Life can feel like a holein-one when your heartâ€™s in the right place
V I S I T U S O N L I N E TO L E A R N M O R E A B O U T O U R P H YS I C I A N S A N D M E D I C A L P RO F E S S I O N A L S
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DECEMBER 2018 // VOL.15 NO. 2 // F e a t u r e s
36 If I had the time… Everybody has a list of things they’d like to do, wish they had done, or want to do in the future. Maybe it’s time to quit saying, “When I finish…” and start doing what you want to do. Style has compiled a list of activities you may have thought about learning, along with the information you need to get started. However, this is just a small list of places you can learn these activities in Lake and Sumter counties. What you’re looking to learn may be in your neighborhood! COMPILED BY: LEIGH NEELY, JAMES COMBS, THERESA CAMPBELL, AND CHRIS GERBASI
LAKE & SUMTER
From learning how to drive, fly, or sail to embracing a variety of other ‘bucket list’ activities for the first time, Style has compiled a list of
54 Zoé’s plan for Mount Dora
64 A will and a way
Zoé Mueller is an intrepid 13-year-old Girl Scout who has big plans for her hometown. She wants to make it “plastic bag free,” and she plans to take on the state next.
Crystal Boliek didn’t let personal tragedy define her life. A single mother, she set out to make a good life for herself and her son by owning her own business. Her success is an inspiration to the many people who know and appreciate her.
STORY: CHRIS GERBASI
STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL
OF THE COOLEST CLASSES 2019 YOU’VE GOT TO TRY IN
ZOE’S MISSION Teen is a true environmentalist
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Check out the cool items available in local shops
MY FIRST TIME
Carman Cullen-Batt reveals public speaking jitters
Housekeeping business owner wipes away adversity
AND THE HOLIDAY SEASON WITH DELUCA TOYOTA Frank J. DeLuca: ‘Giving back not only feels good, but it’s the right thing to do.’
It’s never too late to learn baton twirling, clogging, and other activities
Teen is true environmentalist
On the covers
d e pa r t m e n t s
20 22 24 26 28
The Hit list Person of Interest Outstanding Student My First Time This ‘N That
69 ON THE SCENE
70 72 74 76 78 80
The To-Do List Local Talent In Concert Near & Far Social Spotlight Hi, Society!
93 food & drink
94 96 100 102 104
In the Kitchen Fork on the Road Now Serving Salutè Dining Guide
16 From the Publisher 120 Final Thought
anniversary sale! m in im um of 50% of f !
beautiful hand-woven rugs 352.629.3200 | 20 se broadway st., ocala, fl | cyrus-rug.com
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From The Publisher
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Knowledge is power! ne of the wonders
of living with small children is how quickly and how much they learn. It’s always exciting to learn something new. At Style magazine, we feel you never outgrow the need to learn, and we’re pretty sure you have a list hidden somewhere with all the things you want to do written on it. This month, the staff has done the searching for you so you can learn how to do most anything: watercolor painting, flying, dancing, writing, sailing, boxing, and a host of other interesting activities or hobbies. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can learn to do today. Make that call! Set up a lesson, join a class, find a group of like-minded people. The only one holding you back is you. We picked some special activities in Village Style magazine, too. With more than 2,000 clubs and organizations in The Villages, there’s sure to be something to spark your interest, from amateur radio to vintage cars to comic book collecting.
You can also sign up for classes at The Enrichment Academy. Join us In the Kitchen as people from Lake and Sumter counties share recipes they cook only at Christmas. What makes them so special is that these mouth-watering treats are enjoyed only once a year. This time of year is always special for families as they gather from near and far and enjoy the annual celebrations. We hope you’re able to be with friends and family who warm your heart and help you find the love that makes the new year start on the right note! As with learning, look at everything through a child’s eyes, and you’ll find it sparkles with joy. Until next month,
At You r S e rv i c e
Kendra Akers PUBLISHER firstname.lastname@example.org Doug Akers PRESIDENT email@example.com Jamie Ezra Mark CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER firstname.lastname@example.org
Hot Off The Press!
The latest editions of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Style, Healthy Living and Welcome to Lake County. UNHAPPY DURING THE HOLIDAYS? | Learn how to beat Christmas stress p.42 SPONSORED BY
December 2018 UNHAPPY DURING HOLIDAYS? | Learn how to beat Christmas stress p. 20
LAKE & SUMTER
OF THE COOLEST CLASSES 2019
Editorial // Design // Photography
Leigh Neely Jason Fugate MANAGING EDITOR CREATIVE DIRECTOR email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org James Combs Josh Clark STAFF WRITER SENIOR DESIGNER email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Theresa Campbell Volkan Ulgen STAFF WRITER DESIGNER email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Gerbasi Michael Gaulin STAFF WRITER PRODUCTION DIRECTOR email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Paula F Howard Anthony Rao STAFF WRITER STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Nicole Hamel STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER email@example.com
YOU’VE GOT TO TRY IN
ZOE’S MISSION Teen is a true environmentalist
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Check out the cool items available in local shops
MY FIRST TIME
Carman Cullen-Batt reveals public speaking jitters
Housekeeping business owner wipes away adversity
From learning how to drive, fly, or sail to embracing a variety of other ‘bucket list’ activities for the first time, Style has compiled a list of
AND THE HOLIDAY SEASON WITH DELUCA TOYOTA
SURVIVOR STORIES Clermont police Officer Kris Kruse suffered severe burns. Patrick Rader endured a traumatic brain injury. Neither let injuries define them during their powerful paths to recovery.
Frank J. DeLuca: ‘Giving back not only feels good, but it’s the right thing to do.’
Teen is true environmentalist
Great places to fish, paddle, do a boat tour, or just have fun on the water!
It’s never too late to learn baton twirling, clogging, and other activities
TO L A K E CO U N T Y
THE SHAPE OF WATER
THINK OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL
LRMC’s Wellness Center keeps people healthy, happy
UNSOUND SLEEP What is restless leg syndrome?
ENDLESS OUTDOOR OPTIONS Ride your bike, take a hike, grab a horse FLYING HIGH Enjoy wildlife, lots of different birds, or fly above it all
Coming in January:
AGRITOURISM Enjoy fruit and vegetables fresh from the field or get a taste of farm life.
SUBSCRIPTIONS: Order a subscription of your favorite magazine to be delivered directly to your home for just $84. Each subscription includes 12 consecutive issues of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Style or Healthy Living. Choose 2 or more magazines for $108 per year. To order, call 352.787.4112 or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you are a seasonal resident or have moved, send your address change request to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. BACK ISSUES: Order a single issue by mail for $7, or 2 or more single issues for $9. To pick up a back issue from our office, please call 24 hours in advance.
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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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ONE SMALL POSITIVE
CHANGE CAN AFFECT YOUR
Our 21 Day Liver Detox Class Begins January 7th.
to Cal fo day l ou ro t ro ur o s ﬃ ne che ce xt du cla le ss !
This program is a guide to purifying, nourishing, and maintaining a healthy body and weight. Program Includes: • Recipes • Shopping list • Blender Bottle • Program guide • Puriﬁcation Kit • Supplement Box • Weekly classroom instruction • Cost of the 4-week Puriﬁcation Program is $190 • Initial weigh-in which includes: weight, BMI, and body fat %, weekly weigh-ins, and ﬁnal weigh-in
Dr. Kimberly Besuden
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T H I S ’ N ’ T H AT
Photo: Anthony Rao
Meet John Simpson, deputy director, Lake County Office of EMS. SEE STORY on PG 22
* TUHpE FH IrT oL InS Tt
YOU ARE THERE: TV producer and writer Charlie Grinker explores the turbulent 1930s—the Great Depression, the march toward World War II, the golden era of film, the advent of television—in a presentation from 2-4pm Thursday, Dec. 13, at Black Box Theater, Clermont Performing Arts Center, 3700 S. Highway 27. Visit clermontpac.com for tickets.
SIT BACK, RELAX, AND ENJOY THE SHOW: This month is a great time to take a break from holiday shopping and see some light-hearted shows being offered by local community theater groups. Melon Patch Theatre in Leesburg is showcasing “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) through Dec. 16; Sonnentag Theatre in
GO TO THE SOURCE: Here’s another entry in the farm-to-table craze: Root & Branch Bistro & Bar, 1200 Oakley Seaver Drive, Unit 102, Clermont. On their website, the owners promise to offer fresh, classic bistro fare that is locally sourced: produce and meats from farms within a 200-mile radius, and fish caught in local waters. See rootandbranchbistroandbar.com.
GET TO CHURCH: For fanatics, running is like a religion. So what better way to start a Sunday morning than with a good run? The seventh annual Mount Dora Half Marathon and 5K event is scheduled for 7am Sunday, Dec. 16, starting at Elizabeth Evans Park, 100 N. Donnelly St. For registration information, go to mountdorahalfmarathon.com.
Mount Dora is featuring “Mary Poppins” until Dec. 15; Bay Street Players in Eustis and Moonlight Players Theatre in Clermont are both showing “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Show,” through Dec. 16; and Tavares Theater Inc. is featuring “She Loves Me, The Musical” through Dec. 16.
STORING THOSE DECORATIONS: Wish you could enter and exit your attic safely to store Christmas items? Villager Ron Brunner’s locally owned company, Majic Stairs, offers motorized, retractable, aluminumconstructed stairs with protective handrails that are popular in The Villages. Instead of a pull-down cord, the stairs go up and down with the push of a button and they retract flush with the ceiling. Call 352.255.1390 to learn more or visit majicstairsinc.com.
CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE:
W.T. Bland Library will receive a $52,000 donation from Friends of the Library for improvements to the Children’s Library, Mount Dora City Council documents show. Cathy Lunday, library services director, and Arliss Turner, president of Friends of the Library, addressed the City Council. The city’s library is the second-highest attended children’s library with the second-highest circulation rate in Lake County.
BIRD IS THE WORD: Birding enthusiasts will converge on the Florida ScrubJay Trail for the annual Clermont Christmas Bird Count, which will be held Jan. 5, 2019. Participants will be divided into teams and head out to their assigned territories to document what types of birds they locate. Email email@example.com.
BEING PRINCIPAL IS FUN!: Principal Nicole Wade and assistant principal Grace “Sissy” Ashley obviously enjoy their jobs and being with children. The two women introduce themselves on the school’s website, sumter.k12.fl.us, with this delightful picture. Hmmm…it might be fun to go to the principal’s office at Lake Panasoffkee Elementary School!
JUST CRUISIN’ ALONG: Mount Dora-based Premier Boat Tours will offer a daily one-hour Christmas cruise through Dec. 24. The cruise, which begins at 5pm, takes guests along the shore of Lake Beauclair and then back to Lake Dora to see the Christmas light display at the Mount Dora Marina. Call 352.434.8040.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB: They’re certainly not serving detention (think “The Breakfast Club” movie), but it’s a great chance for seniors to mingle with like-minded locals, and enjoy a game or maybe a class. The Senior Breakfast Club meets in the Garden Room at the Eustis Recreation Department, 2214 Bates Ave. For information, call 352.357.8510.
nt * PUEpR S FO Nr o OF INTEREST
John Simpson Deputy director, Lake County Office of EMS V I TA L
What I enjoy about my work: Every day is a new challenge, and I get to take on these challenges with some of the most amazing and talented people in the world of EMS.
Resides in Fruitland Park. On the job 26 years with Lake County Emergency Medical Services.
Why I was motivated to go into this field: EMS provides
Family: Wife, Teri; two daughters, Janie and Shannon; three granddaughters, Anna, Courtney, and Emma.
the culmination of our decisions and actions. Our decisions and actions not only build our character but define us as a person.
I spend free time: Exploring.
for others and did what he felt was right.
Best advice ever given: You’re only going to go through this life once. Enjoy it and try to leave the world a little bit better than you found it.
a unique opportunity. It provides the opportunity to truly make a difference in someone’s life every single day that you come to work.
Whether it’s a theme park, museum, beach, hiking trail, or winding road, I just like to wander and experience.
about anything fried.
What I enjoy most about Lake County: Even with all of
Pet peeve: Complaining without providing solutions.
My motto: You can do
the growth, Lake County still has a hometown feel.
anything once. This really speaks to my belief that we are
One word that describes me: Dedicated.
My hero: My father. He was the most honorable and patient person I have known. He always looked out
Guilty food pleasure: Just
What I would take with me on a deserted island: A boat. Sooner or later, I would tire of the solitude and want to leave.
Favorite hobbies: Camping, hiking, and cycling.
On my bucket list:
Photo: Anthony Rao
Circumnavigation cruise of South America.
From our house to yours... 352.241.9994 // 16401 Good Hearth Blvd., Clermont // BentonHouse.com FL Assisted living Facility # 12491
* OUUpT SFTrA NoDnI NtG S T U D E N T
Elizabeth Buzbee Senior at Montverde Academy
Who do you admire? My sister,
Born in Eustis, grew up in Mount Dora and Alabama. Father, Tom, is an abstract artist in Mount Dora and professor at Full Sail University. Mother, Linda, is a nurse practitioner with Aspire Health in Alabama.
What are your goals? I’m going to
GPA: 4.33, graduating with 14 AP classes, while serving as Prefect Student Leader. Served over 500 volunteer hours. In National, Science, Math, and Spanish honors societies, Honor Council, and Key Club. Produced three student movies on social issues with Molly Smith Productions; won two awards.
Why attend Montverde Academy? The diversity of students is a very stimulating atmosphere, and the school will help me reach my goals.
Siblings: Two sisters, Avery and Katie.
Katie, a former Marine raising my fantastic 6-year-old niece. I admire her strength of character.
best nutrition in student cafeteria food.
How do you handle tough times? I try to communicate and talk about whatever it is, and also improve nutrition and exercise until I feel better.
Relaxation: I spend time at a certain Florida beach where I remember honoring my grandmother when I was little. It’s a place that holds good memories.
What’s important to you?
Duke University for biomedical engineering with a focus in pre-med, then on to medical school to become a cardiovascular surgeon.
Best advice received:
How did you decide? A
Best advice to give: Everyone
cardiac surgeon is right in the chest, actually solving a problem. I want to help others in the best way possible.
is different, unique. You can’t be someone else. Our path is to learn to love ourselves.
Why Duke? Duke is in the top 5 in my chosen field, and they’re rated No. 1 for
Acceptance, tolerance, learning to love each other.
Sometimes you have to make decisions that will help yourself.
What’s ahead?: In a few months, I’ll be 18. To me, that means adulthood. I can hardly wait.
Photo: Nicole Hamel
V I TA L
* MUYpFFI RrS ToTnI Mt E
Carman Cullen-Batt Public speaking INTERVIEWER: THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTO: ANTHONY RAO
arman Cullen-Batt, of Leesburg, learned it’s important to speak slowly to her audience. “My first public speaking challenge was in 1991 at a chamber breakfast in front of about 70 people. I was terrified. The night before, I wrote every word on index cards and spent hours in front of the mirror practicing my delivery,” Carman recalls of presenting information about a chamber-sponsored golf tournament. “I considered pretending that everyone in the audience was unrobed, but I quickly gave up that thought as it would mean I was unrobed as well,” she says. “I spoke so quickly that no one in the room understood what I was saying.”
Carman has come a long way from her first public speaking engagement. As executive director of the Educational Foundation of Lake County, she now speaks at civic clubs, schools, and state meetings at least once a week. “I no longer practice in the mirror. I have learned to speak slowly,” she adds. “Every time I speak about the Educational Foundation and how we serve our students and teachers, I am passionate and excited. Hopefully, my enthusiasm spreads to my audience,” Carman says. Her advice to others preparing to speak before the public: “I find it’s important to emphasize the ‘why,’” she says. “If your audience understands the why, everything else falls
into place. Most importantly… speak slowly.” Carman’s next public speaking engagement will be Jan. 18 during TEDxEustis at the Historic State Theatre in downtown Eustis. “My topic title is ‘20,000 Turkey Legs and a Heart for Education,’” she says, explaining her attention-grabbing title is to promote the foundation. “The foundation has designed events to target specific audiences, and our largest fundraiser is the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire.” So why are turkey legs significant? “The culinary departments in seven of our high schools cook all of the food for the event,” Carman says, proudly adding, “including our turkey legs.”
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nother birthday’s coming, which is better than the alternative, but Father Time is looking more like a brother. Time is a confounding concept. As time marches on, it can run you down from behind, stomp across your backside, and kick you to the curb. Or, time can sneak up on you and gradually pick you apart with subtle changes over the years. “I get winded when I tie my shoes, I got the old man blues.” (Imagine 82-year-old bluesman Buddy Guy singing.) Physically, aging obviously brings some creaks and twinges. Actual movement might help my body feel better. I probably should stop shopping for one of those Hoverounds, but they look like they’d be so much fun around the house. I do keep appointments with my ear, nose, and throat doctor, followed by appointments with my ear, nose, and back barber. Read about symptoms on webmd.com at your own risk. This will either ease your mind that a giant tapeworm is not devouring your intestines or send you panicking to the nearest ER. And I’m trying to ignore those letters from funeral homes and cemeteries asking me to consider relocation. I’m still above ground! At least remove the Grim Reaper from your logos. “Strained an oblique getting out of the La-Z-Boy, ooh, I got the old man blues.” Emotionally, just going out can be jarring. The other
day at the supermarket, a bagger kid patronizingly said, “How are you, young man?” Watch it, punk, or I’ll smack that smirk right off your face, as soon as the Doan’s pills kick in for my aching shoulder. A small child eyed my white beard and exclaimed, “Santa!” Sorry, kid, you get a lump of coal. Then a woman looked at my paunch and cracked, “When are you due?” I’ll be birthing a canned ham any day now, thank you. Would you like to rub my belly? “People always lookin’ with sideways views, I got the old man blues.” Mentally, the mind is gone, and I tend to think it’s all tied to sleep. They say older people don’t sleep as long because they don’t need it. I think they don’t sleep as long because they can’t. I haven’t slept a wink since 1992. Each day, I function in a perpetually drowsy state. I’m nodding off as I write this. “I’m weaving and stumbling like Mr. Magoo, I got the old man blues.” Digestively, restaurants and supermarkets are just reminders of everything I can no longer eat: anything with red meat, anything with spices, anything with flavor, anything that didn’t come out of the dirt. “Aarp” used to be the sound I made after eating chili, now I’m reading the AARP newsletter for recipes on cauliflower steak and tips to curb flatulence. “Acid reflux keeps me from drinkin’ booze, I got the old man blues.”
