaza Lincoln. What a pleasure dealing with the sta of the dealership, very polite and professional, especially our sales agent Jay Bitzer. He is very knowledgeable and courteous, and really works hard to get your business. This is not the first Lincoln we purchased from them and it probably won’t be the last.

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Smoking (including secondhand smoke and smokeless tobacco, sometimes called “chewing tobacco” or “snuff”) is the number one risk factor for getting head and neck cancer. And people who use both tobacco and alcohol are many times more likely to get head and neck cancer than people with neither habit. Research has also shown that continued smoking by a patient with head and neck cancer may reduce the effectiveness of treatment and increase the chance of a second primary cancer.

RBOI is a member of the Tobacco Free Florida Partnership of Marion County. We support efforts to create tobacco-free environments and smoking cessation and prevention programs, especially those targeted to our youth. Wendy Hall, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Cancer Navigator at RBOI, is also a tobacco cessation specialist. Call her at 352-527-0106 for more information.

Know Your Symptoms

Hoarseness and voice changes can be a sign of head and neck cancer; see your doctor if they do not improve within two weeks. Head and neck cancers can also start away from the vocal cords and produce other symptoms. The most common is swelling or a sore that does not heal. Other symptoms include:

• Persistent sore throat

• Constant coughing

• Pain/difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving jaw or tongue

• Ear pain/infection

• Trouble breathing

• A lump, bump, or mass in head or neck


• A red or white patch in the mouth

• Foul mouth odor not explained by hygiene

• Persistent nasal obstruction/congestion

• Frequent nosebleeds and/or unusual discharge

• Double vision

• Numbness/weakness in the head and neck region

• Blood in saliva or phlegm

• Loosening teeth

• Dentures no longer fit

• Unexplained weight loss

• Fatigue

by the numbers

Did You Know?

Head and neck cancers are divided into five main types:


New diagnoses of oral cavity and pharynx cancers in the US estimated for 2023.


Average annual rate of increase in new oral cavity and pharynx cancer cases over 2010–2019.

The HPV Connection: Get Vaccinated!

Human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted virus in the US, has been playing an increasing role in head and neck cancers, especially oropharyngeal cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is thought to cause 70% of oropharyngeal cancers in the US.

The CDC recommends HPV vaccination for 11- to 12-year-olds, and for everyone through age 26 who has not been vaccinated. Adults age 27 through 45 are encouraged to speak with their doctor about their risk of HPV infection and the possible benefits of vaccination.

More than 2x

Head and neck cancers are more than twice as com mon among men as they are among women.

• Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers occur in and around the voice box.

• Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers occur behind the nose.

• Nasopharyngeal cancers occur at the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

• Oral and oropharyngeal cancers occur in the mouth, tongue, and the area from tonsils to voice box.

• Salivary gland cancers occur in the mouth glands that produce saliva.

Immunotherapy Joins Treatment Options for Nasopharyngeal Cancer

A specific head and neck cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), now has a new treatment option. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved toripalimab (Loqtorzi), the first immunotherapy drug used to treat this kind of cancer.

NPC occurs behind the nose, which can complicate surgery. And there is no standard treatment if NPC has spread after chemotherapy. But clinical trials showed that toripalimab shrank tumors and extended survival.


Percent of all cancers in the US that are head and neck cancers.

Patient-centered radiation oncology close to home

The Villages 352.259.2200

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Inside the 25-year legacy of the Silhouettes of Criterion Debutante Ball.

STORY: ROXANNE BROWN ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL 2024 Debutantes Breniya Shaw, Amiyah Copeland, Alana Seward and Ja’Niyah Chambliss

he Silhouettes of Criterion Organization, Inc. stands as a source of empowerment for young women, transcending cultural and social boundaries to shape the leaders of tomorrow.

Founded in 1988 as an extension of the Criterion Civic Club, this Eustis-based organization has become a vital force in the community, fostering academic excellence, social grace and a commitment to community service.

“Our roots trace back to the Criterion Civic Club, established in the 1950s. It was a group of remarkable African American women who served as educators, entrepreneurs and community leaders,” says Silhouettes of Criterion President Selina Bowers. “In 1988, we evolved into the Silhouettes of Criterion, expanding our reach to younger members.”

Those members participate in events like crafting sessions and engaging discussions about college plans, encouraging the development of bonds between the debutantes. Despite attending di erent schools, the girls have come together through this shared experience.

This year, the pinnacle of their e orts, the Debutante Ball, celebrated its 25th year. A rite of passage for high school juniors and seniors, the program aims to present young ladies to society while instilling essential life skills.

“We try to encourage them to develop and increase their socialization in the community, have social graces, engage in structured leadership and positive educational workshops,” says Selina, explaining that their mentorship, coming from accomplished, successful, experienced women in business and in life, instills con dence in participants at a crucial stage in their lives. “It goes back to trying to rebuild young ladies. They get caught up in the image of society and we need to let them know that it doesn’t matter what everybody else is looking at, that you need to love yourself because you’re beautiful no matter what.”

The ball was held February 3 and featured four outstanding debutantes: Eustis High School’s Alana Seward and Ja’Niyah Chambliss, Mount Dora High School’s A’Miyah Copeland and Tavares High School’s Breniya Shaw. Each debutante received an instant scholarship on the night of the ball,

with an additional opportunity to apply for more scholarship funds provided by the organization.

“Overall, the girls are so energetic. A lot of them are student-athletes but still very much into their educations, so they’re very good at keeping their GPAs up and very good at time management,” Selina adds. “Still, witnessing their personal growth each year is truly inspiring.”

Cheryl Myers, one of the organization’s two charter members, has a personal connection to the organization. As a young lady, Cheryl was a debutante and her mother, a Criterion.

“Growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, I saw the Criterion Civic Club as a beacon of strength,” Cheryl says. “When the Silhouettes emerged, it was an opportunity to carry on the legacy and empower the next generation.”

The heart of the Silhouettes lies in their mentorship program, known as the Classic Collection.

“We mentor girls from 6th to 12th grade, guiding them through workshops on nancial wellness, interview skills, etiquette, public speaking, self-awareness and self-esteem,” Cheryl explains. “Our aim is to equip them with knowledge not always taught in traditional education.”

Silhouettes of Criterion

Tamika Rolle, Linda Bonds, Nicole Rolle, Glenda Jackson, Shikita Hill, Saundra Myrie, Denise Gould, Gessner Harris, Cathia Posey, Selina Bowers, Sandra Wilson, Daena Woods and Cheryl Myers

The Debutante Program, an eight- to nine-month journey, intertwines these girls’ lives with invaluable workshops.

“We cover a spectrum of topics that have to do with preparing these young women for the complexities of the world,” Cheryl says.

Acknowledging the challenges faced by some girls, Cheryl highlighted the importance of community service and giving back.

As part of the program, the girls actively engage in scholarship fundraising. Each debutante receives a percentage of the funds raised, which, in total for 2024, stands at nearly $38,000.

At the ball, which is reminiscent of a Quinceañera or Sweet Sixteen, each girl is introduced and celebrated by attendees as they walk out with their parents or guardians, their escorts and the junior debutantes. The girl who raises the most money, some of which is used for community scholarships and other e orts, is then crowned Queen of the Cotillion.

Cheryl says she’s proud that she and other members of the Silhouettes have had a hand in empowering over 160 young ladies through the years. From a debutante perspective, the experience is a great one, says Ja’Niyah

Chambliss, a senior debutante with an enthusiastic spirit.

She has been part of the Criterion club since middle school — and her journey has been transformative. Over the years, Ja’Niyah actively engaged in the Classic Collection, participating in a variety of activities such as bowling, skating and singing. These events not only provided fun but also fostered connections with girls across Lake County, creating a sense of community.

Ja’Niyah was crowned Queen of the Cotillion at the ball.

“I feel like every high school should have something like this,” Ja’Niyah says. “I’m really thankful for the program because it’s such a big eye-opener.”

In particular, Ja’Niyah says she’s appreciative of the workshops conducted by the Silhouettes of Criterion. Among these, public speaking, nancial literacy, and advocacy were particularly impactful, she says. Public speaking and nancial literacy workshops equipped her with essential skills for future endeavors, such as college life.

Ja’Niyah’s aunt Sable Biggs, having experienced the program rsthand as a teen and now being on the other side as a parent, commended the Silhouettes

of Criterion for their enduring impact on the community.

A vibrant debutante and this year’s Miss Congeniality, Alana Seward says she, too, has developed a deep connection with the organization. She has been an active member for three years, engaging in various classes that foster personal growth, self-discovery and the transition into womanhood.

Alana says she particularly appreciates the camaraderie among the teenage girls in the Classic Collection, where she learned valuable life skills and made lasting connections.

“Don’t be afraid to sign up or go to an event and be part of the club because you can learn so many new things, nd new friendships, and have supportive adults teach you the ways of life,” Alana advises. “Even when you feel uncomfortable, they make you feel comfortable. It’s really fun.”

Alana attributes her positive transformation to the club. She speaks fondly of the supportive environment that encourages networking, communication skills and overall personal development.

Alana, a senior who started her Criterion journey as a sophomore, is set to receive a scholarship for college. Her enthusiasm for the future

Criterion Civic Club Carla Mitchel, Joy Harris, Jaqueline Lucas and President Georgette Ward
2023 Miss Debutante Winner Amaria Brown 2024 Miss Debutante Winner Ja’Niyah Chambliss

is contagious, and she credits the Criterion club for contributing to her personal and academic achievements.

Alana’s mother, Vanessa Seward, says she was proud of her daughter’s involvement with the club and acknowledges the positive impact it’s had in keeping Alana on a path of positivity and personal growth.

A newer debutante, Breniya Shaw has been an active participant in the Silhouettes of Criterion program since August. Under the guidance of the program, the Tavares High School senior has engaged in various workshops that focus on essential life skills such as managing money and etiquette, preparing her for the challenges of college and beyond.

“It’s been a good experience. I’ve learned how to communicate more with other girls, make new bonds and gained valuable life skills,” Breniya says.

Breniya’s mother Brianna notes that the program has enriched her daughter’s life. She observes positive changes in Breniya’s ability to connect

with girls from di erent schools, fostering relationships that extend beyond their usual social circles.

Breniya expresses that the most signi cant takeaway from the program is the realization that she can achieve anything she sets her mind to. This empowering message re ects the program’s positive impact on building con dence and a sense of capability among its participants.

Like Breniya, A’Miyah Copeland is also a newer participant

“I’ve been a part of it for a good seven months now. We have workshops, meetings and even events that we attend every year. It’s a way to keep you on track and remember your path and the things you want to do in life,” she says. “One time that stood out to me was when we had a tea party and all got together. The Silhouettes gave us a big speech about school and life, and it was really impactful. It helps me meet other girls from di erent schools, and the workshops are bene cial, teaching us things we need in our lives.”

A’Miyah’s godmother says she recognizes the importance of such initiatives in shaping the future leaders of the community. And that’s the goal.

Selina explains that the organization’s mission statement is, ‘Women striving to make a di erence.’

“Our goals are always trying to do good work on behalf of humanity. We try to build a sisterly bond. And we try to remember always that there is a rm and continuous obligation to the world that we try to do better. We believe in helping the community and we hold rm to the realization that it’s through serving mankind that God is there,” Selina says. “I’m also a true believer in all women, only because I think that we should build each other up instead of bringing each other down.”

“And if you have a strong circle that’s supporting you, encouraging you and motivating you, there’s nothing but great things ahead for you.”

Miss Debutante 2024 Queen of the Cotillion Ja’Niyah Chambliss
Photos of the winners provided by Angela Harris

Sunday, April 28 3-7 p.m.

Featuring Legendary Jimmy Buffett tribute band Gary Roland and the

Downtown Ocala at the intersection of SW Broadway & SW 1st Ave.

Commemorative cup included with ticket and availableatallparticipating establishments


Margaritas, cheeseburgers in paradise, and more!



(VIP ticket includes front row section, separate bar and restrooms, access to VIP location)

(352) 236-2274 •


Distracted Driving puts everyone on the road in danger. The text can wait, pay attention to the road ahead.

Texting and driving involves three types of distraction:

Cognitive distraction is when a driver is mentally distracted from the task of driving.

Visual distraction is the most common type of distraction (i.e. looking at your phone instead of the road).

Physical distraction is when the driver has their hand or hands off the steering wheel to do other things.

Each one individually is an ingredient for disaster, all three together are deadly.




he Brown family of Oxford has poured heart and soul into their farm for decades. Since 1955, generations of the family have worked the land to produce seasonal crops, pork and beef.

Many goods are sold in their huge country store, but in recent years Brown & Brown Farms has also become a favorite location for festivals and events.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 27, as Dazed in the Maze gives adult guests an adventurous afternoon exploring the meandering paths in Central Florida’s largest corn maze while sampling libations.

At least 20 wineries and breweries will be “hidden” throughout the maze with free samples for guests to nd. Live music and food trucks will add to the festivities.

“Dazed in the Maze was introduced in 2022 at our fall festival and was a huge success,” says Suzanne Gilbert, the farm’s Director of Fun. “This event deserved its own platform, and we plan to have it twice a year now. We’ve grown an 8-acre corn maze just for this event.”

Open to adults aged 21 and up, Dazed in the Maze takes place from 12 to 6pm on April 27, with 3 ticket options. General Admission is $25. VIP Pass for $45 includes early access at 11am and a goodie bag. Designated Driver tickets (for non-drinking attendees) are $10.

Vintage at the Farm o ers a full weekend of antiques and vintage shopping from 2pm to 7pm on Friday, May 10th and from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, May 11th.

Find your way around the vintage village on the 15-acre festival grounds where approximately 100 vendors will o er their wares. Expect more than just a market, as museums will also have exhibits.

Reminiscent of Antiques Roadshow, antiques appraisers will

be on hand so people who preregister can get items appraised for free.

This family-friendly event also features a Kids’ Activity area, bluegrass music, and food for sale from the farm kitchen plus food trucks. Take advantage of fun photo opps with antique tractors and more.

Vintage at the Farm admission is $8 adults, $6 seniors and military, $5 kids, with age 2 and under admitted free.

Consider it an upgrade to Brown’s Junk in the Trunk, the hugely popular “yard sale-like” event held the rst Saturday of every month featuring hundreds of sellers.

To participate in Vintage at the Farm, vendors should email suzanne@brownandbrownfarms. com and ask about the discount for early bird bookings.

13940 US-301, Oxford, FL 34484

Country Store: 352.303.1550

Brown and Brown Farms & Country Store



CREATE Conservatory takes new approach to education through imagination and creativity.


revolution is taking place, not led by corporate entities, but by a passionate mother and educator on a mission to break the barriers of the traditional education system.

Nikki Duslak was a teacher and principal in the public school system for nine years, where she navigated the ins and outs of the system and saw just how many students fell through the cracks because they didn’t t the mold.

“The public system is a mass production machine that tells our students to sit down and be quiet,” she says. “For some students, the mass production model works just ne, and they can thrive in that environment, but throughout my years as an educator and administrator, I learned that the vast majority of children don’t t into the literal and metaphorical desks.”


One of the children who did not t into the standard system is Nikki’s son, Avery, who inspired her to


found CREATE Conservatory, Lake County’s rst arts integration school.

