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EEL, W I V E R N I R YEAENTS, SPORTS, TRAV ITAANLDL

CURRENT EV ST YLE HAS COVEREDBER OR CARTOONS—R. READ AND REMEM ISSED THIS YEA SEE WHAT YOU M

GHT?EN U B M U H , BAHHERE’S HOW TO BRIGBLUES AY

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CH U O T E L T T I A L YBERRY OMFEEMT FEARVENT FANSHOSFH‘TOWHE’ IT ANDY GRIFF

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tired of your relationship with reading glasses?

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DECEMBER 2017 // VOL.14 NO. 2 // F e a t u r e s

42 Style Rewind A look back and an update on some of Style’s best stories throughout the year. Find out what’s going on at the Holloway Solar Farm and see what the top picks were from The Hit List. Maybe you’re interested in Style’s favorite cartoons or what’s going on in sports tourism. You may get the answer to the burning question you had about your favorite story. STORIES: LEIGH NEELY, JAMES COMBS, THERESA CAMPBELL, CHRIS GERBASI

Inside Silver bells, decorative shells, and shopping well Style’s Gift Guide is back to help you know where to look for those last-minute gifts. Shopping local means a thriving economy…and it’s lots of fun to visit with friends and neighbors at the stores near where you live. S p e c i a l A dv e rt i s i ng F e at u r e

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Jaw-snappin’ fun! After opening GatorWorld, local businessman Don Buckner is introducing tourists and locals alike to Florida’s most popular and rowdiest reptile.

EW YEAR IN REVI

AND SPORTS, TRAVEL,IT ALL CURRENT EVENTS, HAS COVERED R OR CARTOONS—STYLE READ AND REMEMBE THIS YEAR. SEE WHAT YOU MISSED

BUG? BAH,HERE’SHUM HOW TO BRIGHTEN BLUES YOUR HOLIDAY

H A LITTLE TOUC Y BERR OF ‘THE OF MAY FERVENT FANS MEET

ANDY GRIFFITH

SHOW’

ES GATOR TGAATOLRWORLD DA’S MOST MEET FLORI

LE AT POPULAR REPTI IN WILDWOOD

On the covers LAKE & SUMTER STYLE DIRECTION: JASON FUGATE PHOTOGRAPHY: FRED LOPEZ VILLAGES EDITION DIRECTION: JASON FUGATE PHOTOGRAPHY: FRED LOPEZ PHOTOSHOP: JASON FUGATE

December 2017

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21 I N TH E KNOW

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#Trending Person of Interest Outstanding Student This ‘N That

73 ON THE SCENE

74 78 80 82 86 89

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The To-Do List In Concert Local Talent Out+About Social Spotlight Hi, Society!

99 A R O U N D T H E TA B L E

100 102 106 110 112

Quick Bites In the Kitchen Fork on the Road Saluté Dining Guide

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COLUM NS

16 From the Publisher 120 Final Thought

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From The Publisher

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Our goal is to provide you with the best quality publication, so your feedback is vital.

Documenting the past e have a tradition

of documenting our lives and important events since the beginning of time. First, it was done by carving pictures and letters onto walls in caves and mountainsides, then by writing scrolls, and eventually, books. It seems to be a part of human nature to preserve history. That is exactly what we are doing in this month’s issue of Style magazine. During the past 12 months, our editorial team shared some amazing stories about local people, places, and events. We went through our issues and chose several of them to bring back to the forefront and give you an update on what happened since the stories first ran. In January of this year, we shared a story about a local couple that decided to use their family-owned property for a solar farm. Dr. Dick Holloway and his wife, Leslie Scales-Holloway, had a vision for the future and a passion for education that led them to follow their dream and create a solar farm right here in Lake County. What were their challenges? Have they overcome them? When will the solar farm be operational? Umatilla native and Lake-Sumter State College graduate Clarissa Bowers, 19, was crowned Miss World USA 2017 in August at Orlando. The national competition was followed by the global Miss World competition Nov. 18 in Sanya, China. Did she win? On any given day in the United States, 93 people are killed with guns. A Style article in January told about the killing of 49 people in June 2016 at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the largest mass shooting on record until Oct. 1 of this year. That’s when a gunman in Las Vegas killed 59 people and wounded hundreds more. What have we done to prepare our community for potential attacks? All your questions, along with many others, will be answered in this month’s issue. We also included a little humor with the best of the best of James Combs’ “Hit List,” and the comical illustrations of “Josh Takes On” by Joshua Clark. In the age of the internet, our ability to post pictures and stats immediately is proof that we are committed to documenting the here and now, but we can’t forget to preserve documentation of the past. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue and take this time to reflect on a year passed. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from all your friends here at Akers Media. Sincerely,

Kendra Akers

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At You r S e rv i c e

Kendra Akers PUBLISHER kendra@akersmediagroup.com Doug Akers PRESIDENT doug@akersmediagroup.com Jamie Ezra Mark CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER jamie@akersmediagroup.com

Hot Off The Press!

Sneak Peek

The latest editions of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Style, Healthy Living and Welcome to Lake County. KINDNESS: IT’S IN OUR BLOOD // THE BENEFITS OF BLOOD DONATION pg: 74

BUG? , HUM BAHHERE’S HOW TO BRIGHTEN BLUES YOUR HOLIDAY

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Overcoming anxiety and depression around holidays.

ES GATOR TGAATOLRWORLD IDA’S MOST MEET FLOR

Editorial // Design // Photography

Leigh Neely Jason Fugate MANAGING EDITOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR leigh@akersmediagroup.com jason@akersmediagroup.com James Combs Josh Clark STAFF WRITER SENIOR DESIGNER james@akersmediagroup.com josh@akersmediagroup.com Theresa Campbell Volkan Ulgen STAFF WRITER DESIGNER theresa@akersmediagroup.com volkan@akersmediagroup.com Chris Gerbasi Michael Gaulin STAFF WRITER PRODUCTION DIRECTOR chris@akersmediagroup.com michael@akersmediagroup.com Fred Lopez CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER fred@akersmediagroup.com contributors

ILE POPULAR REPT

AT

IN WILDWOOD

+

DRINKING AWAY THE PAIN?

Alcohol and depression make for a dysfunctional relationship

IT’S NO FISH TALE Lake County has the largest bass in the state! RAISING THE BAR The NTC is a gold mine for Olympians! DISC GOLF A new spin on an old sport!

Get yours

SUBSCRIPTIONS: Order a subscription of your favorite magazine to be delivered directly to your home for just $81. Each subscription includes 12 consecutive issues of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Style or Healthy Living. Choose 2 or more magazines for $102 per year. To order, call 352.787.4112 or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you are a seasonal resident or have moved, send your address change request to general@akersmediagroup.com or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749.

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Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2017 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” and “Special Promotional Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.

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December 2017

17


Prostate Problems? As men mature, the prostate grows from a walnut-sized gland to sometimes as large as an orange. This growth causes outflow problems from the bladder in the passing of urine, resulting in symptoms from a slow stream, getting up at night to urinate, or even worse—the constant urge to urinate, even to the point that urination begins before they reach the bathroom. These inconvenient, and often embarrassing symptoms, can be resolved by proper treatment of the enlarged prostate. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

Dr. James Young is a very successful urologist who has been practicing in Lake County since 1982. “The treatment of BPH (an enlarged prostate) has always been my focus, and that is the primary reason I moved to Florida when I finished my medical training as Chief Resident of Urology at the University of Arkansas. I looked at Florida as being the largest ‘prostate ranch’ in the United States, so I began my practice from scratch in Eustis in 1982.” For many decades, the only treatment for BPH was a surgical procedure, the TURP, more commonly referred to by men as a “roto-rooter.” Dr. Young performed more 3,000 of these procedures, however they were very invasive, required anesthesia, hospitalization, and could have serious complications, including massive bleeding and at times, death. Then medications were approved that relieved symptoms but after a period of time, the medications lose their effectiveness or caused side effects, usually sexual in nature. There had to be a better way. In the late 1990’s a new procedure, transurethral

needle ablation of the prostate (TUNA) was approved by the FDA. “I was never a fan of jumping on new technology quickly because, as we know, not everything delivers the results as promised,” says Dr. Young. However, after the procedure was used for five years, Dr. Young began doing TUNAs, later known as Prostiva RF therapy. This procedure was done in the office under local anesthesia with few complications. The procedure worked by inserting wires into the prostate, then low frequency radio waves were transmitted through the wires and heated prostate tissue to 115 degrees Celsius. This heat was transmitted in a conductive manner (radiate from the wires) but the heat dissipated rapidly as it traveled away from the wires. The heat was reduced by the formula of 1/r2 with r being the distance from the wires. Basically, cores of prostate tissue surrounding the wires were destroyed. Dr. Young had tremendous success with Prostiva RF therapy and ultimately did almost 3,000 procedures. His success with Prostiva gave him the distinction of being placed on

Castle Connelly’s Top Docs list for five consecutive years. However, more than five years ago, Dr. Young heard rumors of a new technology that was similar in some ways, but completely different in others. This new therapy was FDA approved in 2015 and was known as Rezum. “Even though I have a reputation for not jumping on new technology, I completely understood the science behind Rezum, so as soon as it was available to me, I switched to this procedure immediately. The science driving this technology is fascinating. Using low frequency radio waves, water is transformed into steam and then nine seconds of steam is infiltrated into the prostate tissue, once again in the office under local anesthesia. The major difference is the heat is transferred in a convective, as opposed to conductive manner. As Einstein said, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed.” So once the steam is infiltrated into the prostate, and returns to liquid, it releases all the energy that changed the water into steam. This is a tremendous amount of energy and destroys much

more prostate tissue than the conductive heat did conveyed by Prostiva. There is much less discomfort with Rezum and when patients leave the office (usually in under 30 minutes), they experience no pain what so ever. Since June 2016, Dr. Young has performed just under 300 Rezum procedures, almost twice as many as any other urologist in the United States and many, many more than any other urologists in the state of Florida. “The results have been so amazing and the patients have been so happy that Healthgrades.com notified me that based on my recent reviews and clicks on my site, I am now ranked in the top 100th percentile of all urologists in the United States. While I am very proud of that, it is also very humbling. I personally think this is biggest leap forward in the treatment of BPH that I will see in my lifetime.” ________________________________

JAMES W. YOUNG III, M.D.

Board-certified Urologist Practicing in Lake County since 1982 with extensive experience in evaluation and management of prostate problems.


COMPREHENSIVE CARE If you are a first-time patient of Dr. Young, you will receive a detailed examination. “When I see a new patient I perform physical examinations and properly evaluate the patient’s symptoms, thus diagnosing the underlying problem(s),” Dr. Young said. “Next, I describe to the patient what’s normal and then explain what is abnormal with him. Lastly, I teach him his treatment options. If I’ve done a good job of teaching, he will select the correct option for himself.” While prescribing medications for enlarged prostate can be done by primary care physicians, only urologists are trained to thoroughly evaluate the bladder and prostate (including ruling out prostate cancer), as well as providing extremely effective minimally invasive, office-based therapies as alternatives to lifelong medical therapy. With an office staff with nearly as much experience as

the doctor (many have worked with Dr. Young for 25 years), you don’t spend a great deal of time waiting to see him. “We pride ourselves in being timely in seeing our patients. We respect our patients’ time as much as we do our own. Patients appreciate this; many of our patients tell me I have the best office staff on the planet. I consider that a huge compliment.” So if you are waking up at night and have difficulty falling back asleep because you’re worried what may be wrong, then it is time to check in with Dr. Young and have him examine you. “Many men accept frequent bladder urges as part of aging. And while it is part of the aging process, it’s not like death and taxes. There is something you can do about it.”

James W. Young III, M.D. Nationally recognized board-certified urologist

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T R E N D I N G //

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O U T S TA N D I N G S T U D E N T //

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T H I S ‘ N ’ T H AT

21 In the Know

Lake Tech Culinary Arts Student of the Year. SEE STORY on PG 28

December 2017

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* #I TnR ETNhD eI N GK n o w

THE VILLAGES

MOUNT DORA

Christmas at the farm

O Holy Night—two of them

Long & Scott Farms, 26216 County Road 448A, Mount Dora, is featuring visits with Santa and the farm’s popular Maze Adventures from 10am-5pm Saturdays and noon-5pm Sundays through Dec. 10. Groups of 20 or more can make reservations for weekday visits. And, back by popular demand, the farm has fresh-cut Fraser fir Christmas trees from North Carolina available to purchase and take home.

The Christmas classics never grow old, and The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra is planning two big nights of holiday music. Under the direction of Pasquale Valerio, the orchestra’s annual Christmas concerts are scheduled for 7pm Dec. 12-13 at The Sharon, 1051 Main St., The Villages. The traditional concerts feature a choir and soloists singing favorite carols accompanied by the orchestra. Performers include Julie Batman, Norman Lee, Mark A. de Villiers, Ali Molnar, Sean Stork, Keith Workowski, and A Family Affair. Tickets are $20-$60 and can be purchased individually or as part of a subscription series for the orchestra’s 2017-18 season. For more information, call 352.750.5411 or go to thesharon.com, thevillagesphilharmonic.org, or any Villages box office.

Ja m e s C o m b s’

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Oyster bars in Lake County are dispersing their shucked shells to the Coastal Conservation Commission so they can be used to restore oyster beds. When it comes to protecting coastal water resources, this kind act will certainly turn the tide.

2

Tavares City Council members denied a couple’s request to make a change in city code and allow residents to own pet pigs. If Hollywood wants to make a movie regarding this ruling, I can think of an appropriate title: “Silence of the Hams.”


Cardinals abound MOUNT DORA

Show you care

In the season of giving, Lake and Sumter county residents can help less fortunate people by volunteering at food pantries throughout the area. Lake Cares Food Pantry, as just one example, always can use volunteers. The pantry, at 2001 W. Old Highway 441, Suite 1, Mount Dora, opened in 2009 during the economic downturn. The goal was to serve 25 families a week; today the pantry serves more than 200 families a week, according to its website. The Mount Dora distribution hub serves clients every Wednesday and Saturday, and two satellite locations serve clients twice a month. Clients come from all age groups and ethnicities, and from poor to middle-class families. Volunteers can help by greeting clients on distribution day, stocking food, working at events and fundraisers, or spreading the word on social media. To volunteer or to donate, call 352.383.0100 or visit lakecares.org. Lake Cares Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization.

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Lake County Animal Shelter workers had the monumental task of rescuing 50 cats found inside an Astatula home. Fifty cats in one home? You’ve got to be kitten me! Two masked men entered a Steak ’n Shake in Clermont and demanded money. Personally,

I would’ve demanded milkshakes instead. After all, the vanilla shake there is legen-dairy. 5

A Eustis city commissioner publicly urged other towns and counties throughout the country to donate Confederate monuments to the city of Eustis. Good move, Mr. Commissioner. You must know the removal of these statues certainly will change American

Red northern cardinals can be spotted on home décor accessories and holiday decorations this season, and a wide array can be seen at Peddler’s Wagon in Eustis. The cardinal ranks ahead of other species for being the state bird in the most states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

history, eradicate poverty and homelessness, end world hunger, and bring about world peace. 6

A Lake County man who owns a laptop repair business was recently burglarized for the second time in less than three weeks. Let’s put our heads together and figure out how we can stop thieves from stealing computers. It’s time to take a byte out of this ridiculous crime.

December 2017

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* #I TnR ETNhD eI N GK n o w

NEW

TAVA R E S

A place to call home Atwater Apartments is the newest community from Cagan Management Group (CMG). The Tavares community features 240 apartments with one-, two-, and threebedroom layouts. Residents will have private direct entry, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and screened balconies or patios. Atwater Apartments is located about a quarter-mile north of Florida Hospital Waterman off Ann Rou Road. “There is a lot of new development going on in Tavares,” says Jeffrey Cagan, president of CMG. “With our proximity to Florida Hospital Waterman coupled with the growing downtown district, we are able to positively impact the housing market for working professionals looking to reside in the area in which they are employed.”

6

million acres of Wildlife Management Area

Grab your tackle box

Florida’s Wildlife Management Area system is celebrating 75 years of conservation success this year, and it’s a great time to head outdoors with family or friends. Florida has nearly 6 million acres of Wildlife Management Area, one of the largest in the country, according to a recent press release. Some areas were closed for cleanup and repairs after Hurricane Irma, but their status can be found at myfwc.com.

Gooutdoorsflorida.com can provide information to help you get started on:

• • •

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Saltwater fishing Freshwater fishing Find a boat ramp

• • •

New hunter info Find an FWC-managed public shooting range Get your hunting/ fishing license


Partnership Defend yourself honors award against scams winners The advancement of technology is a neverKelly O. Monahan, right, shown with Joanie Smalley, Main Street manager for the Leesburg Partnership, was honored for her volunteerism during the partnership’s annual awards dinner at the Leesburg Opera House. “This year’s winners come from all walks of life but share one common goal: a dedication to community that is unparalleled. Each of these folks spends countless hours making Leesburg a better place for residents and businesses,” says Joe Shipes, CEO of the Leesburg Partnership.

The winners: BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: Pioneer Janitorial, Robert Brown OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER: Nicki Haber, Nicki’s Hair Salon “GO TO” AWARD: Chad Peck SPONSOR OF THE YEAR: Beau Franklin, Business Techs OUTSTANDING GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE: Brandy McDaniel, budget manager for the city of Leesburg OUTSTANDING OFFICE VOLUNTEER: Kelly O. Monahan MERCHANT OF THE YEAR: Willowbee’s, Lynne Spence and Gloria Easton COMMUNITY SERVICE: Mandy Wettstein GREG PADGETT CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Tim Sullivan

ending trend, but one downside is that there always are new avenues for scammers to target consumers. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services believes the best defense against scams and fraud is to educate consumers. The department has designed an educational outreach program that includes providing speakers at no cost to present consumer protection information to organizations, businesses, and groups, a newsletter states. The program empowers Floridians with valuable services and resources, and enables consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing products and services. The department conducts Consumer Protection Fairs and distributes thousands of educational brochures each year. To arrange for a speaker or for more information, visit floridaconsumerhelp.com or call the consumer assistance center at 1.800.HELP.FLA (435.7352).

NEW

LADY LAKE

First orthopaedic urgent care center For the first time, residents of Lake and Sumter counties have access to an urgent care facility dedicated to orthopaedic injuries, the UNOVA Orthopaedic Urgent Care Center, 539 Rolling Acres Road, Lady Lake. The urgent care physicians are board-certified in emergency medicine and also have other special orthopaedic and sports medicine qualifications, according to a recent press release. This means the clinic can provide superior treatment for orthopaedic trauma. In addition, it’s an MRI-accredited facility through the American College of Radiology. In the event long-term care is needed, patients transition to the UNOVA Health Clinic, which also has physical therapy services. Visit unovahealth.com for more information.


* PIEnR STOhN eO FKI NnToE w REST

John Molenda Lake County deputy county manager

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Joined Lake County Public Safety in 2016; promoted this year to deputy county manager. Born in South Florida; spent 22 years with Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. Served as FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team manager. He and wife Leah have two children, Emily and Devin.

Describe your FEMA experiences: 9/11 (at Ground Zero

What was Hurricane Irma’s biggest challenge? During

in New York) was my first real experience unfolding the potential magnitude of terrorism. It showed you how easy it was to suffer death and destruction anywhere, anytime. Hurricane Katrina (in New Orleans) was by far the worst destruction I have seen. It’s hard to fathom the ocean rising 30 feet a halfmile inland. I still remember gasping when we stepped out of the helicopter next to a 700-foot-long freighter ship resting on land in a residential neighborhood. Hundreds drowned in their own attics. Those experiences made me realize there is no such thing as over-preparing for an emergency and the surreal is very possible.

the storm, the response was difficult. The projected path changed a dozen times, and when the storm hit, it moved very slowly, sustaining damage for a long period. After the storm, the biggest challenge is debris. Every pile of debris must be inspected, weighed, and recorded for a chance at federal reimbursement. This takes time in itself, let alone the extent of the damage and lack of resources around the state. We have seen many different storms here in Florida but few with such widespread devastation. Irma’s recovery will be much more difficult than other storms we have seen.

What was a gratifying aspect? Knowing all of our training and family sacrifice made a difference in the lives of others. Firefighters miss so many family holidays, birthdays, etc., you can’t help but feel guilty. I have a job I love but I also have a responsibility to my family. At the times when everyone looks to their own families for comfort and assistance, we are usually forced to leave ours and assist a stranger. It’s something you love and hate about that line of work.