“Strained an oblique getting out of the La-Z-Boy, ooh, I got the old man blues.” Sexually, aging in men causes the little-discussed but epidemic ailment of invisibility to women. It’s a socially transmitted disease. Somebody really needs to organize a telethon to raise money for research. Even though I’m always greeted warmly at retirement centers, date nights have given way to “Dateline” nights. Oh, that Andrea Canning is so nice! The rest of the weekend is spent deleting spam emails for hair loss, ED, and low-T. How do they know? “Life’s journey ends with a seniors cruise, I got the old man blues.” Now I get my kicks by purposely going to bars where I’m a thousand years older than everyone else and seeing how long it takes for all the young people to scatter. Don’t be afraid. Old isn’t contagious. I’m just here to steal your youth. I’m going to live forever! Ha-ha-ha-ha-haha! (diabolical laughter). I got the old man blues and I sing ’em every day. Hey, Father Time, wait up. You’re moving too fast.
INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIPS IMPROVING HEALTHCARE ACCESS PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
HEALTHCARE is a hot topic in Lake County. As
hospitals attempt to keep pace with growing populations, while properly serving those markets, one local company is on a mission to help healthcare providers. G3 Development assists hospitals and physicians in expanding and improving their facilities by applying a strategy that is usually reserved for large retailers. The team at G3 Development is finding innovative ways to help hospitals fill the gaps in healthcare access across Lake County. We sat down with Gerry Guenther, Principal at G3 Development, to learn about their unique approach to healthcare development. How did you get into healthcare development and why? We saw an opportunity to bring our expertise to the table in a really unique way. Our background is in retail development. After years of helping retail locations identify gaps in various markets and then effectively filling those gaps, we thought, why can’t we apply this same mentality to healthcare? Hospitals and healthcare providers are always looking to expand their reach into the community in order to provide the best care within their markets. Expansion plans are often either out of reach for financial reasons, or aren’t strategically implemented. That’s where we come in. We help identify the gaps and then build project proposals around those areas of weakness. We ask, what does this particular area need? What are they missing? Once we identify the need, we bring the project proposals to the healthcare providers already serving the area and work with them
to implement the projects. From the land purchase to permitting all the way to design, building, and even leasing the facilities, we are part of the process. We often handle the financing as well, assuming the majority of the risk and allowing the hospitals and doctors to focus on providing high-quality healthcare. Why is it important to approach healthcare projects this way?
We see it as a partnership. A lot of times, it is inefficient for a doctor or hospital to attempt a project on their own. We bring in expertise, research, planning, design, and financing so that we can create the facilities the community needs while allowing the healthcare providers to do what they do best. Basically, our goal is to minimize risk and maximize impact for healthcare professionals. We identify areas where people could be better served and through our partnership, we help the hospital expand faster with less financial risk than through traditional means. Tell us a little more about G3 Development. We are a family business. Our goal is to help our clients grow their businesses, be that in healthcare, retail, or professional organizations, by providing unique, customized solutions. Our flexibility sets us apart. We want to find the solution that works for our clients. We have commercial property development projects across all of Lake County and we truly enjoy partnering with our clients to deliver exactly what they need.
“OUR GOAL IS TO MINIMIZE RISK AND MAXIMIZE IMPACT FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS.”
PATIENT-FOCUSED PROJECTS It’s apparent that G3’s strategy is effective. Within the last five years they helped open two new facilities for South Lake Hospital utilizing this approach and are just beginning their third. The first project, SkyTop View Rehabilitation Center, is a 28,000+ square foot skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that focuses on short-term orthopedic rehab. G3 financed the building and leases it to South Lake Hospital, who manages the facility. South Lake Hospital COO Paul Johns said, “This model of expansion has been extremely beneficial, not just to South Lake Hospital, but also to individuals in the community. G3 helped us identify the project that would bring the most value to our patients. SkyTop View Rehabilitation Center now offers excellent care to our residents who didn’t have convenient access to shortterm rehabilitation services before. It was a needed service our community lacked. Now, we have a top-notch facility in which we can offer exceptional patient care. And, we were able to completely customize the facility to accommodate our needs. G3’s flexibility was key to our success.”
G3 worked with a consultant to identify a gap in the market, discovering a need for emergency care in the area. After bringing the idea to the hospital executive team, G3 was a part of the project execution, from the land purchase to permitting, design and building. Gerry Guenther said, “We really enjoyed partnering with South Lake. First in helping them identify the project that would benefit the most people, and then executing the actual building of the facility. The fact that we took on the financial risk allowed the hospital to complete the project faster, bringing new services to the community quickly.” The partnership allowed South Lake Hospital to focus on opening a second free-standing ER, doubling the reach of the original project. G3 has also begun work on an outpatient surgery center on the current campus, which is planned for late 2019. This will be their third major project with South Lake Hospital. The G3 team is always looking to help businesses grow. Contact Gerry Guenther at 352.397.4869 to get your next project off the ground.
The second project completed this year was the Orlando Health South Lake Hospital Emergency Room and Medical Pavilion – Blue Cedar in Clermont. This stand-alone Emergency Room is a 40,000 square foot facility that sits on 20 acres.
“WE TRULY ENJOY PARTNERING WITH OUR CLIENTS TO DELIVER EXACTLY WHAT THEY NEED.”
Jake Guenther Business Development
Gerry Guenther Principal
Austin Guenther Business Development
D ECEMB ER
EDI T I O N
Entering the Fourth Dimension Most cancer tumors are treated with conventional radiation therapy, which delivers small, daily doses for several weeks. But some tumors, especially those in the lung, can get more benefit from stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). SBRT delivers a single high dose radiation beam or up to five smaller treatments, zeroing in on the tumor from different angles. That sends the radiation to the exact spot where it’s needed and spares healthy tissue. Conventional radiation therapy uses threedimensional mapping to pinpoint where the beam goes, but SBRT adds a fourth
What Is A Medical Dosimetrist?
What Is A Medical Physicist?
A medical dosimetrist calculates radiation dose distributions and writes a treatment plan for radiation therapy. Tumor volume, possible limitations, and other variables factor into the dosimetrist’s calculations.
dimension: time. A lung cancer tumor moves as one breathes, so the radiation must track and hit that moving target. Sometimes this means that gold seeds, called fiducials, are implanted before the tumor is mapped. That is the only invasive part of this non-surgical alternative for patients who cannot have surgery and whose tumors are small and welldefined. In some cases, SBRT may replace surgery as a primary cancer treatment.
A medical physicist knows radiation’s effects on physiological variables, like metabolic rates and blood flow, and contributes that expertise during treatment plan development.
PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
What Happens Before Radiation?
Imaging, marking, molding, and metal markers are among the steps taken before radiation begins, to make sure that treatment goes exactly where it is needed. Imaging: A CT scan focuses on the area to be treated, ensuring that all of the tumor is inside the radiation field and that healthy tissue is spared. Depending on the tumor, other scans like MRI or PET may also be used. Their information feeds directly into computers for treatment planning. Marking: Skin markings guide the aiming of radiation and can include tattoos and permanent inks. Molding: A unique mold contoured to the body holds it in the exact position for radiation to pinpoint the tumor. Metal Markers: To track tumor movement over time, a gold seed (the fiducial) is sometimes inserted into the skin over the tumor. Placement is done using a needle guided by ultrasound.
by the numbers
1944 The year SBRT was introduced in the medical literature
Increase in 23-month lung cancer-specific survival rate for SBRT alone, from 2004-2012, for patients age 60 and above
Dr. C. Joseph Bennett: SBRT Helps Improve Survival
Researchers looked at patients from 2000 to 2010 diagnosed with stage 1 non small-cell lung cancer and found that two-year overall survival for those treated with either surgery or radiation therapy increased from 61 percent in 2000 to 70 percent in 2009. Both treatments offer patients a very good option for the treatment of their lung cancer, and often the decision of which approach to take is based upon the other health factors, like whether it is safe to perform surgery. The researchers concluded that these increases were likely due to the availability of less-invasive surgical procedures and more advanced techniques for delivering RT, such as stereotactic body RT (SBRT). SBRT, performed by RBOI for over a decade, permits the precise and accurate delivery of high doses of radiation over a shorter period of time, and works very well in properly selected patients.
Increase from 2007-2013 in men getting SBRT for prostate cancer
Number of treatments given in the course of SBRT
Patient-centered radiation oncology close to home The Villages 352.259.2200 Ocala 352.732.0277 Timber Ridge 352.861.2400 Inverness 352.726.3400 Lecanto 352.527.0106 RBOI.com
PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
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OF THE COOLEST CLASSES 2019 YOU’VE GOT TO TRY IN
2 Breathing life into death Author explains how to handle end-of-life choices.
4 Let there be light Villagers find holiday alternatives to ‘Northern lights.’
12 A hard pill to swallow Sublingual vitamins may be a better choice than pills.
* MVESEtT yAlVeI L L A G E R
The final decision Author has advice for handling end-of-life care. STORY: PAULA F HOWARD // PHOTO: ANTHONY RAO
“Sometimes, family members never heal from the trauma and pain of having to make those decisions for you, especially if they can’t mutually agree on a course of action.” — GAY LYN BIRKHOLZ
aking end-oflife choices is important. If you don’t, someone else will be forced to make decisions for you. That’s the message author Gay Lyn Birkholz, of The Villages, drives home in her book, “Conscious Passage: Documenting Your End-of-Life Care Choices.” “We often give our power away,” she says, “especially when we don’t put it in writing: What kind of care do we want? Often we wait until it’s too late to speak for ourselves. Undocumented decisions become someone else’s problem, usually a family member. Sometimes, making those decisions tears families apart.” Making those decisions also can result in unnecessary grief. “Sometimes, family members never heal from the trauma and pain of having to make those decisions for you, especially if they can’t mutually agree on a course of action,” she says. Gay and her partner, Tom, moved to the Village of Alden Bungalows three years ago from La Pointe, Indiana, where she was born and raised. After receiving her master’s
degree in medical ethics and business ethics from Valparaiso University, she taught for seven years at Purdue University. Previously, she had been in pharmaceutical sales and education. “I spent years caring for my dear aunt, who passed at age 94,” Gay says. “Over time, she became quieter and unable to stand up for herself to her doctors and caregivers. Because we had discussed certain issues about end-of-life, I knew what she wanted when the time came. “It’s a different world today,” she continues. “People need to stand up for themselves more often, become educated on their own health issues, even taking an active part in their own health care.” Her book explains how to document your wishes, decide what you are willing to endure and for how long, and when to tell caregivers you’ve had enough. Writing it down erases doubts and mistakes and,for families, eliminates regrets. “Making these decisions ahead of time actually brings you peace,” Gay says. “It’s such a gift to your loved ones.”
Gay is enjoying life in The Villages and serves on the Ethics Committee at The Villages Regional Hospital. Her book is available on amazon.com, and she will be at an author’s table from 10am-3pm Dec. 8 at the Central Florida Book and Author Fair at Eisenhower Recreation Center, 3560 Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages.
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* IVNSTtHyE lV eI L L A G E S
Do Christmas lights look good on palm trees? Villagers get a bright idea for Northern-style decorations. STORY: JOE ANGIONE
The designer of our holiday cones taught everyone how to make them. He has since left our village, but we all pitch in to show newcomers how to set them up.
hen I came to The Villages 21 years ago, Christmas lights and other holiday decorations festooned across palm trees seemed an appalling idea. In the Northeast, where I had lived, there were beautiful winter-hearty evergreens on millions of lawns and in public parks that were the official, holidayappropriate trees to decorate. But, alas, here in my village, and in most others that I know, there are very few “Christmas trees” standing on front lawns. What were people to do? How could they show passersby that their homes embraced the Christmas spirit? A wreath on the front door helps. But it isn’t enough. And so, Villagers took to their palm trees and other tropical foliage, running lights up and down, sideways, and crossways in attempts to put on a holiday light show. Some scenes were clever; others seemed a half-hearted swipe at presenting a bit of holiday color. A few demonstrated little more than a fierce commitment to intense illumination and the ability to afford a big hike in their electric bills. Thanks to a very creative neighbor, my Village of Hacienda North adopted a single, innovative lawn decoration to celebrate the Christmas season. It consists of a stylized holiday tree that begins with an eight-foot tall, two-inch thick PVC pipe driven about a foot
deep in the ground. From it are strung 24 lines of twinkling white lights spread 30 inches out from the pipe and anchored firmly in the grass with tent pegs. The whole thing takes about 45 minutes to set up. The result is stunning. Up and down our streets, in front of each house, is a glistening, white, coneshaped Christmas tree, each topped with a bright red, furry Santa hat. The designer of our holiday cones taught everyone how to make them. He has since left our village, but we all pitch in to show newcomers how to set them up. A date in early December is designated as “tree-lighting day” in our village, and it’s celebrated with a big driveway party in the evening at someone’s house. Anyone interested in seeing our holiday display should pick an evening after Dec. 3 to visit and view the long columns of snow-white Christmas cones that seem to go on forever all through the glorious nights before Christmas. Decorations here are now every bit as traditional as they are back in the snowy North.
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ST. JUDE TIME TO GIVE BACK
GOLF TOURNAMENT & CELEBRATION DINNER Golf | Wednesday, May 1 or Thursday, May 2 MALLORY HILL COUNTRY CLUB | THE VILLAGES Celebration Dinner | Saturday, May 4 SAVANNAH CENTER | THE VILLAGES stjude.org/timetogiveback
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©2018 ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
COOL CL ASSES: From acting to fly fishing, new adventures are always possible in The Villages. COMPILED BY: PAULA F HOWARD // PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO // MODEL: MEGAN MOEDER
For youret buckt! lis
A M AT E U R R A D I O
The Actors Studio Acting Lab meets at 7pm the second Friday of each month at Bacall Recreation Center, 2041 Canal St. All Villages residents are welcome. No previous experience is required and there are no dues. Sessions are based on acting classes conducted at Actors Studio and other New York City acting schools with emphasis on scene study, improvisations, relaxation exercises, sense memory, and other acting techniques. Showcase presentations are included each year. Call Dean Corbett at 352.551.0576.
The Villages Amateur Radio Club meets at 6pm the third Thursday of each month at Eisenhower Recreation Center, 3560 Buena Vista Blvd. Members assist with radio questions and share real-world stories. Speakers are available to other clubs on â€œHam Radio Todayâ€? at no charge. Contact Rich Erlichman at email@example.com.
GHOST STORIES Ghost Stories group meets from 2:303:50pm on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at Chula Vista Recreation Center, 1011 Rio Grande Ave. Ghost stories, paranormal and supernatural experiences, ESP, and miraculous events are shared. Believers and non-believers are welcome. Email Paul Rusnak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASTRONOMY The Villages Astronomy Club meets at 7pm the third Tuesday of each month at Laurel Manor Recreation Center, 1985 Laurel Manor Drive. The club is open to all Villages residents and their guests. Annual dues are $5. Call Burt Salk at 352.259.7217 or email email@example.com.
FISHING Fly Fish Women – This group meets from 3:30-5pm the third Thursday of each month at Canal Street Recreation Center, 1513 Canal St. New members are welcome. Email Sharon Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deep Sea Fishing – The club meets at 9am the first Saturday of each month at Paradise Recreation Center, 1403 Paradise Drive. Fishing trips are given away in chance drawings. Weekly and monthly fishing trips are oﬀered in the Gulf and Atlantic Ocean. For information, contact Mo Davison at 352.633.2067 or John Kluck at 352.633.6060 or visit deepseafishingclub.org.
The Orchid and Garden Club meets at 10am the third Thursday of each month in the Neptune Room at SeaBreeze Recreation Center, 2384 Buena Vista Blvd. New members are welcome and encouraged to bring orchids for show and tell and analysis. All levels of enthusiasts are welcome to attend. Contact Rosemary Arnieri at 352.205.9966 or email@example.com.
CLOGGING Clog Club Connection meets at 11:30am Fridays at Bacall Recreation Center, 2041 Canal St. Beginners are welcome; however, basic steps will be shown, then participants will be directed online for more instruction. Traditional clog steps and easy-intermediate routines are shown. Contact Clyde Hamilton at 352.205.9678 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Clogging Happy Feet, a beginners class meets at 12:45pm Thursdays at Manatee Recreation Center, 1512 Hillsborough Trail. A beginners-plus class starts at 1:30pm. Call Jan Schantini at 352.753.2057.
K U M I H I M O J A PA N E S E BRAIDING The Kumihimo Japanese Braiding Group meets at 9am the first and third Tuesdays of each month at Fish Hawk Recreation Center, 2318 Buttonwood Run. For information, email Trudy at email@example.com.
BIRDING The Village Birders Club meets at 9am the third Saturday of each month (except May-September and December) at Paradise Recreation Center, 1403 Paradise Drive. Call Alice Horst at 352.751.6943.
TRUE CRIME True Crime Book Club meets from 3-4:20pm the third Sunday of each month at Hibiscus Recreation Center, 1740 Bailey Trail. Group membership is open, and guests are welcome for a $2 fee. Call Margaret Sgritta at 352.575.1019, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
G E N E A L O GY Genealogy Writers SIG meets from 2:30-4:20pm the second Tuesday of each month at SeaBreeze Recreation Center, 2384 Buena Vista Blvd. This group assists members in writing their family stories to preserve them for future generations. Meetings are open to members of The Villages Genealogical Society. Email Anne Berg at email@example.com.
B AT O N T W I R L I N G The Villages Twirlers and Drum Corps meets from 1-3pm Thursdays at La Hacienda Recreation Center, 1200 Avenida Central, and from 11am-noon Mondays at Mulberry Grove Recreation Center, 8445 SE 165th Mulberry Lane. Free lessons are available for anyone who wants to participate in parades, shows, and other events. No experience is necessary, and drums are provided. Call Jerry Peacock at 352.259.8606, or visit thevillagestwirlers.com. Prime Time Twirlers meets from 9-11am Mondays at Canal Street Recreation Center, 1513 Canal St., and from 9-11:30am Thursdays at Lake Miona Recreation Center, 1526 Buena Vista Blvd. The team is seeking new members. Free private lessons are available. Call Elin Jones at 352.259.5864 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOME BREWING The Villages (Craft Beer) Home Brewers Club meets at 7pm the third Tuesday of each month at Sterling Heights Recreation Center, 2508 St. Charles Place. The next meeting is in February 2019. Meetings are for sharing of ideas, recipes, brewing techniques, and types of equipment. Call Ron McMahon at 352.205.4647.
V I N TA G E C A R S The Villages Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) meets at 7pm the second Monday of each month at Odell Recreation Center, 2260 Odell Circle. Call Gordon at 901.292.5450 or visit tvraaca.org.
COMIC BOOK COLLECTING Comic Book Collectors Club meets at 4pm the third Wednesday of each month in the Lucille Ball Room at Paradise Recreation Center, 1403 Paradise Drive. Comic book lovers of all kinds are welcome. The club focuses on comic-related movies, TV shows, anime, and â€œgeekâ€? culture, and meetings include trivia contests with prizes. Call Christofur Sinclair at 352.633.0489.