“Early in his life, it became clear that there was not going to be a good school for him in our area,” Nikki says. “I tried multiple organizations, both public and private, and they didn’t work for Avery. Not only was he not being appropriately challenged, but he was beginning to have social and emotional struggles that were born out of his boredom and disengaged brain. I drew from my experience as a teacher and principal and decided to build a school where I knew Avery, and countless other kids just like him, would thrive.”

CREATE Conservatory was born to provide kids the opportunities to create, explore, think and problemsolve. CREATE got its non-pro t status in 2019 and opened for student enrollment in August 2020.

“Creativity is the single most important thing we need to teach our children,” Nikki says. “Virtually every great discovery in the world was made, not just by a smart person, but by a creative problem-solver. The arts are arguably the best way to teach and sustain creative minds, so it is

imperative that we infuse them into our children’s lives at every possible juncture so they are prepared to solve the problems of the world for their generation.”


CREATE’s growth has been remarkable. More than 50 students are currently enrolled and there is an active waitlist. However, the journey hasn’t been without its challenges. CREATE rst opened in a building rented at a local church in Leesburg,

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ask the e pert

Style has assembled a panel of local experts ready to tackle a range of topics. Discover valuable insights from these dedicated professionals right here in our community. PAID



What are the benefits of robotic knee implants?

I have been performing total knee replacements for 23 years. Today, I perform an average of 400 total knee replacements each year. Two years ago, I began performing total knee replacements using ROSA robotic technology.

ROSA stands for Robotic Orthopedic Surgical Assistant.

Since no two bodies are the same, getting a precise knee implant that ts the patient’s anatomy is crucial for comfort, mobility, and overall experience following knee replacement surgery. For me, ROSA is an incredibly helpful tool because

it helps align the implant for exact t and accuracy.

ROSA is a robotic platform that takes a personalized approach to each patient’s knee replacement using a three-dimensional model created by registering multiple anatomic landmarks registered Intra-Operating via the robot’s computer technology, camera, and optical tracking devices to create accurate control and alignment of surgical instruments.

Thanks to this technology, we can be more precise with the alignment and placement of implants. For patients, this leads to a more natural feeling of the knee. More importantly, more accurate alignment is associated with increased longevity and durability of the implants.

Depending on age and activity level, some patients go home on the same day. Others may require a one-night hospital stay. In addition, recovery times are shortened thanks to a


Orthopedic Surgeon at Advanced Orthopedic Institute

multi-modal approach that includes pain control medication, nerve blocks, and physical therapy. That’s great news for residents of The Villages who lead active lifestyles. This technology is more advanced than computer-assisted surgery. Computer-assisted surgery still relies ultimately on the surgeon to align the implants. Robotic surgery uses the robotic arm to align the blades while the surgeon still performs the bone resections. Plus, robotic surgery is thought to be more the wave of the future than computerassisted surgery.

Simply put, when I perform knee replacement surgeries, my goal is to help patients return to the quality of life they enjoyed before they began experiencing knee problems. ROSA gives me con dence and information I can use to achieve that goal.

Advanced Orthopedic Institute

The Villages 1400 U.S. 441 N., UNIT 552

352.751.2862 /

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What new things are you doing at AOI?

I’ve always tried to be a leader in cutting-edge approaches to shoulder surgery. I have served as a surgical navigator using imaging systems that deliver precise representation of a patient’s anatomy during surgery, allowing for optimization of implant placement. This is important because anatomy is very difficult to see during the surgical procedure. I can tell you some things are on the horizon that will be revolutionary and cool.

I’m also performing rotator cuff repair using biologic augmentation, which uses healing agents such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), scaffolding, and stem cells. There are times when re-tears happen in patients following surgery. Biologic augmentation reinforces repairs and tendon healing. Let’s say you do a rotator cuff repair and you’re

concerned about the tissue quality, which can potentially increase the re-tear rate after a repair. Biologic augmentation can be used as a means to lessen likelihood of a re-tear. Biologic augmentation is another avenue you can use to further reinforce the repair, and it also helps with healing time and patient satisfaction rates. I think this is the future of orthopedics. I feel that a lot of procedures we do now as orthopedic surgeons will be backed up with biologic augmentation treatment.

We’re also using CBD oil and other forms of pain management that don’t require narcotic pain medication. That has been successful as an alternative means of addressing various issues for patients.

Another thing I do is perform outpatient shoulder surgery. Previously, patients spent two


or three nights in the hospital following shoulder surgery. When you’re not in the hospital, there’s a lower risk of infection after surgery. Also, having the ability to recover at home instead of the hospital gives patients peace of mind and makes recovery time easier. I estimate that 99.9 percent of my patients go home on the day of the surgery and start therapy the following day.

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Advanced Orthopedic Institute The Villages 1400 U.S. 441 N., UNIT 552 352.751.2862 /
Orthopedic Surgeon at Advanced

How can you be proactive in protecting your pet from parasites?

Moving to Florida o ers a multitude of attractions, from its lush foliage and vibrant wildlife to its inviting beaches and year-round warmth.

However, amidst these charms, there’s a less appealing aspect: parasites. While it may seem like a jest, Florida’s climate indeed fosters an environment favorable to various parasites, posing risks to both pets and humans alike.

Among the most prevalent parasites are eas and ticks, often dismissed as mere nuisances but carrying serious health threats. These external parasites not only cause discomfort through bites but also transmit

bacterial infections and bloodborne diseases. Flea allergy dermatitis, a common ailment in Florida pets, leads to incessant scratching and secondary infections. Tick bites can result in tick paralysis or transmit diseases, while severe infestations can lead to anemia or even death. Fortunately, e ective prescription ea and tick control, administered monthly, mitigates these risks.

Intestinal parasites like hookworms and roundworms are equally pervasive, causing gastrointestinal distress and severe anemia. Particularly lethal to puppies, these parasites thrive in Florida’s environment, infecting pets through exposure to eggs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and life-threatening complications. Preventive measures, including routine deworming and hygiene, are crucial in combating these parasites.

Heartworms, transmitted by mosquitoes, present a pervasive


Veterinarian at Belleview Veterinary Hospital

threat across all states, including Florida. Larvae transmitted through mosquito bites develop into adult worms, obstructing heart valves and leading to congestive heart failure. Despite being an indoor pet disease, mosquitoes readily in ltrate homes, necessitating year-round preventive measures.

Fortunately, various preventive treatments, available in oral or topical forms, o er comprehensive protection against these parasites, including heartworms, eas, ticks, and intestinal worms. Additionally, some preventions target ear mites, tapeworms, whipworms, and scabies. Upon relocating to Florida, whether permanently or seasonally, scheduling a wellness check-up with a local veterinarian is essential. This ensures tailored preventive care, safeguarding your pet’s well-being in Florida’s captivating but parasite-prone environment.

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VETERINARY Belleview Veterinary Hospital Belleview 10725 SE 36th Ave. 352.347.3900 / Emergency line: 352.266.0836


Should I file for early retirement or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits?

We get this question all the time from those approaching age 62 and my advice is to do both! It’s a common mistake to settle for a reduced rate of your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) bene t when you feel you are no longer able to do your work, whether physically or mentally.

If you’re currently receiving medical treatment for your impairments, you can easily apply for early retirement and simultaneously pursue SSDI bene ts, provided you’ve worked long enough and recently enough to qualify. Approval for SSDI while receiving early retirement ensures you receive your full monthly retirement bene t

turning 65.

Q Can I qualify for Social SecurityDisability Insurance benefits (SSDI) if I get veterans’ benefits?

AYes. It is possible and well deserved! However, the criteria for bene ts from the Department of Veteran A airs (VA) and Social Security are quite di erent. For SSDI, your impairments must rst prevent the ability to work at what they consider ‘substantial gainful activity level.’ Eligibility is in uenced by factors like age, education, and work history. SSDI doesn’t o er partial payments based on the degree of disability; it’s an all-or-nothing program. However, receiving veterans’ bene ts doesn’t a ect your SSDI eligibility or bene t amount, allowing you to collect both simultaneously.

NADR Accredited Disability Representative At Disability Consultants

Q Can Am I able to discontinue the Social Security benefit once I’m enrolled?

AAbsolutely! I will even go as far as saying that is the desired outcome. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides monthly income and medical insurance with the intention that recipients will utilize them to improve their physical and mental well-being and eventually return to work. If you’re on SSDI and wish to attempt returning to work, SSA o ers programs allowing you to test your ability to maintain employment while safeguarding your bene ts. SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) bene ts undergo periodic reviews to assess any improvements in your condition. If the review determines you’re still disabled, bene ts continue; if it indicates you’re able to work, SSA assists in transitioning o bene ts.

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What is age-related macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a condition primarily a ecting individuals over the age of 50. It involves damage to speci c areas of the retina, leading to the loss of central vision. It is a prevalent condition, with studies showing its presence in about one in ten individuals over 50, increasing to approximately 30 percent by the age of 70.

Q What are some of the symptoms of AMD to look out for?

ASymptoms of macular degeneration can vary, but common signs include distorted vision, such as seeing wavy lines or experiencing central visual activity loss. In more severe cases, individuals may struggle to recognize faces or experience signi cant central visual impairment, impacting daily activities like reading.

Q What steps should you take if you notice AMD symptoms?

AUpon noticing symptoms, it is crucial to seek evaluation from an eye doctor promptly. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment approaches may vary. Dry macular degeneration, characterized by slow progression, often requires regular monitoring, and may be managed with specialized vitamin formulations. For wet macular degeneration, which involves abnormal blood vessel growth, treatments like intraocular injections are employed to prevent further vision loss.

Injections into the eye may sound daunting, but they are simple procedures usually performed ino ce without the need for sedation. The goal is to dry out abnormal blood vessels, thereby halting the leakage of uid into the retina. While treatments can require regular follow-ups, advancements continue to improve

Florida Retina Institute


Board-Certi ed, Fellowship Trained Vitreoretinal Specialist at Florida Retina Institute

outcomes, o ering hope for managing and potentially curing this condition in the future.

Q Should you be tested for AMD even if you don’t have symptoms?

AYes, it is recommended to undergo testing for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) even if you do not exhibit symptoms. Early detection plays a crucial role in managing AMD e ectively. Regular eye examinations, particularly for individuals over the age of 50, can aid in identifying signs of AMD before symptoms manifest. This proactive approach allows for timely intervention and the implementation of preventive measures, potentially mitigating the progression of the condition. Therefore, routine screening for AMD is advisable, especially considering its prevalence among older adults and the importance of preserving vision health.

Lady Lake 790 South Highway 27/441 877.357.3846 /
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What is an O-shot and who can benefit from it? Owner

The O-Shot, short for Orgasm Shot, is a non-surgical procedure designed to enhance sexual pleasure and address various female sexual health issues.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) extracted from the patient’s blood is injected into the clitoral and upper vaginal areas, following a simple blood draw. This quick and essentially painless procedure, typically lasting around 20 minutes, o ers several bene ts. Women experiencing decreased libido, stress urinary incontinence, dryness due to menopause or breast cancer treatment, decreased ability to orgasm, urge urinary incontinence, lichen sclerosus, lichen planus, postpartum fecal incontinence, chronic pain from childbirth trauma, or dyspareunia (painful intercourse) can potentially bene t from the O-Shot. It’s important to note that the treatment is not limited to these conditions but encompasses a range of female sexual health concerns.


What are the main benefits of the O-shot?

AThe O-Shot o ers a spectrum of bene ts aimed at improving overall sexual wellness and satisfaction. Some of these bene ts include heightened arousal from clitoral stimulation, rejuvenated and smoother vulvar skin, a tighter vaginal opening (introitus), stronger and more frequent orgasms, increased sexual desire, enhanced ability to achieve vaginal orgasms, reduced pain during intercourse, boosted natural lubrication, and decreased urinary incontinence. These outcomes contribute to restoring sexual function and intimacy for individuals seeking to address various sexual health challenges. It’s worth noting that while some women may experience immediate results, multiple sessions may be required for optimal outcomes. Additionally, the O-Shot presents a non-invasive alternative to surgical interventions, providing a promising

option for those looking to improve their sexual health and well-being.

Q Is the O-Shot procedure new?

AThe O-Shot procedure is not entirely new, as it has been in use for several years. However, it gained increased attention and popularity in recent times due to its potential bene ts for women’s sexual health. The procedure involves injecting plateletrich plasma (PRP) derived from the patient’s blood into speci c areas near the clitoris and upper vagina to enhance sexual pleasure and address various sexual health concerns.

While the concept of using PRP for therapeutic purposes has been around for some time, its application to female sexual health, particularly in the form of the O-Shot, has garnered more interest and research in recent years. This increased focus on women’s sexual wellness and the desire for non-surgical solutions has contributed to the growing popularity of the O-Shot procedure.

ask the e pert Total Nutrition and Therapeutics Lady Lake 809 Co Rd 466 UNIT 202-c 352.259.5190 / APR'24 LAKEANDSUMTER STYLE .COM / 061
of Total Nutrition and Therapeutics



In a realm where expertise and compassion converge, the Advanced Orthopedic Institute (AOI) emerges as a beacon of orthopedic excellence, an establishment that seniors across The Villages and beyond can trust with their musculoskeletal health.

Established in 2016 by the visionary Dr. Alfred Cook and Dr. John Williams, AOI specializes in restoring vitality and mobility to individuals experiencing joint pain and musculoskeletal issues. The institute’s sterling reputation is a testament to its commitment—to not just treat the ailment but to understand the person behind the pain.


For those enjoying their golden years, nothing is more important than maintaining an active lifestyle. Dr. Cook and Dr. Williams recognize this desire, whether it involves perfecting a golf swing or engaging in a spirited game of pickleball. Their individualized approach ensures that every treatment plan is tailored to t each patient’s unique life. “Our philosophy is simple,” says Dr. Cook. “We listen to you, we understand your life, and we treat you—not just your symptoms.” This empathetic approach is what sets AOI apart, as treatments are not just about managing pain, but enhancing the overall quality of life.



At AOI, the comprehensive list of services includes hip and knee replacement, shoulder replacement, and meticulous rotator cuff repairs. Sprains, fractures, tendonitis, and cartilage injuries are addressed with equal precision, ensuring residents enjoy minimized discomfort and swift recoveries.

Dr. Cook’s pioneering contributions to shoulder replacement surgery and surgical navigation underscore AOI’s mission to bring the future of precision medicine to today’s healthcare. Meanwhile, Dr. Williams’ notable expertise in hip and knee replacement is bolstered by his tenure as the director of total joint replacement at Albert Einstein Medical Center.


The doctors’ ongoing commitment to innovation and education means AOI remains at the forefront of contemporary treatment modalities. Dr. Williams’ celebrated work in anterior approach hip surgeries and published research elevate the standard of care offered to patients.

“We’re not just operating on joints; we’re returning people to their passions and communities,” asserts Dr. Williams. With decades of combined experience, the duo has crafted healing, allowing countless seniors to rediscover the joys of an unburdened, active life.


Above all, the Advanced Orthopedic Institute is a place where promises are kept. The promise to provide unparalleled orthopedic care within a nurturing environment rings true every day. Countless successful outcomes and a steady stream of referrals serve as evidence that at AOI, excellence isn’t an aspiration—it’s the norm.

Whether through conservative approaches or groundbreaking surgeries, Dr. Cook, Dr. Williams, and their dedicated team continue to reinforce their undying pledge—to gift every patient with the freedom of movement and the promise of tomorrow’s innovations, today.