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Hobbies? Farming—peanuts and cotton on our 300-acre farm in South Georgia— hunting, and fishing. Favorite food? BBQ. Favorite band? The Cadillac Three.

Biggest pet peeve? Complainers! I have seen a lot of tragedy in the work I have done. Stop complaining and enjoy the simple gifts in life you have, or strive to make it better. There is always someone worse off than you!

Photo: Fred Lopez

V I TA L


To our Customers and Friends,

Thank You

For the Gift of being able to Serve You.

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* OI UnT TS ThA NeDKI NnGoS w TUDENT

Emma Grace Hoffman Age 19 // L AKE TECH CULINARY ART S STUDENT OF THE YE AR

Graduated in June from Lake Technical Center

What it’s like working at Gourmet Today: Most days I

Enjoyable aspect of culinary field: I love having the freedom to be creative, to take a dish and put a fun twist on it and make it new.

If I could dine with anyone in the world: I would sit with

On growing up in the kitchen: I always helped my parents cook, whether it was licking the whisk after we made brownies or rolling out and cutting biscuits.

Favorite foods: Most often a big bowl of fried rice or a giant mountain of nachos!

One ingredient that’s a must: I love using a variety of foods in all my dishes, but if I had to choose something to incorporate into every dish, it would probably be cheese.

.com

She ensures food prep and catered events run smoothly

walk into the kitchen to find music blaring (most commonly our Disney playlist) and everybody singing and dancing. I’ve also had some odd requests, such as creating a sailboat out of a watermelon and fruit rollups, and making dog sculptures out of cauliflower and broccoli for a fundraiser for the Humane Society.

yet rewarding. I worked very hard to keep my grades up and prove to the chefs I was serious about this profession. I am thankful they took the time to teach me so many different things about food.

lakeandsumter

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Works as directions operator for chef Jessica Flinn at Gourmet Today

On being named Lake Tech Culinary Arts Student of the Year: It was shocking,

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Julia Child and enjoy one of her classic French dishes.

Hobbies: I often get crafty in my free time. Whether it’s making costumes or creating wall art, I find it fun, relaxing, and rewarding when I can take an idea and make it happen. I’m also blessed with an awesome dad whom I scuba dive with.

Future plans: I hope to one day open a restaurant and serve high-quality homemade food with the freshest products—an environment where everybody feels welcome and knows they’re going to get a delicious meal.

Photo: Fred Lopez

V I TA L


Smiles by Dr. David Wollenschlaeger (his patients know him as Dr. Dave) has put beautiful smiles on the faces of children and adults in Florida since 1990. For him ‘Word of mouth’ truly is the best advertising and all those happy smiles speak volumes.

33050 Professional Drive, Leesburg, FL 34788 352.787.6800 /// drdaveortho.com


* TI HnI ST‘ Nh’ eT HKAnT o w

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Fred Hilton Fred Hilton spent 36 years as the chief public relations off icer/spokesman for James Madison University in Virginia and 10 years prior as a reporter and editor for The Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Virginia. He is now happily retired in The Villages with his interior designer wife, Leta, their Cadillac Escalade golf cart, and their dog, Paris. (Yes, that makes her Paris Hilton).

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WHEN YOUR RETINAL HEALTH IS AT RISK SEE DR. MUGE R. KESEN SERVING PATIENTS IN THE VILLAGES & CENTRAL FL 1400 US Hwy 441 N. Sharon Morse Medical Office Building, Suite 352 The Villages, FL 32159 Tel: 352.643.8827 www.retinaspecialty.com

So much more than assisted living! Meet Gary, Osprey Lodge’s bus driver –voted one of our top employees by residents and associates! From driving the bus for resident appointments and trips, to playing a round of pool, or performing an impromptu ballroom dance, Gary is a big part of “Lodge Life.” He makes our residents feel special every day! Come get a taste of lodge lifestyle yourself. Schedule your tour today and receive an Osprey Lodge signature gift as our way of saying “thanks for getting to know us.” Call Ruth Cantillon at 352.253.5100

Osprey Lodge, 1761 Nightingale Ln, Tavares, FL www.ospreylodgetavares.com Assisted Living Facility #11259

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’ N I P P A N S W A J L FE MOTIONA PAID PRO

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N U F D O O W D L I IN W attigan -old M r a e y 5 ,1 wer a platform ane pole to lo sn e d o c e wo amboo of adol evated snouts uses a b n an el e a o i te h g a n T x a n . i v fi l d sy low ils tan of Penn urky water be black slit pup e e r g i d Ped o the m urface. Their dog int ms its to the s turkey merge ater, sla e w r s r e o t h t a ig teenage rom cent all g. The leaps f o d . m k e y c e h a t k r f sn s, one o nsumes the tu on the iously second o c n her fur i t d o h t n i m a d , W t n u a r h g s n r ul jaws s as he teractio powerf e smile rare in h s i S h . t k e c r tu tru is awes camera to cap or. r e gat i h l l s a rWorld click and n a m at Gato u y h a n d e g e din e and betw y is fee -acre preserv a d y r e Ev d with a, a 15 ildwoo e f Florid Parks o ugh park in W or visitors lik F o r . s a h r t e o eiv n igat drive y to rec 400 all t i n n a u h t t r po ate’s more t the st ’s an op a t i k , o n o a l g l Matti ersona e and p ile. s e o l c p t u g a can rep by usin opular r p o t t s a o g i g m ll n ng an a lize how stro “Feedi ea r ,” Mats e e i m b lped as ba e r h n e e v l e o p re alligato imals a een an n s a r e e s v e e th en DON BUCKNER, OWNER ays. “I’v tigan s

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R. O T A G I L L A AN E E S O T Y A LW A C I M O N O C , AND E DE

I S PLE M D I S A , K O C I R U N Q D A W L E O D O I V D E O WE PR LIKE TH UP AND E E R E S O O M T E WE AR TIONS YOU USED AT TRACA’S HIGHWAYS. FLORID before, and I cannot wait to go back and tell all my friends about this. These are really fascinating animals.” Indeed, alligators carry a certain mystique. They’ve been around 200 million years and are as much a part of Florida as oranges, palm trees, and hurricanes. They are also central to the state’s identity. There’s a toll road named Alligator Alley, a chain restaurant named R.J. Gator’s, and a flagship university that uses the alligator as its mascot. With that kind of publicity, it’s no surprise alligators evolved into something more than expensive handbags. They became popular tourist attractions. After all, visitors to the Sunshine State want to be amused and awed, and coming within close proximity to one of nature’s fiercest animals satisfies that craving. The animal’s popularity was the driving force behind local businessman Don Buckner’s decision to open GatorWorld Parks in October. “For me, the idea was born in 2000 when members of the Orlando Tourism Commission informed me that the top three items on Florida tourists’ to-do list were visiting Disney World, going to the beach, and seeing an alligator,” says Don, owner of Okahumpka-based Vac-Tron Equipment, the country’s largest producer of industrial vacuum

equipment. “I also went to the welcome center on the Florida-Georgia line, and employees told me the most common question they receive is, ‘What’s the best way to see an alligator?’” After 17 years of careful planning, Don feels he came up with the perfect answer to that question. The simple drive-through concept at GatorWorld allows visitors, in the comfort of their car, to drive down a gravel road shaded by oak trees and past four double-fenced compounds where alligators of all sizes reside. Photo opportunities abound as some cool off in shallow ponds, while others bask in the sun to control their body temperature. Motorists are allowed to stop and photograph the animals but must remain inside their vehicle. Afterward, visitors can feed adolescent alligators, hold an adolescent alligator, and visit a petting zoo stocked with bunnies, Nubian goats, and miniature cattle. They can also have their picture taken alongside Al, the park’s 13-foot stuffed alligator estimated to be 80 years old at the time of his death. For the record, the largest alligator ever caught was 15 feet 9 inches. All these activities can be enjoyed in less than half a day. “Location, time, and cost—those are three hurdles we eliminated by

opening this park,” Don says. “We don’t have alligator shows or anything like that. We provide a quick, simple, and economical way to see an alligator. We are more like the old roadside attractions you used to see up and down Florida’s highways.” Those Florida-centric roadside attractions, known for their bold-colored signs, attempted to lure motorists off the road with presidential wax figures, colorful macaws, and dazzling mermaids. Many began disappearing in the 1970s when theme parks replaced the wonders of nature with white-knuckle thrill rides. However, alligators continued drawing big crowds, as evidenced by the 400,000 annual visitors to Orlando’s popular Gatorland. Seeing an alligator was definitely on the bucket list of Colleen Hoang, a New Jersey resident who visited GatorWorld in early November. The highlight of the day was watching her 7-year-old son, Cameron Hoang, pet an adolescent alligator named Abbie. With its mouth taped shut, Abbie remained perfectly still while nestled comfortably in the arms of a park employee. Cameron, a little apprehensive at first, used his index finger to poke the baby alligator. After a few minutes, he worked up the courage to gently pet the animal using his entire hand before posing for a photograph with Abbie in his arms.


“There are few places you can actually go to hold an alligator,” Colleen says. “If you tried it out in the wild you’d get hurt. I think it’s great that they have such a controlled environment, and the best thing is you’re guaranteed to see an alligator when you come here.” Savannah Mosher, a resident of upstate New York, came to the park with a bad case of gator fever. Watching documentaries intrigued her, but she never had an opportunity to see one in the wild or in captivity. After completing the driving tour, she was mesmerized by the reptile’s sheer size. Some alligators in the park weigh more than 500 pounds. “I’ve seen alligators on television, but seeing them up close like that gives you an entirely different perspective on how massive and fascinating these animals truly are,” she says. “Being around alligators is something new for me. The only animals I see in upstate New York are chickens, cows, and sheep.” The reptiles leave park employees equally curious and awed. Just ask Mariam Flack, an 18-year-old homeschooled senior from Howey-inthe-Hills who opted against bagging

groceries and serving fast food in favor of working alongside alligators. “This is the first job I’ve ever had,” she says excitedly. “I love being around alligators because they’re so powerful and mysterious. However, it can be unnerving when I have to grab a baby alligator out of the pen for petting because their mouths are not taped.” The other exciting aspect about her job is answering questions and providing visitors with fun-filled facts. Did you know, for instance, that an alligator can run 30 miles per hour for 20 yards? Some more useful information: electrical tape can keep a large alligator’s mouth shut because its upper jaw muscles are considerably weaker than the muscles used to snap the jaw shut. Just don’t try this at home. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Here’s another interesting fact: All alligators at GatorWorld were purchased from alligator farms, where they are sold for their hides and meat, or from trappers, who euthanize alligators when they are deemed nuisances. Don isn’t just introducing these animals to the public; he’s also giving them a second chance at life. The animals receive a daily feeding of food pellets, which is similar to dog food and is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.

“We rescue them from euthanasia,” Don says. “That’s why we call ourselves a sanctuary or preserve. Alligators are a big part of Florida’s heritage, and even though they’re not on the endangered list, we feel good about saving a part of Florida’s heritage by saving these animals. They receive good care here. It’s by God’s grace that I’m able to do this.” Knowing these animals are not being euthanized is reassuring for alligator enthusiasts such as Dennis Spafford of Inverness. “GatorWorld is a great asset because the species is being protected and nobody harms them here,” says Dennis, who took his grandchildren from New Jersey to the park. “I think it’s important to protect alligators and let people enjoy the beauty of these magnificent animals because I don’t know what the future holds for them.” This much he does know: The allure of Florida’s screaming theme parks and five-star beachside hotels has not dampened man’s curiosity and intrigue over the alligator, one of the few remaining links to the age of the dinosaur.

Admission: Admission includes: the drive-through experience, hold-a-gator, feed-a-gator, and petting zoo.

Adults: $22 Seniors (55+): $19 Children 4-12: $12 Children 3 and under: $5 Active military with ID: Free

Four-day passes (save 45%) Adults: $49 Seniors (55+): $39 Children 12 and under: $29

352.462.9500 // 492 W. Hwy. 44 Wildwood gatorworldparks.com // Check website for current hours of operation

December 2017

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REWIND 2017 has been a remarkable year in so many ways.

Change can happen in the space of a heartbeat. Take a look back at some of Style’s most intriguing stories in the past year. You may ďŹ nd something new or you may just remember a good story and enjoy revisiting it.

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REWIND

RAYS OF HOPE

The Holloways have been working for more than a year on building a solar farm. Every step brings them closer to their goal. BELOW: LESLIE SCALES-HOLLOWAY & DR. RUFUS HOLLOWAY HAVE GREAT HOPES FOR THE FUTURE WHILE PRESERVING THE PAST.

STORY: LEIGH NEELY // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ

OPPOSITE: DR. DAVE EDYBURN, DR. PAMELA CARROLL, AND DR. MIKE HYNES FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

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hough there may not be much physical evidence on the site of the Holloway Solar Farm, a great deal has been going on behind the scenes since Style reported about the farm in January. Dr. Rufus “Dick” Holloway and his wife, Leslie Scales-Holloway, continue to work with the city of Leesburg and the Florida Municipal Power Agency. They must have a buyer for the electricity and are required by law that it be a utility. “We’re at a very good point, a tipping point, you might say,” Dick says. “There’s still no word from Florida Municipal Power Agency, but we’re working on developing a program of learning with the University of Central Florida.” The Holloways have received the blessing of Pamela Carroll, dean of the college of education, and UCF President John C. Hitt. Turning the land at 2620 Griffin Road into a solar farm is a family legacy, according to Dick, who grew up in Leesburg and graduated in 1954 from Leesburg High School. “I have lots of friendships here, and we’ve stayed close all these years,” he says. The farm will be an alternate energy facility that produces clean energy and creates jobs for the area. While both Holloways are thrilled at producing solar energy, the second tier of their goals is education for everyone from kindergarten to those studying for doctorate programs in research.

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“UCF is working with us to create a learning laboratory,” Dick says. “We provide the building, and other grants will come into play to fund the research.” “I’m an educator at heart, and this idea came to me after many years as a school board member,” Leslie says. “When we got into a discussion with [UCF], we found so much interest. They just jumped right on it. We want a place where students of all ages can learn about solar and alternative energies. Dr. Carroll is ready to assign a person from the faculty to work here.” Dr. Carroll and her staff are looking forward to taking a significant role in the educational side of the project. “Those of us working with the development of the Holloway Solar Education and Research Center and the Solar Farm Project in the College of Education and Human Performance are excited by the potential of the innovative project,” Dr. Carroll says. “By providing schoolchildren, adolescents, and the public with access to the beautiful Holloway property and interactive education center, we will have an amazing opportunity to help people of the region better understand the environment, natural resources, and sustainability.” “So much of the education format today is hands-on learning,” Dick says. “This is definitely hands on.” Part of the barn on the property will be used for classrooms and possibly some other buildings, but Leslie is especially excited there will be one or two outdoor classrooms.


By providing schoolchildren, adolescents, and the public with access to the beautiful Holloway property and interactive education center, we will have an amazing opportunity to help people of the region better understand the environment, natural resources, and sustainability.

“[We recently] brought the people from UCF and the city of Leesburg to meet to gain support for the educational center,” Dick says. “This will set Leesburg apart from other small cities, and it will encourage growth. The solar farm is within the city limits of Leesburg.” In doing research, Leslie found —DR. PAMELA CARROLL the problem of solar energy storage is the big issue for researchers. “If we can give them a laboratory, they can put their dreams into action. We need to teach them from an early age about using clean solar energy,” Leslie says. “I believe when these children come to a place so close to them and so cutting edge, it will excite them.” On a state level, solar energy continues to be popular among residents. In 2016, they defeated Amendment 1, which was backed by utilities and would have limited

rooftop solar expansion. They approved Amendment 4, however, which called for property tax relief for businesses and residential property owners installing devices like rooftop solar. The cost of rooftop solar devices also decreased substantially during the past presidential administration. Approximately 100 acres of the Holloway land will be dedicated to solar farming with the rest of the 250 acres set aside for educational facilities. “All of this will be done in a natural environment,” Dick says. “That’s our main objective—to keep everything looking as it does now. We’re dedicated to it and want it to happen because we know it’s going to be a tremendous advantage for a town I love very much.”

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REWIND

THE HANDWRITING IS ON THE WALL ‘Before I Die’ art project stirs thoughts and attracts thousands during exhibition in Eustis. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI

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he wall may be down, but its spirit lives on. The “Before I Die” Wall ended a six-month run in downtown Eustis this fall after thousands of residents and visitors picked up pieces of chalk

and completed the sentence, “Before I die, I want to_____” on a 76-footlong chalkboard. The messages captured bucket list wishes, dreams, aspirations, and sometimes very personal, funny, and vulnerable statements as people contemplated life and death, organizer Gloria SavannahAustin says. The project debuted April 1 at the fourth annual Amazing Race for Charity, where participants and spectators initiated the wall with their sentiments. Like life, the wall was only temporary, and the

The wall has been lifechanging and amazing and unforgettable in the sense it connected me to the pulse of the community and the humanity in each of us. —GLORIA SAVANNAH-AUSTIN

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community art project closed Sept. 30 as scheduled by the city. There was talk of other communities constructing their own walls, but they could not commit staff to the time-consuming task of maintaining and monitoring the wall, Gloria says. However, the many stories, photos, “magical” behind-the-scenes moments, and wishes that came true may be collected in a book in the future, she says. “The wall has been life-changing and amazing and unforgettable in the sense it connected me to the pulse of the community and the humanity in each of us,” says Gloria, a certified life-cycle celebrant who owns Soulful Transitions in Sorrento. The original concept for the wall came in 2011 from New Orleans artist Candy Chang, who painted the words “Before I die I want to” on an abandoned house and encouraged neighbors to share their experiences and thoughts using chalk. Since then, more than 2,000 walls have been built in more than 70 countries. Through the website beforeidie.city/ about, communities and organizations can find out how to create their own walls. The popularity of the wall may be tied to its simple, but big, question, Gloria says. “It’s something we all think about,” she says. “What’s my purpose? I want to leave something behind. You only have a finite time here. What are you going to do?”


THE BEST OF Ja m e s C o m b s’

Crowning achievements

1

Umatilla native and Lake-Sumter State College graduate Clarissa Bowers, 19, was crowned Miss World USA 2017 in August at Orlando. The national competition was followed by the global Miss World competition Nov. 18 in Sanya, China. Clarissa was among contestants from 120 countries vying for the international title, which was won by Manushi Chhillar, 20, of India. Listed as the oldest and largest international beauty pageant in the world, the Miss World website states the swimsuit portion was eliminated in 2014, and contestants are now judged on fitness, talent, modeling skill, public speaking, social media interaction, and philanthropic endeavors. In a statement after her national win, Clarissa noted she was “overwhelmed with joy” to represent her country. “The America’s Miss World crown is a symbol of a woman who inspires, empowers, and advocates,” she added. Clarissa received her associate’s degree from LSSC while playing volleyball for the Lakehawks. She continued her education by transferring to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, to study neuroscience. She says her ultimate career goal is to become a reconstructive surgeon and help members of the armed forces who are wounded. In the November 2016 issue of Lake & Sumter Style, Clarissa revealed her inspiring role models: “My parents both work in the medical field, so I aspire to be like them in that aspect, but beyond that I aspire to attain their inner qualities more and more each day— My parents both kindness, compassion, humility, intelligence, and a good work in the medical sense of humor, among others. If I can be even half the parent to my children that my parents were to me, I’ll do field, so I aspire to a great job.” be like them in that

aspect, but beyond that I aspire to attain their inner qualities more and more each day.

A Umatilla woman was arrested after hitting her fiancé in the head with a lamp because he refused to have sex with her. The lamp broke, meaning there were now two things in the bedroom she could not turn on.

2

After a bartender asked a 52-year-old woman to turn off her e-cigarette inside a Villages restaurant, the woman became enraged and fought the bartender. Surprisingly, she was arrested on charges of disorderly intoxication rather than aggravated vape.

3

A 33-year-old Lady Lake woman was jailed after attacking her husband and then trying to run him over in her SUV. During the confrontation, the husband was heard saying, “Please, God, give me a brake!”

4

A 66-year-old Lady Lake woman wired $20,000 to a Georgia man she met on Facebook. Not surprisingly, the man and his profile disappeared once the money was received. If the woman ever locates him, she should say in an authoritative voice: “Go Facebook yourself!!” Just replace Facebook with another word that starts with an “f” and ends in a “k.”

5

A Lake County mail carrier is off the job because of allegations she was stealing mail from residents along her Eustis route. In fact, one mom said her daughter had ordered something online more than a month ago and never received the item. When she found out a mail carrier stole it, I bet she went postal.