BOOK PUBLISHING Writers League of The Villages meets from 8:30-10:20am the first Wednesday of each month (except June-July) at Laurel Manor Recreation Center, 1985 Laurel Manor Drive. The group covers all genres and helps writers market their books, and also hosts monthly speakers. Call Rita Boehm at 240.751.3978 or visit wlov.weebly.com. Creative Writers members meet and read their material from 11am-12:50pm Wednesdays at Laurel Manor Recreation Center, 1985 Laurel Manor Drive. Call Allen Watkins at 352.259.4981 or email email@example.com. Working Writers Workshop meets from 8:30-11:30am Tuesdays at Canal Street Recreation Center, 1513 Canal St. Call Phil Walker at 352.775.8402. Writers of The Villages meets from 9-10:50am Tuesdays at Bradenton Recreation Center, 1300 Pinellas Place. Writers email stories to other participants for discussion and critique
at the meetings. Call Millard Johnson at 317.584.5071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Writers4Kids meets from 9-10:50am at Hibiscus Recreation Center, 1740 Bailey Trail. Writers help Villagers become published and win literary contests. Visit writers4kids.com. Short Story Writers Club meets at 10am the second Friday of each month at Laurel Manor Recreation Center, 1985 Laurel Manor Drive. Members read their stories of 1,500 words or less for helpful critiques. Call Tom at 352.753.2917 or email email@example.com. Sea Hill Press is a publisher in Leesburg, 214 N. 3rd St., Suite A. This is all contract-based publishing, with writing, photography, and layout available. The company actively seeks authors with realistic expectations for selfpublishing. Writers can meet the editors, marketers, and those in distribution. Call 877.397.0005 or visit seahillpress.com.
* LVI VSItNyG lHeE A L T H Y
Top 5 benefits of sublingual vitamins vs. pill form Making a change may improve your overall health. STORY: DR. SHERRY KELISHADI
O * In my years as a pharmacist, I’ve learned two important truths: people can’t stand taking pills and often don’t realize a simple alternative may be available.
ngoing medical science and research continually open our eyes to many opportunities for improving health, maximizing quality of life, and even adding years through proper nutrition. Unfortunately, for many of us, keeping pace with evolving science about what’s best for our health can be overwhelming. We are constantly faced with new information and decisions regarding what is best. Each person has different nutritional needs based on genetics, body analysis, eating habits, and exercise patterns (or lack thereof). Some of us suffer from vitamin or mineral deficiencies as well, which can negatively affect our health. I remember as a kid when my daily vitamin regimen was a chewable multivitamin and maybe a vitamin C pill when I had a flu or cold. Today, I see people roaming the lengthy aisle of vitamins, supplements, minerals, and herbs not only contemplating the abundant options to add to their daily intake, but also the dosage and which brand to choose. But wait! What about which form of vitamin to take: pill or sublingual? Newer to the vitamin world, sublingual supplements, in either liquid or tablet form, are made to be consumed by placing them under the tongue
for absorption through the mucosal membrane that lines the mouth. In my years as a pharmacist, I’ve learned two important truths: people can’t stand taking pills and often don’t realize a simple alternative may be available. With that in mind, here are five reasons to look at replacing your pill vitamins, medications, and supplements with the sublingual form: BETTER ABSORBENCY – We now know there are different factors affecting vitamin and mineral absorbency. Some minerals are best absorbed when accompanied by other vitamins, such as calcium aided by vitamins A and D. Some supplements are best absorbed with food. But sublingual vitamins are altogether more effective than those in pill form due to a superior absorption rate into the body both in speed and efficacy. The Mayo Clinic reports an inability to absorb vitamin B12 from the intestinal tract can cause a type of anemia called pernicious anemia. FASTER RESULTS – The effects of sublingual vitamins are felt quicker and more completely due to liquid being absorbed immediately into the bloodstream rather than having to be processed through digestion first. In fact, due to a decreased
absorption rate, the critical vitamins contained in pill-form supplements are often flushed out of the body through urine. MORE DESIRABLE CONSUMPTION – Sublingual supplements offer a pleasant alternative to pills both in terms of taste and ease of consumption. The most common question I am asked as a pharmacist is related to the size of the pills patients are taking—not their side effects, instructions for when or how to take them, the length of time they are to take the pills, or anything else deemed medically relevant. SAVE TIME AND MONEY – Many simply can’t swallow or digest pills properly and turn to intramuscular shots, such as B-12 injections, at a clinic. This can be time-consuming and costly. Sublingual vitamins come with a significant time and money savings in comparison. Furthermore, many brands of pills can be expensive, with sublingual versions offering an affordable alternative.
PURE INGREDIENTS – Sublingual vitamin ingredients, such as those contained in NutraGlow’s Super B, which includes hydroxycobalamin, the most active naturally occurring form of vitamin B-12, and Super Lean, are purer than in pill form. Many pills contain harmful preservatives and synthetic ingredients, which our bodies do not accept as easily as natural ingredients. With so many supplements available on the market, it can be difficult to choose which to take, how much to take, and the form in which to take it. A blood workup ordered by your doctor can determine if you are deficient of essential vitamins and minerals. Considering a sublingual vitamin supplement to help offset a deficiency could lead to a significant improvement in your overall health. Speaking with a health-care professional will lead you in the right direction for your body.
About the author Dr. Sherry Kelishadi has a doctor of pharmacy degree from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. She was chief pharmacist at Rite Aid for more than three years before co-founding NutraGlow.
* BVOSOtK yR lE VeI E W
‘Hillbilly Elegy’ ‘A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,’ by J.D. Vance. A young man’s emotional rise over obstacles to success. STORY: JACQUE SCHROCK
Vance raises questions such as the responsibility of his family and members of his community for their own misfortune.
he author, J.D. Vance, has combined a current-day memoir with an illustration of the challenges facing hillbilly society generally. Facilitator Mary Ann Hume generated a lively discussion with thought-provoking questions. Several of the Bookworm Book Club members were former educators who were able to share situations they observed in their work that were similar to those described in the book. Vance’s book is a raw, emotional portrait of growing up in, and eventually out of, a poor rural community riddled by drug addiction and instability. His own success as a Yale graduate with a law degree is an amazing and inspiring story. His life began in Jackson, Kentucky, and the family migrated to Middletown, Ohio, to work in the steel mills. He found the cultures of the two locations very similar due to the large numbers of Appalachian workers who migrated to southern Ohio. His people—hillbillies, rednecks, white trash, choose your epithet— were historically sharecroppers, coal miners, machinists, and millworkers. These were low-paying, body-wearying occupations
that over the years vanished or offered diminished security. Throughout the memoir, the author suggests how his society could be improved, primarily in the need for its members to take responsibility for their own problems. The author described a society whose prevalent values included fierce loyalty to each other and a deep respect for personal honor that often dictated a violent response to perceived slights. Vance raises questions such as the responsibility of his family and members of his community for their own misfortune. He blames a hillbilly culture and its supposed encouragement of social rot and a poor work ethic. Vance’s mother was an empress of instability: violent, feckless, and prone to hysteria. Several stints in rehab couldn’t shake her addiction to prescription narcotics, and she eventually moved on to heroin and became homeless. His saving grace was his mother’s parents, “Mamaw and Papaw,” who offered Appalachian positive values, such as loyalty and love of country. But other traits, like a tendency toward violence and verbal abuse, were inimical to family life. Mamaw was gun toting, tough as snakeskin, foul-mouthed as a mobster, and filled with love. She rescued Vance throughout his childhood from the chaos of his mother’s home, and finally he lived with her full time while in high school. Her belief in him led to his success in the Marines and beyond. “Hillbilly Elegy” is a story of inspiration filled with messages of hope and personal triumph in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
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The Right Choice
Dr. Gloria Hernandez focuses on continuity of care for her patients. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
come from a family of doctors,” says Gloria, a primary care physician with Lakeview Internal Medicine. “I was surrounded by that environment, so as a child, I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor. I saw my family caring for their patients, and our family and friends.” After graduating from Universidad Iberoamericana in Santo Domingo, she interned for a year in Miami before marrying her husband, Francisco Chang, who was going through pediatric residency. They completed their training in New York, where Gloria did her internal medicine residency at Brooklyn Hospital, and trained in geriatrics at Maimonides Medical Center. The couple decided to move to a more tropical climate, like Gloria’s homeland, and chose Central Florida. They have two daughters and Gloria enjoys cooking Mexican and Italian dishes for the family. She spent two years at Leesburg Regional Medical Center, then sought the outpatient setting at Lakeview. “For me, the continuity of care with patients is very
important, so you can see that in the outpatient setting,” she says. At the preventive care-based practice, Gloria recommends age-appropriate screenings and shots, handles women’s care such as gynecological exams, pap smears, and mammograms, and coordinates colonoscopies and other screenings. Many of her patients are older and require specialists. She treats many older patients who have several comorbidities. She appreciates that Lakeview has several specialists under its roof with whom she can coordinate continuity of care and ensure successful treatment. “I try to get the best treatment for my patients,” Gloria says. “And that’s one of the things I like about our practice. Lakeview Internal Medicine has been growing and we have our own specialists in the practice, so it’s easier to keep up with the information for the patients and communicate with the specialists.”
Lakeview Internal Medicine, P.A. 4685 N. Highway 19A Mount Dora 32757 352.589.5900 lvhcs.com
DR. GLORIA HERNANDEZ
27 COOL CL ASSES:
ning Leairs in
If you have a bucket list—you’ve always wanted to dance, sing, learn photography, cook like a gourmet, or anything else you dream of doing—quit putting it off! Style has compiled a list of places where you can learn how to drive, how to fly, how to sail, how to become a master gardener, and how to do a variety of other activities. Stop waiting for tomorrow and start learning today. COMPILED BY: LEIGH NEELY, JAMES COMBS, THERESA CAMPBELL, AND CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO // MODEL: MEGAN MOEDER
DRIVING LESSONS West Central Florida Driver Improvement Inc., 343 W. Alfred St., Tavares. 352.343.4008. local.dmv.org/florida. Classes are offered to people who are seeking first-time driver’s licenses, as well as driver improvement training and traffic schools.
TA E K W O N D O
Martial Arts of Leesburg, 1333 S. 14th St., Leesburg. 352.217.1953. martialartsleesburg.com. Taekwondo is touted as ideal for physical fitness, stress relief, and to improve balance and flexibility. Classes are available for adults, families, and children as young as 6.
SIGN LANGUAGE Lake-Sumter State College, 9501 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg. 352.365.3556. lssc.smartcatalogiq. com. Beginning and continuing American sign language classes are available as non-credit courses. Participants learn the alphabet, numbers, basic communication, linguistic structure, and about the deaf culture. Deaf and Hearing Services of Lake and Sumter Counties, 220 S. 9th St., Leesburg. 352.323.0757. deafandhearing.org. This agency provides American sign language classes and other services to benefit deaf and hard-of-hearing residents in Lake and Sumter counties.
Master Wayne’s Family Martial Arts Center, 3755 Lake Center Drive, Mount Dora. 352.383.0898. mtdorakarate. com. The center features martial arts for adults and youths 5 and older, along with after-school classes and summer camp.
Leesburg Music, 1609 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg. 352.323.8889. leesburgmusicfl.com. Participants can learn to play several musical instruments from experienced instructors—everything from guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, steel guitar, drums, keyboards, trumpet, and low brass, just to name a few.
PHOTOGRAPHY Lake-Sumter State College, 9501 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg. 352.365.3556. ed2go.com. The college offers a variety of short-term photography classes, including learning how to master a digital SLR camera, introduction to Adobe Photoshop, the secrets of better photography, travel photography, and more. W.T. Bland Public Library, 1995 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora, 352.735.7180. mylakelibrary.evanced. info/signup/calendar. The library offers a hands-on workshop for beginners, who learn how to operate a digital camera and practice taking shots in class.
Family Music of Clermont, 240 Citrus Tower, Clermont. 352.989.4963. familymusicclermont.com. Piano, guitar, bass, violin, drums, and voice lessons are provided in one location, with a focus on guiding beginning students to be performers.
ARTS AND CRAFTS 6
BOXING Primo’s Boxing of Leesburg, 102 S. Kaolin St., Leesburg. 352.321.6527. facebook.com/ primosboxing. The gym provides boxing lessons, physical training, body conditioning, and personal training from a hands-on coach. Teknique Boxing Gym, 317 E. Washington St., Unit D, Minneola. 407.715.3648. tekniqueboxing. com. A non-contact class focuses on footwork, hand-eye coordination, boxing combinations, foot placement, angles, bobbing and weaving, slips and rolls, timing, and conditioning to test newcomers to the sport. Title Boxing Club, 4391 S. Highway 27, Clermont. 352.394.5227. titleboxingclub. com. The club’s programs bring the intensity of boxing training, minus the impact. Students of all levels are welcome, and instructors will show rookies all the basics of the sport.
CROSSFIT Not the Norm CrossFit, 411 N. 14th St., Leesburg, Suite 150. 352.408.2546. notthenormcrossfit.com. Workouts are available for all levels of athletes, who can participate in gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing, and more. CrossFit Unmatched—Dirty South Gyms, 2800 W. Old U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora. 321.765.9595. crossfitunmatched.com. This gym aims to help participants reach their fitness and performance goals.
Lake Eustis Museum of Art, 1 W. Orange Ave., Eustis. 352.483.2900. lakeeustisartmuseum.org. Classes and workshops focus on watercolors and jewelry, among other mediums. Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St., Leesburg. 352.365.0232. leesburgarts.com. Fabrics, acrylics, and pastels are among the class subjects, and the center also provides open studio time for artists. Mount Dora Center for the Arts, 138 E. Fifth Ave. 352.449.3799. mountdoracenterforthearts.org. Classes and workshops are conducted for mediums including ceramics, drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, and printmaking. Painting with a Twist, 16844 U.S. Highway 441, Mount Dora. 352.383.7928. 2411 S. Highway 27, Clermont. 407.505.5526. paintingwithatwist.com No experience is needed for students who want a new twist on lessons in a casual social environment. These “paint and sip” studios provide twoor three-hour classes and family fun classes, plus all the paint supplies and artist instructions. But it’s BYOB for the adults. Two B’s Studio, 129 N. Grove St., Unit B, Eustis. 352.638.0001. two-bs.com. The studio offers silversmith, silver fabrication, and jewelry-making classes for beginners, plus open studio time to work on projects. Wine & Design, 10889 N. U.S. Highway 301, Oxford. 352.461.0799. wineanddesign.com. Another “paint and sip” venture, this studio enables students to paint their own pottery, ceramics, or canvases during social get-togethers.
Anastassia Ballroom & Dance, 32624 Blossom Lane, Leesburg. 352-533-7400. anastassiaballroom.com. Group and individual classes for ballroom and Latin dancing are available for all ages. The first lesson is free for new students.
Lake County Extension Office, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services, 1951 Woodlea Road, Tavares. 352.343.4101. sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/ lake. The extension service educates the public about plants and horticulture, crops and livestock, but many of its classes also involve cooking, such as farm-to-table cooking, healthy recipes, and even incorporating protein from insects into your diet in the Creature Cuisine class—it’s true.
Dance Dance Dance, 307 N. Main St., Wildwood. 352.658.1001. dancedancedance. biz. Group lessons are offered for ballroom dances, including the Argentine tango, West Coast Swing, salsa, the foxtrot, and the Bolero.
Dancin’ Ballroom & Stage Arts Center, 10700 U.S. Highway 441, Suite 104, Leesburg. 352.319.6767. dancinleesburg.com. This center offers private and group lessons for ballroom and Latin dancing, as well as wedding dance classes, to residents of Leesburg. Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St., Leesburg. 352.365.0232. leesburgarts.com. Weekly adult programs include hip-hop-style dance fitness, belly dancing, and Afro urban rhythm dance.
Local business owners can obtain valuable knowledge by attending free or low-cost classes offered by the Lake County Business Opportunity Center. The classes will resume in January 2019, and as of this writing, coordinators have not released a class schedule. In the past, courses have covered topics such as marketing, web and social media basics, business plan writing, cybersecurity, and market research. Visit businessinlakefl.com to see what classes are offered in January 2019.
YOGA Eustis Yoga, 1300 E. Orange Ave., Eustis. 352.978.8356. eustisyoga.com. Beginners are welcome at this center, which teaches energy, Sivananda, gentle, and chair yoga styles, as well as meditation and a low-impact workout for sculpting the body. SamaCore Yoga & Barre, 481 W. Ardice Ave., Eustis. 352.409.3646. samacoreyoga.com. This center
Lake Technical College, 2001 Kurt St., Eustis. 352.589.2250. laketech.org. If you want to go back to school, Lake Tech offers a highly regarded professional culinary arts and hospitality program. After approximately 40 weeks, students are prepared for employment in the food service industry. The Roaming Gourmet Ze’ Carter, 352.455.4915. getcookingwithze.com. This mobile cooking school brings the cooking fun to you. Ze’ offers classes for adults as well as demonstrations and teambuilding exercises. She also conducts occasional classes at local restaurants, and the Leesburg and Lady Lake public libraries.
offers a variety of yoga classes, such as yin, prenatal, vinyasa flow, chair, and therapeutics, along with barre classes, specialized workshops, events, summer camps, and retreats for new and experienced students. Still Lake Yoga, 365 Citrus Tower Blvd., Clermont. 352.978.8356. stilllakeyoga.com. Classes are inspired by the Sivananda yoga tradition. Students can expect breathing exercises, asanas
(yoga postures), flowing exercise sequences, and a period of deep relaxation. Total Body Flow Yoga Studio, 322 W. Burleigh Blvd. (U.S. Highway 441), Tavares. 352.658.1565 or 352.343.7707. The studio provides classes that are strengthening and playful, explorative and restorative. Instructors specialize in yin yoga, hatha yoga, vinyasa flow, restorative healing yoga, and mindful meditation.
PICKLEBALL Engage Pickleball Pro Team Academy, 4095 County Road 106, Oxford. 888.615.2242. engagepickleball.com. Pickleball players have an opportunity to learn under national champions and Professional Pickleball Federation players. One- and three-day clinics that focus on mechanics and game strategies are offered. Grand Oaks Resort Indoor Pickleball, 3000 Marion County Road, Weirsdale. 352.750.5500. home.thegrandoaks.com/pickleball. Learn from gold medalist and certified pickleball instructors. Three-day pickleball camps and two-hour drill sessions are among the programs offered.
VOLLEYBALL Hickory Point Beach Sand Volleyball Complex. 27341 State Road 19, Tavares. 352.742.0080. lcwa.org/hickory-point. Florida’s largest permanent sand volleyball complex offers three courts that are available for public play. Premier Volleyball League, 15010 Old U.S. Highway 441, Eustis. 352.702.3515. usapvl.com. This is one of 40 regional volleyball associations throughout the country. Featuring both men’s and women’s teams, this USA Volleyball-sanctioned organization offers tournament play and a league championship event each year. Florida Region of USA Volleyball, 15010 U.S. Highway 441, Eustis. 352.742.0080. floridavolleyball.org. Since 1982, this organization has offered indoor and sand volleyball for adults, teens, and children, as well as educational opportunities for coaches and officials. Florida Region of USA Volleyball hosts prestigious indoor and sand volleyball tournaments throughout the year.