When Dr. Williams and Dr. Cook opened Advanced Orthopedic Institute, they promised to provide patients with high-quality, state-of-the-art care in a warm, friendly, and compassionate environment.


AOI’s influence extends beyond the operating room into the heart of the community it serves. Through partnerships with local health organizations and sponsorship of health education events, Dr. Cook, Dr. Williams, and their team are committed to raising awareness about the importance of orthopedic health and preventative care measures. These outreach programs are designed not only to educate the public but also to provide screenings that can help in early diagnosis and treatment, thereby potentially avoiding the need for surgery. “Our goal is to keep our community moving, one step at a time,” says Dr. Cook, emphasizing the institute’s holistic approach to orthopedics and wellness.

At the heart of AOI’s mission lies a profound commitment to patient-centric care. This model prioritizes the unique needs and preferences of each patient, treating them not as cases but as valued individuals with their own stories and journeys toward healing. “We take the time to listen, to truly understand the challenges and aspirations of those we serve,” explains Dr. Williams. This approach extends beyond medical treatments to include emotional and psychological support, recognizing that healing is a holistic process. The team at AOI leverages the latest medical technology alongside compassionate care to devise personalized treatment plans that align with each patient’s lifestyle and goals, ensuring optimal outcomes and enhanced quality of life.

1400 U.S. 441 N., Unit 552, The Villages / 352.751.2862 ADVANCED ORTHOPEDICS INSTITUTE
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Home is “move in ready” for immediate occupancy! City Electric, Water and Gas plus Septic for utilities. Freshly painted interior and newly renovated throughout! Large foyer leads you to a large eat in kitchen with a separate dining room! Plenty of space for the large “big screen” TV, Pool Table and more in this huge Family/ Bonus Rec Room with its own built in bar!! Three bedrooms! Inside Laundry Room, too!! features a deep oversized one car garage to rear of home that also has a separate workshop area for the handyman and additional storage! Bring pets to your FENCED BACKYARD and START ENJOYING YOUR LIFE!!

MLS# G5078475 // $284,500.

INVITING POOL HOME...24/7 GUARD GATED GOLF COMMUNITY! GOLF COURSE FRONTAGE and spacious driveway. Double door entrance with custom recessed sliding screens, lead you into this remodeled extensively by seller, an artistic visionary...this home is a showcase! Great Room features a wood-burning fireplace and a built-in surround sound system. The kitchen boasts quartz countertops, snack bar with Travertine under counter, and top-of-the-line “Gold Series” Whirlpool appliances! The primary en suite is generously sized, offering a sitting area, trey ceiling, and an oversized walk-in custom closet. Bathroom offers dual above-bowl sinks, granite countertops, indirect under-counter lighting, large walk-in shower and a Jacuzzi garden tub with jets. The split bedroom design leads to bedrooms two and three, sharing a renovated guest/ pool bath. The large lanai features a custom summer kitchen, with a granite built-in snack bar, mini refrigerator, flat-screen TV, and four surround sound speakers. Pool is electric heated for year round swimming! MLS# G5077652 // $574,900.

SECURE GATED COMMUNITY…LUXURY POOL HOME! Step into this 4/4 pool home through wrought iron gates, greeted by an enchanting rock waterfall. Nestled in a secluded enclave, yet conveniently close to town, this residence features a brick paver driveway leading to an expansive 3-CAR GARAGE with a side entrance. You’ll be welcomed by an inviting front porch and elegant double doors that open into a spacious great room/dining area, complete with a gas log fireplace and custom shelving. The generously sized den/office or formal living room offers versatility to suit your needs. The kitchen boasts ample cabinet space, snack bar, and a cozy breakfast area. The primary suite features a tray ceiling with double crown molding, His/Her walk-in closets, separate raised vanities, a glass walk-in shower, a water closet, and a luxurious soaking tub with soothing jets. French doors open up to the lanai, providing direct access to the screened-in pool, complete with a built-in spa. A convenient tri-split plan leads to bedroom 2, accompanied by a guest bath featuring a tub/ shower combo and a single vanity. Bedroom 3 boasts a walk-in closet and its own private bath with tub/shower and single vanity. Bedroom 4 offers a deep walk-in closet and private access to the pool bath, which features an oversized shower, dual shower-heads, a raised vanity, and a French door leading to the lanai/pool area. This home is adorned with granite countertops, soaring volume and tray ceilings, crown molding, 8 ft. interior doors, and tile floors throughout (no carpet!). The interior laundry room features custom cabinets and a stainless steel sink. MLS# G5068943 // $850,000.

GUARD GATED 24/7...REMARKABLE POOL HOME! A brick paver driveway leads to an inviting side-entry garage, accommodating two vehicles plus a separate golf cart garage! Step inside a grand foyer opening to a den/office through elegant double glass French doors. The heart of this home is the spacious great room, with tray ceilings and recessed lighting. Triple glass sliding doors effortlessly recess and connect the interior to the lanai, where an in-ground saltwater pool awaits, complete with year-round heating, for endless swimming pleasure. HUGE kitchen with oversized island/ snack bar area and spacious dining area! Enjoy the walk-in pantry and cabinets galore for storage. Your oversized primary suite features a French door to the lanai and pool area. Two separate walk-in closets offer ample storage space, while the bathrooms leads to well-appointed laundry room, equipped with a washer and dryer. Split plan design places bedrooms 2 and 3 on opposite side of the home, sharing a guest bathroom with raised vanity and a tub/shower combination. Throughout the residence, you’ll find tasteful upgrades like granite counters, crown molding and stylish plantation shutters. Plus, enjoy the added benefit of low electric bills with energy efficient double pane windows and pool heat pump! Experience luxury living where every detail has been carefully considered to offer comfort, style, and security. Don’t miss the opportunity to make this your dream home!

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ADORABLE AND AFFORDABLE! This cute 2 bedroom 1 bath has great potential to make an additional bedroom. Galley kitchen with newly painted cabinets has great counter space. Large dining area is the perfect area for entertaining and this home also features a cozy living area. The oversized family room could easily be converted to a large master suite if need be. New paint through out the home. Fenced in backyard. Great location near shopping, restaurants, and so much more! MLS#G5074278 // $274,900.

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Theresa Morris

CHARMING 3/2 HOME with open floor plan in Westgate Community. Comfortable living featuring a community dock on the serene Lake Eustis. This Showcase Homebuilt property, with only one owner, is a 3/2, two-car garage gem that won’t stay on the market for long. Welcoming open floor plan, seamlessly connecting a formal dining and living room/office to the great room and dinette. The kitchen offers plenty of counter space, a closet pantry, and solid wood cabinets with crown molding. Private primary suite, with sliding doors leading to the lanai. Enjoy access to the community dock on Lake Eustis. Schedule your viewing today!

ELEGANT LUXURY AT ITS FINEST in this executive LAKE MYRTLE POOL house on approximately 4.14 acres gated and fenced nestled between Lake Myrtle Shores and Wingspread. You will appreciate the privacy this house offers as you drive through the gate and up to the circular driveway. Upon entering the double leaded glass front doors you will immediately be impressed by the infinity edge grotto pool with waterfall, views of Lake Myrtle and upgraded finishes. This open floorplan has 10-foot ceilings and crown molding throughout the house with porcelain tile floors everywhere except the guest rooms and custom drapes. The formal dining room has 12-foot ceilings, a coffered ceiling and is open to the formal living room that has 16-foot lake front window, custom beams and stone-faced propane gas fireplace.

LOVELY THREE BEDROOM ,TWO BATHROOM, two car garage home in the desirable community of Westgate which has a community dock to Lake Eustis. This house has been renovated in the last year with a new roof, solid wood 42 inch shaker cabinets throughout, quartz counter tops, wood vinyl flooring, and most rooms have been freshly painted. Open floorplan with living and dining room leading to the family room open to the kitchen and dinette area. Enjoy entertaining family and friends by the fireplace in the family room or on the large screened lanai with a charming landscaped view. The kitchen has new solid wood shaker cabinets and quartz counter tops. Split bedroom plan offers privacy to the primary suite with two walk-in closets and a remodeled private bathroom with dual sinks, loads of counter space, a garden tub and separate shower. There is a large laundry room which has been remodeled too with space for an additional refrigerator and storage. There is a convenient central vacuum system for easy cleaning.

WELCOME TO YOUR DREAM HOME! This lovely 3/2 pool home offers a perfect blend of comfort, convenience, and style. With over 2300 sq ft, this property is conveniently located in Leesburg. The kitchen, dinette, and family room are connected with sliding glass doors leading to the pool and a privacy-fenced backyard. The kitchen boasts newer appliances, a closet pantry, breakfast bar, and solid surface countertops. Upgraded and Well-Maintained including the roof (2017), the property features custom landscaping, an expanded driveway, and a two-car garage. Don’t miss the chance to call this stunning property home! PENDING PENDING

WELCOME TO OAK RUN! This two-bedroom, two- bathroom residence is perfect for both seasonal living and full-time residency. Nestled in a picturesque community, this home offers a tranquil pond view that can be enjoyed from the dining area and Florida room. Enjoy breathtaking views of the serene pond right from the comfort of your living space. | 3 Multi-Million Dollar Producer Lynn Haynes 352.516.0903
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you to
FL 32778 Rich LeMoyne

ENJOY THE SIMPLE LIFE…IN YOUR NEW HOME! Look no further...dreams do come true! Simple Life community fosters a sense of calmness and relaxation, inviting its residents to embrace a simpler, more serene way of living. Enjoy a maintenance and carefree lifestyle with a secure, gated entrance. These space efficient, uniquely designed “Cottage Style” homes, will amaze you! Even though you don’t own the ground under your feet, you have all the transferable rights through a recorded survey showing your entitled access to all common areas and amenities, as well as the property your home is built on for the perpetual term of your 99-year lease! While this is not a condo it has some of the same advantages that enable you to lower costs through common use rights, but unlike a condo, there are never any assessments which means the maintenance and or replacement of the roads, lighting, and all amenities are covered in the modest monthly lot fee. You have one affordable “lifestyle” fee, plus a monthly lot fee, giving you incredible benefits that include... security gates, streetlights, water, sewer, trash, irrigation, cable, internet, lawn care with quarterly weed spray & once a year mulching, and much more! Plus, private road and amenity maintenance are all included. Your exclusive access to private amenities also comes with organized activities including yoga and fitness classes with dedicated staff at your service! The captivating 2/2 Captiva model is a haven of comfort and style. From the moment you step onto the charming front porch, you’ll be enchanted by the simple yet elegant lifestyle this home offers. Key features include: Open Living Area: As you enter, a spacious and open living area awaits, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Modern Kitchen: The kitchen is a chef’s delight, boasting white cabinets, soft-close drawers, a stylish grey subway tile backsplash, a center island, and top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances. Guest Quarters: A barn door provides privacy to the guest quarters, featuring a bedroom and a well-appointed guest bath with a shower/tub combo. Versatile Bonus Room: Explore endless possibilities with a bonus room ideal for an art area, office, or extra storage. Utility Room: Convenience meets functionality with a utility room housing a front loader washer and dryer. Primary Bedroom Retreat: The primary bedroom is a sanctuary with two walk-in closets, a door leading to a screened-in lanai, and a primary bath showcasing double sink vanities and a luxurious walk-in shower. Call today to start living the “Simple Life.” MLS# G5076127 // $254,999.

As you step through the stonework-adorned exterior, the enchantment begins. Laminate wood flooring graces the main living areas downstairs, leading you through the dining areas overlooking the spacious living room. A convenient half bath is nestled between the living and dining spaces. The heart of this home lies in this kitchen, featuring granite countertops, upgraded cabinets, and a captivating kitchen nook area. The adjacent family room opens to a covered patio through sliders with elegant plantation shutters, providing a seamless indoor-outdoor experience. Upstairs, all four bedrooms await, with the primary suite standing out with a walk-in closet and a luxurious bathroom boasting dual vanity sinks, upgraded cabinets, a garden tub, and a shower. The second and third bedrooms are thoughtfully placed across from the primary suite, while the guest bath offers upgraded dual vanity sinks, granite countertops, and a shower/tub combo. Home upgrades are abundant, including a NEW ROOF, a 2019 hot water tank, and 2017 & 2023 A/C unit replacements. Plantation shutters grace the lower-level main living areas, complementing brand new baseboards. To top it all off, relish in the community’s amenities – a pool, clubhouse, tennis courts, basketball courts, and a playground. Don’t miss the opportunity to make this your forever home! Constructed for Convenient Living! In the Vicinity of What’s Happening! Adjacent to Everything! MLS# G5077083 // $329,000.

4 | integrity // experience // results Kim Ducharme Levensohn 352.874.5906 Kim Connects… Your Real Estate Connection Residential Sales Voted Best Of The Best 2019 | 2020 | 2021 LICENSED & INSURED | BASED IN LAKE COUNTY AND SERVING 48 STATES FREE ESTIMATES HOTPROPERTY ENJOY THE SIMPLE LIFE...IN YOUR NEW HOME! Look no further...dreams do come true! Simple Life
of calmness
and fitness
at your service! MLS# G5076504 // $199,999. MOST WANTED LIST! A FLOOR PLAN TO FLOOR YOU! Awesome llayout makes life easier in this 4 Bed, 2.5 Bath Two-Story Home in The Villages of Parkwood! Discover your dream home in the gated community of The Villages of Parkwood. This two-story residence boasts over 1900 sq ft of living space and is strategically located just minutes away from The Villages and its charter schools.
community fosters
and relaxation, inviting its residents to embrace a simpler, more serene way of living. Enjoy a maintenance and carefree lifestyle with a secure, gated entrance. These space efficient, uniquely designed “Cottage Style” homes, will amaze you! Lower your cost of living with this innovative approach to home ownership. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who are still working or retired. Your exclusive access to these private amenities also comes with organized activities including yoga
classes with dedicated staff

DISCOVER YOUR OWN HIDDEN GEM! This 3/2 fully furnished home of 1760 Sq.ft is move in ready, with ceramic tile throughout, quartz countertops, custom lighting, stainless steel appliances, and eat in bar in the kitchen. Large dining room with a wonderful view, and added family room with built in shelving. Huge backyard with a patio. Fans of boating will love the community pier and boat slips (waiting list). Resortstyle living yet close to the Florida Turnpike and only 15 minutes away from downtown Mount Dora’s shopping, unique restaurants and breath-taking seaplane park along the Tavares waterfront. Don’t miss your chance to make this Florida paradise your own. Make your move! MLS# G5076499 // $474,900.

40 ACRES PRIVATE AND SECLUDED-HORSE LOVERS PARADISE! Bring your family and horses because it is all set up for you! 8 stall horse barn, extra 3 stall barn, covered pole barn for RV, boat, trailer, etc. 4/3 with an office. Home has over 2200 SQ FT of living area. Split plan and 4th bedroom has its own bath for guest or in law quarters. Huge great room 24x16. Updated kitchen with granite counter tops and upgraded appliances. Inside laundry and mud room off garage entrance. Oversized 3 car garage 30x25. Concrete block barn with 8 stall 12x12 barn and tack room/office and wash area. An additional 3 stall 16x16 barn with its own pasture. 60x24 Covered pole barn to keep your all your toys. Huge area for barrell racing, poles, etc. Fenced and cross fenced for severl pastures. Big pond towards the back and surrounded by woods and backs up to the Seminole State Forest. Just the place for horseback rides, 4 Wheelers and exploring. Lots of wildlife. Perfect place to raise a family and enjoy country living! MLS# G5073321 // $1,250,000.