6

Treadwell Nursery in Eustis has been given the green light to start growing medical marijuana. It would be funny if the owners put up a big sign outside their nursery that reads: “Please keep off the grass.”

—CLARISSA BOWERS

December 2017

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REWIND

SHOTS FIRED

For every person killed with a gun, two people are injured, says the Centers for Disease Control. STORY: LEIGH NEELY

O

n any given day in the United States, 93 people are killed with guns. A Style article in January told about the killing of 49 people in June 2016 at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the largest mass shooting on record until Oct. 1 this year. That’s when a gunman in Las Vegas killed 59 people and wounded hundreds more. While these numbers left Americans in shock, the Vegas shooting was not a “threshold defining” incident, according to Lt. Ralph McDuffie, emergency manager/ SWAT commander of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

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“That is like what happened on 9/11, which changed how we travel,” McDuffie says. “We now have TSA, screenings, and fortification of cockpits.” When planning for events such as an outdoor concert, McDuffie says law enforcement agencies always study situations like what occurred in Las Vegas. “That doesn’t mean we won’t do outdoor concerts,” he says. “I don’t think we’re at that point in society where such drastic measures are necessary. The scope and scale of what this guy did has validity, but

our biggest threat to special events is vehicles.” McDuffie says he is confident the Las Vegas shooter followed the same pattern most shooters do in these situations. Experts have found there are four distinctive steps in every situation: the idea, the plan, the preparation, and action. All of this occurs after something significant puts the shooter in the frame of mind to do something that makes a big impact. McDuffie estimates these predictors occur in more than 90 percent of incidents. “[Las Vegas] was a well-rehearsed event. Planning did not occur overnight, and it is a prime example of the extended planning cycle,” McDuffie says. “It took a long time to transport all that gear up to his room, but who is going to notice someone carrying suitcases in a hotel?” He adds that in 93 percent of the cases, someone knew the person was going to do something.


HAIL (OR HELL) TO THE CHIEF

Change or chaos. How’s Trump doing? STORY: JAMES COMBS

The scope and scale of what this guy did has validity, but our biggest threat to special events is vehicles. — LT. RALPH MCDUFFIE

“For the Pulse, it was the wife,” he says. “Research has shown these people have life crises, and people knew they were at the point of despair but said nothing.” When giving presentations, McDuffie stresses it is important to be aware of what goes on in your day-today work world. “If you hear a coworker say, ‘I hate my boss. I’d love to kill him,’ don’t let that pass without doing something,” McDuffie says. “It’s not normal for people to say that. Go to human resources or if it’s a small business, go to your boss. This is definitely a situation that should be dealt with immediately.”

I

t has been 11 months since Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as 45th president of the United States. To this day, the commander-in-chief elicits a wide range of emotions from the public. People feel amused, infuriated, hopeful, disgusted, impressed, and disappointed. Many questions loom. Is he more of a showman than a statesman? Does his successes trump (pardon the pun) his setbacks, or vice versa? Is his presidency destined for failure or will he go down as one of the greatest commanders-in-chief? We recently asked random locals to share how they feel about Trump’s time in the Oval Office.

“I don’t think he has done worth a darn. It seems like he’s helping Russia and other countries more than he’s helping the United States. If he gets another term, the world is going to fall apart.” —GARY DICKERSON

“He is a workaholic who tries very hard, so people need to leave him alone and let him do the job that the people elected him to do. There’s really no need to badmouth him and his family. What good does that really accomplish?” —CAROLE DIETZ

“It’s chaos with him in the White House. He’s trying to run the White House like he’s trying to run a business, and I just don’t understand his decisions. I’ve never seen a president before who degrades people the way he

does, and that includes his own staff. He truly scares me. I’m afraid he might start a war for no reason.” —ED GILMER

“I have no idea how he’s doing. The only thing I know is that I’m going to be the next president. It’s about time we have an average guy who knows what he’s doing and truly represents the average American’s values and sense of community.” —CODY DEBOLD

“I think he has used his good business sense to implement policies that is helping small businesses across the country do very well. However, as the leader of free and diverse people, he is challenged. He struggles to show empathy and doesn’t seem to embrace that one aspect of being

president is to be a good role model.” —JIMMIE JACKSON

“I think he has done a good job. He has the same viewpoints I have; we both believe in a smaller government and less regulations. He’s fighting a difficult battle with Congress, but he keeps charging full steam ahead.” —RICK YOKUTY

“I think he has done a good job, especially considering all the backlash he has endured. I feel like his political opponents and the media have never given him a fair opportunity. One thing I really like about Trump is that he is a straight shooter. I’d rather have a guy like that in the White House as opposed to someone who tells me one thing and means something else.” —DANI DAVIS

December 2017

49


REWIND

JOSH TAKES ON

Style’s resident cartoonist Joshua Clark tackled many issues throughout the year. These cartoons are among the favorites with the added bonus of the tribute to Tom Petty by the University of Florida.

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ON A ROLL

Roaring motorcycles, rocking music, and ragged denim mean Leesburg is celebrating Bikefest. STORY: JAMES COMBS

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eesburg Bikefest is dubbed “the largest three-day motorcycle and music event in the country.” Leatherclad, vest-wearing bikers from all over the world flock to the city to enjoy motorcycle shows, live entertainment, and bikini contests. The Leesburg Partnership’s signature event also revs up money for Lake County-based charitable organizations. In 2017, the event raised $150,474, which is ultimately reinvested in local projects such as scholarships for high school students and services for people in need. “For us, it’s a great feeling to know we can help local charities because they do so much good for the community and make an impact on the lives of many people,” says Joe Shipes, chief executive officer of the Leesburg Partnership. “We also appreciate how they step up to help us put on this massive event.” Money raised at Bikefest also enables the Leesburg Partnership to organize other events throughout the year, including the Leesburg Saturday Morning Market and an annual Christmas parade. Next year’s event, scheduled for April 27-29, is expected to include more than 200 vendors, 60 concerts, and five “hot body” contests, according to the Leesburg Bikefest website.

For us, it’s a great feeling to know we can help local charities because they do so much good for the community and make an impact on the lives of many people. — JOE SHIPES

December 2017

51


REWIND

TURKS AND CAICOS: Surviving the hurricanes Island residents and resorts are picking up the pieces and preparing for tourists.

Photo: Ocean Club Resorts

STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS

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Photo: Mary Ann DeSantis Photo: Ocean Club Resorts

S

ome places you just can’t get out of your mind…or your heart. The Turks and Caicos Islands are like that for me. Although it’s been more than a year since I visited the gateway island of Providenciales and the surrounding Caicos Islands in the Bahamas archipelago, my trip is on instant replay in my daydreams because it was the perfect paradise destination. The Turks and Caicos got a one-two punch from hurricanes Irma and Maria in September. I immediately started checking to find out what happened to the beautiful places I saw and to the full-time residents I met. “I’m happy to say that we made it through Irma and Maria all right! Overall, the resorts suffered cosmetic and landscaping damage, but we can handle that. We’ve handled it before with previous hurricanes,” Tanya Duelfer, operations manager for Ocean Club Resorts in Providenciales, writes in an email. In fact, Ocean Club West, where I stayed, reopened in early October, just weeks after Maria pummeled the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Many resorts were closed in September for annual maintenance, and Tanya says the biggest challenge was getting materials needed for those maintenance projects. Tourism is the No. 1 industry for the Turks and Caicos, and getting back to normal was of the utmost priority for the resorts as well as for residents. “The locals have worked first to get resorts and restaurants back up quickly and will focus on the damage to their own homes and property later,” William Kiburz, vice president of Coronet Travel LTD, says in a recent afar.com story about visiting the islands for the holidays. By early November, Ocean Club Resorts had raised more than $70,000 for employees who live in areas that were hardest hit by the hurricanes, and had already started distributing funds to those most in need. Former Lake County resident Dave Fenimore, who works with the Turks and Caicos Tourism Board, reports he did not have major damage but he was without power for several weeks. The lights came back on in October, and he’s been busy coordinating the weekly Thursday Night Fish Fry, a popular event that brings locals, expats, and tourists together to experience the camaraderie of an authentic island celebration. The Turks and Caicos Tourism Board is communicating that all is in good order for anyone planning a trip. After all, visiting now gives locals the needed tourism revenue to rebuild their own homes and lives. It is indeed the most impactful way to help any destination rebound after a disaster.

December 2017

53


REWIND

WHAT DID YOU DO THIS SUMMER?

Summer is a time for fun and games, but a group of kids in Lady Lake created their own games—on computers. STORY: LEIGH NEELY // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ

F

or many children, there’s no place more fun than the local library. Last summer, a group of students had the chance to work with computer experts on creating their own games. The idea was the brainchild of John Pearl, Lady Lake’s information technology director, and Marsha Brinson, director of Lady Lake Public Library. John and Marsha took computers no longer used in the school system and repurposed them for the library. Next, they brought in a computer gaming expert, Kate Austin, who was teaching a code program in Mount Dora. “Kate ran with the idea,” John says. “She was teaching middle schoolers to do game development. We need to encourage more people to do what Kate is doing. Take the skills and knowledge they used throughout their careers and volunteer to help others learn it.” Kids who attended the camp didn’t just create games, they developed future job skills, and camp leaders plan to encourage them to use those skills in Lake County. With programs like this one, the library hopes to fill gaps in what is taught in local schools. Nicole LaFrancois is the youth program coordinator and appreciates what the library can offer residents through these computer classes. “This program started in the youth department two years ago, and we

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are building a love for technology in the children,” she says. “The students took on the challenging task of learning how to create an android video game app. With the exception of a few, most children were complete beginners. We are thrilled with the way the camp went and hope to make it a yearly event.” Kate also sees a future for these summer camps. Lake County libraries are always looking for skilled volunteers like Kate who are the perfect resource for their local library. Originally a high school math teacher, she moved to teaching computer science and eventually became director of simulation and digital entertainment at the University of Baltimore. “What I’m hoping to do is get these summer camps going at all the libraries,” she says. “Schoolteachers could do it. I would love to lead the workshops to teach them how.” Kate says kids creating their own games not only builds skills, it builds self-esteem. The participants in this summer’s camp used Scratch.MIT.edu, a program created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “The camp was two weeks and met five days a week, a few hours a day, so the kids had plenty of time to learn how to code from the bottom up,” Nicole says. “We received a lot of good feedback from parents as well as from the kids.”

What I’m hoping to do is get these summer camps going at all the libraries. Schoolteachers could do it. I would love to lead the workshops to teach them how. — KATE AUSTIN

The beginners had their imaginations sparked, which Nicole hopes will create a lifetime love and passion for technology and all that can be accomplished with it. A home-school parent, Christine Leonard, and daughters Alexis and Alayla use the Lady Lake Library frequently. “They love computers, and we’re here every Thursday,” Christine says. Lana and Lucas Vincent also are home-schooled by their mother, Cindy. “I think this is just great. It gives the kids in the community an opportunity they may not have in school,” Cindy says. “My oldest craves computer education, and we really need this. We have a great relationship with the library.” Anyone interested in library activities can keep an eye on the Lady Lake Public Library’s web pages


Simply married

Tavares Pavilion on the Lake offers simple 5-minute weddings. You don’t have to pull out all the stops to say, “I do.” At Tavares Pavilion on the Lake, a simple wedding can be just as meaningful and memorable. “We recently had a couple use the ceremony after meeting in 1976, getting engaged in 1977, breaking up, and meeting again last year.” says Carrie Petroski, pavilion manager. “He proposed, with the same ring he gave her in 1977, on New Year’s Eve and they had a 5-minute wedding. It was great.” These simple ceremonies are available from 10am-4pm Tuesday or Thursday, and appointments are required. Couples must have a valid marriage license obtained in advance and issued by a Florida clerk of the circuit court. Dress up or come as you are!

and calendars. Events are planned for every age group, something is happening at the library almost every day, and special events like the summer game camp usually are in the works. Other programs at the library include the Tween Scene for kids ages 8-12. No sign-up is required; just call the library for information. Check out the library at 225 W. Guava St. To sign up for a student program or to volunteer, call 352.753.2957.

December 2017

55


REWIND ART AND LAVERN

CZARNECKI

ELIZA AND JIM BOLTON

CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK

New homes continue to rise on old lots in the historic neighborhoods of The Villages. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ

T

he historic side of The Villages, long thought to be on the decline, has been revitalized as a home-buying destination. The developer continues to transform the neighborhoods east of U.S. Highway 27/441 by buying dozens of manufactured homes—standing since the 1980s and ’90s—and quickly replacing them with brand-new site-built houses. The process began around 2014 and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, a drive down Tarrson Boulevard in the Village of Silver Lake reveals numerous lots in various stages of construction, from recently cleared to homes getting final touches. “It’s a win-win for everybody,” says Art Czarnecki, who along with his wife, LaVerne, moved this year into a new home on Tarrson. “It increases property value, and you’re meeting new people. It brings younger people in as older people are moving out or getting into different living situations because of aging.”

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Silver Lake, Orange Blossom Gardens, and Country Club Hills represent the origins of The Villages, which mushroomed out of a mobile home park started by business partners Harold Schwartz and Al Tarrson. The area has rooftops numbering in the thousands, so rebuilding could last many more years. Art heard that a total of 400 new homes are slated in his area. Now in their third house in The Villages, Art and LaVerne were looking to downsize from a 2,000-square-foot house. They were drawn to Silver Lake because of the new house, a warranty period, and no bond to pay on the property, Art says. “It was kind of a no-brainer,” he says. Eliza and Jim Bolton bought a home on Parker Place in Silver Lake on one of the first lots that was cleared in 2014 for rebuilding. The couple moved from Tennessee for the warmer climate, and the new site-built home was appealing.

“We heard about [The Villages] from a neighbor,” Eliza says. “We came down to check it out, liked what we saw, and bought it.” The Boltons have enjoyed their three years in the neighborhood, and don’t mind the ongoing construction around them. “We’re glad to have it done,” Eliza says. Of course, the developer is not making improvements out of altruism. For example, The Villages of Lake-Sumter Inc. bought a Roseapple Avenue lot and its 1980 manufactured home for $70,000, and the new house built there sold for about $235,500, Lake County property records show. But residents like Norman Narum, who has lived for nearly 25 years on East Schwartz Boulevard, are happy to see the upgrade. “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened around here,” he says.


GIVING SPORTS TOURISM A KICK

One way of strengthening Central Florida’s economy is by drawing fans, athletes, and dollars. STORY: JAMES COMBS

W

hen it comes to bolstering sports tourism in Central Florida, Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks is getting the ball rolling—literally. Sean is working alongside officials from the city of Orlando and the Central Florida Sports Commission to help Camping World Stadium secure a bid as one of the early-round sites for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He says Orlando is a strong candidate, especially with the emergence of the Orlando City Soccer Club, a professional team that joined Major League Soccer in 2015. During a 2016 game against Real Salt Lake, the team drew 60,147 fans to Camping World Stadium. The city also is home to the Orlando Pride, a professional women’s soccer team. In 2016, Orlando was ranked as the best city in the nation for soccer fans by wallethub.com, a personal finance website. “The soccer culture in Orlando and Central Florida grows stronger and stronger each year,” Sean says. “Fan interest has definitely been booming.” If Orlando secures the bid, then Lake County’s economy could find itself booming, as well. “Having the World Cup would be very big for our county. Teams could travel here before the World Cup and practice at the National Training Center in Clermont, and we could even host spinoff tournaments at the NTC,” Sean says. “In addition, the event would draw thousands of international tourists, and there’s no doubt they will spend money in Lake County.” Last year, officials from Lake County and Orlando formed a partnership in hopes of strengthening the region’s economy through sports tourism. Their collaborative efforts could help Central Florida become a sports superpower by promoting the region as a year-round destination for sporting events. In September 2016, Sean invited Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer for a six-hour tour of Lake’s sports facilities and pristine countryside.

“Lake County is a beautiful area and offers so much in the way of sports—from triathlons and sand volleyball to fishing and the state-of-the-art National Training Center,” Buddy says. “I enjoyed meeting with Lake County’s leaders and creating more synergy in the area of sports tourism.”

Having the World Cup would be very big for our county. — SEAN PARKS


Let’s spend your whole budget on digital!


Advertisers just love digital media! Smart advertisers also love their traditional media! Here’s why‌ Step 1


I

f someone tells you to spend your entire budget on digital advertising, fire them now because they are either biased or simply not fully educated on how to conduct a well-rounded marketing campaign. STORY: KENDRA AKERS

Think about it. It boils down to two things: budget and communication. The goal of every marketing and advertising campaign is to put your company’s message in front of potential clients. So, wouldn’t it make sense to advertise where the consumers

Step 2

are? Forget about labels like traditional media, digital media, etc. Look at who the audience is for the medium you are considering. Are your clients there? If so, look at your budget and see how you can reach more of them in the most costeffective manner. You have

everything from signage to social media, mailers to billboards, print ads and broadcasts on radio and TV to choose from. Don’t judge whether it is viable or not just because of what type of medium it is. For example, if you are a construction company trying to reach clients wanting to remodel their homes, is social media the only way to reach them? Absolutely not! Sure, many people who are looking to remodel their homes are checking out Pinterest, Houzz, and even Zillow. But reaching them through social media is only one piece of the marketing pie. There is a whole world out there. A reliable advertising agency looks at all the opportunities available within your target-market area and finds ways to get your message out to

Step 3

as much of your target audience as possible with a cohesive, consistent, integrated, wellrounded campaign. Well-rounded means a strategic mix of branding, call-to-action, and direct marketing messages across a variety of media. Why? Because your message is going to reach people at different stages in their decision-making process. Not everyone will be ready to buy or hire you the moment they see your message. I once had a fishing buddy tell me, “Don’t leave fish to find fish.” This relates to your marketing as well. If traditional advertising has worked for you in the past, don’t stop using it. If you want to expand your reach and try other methods, simply add digital to the mix. If you want to catch more fish, add more lines


in the water. If budget constraints are holding you back, work with your media companies to reduce what you are spending with them to free up additional funds to put into digital. Take a cue from industry leaders across the board. There is a reason big-name companies such as McDonald’s, Nike, Apple, Macy’s and others still use traditional media. It’s because these companies understand effective branding. Your advertising message must be where your potential clients are. Very seldom can you fully reach them through one advertising medium. To be successful, put more lines in the water behind a strong marketing strategy. If anyone tells you differently, they are not looking out for your company’s best interest. Or they just don’t understand marketing.

A reliable advertising agency looks at all the opportunities available within your target-market area and finds ways to get your message out to as much of your target audience as possible with a cohesive, consistent, integrated, well-rounded campaign.

How a well-rounded campaign works: 1. Your customer is reading a local magazine, he sees your ad, and continues his day. 2. Later, your customer is driving to work and notices a billboard with your message. He moves on. 3. That evening, your customer is surfing the net on his iPad and notices an ad with your message in his Facebook feed. He takes note, doesn’t react, and moves on. 4. Several days or weeks later, your customer decides he needs to start looking for a company to remodel his bathroom. He does a Google search, and your business name comes up in the search along with eight other companies. Your customer clicks on your website and calls you for a quote. Why choose you over the other eight companies? Digital marketing companies will tell you it was because of a good SEO or SEM campaign. But the reality is, he chose your company because of human nature. Mr. Customer was familiar with your brand because he has seen your advertisements and your messaging in other places—he may not even remember where. But he certainly did not recognize the names of those other companies. So, he chose you because your well-rounded campaign made him comfortable with your brand.

Step 4

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F e at u r i n g

8 Time has stopped in Mayberry Fans of “The Andy Griiffith Show” reminisce about simpler times Plus

2 Beer and thrillers Villager is seeking the perfect beer to go with his novel

4 Season of peace Is there still hope for a peaceful world?


* MVESEtT yAlVeI L L A G E R

Villager writer a thriller When he’s not working on his novel, Mark A. Pryor is looking for his next favorite beer. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ

V I TA L

S TAT

S

First novel is “Noble Phoenix: An International Thriller,” available at Amazon, GoodReads and Barnes & Noble. Has traveled to 44 states and 35 countries, and enjoys visiting breweries and brewpubs. He and his wife, Diane, live in the Village of Tamarind Grove.

2

Describe your book briefly: Viktor Prazsky nearly loses his life at an early age during a violent demonstration in Prague, Czech Republic. An experimental medical procedure saves his life and leaves him with a powerful mental ability. Squaring off against Viktor is the grand master of a wellfunded organization who has unleashed assassins and terrorists across Europe. The confrontation becomes personal, threatening Viktor, his family, and the love of his life. Can Viktor save the world from Armageddon? Have you incorporated your career into your writing? I never had time to write a novel before I retired. My experiences from nearly 50 years in technology contributed to my writing, as did my travels for both business and fun.