SAILING Mount Dora Yacht Club, 351 W. 4th Ave. Mount Dora. 352.383.3188. mountdorayachtclub.com. Members of this organization, billed as “Florida’s oldest inland yacht club,” gather for social events, promote water activities, and cultivate community relations, according to its website. The club hosts several regattas throughout the year, including the 66th annual Sailing Regatta, which will be held March 30-31, 2019. Lake Eustis Sailing Club, 1310 County Road 452, Eustis. 352.589.5417. lescfl.com. The organization hosts club races two weekends per month, as well as five regional sailing events. Upcoming 2019 events include the George Washington’s Birthday Regatta Feb. 16-17 and the MCSA Mid-Winters Championship March 14-16.
SWIMMING National Training Center Aquatics, 1935 Don Wickham Drive, Clermont. 352.241.7144. teamunify.com. This privately owned program offers competitive swimming opportunities for entrylevel swimmers, seniors, and Olympic hopefuls. The coaching staff is certified through USA Swimming and the American Swimming Coaches Association. Golden Triangle YMCA, 1465 David Walker Road, Tavares, 352.343.1144. ymcacentralflorida.com. Adult group swimming lessons are offered to participants of all skill levels to help learn proper breathing control, improve swimming strokes, and increase confidence in the water. In addition, adults can enroll in aqua fitness classes so they can enjoy an active lifestyle through non-impact exercise.
LEADERSHIP Leadership of Lake County, P.O. Box 1501, Tavares. 352.434.5025. leadershiplakefl.com. Leadership of Lake County is a nine-session program where participants engage in day-long learning experiences in numerous industries, including education, media, health care, agriculture, government, and criminal justice. Lake County Volunteer Program, 1300 S. Duncan Drive, Tavares. 352.742.6590. Lake County residents can utilize their talent and knowledge by volunteering, an activity that helps them achieve personal growth and fulfillment.
POT TERY Wine and Design, 10889 N. U.S. Highway 301, Oxford. 352.461.0799. wineanddesign.com. Sip on a glass of wine, beer, or soda while painting your own pottery or ceramics. Kimberly Miller Studios, Leesburg. 352.728.3933. kimberlymillerstudios.com. This company offers classes for novice and experienced potters alike. Private lessons are also available.
T E C H N O L O GY Computer Institute at Lake-Sumter State College, 9501 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg. 352.365.3556. lssc.edu. The institute provides oneon-one training to individuals with specific training needs. Lake County Library System offers a wide range of classes on Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, iPad, digital video, and computer basics at libraries throughout the county. Information can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
C O S M E T O L O GY
Cosmetologists and makeup artists have become popular occupations that offer you the freedom of being self-employed and setting your own hours if desired. Lake Technical College, 2001 Kurt St. in Eustis, offers a 1,200-hour program that provides you with the opportunity to make as much as $27,000 as a starting salary. See laketech.org for more information. TENAJ Salon Institute, 11915 County Road 103 in The Villages, has a nine-month cosmetology training program that involves hair care, cutting, coloring, skin care, anatomy/ chemistry, makeup, and much more. Find out more at tenajsaloninstitute.edu or call 352.259.6717.
Becoming a master gardener is something you can do easily in this area. In Sumter County, just complete the Sumter County Master Gardener application, then go to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences from 9am-3:30pm Fridays at the Sumter County Extension Office, 760 State Road 471, Suite Z, Bushnell. At the Lake County UF/ IFAS Extension office, 1951 Woodlea Road in Tavares, youâ€™ll find programs and advice from trained master gardeners. There are plant clinics weekdays from 9am4pm, and some pH testing services are provided. Call 352.569.6862 or visit sfy.ifas.ufl.edu/lake/.
Hearts of Lake Co, 352.255.5668. heartsoflakeco. com. This is an American Heart Association training center offering public CPR classes at various locations, such as the Tavares Civic Center and Lake Technical Center, and arranging private classes at your place of business.
Florida Dog Trainer, based in Montverde, offers a school for dog trainers. The school has been teaching trainers and dog owners for more than 35 years, providing knowledge and practical training tips for newcomers and experienced dog trainers alike. See floridadogtrainer.com, call 407.469.5583, or email email@example.com for information on available courses.
Lake Emergency Medical Services, 352.383.4554. lakeems.org. Free CPR classes are offered at sites throughout the county on a periodic basis. South Lake Hospital, National Training Center, 1935 Don Wickham Drive, Clermont. 352.394.4071. southlakehospital.com. CPR is among the many subjects of the hospitalâ€™s ongoing Community Education Classes. Sumter County Fire & EMS, 7375 Powell Road, Wildwood. 352.689.4400. sumtercountyfl.gov. The department offers periodic training opportunities throughout the county for people who either want to learn CPR or need a refresher course.
BIKING Biking is a great way to stay fit and an amazing hobby you can enjoy around the world. Discoversumterfl.com has a complete list of biking trails in Sumter County as well as motorcycle areas and campgrounds. There are also a number of scenic trails in the wildlife management areas of the county. In Lake County, there are many scenic and challenging bike trails throughout the area. Check visitlakefl.com to see a map of biking trails available.
WRITING Writing is as easy as picking up a pen and paper or sitting down at your computer. If you want some help or advice, check out the creative writing or Write Your Life courses in Lake-Sumter State College Continuing Education, 9900 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg, 352.365.3556. Check local libraries—many writers’ groups meet regularly in their community to encourage each other and learn more about the art of writing.
F LY I N G Flying in Florida is amazing. If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, there are many places where you can learn to fly and get your private pilot’s license. Take lessons at Sunair Aviation, 8806 Airport Blvd., Leesburg, 352.787.2211, airnav.com.
GOLFING Golfing is extremely popular in Lake and Sumter counties. If you’ve never learned how to play golf, now’s the time to learn. The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy at Mission Inn & Resort Club, 10400 State Road 48 in Howey-in-the-Hills, provides mental, technical, fitness, and on-course training. Call 352.484.0787 or visit ggga.com. If you’re not close to that area, there’s The Villages Golf Academy, which offers group and private lessons. 1625 Palmer Way, 352.259.8121, golfthevillages.com.
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OF GIVING BACK Frank DeLuca revs up community service at DeLuca Toyota in Ocala. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
ore than 200 guests and dignitaries paid special tribute to Frank DeLuca on Oct. 23, honoring the owner and president of DeLuca Toyota for his generous philanthropic contributions and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of DeLuca Toyota. Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn proclaimed Oct. 23 as “Frank J. DeLuca Day,” and noted in the proclamation that DeLuca was born in New Jersey, raised in Orlando, and began his career in auto sales in Orlando. He worked his way up to general manager in 11 years, before moving to Ocala in 1978 to start DeLuca Toyota with 18 employees.
Now with a team of 190 associates, the dealership sells over 4,200 vehicles a year, thanks to Villages residents as the majority of buyers, and DeLuca Toyota ranks in the Top 10 among all U.S. Toyota dealerships. DeLuca credits his success to Jim Moran, the late founder of Southeast Toyota, the exclusive distributor of Toyotas in the southeastern United States – Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. “Mr. Moran was my mentor when I began my career as a Toyota dealer 40 years ago. He instilled the importance of hard work, perseverance, and treating customers with honesty, courtesy, and respect,” says DeLuca. “Some of the best advice I have received is to treat customers and our associates the same way in which you would like to be treated; we try to treat every customer as an honored guest in our home.” Treating customers right has resulted in longlasting friendships. “Forty years ago we sold to our original customers, then we started selling their children Toyotas, and then years later selling their grandkids Toyotas. So we’ve
actually now, and have been for many years, selling three generations of customers,” DeLuca told the crowd at the anniversary celebration. “Some of our customers have purchased 10, 12, to 15 cars in the last 40 years.” He’s humbled by the fact that 81 percent of DeLuca Toyota customers are repeat customers, which he notes is a high percentage in the auto business, and he credits that success to the hard work and dedication of his employees, many of whom have been with the dealership for decades. Vera Sandiford, fixed operations manager, has been with DeLuca Toyota for 39 years; some sales associates and technicians and have been with the company for over 30 years. He praises DeLuca Toyota’s award-winning service department for being a driving force in generating satisfied customers. “You can’t get good repeat customers if they are not getting good service. Our service associates do an excellent job retaining our customers.” DeLuca adds: “And I’ve got to give kudos to our sales team, headed up by Joey Stathas, our general manager.
“Our business is built on people like Frank DeLuca, who embodies what we see as the best in the car business and the best of America.” —ED SHEEHY, PRESIDENT OF SOUTHEAST TOYOTA DISTRIBUTORS
Since September of this year, DeLuca sales team has exceeded Southeast Toyota’s sales objectives for 22 consecutive months, so that’s a great job. Plus, the team has achieved 12 all-time sales records for 12 consecutive months. There are only two dealers in Southeast Toyota who have done that, and DeLuca Toyota is one of them, out of 177 dealers.” Ed Sheehy, president of Southeast Toyota Distributors, the largest independent distributor of Toyotas in the world, lauded DeLuca’s longevity and sales achievements during the commemorative celebration. “Our business is built on people like Frank DeLuca, who embodies what we see as the best in the car
business and the best of America, a self-made man, an entrepreneur, who invests first in his business, in the brand he represents, the people he works with and the community,” says Sheehy.
Paying it forward DeLuca and DeLuca Toyota support dozens of worthy charitable organizations and causes, including the Frank DeLuca YMCA, American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Humane Society of Marion County, and Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, to name a few. “Children and education have a deep place in my heart,” says DeLuca. “We all
have certain organizations that are important to each of us in different ways. However, our children are probably the most important to all of us. Supporting the YMCA has shaped and changed the direction of hundreds of kids’ lives, and that organization probably touches my heart the most.” DeLuca is forever grateful for the role the YMCA played in his life while he was a teenager growing up in Orlando. Florida State Sen. Dennis K. Baxley says when
DeLuca made a $1 million contribution to the Marion County YMCA several years ago, it sparked more donations in a $7 million capital campaign to renovate and expand the facility, which YMCA leadership thanked DeLuca by renaming the Y the Frank DeLuca YMCA Family Center. The renovation was completed in January 2016 with the addition of 14,000 square feet, new locker facilities, a lobby, café, and meeting rooms.
Nicole Bloom, executive director of the Frank DeLuca Family Center, also praises the Toyota dealer’s generosity. “He really brings his slogan, ‘DeLuca Makes the Difference’ to life by being so involved in our community philanthropically. His willingness to support local nonprofit organizations throughout the past 40 years has made an enormous impact on the community.” In addition to the $1 million gift, Bloom notes
“He really brings his slogan, ‘DeLuca Makes the Difference’ to life by being so involved in our community philanthropically.” —NICOLE BLOOM, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE FRANK DELUCA FAMILY CENTER
“He was the biggest contributor and force behind that change in our community,” Baxley says of DeLuca’s $1 million gift, which “attracted people all around this community to realize we can change the health of our community, we can change the direction of some of these young people’s lives. All of these things can happen when you have a dream, you invest in it. He was the spark.”
DeLuca also has provided financial assistance for kids, families, adults, and seniors who could not afford YMCA memberships and programs, such as swim lessons, youth sports, and summer camp. “Frank contributes more than $10,000 annually to the Y’s Annual Scholarship Campaign, which allows us to live out our mission and ensure that no one is turned away based on an inability to pay. This has a direct
impact on the people in our community, because without these dollars, it might not be possible for families to spend time engaging in activities that will improve their health—mentally, physically, and spiritually.” Bloom admires DeLuca’s leadership skills, work ethic, and devotion to serve others. “He is one of the most hard-working individuals that I know, and he is proof that success is possible with dedication and a strong work ethic,” she says. “He pays close attention to detail, which helps him lead his team to excellence, and more importantly, he focuses on treating people right.” DeLuca also has been noted as the largest single annual donor to the Habitat for Humanity of Marion County cause. Since 2007, he has sponsored the building of 11 homes, which helped 18 adults and 31 children.
The building of the 11 homes “set a pattern, a precedence for other people to be a part of,” says Baxley. “Nothing significant is ever done alone, but one person can make a big difference, and they will change the people around them, and they will change the culture around them, and Frank is that guy.” The senator adds DeLuca’s life is a testimony of what the American dream is all about, of how how ordinary people can latch on to a great idea, work really hard, and make such a difference in the lives of others. Striving to make a difference never ends. Throughout the holiday season, DeLuca Toyota will be involved in its 33rd annual “Share Your Christmas Food Drive” to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank/First Step Food Bank. For every pound of food collected, DeLuca Toyota will donate up to $10,000. All donations
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will benefit needy families in Marion County. Nonperishable foods can be donated up to Dec. 5 at DeLuca Toyota, 1719 SW College Road, Ocala. WESH2 will feature a live broadcast that day from 6am to 1pm. DeLuca Toyota also is partnering with the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association as a drop-off site of a gift for a child or members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County. People may bring a new unwrapped toy to DeLuca Toyota through Dec. 15. The father of two and grandfather of five, DeLuca says being involved in worthwhile causes has been a joy throughout his life. “It is a pleasure and privilege to support Marion County and the surrounding communities for 40 years,” he says. “Giving back is just the right thing to do”
“It is a pleasure and privilege to support Marion County and the surrounding communities for 40 years.” —FRANK DELUCA
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IT’S IN THE BAG Teenage environmentalist’s campaign is helping to eliminate plastics. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO
n the 1967 film “The Graduate,” Dustin Hoffman’s character received one word of advice about his future: plastics. Indeed, in the 1970s, plastics took over manufacturing and consumerism in many forms, including the introduction of plastic bags in supermarkets. But few people could have imagined that one day, 5 trillion plastic bags would be produced annually. Zoé Mueller, a Mount Dora eighth-grader, has a clear image of what she wants her future to hold: no plastics.
She created a successful campaign, Plastic Bag Free Mount Dora, in which many city merchants agreed to use and promote alternatives to plastic bags in an effort to help protect waterways and wildlife. What started out as a project to earn a Silver Award in the Girl Scouts expanded to include partnerships with green companies and environmental organizations, and led Zoé to create more initiatives to persuade people to stop using plastic bags. Her next project, to earn a Scouts Gold Award,
will be to petition the state Legislature to repeal a law prohibiting the regulation of plastic materials. At 13, Zoé seems mature beyond her years. She knew she wanted to develop a project to help the environment because she had noticed the waste of plastic bag use at an early age. “I started realizing how many plastic bags I saw being used just when I went to the grocery store, and that was a small amount of time,” she says. “If you take that and multiply it by how many times a day (that happens), that’s a lot
of plastic bags in just one grocery store.” Zoé asked herself, “Where does all of this go?” She studied the subject and learned that plastic bags and other forms of plastic are hazards to the environment because they’re not biodegradable. They photodegrade, meaning they break down into smaller and smaller pieces of litter, contaminating soil and water. Among the statistics she gathered during her research: tiny particles of photodegraded plastic outnumber plankton 6-1; 160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second; and 100 billion plastic bags are used yearly in the United States alone—that’s more than 300 bags per person. The hazardous result is that tons of plastic waste wind up in waterways and oceans, where marine life mistakes floating plastic for food. Plastics pollution kills more than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year, Zoé points out, a disturbing fact that hits home in lakefront communities in Lake County and coastal towns of Florida. She plans to educate people about pollution and recycling through a program she calls “Trash Talk with Zoé.” She’ll make presentations at schools and encourage students to sign a pledge that reads, “I am 300 less,” representing a commitment to stop using that 300-bag average each year. Then she’ll keep track of how many plastic bags are being saved from the Florida environment. “I’ll be reaching out to as many people as possible
to try to build this up so we can try to eliminate as many bags as we can,” says Zoé, who loves planning her projects. To engage students her age, she’s going to give away skateboards provided by Arbor, a green company based in Venice, California. Zoé, who skateboards, wants to show other kids that’s it’s cool to protect the environment through this message: “These products are green, they’re good for the environment, and they’re fun.” She also has a sponsorship arrangement with Preserve Products, a Massachusetts company that makes houseware from 100 percent recycled materials and provides items for Zoé’s giveaway promotions. She got the word out about plastic bags through a website (plasticfreemountdora. wixsite.com/website-7) and an Instagram site (instagram. com/plasticfreemountdora). The well-spoken teenager also made City Council presentations, which generated interest among businesses. With the City Council’s endorsement, Zoé contacted retailers and encouraged them to display window decals reading “Mount Dora Bag Free Business.” The decals identify the stores as users of alternatives to plastic bags. Waste Management provided reusable shopping bags for Zoé to distribute and also paid for her printing needs. More than a dozen businesses now display the decal. Zoé says the owner of Las Palmas Restaurant, 351 N. Donnelly St., decided to
ZOÉ MUELLER, RIGHT, HAS A PARTNERSHIP WITH ARBOR SKATEBOARDS, A GREEN COMPANY.
switch from plastic to paper bags after hearing her speak at a City Council meeting. Zoé also nudged the Magical Meat Boutique, 112 W. 3rd Ave., toward biodegradable bags and products. Husband-and-wife owners Phil Barnard and Kate Bellamy took a look at the plasticware used at the restaurant and British pub. They made a move to use straws made from corn products, as well as other plant-based items, Phil says. “(Zoé) gave us a bit of a kickstart,” says Phil, who also credits Kate with pushing for more recycling among downtown merchants. Zoé also found likeminded people at Naples Soap Co., 331 N. Donnelly St. The store uses paper bags and its products are all natural, limiting any plastic waste, employee Sandra Seda says. The ingredients are vegan-based, eco-friendly, and made from sustainable resources.