CHAIN OF LAKES POOL HOME WITH STUNNING VIEWS 141 frontage on canal leading to little Lake Harris. 3/3 home with tons of upgrades. Great room overlooking the water with custom shelving. Gourmet kitchen with granite counter tops, updated appliances stainless steel, country sink, huge pantry, and breakfast bar. Spacious Primary bedroom with 2 walk in closets, huge bathroom with garden tub and double sinks with granite counter tops. The third bedroom en-suite is perfect for guests. Guest bath has walk in shower with travertine and travertine floors. Inside laundry. Screened in pool with table area overlooking the water’s edge. Boat house and hoist. Detached oversized 30x30 garage. Double lot allowing extra space to park RV or boat Trailer. New roof in 2023. Re-plumbed in 2018. HVAC 2014. Pool re-surfaced in 2014. Private boat ramp. Located close to the Florida Turnpike and just 10 minutes away to the Tavares Waterfront Seaplane park and unique restaurants and only 15 minutes away from downtown Mount Dora with quaint shopping and a variety of restaurants. Enjoy boating on the Chain of Lakes to enjoy eating out or those beautiful sunsets. Fish from your own backyard. Enjoy the Florida lifestyle. MLS# G5078949 // $725,000.

725 E Alfred St. Tavares, FL 32778 Rich

We are committed and passionate professionals who puts our clients' best interests and satisfaction above all else. Our team’s determination to cater to our clients' specific needs coupled with our market expertise, attention to detail and superior negotiating skills allows you to receive first class service. | 5 Residential Sales
Move You! Jo Leen Cooper Howe The Results Will
Regional Manager NMLS#333158 352.408.5999 cell //352.742.1077 fax



• Recommendation on how to get the most from your property Analysis based on comparable properties and market movement


• Monthly and annual income and expense reports along with 1099 statement

• We can pay mortgage payments from rental income if desired by owner


• Online with Multiple Listing Service


• Yard Signage

• Local media outlets


• Move in walk thru inspection in writing along with photographs of the property conditions at the time of lease signing and when tenant vacates

• Bi-Annual inspection of occupied property


• All adult applicants are prescreened for credit, criminal and eviction history

• All lease agreements are prepared by an attorney

• Collect and handle all payments (rent, security deposit, pet deposits)

• Post late payment notices

• Handle complete eviction process

• Operate within the Landlord Tenant Law

• Comply with Federal “Fair Housing Act”

• Handle repairs with licensed, insured and bonded vendors

6 | integrity // experience // results
TREY HALIDAY TREY@MORRISREALTORS.COM 352.365.6900 REALTOR® // PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Dust Busters of Lake County PREMIUM CLEANING Deep Cleaning • Regular House Cleaning Post Construction Cleaning Move in/out & Commercial Cleaning 352-409-3595 References Available Serving Lake, Sumter & Marion Counties Since 2015 • Reliable • Responsible • Experienced • Affordable • Licensed • Insured

ENJOY THE SIMPLE LIFE…IN YOUR NEW HOME!! Look no further…dreams do come true! Simple Life community fosters a sense of calmness and relaxation, inviting its residents to embrace a simpler, more serene way of living. Enjoy a maintenance and carefree lifestyle with a secure, gated entrance. These space efficient, uniquely designed “Cottage Style” homes, will amaze you! Lower your cost of living with this innovative approach to home ownership. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who are still working or retired. Even though you don’t own the ground under your feet, you have all the transferable rights through a recorded survey showing your entitled access to all common areas and amenities, as well as the property your home is built on for the perpetual term of your 99-year lease! While this is not a condo it has some of the same advantages that enable you to lower costs through common use rights, but unlike a condo, there are never any assessments which means the maintenance and or replacement of the roads, lighting, and all amenities are covered in the modest monthly lot fee. NO ADDITIONAL ASSESSMENTS IN THE COMMUNITY! NO CDD FEES! You have one affordable “lifestyle” fee, plus a monthly lot fee, giving you incredible benefits that include…security gates, streetlights, water, sewer, trash, irrigation, cable, internet, lawn care with quarterly weed spray & once a year mulching, and much more! Plus, private road and amenity maintenance are all included. You can enjoy a sophisticated clubhouse, fitness Room, and swimming pool as well as walking trails, grills, fire pits, community garden, pet park, pickleball & even future bocci courts! Your exclusive access to these private amenities also comes with organized activities including yoga and fitness classes with dedicated staff at your service! DEVELOPER OFFERING BUYER INCENTIVES TO PURCHASE to include options of discount for cash, buy down on mortgage rates or closing cost assistance!! Contact Holly for more information.

17.5 WOODED ACRES of direct lakefront property on the pristine Lake Deaton. This is a rare opportunity to purchase this large of a parcel directly on an approximately 500 acre Lake. This offering is for two parcels, Sumter County ID: G23-050 and G23-022, currently zoned RR5 within Sumter County. The adjacent property is zoned R2M, so one may assume the same zoning could be assigned to these two parcels. Upon rezoning, the property could yield seven lakefront lots at almost 80’ wide, then with roads and drainage, the remaining land could possibly be divided into 18 interior one half acre lots, see concept site plan in listing, this is a concept only and has not been approved. Imagine the potential that this type of development could have with its close proximity to hospitals, medical plazas, shopping, The Villages, and so much more. This could be the next exclusive address. Or, it may be possible to seek proper zoning for a lakefront RV park, use your imagination and take advantage of this offering. There is an old mobile home, barn, and well on site, but the land is the value. All information provided is assumed to be accurate but must be confirmed by the buyer. MLS# G5065102 // $2,400,000.

Contact Judd for more information. | 7
Contact Judd for more information. LOCATED IN THE VILLAGES, Charter School eligible. This well appointed building is suited for medical, dental, or professional use. Includes a waiting room, receptionist with work space, 4-exam rooms, 1-executive office, 1-break room, 2 restrooms, and plenty of storage. Great visibility from CR 42 with over 18,000 vehicles per day. Golf cart accessible. Nearby neighbors include VA Outpatient Clinic, Edward Jones, Lake Center for Rehab, major shopping destinations, restaurants, and banks. MLS# G5070286 // $34.00 Per SqFt. Contact Judd for more information. BACK ON THE MARKET! This location on the busy corridor SR 44 with over 21, 000 vehicles per day and full access to C44-A on the north side. The property is 18.2 acres with approx 615ft of frontage on SR 44. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to own this large of a parcel with such close proximity to The Villages Brownwood Paddock Square. The buyer has the option to complete the currently permitted plaza or create their own mixed use, commercial, medical, retail, etc. Water retention pond was designed for the intended plaza, so all 18.2 acres are compensated for. MLS# G5078966 // $11,000,000. Contact Judd for more information. 352.516.7809 Judd Dickerson Holly Dickerson 352.516.7933 MLS# G5076124 // $229,999 MLS# G5076475 // $199,999
PAD READY SITE! Take advantage of this amazing opportunity to join this thriving Professional Office/Medical Office Park, Pines Professional Center. Save yourself the time and money of developing raw land, this pad ready site is the perfect fit for your new office. All utilities are in place, storm water retention, parking, and perimeter sidewalks complete. The pad site is 6,992 square feet. Appropriate uses include professional, medical, dental, & more, or build to lease! MLS# G5078049 // $885,000.

PROFESSIONAL OR MEDICAL SPACE FOR LEASE located across from The Villages in The Oaks. New construction building, available to move in now. Choose your own flooring. Located just off Hwy 441 (with AADT of 38,000), the building is golf cart accessible and is convenient to The Villages, Spruce Creek and Stonecrest. Office has convenient inand-out access at a signalized intersection. Medical offices, banks, and multiple retailers are all within a 1/2 mile of this desirable location. MLS# G5078410 // $28.00 psf + NNN.

FANTASTIC COMMERCIAL VACANT LAND PARCEL! Just over 1.5 ACRES zoned C3 in City of Leesburg with city water and sewer running along property and available for hook up! Great location with excellent visibility at the corner of Thomas Rd and Martin Luther King Blvd behind Walmart. City of Leesburg COMMERCIAL C3 Zoning allows for a wide variety of approvable uses, please see permissible use table attached. MLS# G5067917 // $275,000.

BEAUTIFUL SPLIT BEDROOM 4/2 floor plan in a well established community and oversized lot, close to the Villages. Home features numerous recent upgrades including Roof (2016) and new Double Pane Windows (2016) plus NEW A/C in the last year. The spacious floor plan features formal dining, living room with vaulted ceiling and fireplace, PLUS a recently remodeled kitchen with granite countertops and Stainless Steel appliances including a Double Oven! Master bathroom was remodeled recently as well with custom tiled walk-in shower and double sink vanity with upgraded countertop and fixtures. MLS# G5073952 // $339,900.

VERY ATTRACTIVE AND TURNKEY! Owner will divide as needed, professional office space for lease! Updated with brand new carpet and paint throughout, high speed data lines, LED lighting, PA system, security and fire alarms (fully sprinkled), plus new office cubicles making the space turnkey for a new tenant. Space would be ideal for a customer service or call center, or corporate headquarters. The building also features a kitchen/breakroom area and great parking (90+ parking spaces) with easy access. MLS# MLS# G5077508 // $12 psf + NNN

CLASS A OFFICE/MEDICAL BUILDING with 1,780 Sq Ft available for lease. Premier location across from The Villages, Brownwood-SR 44 with AADT 24,000 cars per day on SR 44. Building is next door to Sumter Summit Surgery Center, Orlando Health and Lake Eye Associates. Owner is currently building out interior, still time to customize finishes to your liking! MLS# G5076691 // $30/Per Sq Ft +NNN.

WELL MAINTAINED 3 bedroom 2 bath home! This lovely light and brightsplit floor plan is sure to please with volume ceilings and spacious rooms. The kitchen has lots of cabinet space, an island with a sink, and nice breakfast nook looking out to back yard. There is a separate formal living and dining room area as well as a large family room, perfect for entertaining. Low maintenance landscaping and 2 car garage. MLS# G5067815 // $350,000.

Scott Strem 352.978.3428 Serious About Selling Multi-Million Dollar Producer Realtor® 13.28 ACRES w/860ft highway frontage on US 27/441, the only 6 Lane Highway through the Villages, Florida. Virtually the only piece of vacant land of this size in the area which is totally on level ground, at roadside eye level. Can be seen from 1000 feet away. City utilities available. St Johns Water Management permit obtained, to expedite build out. Massive billboard highly visible. Likely traffic light at NE corner. Nearly 30,000 vehicles pass daily. Zoned PUD-Industrial with C-2 uses also allowed. MLS# G5047877 // $3,580,000 HOTPROPERTY Home Inspections, Wind Mitigations, 4 Point Inspections, Roof Certifications, Termite Inspections 352.602.9819 |

WAKE UP TO SUNRISES!! Embrace the opportunity to construct your dream home on this expansive lot which boasts over half of an acre. This property is ideally situated along a wide canal that connects to the chain of lakes. Located in a well-established community, this property offers that convenience of being close to downtown Leesburg, the hospital, parks, and all the amenities you desire. With easy access to Orlando, this lot, complete with a boat dock, provides the perfect canvas for your future home. Call today and start your new life on the water. MLS# G5073441 // $194,900.

FANTASTIC LOCATION! These two parcels sit side by side and are situated in the central hub of Lady Lake, providing convenient proximity to The Villages for excellent exposure. Enjoy easy access to CR 466 and Highway 441, enhancing overall accessibility. Unleash your creativity on this nearly one-acre plot, offering ample space for your envisioned construction. All essential utilities, including public sewer and water, are readily available. Zoned CP, this property holds tremendous potential for various possibilities! MLS#G5077103 // $199,900.

BPERFECT LOCATION to build your home on 1.26-acre lot on Lake Griffin Road within city limits and close to The Villages. MLS#G5077172 // $49,900 | 9 Leesburg 352.728.6707 9800 US Hwy. 441 Suite 106
rokers Title is one of the largest independently owned insurance companies in the state of Florida. Let our experienced team of professionals work for you when purchasing, selling, or re nancing your property. Brokers Title has been an established leader
real estate transactions for over 18 years, and we value you most. In fact our reputation is built on it. Brokers Title of Leesburg, LLC • Partnership opportunities • Short Sales • REOs • Foreclosures • Sta Attorney
Mobile Closings Seminars • 24 hour turnaround on HUDs • Title Searches • 1031 Exchanges Michael Barrett 352.255.5710 Residential Sales HOTPROPERTY

ENJOY THE SIMPLE LIFE…IN YOUR NEW HOME! Look no further…dreams do come true! Simple Life community fosters a sense of calmness and relaxation, inviting its residents to embrace a simpler, more serene way of living. Enjoy a maintenance and carefree lifestyle with a secure, gated entrance. These space efficient, uniquely designed “Cottage Style” homes, will amaze you! Lower your cost of living with this innovative approach to home ownership. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who are still working or retired. Even though you don’t own the ground under your feet, you have all the transferable rights through a recorded survey showing your entitled access to all common areas and amenities, as well as the property your home is built on for the perpetual term of your 99-year lease! While this is not a condo it has some of the same advantages that enable you to lower costs through common use rights, but unlike a condo, there are never any assessments which means the maintenance and or replacement of the roads, lighting, and all amenities are covered in the modest monthly lot fee. NO ADDITIONAL ASSESSMENTS IN THE COMMUNITY! NO CDD FEES! You have one affordable “lifestyle” fee, plus a monthly lot fee, giving you incredible benefits that include…security gates, streetlights, water, sewer, trash, irrigation, cable, internet, lawn care with quarterly weed spray & once a year mulching, and much more! Plus, private road and amenity maintenance are all included. You can enjoy a sophisticated clubhouse, fitness Room, and swimming pool as well as walking trails, grills, fire pits, community garden, pet park, pickleball & even future bocci courts! Your exclusive access to these private amenities also comes with organized activities including yoga and fitness classes with dedicated staff at your service! DEVELOPER OFFERING BUYER INCENTIVES TO PURCHASE to include options of discount for cash, buy down on mortgage rates or closing cost assistance!!


haven that


10 | integrity // experience // results
Lindsay Sanders 352.661.0232 Realtor®
2-bath combines elegance functionality. The kitchen is equipped with a large island, providing space for barstools. Luxurious master suite with double walk-in closets, double sinks, and a walk-in shower. Enjoy a screened-in porch directly off the master suite. Whether it’s a morning coffee on the front porch or an evening breeze on the back, these spaces offer a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor living for your relaxation and enjoyment. MLS# G5076111 // $244,999. CHARMING HOME! 2-bed, 2-bath home with open living and kitchen areas. Gorgeous kitchen boasts soft close cabinets, quartz counters, and a spacious island. Home offers a dedicated dining area. Master suite offers a walk-in closet, walk-in shower, and double sinks for added luxury. Home features front and back porches, inviting you to unwind and relish moments of tranquility.! MLS# G5076450 // $254,999. EXPLORE THE CHARM of this spacious 2-bed, 2-bath main house (1085 sq. ft.), complemented by a cozy guest cottage (275 sq. ft.) featuring a full bath. Your sanctuary is complete with a detached garage, all thoughtfully arranged to form a tranquil courtyard, providing a private oasis for relaxation. Kitchen showcases soft-close cabinets, quartz counters, and a large island. Convenient laundry room adjacent to the kitchen. Master suite offers double walk-in closets, a beautifully tiled walk-in shower, and double sinks. Schedule your private showing today. MLS# G5076458 // $365,999.