Are you planning another book? I am writing my second novel, “Cyberian Affair,” which I hope to publish in 2018. It opens during the American primary election. A small team of security experts

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takes on Russia, leading to murder and a full-scale cyber war.

Where did your interest in beer originate? In the mid-’70s, I joined a beer club and learned to enjoy quality beer. Soon, I began to read everything I could about beer and brewing, and I made a point of trying new styles and brands. Over time, I have sampled thousands of different beers.

Favorite beer? Probably my favorite IPA is Dogfish Head 120. My favorite pilsner is Pilsner Urquell. My favorite stout is probably Left Hand Barrel-Aged Wake Up Dead. For Trappist ales, it is Rochefort 10. In general, my favorite beer is usually the one I just tried for the first time. Favorite cities? Vancouver, British Columbia; Brugge, Belgium; Prague, Czech Republic; and Fira, Santorini, Greece.

Favorite spot in The Villages? World of Beer (of course).


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I’m Michael Hawkins, director of service operations in Wildwood. I started in the RV industry in 2003 with Monaco Coach Corporation, where my passion for service took off. Working on RVs means you fix everything from plumbing to painting, which gives me great satisfaction. However, the most fulfilling part is building relationships with customers. Through the years, I’ve learned that being a good listener and being honest are the most important ingredients in a relationship. I’m very proud of our service technicians, who often make repairs no other dealers can fix, and they do it daily. On-site training from Ed Cowan means we have access to the best from RVIA and factory training from all manufacturers, and Josh Hall, service manager, does in-house training. As a result, we were voted a Top-50 dealer in the country, which makes us very proud. Happy Holidays to everyone from all of us here at Alliance Coach!

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* IVNSTtHyE lV eI L L A G E S

Silent world, holy world Pray long and hard for a season of peace. WRITER: JOE ANGIONE

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his year we’ve heard and seen almost nothing but bad news— personal hardships, humanitarian disasters, terrorist assaults, saber-rattling by enemy nations, and talk of imminent war. Our ears hurt, our eyes are strained, and our minds reel from a litany of terrible events happening now and possibly in the future. These sights and sounds are terrifying and have many of us believing there’s no hope for a world careening toward oblivion. We need a break, and fortunately we’re at that time of year when a break is most likely to happen...if we hope and pray hard enough. One of the most famous Christmas expressions of hope for the world are the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old, familiar carols play. And wild and sweet their words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men! Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

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God is not dead, nor doth he sleep; The wrong shall fail; the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men.” Steve Maraboli, a popular behavioral scientist, makes the spirit of Christmas simple: “Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening in war-torn places like Syria, the scene of the unspeakable slaughter of tens of thousands of defenseless citizens caught up in a civil war of unimaginable brutality, and of ear-splitting, mindshattering sights, sounds, and pain. These victims long for one single silent night, one holy night, no less a lifetime without terror and misery. Their longings for a peaceful existence may never be answered unless we pray long and hard for them. God remains their only hope for survival as, of course, He is for ours. Please take a few minutes this season to pray for them and all others whose misfortune can be eased only by God. A silent world, a holy world filled with God’s love and mercy should be foremost in our hopes for this Christmas and for the New Year. Charles Dickens was right when he counseled us “to honor Christmas in our hearts, and try to keep it all the year.” It is, after all, not just a date, but a state of mind that raises us all to the highest level of joyful human existence. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


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PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: JASON FUGATE

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he folks in Mayberry are gathering for a meeting. Here comes Aunt Bee with her famous fried chicken and a side of pickles, and in tow is Opie, who’s all dirty from playing football. Thelma Lou giggles as Barney sticks out his chest and says he’s watching his weight. Everyone steps around Goober, who’s taking a car apart in the room, and it looks like Gomer just plumb forgot to show up. Then in walks Andy with Helen Crump on his arm, declaring, “This here’s an out-STANDIN’ idea!” Then a rock flies through the window, and they know Ernest T. Bass is in town. The meetings of the Friends of Mayberry Club aren’t quite the same, but all the characters of “The Andy


MEMBERS OF THE FRIENDS OF MAYBERRY CLUB

“I TALKED TO A FEW PEOPLE, GETTING THEIR INTEREST, AND DECIDED IT’D BE PRETTY NEAT TO HAVE A MAYBERRY CLUB.” —BRUCE SPERRY

Griffith Show” are there in spirit. The club meets at 3pm the second Thursday of each month at Paradise Recreation Center in The Villages. Club members are fanatics of the 1960s TV show with the catchy theme song, “The Fishin’ Hole,” that made everybody want to whistle along. They know far too much about widower Andy Taylor (played by Griffith), son Opie (Ron Howard), caretaker Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), buddy and deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), and a cast of thousands. The show spanned eight seasons and 249 episodes, going out on top in 1968 with the No. 1 rating. Bruce Sperry, an Iowa snowbird, had the outstanding idea to start the club about a year ago, his first year in The Villages. “I thought Andy Griffith and Mayberry is a pretty neat thing,” Bruce

says. “There are a lot of different things going on in The Villages. I talked to a few people, getting their interest, and decided it’d be pretty neat to have a Mayberry club.” During peak season, the meetings attract 25 to 35 Villagers who watch episodes, share memories of the show, and answer trivia questions. They even occasionally display a Mayberry patrol car replica driven by a young fan whom Bruce flagged down one day in The Villages. And if anyone says anything negative, they will nip it! Nip it in the bud! The show’s popularity endures because of the characters, the family bond they shared, and the homespun humor, members say. “It was the kind of a town you knew couldn’t exist but you wished it would,” Tom Quay says.

“There’s always a story behind it, always a moral,” adds Anita Rateike. For Bruce, the show presents life lessons and values while still having fun. He watched “Andy Griffith” as a kid, but took his fandom to new heights as an adult. For special occasions, he and his wife, Sue, host Mayberry-themed parties where guests dress up as the lead characters or recurring characters like Ernest T. Bass or the “Fun Girls,” Skippy and Daphne. “It’s pretty funny to see people dress up as their favorite character,” Bruce says. “Ernest T. Bass brings a rock. One guy came as Mr. McBeevee wearing a belt with tools and a hat.” The “Mr. McBeevee” episode, in which Opie describes seeing a man with 12 extra hands (his tools) who

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LEFT: BRUCE SPERRY WATCHES AN EPISODE WITH MEMBERS OF THE CLUB ABOVE: MEMORABILIA FROM THE SHOW OPPOSITE: BRUCE SPERRY (LEFT) AND CHASE HOVEY

walks in the trees (as a lineman) and blows smoke out of his ears (a trick with a cigarette), teaches Andy about trusting his child. That episode is one of Bruce’s favorites, along with “Man in a Hurry,” perhaps the quintessential depiction of Mayberry. Mr. Tucker, a harried businessman whose car breaks down on a Sunday, learns how to take life more slowly from the town’s easygoing souls. “Those are both good ones. I like them all, but they all add something a little different,” Bruce says.

started getting up in the middle of the night to set the VCR to record the show, which aired at 3am on WGN. He wanted a collection of every episode in the days before DVDs. “It was exciting when he finally got the last episode,” she says. When Bruce can’t see the show on TV, he still can see Mayberry in his home. He has a “Mayberry Village” display with about 15 figurines of characters and town buildings, similar to a smaller-scale model train village, he says. The Sperrys also visited Andy’s hometown of Mount Airy, North

“MY HUSBAND TOLD OUR SON, ‘THINK ABOUT WHICH CAR YOU WANT FOR GRADUATION.’ WE DIDN’T FIGURE IT’D BE THIS CAR!” —REGINA HOVEY

Sue, Bruce’s wife of 48 years, also watched the show growing up, but wasn’t as big a fan and didn’t entirely know about Bruce’s obsession while they were dating. “He never mentioned it too much when we started going together or were first married,” she says. “But that wouldn’t have kept me from marrying him. “It kind of grew on me,” Sue adds. “It’s been a lot of fun.” Sue may have become a little alarmed in the 1980s when Bruce

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Carolina, where Mayberry Days is staged each year. The festival includes events linked to episodes and characters, such as Aunt Bee’s Bake Sale, Pickleland, Mr. Tucker’s Apple Peeling Contest, Mrs. Wiley’s Tea Party, the Chester Jones Checkers Tournament, and the Goober Says Hay Bale Toss. At any given time, dozens of Andys, Barneys, Goobers, and Gomers are walking the streets—Shazam! “It’s pretty incredible. It was a sight to see,” Bruce says.

He’s not the only hard-core fan in the club. Anita and her husband, Don, have not only visited Mayberry Days in North Carolina, but also a Midwestern version of the event, along with the Mayberry Cafe in Danville, Indiana, and the Taylor Home Inn, a bed-and-breakfast in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, that’s an exact replica of the Taylors’ home in the show— they stayed in Opie’s room. Anita also gets an online newsletter called Weaver’s Department Store that shares Mayberry-related news and sells merchandise. Several club members have attended Mayberry Days and met surviving cast members, such as Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling, and Rodney Dillard, of the Dillards band, who was one of her bluegrass-playing brothers known as the Darlings. Griffith and George Lindsey (Goober) died in 2012, Knotts in 2006, and Bavier in 1989. “Little Ronny Howard,” now 63, is an Oscar-winning director, and Jim Nabors (Gomer) is 87 and retired.


Tom Quay jokes that his “claim to fame” is getting a kiss from Thelma Lou—actress Betty Lynn, who played Barney’s girlfriend. “She was easy to talk to,” Tom says. “I asked her, was being in the show as much fun as it looked like? She said it was just like you see on TV—one big family.” Regina Hovey and her husband, Dane, found the Mayberry sheriff’s car while shopping online. Son Chase, who graduated three years ago from high school, now drives the ’67 Plymouth Fury everywhere and sometimes wears a Mayberry deputy’s uniform, complete with a lapel pin that has Barney Fife’s photo on it. “My husband told our son, ‘Think about which car you want for graduation,’” Regina says. “We didn’t figure it’d be this car!” While the club has some fanatics, not everyone remembers the show from their youth. Robin Parrow had the audacity to read books rather than watch Andy each week along with millions of viewers. She started attending club meetings to support her friends, the Sperrys, but Andy has won over a new convert. “It’s a pleasant program to watch and it’s funny and it makes you

laugh,” she says. “It goes back to when things were so much simpler and not as complicated. I’m enjoying going, because I keep going back.” Villager Hal Stone ran a recent meeting in Bruce’s absence, and an intimate group of a dozen fans munched popcorn while watching “previews,” a rarely seen reel of commercials with the “Griffith” cast in character pitching products like Sanka and Post Toasties. Then the screening began with “Wedding Bells for Aunt Bee,” in which Bee dates boring dry cleaner Fred Goss because she mistakenly thinks she needs to get married so Andy can have a social life. The lesson: Family comes first. Griffith always said the essence of the show was people who loved each other. Then they watched “Three’s a Crowd,” where Andy tries to woo Mary, played by lovely Sue Ane Langdon, only to have Barney continually interfere. The lesson: Everybody cares about everybody else in Mayberry, and there’s no getting around it. Club members laughed about the antiquated TV habit of characters smoking cigarettes, reminisced about times when you still could leave your

doors unlocked, and remarked about the refreshing lack of foul language and nudity found in many of today’s shows. (Langdon saved some partial nudity for Playboy in 1966. There’s some trivia you might not hear at Friends of Mayberry). They also recalled that the “Griffith” show developed from an episode of Danny Thomas’ “Make Room for Daddy.” “The only time you got to stay up late was to watch Danny Thomas and then Andy Griffith, Monday night in Iowa,” Sue says. No need to stay up late these days. “The Andy Griffith Show” can be found at all hours, all around the world, still providing laughs, lessons, and love—all in about 25 minutes, Bruce says. “They put on a pretty good show,” he says. Go ahead. Whistle the theme song. You know you want to.


* LVI VSItNyG lHeE A L T H Y

Finding the joy in Christmas People who experience increased anxiety or depression during the holidays can find effective ways to cope. STORY: JAMES COMBS // THERESA CAMPBELL

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They say time heals pain, but sometimes time makes it worse because it’s another year without a person in your life whom you loved dearly. 12

t’s not always the most wonderful time of the year. Just ask Maile DeLand, of Lady Lake, and Vanessa Vazquez, of Mascotte. Maile has spent the past 20 years grieving during Christmas. In January 1998, her stepfather, James Kirby, shot and killed her mother, Kathy Kirby, before taking his own life. Maile, who at the time was a senior at Leesburg High School, discovered their lifeless bodies after hearing four gunshots. “I sometimes dread the holidays,” Maile says. “They say time heals pain, but sometimes time makes it worse because it’s another year without a person in your life whom you loved dearly.” For Vanessa, a high school teacher and mother of three boys, Christmas is a stressful time due to social demands, changes in normal routines, and financial hardships. “I could very easily fill the entire months of November and December with a million wonderful activities, but that causes me stress, costs money, and will leave everyone disgruntled because I’m a mess,” Vanessa says. The holidays are a time when lights twinkle from rooftops and trees, children invade shopping malls to reveal their wish lists to Santa, and homes are filled with laughter and joy. For Maile, Vanessa, and countless others, however, the holiday season brings unwanted guests—sadness or heightened depression. That is especially true for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one, divorce, family conflict, loneliness, mental health issues, or a dizzying array of demands.

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“It’s doubtful that people become depressed beginning around Thanksgiving and then magically snap out of it when the holidays end on January 2,” says Dr. Chrisann Reid, a licensed psychotherapist with Lake County-based Central Florida Counseling and Psychological Services. “If they’re depressed during the holidays, then they likely have chronic depression that ebbs and flows throughout the year. However, the holidays can bring it on more intensely. I think most people who are sad only around Christmastime have what I call ‘the holiday blues.’” A variety of factors can lead to increased depression and the holiday blues, but with effective coping mechanisms, people do not have to spend the holidays in a state of sadness or despair.

Just say no Having a busy social calendar is one reason why people are in a not-so-jolly mood around Christmastime. “It is OK to say no,” Chrisann says. “Make a list and determine what it is you really want to do. You definitely may want to attend the company Christmas party, but you don’t want to attend your neighbor’s party. You prioritize. Also, don’t feel pressured to host a Christmas party if you don’t have time. Identify what you can do and what you can’t do and live with that decision.” Vanessa finds that scheduling dates with her husband, planning rest periods, and spending time alone help her cope with


the high expectations of Christmas. She also does Christmas shopping online. “Those are big sanity savers. If I go, go, go, I will get mentally burned out and I will be useless to everyone,” she says. “One of my triggers for anxiety is exhaustion. When I am tired, I am much more at risk of having panic attacks, so I have to make sure I am sleeping well and letting my mind rest.”

Coping with the loss of a loved one That first holiday season after experiencing the death of a loved one can be an emotionally trying time. All the festivities stir up precious memories, and grievers are expected to be jolly and full of holiday spirit even though they are still coping with loss. Twenty years later, Maile finds that sadness and grief remain constant companions around the holiday season. However, she has discovered ways to lessen the pain. That includes giving herself permission to grieve and cry and letting her husband and two children know when she needs extra support or alone time for reflection. “During the holidays, I’ll tell my husband that I need to go for a drive by myself or spend 20 minutes alone in the bathroom. That helps me pick myself up and keep going,” Maile says. Another way to deal with loss during the holidays, experts say, is celebrating the life of those who are gone instead of mourning their death. “What I recommend is creating some ritual to honor that person,” says W. Steven Saunders, a licensed psychologist and owner of Central Florida Psychological Consultants in Clermont. “Honor their presence and honor a tradition they would bring to Christmas. My paternal grandfather was famous for his

long-winded prayers before our Christmas dinner. He was a World War II veteran who ended his prayer by blessing our troops overseas. One thing we’d do to honor him is make a donation to veterans’ groups. Doing this kept that part of him alive, which was important to us as a family. It helped us cherish the memories of him in a very positive way.”

Seek professional help Sometimes, anxiety can become unbearable around Christmastime. “Now is their big Christmas meal and they start having triggers from the past when their was trauma, violence, anxiety—things that were bad experiences with their family before—and they may have tucked it away all year long,” says Sandi Burchfield, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Family Life Counseling Center in Groveland. Fortunately, counseling can be more therapeutic than medication. “Oftentimes, people are dealing with issues they do not feel comfortable talking about around family or friends,” Chrisann says. “When clients come to me for counseling, they can talk with an objective person who does not judge them. When you’re depressed at home and see the glass as half empty, it’s hard to get out of that mindset. A therapist can help change that mindset so you’re seeing the glass as half full. More importantly, everything my clients say is confidential, so they have an opportunity to get everything off their chest.”

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* BVOSOtK yR lE VeI E W

“Promise Not to Tell’ By Jayne Ann Krentz. Coming Jan. 2: An artist who paints her secrets throws herself into the sea, and her friend must find out why. STORY: LEIGH NEELY

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Jayne Ann Krentz has a true gift for keeping the tension going and tightening the suspense so you want to keep reading until the end.

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am so excited to review this upcoming novel by best-selling author Jayne Ann Krentz. They say a secret is only a secret if just one person knows, but that seldom happens. Hannah Brewster is a talented artist and loner who lives on a cliff in the woods. She is haunted by a traumatic past that won’t let her live the life of a normal person. When she’s confronted with her greatest fear, she reacts in dramatic fashion, leaving her friend, Virginia Troy, wondering why. As children, Hannah, Virginia Troy, Cabot Sutter, and Max Cutler all survived a horrific barn fire that was meant to kill them. Even worse, cult leader Quinton Zane, who had locked the children in the barn, then killed their mothers. Thanks to the heroic efforts of Detective Anson Salinas, they and the other children trapped in the burning barn survived. However, they’re all still dealing with the past, especially since there’s no definitive proof that Quinton is dead. Here’s an excerpt from Hannah’s perspective: She was surprised to see that her hands were once again steady, just as if she held a brush and stood in front of an untouched canvas. Tonight she would paint a picture with fire.

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Afterward, they would say she was crazy, that she had finally gone over the precarious edge that separated sanity and madness. But the truth was that her mind had not been this clear in a very long time. She knew exactly what she had to do. When Virginia shows up at the private investigation firm owned by Cabot, Max, and Anson, they are immediately ready to help solve the mystery surrounding Hannah’s death. This book follows the story of “When All the Girls Have Gone,” which featured Max and Charlotte Sawyer. Virginia believes there are hidden messages in Hannah’s dark and somewhat frightening paintings. As she and Cabot get further involved in the investigation, they are convinced Quinton has come back or someone else from the cult is looking for money that legend says Quinton had hidden. As they delve deeper into the mystery, things become more dangerous and chaotic. Jayne Ann Krentz has a true gift for keeping the tension going and tightening the suspense so you want to

keep reading until the end. She seldom disappoints in her romantic suspense novels, and this one is no exception. She always brings her characters to the brink in every situation and leaves you breathless with what happens next. When a murder occurs at Virginia’s art gallery, the group must double its efforts to comprehend the message in Hannah’s art. In the midst of an investigation that leads them from one peril to another, Cabot and Virginia are finding that both of them still have to cope with the nightmares and post-traumatic stress of surviving the fire. As a result, their romantic involvement is tempered with patience and understanding and an edge of knowing there’s no promise of tomorrow—the perfect recipe for a tingling romance. Though I haven’t read “When All the Girls Have Gone,” I do plan to do that. However, this book stood well on its own, and I don’t think I missed any elements by not reading the first one. I also believe there may be another one coming, and that would be just fine with me.

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About the author Jayne Ann Krentz, née Jayne Castle, is originally from Cobb, California, and has written books under a variety of pen names, including Jayne Taylor, Jayne Bentley, Stephanie James, Amanda Quick, and Amanda Glass. She now writes under only three of her pseudonyms; the name Jayne Ann Krentz means the book is romantic suspense; for historical romantic suspense, she uses Amanda Quick; and when the book is written by Jayne Castle, it’s futuristic/paranormal romantic suspense. She began her career with category romances before moving to single-title contemporary romance novels. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a master’s in library science from San Jose State University. She and her husband, Frank, an aeronautical engineer, live in Seattle.

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THE TO-DO LIST //

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IN CONCE RT //

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LOCAL TALENT //

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OUT AND ABOUT //

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SOCIAL SPOTLIGHT

73 On the Scene

Local artist brought Starry Night to Mount Dora. SEE STORY on PG 80


* TOHnE TTOh- DeO SL cI S eT n e

December DEC. 1-9

Where Santa shops The 22nd annual Leesburg Christmas House is open at ViaPort Florida Mall, 10401 U.S. Highway 441. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 10am-6pm; Friday-Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, noon-5pm.