“When Zoé came in, she was right alongside our philosophy for the store,” says Sandra, adding that owner Deanna Wallin was excited to be a part of Zoé’s community project by displaying the window decal. Zoé did run into a few dissenters among business owners whom she believes didn’t want to put in the time or expense to switch from plastic to paper bags. “I don’t blame them because it does cost a lot to switch over,” Zoé says. “Plastic’s a lot cheaper, but the state can prohibit us from banning them but they can’t prohibit us from not using
them. We’ve got to take the initiative because they’re not stopping us from doing that.” Zoé wants to change the state law because she believes cities should have the freedom to make their own choices about plastics. Some communities agree, as municipal governments are taking action. The status of Florida’s law essentially “banning bans” on plastics appears murky. The law was related to a 2010 study on recyclable materials by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Statute 403.7033 states, in part, that until the Legislature adopts the DEP
city retailers and city events, according to news reports. Other cities have made similar moves, such as Pompano Beach requiring food vendors at city events to avoid putting takeout food in plastic foam clamshells; Palm Beach County enacting a balloon ban at oceanfront parks; and Hollywood enforcing a ban on plastics at restaurants east of the Intracoastal Waterway, news reports state. The state law also can’t prevent businesses from making their own choices about plastics. A slew of major corporations— SeaWorld, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Starbucks, Marriott,
of 2018, about 20 percent of Clermont’s waste stream is diverted from landfills. Tavares utilizes “green building” initiatives for construction, and also has participated in America in Bloom, a national program that rewards cities for planting trees and flowers to contribute to a clean environment. Keep Lake Beautiful, the Lake County affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, regularly conducts waterfront cleanups, and Lake and Sumter counties collect household hazardous waste at various sites throughout the year. In Zoé’s hometown, the
THE STATE CAN PROHIBIT US FROM BANNING THEM BUT THEY CAN’T PROHIBIT US FROM NOT USING THEM. WE’VE GOT TO TAKE THE INITIATIVE. —ZOÉ MUELLER
WASTE MANAGEMENT PROVIDED REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS FOR ZOÉ’S PROJECT.
recommendations, no local government, or local or state government agencies may regulate the use of auxiliary containers, wrappings, or disposable plastic bags. However, in a lawsuit over Styrofoam containers between the city of Coral Gables and the Florida Retail Federation, a judge noted in 2017 that the Legislature had not adopted the DEP recommendations and the statute guidelines were “unconstitutionally vague.” This left cities in limbo with regard to regulating recyclable materials, the judge said. Coral Gables was allowed to institute a ban on Styrofoam containers, and in May 2017, became the first city in Florida to ban singleuse carryout plastic bags at
McDonald’s, Red Lobster, United Airlines, American Airlines, Busch Gardens, Dunkin’ Donuts, Kroger, among others—are getting rid of one or more plastic or polystyrene products, according to news reports. Locally, other communities in Lake and Sumter counties haven’t specifically grabbed hold of the plastic bag issue, but many are environmentally conscious. The city of Clermont, for example, hosts an annual Earth Day & Lake Cleanup with environmental education for adults and children, and the collection of more than 1,800 pounds of trash annually, the city website states. The city’s Environmental Services Department reports that as
Mount Dora Friends of the Environment co-sponsors an Earth Day festival each April, and this year’s theme was “Living Plastic Wise.” She hopes to plan some events with the organization in the future. Zoé has a lot on her biodegradable plate. She draws inspiration from her mother, Jennifer, who gives her daily affirmations like “You can do this!” For confidence, she credits the Girl Scouts’ tradition of knocking on strangers’ doors and selling cookies, which she’s done since age 7. “That took a lot of courage,” Zoé says. “After that, I was like, there’s nothing stopping me from doing this. I just have to stand up and say something.”
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?
Dr. Jack Cassell does thanks to a procedure that has revolutionized prostate cancer care. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
READ MORE ON THE NEXT PAGE
echnically, Dr. Jack Cassell isn’t a magician, but he does utilize a medical breakthrough in treating prostate cancer that creates magical outcomes. His trick is to make localized prostate cancer permanently disappear without long-lasting, confidence-draining side effects like incontinence and impotence.
In November 2017, Dr. Cassell, owner of Urology of Mount Dora, began offering high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) at Florida Hospital Waterman for men with localized prostate cancer. The procedure, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2015, offers the equivalent five-year survival rate achieved with traditional prostate surgery or radiation, according to a study conducted in the United Kingdom of 625 prostate cancer patients. “This procedure truly is magical in the miraculous way the treatment can be
transmitted through tissue without harming anything but the targeted tissue,” he says. “If doctors would’ve told me 20 years ago that we’d be able to cure prostate cancer this way, I would not have believed them.” During the noninvasive procedure, Dr. Cassell obtains real-time, three-dimensional ultrasound images of the prostate and surrounding areas. From these images, he sends high-frequency ultrasound waves through the walls of the rectum with pinpoint accuracy, generating enough thermal energy to destroy cancerous cells. All this is done without a single incision or blood loss. “With each burst of an ultrasound wave, we destroy tissue that is roughly the size of a grain of rice without damaging surrounding tissue and cells,” he says. “The ultrasound waves are atraumatic to anything other than the specifically targeted prostate tissue. Also, we can get within a millimeter of the little nerves that allow men to have an erection without damaging the nerves.” As a result, the prostate, which is roughly the size of a walnut and sits between the bladder and penis, is kept intact. That’s significant because the 10-year survival rate for men with prostate cancer is 98 percent, according to the American Cancer Society. Therefore, selecting a treatment is as much about how the treatment affects quality of life as it is about survival. While traditional medical procedures like surgery and radiation are
effective, treating the entire prostate can lead to risks of incontinence and erectile dysfunction. In fact, the Prostate Cancer Foundation found that 25 percent of men experience frequent leakage or no bladder control at six months after a prostatectomy. There is a trade-off. The cancer is gone, but so is a man’s self-esteem. Some end up having to wear adult diapers, while others suffer mentally from a loss of physical sexual ability. “You only have one body,” Dr. Cassell says. “Your lifestyle should be the most important thing to you. If having an erection and having the ability to hold your urine is important to you, then there’s no better investment that you could make than choosing a treatment that avoids the disastrous side effects of traditional prostate cancer treatment.” Bill Pelick, a Mount Dora resident and musician, desperately wanted to dodge drippy diapers and erectile dysfunction. After being diagnosed with a localized but aggressive form of prostate cancer in December 2016, he opted for HIFU. Dr. Cassell performed the procedure on a Tuesday. The following Sunday Bill was back on stage playing guitar and bass. Since undergoing HIFU, Bill, 63, remains cancerfree and his parts are working fine. “The great thing about HIFU is that there’s no cutting involved,” he says. “I only had a little discomfort immediately after the
procedure. There’s nothing that can take the place of feeling like a total man.” That’s a far better outcome than the one experienced by a close friend who underwent traditional prostate surgery. “He went through misery,” Bill says. “In fact, I had to drive him to the hospital because he could not pee. He had to get catheterized. I’ve had other friends who underwent surgery to have their prostates removed or underwent radiation. They see how well I did and tell me they should’ve had the HIFU done on them, too.” Doctor Cassell has performed HIFU for nearly a decade. Before it became FDA approved, he would accompany patients to the Bahamas, Mexico, and Dominican Republic and complete the procedure at local hospitals. “I would treat a man that morning and then go out to dinner with him that very night,” Dr. Cassell says.
Today, he serves as a proctor for North Carolina-based HIFU Prostate Services, the leading provider of HIFU technology to physician practices in the U.S. Teaching the technique to other urologists throughout Florida is a point of pride because he feels HIFU will become the standard of care for cancer that is confined to the prostate and has not spread. “It’s a real game-changer,” he says. “And in addition to no incontinence or erectile dysfunction, patients enjoy little downtime and a faster return to normal activities. With surgery, my patients had to avoid vigorous exercise for four to six weeks and wear a catheter for 10 to 14 days.” Indeed, HIFU seems to work just like magic. He also performs the procedure at Surgery Center of Mount Dora, located at 3710 Lake Center Drive.
Urology of Mount Dora 717 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora 32757 352.383.3773 urologyofmountdora.com
OCOEE 407.521.3600 | CLERMONT 352.243.2622 | www.midfloridasurgical.com
HOLIDAY SEASON 2018
Leesburg’s shops offer a variety of gifts for everyone on your list. Half the fun of shopping in Leesburg is finding the little malls hidden behind what looks like a single storefront. There are some amazing treasures when you walk through that first door.
Lake Sumter Landing offers shoppers an array of contemporary stores to fit any need. There are also the delightful gift shops with everything from collectibles to crystals to your favorite golf wear.
If fishing or enjoying the surrounding lakes is on your mind, you may want to check out the shops of Eustis. Boaters, anglers, or even those coffee and tea aficionados can satisfy their whims.
If you’re into tropical apparel for Florida’s hot weather, Clermont is the place to go. A variety of shops are within easy walking distance on and off the main street of the historic downtown.
Mount Dora has shops for everyone from the antique lover to the pet lover. Stroll through art galleries, specialty food and drink stores, and don’t forget—there are stores hidden in the basements, something you rarely see in Florida.
Lake Sumter Eustis
Holiday Gift Guide
eesburg’s shops offer a variety of gifts for everyone on your list. Half the fun of shopping in Leesburg is finding the little malls hidden behind what looks like a single storefront. There are some amazing treasures when you walk through that first door.
What fisherman on Christmas Eve hasn’t snuggled in bed while visions of grouper and snapper danced in his head? Ocean Rhino Spearguns, designed by Spearfishing Specialties of Largo, are user-friendly, accurate, and come with features including muzzle lights, dual side safety levers, and a precision milled trigger—gotcha, grouper! They sell for $500 at Underwater Adventures, 400 W. Magnolia St.
Bath Bombs Linda Felton makes all of her own soap, including Bath Bombs, which are popular with adults and children. The balls are made of baking soda, citric acid, and special oils. Drop them in your bathtub and they fizz and fill the room with fragrances, including lavender lemongrass, cherry almond, cotton candy, and more. Bath Bombs cost $3.25 each or four for $12 at Linda’s Soap Box, 715 W. Main St.
Fashion watches If you’ve got a chic bohemian cowgirl gypsy on your shopping list, then check out these funky fashion watches. The unique jewelry comes in a variety of colorful styles, and many are designed as bracelets with inserted timepieces. They look flashy but actually are very inexpensive and a hot seller at $25-$30. Find them at Le Attitude Boutique, 712 W. Main St., Suite 2.
Flameless candles Dog portrait pillows These adorable, comfortable pillows feature printed portraits of all breeds of dogs, from chihuahuas to German shepherds. The artwork is so vibrant, you almost expect the pillows to bark. The woven, all-polyester products are made by Manual Woodworkers & Weavers in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. You can find them for $29.95 at Alada’s China & Gifts, 415 W. Main St.
You may have to look twice to realize these candles aren’t real—they just look like they have flickering wicks. Customers like them because they don’t have to worry about forgetting to blow out candles at night. Some versions have timers to light up and shut off automatically. Prices vary by size, from $18.99 to $57.99, at Willowbee’s Accent Furniture & Gifts, 712 W. Main St.
Something for everyone!
Doggibags.com 601 W. Main St.
Boutique & Monogram Shop Featuring: Clothing and Accessories
Uptown Boutique, Downtown Leesburg
Mon-Fri: 10-7 Sat: 10-5 | Sun: 12-4
415 W. Main Street, Leesburg
Holiday Gift Guide
Lake Sumter Landing
ake Sumter Landing offers shoppers an array of contemporary store to fit any need. There are also the delightful gift shops with everything from collectibles to crystals to your favorite golf wear.
Motorcycle wine holder Motorcycle loverâ€™s unique wine holder is a gift that really delivers. $49 at Ambrosia on the Square, 1004 Canal St.
Sea turtle figurines Large turtle figurines are lightweight with gorgeous coloring, $49. Smaller marble sea turtle opens its shell to reveal a box for hidden treasure, from Ecuador, $29. Both at Caribongo, 1041 Canal St.
Unique lampshades Exquisite one-ofa-kind lampshades created from ribbons, lace, and silk flowers, all handmade for a unique look. Prices vary from $39 to $95 at Ruffles n Raspberries, 1016 Old Mill Run.
Ultrafeminine purses These purses with ruffles and lace are perfect for wedding or baby showers, only one-of-akinds available. Prices vary from $65 to $125 at Ruffles n Raspberries, 1016 Old Mill Run.
Santa delivers on a golf cart Where else but in The Villages! Santa arrives in style. $110 at The Purple Pig, 1050 Canal St.
Crafted by Alwand Vahan, these 14k gold and sterling silver bracelets are stylish, durable, and accented with diamonds and precious gemstones, making them delightful and memorable gifts under the Christmas tree. The bracelets are available at Ardenâ€™s Fine Jewelers, 1060 Canal St. See store for pricing.
Bear Dance BOUTIQUE
Womenâ€™s Clothing Store
Trendy and Modern Clothing Boutique
114 W Guava Street Suite 7, Lady Lake 352.633.5583 | ShopKensiLane.com
1113 Canal St, Lady Lake, FL 32162
Shop the Fox this Holiday season! 1. Wild Goose Cowhides 2. Not Rated 3. Wild Goose Cowhides 4. Pink Panache 5. Not Rated
4313 County Road 466, Suite 103, Oxford
Holiday Gift Guide
f fishing or enjoying the surrounding lakes is on your mind, you may want to check out the shops of Eustis. Boaters, anglers, or even those coffee and tea aficionados can satisfy their whims.
Let’s pretend toys
Little girls and even great-grandmas are bound to smile over the handmade, cloth, collectible musical dolls from Green Tree. The dolls come in a variety of styles: mermaids, birthday princesses, fairies, and storybook characters like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Mary Had a Little Lamb, to name a few. Wind up from the back and the doll’s head gently moves in a circle as music plays. They’re available for $28 at Peddler’s Wagon, 25 E. Magnolia Ave.
What child doesn’t like to pretend to do grown-up things? Melissa & Doug’s playtime toys, including a scoop-and-serve ice cream counter, slice-and-bake cookie set, Order Up! Diner Play set, and other games and puzzles, are designed to spark young children’s imaginations. Prices range from $9.99 to $29.99 at Bay Street Pharmacy, 2 E. Magnolia Ave.
Yeti coolers In 2006, Yeti coolers was founded with the simple mission to build a cooler you’d use every day, so it’s no wonder serious outdoor enthusiasts love that these coolers can keep ice and drinks cold for 1½ weeks. The coolers are a big hit with anglers and very much in demand during the hurricane season. The coolers vary in size, colors, and prices of $199.99 and up at the Salty Mare, 113 N. Bay St.
Four-legged friend mug These oversized, 18-ounce, molded stoneware mugs are beautifully decorated with colorful images of beloved dog and cat breeds in 3-D relief lettering from Americaware’s Best Friends Series. In addition to coffee or tea, they’re also ideal for serving chili or soup, and each mug is microwave and dishwasher safe. They’re priced at $16.95 at Peddler’s Wagon, 25 E. Magnolia Ave. WRITER'S PICK
Huk fishing T-shirts
Boaters and anglers who want clothing that keeps them cool and dry out on the water are bound to appreciate the smooth, silky, cool-to-the-touch Supima Micro Modal fabrics used in Huk performance attire. Unlike cotton, the fabric resists shrinkage and is less likely to fade over time. Prices range from $39.99 to $49.99 at the Salty Mare, 113 N. Bay St.
OF THE BEST
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Holiday Gift Guide
f you’re into tropical apparel for Florida’s hot weather, Clermont is the place to go. A variety of shops are within easy walking distance on and off the main street of the historic downtown.
Grandmother clock & more The tall wall clock that goes for $159.95 would make any grandmother happy and it doesn’t make noise! If you’re a wine lover, you’ll find everything you need in this shelf, including wine glasses, towels with amusing sayings, signs, and candles for a variety of prices. All of this fun stuff and more is at Urban Attic in the Downtown Marketplace, 639 8th St.
Forget Hawaiian, grab a Florida shirt The Great Floridian Marketplace sells apparel, including great tropical shirts for $35, even some with Santa on them. They also have a delightful Betty Boop collection, with prices ranging from $26-$80. Boho RGLB bracelets fit anyone and are reasonably priced. For ladies who love leggings, there are shelves full of brightly colored goodies for only $12.99. The marketplace is at 789 W. Montrose St.
Tea for two or 20
Erika’s Tea Room features more than 140 different teas and an array of teapots and cups from around the world. She also has space for high teas—how cute to put a gift certificate inside a teapot and enjoy high tea with a friend. In the front of the store, you’ll be lured in by Ginger Snaps—rings, bracelets, necklaces—that have interchangeable jewels at prices from $5.89 to $30. Erika’s Tea Room and Gifts, 787 W. Montrose St.
MAIN STREET ANTIQUES A unique antique boutique!
• 30 Venders With Weekly Changes • Handcrafted Items • Custom Wood Work • Chalk and Silk Painting Classes • Craft Classes
ADORN YOURSELF - ADORN YOUR HOME
352.748.2044 207 South Main Street, Wildwood
purchase of $25 or more
220 W. Magnolia Street, Leesburg, Florida
antiques201main.com firstname.lastname@example.org OF THE BEST HOTLIST2018 352.460.4806
Excluding items marked firm and orchids. Expires 12/31/18.
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm. OF THE BEST
OF THE BEST Starting November 25 we FINALIST will be open on Sunday 11-3 HOTLIST
Events by Miss Daisy Let us plan your event!
Miss Daisy’s Flowers & Gifts
“Whatever Your Occasion, Let Miss Daisy’s Make It Special!”
1024 W. Main Street Leesburg, FL
Holiday Gift Guide
Happy Holidays 12
GREAT, UNIQUE GIFT SHOP IN DOWNTOWN LEESBURG!
Weâ€™ve got your favorite things!
352.308.8746 thesaltymare.com 113 N Bay St, Eustis
352.326.0310 712 W. Main Street
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Located In Downtown Mount Dora
Focusing on made in America sizes 2 to 16
200 W 5th Ave, Mount Dora , FL 32757
Holiday Gift Guide
ount Dora has shops for everyone from the antique lover to the pet lover. Stroll through art galleries, specialty food and drink stores, and don’t forget—there are stores hidden in the basements, something you rarely see in Florida.
Egyptian glass Hand-blown Egyptian glass comes in a variety of forms: dragonfly ($21.95); turtle ($21.95); and gecko ($17.95). Egyptian glass-making in its modern form has been around since the beginning of the 19th century. Find these beautiful art pieces at Temptations, 100 W. 3rd Ave.
Candles With a soft glowing light and rippling sound of water, an AquaFlame LED candle provides for a calming scene and beautiful décor in any room of your home. The candles cost between $70 and $75 and can be purchased at Matamo Designs, 100 E. 5th Ave.
Take your party to another level with wine smoothies, which are easily made using a blender and crushed ice. The wines, which cost $18 to $24, come in flavors such as strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, key lime, tropical banana, and peach. Visit Julianne’s Coastal Cottage, 135 E. 4th Ave.
Candy If your loved one has a sweet tooth, surprise him or her this Christmas with a candy gift box that includes cherry slices, dried kiwi, gummy bears, and cinnamon red hots. Just visit We’re Nuts at 411 N. Donnelly St., Suite 104.
“Harry Potter” books If your children are avid fans of the “Harry Potter” books, they’re in for a real treat. The pages are no longer just a bunch of words but now include full-color, lavish illustrations by Jim Kay. You know the old adage: a picture says 1,000 words. The books cost $29.99 and can be purchased at Barrel of Books and Games, 128 W. 4th Ave.