352.408.4668 Camie Can!

TIMELESS ELEGANCE meets modern comfort! Located in charming Fruitland Park on Mirror Lake’s shore. Built in 1889 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it offers a unique blend of vintage aesthetics and modern amenities. Upon arrival, you’re greeted by a magnificent wrap-around front porch. With over 3500 sq. ft. of living space, this home provides ample room for comfortable living and entertaining. Inside, you’ll find two formal living rooms, each adorned with its own fireplace, as well as a traditional formal dining room. Additionally, a versatile room behind the stairs offers potential as an office or additional bath if plumbed. The kitchen has new countertops, cabinets, and appliances, including a dishwasher and hood. The master bedroom is conveniently located downstairs, while three guest rooms are nestled upstairs. The upstairs bath has been updated with new flooring, vanity, lighting, and a tub/shower combination. Situated on 2.7 acres fronting Mirror Lake, the property offers a picturesque setting with gated access for added security and privacy. Detached 2000 sq. ft. barn/carport, and RV hookup at the rear of the home. Numerous improvements, including fresh paint, landscaping, light fixtures, a hot water heater, and an ADT alarm system, enhance the home’s value and convenience. This historic masterpiece embodies the essence of Fruitland Park’s rich heritage and offers a lifestyle steeped in elegance and tranquility, making it a truly desirable place to call home. MLS# G5079035 // $820,000. | 11


EASY LIVING...KICK BACK AND RELAX... Settle in and enjoy the sunshine!!! Large manufactured home in the lovely community of COACHWOOD EAST. This 2/2 home is situated on a corner lot, with a large two car carport, offers approximately 862 Sq Ft. Large enough for two cars and your golf cart. This amazing home has 1,456 Sq Ft of living space, not included in Square Footage is the 22’ X 12’ Florida room that is bright and inviting. Living room has built-in electirc fireplace with mantle and masonry type hearth. Two dining areas, one opens to the kithcne area, and the second dining area features large built-in China Cabinet for lots of storage space. Kitchen includes all appliances, Refrigerator with ice maker, Range, Range Hood, Dishwashwer, Disposal and also includes a built-in Breakfast bar area. Master bedroom has a large closet. Master bath features large walk-in closet/dressing arera and separate water closet for commode and walk-in shower. Guest bedroom features Large closet, Guest bath has tub/shower combo. Some other defining features include 18’X18’ screened-in porch, 10’X12’ covered patio, and a 12’X11’ utility room. Workshop. Turnkey. WHY WAIT, CALL TODAY FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT! MLS# G5078224 // $174,900.

12 | integrity // experience // results
Joan DeFoe
Multi-Million Dollar
Realtor® Real Estate “Little Giant” //
Producer // Premier Agent
PENDING Jordan Holmes HOME • AUTO • COMMERCIAL • LIFE SI ©2011 Jordan Holmes HOME • AUTO • COMMERCIAL • LIFE … from a name you trust. 352-326-4007 | DSI ©2011 Darr Schackow Insurance. All rights reserved.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!! This 4/3.5 home is located just minutes from downtown. Light and bright open floor plan. Kitchen with center island features stainless steel appliances, cabinet and counter space, closet pantry and coffee bar. Separate dinette area overlooks the spacious living area. The master suite on the first floor features a walk in closet, dual sinks, a garden bath and glass shower. Iron spindle staircase leads upstairs to another living area plus 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Inside laundry room as well. Evenings can be enjoyed on your screened in back lanai overlooking the fenced in backyard. Call today! MLS# G5075581 // $499,900.

ELEGANT AND EXQUISITE! This stunning home located in the community of Redtail is now available. You will immedately notice the spacious brick paver driveway. The open and airy floor plan will catch your eye. The large living room features a stone accent wall and glass sliders. Gorgeous kitchen with granite counter tops, and top of the line appliances overlooks the living area and eat in space. The formal dining area has a built-in bar. The master suite features a large room, his and her closets, a garden tub with separate walk in shower, and separate vanities. Split bedrooms #2 and #3 have a Jack & Jill bath. Bedroom #4 features custom built-ins and double door entry. A half bath is convenient for your guests. The spacious garage is perfect for all of your vehicles and toys. The back porch area is complete with a pool and hot tub. The pool can be heated either gas or electric and has lounging areas with holes built in to hold umbrellas The outdoor kitchen area has a built-in grill and mini refrigerator, outdoor dining area, and pool bath. Completely fenced-in backyard. In this gorgeous community you will find a golf course, restaurant, gym, and community pool. MLS# G5077394 // $925,000.

HOME SWEET HOME! This amazing 4/2 pool home is now available in Umatilla! Open floor plan, large living room, Kitchen with center island and granite countertops, plus formal dining. Master suite with updated bathroom features a walk in closet with built-in’s. Split bedrooms #2 and #3. The guest bathroom has a tub/shower combo. The garage was converted to a large 4th bedroom. Enjoy watching the kids play in the oversized, full fenced, backyard. Covered patio area off of the screen porch has a built-in sink and food prep area. MLS# G5076958 // $324,900.

LOCATION-LOCATION-LOCATION!! The low maintenance townhome in Segovia at World Commerce Center you have been waiting for! Light and bright and open floor plan. Kitchen features cabinet and counter space plus stainless steel appliances and eat in space that overlooks the large living area. Downstairs features a half bath and mudroom. Master with tray ceilings, large walk in closet with built in shelving, double sinks and glass shower. Bathroom #2 features a tub/shower combo. Upstairs laundry room. You will love the serene back screened in patio. This location is just a few miles off of i95. MLS# G5076552 // $349,900.

THE POTENTIAL IS ENDLESS... Come put the finishing touches on this pool home! So many great projects have been done and/or started on this 3/2 home located in Umatilla. NEW ROOF! The spacious living room has a relaxing electric fireplace and high ceilings throughout. Large kitchen with a great amount of cabinets and countertops plus eat in space. New flooring in main areas of home. Foundation was reinforced in 2023 with a lifetime transferrable warranty. New water heater and pool pump. With a little love, you could be enjoying hot summer days in your pool. Fenced in yard, in-ground firepit. Handy man shed and small carport in yard for storage. MLS# G5077100 // $200,000.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!! Located right near the college, this adorable and affordable 2 bedroom 2 bath is now available! Open floor plan with living and dining combo. Galley kitchen with great cabinet and counter space.. Master suite with walk in closet, oversized vanity and large shower. A nice sized second bedroom and guest bath features a tub/shower combo. Inside utility room. This unit also features a garage. Enjoy relaxing in the evenings on your open patio area. You can not beat this location with just minutes to school, shopping, restaurants and so much more! MLS# G5078139 // $189,900. | 13 HOTPROPERTY Realtor® 352.636.2167 Leave It To Lauren!
D Jordan Holmes HOME • AUTO • COMMERCIAL • LIFE … from a name you trust. 352-326-4007 | DSI ©2011 Darr Schackow Insurance. All rights reserved.
Lauren Fickett

GORGEOUS FOUR BEDROOM HOME in the GATED community of Majestic Oaks! This beautiful community sits right on Lake Griffin with convenient access to the chain of lakes by way of your own community boat dock. Enjoy safety and security with a completely gated community. Sitting on just shy of a third of an acre, you arrive to a spacious front yard and gorgeous double entry doors. Once inside, you will appreciate the tasteful decor and functional floorplan. The Main living room offers sliding doors to the rear porch and a stunning electric fireplace. Entertaining is easy with a formal dining room and a dinette area as well as a spacious center island kitchen. You will love cooking here with a gas stove, granite countertops, a convenient wall oven, plenty of cabinet space, tile backsplash, and a ton of workspace. Opening directly to the Family room and dinette area, this kitchen makes a great gathering space! Your Master bedroom features a spacious en-suite bathroom with a garden tub, separate his/her sinks and plenty of closet space. You will appreciate the bonus sitting area in the master that could be used as office space or a cozy reading nook. Separated on the other wing of the house, the guest bedrooms share a separate bathroom with double sinks. You will also love the three-car spacious garage, inside laundry area, and back patio. Enjoy peace of mind with a 2023 AC unit that comes with a 10 year warranty. This home has it all and with close proximity to the growing downtown Leesburg area with restaurants and shopping. MLS# G5076966 // $540,000.

14 | integrity // experience // results


UNIQUE END UNIT VILLA in Summit Chase Villas 55+

Community. This residence is situated at the end of a quiet street. The home is immediately ready for occupancy, offering an open living room. With vaulted ceilings, an outdoor storage room, and dedicated parking, including a convenient carport, this residence provides both comfort and practicality. Conveniently located near Tavares downtown and just a short drive from Mount Dora, this home offers accessibility to both coasts within an hour. The homeowners association (HOA) covers all grounds maintenance, lawn service, and exterior building maintenance, providing a hassle-free living experience. Act quickly,as this exceptional home is sure to be in high demand! MLS# G5076312//$189,500.

Lena Williams


Lena Sells!

IMMACULATELY KEPT RESIDENCE situated within the vibrant community of The Plantation at Leesburg. Enter through the leaded glass front door into the foyer, ahead lies the inviting living room, adorned with large sliding glass doors that offer a picturesque view of the serene lanai overlooking the golf course. Adjacent to the enclosed lanai, you’ll find an additional screened patio, ideal for entertaining and relishing in your own personal oasis. Inside, the home boasts exquisite flooring, elegant crown molding and high ceilings. Indulge in culinary delights within the well-appointed kitchen. Featuring a tiled backsplash, ample cabinetry, a double sink, cozy eating area, and abundant countertop space, it’s perfect for crafting your favorite dishes with ease. Host gatherings in the elegant formal dining room adorned with stylish tile flooring. Step into the owner’s suite, complete with a private bathroom boasting a spacious closet, dual vanities, a luxurious soaking tub, and a walk-in shower. The second bedroom presents itself as another suite, featuring dual vanities and a convenient walk-in shower for added comfort and convenience. The home additionally offers a den/study, ideal for unwinding and enjoying moments of relaxation. The home also includes an indoor utility room, complete with ample cabinet space and a utility sink for added convenience. MLS# G5078406 // $415,000.

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING custom pool home on a sprawling 3.76-acre estate! You’ll fall in love with this remarkable residence, nestled on a picturesque piece of land with panoramic vistas. Upon arrival, you are welcomed by a gated entrance and the entire property is fenced. Inside, enjoy the open and airy split-bedroom floor plan layout, featuring a low-maintenance flooring, a soothing neutral color palette, and carefully selected upgrades. The island kitchen boasts a convenient breakfast nook, flowing into the living area, rear sliding glass doors lead to the pool area. Your kitchen is equipped with top-of-the-line appliances, spacious pantry, storage space, and countertops. Two bedrooms share a well-appointed bathroom, an additional den/bonus room can be a fourth. The master bedroom is accompanied by an en-suite bathroom that features a garden tub, custom-tiled shower, dual raised sinks, two walk-in closets, and an extra linen closet. Your master suite also grants direct access to the pool lanai. The pool area is designed for your comfort and even includes a separate full bathroom. This impressive property is also equipped with a full house generator and an oversize three-car garage. Outside, you’ll find a meticulously maintained yard. Don’t miss the opportunity to make this your dream home!

MLS# G5074887 // $950,000.

DOUBLE THE DELIGHT! Experience panoramic vistas of the breathtaking Harris Chain of Lakes on this stunning property featuring two residences! Remodeled in 2002, the first home, a 1/1, spans over 1100 sq ft and has undergone updates to plumbing, electrical, roof, & more. Revel in the comfort of a new 20 SEER Heat Pump A/C installed in 2022. The second dwelling, a spacious 2/2 retreat, offers nearly 1300 sq ft of living space, complete with handicap accessibility. Featuring a new metal roof installed in 2020, a wood-burning fireplace, and wrap-around porch. Storage is plentiful with two carports and multiple conveying storage units on the property. MLS# G5078872 // $499,900.

UNIQUE DISCOVERY! Nestled in the heart of Fruitland Park, this 4/2 main house, just under 1700 sq ft, is a gem. This property fulfills various needs as you explore its attractive features. Step through the entrance into a family/game room, leading to a spacious kitchen open to the formal living room with a gas fireplace. The master bedroom is a retreat. Glass sliding doors lead to the screened-in pool area, complete with an outdoor shower & sauna. Adjacent to the pool, discover a 1/1 in-law suite boasting nearly 800 sq ft – perfect for extended family or a potential rental. Don’t miss out; call today before this one is gone!

MLS# G5077975 // $499,000.

352.435.HOME | 10135 U.S. HWY. 441, SUITE 3 MORRISREALTORS.COM
No one knows Lake County Real Estate like we do.
AGENDA EVENTS TRAVEL PEOPLE TO-DO LIST The 103rd annual Lake County Fair is one of many things to do in and around Lake and Sumter counties this month. 68 PG APR'24 LAKEANDSUMTER STYLE .COM / 067

Fair Play

The 103rd Lake County Fair offers two weeks of competitions, entertainment and family fun, including livestock shows, food, arts and sciences, home hobby showcases and the Miss Lake County Fair pageant.

Hours: Weekdays 5-10pm with rides open until at least 11 p.m. Weekends 1-10pm, with rides staying open until at least 11pm.


APR 5-14
Lake County Fairgrounds / 2101 N. CR 452, Eustis


Wildwood hosts the 2nd annual Spring is in the Air Craft and Vendor Event featuring fairy hair styling and demonstrations. Composed of synthetic silk, fairy hair is fun and unique temporary strands of tinsel that can be attached to the hair as colorful and shimmering extensions or temporary highlights. Get there early for hair styling, upstairs at the Wildwood Community Center, 10am-3pm.

Enjoy quality entertainment on the many stages of Lake and Sumter counties. APR 13



The Roommate by Jen Silverman is an off-beat comedy about two women living together in Iowa through a chance online classified posting. It’s been touted as a mixture of Thelma and Louise, Breaking Bad and The Odd Couple. Adult themes.


Leesburg Bikefest 2024 roars into town with two stages of music, a rally, merchandise and food. Dubbed as “the largest three-day motorcycle and music event in the country,” the sea of leather will get your motor running. For more information, contact The City of Leesburg Special Events.

ASL interpretation Tuesday, April 16. Studio Theatre at Tierra del Sol 806 San Marino Dr., The Villages / 352.751.7799

Wildwood Community Center / 6500 Powell Rd., Wildwood ONGOING EVENTS

Events are subject to change and cancellation.


The Miracle Worker by William Gibson tells the story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan’s belief that her pupil’s mind and spirit were waiting to break free from a dark and tortured silence. Intense, emotional scenes throughout. Show is at 2pm.