DEC. 1

The sight of lights The Tree Lighting Festival at Brownwood Paddock Square in Wildwood, 4-9pm. Donate cases of water, K-Cups, individual bags of chips, snack packs, microwavable meals, juice boxes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant to the Ronald McDonald House, 4-8pm. Info: 352.750.5411. DEC.1

Silver Bells The Villages Concert Band performs holiday music at Savannah Center, 1575 Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages. Resident/$15. Public/$20. Info: 352.750.5411.

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It’s Christmas in Clermont A community tree lighting, Christmas parade through downtown, and inspirational lessons and carols at Clermont’s Arts and Recreation Center. Free. Info: facebook.com/clermontnews. DEC. 1-3

Whatcha gonna do? Joshua Harmon’s “Bad Jews” is still on at The Studio Theatre Tierra Del Sol, 806 San Marino Drive, The Villages. See thesharon.com. DEC. 1-18

The great shopping walk Mount Dora Christmas Walk is 6-9pm with live music, dancing, Santa, and lots of shopping! Details: 352.383.2165. DEC. 1

DEC. 1-29

A walk with St. Nick Sumter County Christmas Tree Lighting and Walk with St. Nick in Bushnell. The event begins at 4:30pm at the courthouse and goes to Sumter

lakeandsumter

DEC. 1-2

Pretend you’re Clark Griswold Fruitland Park Christmas Lighting Contest. Residents and businesses in Fruitland Park will be voted on from Dec. 8-18. Winners announced Dec. 19. Info: 352.360.6734.

DEC. 1

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County Library, 402 N. Florida St. Info: 352.569.1791.

Elf on the shelf Dewey the Library Elf moves every day at Eustis Memorial Library, 120 N. Center St. Info: 352.357.5686.


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DEC. 1-30

A special Christmas ride Enjoy the magical journey based on the classic children’s book, “The Polar Express.” Pulling out of the station at 5:15pm at 305 E. Ruby St., Tavares. Details: 352.742.7200. DEC. 1-31

The tower lights Enjoy the Citrus Tower Spectacular Christmas Light Show. Seven festive songs and four miles of LED lights. Free activities, Florida snow, and a ride to the top at night. Monday-Saturday, 9am-9pm. Adults $6. 141 N. U.S. Highway 27, Clermont. Info: 352.394.4061. DEC. 1-31

Down on the farm Cottom Farm’s Christmas Village lights and hayrides begin Dec. 4 and are included with admission. Marion CR, Weirsdale. Info: 352.751.4544.

DEC. 2

It’s snowing in Lake County Crown Social Events presents Central Florida Winter Festival, 11am-4pm, at Lake County Fairgrounds, 2101 CR 452, Eustis. Admission $10; children 12 and under free. DEC. 2

Step back in time Florida Frontier Christmas with period crafts, wreath making, living history demonstrations, and more! 3-8pm; $5 per car, up to eight people. 7200 CR 603, Bushnell. Info: 352.793.4781. DEC. 2

Strike up the band! It’s the 50th Leesburg Christmas Parade & Festival. This year’s theme is “A Home Town Christmas” with events in downtown. 6-9pm in Leesburg Towne Square. Parade at 7pm.

Cut down your own Christmas tree Pick out your own tree in Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest. General admission $3; $10 wristband includes additional attractions, tram, and more; $18 premium wristband includes unlimited zip line and horse rides. 35317 Huff Road, Eustis. Info: 352.357.9863.

Lights on the water The lighted Christmas Boat Parade on Lake Dora, beginning at the lighthouse near Gilbert Park. Local boat owners compete for best in light show display and originality. Info: 352.383.3150. DEC. 2

Race to the holidays The annual Santa Claus Shuffle 5K raises money for the Salvation Army Angel Tree. 8am. Students (ages 6-18) $20; adults $25. 201 E. Main St., Tavares. Details at santashuffle.itsyourrace.com. DEC. 2

A Seaplane City celebration The Tavares Christmas Celebration begins at 5pm on Main Street with live music, entertainment, games, and more! Santa flies in, too! Info: 352.742.6319. DEC. 3-31

DEC. 2 DEC. 1-23

DEC. 2

Small-town America The annual Mount Dora Christmas Parade starts at 10am in downtown. Arrive early so you don’t miss anything. Details: 352.735.7183.

A lighted tour Every evening from 6-7:30pm enjoy the Rusty Anchor Christmas Lights on the lake tours that includes hot cider and cookies. Cost $35; go to 400 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora. Info: 352.383.3933. DEC. 3

A night in the garden Light Up Venetian Gardens is from 6-8pm at 201 E. Dixie Ave. Followed by the lighted boat parade. Details: 352.728.9885.

Ongoing Events 1st Saturday Wine Tasting Stroll Starts at Maggie’s Attic on Alexander St. and 4th Ave., 6-8pm 2nd Friday Art Splash Features artists and performers on the sidewalks of downtown Mount Dora., 6-8pm 2nd Friday Movie in the Park Free family movie starts at dusk Donnelly Park Downtown Mount Dora 3rd Wednesday PAWS Reading Dogs, W.T. Bland Library, Mount Dora 3rd Thursday Mount Dora Food Trucks, Downtown Mount Dora 4th Saturday Classic Car Cruise-In, Downtown Eustis

DEC. 3

A little variety show “Home for Christmas” variety show at Savannah Center, 1575 Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages. 7pm. Resident/$20. Public/$25. Info: 352.750.5411. DEC. 4

Christmas songs and bands North Lake Presbyterian Church, 975 Rolling Acres Road, presents “We Wish You the Merriest” at 3 and 6pm. Tickets: $15. Info: 352.750.5411.

e’s Ther o do! t e r o m .76 d on p ue Contin

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Farmer’s Markets

DEC. 6

Saturdays The Saturday Morning Market on Leesburg Towne Square, 8am-1pm Brownwood Farmer’s Market 2726 Brownwood Blvd. Wildwood, 9am-1pm Tuesdays Lady Lake Farmers Market Lady Lake Log Cabin 106 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 9am-1pm

When Irish feet are dancing Carol of The King Christmas Spectacular at Mount Dora Community Center, 520 N. Baker St. Tickets: $15-$35. 7:309pm. Info: 352.735.7183. DEC. 8

A Christmas Claus Enjoy the Fruitland Park Hometown Christmas parade with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, bounce houses, food, a DJ, dancers, vendors, and more! 5:30-9pm, 506 W. Berckman St. Info: 352.360.6734. DEC. 8

She’s a little bit country Award-winning singer and songwriter LeAnn Rimes is at The Sharon for one performance only at 7pm. Tickets: $35-$113. See thesharon.com. DEC. 9

History with Santa Get your picture made with Santa and enjoy old-fashioned cookies. 10amnoon, Eustis Historical Museum, 536 N. Bay St. Info: 352.483.0046. DEC. 9 DEC. 9

It’s just dust in the wind

DEC. 9

Even the police celebrate The Mount Dora Police Department presents the Northeast Community Christmas Party at Martin Luther King Center, 803 Florida Ave. Fun with

DEC. 11

No finer place Petula Clark is coming “downtown” to The Villages at The Sharon in Spanish Springs Town Square. Tickets: $20$75. See thesharon.com. DEC. 11

Movie in the park “Elf” is this month’s Movie on the Lawn. Fruitland Park at 506 W. Berckman St. Details: 352.360.6727.

Don’t get syrup on his beard “Pancakes with Santa” is coming to First Presbyterian Church of Eustis, 117 S. Center St. Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Tickets: $5/adults and children ages 1-10 (under age 1, free). 8-11am. See mopsgoldentriangleflorida.weebly.com. DEC. 16-17

Run, Forrest, run The annual Mount Dora Half Marathon is on! Pick up packets at Donnelly Park, 530 N. Donnelly, Saturday 11am-5:30pm or at 5:30am Sunday. Race begins at 7am and 5K Run/Walk at 7:15am. Info: mountdorahalfmarathon.com.

DEC. 12-13

The sounds of the season The Villages Philharmonic Holiday Concert at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, Spanish Springs Town Square. Doors open 6pm. Tickets: $20-$60. See thesharon.com. DEC. 15

Christmas past, present, and future “A Christmas Carol” adapted and performed by the Melon Patch Players at 311 N. 13th St., Leesburg. All-day event. Adults/$18; students/$9. Info: 352.787.3013. DEC. 15

Go down to Motown Hear the wonderful Motortown All-Stars and the Original Vandellas Christmas Show at Clermont Performing Arts Center, 3700 S. U.S. Highway 27. 7:30pm. Tickets: $46.84-$67.78. See clermontperformingarts.com.

DEC. 19

Holiday dancing Dance to the Holidays features Tony Dovolani and Karina Smirnoff in a show for the entire family. Showtimes: 5 and 8pm. Tickets are $30-$86. The Sharon, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages. See thesharon.com. D E C . 2 2 –J A N. 11

A waitress and a short-order cook “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” by Tony Award winner Terrence McNally is at The Studio Theatre at Tierra del Sol. Showtime is 7pm and tickets cost $35. Info: thesharon.com. DEC. 24

Candlelight services “Light! Out of the Darkness” featuring the Celebration Choir at First Baptist Church, The Villages, at 9am and 6pm candlelight services. Tickets: $16. Info: 352.205.7114.

PHOTO MICHIE TURPIN

Spend an evening with Kansas, the legendary band that started in a garage in Topeka. The Sharon, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages. Tickets: $55-$125. See thesharon.com.

Play in the snow Mount Dora Children’s Christmas in the Park with snow is 5-9pm in Donnelly Park. Enjoy snow sledding, ice skating, crafts, food, and fun with Santa. Info: 352.735.7183.

DEC. 16

music, games, food, and Santa. 9amnoon. Info: 352.735.7130.

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


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* IONnC OTNhC EeR TS c e n e

DATE

TIME

ARTIST

VENUE

12/6

10am

Johnny Dough

Savannah Manor, Leesburg

12/6

3pm

Johnny Dough

Freedom Pointe, The Villages

12/6

7:30pm

Jeff Whitfield

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

12/7

7:30pm

Kelly Jarra

12/8

7pm

LeAnn Rimes

12/8

7pm

Manfredi Rocks

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, The Villages Blackwater Inn, Astor

12/8

8pm

Kings County

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

12/8

9pm

10,000 Papercuts

Frank’s Place, Leesburg

12/8

9pm

Mad Hadder Band

12/9

7pm

Kansas

Good Time Lounge, Belleview Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, The Villages

12/9

7pm

Lonie Carter

American Legion, Mount Dora

12/9

9pm

The Grip

Frank’s Place, Leesburg

12/10

1:30pm

Tyler Haney

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

12/10

7:30pm

Defenders of Daisies

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

12/13 12/14 12/15

7:30pm 7:30pm 9pm

Jeff Whitfield Donnie Lee Bar Fly

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares Ruby Street Grille, Tavares Oasis Saloon, Sorrento

12/15

9pm

Missin Pistons

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

12/15

9pm

Mad Hadder Band

Frank’s Place, Leesburg

12/16

11am

The Simple Cavemen

12/16

7pm

Mark Steven Schmidt

12/16

8pm

Kings County

Yalaha Bakery, Yalaha Eisenhower Recreation Center, The Villages Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

12/16

9pm

Bar Fly

Oasis Saloon, Sorrento

12/16

9pm

Missin Pistons

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

12/17

Noon

You and I

Yalaha Bakery, Yalaha

12/17

1:30pm

Bobby France

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

12/17

6pm

Voices of Mobile

First Baptist Church, Mount Dora

12/17

7:30pm

Defenders of Daisies

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

12/21

7:30pm

Dangerous Dave Merrill

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

12/21

9pm

Dan Rodz

Oasis Saloon, Sorrento

12/22

7pm

Manfredi Rocks

Blackwater Inn, Astor

12/22

8pm

Afterlife

Frank’s Place, Leesburg

12/23

8pm

Da Boys

12/31

6pm

The Kramers

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares Leesburg Church of the Nazarene, Leesburg

Bands subject to change. Email inconcert@akersmediagroup.com to submit an event. Submissions must be received by the ninth of the month prior to month of the event (example: Oct. 9 for Nov. issue).

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December 2017

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* LOOnC ATL hT AeL ESNcTe n e

Painting the town Mount Dora artist shines through clouds hanging over ‘Starry Night’ tribute. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ

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It’s a starry town, and that goes together with what I had in mind. It’s a starry mural for a starry town.

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painting of artist Vincent van Gogh’s life would be a classic connect-the-dots: tortured soul, suffered for his work, misunderstood, underappreciated, cut off his ear, died by his own hand. Richard Barrenechea can relate—to a point. The Mount Dora artist unwittingly became embroiled in a dispute with the city this year after re-creating van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece, “Starry Night,” on a 140-foot-long wall along Old Highway 441 at Sixth Avenue. He was commissioned by the homeowner to improve the wall, but shortly after he started painting, the owner was cited for a “graffiti” violation. As local debates raged over the artwork, a magistrate ruled the mural was an unpermitted sign and a distraction to drivers, and the homeowner appealed in court. Oh, that’s no reason for Richard to cut off an ear. In fact, while he’s shocked by the city’s reaction, he seems more steadfast than suffering. After the citation, Richard continued to paint, as the homeowner pushed “Starry Night” skyward from the wall to the side of the house—so the colors matched. “We don’t really mean to challenge the city in a bad way,” Richard says. “The wall was kind of small for all I wanted to put on it. With the house, it’s perfect.” Of course. Who wants a plain, white house when they can have a van Gogh? Richard had passed by the area many times and couldn’t help but see the long, white wall as a blank canvas. Born in Uruguay and living in the U.S. since 2000, he has worked in mediums including plastic, airbrushing, custom fine art, and acrylic and oil paintings, and exhibited his art in Orlando galleries. “I’m the kind of artist who can do pretty much anything. I’m so lucky,” he says. Considering the high-visibility location and the city’s usual artistic reputation, Richard knew he needed something bold. “It’s got to be really iconic. When you think of master painters, the first ones who come to mind are van Gogh, Picasso,” he says. “It’s a starry town, and that goes together with what I had in mind. It’s a starry mural for a starry town.” While the fate of the artwork rested in the stars, Richard gained name recognition and residents’ support, including a petition to city officials, who reportedly may revisit city codes. “From the beginning, everybody stops by and beeps their horn and says, ‘Keep it up, it’s beautiful,’” he says. “A lot of people are showing me that they like it.”


Singers photo: Deremer Studios LLC; Stetson Mansion photo: Mary Ann DeSantis

* OOUnT +TA BhOeU TS c e n e

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FUN AS THE DICKENS! Victorian-themed events are in style this Christmas season. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS

M

aybe it was the popularity of “Downton Abbey” and the sorrow over its final episode that spurred a wave of Victorian-themed Christmas events this year. Or it could have been the resurgence of information about Queen Victoria, who had the first indoor Christmas tree in Great Britain. Whatever the reason, Florida has embraced Charles Dickens-style celebrations. Here are a few we’ve found close to home to entertain and inspire the entire family.

“CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR!” HOLIDAY HOME TOUR Through Jan. 15 Stetson Mansion, Deland stetsonmansion.com

John B. Stetson, had one of the first Christmas trees ever illuminated by electric lights, courtesy of Stetson’s good friend Thomas A. Edison. The

Deland, FL

If friends and family are visiting this holiday season, you don’t have to drive far to find an authentic Victorian home filled with enough elaborate decorations to bestow the Christmas spirit on any Scrooge in your party. The Stetson Mansion, built in 1886 for famed hatmaker

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The Victorians began our modern traditions of Christmas trees and gift giving, so what better place to go to than an authentic Victorian mansion. — JO ANNE HEINLE

mansion is Florida’s oldest historic home still being used as a private residence. Current owners JT Thompson and Michael Solari are now into the seventh year of opening their home for holiday tours. The themes are always different and more breathtaking each year as decorations from around the world adorn every room—even a secret closet. “The Victorians began our modern traditions of Christmas trees and gift giving, so what better place to go to than an authentic Victorian mansion,” says mansion tour guide Jo Anne Heinle. “Our tours bring you through all the rooms on the first and second floors. We expect about 12,000

visitors this year, so it really is a festive time here at the mansion.” This year, the “Christmas Spectacular!” tour comprises seven different themes, and each scene is composed of complicated layers with hundreds of hand-placed decorative items. “We close the mansion for two months so JT can devote every day to install every painstaking detail,” Michael says. “It is amazing to watch his love for the season provide such original inspiration. I have seen more than one guest tear up when looking at his dramatic interpretations.” With so many visitors and limited space, reservations are required. Guided tours are

DICKENS ON CENTRE

Dec. 8-10 Downtown Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island ameliaisland.com

Downtown Fernandina Beach, FL

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Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island in northwest Florida transforms itself into a classic Victorian village for three days as the town’s main street hosts the third annual Dickens on Centre.

.com

offered three times daily and often sell out quickly. Just in case you can’t get to the Stetson Mansion in December, the guided tours continue through Jan. 15. Holiday visitors get two extra bonuses this year: the Christmas ticket entitles them to free admission as many times as they wish to return from February to September for the history tours when they bring a paying guest, and they also will receive a free chocolatecovered strawberry at Pat and Toni’s Sweet Things in downtown DeLand.

Set for Dec. 8-10, this free event is sure to convince any Grinch to get jolly. Inspired by Dickens’ novella, “A Christmas Carol,” the festivities include chestnuts roasting, carolers strolling, and themed entertainment. Each evening, Santa arrives, followed by a retelling of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Visitors are also encouraged to dress up in Victorianstyle garb.

Stetson Mansion piano: Joey Maxwell; Stetson Mansion horse: Mary Ann DeSantis; Dickens on Centre photos: Deremer Studios LLC; Dressing Downton photos provided by FloridasHistoricCoast.com; Victorian Christmas Stroll photo by Tony DeSantis

* OOUnT +TA BhOeU TS c e n e


“DRESSING DOWNTON: CHANGING FASHION FOR CHANGING TIMES” Through Jan. 7 Lightner Museum, St. Augustine lightnermuseum.org

Christmas in St. Augustine always is a festive treat with its internationally known Nights of Lights celebration. This year, the historic Lightner Museum has an added bonus for holiday visitors looking for turn-of-thecentury nostalgia. “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times” is an exquisite exhibition featuring 36 costumes and accessories from

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS STROLL Dec. 1-23 Henry Plant Museum, Tampa plantmuseum.com

It’s easy to picture what a real Victorian Christmas looked like in 1890 when Henry B. Plant brought the first railroad to Tampa. Just walk into this ornate museum, which was the former Tampa Bay Hotel, and you’ll find 14 rooms filled with trimmed trees, joyous carolers, and stockings hung with care on all the fireplaces. The Victorian Christmas Stroll event transforms the museum with Christmas trees ranging in height from a few inches to more than 14 feet,

the popular PBS series. The items are displayed among Otto Lightner’s collection of 19thcentury fine art and furniture. Many of the museum pieces have been in storage and are on view for the first time as part of this exhibition. The exhibition presents a costume history of the period surrounding World War I, a period that changed the social fabric of Great Britain. The “Dressing Downton” exhibition has been a phenomenon at every museum it has been displayed. The Lightner Museum— known for its Victorian-era artifacts—is the exhibition’s final stop.

40,000 lights, and hundreds of feet of garland. Decorations include vintage fashions, antique toys, locally sourced cigar boxes, and fanciful ornaments. Celebrate the warmth and spirit of an old-fashioned holiday with complimentary cider and cookies on the veranda. Guests also can enjoy live music from 6-8pm each day.

How it all began At the beginning of the 19th century, Christmas hardly was celebrated. Even businesses did not consider it to be an important holiday. The change occurred when Britain’s Queen Victoria married German-born Prince Albert, and he brought many

of his German traditions to England. Soon after a drawing appeared in the newspaper of the royals around a Christmas tree, almost every home in Britain had a tree bedecked with candles, sweets, fruit, handmade decorations, and small gifts.