Florida Sunshine Spice Blend Spice up your holiday meals with Florida Sunshine Spice Blend, a Brazilian sea salt that includes lemon lime, orange zest, green pepper corn, ginger root, and rose petal. With no preservatives, this sea salt is great with fish, chicken, and vegetables, and makes a great stocking stuffer. The product can be purchased for $13.95 at the Spice and Tea Exchange, 431 N. Donnelly St.
Geckobrands backpack Whether you’re planning a kayaking trip or a day at the beach, there’s a way to keep your valuables dry. The waterproof Geckobrands backpack will protect your phone, wallet, and keys from the sometimes-harsh weather conditions. You can find one for $29.99 at Walk in the Woods, 116 W. 5th Ave.
Show a little team spirit by decorating your Christmas tree with officially licensed team lights. The University of Miami lights come in orange and green; Florida State University, garnet and gold; and the University of Florida, orange and blue. Ashley’s Corner, 317 N. Donnelly St., sells the lights for $25.
Oil and vinegar Choose a six-bottle gift set for $30 of your favorite oils and/or vinegars. Oils include garlic, butter, cilantro, and roasted onion. Vinegars include jalapeno white balsamic, pineapple white balsamic, and peach white balsamic. Mount Dora Olive Oil Company, 351 N. Donnelly St.
Constructive Eating Constructive Eating comes with a construction plate and construction utensils (a bulldozer pusher, forklift fork, and front-loader spoon) to keep kids engaged during mealtime and help them become independent eaters. The set costs $35. Visit Whispering Winds, 439 N. Donnelly St.
Holiday Gift Guide
A STYLE FOR EVERY NEED 1060 Canal St., The Villages (Lake Sumter Landing) | 352.751.6613 Mon.-Sat. 10am-9pm Sun. 12-5pm
NOW LE AB AVAIL THS N 6 MO IAL SPEC ING* C I F NAN oval. Minimum
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The owner of a housekeeping business finds independence through adversity. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO
rystal Boliek doesn’t dwell on the past, yet she does believe family tragedies and hardships have made her the strong person she is today. “I just roll with the punches that life throws at you,” says the 28-year-old single mother from Leesburg. “I think that you should not let tough times hold you back. Have your own goals set for yourself, go from there, and take it day by day.” She was a toddler when her father committed suicide. She never knew him. Crystal was raised by her grandmother, who died when Crystal was a teenager, and it wasn’t until Crystal was 20 that she developed a better relationship with her mother, who lives elsewhere. “I did a lot of stuff by myself,” Crystal recalls, including moving out at 14, finding work, and learning to be independent. “It made me a really strong person.” Throughout her life, Crystal found it therapeutic to clean. Even as a preschooler, she delighted in trying to scrub off dirt and grime at her grandma’s house. “There was the huge boulder rock outside that would get mold on it and stuff, and I would have fun going out there scrubbing the mold off with a toothbrush,” she says with a chuckle. “I don’t know what it is, but I do enjoy cleaning. Even if I’m stressed or bored, I’ll clean. It’s very relaxing for me.” She learned deep-cleaning tips in her first housekeeping job as a teenager, and in 2011, Crystal started her own business, Crystal Clean Housekeeping, which she
leads today. She oversees a team of six employees and two vehicles on the road, and serves more than 100 customers in The Villages and Lady Lake. “I started my business with an income-tax refund of $1,200,” Crystal recalls. In those early years, she would clean houses during the day and work a restaurant job at night. This was her routine for two years, working about 80 hours a week in order to get her business running and to pay the bills. The most requested areas for deep cleaning are bathrooms, kitchens, and floors. “I think the greatest joy is being able to help people that really need the help,” Crystal says. “Floors are really hard for people to clean, and sometimes there are stains that they thought they couldn’t get off. Usually, we can get it off, and they are pretty impressed by that.” Beverly Price, of Leesburg, looked on Angie’s List for someone to clean the “very
dirty house” of an ill cousin in The Villages. The house needed to be cleaned before her relative moved back in. Crystal and her crew devoted two days to doing the job. “It was absolutely spotless, from top to bottom. They did a beautiful job, a wonderful job,” Beverly says. “Crystal and her crew went above and beyond.” Beverly’s cousin was impressed, too, and she hired Crystal’s crew to do monthly cleaning. “We do whatever they need. We have a set routine that we do going into the houses, but if anybody needs extra help with other stuff that maybe they can’t do, like hand-scrubbing the floors for them, we’ll do it,” Crystal says. “We have some people who cannot make beds, so we’ll do it. Anything that they need help with, we are pretty willing to help, if we can.” The dirtier a job, the more challenging it is, and that’s OK, she says.
husband reached out to her when his wife, the hoarder, fell and was recuperating in a rehabilitation facility. “He was in desperate need, and he could not do it himself. He felt since his wife was away that it was going to be the best time to do it,” Crystal recalls. “It was a really big project and took us two days, from 9 to 5, but it was really rewarding, and you could tell on the husband’s face that he was very pleased.” Crystal is proud of her crew. She looked for employees with a good personality and a desire to help people. “You have to want to be there to help,” she says. “If they have experience, obviously that’s a plus, but if they don’t, I’ll go in and train them with the way that it needs to be done.” Among the easiest houses to clean are those without a lot of stuff in the way. “We have clients who keep their homes very simple, and we love that,
“I think the greatest joy is being able to help people that really need the help.” —CRYSTAL BOLIEK
“I actually like it when something is really dirty, we get it really clean, and we get that reaction out of people of ‘Oh, my gosh! I didn’t think that would come off!’” she says. “I’m somewhat OCD,” Crystal adds. “I think if something can come clean, then we are going to get it clean.” One of her toughest jobs was cleaning the house of a hoarder. She remembers a
where we can actually clean and we are not moving things,” Crystal says. Since working in The Villages, she has seen the mega-retirement community and her business grow. “For the longest time I was scared to venture off and hire people because you worry about things not being done the way that you would do them,” she says. “It took me about four years before I actually started hiring people.
I was extremely busy, but I’m very glad that I did.” Crystal, pleased that she’s grown her business on her own without a bank loan, aspires to add three or four more vehicles to Crystal Clean Housekeeping. She’s also pondering whether to add pressure washing as a subcontracted service. “I still feel like I have a long way to go. I want to be bigger. My goal would be to be big like Molly Maids,” she says. In her spare time, Crystal enjoys activities with her son, Jase, 10, a student at Villages Elementary in Lady Lake, and she also enjoys keeping a tidy house. “I am very finicky about my bathroom, mainly I because I have a boy, and boys can be very messy. I like to keep my bathroom very clean,” she says. Crystal’s advice to anyone interested in starting their own business is to simply follow their passions, whatever they may be. “If they are passionate about something, I would say definitely do it. Just do everything that you feel like in your power to do, even if it takes you working two jobs to get it done,” she says. “Even if money is tight while you’re doing it, it will eventually pay off.” She knows this from experience. She’s also passionate about her work. Even as she cleans, Crystal often thinks of possible solutions to problems and how to expand her business. The savvy housecleaning boss admits her work often is on her mind. “I’m always thinking, ‘What else can I do?’”
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www.MissDaisysFlowers.c om 68
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THE TO-DO LIST //
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SEE STORY on PG 72
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On the Scene
Dylan Mathews & The Flips play hard rock and metal with classic underpinnings from the 1970s.
* TOHnE TTOh- DeO SL cI S eT n e
December DEC. 1-8
Catch the Christmas spirit ’Tis the season to be jolly, and a trip to Lake Square Mall is sure to put you in a jovial mood. That’s the site of the Leesburg Christmas House, which features 50,000 items made by holiday crafters. Shoppers are sure to find the perfect decorative piece or a special gift. Call 352.323.1250.
DEC. 1, 8, 15, 29
Taking aim Dade Battlefield Historic State Park presents the Ranger History Program with historic weapons firing. 10:30-11:30am at 7200 County Road 603, Bushnell. DEC. 1-16
Turn the dial A different twist on “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” the wonderful holiday classic. See baystreetplayers.org for ticket information. 109 N. Bay St., Eustis. DEC. 1-16
That familiar umbrella “Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical” comes to Mount Dora at the Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse, 1100 N. Unser St. Tickets: $10-$24. See icehousetheatre.com for showtimes.
Tell me a story “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)” is at the Melon Patch Theatre, 311 N. 13th St., Leesburg. This is a 90-minute wild romp through the Christmas season. For show times and ticket info, see melonpatchplayers.com. DEC. 6
St. Nicholas Day Enjoy a concert from the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra at Epiphany Celebration Anglican Church, 1724 S. Bay St., Eustis. Tickets: $15-$42.
Live music, wine, beer, and soft drinks with lots of food. A portion of proceeds goes to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida. Adults: $10; children 12 and under, free. 19239 U.S. Highway 27 N., Clermont. DEC. 7-16
George Bailey is back The Moonlight Players Theatre presents the perennial favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” based on the Frank Capra film. See moonlightplayers.com for ticket info. 735 W. Minneola Ave., Clermont. DEC. 8
A tasty celebration It’s Wine & Chocolate at Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards from 10am-5pm each day. See local chocolatiers as well as artists and crafters with their work.
Leesburg Comedy Showcase Taylor Boyd and two other great comedians will appear at the Leesburg Center for the Arts. Doors open at 7pm; show is at 8pm. 429 W. Magnolia St.
Life is a cabaret! The second of the Cabaret Series in The Sharon’s Lobby Lounge features Heather Ard, accompanied by Bill Doherty. Tickets: $25 general admission. Adult language. Showtime: 7pm. The Sharon, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages. See thesharon.com. DEC. 13-14
Holiday concert Presented by Villages Philharmonic Orchestra to highlight this special
season. Tickets: $25-$65. Showtime: 7pm. The Sharon, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages. See thesharon.com. DEC. 17-18
Tiny Tim “A Christmas Carol” features the familiar “Bah, humbug!” of Scrooge. Tickets: $20-$60. Showtime: 7pm. The Sharon, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages. See thesharon.com.
Ring in 2019
Halfway there The Mount Dora Half-Marathon begins at 7am and offers a six-mile, USATF-certified course. There are two walk/ run distances, a single loop half-marathon, and a 5K run. For info, see mountdorahalfmarathon.com. Tickets: $15 (eventbrite.com); $20 at venue.
Enjoy food and drinks in the streets along with live entertainment and fireworks at midnight over Lake Dora at Sunset Park, 8pmmidnight. 230 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora.
Ongoing Events Farmer’s Markets: The Saturday Morning Market Saturday, 8am-1pm Leesburg Towne Square Brownwood Farmer’s Market Saturday, 9am-1pm 2726 Brownwood Blvd., Wildwood Lady Lake Farmer’s Market Tuesday, 9am-1pm Lady Lake Log Cabin 106 S. U.S. Highway 27/441
1st Saturday: Wine Tasting Stroll Starts at Maggie’s Attic at Alexander Street and 4th Avenue. 6-8pm (7-9pm in summer)
2nd Friday: Acoustic music Hear local musicians free from 7-9pm at Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St.
2nd Friday: Art in the Alley 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 in Donnelly Park, downtown Mount Dora.
Th e re ’ s more !
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.
2nd Saturday: Food Truck N Flick Night Leesburg Towne Square.
All seasonal events and celebrations are listed on lakeandsumterstyle.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or Lake & Sumter Style Calendar, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749
* LOOnC ATL hT AeL ESNcTe n e
Local, original, and not for the timid Dylan Mathews & The Flips are making some noise. STORY: PAULA F HOWARD // PHOTO: ANTHONY RAO
“Just when you expect a certain chord, we go another way. It’s intentional. We are original.” —DYLAN MATHEWS
alented, natural, and unpretentious, Dylan Mathews & The Flips maintain integrity with original music they self-label “mutt rock.” They play hard rock and metal with classic underpinnings from the 1970s. Occasionally, a whiff of Southern music or blues catches the ear. “Just when you expect a certain chord, we go another way,” Dylan says. “It’s intentional. We are original.” The band of unpretentious Central Florida musicians with families includes: guitarist Dylan Mathews, 45, who lives in Eustis and is from Oklahoma; Brian Kinsey, 45, on lead vocals and guitar, originally from New Jersey and now living in Mount Dora; Bernie Lindsey, 56, on drums and percussion, a fourth generation Floridian who lives in Mount
Dora; and bassist Stephen Elder, 53, who lives in Longwood and hails from Ohio. Dylan & The Flips have released two albums, “Strange Weather” and “The Great Rock Revival.” Backgrounds in music? Dylan and Brian are selftaught musicians. Bernie started playing drums at age 3, started lessons at 7 and turned professional at 13. Stephen studied music theory, took bass lessons, and learned as he recorded music. How did the group get together? Brian and Dylan have known each other since middle school. In 2011, Dylan started the band named after him. They found Stephen at his brother-in-law’s music studio when they were looking for a bass player. Dylan met Bernie and asked him to join.
How do you record? “We are live-in-studio and improvise,” Stephen says. “Our music is not set to a metronome, it’s totally live track. We don’t use an auto tuner for vocals, it’s 100 percent voice, as organic as you can get going into recording…that’s how we get a better feel.” “Our first album was finished in three days,” Dylan says. “We recorded it completely live; didn’t back it up. Then, we had a lightning strike and lost it all. So, we had to remake everything. But, you know, the second time doing our first album, we improved it and it came out better.” Future plans? A third album, and our next gigs, Dec. 1 and Jan. 26, 2019, at Shovelhead in Longwood. A record deal would be nice. (Learn more at dylanmathewsandtheflips.com).
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* IONnC OTNhC EeR TS c e n e
Mojo Grill and Catering, Belleview
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Baby Blues and the No Attitude Band
Lakeridge Winery, Clermont
JJ’s Lounge and Package, Sorrento
Grand Oaks Resort, Weirsdale
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
New County Line Bar and Package, Weirsdale
JJ’s Lounge and Package, Sorrento
Dangerous Dave Merrill
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Mojo Grill and Catering, Belleview
The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra
The Sharon, The Villages
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra
The Sharon, The Villages
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Frank’s Place, Leesburg
Hurricane Dockside, Tavares
American Legion, Mount Dora
Irlene Mandrell and Family
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Tri County Baptist Church, Lady Lake
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Mad Hadder Band
Frank’s Place, Leesburg
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Thousand Trails Resort, Clermont
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Moses Greyhound Band
City Fire American Oven and Bar, The Villages
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Oasis Saloon, Sorrento
Oasis Saloon, Sorrento
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Bands subject to change. Email email@example.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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* NOEnA RT&hFeA RS c e n e
A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS 76
Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort, described as ‘the most Christmassy hotel in the nation’ by the Travel Channel, is a destination all its own during the holidays. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS PHOTOS COURTESY OF GAYLORD OPRYLAND RESORT
y first experience at the Gaylord Opryland Resort was years ago for a convention, and I remember wondering how I’d ever find my way around. The Marriott property has grown even more since my first jaw-dropping walk through the mammoth lobby and gardens. Today, the hotel is a small city in itself with nine acres of indoor gardens, 12 restaurants, and more than 2,800 guest rooms. While the hotel is known as a major convention magnet most of the year, it transforms into a winter wonderland during the holidays...so much so that USA Today says it’s one of the “10 Great Places to Catch up with Santa,” and Travel & Leisure magazine calls it one of the “top 10 places in the world to spend Christmas.” The resort’s 35th annual “A Country Christmas” is underway until Jan. 1. Overnight guests never have to leave the property to experience special programs, including the Gingerbread Decorating Corner, Build-a-Bear Workshops, or onsite concerts by country superstar Trace Adkins. However, many visitors do make the 20-to-30-minute drive from downtown Nashville just
to walk through the elaborately decorated gardens, to skate on the 6,000-square-foot indoor ice rink, to eat a traditional holiday meal, or to visit special holiday attractions like “ICE!” or the Cirque Dreams “Holidaze.” Families from near and far have included visits to Opryland Hotel on their holiday itineraries for generations. Nashville native Allison Maloney tells guests she’s been visiting since before she was born—her mother came for Christmas when she was pregnant with Allison and the tradition continued every year. Today, Allison serves as the resort’s marketing coordinator and says the annual Christmas visits are still a priority with her family. “There’s really no other place like it,” she says. Long before the holidays, usually around July, the decorations are inconspicuously unpacked and tucked around the gardens. I saw a few in early October—only because I was searching for photo opportunities—but by mid-November, the resort is a magical winter paradise with more than 3 million holiday lights, 15,000 poinsettias, 15 miles of
green garland, and 10 miles of hand-tied red ribbon. The latest resort addition, SoundWaves, opened just this month. This $90 million indoor/outdoor upscale water attraction offers another way to enjoy the holiday season, especially for people who prefer water adventures on their vacations. But it’s the traditional events that keep families returning year after year, such as the resort’s signature attraction “ICE!” This year, 40 ice artisans from Harbin, China, transformed more than 2 million pounds of ice into scenes from “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” In addition, the electrifying Cirque Dreams “Holidaze” program fills the Grand Ole Opry House, just outside the hotel, with singers, dancers, spiraling aerialists, and more. For a complete list of holiday events, visit christmasatgaylordopryland.com. And once you pick up a map in the lobby, you won’t have any trouble at all navigating this extraordinary winter wonderland.
By midNovember, the resort is a magical winter paradise with more than 3 million holiday lights.
Mary Ann DeSantis Mary Ann DeSantis has written for Style publications since 2006. She was recognized with first-place Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards for Travel Writing in 2017, 2016, and 2012.
* SOOnC I ATLhSeP OST LcI eG HnTe
Santa Claus will make an appearance at Lake Square Mall and at other events throughout the county. STORY: JAMES COMBS
SANTA’S LAKE SQUARE MALL EVENTS:
nyone who complains about a busy workday should try walking a mile in Santa’s boots. He’s at the North Pole packing gifts for wellbehaved boys and girls. He’s in front of retail stores ringing bells for the Salvation Army. He’s piloting a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Fortunately, he’ll be able to squeeze in enough time to make an appearance at Lake Square Mall, listening intently as children share their carefully crafted wish lists. Some children may cry, and a few will undoubtedly sneak a tug at his beard. But he won’t mind. After all, that big man who wears a red suit and sports a fluffy white beard is a jolly guy.
“The mall is undergoing a major transformation, so we’re excited to bring the spirit of the season here,” says Anna Marie Chwastiak, marketing director at Lake Square Mall. “The Christmas holiday isn’t just about shopping; it’s about coming here and enjoying a wonderful experience while making Christmas memories.” “We’re definitely bringing Christmas alive this year at Lake Square Mall,” Anna Marie says. “We are excited to have Santa here and look forward to the public participating in some of the events we’ve centered around his visit.”
DEC. 6: He sees you when you’re sleeping, so there’s no shame in participating in Pajamas Day and donning your favorite pajamas right before Santa’s eyes.