Bay Street Players at The Eustis State Theatre 109 Bay St., Eustis / 352.357.7777

EVERY SUN Clermont Farmers Market 9am-2pm Downtown Clermont EVERY SUN Downtown Mount Dora Village Market 9am-2pm Mount Dora EVERY MON Sumter County Farmers Market 6am-2pm 524 N. Market Blvd., Webster EVERY TUE Lady Lake Farmers Market 9am-2pm 250 Rolling Acres Rd., Lady Lake EVERY THU Lake County Farmers & Flea Market 8am-noon 2101 N. County Rd. 452, Eustis EVERY FRI Groveland Farmers Market 9am-1pm Lake David Park, Groveland

APR 27-28


Big Blue

Celebrate all things blueberry at the 10th annual Mount Dora Blueberry Festival. Blueberry farmers will sell fresh-picked berries and participants will enjoy live music, crafters, blueberry beer and wine. A pancake breakfast is offered each day and the price includes a stack of three pancakes, blueberry syrup, butter and a bottle of water Saturday and Sunday 9am-noon. The festival runs 9am5pm both days.

Donnelly Park, Mount Dora / 539 N. Donnelly St.


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

4/4 @ 7pm


Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

4/5 @ 7pm


Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

4/6 @ 7pm


Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

4/6 @ 7pm


Clermont Performing Arts Center, Clermont

4/9 @ 4 & 7pm


The Savannah Center, The Villages

4/12 @ 7pm


The Sharon, The Villages

4/13 @ 7pm


The Sharon, The Villages

4/13 @ 7pm

Let us help you get the word out!

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


1ST FRI Eustis First Friday 6-9pm Downtown Eustis 1ST FRI Clermont First Friday Food Trucks 5:30-9pm


Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

4/14 @ noon


Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, Clermont

4/16 @ 7pm


The Sharon, The Villages

Events are subject to change and cancellation.

4/17 @ 4 & 7pm


The Savannah Center, The Villages

4/18 @ 7:30pm



Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Lake County, Eustis

4/19 @ 4 & 7pm


The Savannah Center, The Villages

4/20 @ 7pm


The Clermont Performing Arts Center, Clermont

4/20 @ 7pm


Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

4/21 @ 4 & 7pm


The Savannah Center, The Villages

4/21 @ 4pm


The Howey Mansion, Howey-in-the-Hills

4/21 @ 7pm




The Sharon, The Villages

4/27 @ 7pm


Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

685 W. Montrose St., Clermont 2ND FRI Second Friday Farmers Market 5-9pm Lake David Park, Groveland 2ND SAT Plaid in the Park 5-9pm 230 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora 2ND SAT Main Street Classic Car Show 5-9pm 510 W. Main St., Leesburg 4TH SAT Eustis Classic Car Cruise-In 4-8pm Downtown Eustis

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Knights and damsels walked among fairies and pirates for the annual Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire last November in Tavares. The event, which bene ted the Education Foundation of Lake County and was sponsored by Waste Management, the City of Tavares and Style Magazine, was held over two weekends. It featured various vendors, shows and competitions throughout. The “Rat Pucking’’ pub crawl on Nov. 3 was a huge success. Entertainment in the “shire” included performances by The Black Velvet Band, Ship Shape and drinking songs from the Righteous Blackguards. Over the years, the event has made a $2 million impact on Lake County.

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The rain didn’t stop clay shooting enthusiasts from participating in the 4th annual Bourbon, BBQ and Bustin’ Clays event last November in Sumterville. The community raised over $86,000 to support UF Health Leesburg Hospital Laboratory. A live auction included a prize of shing with the Sumter County Sheri Bill Farmer. Blackjack Sporting Clays donated equipment and top range sponsors included ESI (Electric Services Inc.) and Ford Press. Breakfast at Ti any’s from Leesburg donated a warm meal to start the day.

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WHERE'S MY PIC?! Doug Akers, Michael Gaulin and Kyle Coppola Richard Held, Phil Braun, Jeremy Coon, Ernie Martinez, Eric Conner and Josh Gonzales Eric Levo, Aaron Barkley, Brandon Good and Michelle Sloan Steve Milioni, Ken Rader and Larry Ross Grover Keeney, Woody Brazil, Jeff Powell and Duane Booth Amon Guerrero, Matt West and Jeremy McDonald
Ryan Benaglio, Mike Bakich and Lynne Winker Erica Lebo and Lili Rodeas
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Thousands of neon-clad partygoers descended on Lake Sumter Landing Market Square for the Electric Light Party on November 10, 2023. Revelers danced to the sounds of local band Blonde Ambition while brightly costumed stilt-walkers and a talented hula-hoop dancer entertained. Impromptu fashion shows and golf car parades also helped create a high-energy atmosphere that lasted all night. Humana and Village Golf Cars were main sponsors. Mission BBQ helped provide tasty grub.

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WHERE'S MY PIC?! Dave and Cookie Roberts and Colleen and Steve Schwagler Claudia Labbe, Debbie Heiner, Tracy Perregaux and Terry Raley Lenore Bilello and Ken Smillie Lauren Jones and Michelle Page Daniella Jack 50 Something in The Village’s Group Eliana Garcia and Luly Bonilla Dani Hon and Rebecca Hogamier Drumlines of America
Sherman and Kay Mims and Wanda and Jeff McNeil Elizabeth Huxford and Lisa Kinney
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Saturday, May 4th 11:00 am - 3:00 pm General admission: $30.00

Enjoy the event as a VIP with open bar, great food, exclusive setting, VIP credentials and gift bag. Detailed VIP information available online

200+Exotic, Classic, American Muscle Cars & Motorcycles will be placed for display at this Five Diamond Resort. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Porsche & others will all be featured. In addition the Arabian Horse Association Championships will be taking place for all to enjoy. Since this event takes place on the same day as the Kentucky Derby, guests can view the race live on dual 100 ft jumbo tron screens.

This Five Diamond resort offers craft cocktail bars, fantastic restaurants, shopping & more. Make a weekend of it and book a room in the FOS room block.

Display your car with us and be a part of the action. Over 70 trophies will be awarded.

For sponsorship or event details contact: | 352-406-9325

SPORTSHUB Sponsored by STUDENTS COACHES MALE ATHLETE Leesburg High’s Jermarien Williams pours his heart 80 PG APR'24 LAKEANDSUMTER STYLE .COM / 079


Leesburg High School senior pursues hoop dreams with determination and drive.

eesburg High School senior Jermarien Williams has big dreams.

The 6-foot-8 Yellow Jackets phenom hopes to play basketball in college and the NBA and he’s well on his way.

Jermarian, who has been playing basketball since he was 3 years old, averages 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals a game — numbers that will likely merit an athletic scholarship to college.

That’s the goal for the star who has increased his scoring average all four years at LHS.

“My plan after high school is to go to college and major in business. Currently, I have interest from a few programs, and I look forward to continuing my academic and playing career,” Jermarien says.

To crosstrain, Jermarien says he enjoys spending time at the gym and working out but doesn’t really have a routine. Each day he focuses on getting better — be it on or off the court. He especially likes to focus on shooting in practice.

“I always like team camaraderie as well,” Jermarien says. “Funny story is last year this team went to Miami. All the boys went chasing alligators and that was one of the most fun moments for us. It was a true

team bonding moment. I think that helped us all get much closer to each other.”

Many of Jermarien’s favorite memories revolve around basketball.

“Just traveling to different places and getting better at the game of basketball,” he says, recalling some of his best memories. “I love my teammates and coaches. I am thankful for my mom, Rosemary, and girlfriend, Destiny, for always standing by my side.”

Jermarien is particularly close to his mother, who, as one can imagine, is very proud of her son.

“He pours his heart and soul into the game, and it shows on the court,” Rosemary says.

Jermarien looks up to former Leesburg High basketball player Keon Ellis, who plays with the Sacramento Kings, assistant coaches D’mani Nettles and Cam Smith, and especially Leesburg High School head basketball coach Sean Campbell, who is like a father figure to Jermarien.

“I look at all the great players who have come through Leesburg High and I think to myself, ‘I want to be just like them,’” Jermarien says. “They are an inspiration to me and so many others.”

So is Kevin Durant. Jermarien works to model the way he plays the game. Specifically, Jermarien says he loves Kevin Durant’s style and the way he moves.

As for the next generation of basketball players, Jermarien has some advice.

“Always trust yourself,” he says. “Never give up on what you start. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”

Know a talented student athlete? Fill us in!

Email your recommendations to


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Mount Dora High senior chases academic and athletic success.

ount Dora High School (MDHS) senior runner

Noelle Vu holds four school records, but her world doesn’t begin and end with only cross country and track and eld.

Beyond being one of the best athletes to attend MDHS, Noelle is also a scholar with a 4.7 weighted GPA, solidifying her position as a well-rounded student-athlete. Intent on pursuing pre-med after high school, Noelle, who has been running since sixth grade, holds school records in the 800-meter, 1600-meter, 3200-meter and 4x800 relay race.

Noelle says she loves MDHS and is proud to represent the Hurricanes.

“I have had a ton of fun building up the girl’s program with our great team at Mount Dora High School and it’s been such an amazing part of my life,” Noelle says.

She says she’s also thankful to her coach Cody Adkinson for supporting and training her over the years and takes great pride in her team’s accomplishments.

“We have grown so much in such a short period of time, and it makes me so happy that our success has encouraged other young girls to get into the sport of running,” Noelle continues. “I have so many memories and I have enjoyed every moment of it.”

She’s coming o a banner year, too. In 2023, Noelle won an individual district championship in the

3200-meter race and was district and regional champion in the 1600-meter.

Noelle attributes her drive to succeed to her father, Chuong Vu, mother, Melissa Vu, and her three younger sisters Lilliana, Emma and Bella.

“I love the support of my parents and I want to show my younger sisters what is possible,” Noelle says.

“That’s why I push myself to be the best I can be every day. They mean the world to me.”

Noelle also stresses the importance of hydration and calorie intake to her success. And she enjoys a treat after a feat.

“Everyone is di erent, but for me, I try and drink lots of water 24 to 48 hours before a race,” she says. “During race day I try not to eat too much and drink just enough to hydrate so that I am at peak performance. Then after the race I like to chow down on something yummy.”

With that, Noelle likes to remind runners getting into the sport that “running is hard at rst,” but they should never give up.

“I want young runners to know that you don’t need an accomplished program to be successful in track and eld or cross country. A lot of it is up to the individual to train and treat their bodies appropriately to have success,” Noelle says. “It’s a mind-over-matter thing, but if you stay motivated and stay consistent with training and the e ort you put in, you will

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Trey Craft’s rise behind the plate.


matilla High School senior

Trey Craft was one of the top baseball recruits in Florida… until he wasn’t.

In 2021, a life-altering injury threatened Trey’s baseball career. But he’s no stranger to conquering challenges.

Trey not only barely survived a premature birth, but he also overcame being placed into a foster care system shortly after entering this world.

Fortunately, God had a path for Trey and his brother, Tristan, who were both in the foster care system.

Trey was 3 months old when he was adopted by Chuck and Pamela Craft, who wanted children but were understandably cautious because Pamela had su ered a miscarriage.

“We thought we might never have children, but then one day God had other plans.”

That plan involved a second adoption.

A few years after taking Trey into the family, the Crafts adopted his brother, 8-month-old Tristan.

Trey had discovered his love of sports by the time he turned 5. He grew into a multi-sport athlete, playing football, soccer, baseball, running cross country and basketball.

In middle school, Trey was one of the best catchers in Lake County. He could catch, hit and steal bases. The University of Miami, Florida State University, Tulane University and other schools showed interest in his baseball prowess.

As a high school freshman at Umatilla, Trey earned the title of defensive player of the year in football and was named most improved in basketball. He couldn’t wait for baseball season.

And then, tragedy struck. In February 2021, Trey su ered a torn ACL and meniscus tear in his left knee during the rst quarter of a regional playo basketball game.

“We tried to rehab the knee without surgery, but I su ered another setback during the travel baseball season of 2020 in the summertime and ultimately it was found that surgery was the only option,” Trey says.

August 2021 brought another setback. While waiting for his knee to be repaired, Trey contracted COVID-19. He would have to wait over a month for his surgery to be approved. Surgery was rescheduled for September 2021.


Trey was at an all-time low when he came out of surgery and learned he would never play competitive baseball again.

“Trey was a happy kid and always wanted to be a part of events happening at school and the community,” Pamela says. “When the injury happened there were many

times that Trey would just cry in his room and wanted to be alone.”

Trey was determined to prove the doctors wrong.

“That was tough to hear. But I never let anyone tell me what I couldn’t do. I decided one day, I know what I wanted,” he says. “I picked myself up and said, ‘I am going to play college baseball and I will make it to the pros.’ So, I began a rehab process that was nine to 12 months, but I pushed hard to get the rehab done quicker and accomplished it in around ve to six months. I never let people get in my head and tell me it wasn’t possible.”

In 2022, Trey missed his sophomore season of baseball at UHS. But he rehabbed in the summer and returned to the diamond for travel ball. The knee held up just ne, and Trey says he had a great season.

Trey credits Chuck Wolf in Oakland, not only for training him during rehab, but also for pushing him to be the best he could be — mentally and physically.

Before long it was time to return to baseball at Umatilla High School.

“That rst game back at Umatilla was nerve wracking and terrifying. But I was comforted by the community support who came out and showed love to me,” Trey says. “At the end of the day, it was a game, and this is what I grew up on. It’s where I come to make all my problems go away. At the end of the day, I played the game and had fun.”

His junior year of baseball was lots of fun. Trey hit .380 and led the Bulldogs in runs scored (32), hits (27), RBI (18), and stolen bases (37). He was the No. 1 base stealer in Class 3A District 9, a rare feat considering that catchers are seldom great baserunners. In fact, he was ranked No. 97 nationally in stolen bases.

Some people told Trey to transfer to a school with a big-time baseball program to improve his chance of getting a college scholarship or a shot at pro ball.

“People ask me, ‘Why do you stay at Umatilla High School? There are

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hen patients come to Orlando Health Medical Group FHV Health, they are confident of receiving the highest quality care.

They also trust that they’re in the hands of the finest heart and vascular experts, such as Nina Nordin, MD, who joined the team in September 2023.

Board certified in both general and vascular surgery, Dr. Nordin attended medical school in Montreal. After her residency and fellowship, she worked in private practice in Portland, Oregon, for 12 years.

A fellowship-trained vascular surgeon, Dr. Nordin specializes in:

• carotid artery disease

• abdominal aortic aneurysm

• lower extremity arterial disease

• dialysis access

• lower extremity venous insufficiency and in-office treatment

Born and raised in Malaysia, she knew early in life that she wanted to be a physician.

“My father had a heart attack when I was in my early teens. Seeing the amazing things that doctors and nurses do to help sick patients was eye opening for me. That made

me decide to pursue medicine,” says Dr. Nordin.

“While doing my medical school rotations, I fell in love with cardiac surgery and vascular surgery because of the delicate surgical skills and precision that’s necessary for those fields,” she adds. “Ultimately, I chose vascular surgery because of the wider scope of diagnoses it encompasses.”

The experience with her father’s heart attack was powerful motivation for Dr. Nordin’s eventual career. It also gave her profound empathy for her patients and helps her to relate to them and their families.

Dr. Nordin lives in Lady Lake, conveniently located between the hospitals in Leesburg and The Villages, and the OHMG FHV Health clinics in both locations.

She and her husband have a 12-yearold son. The family enjoys going to the beach, boating, and exploring their new surroundings, including theme parks.