St. Augustine, FL

Tampa, FL

Charles Dickens’ novella, “A Christmas Carol,” is credited with helping to popularize Christmas with its themes of family, charity, goodwill, peace and happiness, which encapsulated the spirit of a Victorian Christmas. Source: bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas

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The music may have started with four guys in a garage, but it’s still going strong today. STORY: LEIGH NEELY // PHOTO: MICHIE TURPIN

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I

t all started in 1969, a memorable year in many ways, with four guys in a band called The Reasons Why. They mostly performed locally in their hometown of Topeka, Kansas. They actually began as a garage band. Does that still happen these days? According to Ronnie Platt, who’s the band’s keyboardist and vocalist, it does. “My neighbor’s son has a band, and his dad turned the garage into a rehearsal studio for them.” Anyway, Lynn Meredith, Don Montre, Dan Wright, and Kerry Livgren changed the band’s name to Saratoga and added Scott Kessler and Zeke Lower while playing Kerry’s original material. But it wasn’t until they merged with rival Topeka band White Clover and added Dave Hope, Phil Ehart, and Larry Baker that the band achieved notoriety as Kansas. That was 1970, and the rocking continues. Kansas’ current members include Ehart, the original drummer, Greer on bass and vocals, keyboardist David Manion, vocalist/keyboardist Ronnie Platt, violinist/guitarist David Ragsdale, guitarist Zak Rizvi, and Williams, the original guitarist. Through the years, some members left and came back, and lots of rock ’n’ roll happened before the band received a recording contract from Don Kirshner’s eponymous label and Kansas sprang to life. The self-titled debut album was released in 1974 and introduced the

Opposite: (L-R) Richard Williams, Billy Greer, Zak Rizvi, Phil Ehart, Ronnie Platt, David Manion, and David Ragsdal

band’s signature sound, which includes American boogiewoogie rock and ear-pleasing vocals along with intricate symphony arrangements with changing time signatures. With a career spanning more than four decades, Kansas is definitely one of America’s iconic classic rock bands. When you hear song titles like “Carry on Wayward Son” or “Dust in the Wind,” the music starts rolling in your mind. Kansas appeared on the Billboard charts for more than 200 weeks during the ’70s and ’80’s and played to sold-out arenas and stadiums throughout North America, Europe, and Japan. “Carry on Wayward Son” continues to be among the top five most played songs on classic rock radio, and “Dust in the Wind” has been heard more than three million times! Ronnie says Kansas endured because it was ahead of its time. “We’re talking about music that’s so intense it hangs on,” he says. “In the late 80s, classic rock started to tank because you had grunge and different types of music… but now it has reappeared.” The group disbanded in 1984, but Kansas wasn’t lost forever. In 1985, Ehart, Rich Williams, and Steve Walsh reunited and added Billy Greer and Steve Morse. They released the album “Power” in 1986, and the first single, “All I Wanted,” peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Top 40 chart. Greg Roberts joined the group. Beginning in 2006, Kansas began touring regularly again and celebrated its 40th anniversary March 1, 2013.

“I think the band is firing on all cylinders now, and in the three years I’ve been with the band, I’ve seen our audiences grow,” Ronnie says. “And I’ve seen our audiences growing younger. We like to call that job security, but it’s also really gratifying to see young kids develop an appreciation for this music.” It appears Kansas is here to stay. Along with the band’s success with continued touring, it has appeared on such popular TV shows as “Supernatural” and “South Park” and was featured in the films “Old School” and “Anchorman.” The group performs at 7pm Saturday, Dec. 9, at The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center in Spanish Springs Town Square in The Villages. Tickets are $55$125, but the band’s music is priceless. Ronnie warns concert goers, “Use the bathroom before you sit down. This is a public service message. We play a two-and-a-half-hour show with no breaks. Strap yourself in. We’re gonna rock you.” The Kansas: Leftoverture 40th Anniversary show includes songs from 11 albums, including a new one, “The Prelude Implicit,” and culminates with the album “Leftoverture” performed in its entirety. “People will go back in time, and those being introduced to our music will be enriched,” Ronnie says. “We’re very proud of what we do, and every time we hit the stage we do our best.”

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Use the bathroom before you sit down. This is a public service message. We play a two-and-ahalf-hour show with no breaks. Strap yourself in. We’re gonna rock you. — RONNIE PLATT

Want to go? The Sharon, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages. Tickets: $55-$125. See thesharon.com

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* HOIn, S OTChI EeT YS! c e n e Sponsored by

No boo-hoos! The Tavares BOO! Festival brought out lots of kids and parents for some good Halloween fun. It featured an exceptional Trunk or Treat that stretched three city blocks. Along with live music and entertainment, there was a kids’ costume contest, carnival games with prizes, a “Creepy” tent, lots of good food, and the movie “Hocus Pocus” when it got dark. Families all over the area enjoyed the fun.

Captain Buddy and Dean Simmons II

PHOTOS: BROOKE AKERS

Jocelyn Wilburth, Josh Wilburth, Kaylyn Harrell, Jett Wilburth, and Autumn Wilburth

Donna Wilson

Amy Farrell, Ed Fox, and Alicia Clark Doug and Connor Akers Randy Mohr

Walter Kempf, John Lockwood, Barbara Howell, Martin Goodwin, Joe Goloversic, and Aria Goodwin Officer Coursey, Zach Barclay, Christina Connors, and Officer Prince

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When you retire, your money should keep working. Someday you’ll stop working, and at that point, you’ll have to depend on your retirement income. To work toward building that income, you’ll need a strategy. The Lake Sumter Group at Morgan Stanley can help you create a strategy for goals like retirement, estate planning and leaving a legacy. Let’s put your money to work. Call us today to set up an appointment.

(l to r): Gregory, Nicole, Michael

The Lake Sumter Group at Morgan Stanley Gregory Prevatt, CLTC, CFP® Portfolio Management Director Senior Vice President Financial Advisor gregory.prevatt@ morganstanley.com Nicole Silberstein Client Service Associate nicole.silberstein@ morganstanley.com

Michael Monteith Financial Planning Specialist Portfolio Manager Vice President Financial Advisor michael.monteith@ morganstanley.com

832 Lake Sumter Landing The Villages, FL 32162 352-751-7845 • 800-447-6036 fa.morganstanley.com/lakesumter Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Clients should consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning and other legal matters. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP,® CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the US. © 2017 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. CRC1875964 MAR013 09/17 CS 9013054 09/17


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Dave Washuta, Chrissy, Jack Knight, and Don Olivenbaum

A little faith The Carroll and Barbara Fulmer Charity Golf Classic focused on FAITH Neighborhood Center in Groveland. Golfers enjoyed a day on the course and proceeds went to help families in surrounding communities. The center generally helps more than 850 families every month with food, financial aid for utilities and medical treatment, and training in basic life skills. What a great way to drive out hunger in the community! PHOTOS: RON VANDEVANDER

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Beau Jarrell, Trey Cooper, Gary Williams, and Tim Fulmer


I'm a fan – a big fan of Doc's Restorations W h e n w e g o t ou r es t i m a t e f or p a in t in g t h e k i t c hen a nd h a v i ng ou r ca b in e t s r e f a c ed , he b r ou g h t a l l t h e lic e n s e s a nd p a p er s th a t g a v e us co n f i d e n c e thi s w a s a q u a l i ty co m p a n y . W hen they c a m e ou t to m e a s u r e a n d s c op e ou t p a i nti ng , t h e y m a de s u gges ti ons th a t h a d n’ t o ccurr e d t o u s . E v en th e of f i c e p e rs o n n e l w e r e p oli t e a nd ef f i c i ent. T h e ca b i n e t i ns t a ller s w er e on t i m e, w o rke d c o n t i n u ou s ly, a nd c l ea ned up e ve r y d a y . T ha nk you f or a j ob w e ll do n e , a n d a tea m of p eop l e w h o m y o u c a n be p r ou d of . D oc ’ s Restorations is first class! — Bob & Carol Lynn Nelson The Villages

FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS… Kitchen & Bath Remodels, Flooring, Painting, Handyman & Much, Much More!!!

• Licensed, Bonded, and Insured • Employee Background Checks • Most Customers are Repeats & Refferals • 5-Year Craftsmanship Warranty Doc’s Restorations has earned the esteemed • 100% Customer Satisfaction 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 • Locally, Family Owned & Operated • 14 Years Established • Beautiful Showroom… with FREE Design Consultation • Uniformed Employees with Photo ID and Marked Vans to ensure you know who you’re dealing with.

352.753.0056 15580 S US Hwy. 441, Summerfield, FL 34491 D o c s Re s t o r a t i o n s. c o m


* HOIn, S OTChI EeT YS! c e n e Sponsored by

A night to shine The fifth annual Evening Beneath the Stars dinner and auction was at the home of Wayne and Neva Jo Bailey on Lake Seneca. The theme was “Black Ties and Blues at the Baileys” and was also a time to recognize Lake County Commissioner Leslie Campione and Dr. Jack Cassell for their commitment to community endeavors. Proceeds from the event benefited Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care programs in Lake County. PHOTOS: BROOKE AKERS

Judy Farrance and Mary Ellen Drier

Leslie Campione, Jack Cassel, Wayne Bailey, and Neva Jo Bailey

Jack Cassell, Yuko Gibby, and Jim Gibby Wayne Bailey, Neva Jo Bailey, Bruce Gaynor, Andrew Haliday, and Morgan Haliday

Brandon Bailey and Marlene Bishay

Matt Pierson, Bill Ward, and John Roemmelt Wayne Bailey and Chuck Lee

Meredyth Cassell, Ben Dunham, and Scott Cassell

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HWY 441 / EUSTIS FL 32726 WWW.VGCHEVY.COM 352.343.2400

— GLEN HOLDEN, CLERMONT

“I live within a mile of a dealership, but I drive 26 miles to go to Vann Gannaway because of how they treat us. I recommend everybody go to them.”


* HOIn, S OTChI EeT YS! c e n e Sponsored by

Just saying thanks Following the nightmare that was Hurricane Irma, as usual the people in this area responded fast and well. As a way to thank all the people who did their part, including the amazing first responders and city officials, a Community Appreciation Celebration was held at Mote-Morris House and hosted by the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Leesburg Partnership. Good times and great food from a grateful community. PHOTOS: THERESA CAMPBELL

Eva and Chloe Henderson

Chuck Johnson Harley Roslin, Skyler O’Donnell, and Joseph O’ Donnell III

Karen Stokes, Maria Stefanovic and Pam Jones Madelyn and Al Minner

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Nate Leslie


On The Scene HI, SOCIETY! Sponsored by

December’s Satisfied customers

Your neighbor, best friend, colleage at work — someone you know bought a car from Vann Gannaway Chevrolet. These are happy, satisfied customers, and, chances are this isn’t the first vehicle they bought here. 352.508.1448 // 2200 E BURLEIGH BLVD., EUSTIS // VANNGANNAWAYCHEVROLET.COM

IRAIDA ANDUJAR AND FAMILY, EUSTIS

BRAELYN HELLE, TAVARES

BOOTIE PEARSON, MOUNT DORA

DON COVEY, OWNER OF HONEY BAKED HAM, EUSTIS WILLIAM AND JUDITH MCCLUNG, PLANT CITY

JACK HOLDER, TAVARES JAMES AND DEBORAH HILL, EUSTIS

STEVE PARKER, LAKE MARY

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Q U I C K B I T E S //

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I N T H E K I T C H E N//

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F O R K O N T H E R O A D //

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S A L U T E //

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DI NI NG GUI DE

Around the Table

Three Lake County residents share their secret family recipes for the holidays. SEE STORY on PG 102


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NEW

THE VILLAGES

‘Coming Soon!’ finally came Hungry for details during months of speculation about a new Guy Fieri restaurant, Villagers now are satisfying their curiosity and appetites at the TV chef’s American Kitchen + Bar.

“I always try different restaurants to see if I like it,” Villager Tim Andrews says. “Not just because he’s on TV, but I’ll definitely try it. You can’t have too many restaurants.” Or maybe you can. Guy’s new spot replaces Honest John’s Whiskey and Provisions, 1045 Old Camp Road at Lake Sumter Landing. Tim says that’s a “tough area” for competition, including Cody’s Roadhouse, R.J. Gator’s, redsauce, and City Fire. Guy’s menu features moderately priced American cuisine like burgers, wings, ribs, steaks, sandwiches, and a full list of cocktails. The Villages’ location adds to his roster of American Kitchen + Bar restaurants in New York City, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, and Cancún, Mexico. Villager Denise Mrozek says she and her husband, Fred, will try the new restaurant because Fieri’s name is attached. But there’s a more important bottom line, Fred says: “I always look at the price and happy hour.”

LEESBURG

Distruta de un taco! (Enjoy a taco!) Taco House Express is the fairly new restaurant at 1322 N. 14th St., the former home of Angel’s BBQ. Hugo Cruz and Dwayne Jean-Pierre are managers of the new establishment and have given it a delightful face-lift. The menu includes appetizers like Papitas Prepardas, a variety of tacos, Hamburguesa Mexicana, burritos, quesadillas, and Big Texas Loaded Potatoes, along with great sides and refreshing drinks. Call 352.435.7126.

Whip up some eggnog! December calls for eggnog, and here’s a safe homemade recipe with a cooked egg base to enjoy. Ingredients:

2

cups milk (preferably low fat, 1 percent)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6

egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1

teaspoon vanilla extract Pinch of ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups cream or half and half

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, combine milk and cinnamon and heat on low for a few minutes to warm slightly. Beat egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until sugar is mixed in; pour egg mixture into the saucepan with the warmed milk. Cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes until thick, stirring constantly. (If you have a cooking thermometer, make sure it reaches 160 degrees F. Do not boil.) Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add cream, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and whisk to combine. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight until chilled. Serve cold. —Recipe adapted from AllRecipes


The King passes his crown

King’s Bar-B-Que is a hometown favorite in Eustis, but now there’s a new king wearing the crown. Mike Kennedy, who also owns Mike’s Tasty BBQ, is the new owner. Known for his fresh collard greens and macaroni and cheese, Mike is pleased to continue the hometown feel and taste at King’s Bar-B-Que, which was made famous when astronaut Dave Walker took the restaurant’s sauce he enjoyed so much into outer space. Visit Mike at Mike’s Tasty BBQ, 20010 U.S. Highway 441 in Mount Dora or his familiar new place at 503 Palmetto St., Eustis. 352.589.0404.

MOUNT DORA

Not home for the holidays If dining out sounds like a whole lot more fun than sweating over the stove during the holidays, Pisces Rising has you covered. The restaurant at 239 W. Fourth Ave., Mount Dora, will be open from noon10pm Christmas Eve, and noon-midnight New Year’s Eve. Listen to live music and choose from a menu that includes—just as a sampler to whet your appetite— shrimp empanadas, Cubana mix spring rolls, and salads for starters; burgers, fish, and tacos at the bar; Atlantic salmon and Cuban snapper from the seafood section; “Fresh from the Farm” steaks, pork, chicken, and elk; and, fresh from the pastry chef, s’mores cheesecake and lemon tarts, among other items. Call 352.385.2669 or make reservations online at piscesrisingdining.com.

Love chicken nuggets? The late Robert C. Baker, born Dec. 29, 1921, is credited with inventing chicken nuggets—a beloved food favorite of millions of kids and adults alike. Developing a way to keep the breading on the nuggets was the key to success for the Cornell University poultry and food science professor. He was inducted into the American Poultry Hall of Fame in 2004.

Healthy options for the whole family Everybody loves to snack. That’s just a fact, Jack. But there is way to get your family to snack to healthy foods that taste great. Stoneridge Orchards offers the Royal Ridge Fruits Family. You’re bound to find something in this great selection of fruits that will please even the pickiest eater. The choices in their dried fruit selections are delicious and include Montmorency cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, sliced peaches, berry mix, and chili lime cherries. These are certified organic dried fruits, which means they’re clean wholesome, and organic and Kosher certified. Though dried fruits tend to have more sugar quantity than fresh fruits, Stoneridge Orchards never adds artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, or sulfites. They also come in chocolate-covered and Green yogurt-covered flavors. Check them out at stoneridgeorchards.com and pick your favorite fruit today!

Candy cane trivia The candy cane originally was a straight white stick. Candy canes with red stripes first appeared in the mid1900s in Sweden. The candy’s curvy shape is credited to a choirmaster who worked at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. It is believed he bent the peppermint sticks to look like the canes used by shepherds. Other sources credit the bending to a candy maker in Indiana. It is speculated he also decided to add three red stripes to the candy cane to represent the Holy Trinity. Some people believe the reason the peppermint sticks were bent was so they would look like a “J,” for Jesus. Source: foodimentary.com

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Holiday meal traditions From whipping up favorite dishes to planning fun get-togethers, these families celebrate Christmas in their own special way. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

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uerto Rico native Magdalena Zapata, who works as Lake County’s creative services supervisor, enjoys making favorite dishes of her homeland for the holidays, including pavochón, which is turkey cooked and seasoned like a pork roast. “For La Navidad, or Christmas, we eat lechón a la varita, which is cooking a pig on a spit. We really eat this all year long, but that’s especially true during the holidays,” she says. “If we’re cooking for a smaller crowd, we would make a pernil, which is the pork shoulder, and make it in the oven.” She also loves drinking coquito, a coconut rum punch, which can be made traditionally or infused with other flavors, including chocolate or almonds. “The states have eggnog, but we have coquito,” Magdalena says.

From Magdalena Zapata

Coquito Ingredients

2

egg yolks, beaten

1/2 cup white rum    

1

(12 ounce) can evaporated milk

1/2 cup water

1

(14 ounce) can cream of coconut

1

(14 ounce) can sweetened 1 condensed milk

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

In the top of a double boiler, combine egg yolks and evaporated milk. Stirring constantly, cook over lightly simmering water until mixture reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer mixture to a blender, and add cream of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, rum, water, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla. Blend for about 30 seconds. Pour into glass bottles and chill overnight. Tammey Rogers, community services director for the city of Tavares, relishes her family’s out-of-the-ordinary Christmas meals, and she loves that the gatherings generate laughs and memorable moments. “On Christmas Eve, everyone comes to our home in their pajamas,” she says of the tradition that has been part of Christmas for more than 18 years. “Even if you’re not a family member, but a family friend, you have to wear your jammies, and this is when we eat breakfast for dinner, exchange gifts, and watch ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.’ We giggle like hyenas as though we have never seen the movie before!”

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Tammey delights in seeing her 81-year-old mother, Delores Hicov, laugh until she cries watching Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) as he strives to host a perfect Christmas, which quickly goes awry. Tammey makes sticky buns for the “upside down Christmas Eve dinner,” and on the evening of Christmas Day, her clan of about

14 people returns to her home to eat one giant cheeseburger, which tips the scale at 17 pounds when condiments are added. “We play games, sing a little, and finish off with a white elephant gift exchange,” Tammey says, adding that a build-your-own-bananasplit bar is always a fun Christmas dessert.

From Tammey Rogers:

Directions

Sticky Buns Ingredients

12

tablespoons (1½ 1/2 cup pecans, chopped sticks) unsalted butter, in very large pieces at room temperature 1 package (17.3-ounces/ 1/3 cup light brown sugar, 2-sheets) frozen puff lightly packed pastry, defrosted For the filling:

2

tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3

teaspoons ground cinnamon

1

cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture. Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1½ teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2-inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1½ inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns. Bake 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful—they’re hot! Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely.

Vance and Anita Hinebaugh, of Lady Lake, celebrate Christmas with a smorgasbord of holiday food favorites for up to 30 people, and Anita notes the meal wouldn’t be complete without lumpia (egg rolls) and flan from the Philippines homeland of her mother, Elisa Lourdes Hart, 92, who lives with them. “In 2004, Mom suffered a stroke. She spent several weeks at our home for rehab,” Anita recalls. “It was during that time I asked Mom to share her recipes in case she was no longer able to make them for our holiday gatherings.” Her mother always made the dishes from memory, so there were no recipes until Anita took time to watch and measure the

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ingredients and also jot them down to share with her family. “I took step-by-step pictures as well. We even had an egg roll-wrapping party one day with two nieces and one of my granddaughters so they could learn how to do it,” she says. “I laminated the recipes and sent them to all my siblings and children, so no matter what,

someone in the family will bring lumpia and flan to Christmas Eve dinner.” Anita says she purposely keeps a platter of lumpia in the oven and off-limits until she gets a group family photo at the Christmas gathering. “It works every time,” she says, noting she has to put up with her bunch wanting to do a crazy photo first.

From Anita Hinebaugh

Grandma Elisa’s Lumpia (pronounced loom-pee-uh) Ingredients

2

tablespoons vegetable oil

3

scallions (green onions), chopped

1/2 to 3/4 cup finely chopped onion 1 to 1½ pounds ground beef 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1

teaspoon salt

7

cans bean sprouts, drained

1/2 cup Kikkoman soy sauce Spring roll pastry sheets, enough to make 50 egg rolls (we use TYJ Spring Roll Pastry, which comes frozen, 25 per package). These are rarely found in grocery stores, but most Asian stores have them. Let thaw for one hour before using.