DEC. 11: The big man’s lap isn’t restricted to children. Dogs and cats are also welcome. On Pet Night, which lasts from 4-8pm, families can bring their furry friend or friends to the mall and take a picture with Santa holding their pet.
DEC. 8 AND 12: Thanks to a partnership with Home Depot, 120 children will receive materials to make wooden toys that they can keep for themselves or give to needy children. The toy-building activity will be held from 10am-noon Dec. 8 and from 6-8pm Dec. 12.
DEC. 13: Shun that corporate attire for a day and don something hideous on Wear Your Ugly Sweater Day. If you’re in need of new clothes, this may be a great way to score sympathy points with Santa.
DESPITE HIS DEMANDING SCHEDULE, SANTA WILL FIND TIME TO APPEAR IN OTHER LAKE COUNTY TOWNS THROUGHOUT THE MONTH: Hometown Christmas: During this event, scheduled for Dec. 7 in Fruitland Park, Santa and Mrs. Claus will make a grand appearance aboard a firetruck. 27th annual Christmas Parade: Held Dec. 8 in Groveland, this event allows children to attend Santa’s Workshop inside the Lake David Center and have their photograph taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Howey Christmas Festival: Enjoy a Christmas parade and have your picture taken alongside Santa. The event will be held Dec. 15.
DEC. 15: From 10-11:30am, Cheryl Bloom, owner of Bloom’s Baking House and Restaurant in downtown Leesburg, will dress as Mrs. Claus and set up a makeshift bakery inside the mall. Children will receive cookies and milk.
DEC. 15: An auction will be held on Christmas trees that were artistically decorated by local schoolchildren. Proceeds will benefit the Educational Foundation of Lake County.
* HOIn, S OTChI EeT YS! c e n e
Mel Bosch, Jimmy Johnston, Jim Zollinger and Randy Pierrot
Golf benefit for combat veterans The fourth annual Battle Buddy Golf Tournament took place at Bonifay Country Club in The Villages, which featured four players and a combat veteran. Members of each five-person team played scramble, but the golfer whose ball was chosen for each shot sat out the next stroke. All proceeds from the tourney benefitted Combat Veterans to Careers project. The tourney was sponsored by Parady Life and Annuity. PHOTOS: PARKER MARTIN
Dan Pereira and George Oâ€™dell
John Roudabush, Dar Settles, Anthony Jones, Norb Abraham, and Eddie Delvecchio
Tom Schwenn and Jeff Steelman
Suzanne Duncan and Nancy Markey
Pattie Avent, Ryan Leighton, Linda Schiesel, Rick Smith, and Maureen Vallo
Elaine Mount, Phil Mount, Kathy Boger, Mike Boger, Jan Kloeffler, and Terry Kloeffler
people. commitment. dependability. growth. “The quality of the people at PCDG Construction is as important as the quality of the materials used. Excellence is our goal, and our motivation is to be recognized as an industry leader—a standout in everything we do. Quality is a given at PCDG Construction, and the people make it happen.” —J.J. Cunningham, GM
Construction and development that is woman-owned, locally grown, and veteran-run.
Facilitating growth to communities through construction excellence. We add value through innovation, dependability and foresight. 4130 United Avenue, Mt. Dora FL 32757 phone (407) 502. 2939 email firstname.lastname@example.org gopcdg.com
* HOIn, S OTChI EeT YS! c e n e
Debbie and Michael Wideman Jennifer and Stephen Wolgamott
Lindsey Pinder and Ben Boylston Brian and Kelly Pennachia
Jason and Lisa Harsh
Maddie and Trevor Larsen
Raising money for children Some $208,000 was raised for the children of Boys and Girls Clubs of Lake and Sumter Counties during the recent Black and White Ball hosted at Mission Inn in Howey-in-the-Hills. The event featured a reception, silent auction, dinner, and a live auction. PHOTOS: PARKER MARTIN
Dianne and Coert Van Voorhees
The Villages 11962 CR 101, Ste. 303 The Villages, FL 32162
Eustis 2500 South Bay Street Eustis, FL 32726
* HOIn, S OTChI EeT YS! c e n e
Ashley Brooklyn and Lucas Cobb
Bill Brooks and Bob White
Freddie Benton and Rick Gonzalez
‘Souper’ good cause A “Soup for Good” fundraiser was hosted in September to support the Open Door, a homeless drop-in shelter in Eustis, which offers a onestop shop for the homeless to receive needed amenities and services. Local “celebrity” servers provided a variety of soups from local restaurants. The Open Door is sponsored by LifeStream Behavioral Center in partnership with Lake Community Foundation. PHOTOS: PARKER MARTIN
Dan Miller, Tim Sullivan (Top), Megan Sullivan, and Mary Berry
Mitzy Mcghee and Michael Thomas
A lifestyle that fits you!
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HIGHLANDRANCHFL.COM Old Highway 50 and Blackstill Lake Road Clermont, Florida 34715 Offer void where prohibited or otherwise restricted by law. All information (including, but not limited to prices, availability, incentives, floorplans, site plans, features, standards and options, assessments and fees, planned amenities, programs, conceptual artistsâ€™ renderings and community development plans) is not guaranteed and remains subject to change or delay without notice. Maps and plans are not to scale and all dimensions are approximate. Please see a Taylor Morrison Sales Associate for details and visit www.taylormorrison.com for additional disclaimers. ÂŠ March 2018, Taylor Morrison of Florida, Inc. All rights reserved.
1,838 to 4,180 Sq. Ft. 3 to 6 Bedrooms 2 to 3.5 Baths 1 to 2 Story Homes 2 to 3 Car Garage From the $250s
* HOIn, S OTChI EeT YS! c e n e
‘We Can’ weekend The Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute in The Villages hosted its annual “We Can” one-day retreat at the College of Central Florida in Ocala. Geared for cancer survivors, those battling cancer, and their families, the event focused on living life fully. Educational lectures were presented, too. PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL
Crystal James Nakia Smith
Maureen Whitaker, LMT
Tracy Cappell and Lisa Capps
Erin Hutchins, CJ Emmons and Rhoda Walker
BUILDING UNIQUE POOLS “They built the pool to perfection, and the ﬁnished design was better than we ever imagined. The superintendent was willing to answer all our questions before, during, and after the project. Although we have been swimming in the pool for three months, we can still call him with any questions. Wiseman Pools went above and beyond, and the pool is functional and works like we want it to.” —SCOTT STEPHENS, LAKE PANASOFFKEE
We know that every single customer is unique—Building Unique Pools is our company motto—and so every project we undertake is delivered to a client’s signature set of personal tastes and, where necessary, solves any challenges their property may present. 352-431-3766 | www.WisemanPools.com | 1517 W Main St., Leesburg Wiseman Pools is a family-owned-and-operated, licensed residential and commercial swimming pool builder with an extensive portfolio of projects. From the small—fountains and in-ground spas. To the large—million dollar installations with multiple pools and spas. Our customers, large and small, demand a quality swimming pool for a fair price. And we deliver.
* HOIn, S OTChI EeT YS! c e n e
Mandy Hruby, Jessica Piermatteo, and Jennifer Workinger
Diane Spurlock (Chamber Ambassador), Paula Gross, and Mary Lu Todd
Sam Burnette (ESA), Saad Ehtisham, Bill Pfingaten (Vice President Ambulatory Services Central Florida Health)
LRMCâ€™s expansion Leesburg Regional Medical Center celebrated its newly expanded emergency department with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house. Guests were invited to tour the new spacious waiting room with a two-story atrium and the state-of-the-art patient rooms, all with the latest innovative technology to benefit patients. PHOTOS: PARKER MARTIN
Angela and David Wilkins (Care Patrol)
Lemuel Willis and Kim Bodnar Sandi Moore and Michael Randolph
WE’RE TURNING THE EYE CARE INDUSTRY
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Come see us for all of your designer eyewear needs Call Us Today | 352.728.8318 THE VILLAGES 1128 Bichara Blvd. (golf cart accessible) Dr. James K. Berry Dr. Albert R. Ducharme
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Food & Drink
Elegant dinners right by the lake. SEE MORE on PG 96
& Drink * IFNoToH d E KITCHEN
Favorite Christmas dishes Local cooks share recipes that have become beloved holiday traditions. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL
amily recipes seem to be a little more treasured around the holidays. Sally Nebel, of Leesburg, recalls that while growing up in Minnesota, her Norwegian aunt, Serena Bakken, baked a cranberry cake for Christmas—and Sally continues the tradition. Oyster dressing is what Sandy Jones, of Yalaha, has made for 20 years. Jackie Johnson, of Lady Lake, whips up bread pudding, while Brenda Shrewsberry, of Oxford, says Nanny’s cornbread dressing has been a holiday favorite since 1970. Tomato pie has become a traditional dish for Kim Linn, of Umatilla. “It will definitely be on our Christmas menu when we all gather this year,” she says. Here are these cooks’ holiday recipes:
From Jackie Johnson
From Brenda Shrewsberry
Nanny’s cornbread dressing
spread soft butter on 6 slices of white bread
cup sugar (divided in half)
ounces’ cream cheese (softened)
cups homemade cornbread (use your favorite recipe)
slices of white bread, toasted
dash of salt
Crumble cornbread and toasted bread together
Cut buttered bread into 1 inch squares and place in lightly greased 9-by-11-inch pan. Slightly beat only 3 eggs, add ½ cup sugar, vanilla, salt, and mix well. Heat 3 cups milk (hot, not boiling), slowly add egg mixture. Mix well. Pour over bread, sprinkle with cinnamon. Combine cream cheese and ½ cup sugar and blend until smooth; add 1 egg and beat well. Spread evenly over soaked bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until firm. Cool before serving.
teaspoon poultry seasoning
teaspoon sage (if desired)
cup chopped celery Black pepper to taste
3 or 4 eggs, beaten well
cup chopped onion
Chicken broth ½
Sauté onion and celery in butter until tender. Pour broth (to your desired consistency so it’s not too thick) into bread mixture, add well-beaten eggs. If needed, you can add a little water to make a moister dressing. Pour in baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. It is best to make the day before baking (refrigerate overnight). Before baking, add broth and mix in if needed so dressing is not too thick.
From Kim Linn
Tomato pie Ingredients:
9 inch pie crust
3-4 ripe tomatoes, sliced medium thin
tablespoon dried basil (or to taste)
teaspoon dried garlic (or to taste)
cup of good quality mayonnaise
cup grated Parmesan Cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-bake pie crust on bottom rack at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown. While crust is baking, mix the mayonnaise, cheese, and garlic in bowl. Slice the tomatoes. Once the pie crust is pre-browned, layer the tomatoes while at the same time sprinkling the layers with salt, pepper, and basil. Spread the mayonnaise over tomatoes, up to the crust edge. The back of the spoon works well for this. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until browned. (For a crispier crust, you can layer your tomatoes between paper towels to drain, gently patting them, before layering them in the pie shell).
From Sally Nebel
Aunt Serena’s cranberry cake Warm hard sauce Ingredients:
teaspoons baking powder
cup whole milk
cups fresh cranberries
Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Make a little well for the milk and mix well and then add the fresh cranberries. Put in a buttered 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve with warm hard sauce.
Heat first ingredients together to a boiling point and then add 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring.
d & drink * FfOoR o K ON THE ROA D
(Out of a possible 5)
The Rose Plantation 200 Rose Ave. Fruitland Park 352.805.4340 Open TuesdaySaturday for lunch 11am-2pm; dinner 5-9pm (reservations recommended)
T H E R O S E P L A N TAT I O N
A historical home is lovely for a fine night out.
Fine dining $$$ Seated immediately with reservation Wait for meal: 20 minutes
STORY: LEIGH NEELY // PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL
APPETIZERS: Stuffed mushrooms, ahi tuna, pasta purses; chef’s selection of soups of the day; classic Caesar salad, spinach salad, Maison salad. ENTREES: Chef’s selection, Chilean sea bass, filet mignon (tenderloin of beef), prime strip loin, rack of lamb, roasted duck, prime rib, pasta primavera, specialty ravioli. DESSERTS: Homemade pecan pie, banana cream pie, key lime pie, cherry pie (á la mode).
he Rose Plantation was built in 1917 as a winter retreat for newspaper publisher William Dwight. Though there have been changes, the structure is still a majestic piece of history. My daughter, her friend, and I enjoyed her birthday dinner here and were extremely impressed with the service and food. The ambience is lovely, especially at night as the view of the lake is amazing. Plan for a relaxing, slow dinner because you’ll want to enjoy every bite. We enjoyed the fresh classic Caesar salads. I had veal marsala while my daughter enjoyed lobster ravioli, and her friend dined on exquisite prime rib. The sides were fresh and could be shared. We loved the creamed spinach and seasoned green beans. Dessert had to be the hot chocolate lava cake, which wasn’t shared but to each his—or her—own. All in all, it was a fabulous evening and a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday. One note: men must wear trousers for the evening meal.
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d & drink * FfOoR o K ON THE ROA D
(Out of a possible 5)
Bluefin Grill & Bar Brownwood Town Sq. 2738 Brownwood Blvd. The Villages 352.571.5344 Hours: 11am-9pm Sunday-Thursday; 11am-10pm FridaySaturday.
Casual dining $$ Seated immediately (lunch hour) Wait for meal: 15 minutes; appetizer out in 5 minutes
BLUEFIN GRILL & BAR
Delectable delights Scratch-made sauces add special touch to delicious entrées.
OUT OF THE ORDINARY STARTERS: ($8.20$14.10) Wild mussels, sweet sticky ribs, Coquille St. Jacques scallops, conch fritters, Bluefin tuna poke.
STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL
ENTREES: ($10.80$22.90) Ahi tuna pepper steak, mustard-encrusted salmon, Bluefin pescatore, wagyu burger, swordfish. 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.
luefin Grill & Bar is a tantalizing treat for the taste buds and the eyes. Its contemporary and classy décor is very appealing in colors of turquoise and gray, and the elegant cocktail bar and spacious and comfortable dining areas both indoors and outdoors add to the ambience, making the restaurant an ideal spot for a date for two or a gathering with friends. This Villages restaurant in Brownwood Paddock Square has a refined menu of fresh seafood, wood-fired
aged steaks, specialty plates, sandwiches, and pastas. My lunch companion, Leigh Neely, chose the coconut haddock topped with a mango salsa with dark rum blanc as her entrée. “This is the best non-fried fish I’ve ever eaten,” Leigh raves. “Every bite is absolutely tasty and flavorful.” The enticing aroma of steak was all it took for me to order a petite filet with shrimp, which was topped with a delightful creamy tarragon butter sauce. My entrée came with tasty
garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus that was cooked to perfection, and our server, John, made it more memorable by presenting a tray of high-quality steak knives from which to choose. Before we received our entrées, we savored sweet sticky ribs as an appetizer, and finished our meal with bourbon pecan pie and vanilla bean crème brûlée. The desserts were the crowning touch to a very enjoyable lunch.
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Vegan delights The Outpost Vegan Kitchen brings ‘comfort food’ to Lake County.
The Outpost Vegan Kitchen-Bistro-Food Store is a treasure trove of great food. Owners James and Sandrin Acerra are excited to bring a fully vegan menu and store to Lake County. Sandrin is the chef and creates all their signature dishes.
DAILY SPECIALS: Check the Outpost Vegan Kitchen Facebook daily at facebook.com/ outpostvegan/ because the store is always offering special foods and great deals. Warning: the pictures of the foods will make you hungry!
NUTS ABOUT DOUGHNUTS!
The Outpost offers soy-free, gluten-free vegan doughnuts like a double-dark chocolate with avocado and 100 percent cacao powder or an apple cider/cinnamon doughnut. “We always have to make them on Friday and make a lot because they go fast,” James says.
100 PERCENT: Want a birthday cake for your favorite vegan? Sandrin makes a made-from-scratch s’mores cake that is infused with avocado. You’ll find no icings or fondants with these cakes, just delicious 100 percent vegan ingredients.
IF YOU GO: The Outpost is in Hunt’s Industrial Park, 1504 Max Hooks Road, Suite D, Groveland. Call 352.573.5512. James says, “We’re implementing vegan comfort food into Lake County with a taste everyone can enjoy.”
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Gifts for wine lovers Accessories can make this a vintage year. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS
he perfect gift for a wine lover doesn’t have to be a bottle of wine. The wine industry has developed a prolific assortment of accoutrements to help oenophiles enjoy their wine even more. Here are a few favorites that are sure to be a hit among your wineloving friends:
The Coravin Standard original Screw Caps Cork Last year, my husband Cage gave me a Coravin Wine Collecting bottle corks is a real thing among many wine aficionados. Whether they are using corks for future arts-and-crafts projects (like cork Christmas wreaths), saving special occasion wine corks, or just showing off how much wine they drank last year, these decorative cork cages are handy and whimsical. Cork cages come in all shapes and sizes, but these guitar-shaped cages are the perfect accessory for music lovers who like to sip wine while listening to their favorite jams.
Available: Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards SRP: $32.99
Preservation System, which I love. The only problem is many wines, even expensive ones, use screw caps instead of corks. My Coravin was useless for those until I recently discovered Coravin replacement caps, which protect wine from oxidation for up to three months. The caps are a perfect addition for Coravin owners who don’t want to finish an entire bottle.
Available: Total Wines or coravin.com SRP: $29.95 (six pack)
ZOS Halo Wine Saver Rarely does a bottle of wine taste the same more than a day after it’s been opened and exposed to air. A wine preservation system keeps wines tasting the way the winemaker intended, even if your second glass comes days later. Most systems are budget-busters costing hundreds of dollars, but the ZOS wine saver is more economical. Developed by wine country engineers, the ZOS wine saver kit includes an easy-to-use wine stopper with a patented, non-toxic oxygen-absorbing cartridge and electronic tester cartridge. The tester lights up like a green halo and tells you within seconds if the cartridge is still good or needs to be replaced.
Available: zos.wine SRP: $74.95
Üllo Wine Purifier
‘Wine Reads’ (Atlantic Monthly Press) This new literary anthology by bestselling novelist and acclaimed wine columnist Jay McInerney includes more than 20 pieces of memorable fiction and nonfiction about the making, selling, and drinking of fine wine. “Wine Reads” features big names in the wine trade and literary heavyweights that book-loving wine drinkers will recognize. McInerney, author of 12 books including “Bright Lights, Big City” and “Bright, Precious Days,” uses his editing skills to make this an enjoyable and essential volume for Bacchus disciples.
For wine drinkers who suffer from headaches because of sulfites in the wine, this revolutionary tool may help. Acting as both a sulfite filter and an aerator, Üllo brings out a wine’s flavors and removes sulfites via a selective sulfite capture technology. To purify wine, simply place the aerator on top of a wine glass or carafe and pour through. I was somewhat skeptical about this product when I first read the reviews; however, it worked and definitely smoothed out the flavors of a rough Chianti that I would not have enjoyed otherwise. The Üllo Wine Purifier comes with a travel case, a display base, and six filters.