Since moving to Florida in 2023 to join the practice, Dr. Nordin has been impressed with the active outdoor lifestyle.

“Work is busy with The Villages right around the corner. I evaluate and treat a bigger number of much older patients here than I’m used to, and I believe that is due to the

active lifestyle that is common in the Sunshine State,” she says.

When patients ask what they can do to stay healthy as they age, Dr. Nordin’s advice is, “Keep moving!”



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Mary’s Kountry Kitchen puts the ‘home’ in homestyle cooking.

outhern comfort food is a celebration of tradition, hospitality and culinary creativity that brings people together with bold flavors whether it’s enjoyed at a family gathering, neighborhood barbecue or cherished local diner.

That’s the feeling you get at Mary’s Kountry Kitchen in Tavares, a diner that instantly evokes the nostalgia of grandma’s kitchen with the smell of bacon, biscuits and burgers in the air.

The country kitchen was acquired 16 years ago by Mary Cutlip, who has been working in restaurants since she was a teenager and decided she might as well work for herself if she was going to continue in the industry.

“I originally said no, but after thinking about it, it made sense,” she says.

In more ways than one. Her husband, Scott, works for the wholesale restaurant food distributor Sysco, which put him in touch with restaurants all over Central Florida. In fact, he

delivered to the country kitchen’s previous owners, who made Mary and Scott an offer they couldn’t refuse.


Although country classics are always a safe bet, Mary adds her special twist to them.

“I don’t consider myself a foodie, but my favorite thing is to bring a classic dish up a notch,” she says. “Originally I was told it wouldn’t sell, that only bacon and eggs is what people want, but after about six months or so of offering the specials, we started adding them to the menu and people were excited.”

Mary likes to change menu specials, mainly because she doesn’t like cooking the same thing all the time and it gives people more options. For example, she added a prime rib special on Friday nights. And Thursday is Scott’s famous fried chicken night.

“It takes four days to make the fried chicken, from the brining, draining, buttering, breading and frying,” Mary says. “It’s all done from scratch.”

She also offers many different burger specials like a pimento cheese pork burger, to a Kountry Kowboy burger with juicy black angus topped with cheddar cheese,

BBQ caramelized onions and fried jalapeño caps, drizzled with creamy ranch dressing.

Then there’s Mary’s favorite, the kickin’ chicken sandwich with peach chipotle jam, pepper jack cheese, bacon and fried onions on top.

Each month offers new seasonal specials.


The restaurant opens for breakfast at 6:30am with all the classics and a few surprises.

There’s pancakes, French toast, bacon and eggs, omelets, breakfast sandwiches and biscuits and gravy, but if you’re feeling extra hungry, try the hearty Hungry Man Kountry skillet with potatoes, your choice of meats, veggies, gravy, cheese and four eggs. There’s also a homemade hash skillet and a meat lover’s skillet on the menu.

Country-fried steak is another popular option, along with smoked or country ham. And you can’t forget your homemade biscuit.

Mary’s favorite specials include Eggs Benedict, breakfast totchos (tater tots smothered in gravy, topped with chopped bacon, tomatoes and two eggs, drizzled with queso and green onions), golden-fried chicken biscuit,


Cap’n Crunch French toast, Hash Benedict and cinnamon bun pancakes with cinnamon filling and swirled with cream cheese frosting.

If your mouth isn’t already watering, consider that their breakfast has earned multiple awards, including Orlando Sentinel’s 2017 and 2019 People’s Choice for best diner. Mary’s was also included in WESH 2 News’ Top 5 breakfast places in Central Florida.


The lunch and dinner menus begin with appetizers like fried green tomatoes, deep fried Wisconsin cheese curds and Colonel Snappy beer cheese. There are also homemade soups and salads.

If southern comfort food is what you crave, check out the entrees, which include a smothered chicken breast, country fried



2 6 oz. patties of ground beef

2 brioche buns

2 slices of American cheese

3 strips of bacon, cooked

steak, liver and onions, open-faced roast beef dinner, homemade meatloaf, grilled pork ribeye, southern-style catfish filets and golden-fried shrimp. Of course, it wouldn’t be dinner without southern sides like fried okra, sweet battered corn nuggets, hush puppies, pickled beets, cottage cheese, macaroni salad, mashed potatoes and gravy and peaches and coleslaw.

Their burgers are also a top seller, with options like the Snappy beer cheeseburger, patty melt, bacon cheeseburger, the Kountry Kowboy and Mary’s bacon double cheeseburger.

Other sandwiches include Mary’s Still Famous Fish Sandwich, fried or grilled chicken breast sandwich, Indiana-style pork tenderloin sandwich, Philly cheesesteak sub, fried green tomato BLT

and Mary’s signature kickin’ chicken sandwich.

All sandwiches can be served on gluten-free bread. They also offer a vegetarian black bean chipotle burger.


Mary is best known for her desserts. So much so that “I [heart] Pie” T-shirts are sold in the store. Mary’s award-winning pies and cakes are made from scratch, with just the right amount of love. Some of the best sellers include coconut cream pie, chocolate cream and blueberry, but pies sell out like hotcakes here.

Mary's Kountry Kitchen typically sells seasonal pies like blueberry, strawberry and peach, but there are always specials like peanut butter pie, lemon cream cheese pie, apple pie, carrot cake and chocolate cake.


Hand pat the ground beef into two patties. Cook on a grill to the temperature of your liking. Add a slice of cheese to each patty. Grill the inside of the brioche bun for a few minutes until light brown. Remove each patty and place on the bun. Top with cooked bacon and toppings of choice. Our secret is we NEVER




1 cup flour

1/3 cup Crisco

1/3 tsp salt

3 Tbsp cold water


Mix flour and salt together. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the Crisco until small pea-like balls form. over mix! Add water and mix until it forms a ball (use a fork). circle and put in a round pie dish. the shell at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


1/4 cup unsalted butter

31/4 cup whole milk

3 eggs (room temp)

12/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup corn starch

11/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup flaked coconut


Heat milk and butter to a boil, stirring occasionally. Beat together eggs, sugar and corn starch using an electric mixer for four to five minutes. Gradually add the hot mixture of milk and butter and continue mixing. Add in several additions, not all at once. Transfer to a sauce pan and cook on medium-low until it thickens. Stir constantly. It will take 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and add

your favorite scratch recipe

1/3 cup butter, melted

6 Tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon cream cheese glaze


Mix your pancake mix or scratch recipe as normal, adding a little extra cinnamon. To make the cinnamon swirl, mix together butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Put the swirl in a pastry bag or Ziploc bag to swirl it onto the pancake. Heat your pan and pour in your pancake mix to form a pancake. Swirl the cinnamon swirl mix onto the pancake. Cook and flip when the sides are ready. Transfer to a plate, add more swirl to the side up.


Tbsp butter, softened

oz. cream cheese, softened

cup powdered sugar

Tbsp half and half

tsp vanilla



15945 CR 448, Tavares


Sun.-Wed., 6:30am-2pm

Thurs.-Fri., 6:30am-9pm Sat, 6:30am-3pm

Mix all the ingredients together and drizzle on the pancakes after they are done.

Mary Cutlip, owner
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Smokin’ Success

Savoring the family flavor at Mahons Real BBQ.

or a little more than a year, familyowned Mahons Real BBQ has occupied a small, bright blue building in Groveland fronted by a sign advertising $5 dinners and boiled peanuts. Mahons, however, started on wheels.

Becky and Danny Mahon first began serving their BBQ from a food truck in 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic.

At rst, no one could operate a food truck in Groveland until a state

The Sampler

a large helping of ribs, chicken, riblets, brisket and pork along with two sides.

of emergency was declared. When it was, cityo cials called the Mahons asking them to set up their truck in the city

So for three years, Becky and Danny built relationships and a following with locals who visited their truck. And after the emergency order was lifted, the Mahons bought the building they’re in today and four months later, Mahons BBQ became a brick-andmortar establishment.

Danny started cooking BBQ when the family owned a hunting supply business. Instead of going out to eat for lunch, he would cook hamburgers and ribs behind the store. Hunters who visited would often ask him to

cook for them. Word spread and people began stopping to ask the cost of a slab of Danny’s ribs.

“We realized we were in the wrong business, so we switched,” Becky says.

The Mahons have also made charity a priority at their restaurant.

Every Sunday, 6-7pm, Mahons gives away free chicken to needy families.

“Someone comes in and we ask them how many they need or how many are in their family, and we give them that,” Becky says. “We advertise


and two sides. (pictured: mac and cheese and baked beans)

and spread the word around our town and on Facebook as much as we can.”

I recently went to Mahons for a meal with my boyfriend, Hunter Rhoades.

Once we stepped inside, the sound of the busy tra c from West Broad Street in Groveland washed away.

I immediately felt like I walked into a genuine southern family kitchen. There are a few small wooden tables to the left surrounded by a variety of farmhouse décor. Each table had its own sweet and spicy barbecue sauce bottle and a necessity for eating barbecue — a paper towel roll.

Hunter and I made our way to the register to place our order where we were o ered a sample of burnt ends

The sta was incredibly friendly and attentive, with a very family orientated feel to their work ethic. As I waited for my food, I watched as Danny made his way in and out the back door, hard at work smoking meat for customers. He starts this process as early as 4am

along with a home brewed sweet tea. Hunter ordered the sampler: a large helping of ribs, chicken, riblets, brisket and pork. His two sides were cornbread and potato salad. The pork was very tender, and the soft, oversized sandwich bun was big enough to hold the heaping portion of meat. The pork alone was outstanding with the right amount of seasoning. The meat delivered the avor all by itself.

As for Mahons’ homemade barbecue sauce, man oh man, I truly feel it is the best I’ve ever had. It has the right ratio of sweet and tangy avors.

When I asked if it was possible to buy a bottle, I wasn’t surprised to hear that they were sold out for the day. As I suspected, I’m not the only one enamored with Becky’s supersecret BBQ sauce. When I asked for the ingredients, she politely declined, declaring: “It’s a secret.”

The meat is clearly the star of the show, but the sides are more than worthy of the spotlight. The beans are tossed in a thick, mild barbecue sauce with shredded pork mixed in. After each bite of my pork sandwich, a spoonful of beans really enhanced the taste. The beans had just the right

Let’s do lunch or dinner!

amount of sauce, which paired well with the additional barbecue sauce loaded onto my sandwich. The mac and cheese is a mixture of penne, elbow and shell pasta tossed in a gooey, savory cheese sauce. I managed to sneak a couple bites of Hunter’s thickly sliced cornbread, which was deliciously dense but also airy enough to create a nice crumble.

Both Hunter and I agreed that the brisket was mouthwatering and, along with the ribs, pulled apart so easily. The entire sampler platter truly showed o both Mahons’ quality and quantity. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and had plenty of leftovers to devour later. My only regret is not having ordered the banana pudding.



247 W Broad St, Groveland 352.250.8521

Facebook: @mahonsrealBBQ

Hours: Open Thu-Sun, 10am-7pm Available for dine-in or takeout.

Tell us about a great restaurant by emailing



SoCal surfer loves life in Lake County.

ixologist Daniel Blocker has enjoyed many passions over his lifetime but his rst love was sur ng, which he began at the age of 7 with the support of his parents.

“My dad drove me to the beach before school,” the 37-year-old says. “I checked my surfboard at the main o ce, went out again after classes and did my homework under the lifeguard tower.”

The San Diego native surfed all through school. When he turned 23, he began to work at Pizza Port Brewing Company in Solana Beach.

“I quickly realized that bartending allowed me the type of lifestyle that suited me,” Daniel says. “I had a relatively exible schedule, made

really good money and enjoyed a social atmosphere.”

He believes that sur ng has helped him in work and in life.

“As a surfer, you have to be able to maintain composure and stay calm because riding waves can be about life or death,” he says. “I think it translates into bartending because the job can get really stressful.”

In 2018, he headed to Northern California and switched gears.

“I moved to a farm and became a cannabis grower,” Daniel says. “I lived in a town called Elk just south of Mendocino.”

During that time, he reconnected with his now-girlfriend, Danielle, also a bartender, and after the COVID-19 pandemic, they made their way to Central Florida, where she lived as a child.

He began working behind the bar at the Argonaut in Tavares in 2022. He now mixes at Ironworks Steaks and Fine Cocktails, the latest in the Nautilus family of concept restaurants owned and operated by David and Hillary Perry.

“I love working for David and Hillary because they have a clear vision and are incredibly supportive,” he says.

Daniel says he loves curating and mixing craft cocktails for guests but understands that bartending isn’t just about making drinks. It also involves interacting with the community and sometimes mediating uncomfortable conversations.

“We all have more in common than not and the topics that seem to divide us can actually bring us together,” he says. “We just have to take the time to try.”

Have a favorite mixologist? Email me at and tell us which bartender stirs your drinks.

Appleton Museum, Artspace and Store Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. Ocala, FL | -an equal opportunity collegeKAREN GLASER : SPRINGS & SWAMPS On View Through July 7 OUR PARTNERS: APR'24 LAKEANDSUMTER STYLE .COM / 099


From classic diners and lakeside restaurants to fine dining and everything in between, Lake and Sumter counties’ culinary scene is booming. Your favorite meal is sure to be served with a side of hospitality.

You can find a copy of Lake & Sumter Style at all listed dining locations!


Beef ‘O’ Brady’s

2586 W. CR 48


Darrell’s Diner

2237 W. CR 48



Akina Sushi Bar & Asian Fusion Bistro

4300 S. US Hwy. 27


Ay Jalisco

580 Hwy. 50


Cheeser’s Palace Café

707 W. Montrose St.


Crooked Spoon Gastropub

200 Citrus Tower Blvd.


Gator’s Dockside

1200 Oakley Seaver Dr.


Goomba’s Pizzeria

2395 S. Hwy. 27


Green Mountain Pizza

303 Hwy. 50


Guru Restaurant

2400 S. Hwy. 27 Ste. 101


OakWood Smokehouse & Grill

230 Citrus Tower Blvd.


Robata Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar

1500 Oakley Seaver Dr.


Sarah’s Greek Cuisine & More 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd., Ste. 305


Yummis Frozen Yogurt and Cafe

650 8th St.



Gators Dockside 15241 US Hwy. 441


Stavro’s & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. CR 44


Taki’s Pizza House 1600 S. Bay St.