Directions

Heat oil in large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add both kinds of onions and sauté together for about 2 minutes. Add meat and next three ingredients; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Add drained bean sprouts. Mix well. Add soy sauce and stir again, heating it for only 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. While meat/bean sprout mixture is cooling, separate thawed pastry sheets, then cover with a towel to keep from drying out too much. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat/sprout mixture to another bowl, leaving the remaining juices in the skillet (this prevents the egg rolls from getting too soggy). Wrap in this manner: Place one heaping spoonful of meat mixture about 3 inches inside one corner of the spring roll. Turn that corner up and over the meat mixture. Fold up the right corner towards the center, then the left corner, and

roll almost to the last remaining corner. Using the meat juices, moisten the remaining corner to seal. Place sealed egg rolls on wax paper-lined cookie sheets and freeze, uncovered, for about an hour. Transfer to zipper-type freezer bags, about 10 per gallon-size bag. One can immediately cook the egg rolls, but we prefer to cook them from a frozen state. Heat about 1/4inch oil in a large skillet. Over medium to medium-high heat, cook egg rolls (seam side down) until sides appear golden brown (2 to 3 minutes). Using a spatula and tongs to prevent tearing, turn each egg roll over and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain on paper towels. Best if allowed to cook 10-15 minutes before eating. (Hint: For a party, you can cook these several hours earlier, then heat in the oven. Microwave heating has a tendency to make them soggy).

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I laminated the recipes and sent them to all my siblings and children, so no matter what, someone in the family will bring lumpia and flan to Christmas Eve dinner. —ANITA HINEBAUGH

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M E Z Z A LU N A I TA L I A N R E S TA U R A N T & B A R

Mezza Luna has all the answers

Forks

(Out of a possible 5)

Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant & Bar 243 Colony Blvd. The Villages 352.753.3824

STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ

T

he tempting menu at Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant poses difficult choices. So put on your thinking caps and tuck in your napkins for this multiple-choice food review. (We’re working on technology to bring you scratch ’n’ sniff food reviews.) When dining at Mezza Luna, you should order: A. Appetizers. B. Pizza and calzones. C. Classic pasta dishes. D. Sandwiches and wraps. E. All of the above. Please make an educated guess before I immediately give you the answer: It’s E, all of the above. The meat lasagna is: A. Meaty. B. Saucy. C. Cheesy. D. The best I’ve ever had. E. All of the above. Again, the answer is E. The key is the thin, triple-layered pasta, packed with ground beef, mozzarella, and tomato sauce in between, baked to perfection, topped with more cheese, and wallowing in sauce.

Hours: 11am to 9pm Daily

Fork Report:

Casual dining. $$ Seated immediately (lunch hour) WAIT FOR MEAL: 10 minutes LUNCH: ($7.95-$18.95): Brick-oven flats like the Brooklyn Meat Special, Brando and Pacino signature wraps, salad pizza, cappellini pescatore, seafood risotto Avella. DINNER: ($9.50$20.95): Shrimp parmigiana, spaghetti and meatballs or sausage, walnut baked salmon, veal and shrimp rosa, sirloin cacciatore.

How Fork On The Road Works Our reviewers are objective and unbiased. This is not a paid feature. Our reviewer makes one unannounced visit and we pay for our meals.

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The New York thin crust large pizza with pepperoni and meatballs has: A. Generous amounts of ingredients. B. Fresh-made dough, but not too much dough. C. Outstanding crust. D. Unique quality. E. All of the above. The correct answer is E. Are you seeing a trend? For extra credit, choose the mushroom caps stuffed with crab meat or mozzarella sticks in marinara sauce for starters, and pasta Faggioli, a noodle and bean soup, as a side. And you can get all the dinner rolls covered in olive oil that you can eat. It’s a lot of food at a reasonable price. Finally, the word or phrase that best describes a meal at Mezza Luna is: A. Awesome. B. Fantastic. C. Tasty and flavorful. D. I need a nap. E. All of the above. Yes, the answer is always E. But there are no wrong answers at Mezza Luna.


A r o u n d T h e Ta b l e FOR K ON THE ROA D

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B E A U C L A I R E R E S TA U R A N T AT L A K E S I D E I N N

Delightful dining on the veranda STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ

O

ne of the most charming places to dine is on the picturesque veranda of the historic 1886 Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora, where cozy tables for four and two overlook the serene setting of Lake Dora. The view is absolutely spectacular. It didn’t matter that it was raining during a recent visit. My lunch companion and I enjoyed seeing and hearing the rain dance on the lake while we savored delicious comfort foods, all part of a leisurely dining experience. My chicken pot pie was a feast for the eyes and taste buds: big chunks of tender white meat chicken with peas, carrots, and celery cooked to perfection in a savory herb cream sauce and crowned on top with a flaky golden-brown pastry of melt-in-your-mouth goodness. My friend raved over a thick, grilled steak burger, an 8-ounce serving of angus beef,

topped with cheese and served with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and a toasted bun served with perfectly cooked French fries—crispy golden brown with the right touch of salt on the outside and a light, fluffy potato on the inside. Of course, we had to leave room for some decadent desserts. We both loved the peach cobbler with a tasty cinnamon-crust topping, and the OJ Cake, which was a rich, densely layered cake filled with bits of orange zest in the cake and in the cream frosting. Those who have family and friends visiting for the holidays may find the Beauclaire Restaurant the ideal setting to enjoy a leisurely meal as well as an opportunity to relax and savor the lakeside view. I plan to return with family members, too. Besides, that delicious chicken pot pie won me over.

Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn // 100 Alexander St., Mount Dora // 352.383.4101

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192 1 BY NORMAN VAN AKEN

Artistically inspired dining STORY: LEIGH NEELY

A

fter walking through a quaint courtyard, 1921 by Norman Van Aken is wonderful. Art surrounds you, but you’ll enjoy the food as much as the feast for the eyes. Each table is a lovely piece of wood left in its natural shape to reveal its splendor. The chairs at each table, however, are styled differently and lend a whimsical touch to the artistic setting. We began our lunch with conch fritters with hot pepper jelly, which were scrumptious. The delicate crust was the perfect complement to the delicious conch, and the jelly gave it that special sweet spiciness we loved. I ordered the Full Moon Saloon Fish Sandwich, which was grilled grouper (the fish changes daily) with lemon aioli, Haitian pikliz,

*

Each table is a lovely piece of wood left in its natural shape to reveal its splendor.

1 Aken Van 352.385.192 n a m / / r o a by N nt Dor 1921 h Ave., Mou t 4 142 E.

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tomato, and house frites. The Haitian pikliz was a bit spicy, but, again, it complemented the fish. The house frites were crisp and perfect, just the way I like them. My friend had beer-battered fish tacos on flour tortillas with avocado and Zellwood corn relish. As we always share a taste of each other’s meal, I can attest to how delicious the crunchy fish was in the toasted tortillas. Dessert was a brownie sundae with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, bourbon caramel, and vanilla whipped cream. Yes, that all goes together beautifully, and we forced ourselves not to lick the bowl. Since 1921 by Norman Van Aken partners with the Modernism Museum, keep an eye out for special exhibits that include specially priced dinners.


12TH ANNUAL

T

HEARTS FOR OUR HOSPITAL BLACK TIE GALA

he mission of The Villages Regional Hospital Auxiliary Foundation is to raise funds to benefit the patient care our hospital provides to not only our residents but the surrounding communities as well. TVRH is a not-for-profit hospital and the largest, most comprehensive provider of healthcare services in the region. On Saturday, February 10, 2018, TVRHAF will host the 12th Annual "Hearts for Our Hospital Gala." This is our largest fundraising event of the year. The funds raised have allowed us to give more than $2 million in cash and equipment to our hospital. TVRHAF is also pleased to offer scholarships to assist and encourage education in healthcare-related courses of study. These scholarships are available annually to hospital team members as well as high school seniors residing in the hospital's service area. In 2017, 14 scholarships were awarded to current team members who are furthering their education in the healthcare field, and 5 scholarships to area high school seniors to pursue their education in healthcare sciences. To date, close to $200,000 has been committed to scholarships by the Auxiliary Foundation.

Saturday, February 10, 2018, 5:30-11pm at The Savannah Center 1545 Buena Vista Boulevard, The Villages

Silent Auction: 5:30-7:00pm Dinner: 7:00pm Check Out: 9:30pm RSVP by: January 31, 2018 The Auxiliary Foundation: 352-751-8871 Email: barichardson@centflhealth.org

Presented by:

THE VILLAGES is a federally registered trademark of Holding Company of The Villages, Inc., and is used under license. The Villages® Regional Hospital is a part of Central Florida Health.


* SAArL UoTuÉ n d

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Santa’s gift list for wine lovers From high-end gadgets to tokens of appreciation, there is a wine gift to fit everyone’s budget. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS

B

uying wine for friends or acquaintances can be tricky. Rarely will your favorite varietal be their favorite. And buying a super expensive wine to impress someone can backfire: they may not like it at all or they may decide to re-gift it because they prefer a Chardonnay instead of the expensive Cabernet that you chose. Wine as a gift works best if you know what the receiver likes to drink. In the meantime, though, you may want to splurge on these suggestions that will make your favorite wine drinker’s life a little easier.

Coravin Wine System coravin.com This revolutionary wine preservation system is at the top of my wish list this year. I taste-test wines to write about them, but I can rarely finish an entire bottle in one sitting. Finding a way to preserve the wine’s freshness and flavors for a couple of days always is a challenge. Coravin says wine preserved with its system can last up to six months. The Coravin Wine System

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lets you pour wine without removing the cork. Being able to enjoy the rest of the bottle another day is revolutionary in any wine connoisseur’s book much less keeping the cork intact. After all, oxidation is the enemy—once air gets inside the bottle, the wine’s taste is going to be affected. Coravin works on all corksealed still wines. The sleek design has a needle that is pushed through the cork to access the wine. A trigger releases argon, a safe and inert gas used by winemakers, which pressurizes the bottle. Release the trigger to pour wine into a glass, and when you reach the desired amount then tilt the bottle upright. When the needle is removed, the cork naturally reseals itself and continues to protect the wine. Model One retails for about $200. The more advanced Coravin Model Two is $300

and includes a new, thinner needle that pours 20 percent faster than the original needle, as well as a carrying case. The Coravin Wine System is available at Bed, Bath & Beyond and online.

EuroCave Wine Art wineenthusiast.com Not everyone can have a wine cave or cellar in their home, but EuroCave


Primeware Drink Purse primewareinc.com

certainly makes it easier to keep wine bottles perfectly cooled. EuroCave, which has been making wine cabinets for more than 40 years, now offers a wine-dispensing system that preserves two bottles of wine for up to 10 days while keeping them at cellar temperature. The air-extraction technology removes the oxygen from the wine bottle in an instant, eliminating the possibility of oxidation and allowing wine lovers to savor the delicate nuances of the wine for several nights. The compartments in the two-bottle system operate independently so a white wine and a red can be stored at different temperatures. At 19 inches high, the EuroCave Wine Art fits under most kitchen cabinets, making wine readily available when you want just a glass. The cooler consistently receives five-star reviews online but it’s not inexpensive. The suggested retail price is $399. It is available through Amazon and the Wine Enthusiast Catalog.

I am not sure why there is a need to store wine surreptitiously in the guise of a purse, but apparently, it’s a thing because I’ve been seeing these cork purses in almost every wine shop and at Target. The Primeware Drink Purse includes a disposable refreshment “baggie” that can be filled with up to 3 liters of any beverage or four bottles of your favorite wine. A gusseted wine spout makes pouring easy and the snap-down flap keeps things discreet. The water-resistant exterior has a cork pattern print, and the bag is lined and insulated to keep wine perfectly chilled. If your date likes to take her own wine to a party, this may be the gift for her. The cork purse is quite fashionable and retails for about $40.

The Wine Bible, Second Edition karenmacneil.com Books are always a great Christmas gift, and anyone who wants to learn more about wine will enjoy Karen MacNeil’s comprehensive, modern guide to wine. The Wine Bible’s first edition was the best-selling wine book in the United States and has been recommend-

ed by every top wine school and hospitality management school in the nation as well as by the Court of Master Sommeliers in the U.S. Easy and entertaining to read, the second edition is even better and contains informative asides, tips, amusing anecdotes, definitions, glossaries, maps, recommended bottles, and more. The book is available from all book sellers and retails for $24.95.

NOD Bottle Bags and Wine Markers nodproducts.com When you do give a bottle of wine, be sure to dress it up with a stylish bag, such as the ones from NOD Products. Crafted from durable card stock, the bags also come with six themed silicone glass markers. Your wine gift will certainly stand out from under the tree in these colorful bags that retail for $7 each.

Mary Ann DeSantis Mary Ann DeSantis is a fellow of the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, Napa Valley, and recently received certification from the Wine & Spirits Educational Trust (WSET). An award-winning journalist, she has written for Lake & Sumter Style since 2006.

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Dining in your city Astatula Race Car Diner 25641 Monroe St. 352.253.6940 Astor Blackwater Inn Williams Landing 55716 Front St. 352.759.3802 Bushnell Chuck’s Odd Cuples Café 117 W Belt Ave 352.568.0408 Hong Kong Restaurant 2229 W CR 48 (352) 568-8888 Howie’s Family Restaurant 840 N. Main St. 352.793.8582 TJ’s Family Restaurant 412 W. Belt Ave 352.793.8877 Waller’s Restaurant 138 Bushnell Plaza 352.793.2592 Clermont 801 City Grille 801 Montrose St. 352.394.6911 Akina Sushi Bar & Asian Fusion Bistro 4300 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.8988 Bubba’s Catfish 1800 S. Hwy. 27 352.708.6142 Calabria Ristorante 13900 County Road 455 407.656.5144 Cheeser’s Palace Café 707 W. Montrose St. 352.404.9431 Corelli Italian Restaurant 1042 E. Hwy. 50 352.989.5924 El Cerro Restaurant 811 W. Hwy. 50 352.241.9884 Flippers Pizzeria 2523 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.242.2214 G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900 Green Garden 1790 E. Hwy. 50 352.243.2077

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Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Hwy. 27 352.241.9884 Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.242.1910 Lilly’s on the Lake 846 W. Osceola St. 352.708.6565 Lyn’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shoppe 824 W. Montrose St. 352.536.9935 Napolis Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Robata Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar 1500 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.404.9688 The Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.4808 Troy’s Cuban & Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295 Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 157 Hwy. 27 352.394.1225 Eustis 1884 Restaurant & Bar 12 East Magnolia Ave. 1.800.856.1884 Barnwood BBQ 50 W. Orange Ave. 352.630.4903 Dam Smoker Barbeque 36721 County Road 19A 352.357.6555 Haystax Restaurant 15439 Hwy. 441 352.489.0510 Jeannie’s Place 209 E. Gottsche Ave. 352.359.0027 Kiku Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar 15211 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.483.8288 King’s Taste Bar-B-Que 503 Palmetto St. 352.589.0404 Maria’s Latin Dinner 1 N. Eustis St. 352.357.5555

LaCabana Mexican Bar and Grill 2060 S. Bay St. 352.357.4600 NightOwl Caribbean Restaurant 929 S. Bay St. 352.589.0256 Stavro’s & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. County Road 44 352.589.9100 Taki’s Pizza House 2824 S. Bay St. 352.357.0022 Thai Sushi America 925 N. Bay St. 352.357.1949 The Crazy Gator 402 N. Bay St. 352.589.5885 The Great Pizza Company 23 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.357.7377 The Oyster Troff 936 N. Bay St. 352.357.9939 Tillie’s Tavern & Grill 31 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.602.7929 Tony’s Pizza & Subs 2760 E. Orange Ave. 352.589.9001 Fruitland Park Fruitland Park Café 3180 US Hwy. 441/27 352.435.4575 ibar-be-que Express 3170 Hwy. 27 352.315.4227 Legends Cafe 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.728.0006 Groveland Coyote Rojo 214 W. Broad St. 352.557.8999 James Barbeque 262 W. Orange St. 352.557.4050 Ikaho Sushi Japanese 7965 SR 50, #900 352.557.8988 Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. State Road 33 352.429.2997

Howey-inthe-Hills JB Boondocks Bar & Grill 704 S. Lakeshore Blvd. 352.324.3600 Lady Lake Bamboo Bistro 700 Hwy. 441 352.750.9998 Lady Lake Harbor Hills Country Club 6538 Lake Griffin Rd. 352.753.7000 Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 504 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.753.2722 The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. 514 Hwy. 441 352.614.9000 Leesburg Bloom’s Baking House and Restaurant 610 W. Main St. 352.787.1004 Cafe Ola 400 N. 14th St. 352.365.0089 Cedar River Seafood 8609 S. U.S. Hwy. 441 352.728.3377 Chesapeake Bay Grill 4467 Arlington Ridge Blvd. 352.315.0066 Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442 Cuba Pichy’s 10401 US Hwy. 441 352.365.2822 Dance’s BBQ 1707 South Street 352.801.8885 Frank’s Place 201 N. 1st St. 352.323.1989 Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 County Road 44 352.365.2177 God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447 Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St. 352.474.2739

Habaneros 3 Mexican Restaurant 10601 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.315.1777 HP Grill 1403 S. 14th St. 352.314.0006 Ichiban Buffet 10301 Hwy. 441 352.728.6669 Irene’s Ice Cream Sandwiches and Deli 4120 Corley Island Rd. 352.315.1118 Jamaican George 2402 W. Main St. 352.455.1898 Johnson’s Pizza Place 4120 Corley Island Rd., Ste. 300 352.801.7250 Kountry Kitchen 1008 W. Dixie Ave. 352.323.0852 La Palma Mexican Grill 1690 Citrus Blvd. 352.323.1444 Lilly’s Super Subs 2339 County Road 473 352.343.4663 Magnolia’s Oyster Bar 201 W. Magnolia St. 352.323.0093 Ms. T’s Place 305 Pine St. 352.431.3217 Naples Italian Restaurant 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.323.1616 Osaka 1401 Citrus Blvd. 352.728.0788 Pine Street Bar-B-Que 408 Pine St. 352.728.1293 Plantation Oaks Restaurant 4720 Plantation Blvd. 352.530.2680 Ramshackle Café 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565 San Jose Mexican 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174 Sip Restaurant and Wine Bar 707 W. Main St. 352.435.7840 Southern Gourmet 314 W. Main St. 352.409.7512


Stavros Pizza 755 N. 14th St. 352.326.4202 Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344 The 24 Tap Room 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.315.0198 The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717 The Old Time Diner 1350 W. North Blvd. 352.805.4250 Turner’s 114 S. 5th St. 352.530.2274 Two Old Hags Wine Shoppe 410 W Main St 352.435.9107 Vic’s Catering 352.728.8989 Wolfy’s 918 N. 14th St. 352.787.6777 Wrapsody 712 W. Main St. 352.801.7239 Mascotte Minneola Grill 117 W. Washington St. 352.394.2555 Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093 The Surf Bar and Grill 650 Hwy. 27 202.527.0100 Minneola Jack’s Barbecue 100 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.2673 Lil Anthony’s Pizza 205 N. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.1516 Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232 Mount Dora 1921 by Norman Van Aken 141 E. 4th Ave. 352.385.1921

Anthony’s Pizza 17195 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.357.6668 Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St. 352.383.4101 Bocce Pizzeria 925 E. First Ave. 352.385.0067 Breezeway Café 411 N. Donnelly St. 352.702.7898 Cecile’s French Corner 237 W. Fourth Ave. 352.383.7100 Cody’s on 4th Cafe 111 E. 4th Ave. 352.735.8426 Copacabana Cuban Cafe 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000 Eduardo’s Loko Tacos Mexican Restaurant 226 Alfred St. 352.742.1181 Frog & Monkey English Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352. 383.1936 Highland Street Café 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446 Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444 J.K. Thai & Sushi 116 E. 5th Ave. 352.385.5470 Let’s Do Lunch 426 N. Donnelly St. 352.735.4577 Mount Dora Pizza & Subs 2718 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.5303 One Flight Up - Coffee, Dessert & Wine Bar 440 N. Donnelly St., Ste. 100 352.758.9818 Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave. 352.385.2669 PizzAmore’ 722 E. 5th Ave. 352.383.0092