Available: ullowine.com, amazon.com, crateandbarrel.com, and Total Wines SRP: $79.99
Available: Barnes & Noble or amazon.com SRP: $25.20
Wine-themed pillows and home décor When searching for stocking stuffers and hostess gifts, I usually start with small home décor items. This year, my finds included adorable decorative pillows, hand towels with clever prose about wine, coasters, and bottle stoppers. In fact, the wine-on-the-porch pillow was so cute, I kept it for myself instead of wrapping it as a gift.
Available: Alada’s Gifts, Leesburg SRP: $13.95
Wine Country Mulling Spices A perfect stocking stuffer for those who love sweeter wines and Christmas cheer. The “secret” ingredients include cinnamon sticks, dried orange peel, allspice, and cloves. The attached cork provides flotation for the bag as the wine simmers. Add your favorite wine and spice up your holiday entertaining.
Available: Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards SRP: $4.99
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.
Food & Drink DINING GUIDE
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 Castaways Restaurant 23525 US State Road 40 352.759.2213 Sparky’s Place Restaurant 24646 State Road 40 352.759.3551 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 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 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
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 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 Valentina’s Sandwhich Factory 132 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.408.9608 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 El Ranchito 911 W N Blvd. 352.314.9339 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 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 Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 US Hwy. 27 352.319.8093 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 Turners 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 Barnwood Country Kitchen and Smokehouse 3725 W. Old US Hwy 441 352.630.4903 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
Food & Drink DINING GUIDE
YOUR COLLEGE & NFL HEADQUARTERS
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
any game. any time.
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. 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.
Fish Camp on Lake Eustis 901 Lakeshore Blvd., Tavares // 352.742.4400 // fishcamponlakeeustis.com The Fish Camp on Lake Eustis is your spot for sampling the best locally sourced foods, liquors, craft beers, and wines of Central Florida. In addition to the local fare, Fish Camp serves up Southern classics like Gullah-style shrimp & grits and signature favorites like our blackened grouper Reuben. Our Central Florida dishes include swamp cabbage ceviche, Florida grass-fed burgers, Cedar Key clams, kale Caesar and farm salad from Aquaponic Lynx Farm in Yalaha, and Zellwood sweet corn from Long & Scott Farms. Come enjoy the view with our full bar featuring local moonshines from Yalaha Bootlegging Company, local craft beers, and our fresh-squeezed margaritas. Voted Best Seafood in the Lake & Sumter Style magazine and Daily Commercial newspaper contests in 2018.
La Palma 1690 Citrus Blvd., Leesburg // 352.323.1444 // LapalmaGrill.com Open Daily 11am – 9pm // Lunch Specials: 11am – 3pm
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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 6pm-8 ! r) eat free e d n u d n (10 a
Old World Recipes Cook Up A Culinary Treasure PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
tart with an unlikely location in a small Florida town in the middle of nowhere. Add a German tax attorney with fond memories of food from his past. Stir in a strict philosophy to be all natural and organic way before it was trendy. And bake. You get Yalaha Bakery. Started by Gunter Harold in 1995 and then sold to Jürgen and Anne Marie Klumb in 2009 who revamped and refreshed the business, keeping all the old recipes and menus, Yalaha Bakery draws customers from miles around its small-town locale. Some come once a week from as far away as Tallahassee and even Miami to swoon over truly authentic German dishes like schnitzel, schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle), and sauerbraten. But it’s really the all German recipe made-from-scratch breads and pastries that put this German bakery on the foodie map. In fact, according to Anne Marie, when she tries to explain to people where she lives and she mentions Yalaha, she often gets ‘Oh, like the bakery’ as a response. Did Yalaha Bakery put Yalaha on the map? Anne Marie smiles and says nothing.
The Klumbs and their bakers create over 150 different types of pastries and 25 kinds of bread, all from the finest, freshest organic ingredients. Some are sourced locally. Some, like spices unavailable anywhere else, they import directly from Germany. According to Anne Marie, “our pastries are unique because we use high quality ingredients, the best butter and flour. When something is seasonal we take advantage of it. We spend more on our pastries the same as you would at home.” To the newbies who visit Yalaha for the first time, the bakery may seem as unique as its creations. But, Anne Marie says, “Yalaha is set up as a very typical German bakery. People who know what that means know the quality. We offer meats and cheeses in our deli. A German butcher here in Florida supplies much of our meat and most of the rest, especially the cheeses, we import from Germany. We have a fine collection of wines and
of course, a large number of delicious German beers.” Yalaha Bakery serves up a little bit of everything in its out-of-the-way location. Besides the extraordinary food, they have music on the weekends—“All kinds of music. But no oompah bands. That stuff is too boring. We have events all the time. Wine tastings, car shows, bicycle events, concerts. We have Christmas Market like in Germany, but ours only lasts a couple days. Oktoberfest though lasts all year long at Yalaha. Our property is four acres so we have lots of room for all of it.” When asked what she really wants people to know about her bakery she is insistent, “We make everything from scratch, every day. No shortcuts, no pre-made this, pre-made that. No powder this or powder that. The recipes are all authentic, all German. And by the way, nobody has better schnitzel. People ask me all the time, are you really German? And I say yes, yes we are.”
We make everything from scratch, every day. No shortcuts, no pre-made this, pre-made that. —ANNE MARIE
Yalaha Bakery 8210 State Road 48, Yalaha 34797 352.324.3366
Food & Drink DINING GUIDE
Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 U.S Highway 27, Leesburg // 352-319-8093 // Rodellos.com Open Daily: 11am-9pm Chef Amadeo Avila invites you to enjoy authentic and fresh Italian cuisine in a friendly, comfortable dining environment at the new Rodello’s Italian Restaurant. The recipes used for his dishes are a blend of old-school traditions from Italy— the restaurant is named for a city in the old country—with new culinary inspirations that Chef Amadeo has learned during many years in the restaurant business. Flavorful, homemade Italian entrees such as Pistachio Crusted Lamb, Salmon Saltimbocca, Lobster Ravioli, Shrimp Risotto, and many others are classics and prepared with only the freshest ingredients. The lunch menu features personal pizzas, calzones, subs, and pasta. Sit in the spacious dining room or enjoy drinks or desserts like delicious gelato in the cozy lounge, which features a full bar, wine menu, and an array of specialty cocktails. Always look for new specials on Chef Amadeo’s menu, available on the restaurant’s website, Rodellos.com.
Stokes Seafood Market and More 719 W. Main St., Leesburg // 352.787.3474 Facebook.com/StokesSeafoodMarketandMore The freshest seafood available, custom-made holiday and party platters, and many delicious “grab and go” meals are available from Stokes Seafood Market and More, and we now have outdoor seating so you can enjoy a delicious lunch at the market! We are located at 719 W. Main Street at the corner of 9th Street in historic downtown Leesburg. Our very own Chef Michelle Norvé C.E.C. creates the wonderful seafood dishes at the market, including lobster rolls, sesame-seared Ahi tuna, salad with blackened salmon or Ahi tuna, the best seafood gumbo, New England clam chowder, shrimp and lobster bisque around, and so much more. When you pick up your fresh seafood you can sample some of the wonderful housemade seafood salads, spreads, and dips, and wine and beer, and take some home to go with your dinner. We specialize in hard to find Northern fish and shellfish, live Maine Lobster and Blue Crab, Salmon, Tuna, Snapper, Grouper, Mahi, Ipswich Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Mullet, Catfish, Tilapia, Swordfish, Crab, and so much more! Every day there’s something new to pick up for lunch and “grab and go” home to enjoy. We are your one stop seafood shop…we carry everything to make your seafood meal perfect! In addition to the fish brought in fresh from the boats daily, there’s also a great selection of shellfish and frozen fish. Ask about our fun and informative cooking demonstrations by Chef Michelle. Call or check the schedule in the store for times.
Subway Subway.com Custom-made, fresh sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads made right before your eyes. The “healthy” alternative to fast food. Lady Lake // 208 W. Guava St. // 352.750.4929 Eustis // 469 Plaza Dr. // 352.357.7827 Mount Dora // 18870 U.S. Hwy. 441 // 352.735.4376 Leesburg // 2013 Citrus Blvd. // 352.787.6442 10135 U.S. Hwy. 441, Suite 4 // 352.326.3234 27405 U.S. Hwy. 27, Suite 4 // 352.314.8847 The Villages // 1580 Bella Cruz Drive // 352.750.9600 8796 S.E. 165th Mulberry Lane // 352.750.9991 1070 Lake Sumter Landing Drive // 352.205.8535 349 Colony Blvd. // 352.391.1657 Wildwood // 480 W. Gulf to Alantic Hwy. // 352.748.8800
The name for seafood… Stokes Seafood Market and More! adds new touches to a rich company history. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
When customers walk in the door at Stokes Seafood Market and More! they can expect to find the best fresh and frozen high-quality seafood from a company whose history in Leesburg dates to 1931. The one-stop-seafood shop has the largest display and variety of fresh fish and seafood in Central Florida and carries all the ingredients needed to complete the dish as well. But Stokes Seafood Market and More! is also making a new name for itself with the “More!” part of the business: delicious fresh-made lunches Wednesday through Friday prepared by Certified Executive Chef Michelle Norvé, hot to-go buckets of seafood, delicious house-made dips, spreads, salads, soups and customized platters for all holiday parties and occasions. “We have fresh fish brought in daily that we buy right off the boats from all over the southeastern United States and all over the world,” says Margie Brozanski, co-owner and GM/vice president of sales. The original Stokes Seafood Market relocated in 2004 from East Main Street to a building on County Road 468 that is now the Stokes Fish Company wholesale outlet. A third
division, Lake Trucking Company, delivers fresh and frozen seafood all over the country. Margie and her husband, Ted, bought the business from the Stokes family in 2012. Longtime customers who had fond memories of the former market had clamored for the market to be reopened for years, and Stokes Seafood Market and More! opened in June 2017 at 719 W. Main St. Leesburg, FL, bigger and better than ever. Now customers can shop for just about anything: snapper, grouper, mahi, swordfish, tuna, mullet, catfish, wild tilapia, shrimp, scallops, crabmeat, live blue crabs, oysters, mussels, clams, and hard-to-find Northern seafood such as live Maine lobsters, Ipswich clams, haddock, cod, and halibut. “If we don’t have it, we can usually special-order it for you,” general manager Theresa Nielsen says. “If it swims or crawls or it’s anywhere associated with the water, we pretty much have it.” Stokes Seafood Market and More! serves made-to-order lunches from 11am-2pm Wednesday-Friday, and sidewalk seating is available, as well as inside seating during
inclement weather. Executive Chef Michelle Norvé prepares all the food, including wonderful soups, chowders, and bisques, in-house—nothing is prepackaged. Customers also can make reservations for fun and informative cooking demonstrations by Chef Michelle and meet with her or Theresa to plan custom-made platters for holiday gatherings, parties, and special occasions. Customers on the go can pick up hot to-go buckets and meals, including shrimp, clams, garlic crabs, poached or roasted salmon, and what’s becoming a famous specialty, Maryland-style Old Bay steamed crabs…please call ahead to pre-order so you don’t have to wait. Our friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced staff greets customers and offers free samples of craft beer, wine, and fresh-made salads, dips, and spreads “to try before you buy,” Margie says. “We want to make shopping at Stokes Seafood Market and More! an experience for all of our customers,” she says. Theresa sums up the market’s appeal, pardon the pun: “Once you walk in the door, you’re hooked.”
We have fresh ﬁsh brought in daily that we buy right off the boats from all over the southeastern United States and all over the world. — MARGIE BROZANSKI
Stokes Seafood Market and More! 719 W. Main St., Leesburg 34748 352.787.3474 Follow and like us on Facebook
Food & Drink DINING GUIDE
The Whistle Stop at Zellwood Station 2728 Cayman Cir., Zellwood // Tue-Sat 11am-7pm // Sun 11am-5pm // 407.814.7005 Located in the rolling hills of Zellwood Station is Whistle Stop Restaurant and Lounge. With a scenic view of the community’s beautiful golf course, the restaurant is open Sunday morning for breakfast, Wednesdays and Fridays for dinner, and Tuesday through Sunday for lunch. Diners can satisfy their taste buds on various food items prepared by a former Disney Chef, including Reubens, burgers, Caesar salad, and a large pork sandwich.
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!
Would you like to see your restaurant in our dining section? Call us at 352.787.4112 LAKE & SUMTER
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The Oaks Professional Center â€˘ 8575 NE 138th Lane â€˘ 352.674.2080 villageheartandvein.com
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Complimentary Tours & Wine Tastings Offered Daily. Themed Festivals with Live Music Every Month.
December 7th - 9th
Featuring Complimentary Chocolate & Wine Tasting, Arts & Crafts, Live Music, Food & Tours! And our Wine & Cheese Bar will be open each Festival!
For more information visit www.LakeridgeWinery.com/Events
19239 US 27 North • ClermoNt, Fl 34715 352-394-8627 • 1-800-768-WINe
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1400 N US Hwy 441, Suite 552, The Villages, FL 32159 phone 352.751.2862 fax 352.751.5541
Held Friday, October 12, 2018 at Lake Receptions In Mount Dora
Netted more than $19,000 for Cancer Care Services and Emergency Services at Florida Hospital Waterman
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Healthy Living Magazine Red Apples Media
02 Breath Aesthetic Skin Solutions of The Villages Artisans on fifth ASK Cleaning Becker’s Best Shoes Bella Toscana Spa Belton Financial Group of Raymond James Bosshardt & Marzek Plastic Surgery Associates Cason Photography Center for Advanced Surgery Central Florida Eye Center Christine Collections Community Health Centers Cookie Cousins Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care doTerra – Susan Lewis Sherrie Douglas Eustis Art League Farris and Foster’s Famous Chocolate Factory Florida Blue – Robert Buckmann Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute Florida Hospital Waterman Gift Shop Gourmet Today, Inc. Hammer & Stain – Central Florida Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Hepner Melody Hayes Healthy Choice Obstetrics & Gynecology Healthy Living Magazine Angie Hughes Initials Inc – Joan Ordazzo
Exhibitor Booth Sponsors Belton Financial Group of Raymond James Center for Advanced Surgery Christine Collections Community Health Centers Connect Hearing Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care Edward Jones – Diane Thomas Florida Blue – Robert Buckmann Hammer & Stain – Central Florida Healthy Choice Obstetrics & Gynecology Insight Credit Union Lake Cares, Inc. Mid Florida Eye Center NeriumAD – Melissa Vu New York Life Nurse Next Door OneBlood Pure Oils Are Essential - doTerra Sample Handbags – Myra Conner Scentsy – Natalie A. Krusell Seacoast National Bank Venus deMilo Salon Vitas Healthcare Wallace Fitness
Insight Credit Union April Kauffman Ladybug’s Gifts & Sundries, Inc. Lake Cares, Inc. Lake Laser, Inc. Lake Receptions Lake-Sumter State College Foundation, Inc. Erin Lewin LipSense – Jenna Krager Leslie Maxwell Mid Florida Eye Center NeriumAD – Melissa Vu New York Life Nurse Next Door On the Strip Lash & Brow Origami Owl – Debbie Sturgill Painting with a Twist Premier Boat Tours Pure Oils Are Essential – doTerra Red Apples Media Sample Handbags – Myra Conner Scentsy – Natalie A. Krusell Seacoast National Bank Sentry Management Surface Loft Hair Studio Thrive Venus deMilo Salon Vitas Healthcare Wallace Fitness Anita Young
1500 Waterman Way • Tavares, FL 32778 Phone 352.253.3270 • Fax 352.253.3266 FHW.Foundation@ahss.org • www.FHWatermanDonate.org
SATURDAY DEC 8th • 5:00pm
HOLIDAY MOVIE NIGHT!
FRIDAY DEC 14th • 6:00pm
You are cordially invited to join us in the Serengeti!
HEARTS FOR OUR HOSPITAL GALA Saturday, February 9, 2019
Serengeti Sunset The Savannah Center 1545 Buena Vista Boulevard The Villages, FL 32162 5:30p.m. – 11:00p.m. Silent Auction 5:30p.m. – 7:00p.m. Dinner 7:00p.m.
RSVP by: January 25, 2019 The Auxillary Foundation Office via phone 352.751.8871 or email email@example.com
Dress is formal Visit our Gala Event Page at gala2019.home.qtego.net
The annual Hearts for Our Hospital Gala is our largest fundraising event of the year. 2019 will feature a Serengeti Sunset theme with music and dancing (Johnny Wild & the Delights), live and silent auctions, and a scrumptious catered dinner. A portion of the monies raised will purchase a SimMan® Vascular manikin. This is a realistic, full-body patient simulator that aids in teaching critical skills. Funds will also go toward the 4-year healthcare scholarship program that the Auxiliary Foundation offers to area high school students and hospital team members. — Diane Kupchak Gala Co-Chair & Auction Chair
F i na l T h oug h t
To the plant I killed in three months Sorry, Song of India, but life goes on—probably. STORY: RHEYA TANNER
ear Tilly, Remember when we first met in the garden section at that Lowe’s? You flaunted your lush, slender leaves at me, vibrant with greens and yellows—the incarnation of mid-spring. Right then, I knew you were the one. Your little nametag called you a Song of India. It said you were low-maintenance and liked being indoors. “No way,” I thought to myself. “She just, like, gets me.” I bought a pretty blue pot to complement your cool colors, gave you a name, and whisked you away. You were my very first plant. So, as with many first loves, I was obsessed. I cleaned you, talked to you, and read up on what made
Every day, after I got home from work, I’d run my fingers through those leafy leaves and tell you how proud I was to have you.
you tick. I started to think I had a natural green thumb and never knew it. I’d imagine that by this time next year, I’d have a house brimming with foliage. And every day, after I got home from work, I’d run my fingers through those leafy leaves and tell you how proud I was to have you. I swore to keep you happy and healthy, and was so excited to watch you grow. That was August. Now it’s December, and you’re dead. So, so dead. That blue pot sits empty on my windowsill now, a cruel reminder of just how dead you are. What happened, Tilly? Did I water you too much? Not enough? Was it the sunlight? The humidity? It hurt my heart to watch your springtime charm wither into brittle brownness, without knowing what was wrong. I’m a murderer. I’m directly responsible for the death of a
living thing. I let you down. I’m deeply sorry for that—and marginally concerned for my ability to care for other living things. But you know what? You taught me something. You exposed me to the joys and responsibilities of having a beautiful plant in my home. More importantly, you brought a touch of whimsy and positivity into my life when I really needed it. You’ll never know how much you meant to me, especially considering you have neither a brain nor sentience, and also you’re dead. I won’t give up. I’ll make mistakes with other plants. You probably won’t be my last negligent herbicide (condolences to the future Billy or Milly). But you won’t be my last love, either. Thank you for everything. Yours, Rheya
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