The Tro

936 N. Bay St.


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



Stavro’s 3223 US Hwy. 441


The Rose Plantation

200 Rose Ave.



Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. SR 33


Barrels & Boards

7965 SR 50 A500



JB Boondocks

Bar & Grill

704 S. Lakeshore Blvd.


Mission Inn’s

La Hacienda Restaurant

10400 CR 48


Mission Inn’s Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant

10400 CR 48



Bamboo Bistro

700 Hwy. 441


El Ranchito

1 Lagrande Blvd.


Gators Dockside

1004 Main St.


Harbor Hills

Country Club

6538 Lake Griffin Rd.


Latin Flavors

Bar & Grill

13769 US 441


Marco’s Pizza

13721 US Hwy. 441


OakWood Smokehouse & Grill

860 S. Hwy. 27/441


Takis Greek and Italian Restaurant

13761 US Hwy. 441 N.



Brooklyn’s Pizzeria

27405 US Hwy. 27


Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant

10700 US Hwy. 441


Donut King

708 S. 14th St.


El Ranchito Mexican Cuban Restaurant

911 W. North Blvd.


Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room

311 W. Magnolia St.


Ichiban Bu et 10301 Hwy. 441


Kawachi Sushi & Bar

10601 US Hwy. 441, Ste. C12


La Palma Mexican Grill

1690 Citrus Blvd.


Luna Azul

1341 S. 14th St.


Mammoth Oak Brewing Company

1107 W. North Blvd.


McCracken’s Irish Pub

719 W. Main St.


Mystic Ice Cream

314 W. Main St.


Naples Italian Restaurant

1107 W. North Blvd.


OakWood Smokehouse & Grill

27745 US Hwy. 27


Prime 3 on Main

610 W Main St


Rodello’s Italian Restaurant

26736 US Hwy. 27


Sipping Grounds


201 W. Main St.


Ski Beach

21 Dozier Cir.


The Brick & Barrel Public House

209 W. Main St.


The Co ee Snob

1101 W. North Blvd.


The Old Time Diner

1350 W. North Blvd.


The Sipping Garden and Bistro

605 W. Magnolia St.



918 N. 14th St.

352.787.6777 MOUNTORA


Barnwood Country Kitchen & Smokehouse

3725 W. Old US Hwy. 441


Fiesta Grande

421 N. Baker St.


Magical Meat Boutique

322 N. Alexander St.



It’s Always Family-Style at Stavros and Sons

For more than 50 years, the Stavros-Kountanis family has owned and operated Stavros and Sons Pizza Restaurant, sharing family recipes with hungry local diners. Greek inspired dishes include traditional gyros, Greek salad with fresh feta and house-made vinaigrette, Yaya’s famous rice and tomato sauce stuffed peppers and the Greek cannoli – a puff pastry filled with sweet Mascarpone topped with chocolate. Hungry for Italian? Try a golden crisp Stavros deluxe pizza, baked ziti and veal parmigiana or one of many sauteed dishes including chicken marsala or mussels over pasta. Stop in for a visit with George at their new adjacent wine bar where you can buy a bottle of Stavros Greek olive oil for just $29. Eat in or takeout . . . and don’t forget to say hi to Yaya!

Vincent’s Italian Restaurant

5914 Orange Blossom Trl.



Pho Saigon

11717 US 301

352.492.9423 TAVARES


Bella Nona Pizzeria

280 Silverado St.


BTW (Burgers, Tacos & Wa es)

115 E. Main St. 352.508.9287

Fish Camp Lake Eustis

901 Lake Shore Blvd.


Hurricane Dockside Grill

3351 W. Burleigh Blvd.


Puddle Jumpers

111 W. Ruby St.


Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill

118 W. Ruby St. 352.508.5783


Cody’s Roadhouse Brownwood

3731 Meggison Rd.


Cody’s Roadhouse Lake Sumter Landing 1041 Lake Shore Dr. 352.259.8500

Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream 1001 Lake Shore Dr. 352.751.0261

Legacy Restaurant 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475

Marco’s Pizza 5806 Seven Mile Dr., Ste. 101 352.571.2400

NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgewood Ln. 352.750.1994

Peachwave 249 Colony Blvd. 352.750.2238

Peterbrooke Chocolatier 1087 Canal St. 352.391.5877

RJ Gator’s Florida

Sea Grill & Bar 1015 Lake Shore Dr., #1693 352.751.6935

Roberto’s Ristorante Pizzeria 2468 Burnsed Blvd. 352.626.1059

Sakura 265 Colony Blvd. 352.205.7393

TooJays Brownwood 2835 Brownwood Blvd. 352.350.2122

TooJays Lake Sumter Landing 1129 Canal St. 352.430.0410

VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 1004 Old Mill Run 352.259.9887


The Mason Jar 37534 SR 19 352.589.2535


Napolinos 9811 US-301 352.399.6825TT

3223 US HWY 441-27, Fruitland Park / 352.315.0028

Brooklyn’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant

27405 U.S. HWY 27, LEESBURG | 352.728.2020 & 352.365.9004 MYBROOKLYNPIZZERIA.COM

When hit with a craving for authentic New York style pizza, there’s no need to catch the next flight to the Big Apple. Simply visit Brooklyn’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant in Leesburg and Owners James and Shawna Pancari will make you feel right at home with New York inspired vibes, décor, and flavors. Not only have they perfected the New York style thin crust people swear by, but they take pride in ensuring everything they serve is made fresh and from-scratch daily; including their pizza dough and sauces, strombolis, calzones, subs, salads, wings, specialty Italian and pasta dinners. Additionally, the restaurant is family-run and Veteran-owned, with James having served in the Coast Guard for 31 years. In honor of that, the dining room features a military wall, plus a 10 percent discount for veterans, active members of the military, police, fire, and first responders. Brooklyn’s Pizzeria also offers gluten-free pizza and pasta options, and accepts door-dash, online-ordering, catering, and curbside pickup.

El Ranchito Mexican Cuban Restaurant


Since opening in 1997, El Ranchito has been the go-to place for Lake Countians who desire delicious Mexican food. Although the restaurant was closed for nearly two years due to the coronavirus, El Ranchito’s Leesburg location officially reopened in December 2021. The restaurant is now named El Ranchito Mexican Cuban and serves genuine Mexican cuisine and a variety of Cuban entrees with entertainment on Tuesdays and Saturdays! The menu features many of the favorite dishes diners have grown to love over the years, as well as new dishes. Consider the Molcajete Caliente featuring your choice of meats grilled with onion, potato, and bell pepper, topped with cheese and salsa verde. Or try the Bistec de Palomilla with thin-sliced steak with onions and parsley that comes with a signature steak sauce. El Ranchito fans will appreciate the remodeled restaurant, which now includes a 50-seat outside patio. Despite the changes, the food remains as scrumptious as ever. Enjoy amigos!

Guru Restaurant


Owned by Chef Uday Kadam, Guru has a following of fans who savor the delicious, award-winning Indian cuisine inside the restaurant’s beautiful dining room filled with Indian décor and tables with linen tablecloths. Guru earned the prestigious Best Entrée award at the 2021 Taste of South Lake & Business Expo for its Chicken Tikka Masala, featuring boneless chicken pieces cooked in a Tandoor oven with tomato sauce, onion, aromatic herbs, spices, and served with Basmati rice. Guru also has tasty appetizers, Naan breads, vegan dishes, and a wide array of entrees, including Palak Paneer, a dish of homemade cubes of cheese cooked with spinach and fresh spices; Lamb Vindaloo of choice lamb cubes marinated in vinegar with potato and a blend of spices; and Tandoori Chicken Tikka, where the chicken is marinated in mild spices and yogurt. Additionally, Indian alcoholic beverages of Taj Mahal and Kingfisher are served at Guru, and the restaurant caters private functions, parties, and provides many delivery options for orders made online at

Mon, Wed, Thu 11:00am – 8:00pm

Friday 11:00am – 9:00pm

Saturday 12:00pm – 9:00pm

Sunday 12:00pm – 8:00pm

Closed Tuesday

Sun – Sat 11:00am – 10:00pm

Follow us on Facebook for daily specials and entertainment!

Visit our Villages location!

El Ranchito Restaurant

1 La Grande Blvd, The Villages 352.750.3335

Mon – Sat 11:30am – 10:00pm

Sunday 11:30am – 7:00pm


Kawachi Sushi & Bar

10601 US-441, SUITE C12, LEESBURG | 352.431.3449 KAWACHISUSHI.COM

Discover a culinary oasis in the heart of Leesburg at Kawachi Sushi & Bar. Owners Anna Hu and Mason Ma treat guests like family as they blend traditional Japanese cuisine with a California twist, offering a menu that tantalizes taste buds and satisfies cravings. From a diverse selection of sushi and hibachi options to savory bento boxes, poke bowls and vegan delights, Kawachi caters to every palate. Customize your sushi experience or indulge in specialty rolls like the crowd-favorite “Sexy Jalapeno.” Pair your meal with a vast selection of sake, plum wines or specialty cocktails from the expansive bar menu. With fresh ingredients prepared daily and personalized service, Kawachi promises an unforgettable dining experience. Join us for an adventure in culinary excellence, where every bite leaves you craving more.

La Palma Mexican Grill


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 Call for daily specials.


It’s five o’clock somewhere!

Prime 3 on Main Steakhouse



The dream and concept of three lifelong physicians, Prime 3 on Main is a confluence of American, Asian, and Latin influences in one world-class restaurant. Prime meats, prime rib, skirt steak, and seafood are our specialties. Our filet with black cherry port wine reduction sauce, or the Grouper Fromage, is unique and found nowhere else. Our Casa de Rosado Churrasco is a personal family recipe. Homemade Creme Brûlée and ice cream will complement your meal. Recently given the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine as among the world’s top wine and food restaurants, Prime 3 on Main has an extensive wine list and caters to small and large groups.

Mon – Thu 11:00am – 3:00pm 4:00pm – 9:00pm

Fri – Sat 11:00am – 3:00pm 4:00pm – 9:30pm

Sunday 12:00pm – 9:00pm

Open Daily 11:00am – 9:00pm

Lunch Specials 11:00am – 3:00pm

Margarita Mondays!

Enjoy $5 margaritas all day every Monday.

Mon – Sat 11:00am – 9:00pm

Closed Sundays

Lunch 11:00am – 3:00pm

No Reservations Needed

Dinner 4:00pm - 9:00pm

Reservations Required

Ask us about our Wine Pairing Event Dinners!


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,


Serving your favorite New York Style Deli Food since 1981, we offer hearty portions of homemade comfort foods like Shepherd’s Pie and Beef Brisket, handcrafted sandwiches such as our classic Hot Pastrami and Corned Beef, made-from-scratch soups like our famous Matzo Ball and Chicken Noodle, handmade, award-winning cakes including our Banana Dream and Chocolate Killer, just to name a few. Our extensive menu includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with options for everyone. We have an incredible over the counter offering of deli meats and cheeses, as well as made fresh-daily breads. Our catering menu is one of the best in town, with options for both social gatherings and corporate functions.

CALL US AT 352.787.4112 Would you like to see your restaurant in our dining section? DINING GUIDE Mon – Sun 8:00am – 8:00pm No Matter How Big or Small We Cater it All! And, We Deliver! 800-GO4-DELI
Open Daily 11:00am – 9:00pm
Y O U R C E N T R A L F L O R I D A R O O F E R R e - r o o f s R e p a i r s N e w C o n s t r u c t i o n Residential and Commercial S h i n g l e s M e t a l T i l e F r e e e s t i m a t e s ! 3 5 2 - 4 3 0 - 6 4 7 1 j o s e p h w e s t @ p i t c h p e r f e c t r o o f i n g f l c o m N o m o n t h l o n g w a i t i n g l i s t s F a i r p r i c e s | Q u a l i t y t o l a s t f o r y e a r s t o c o m e Licensed and Insured C C C 1 3 3 1 0 1 1 p i t c h p e r f e c t r o o f i n g f l c o m Meet Spencer Sealy, Real Estate Agent real estate needs It would be my privilege to serve as your agent Spencer Sealy, Real Estate Agent Mobile: 352.459.4809 352.243.7374 Fax: 352.243.4166 Email: Web: Watson Realty Corp. 1390 N. Hancock Road Clermont, FL 34711 As a lifelong resident of Groveland and a third-generation citrus grower with 30 years of land management experience in the family citrus company, I have a deep understanding of the local property market Additionally, I spent a decade as a Real Estate Agent in Los Angeles, gaining valuable expertise in the real estate industry With this unique blend of local knowledge and industry experience, r real estate needs. It would be my privilege to serve as your agent. 106 / LAKEANDSUMTER STYLE .COM APR'24

Hosted by: Marc Robertz-Schwartz

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A f i t

New owners maintain La Palma Mexican Grill’s quality food and memorable dining experience.


s the new owners of La Palma Mexican, Grill

Ildefonso Hernandez and his mother, Esperanza Hernandez Puerta, serve up delicious food with a side of stellar service.

Ildefonso, who previously worked at his family’s construction company, Hernandez Concrete Inc., o cially became owner of the restaurant in June.

He understands that Mexican food has become an important part of American culture. And he wants to uphold the outstanding reputation La Palma Mexican Grill has maintained since opening in Leesburg.

“It’s not only about great food,” he says. “This is a restaurant where people can bring their families and feel welcomed. We provide a great atmosphere.”

Ildefonso hasn’t reinvented the menu since taking over but he has added some new dishes. One of them is the molcajete, which is served with steak,

with either dish.

“Both of these dishes are large enough to feed two people,” Ildefonso says.

Guests will also enjoy Ildefonso’s margaritas that are served in a glass Patron bottle. The margaritas come in a variety of avors, including passion fruit, raspberry, mango, wildberry, peach, and banana strawberry.

Additionally, Ildefonso goes above and beyond to give diners a taste of Mexican heritage. He puts up a display in the restaurant’s lobby to celebrate important Hispanic holidays such as Dia de los Muertos

In addition, the renowned group Mariachi Tampa performs at La Palma every other Thursday, allowing the restaurant to o er the area’s best live mariachi music.

“Of course, I want everybody to enjoy our food, but I also want them to gain an appreciation for Hispanic heritage,” he says.

The 250-seat restaurant features a beautiful dining room, a festive bar, and an outdoor patio deck where wild animals can be spotted in the trees. There’s also a party room that can accommodate 50 people for large celebrations or meetings.

352.323.1444 / / 1690 Citrus Blvd., Leesburg

Facing giants?

Never underestimate the mighty power of faith.

aith can move mountains.

For me, those four words are extremely hopeful. And powerful.

Recently, I even got them inked on my left collarbone (my fourth tattoo) so that when I look in the mirror, I’ll be inspired to keep on keeping on despite any obstacles, worries or hardships. Don’t get me wrong, not every day is a tough one, but I mean, who can’t use a reminder like that?

The phrase is a shortened version of a Bible verse that’s always stuck with me. It’s Matthew 17:20: “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

For the most part, I’m a very positive person, somewhat of an optimist, always looking

through rose-colored glasses even when situations may warrant a bleaker outlook.

I’m sure it’s annoying to some, but that optimism — which translates into hope — has helped me through some pretty rough days and trying times.

And you don’t have to be religious to get it, either, because, faith is de ned as “complete trust or con dence in someone or something.” In the context of the actual verse, that “someone” and “something” is obviously God, but if considered in a more general sense, it can refer to any person or element of one’s life.

I rst heard the verse years ago, and although it pops into my head sometimes, I’ve recently found myself referring to it more often. One day at the beginning of this year when I was feeling kind of down, I came across some blank index cards. Without thinking hard about it, I reached for my cupful of colorful pens and highlighters and wrote down the

four-word shortened version. I even drew a picture of a mustard seedling planted under a couple of mountains with a bright yellow sun peeking out. That’s when the idea of becoming a walking billboard for keeping the faith came to me.

Try to remember that no matter what your personal mountain is — a tough situation or di cult person, a hardship or problem, a loss, a struggle, anything making you sad or weighing you down — have faith that it will get better. It can be faith in God, in yourself, or in the universe, but just have it. And even if it’s the size of a tiny little mustard seed, hold onto it, because tiny doesn’t mean weak. If you do, I’d like to believe those mountains will eventually shrink or disappear altogether.

You don’t have to take the drastic step of having the words tattooed onto your skin; just keep them close to your heart and don’t ever forget them.

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

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