Shiva Indian Restaurant 140A W. 5th Ave. 352.735.4555 Sidelines Sport Eatery 315 N. Highland St. 352.735.7433 Sugarboo’s Bar-B-Que 1305 N. Grandview St. 352.735.7675 The Goblin Market 331-B Donnely St. 352.735.0059 Whale’s Tale Fish House 2720 W. Old U.S. Hwy 441 352.385.1500 Zellie’s Pub 4025 N. U.S. Hwy. 19A 352.483.3855 Sorrento Del Franco Pizza Place 31436 CR 437 352.383.8882 Gi Gi’s 25444 State Road 46 352.735.4000 Tavares Angelo’s Italian Restaurant 2270 Vindale Rd. 352.343.2757 Buzzard Beach Grill 12423 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.5267 Hurricane Dockside Grill 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.508.5137 Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313 Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 County Road 448 352.343.6823 O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and Restaurant 115 S Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157 Palm Gardens Restaurant 1661 Palm Garden St. 352.431.3217 Ruby Street Grille 221 E. Ruby St. 352.742.7829

Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744 The Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585 The Villages Amerikano’s Grill 998 Del Mar Dr. 352.633.8027 Bavarian Brewhaus 2738 Brownwood Blvd. 352.399.5516 Bravo Pizza 1080 Lake Sumter Landing 352.430.2394 Chengs Chinese and Sushi Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678 China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965 City Fire Brownwood & Paddock Square 352.561.2078 Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 297 Colony Blvd 352.751.0400 Giovanni’s 3439 Wedgewood Lane 352.751.6674 Margarita Republic 1102 Main St. 352.753.4600 Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant and Bar 320 Colony Blvd. 352.753.3824 NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994 RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.2930 Ricciardi’s Italian Table 3660 Kiessel Rd. 352.391.9939 Sakura 265 Colony Blvd 352.205.7393 Takis Greek and Italian Restaurant 13761 U.S. Hwy. 441 N. 352.430.3630 The Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille 925 Lakeshore Dr. 352.753.7800

VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 1004 Old Mill Run 352.259.9887 Umatilla Fish & Chix 100 N. Central Ave. 352.669.7145 Gator’s 9 N. Central Ave. 352.669.6969 Greg’s Haystax 526 Umatilla Blvd. 352.669.1555 Nicky D’s Pizza 325 N. Central Avenue 352.669.2400 Old Crow Real Pit Bar-B-Q 41100 State Road 19 352.669.3922 Quarterdeck 801 Central Ave. 352.669.4662 Shanghai 531 N. Central Ave. 352.669.2004 The Mason Jar 37534 State Rd. 19 352.589.2535 Umatilla Tavern 605 N. Central Ave. 352.669.1325 Wildwood China Jade 420 W. CR 44 352.330.5913 Cotillion Southern Café 101 N. Main St. 352.748.1223 Los Magueyes Mexican Restaurant 346 Shopping Center Dr. 352.461.0577 O’Shucks! Oyster Bar and Grill 1016 S Main St. 352.399.2200 Traditions Café 3107 Hwy. 44 352.748.1077 Woody’s Bar-B-Q 1220 S. Main St. 352.748.1109 Yalaha Yalaha Bakery 8210 County Road 48 352.324.3366

Country Club Restaurants Clermont Sanctuary Ridge Bar & Grille 2601 Diamond Club Road 352.243.0411 Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.243.1118 Howey-in-the-Hills Mission Inn Resort El Conquistador Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.3101 Mount Dora The Country Club 1900 Country Club Blvd. 352.735.2263 The Villages Belle Glade Country Club 446 Moyer Loop 352.205.8208 Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627 Evans Prairie Country Club 1825 Evan’s Prairie Trail 352.750.2225 Glenview County Club 3914 Glenview Rd. 352.753.0077 Hemingway’s at Havana Country Club 2484 Odell Circle 352.430.3200 Legacy Restaurant Nancy Lopez Country Club 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475 Orange Blossom Country Club 1542 Water Tower Circle 352.751.4501 Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.750.4499 Tierra Del Sol Country Club 806 San Marino Dr. 352.753.8005 Wildwood Continental Country Club 50 Continental Blvd. 352.748.3293

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Barnwood Bar-B-Que & Country Kitchen Barbecue, American (Traditional), Southern // 50 W. Orange Ave., Eustis // 352.630.4903 7am-3pm Monday-Friday, dine-in and takeout // barnwoodbbq.com // facebook.com/barnwoodbbq Mouth-watering barbecue. A family-like atmosphere. Old-fashioned service. Those are three qualities that patrons of Barnwood BBQ and Country Kitchen in Eustis experience upon each visit. Owners Dan and Elaine Backhaus have discovered that the recipe behind delicious barbecue is cooking meats low and slow over smoldering wood. That method has served them well, both for their restaurant and food truck business. Diners can also purchase Barnwood’s delicious, award-winning barbecue sauces and special seasonings. Popular breakfast items include a ham-and-cheese omelet, smoked sausage omelet, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and a variety of breakfast combinations. The restaurant’s equally delicious lunch items include a three-rib sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, beef brisket platter, smoked country sausage platter, mushroom Swiss burger, and grilled Reuben sandwich. Burgers, soups, and salads are also available. Be sure to top off your meal with one of Barnwood’s popular desserts, which include fruit cobbler and dark-chocolate brownies Awards: Lake & Sumter Style magazine’s No. 1 BBQ Restaurant, Best Judged Chicken, Best Judged Ribs, Best Judged Brisket (tie), and thirdplace in Best Judged Pork (April 2015) Top Entrée (pulled pork), Lake Eustis Chamber of Commerce food contest (2015 and 2016).

The Country Club of Mount Dora 1900 Country Club Blvd., Mount Dora 352.735.4059 Come enjoy a great meal at the Country Club of Mount Dora overlooking the beautiful greens of the golf course. We serve lunch daily and breakfast on weekends. Be sure to bring your appetite for our half-pound burgers made your way, thick cut Reuben sandwiches, delicious Greek salad, and much more. We serve a full breakfast menu every Saturday and Sunday including Eggs Benedict, French toast, omelettes, and much more. Come join us!

Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant Open seven days a week: 11am–9pm // Food, Spirits, Music, Sports 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441, Leesburg // 352.253.2442 // CVinnies.com Cousin Vinnie’s is located on U.S. Hwy. 441 across from Home Depot. Owner “Cousin” Vinnie Vittoria and his family have created a unique atmosphere by combining a sports bar with a family restaurant. As soon as you walk into Vinnie’s you will immediately notice why they are famous for outstanding comfort food and service! They have been voted BEST WINGS in Lake & Sumter County every year since opening in 2008. In 2017, Vinnie’s was also voted BEST SPORTS BAR. Every Monday Night from 6 – 10 they host Texas Hold’Em Tournaments, Tuesday night is “Family Night” from 5–8p.m. when kids 12-and-under eat free. Wednesday night is “Trivia Night” when the fun starts at 6:30p.m. with prizes given to the top 3 teams. Thursday from 6 – 8 is Bingo! Every Saturday watch your favorite college team (including the SEC Package) while enjoying appetizer specials and $2 domestic draft beers. On Sundays, they offer “The Sunday NFL Ticket,” catch any game… any time while Domestic Buckets of beer are only $15 and Domestic Pitchers are only $7. A few menu items offered are (never frozen) killer ½ lb. burgers, personal pan pizzas, amazing rib-eye cheese steaks, healthy wheat wraps, fresh homemade salads, 16 awesome appetizers and their signature deep fried Ice Cream and Snickers Bars! Cousin Vinnie’s also offers, free Wi-Fi, great music, and an enthusiastic staff ready to exceed your expectations.

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Cuba Pichy’s Cuisine 10401 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg // at Via Port Mall 352.365.2822 If you’re in the mood for a flavorful, authentic Cuban food experience, then Cuba Pichy’s Cuisine, located at ViaPort Florida Mall in Leesburg, is just what you’re looking for. The menu includes classic dishes such as Roast Pork, Ropa Vieja, Palomilla steak, and popular dishes such as Arroz con Pollo, Churrasco, Mofongo, vegetarian and seafood dishes, as well as a selection of Pichy’s Masterpieces. Most dishes are served with rice, black beans, and sweet plantains. Appetizers like Cuba’s Gran Combo, a variety of delicious items including Masitas Fritas, Chicharrones de Pollo, Ham-croquettes, and sweet plantains; Pichy’s beef empanadas filled with spicy, flavorful ground beef encased in a delicious flaky baked pastry, Cuban sandwiches, specialty desserts and Cuban coffee are always available. Cuba also features a full-service bar, and a private banquet room that can accommodate up to 40 guests, and, as a bonus, Pichy will create a specialty menu just for your group.

Gio’s Deli and Mercato 3975 County Road 201, Oxford // 352.748.5558 Mon-Wed 10A.M.-6 P.M. // Thurs-Sat 10 A.M. -8 P.M. Buon Appetito! There’s no need to travel to Italy to enjoy scrumptious homemade breads, pasta, fresh sandwiches, meats, cheeses, desserts, pastries, and foods from an Italian market—it’s all available here at Gio’s Deli, where our chef Giovanni earned his culinary degree in Italy. After opening Giovanni’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in The Villages in 2004, Gio has expanded with the deli bringing more of the old world to The Villages area to enjoy! Gio’s can cater a special family meal of lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, chicken parmigiana or baked ziti, or call us when you need a special party platter or desserts for a social gathering. We get raves over everything from our homemade cheeses, bruschetta, and sweet treats of cannoli, lemon mascarpone cake, cheesecakes, strawberry tiramisu and more. Come check us out!

The Goblin Market Restaurant & Lounge 331-B Donnelly Street (Rear Alley), Mount Dora // 352.735.0059 // GoblinMarketRestaurant.com Lunch: Tue–Sat 11am–3:00pm // Dinner: Tue–Thu 5–9pm, Fri–Sat 5–10pm, Sun 11am–3:30pm Nestled on a back alley in downtown Mount Dora, the Goblin Market Restaurant has been charming locals and tourists alike since 1996. The restaurant, housed in a renovated warehouse, features three intimate, book-lined dining rooms and a full-service lounge furnished in soothing, muted tones with tasteful modern art. The private, tree-shaded courtyard and garden patio are open year-round for al fresco dining. Low lighting and “new age” music add the finishing touches to the restaurant’s casual elegance. Owners Vince and Janis Guzinski embrace a simple philosophy of offering the highest-quality products, served in a unique and romantic atmosphere by a personable and attentive staff. The Goblin Market’s wine list and menu represent a refreshing mix of ideas from its culinary team. The diversified origins and background of each member ensure exciting menu offerings and nightly selections. Join us for our new “lighter fare” dinner menu, gourmet soups, salads, and sandwiches. Tuesday–Thursday from 3–9pm (regular dinner menu also available).

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Guru Restaurant and Catering 2400 S. U.S. Hwy. 27, Suite 101, Clermont // 352.241.9884 Monday-Saturday 4pm-10 pm // Closed Sun. Guru Restaurant and Catering is the “go-to” place for a wide array of mouthwatering Indian fare, everything from appetizers, clay oven-baked Indian breads, Biryani specialties, chicken, seafood, lamb, beef entrees, and 12 different vegetable dishes for vegans to enjoy. Many diners rave about our Chicken Tikka Masala, featuring boneless chicken cooked in a clay oven, dipped in tomato sauce with onion, and flavored with aromatic herbs. All of our chefs are renowned for their creative combinations of spices and sauces, so let us cook for you!

La Palma 1690 Citrus Blvd., Leesburg // 352.323.1444 // LapalmaGrill.com Open Daily 11:00am – 9:00pm // Lunch Specials: 11:00am – 3:00pm Owner Raudel Torres invites you to a delicious dining experience at the La Palma Mexican Grill. The recipes used for these unique dishes are a blend of old-school traditions from Mexico, combined with culinary inspirations and trends from California and Louisiana. Flavorful, homemade Mexican entrees such as Tacos Azteca, Carnitas, Fajitas, and Tamales and much more are timeless and prepared with only the freshest ingredients. Sit in the comfortable dining room or enjoy the outdoor view on the new patio deck. Fast and friendly service, reasonable prices, and three-for-one margaritas all day every day mean exceeding customer expectations. In addition to in-house service, catering is available for large parties, or meetings. Daily specials available on the website, lapalmagrill.com.. ts! hi Nigh Mariac hts from ig Tuesday n d kids an m p -8 m 6p ! r) eat free e d (10 and un

Mason Jar 37534 SR 19, Umatilla // 352.589.2535 Mon–Sat 6am-8pm // Sun 6am-2pm Established in 1979, The Mason Jar is well-known for southern style, downhome cooking; sparkling clean, casual dining room; family-friendly hospitality and reasonable prices. Located in Umatilla at 37534 SR 19, and family-owned, the restaurant is a welcome sight for travelers and locals alike. Seven days a week patrons enjoy breakfasts of homemade grits, real fried potatoes, fluff y biscuits, country ham, and mile-high pancakes. If you are a late riser, you can still enjoy daily specials: Monday-Meatloaf; Tuesday-Beef Tips and Noodles; Wednesday-Liver and Onions; Thursday-Fried Chicken; Friday-All you can eat Fish Fry; Saturday-Fried Chicken Livers and Sunday-Award-winning, all-you-can-eat Fried Chicken. Other favorites include various beans (pintos, lima, northern) with rice, served with onion slices and corn muffins, homemade soups, fresh vegetables for sides, and of course, the meal wouldn’t be complete without a glass of southern sweet tea! Awards: Orlando Sentinel’s Best Fried Chicken in Lake County (March, 2015) Orlando Sentinel’s Best Breakfast in Lake County (March, 2015)

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Mom & Dads 304 U.S. Hwy. 441, Lady Lake // 352.753.2722 Tue-Sat 4pm–9pm // Closed Sun & Mon This little place in the heart of Lady Lake is a local favorite. All the food at Mom & Dad’s is authentic and homemade, from the famous sauce to pastas to the incredible desserts. Made from scratch in-house ravioli and lasagna. Many diners automatically order Spaghetti al la Bruzzi, which is the house specialty. This baked spaghetti has a meat sauce, mushrooms, and three cheeses. Add to that the homemade bread Papa prepares every day, and you’ve got a memorable meal. You can’t stop with the entrée, however. Mama’s homemade cakes are amazing! Moist and delicious German Chocolate, creamy, luxurious Red Velvet, Cannoli, and who doesn’t love Spumoni. If you’re looking for a great Italian dinner that will remind you of home and all the goodness of eating there, try Mom & Dad’s. Mom & Dad’s also offers a full gluten free menu featuring pizza, lasagna, ravioli, and desserts all made in-house from scratch.

Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill Lady Lake // The villages // Eustis // South Leesburg // Clermont // Wildwood 11am-9pm Daily // 11am-3pm Sunday Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for hearty Southern food. Celebrating 19 years as a “home grown,” Lake County business, we believe that the next meal we serve is the most important one. Whether its our award winning baby back ribs or our 14 hour smoked, pulled pork, there are offerings to please everyone in your family, yound or old… Other items include choice aged slow smoked beef, grilled or smoked chicken, freshly grilled fish, and a full line of freshly made salads. Sides include creamy Sams slaw, limabeans, black-eye-peas, collard greens, and more. The food is only part of the allure though. Our staff is unmatched at offering up warm Southern hospitality that pairs well with our excellent food. Upon entering our restaurant, be prepared to be greeted by wonderful smoky aromas… and equally warm smiles.

Yalaha Bakery 8210 State Road 48, Yalaha // Open daily 8am-7pm // 352.324.3366 The family owned German Bakery since 1995, is an award-winning Bakery that offers to customers high-quality German products made with the highest culinary standards. Fine European pastries and breads are made with organic flours, chocolates, and spices, butter, and imported European ingredients. Take home tortes, tarts, and wonderful pretzels, but before you go home, enjoy something from our delicious deli menu. We serve breakfast from 8-11am and lunch and dinner are served 11am-7pm. Enjoy German specialties like Nurnberger breakfast, Hunterschnitzel with Spätzle, Bratwurst, Reuben, Quiche, typical German soups, and maybe Semelknoedel (bread dumplings with mushroom sauce) for lunch or dinner. We offer a fine selection of German beers and wines. Whatever time of day, you’ll find something you love at Yalaha Bakery. On the weekends you can come and enjoy various events and music concerts on Saturdays and Sundays at our Beer Garden. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or via our website www.yalahabakery.com A German Bakery Like No Other!

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Mason Jar

Southern fare voted as ‘best country cooking’ is served by friendly staff PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

Since its beginning in 1979, the Mason Jar in Umatilla has developed a loyal following of diners for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—those who savor the down-home Southern food favorites cooked and served by the Mason Jar’s friendly staff, many of whom

have been loyal employees for decades. “We have been here almost 40 years and one of our cooks, Pearl Butler, has been with us since 1979. Debbie Button has been working in the kitchen since 1988; Dawn

Mason Jar 37534 State Road 19, Umatilla 352.589.2535 Mon-Sat: 6am – 8pm Sun: 6am – 2pm

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Weaver has been a waitress here since 1997; another waitress, Maria Norman, has been here since 2000; and Nathaniel Mitchell, a dishwasher, has been with us 17 years,” says Keri Greer, who runs the family-owned restaurant with her brother, Byron Key. “A lot of our customers say, ‘How do you keep the same help this long?’ I hear that a lot, and I attribute it to being really fortunate to having great people,” Keri says. “It’s like family.” Keri and Byron’s mother, Latrell Key, started the restaurant, which quickly became noted for its famous house-brewed sweet tea and succulent fried chicken that is offered on Thursdays and allyou-can-eat Sunday special. Pork chops, collard greens, black eye peas, meatloaf, liver and onions, fried fish are popular dishes, too, along with hearty breakfast fare. “I love our breakfasts,” says Keri. “We have really good bacon and eggs, and everybody talks about how good our grits are and the biscuits, too.” The Mason Jar draws 350 to 500 diners a day and was recently voted as “best of the best in country cooking” by readers in a Daily Commercial contest. One diner, Tom Kuhn posted online: “No matter what time you visit, expect good food, good service, and

a reasonable price. Worth the trip from about anywhere. I traveled 1,000 miles and visited three times before I left to head north.”

* No matter what time you visit, expect good food, good service, and a reasonable price. Latrell Key is pleased the Mason Jar remains a success, and the retiree loves visiting every chance she gets. “I tell them that I’m still the boss,” Latrell says with a chuckle. When she started the Mason Jar, she felt it was the ideal thing to do. “I just loved to cooked, and decided I wanted to do it, and it has turned out good for us.” Her favorite dish? “Oh, the fried chicken.” Latrell is pleased diners get good quality meals for their money, and just like the rest of her family, she delights in having met customers whom have become dear friends.


Why advertise in

Advertising in Style magazine has really helped our business jump to the next level. While most real estate companies just do online advertising, we use a combination and the online and print readership of Style magazine gets us the exposure we need for our clients. —LENA WILLIAMS, MORRIS REALTY AND INVESTMENTS, "2016 REALTOR OF THE YEAR" FOR THE REALTOR ASSOCIATION OF LAKE AND SUMTER COUNTIES


*

F i na l T h oug h t

The year that was The advantage of looking back is you can focus on the good, skim over the bad, and store it all for later. STORY: LEIGH NEELY

* T

his has been an amazing year in my life. For one thing, I hit the big 65. Like my 16-yearold grandson who proudly displayed his driver’s license, I had my picture made with my Medicare card. After all, it’s a big transition, just like driving. My first great memory of the year was our vacation in England in April. It’s always exciting to make a trip abroad, but our trip always has a little something special in it—we get to visit our son and his family. Our youngest son has been working in the United Kingdom for many years, first in Scotland, then Ireland, and now Weybridge, which is not too far from London. To say it broadened our perspective of the world is a minor statement. During our week in London, we toured Parliament, rode the London Eye, and spent a wonderful night at the Savoy in a room where Jimmy Stewart once stayed. We also ate at some amazing restaurants and enjoyed a backyard barbecue with our grandchildren. There were some bumps in the road along the way this year. My mother has very reluctantly agreed it’s time to move to assisted living. She has lived in her home for 45 years, so it’s very difficult for her to leave it. She’s so eloquent when she tells me about walking through the rooms and how it brings my dad back to her since his death in 2004. Changes are never easy. Unfortunately, like taxes, change is one of those things we must always face. Due to reasonable airline prices, our English family was able to visit the U.S. in August, so we had a rare time of our entire family together in one place. Our daughter lives in Atlanta, and our oldest son in Tallahassee, so our times together are precious. There’s nothing more relaxing than being at the beach for a week with children and grandchildren. If you happen to meet me on the street, feel free to ask me about my grandchildren. It’s the end of another year, but we have a clean slate facing us in 2018. Fill it with as much good stuff as you can and live every day to its fullest.

It’s the end of another year, but we have a clean slate facing us in 2018.

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STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, December 2017