J OURNEY OF A LIFETIME Over forty years ago, Dr. Saroj Tampira followed his heart and embarked upon a career journey that finally led him to the Village Heart and Vein Center. His arrival completed the vision of the Center founder Dr. Georg Couturier to provide total care for patients with heart and/or vascular diseases. Dr.Tampira’s journey literally began with a medical degree earned at Madihol University—the number one university in Thailand. Internship and residency at the University
of Louisville Hospital followed. In 1978 he completed a Fellowship with Tulane University in New Orleans. His specialty is interventional cardiology—clearing and repairing blocked veins and arteries—and he is one of a very select group of talented cardiologists skilled enough to pursue blockages below the knee in individuals who need help.Today, many patients and procedures later, all of us in Central Florida are fortunate indeed that his heart and his journey brought him here.
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We Listen. We Care. We Educate. Annuities 101 Seminar May 8th & 24th The Waterfront Inn Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages Reserve Your Seat Today! 352.350.1161
TBFinancialGroup.com 3261 U.S. HIGHWAY 441/27, SUITE F-2 FRUITLAND PARK, FL 34731 TB Financial Group Inc. is a licensed insurance agency for life, health, and annuities. We are not securities licensed. We are not tax advisors. Our seminars are very general in nature and not meant to replace the advice of your CPA, Tax Preparer, Investment Advisor or Attorney. We will not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax or legal professional for these matters.
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MAY 2018 // VOL.14 NO. 7 // F e a t u r e s
68 More than just a name May 2018
LAKE & SUMTER
Rose Connell’s determination and drive have helped her reach every dream she’s gone after, which is why she’s the Style magazine 2018 Business Woman of the Year. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL
N WOME of STYLE
36 Not all GIs are Joes
48 Women on the force
60 In case of emergency
Florida is the third-largest state in the number of military veterans, and 166,222 are women. Uncle Sam called, and they all volunteered.
Whether at the county sheriff’s office or a city’s police department, the dedicated women on the job are proud of their place in law enforcement.
Amid the stress and physically strenuous work of first responders, female paramedics take their places with pride.
STORY: LEIGH NEELY
STORY: CHRIS GERBASI
STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL
Special Adve rtising Section
Meet some of Lake & Sumter counties’ most successful women—the 2018 Business Women of Style.
BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE YEAR + Rose Connell of The Villages Insurance
Whether they’re veterans or first responders, these women know the meaning of duty, honor, and protecting home and country.
On the covers LAKE & SUMTER STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY: FRED LOPEZ MODEL: ROSE CONNELL VILLAGES EDITION PHOTOGRAPHY: FRED LOPEZ PHOTOSHOP: JASON FUGATE MODEL: JUNE LEW
d e pa r t m e n t s
23 up front
24 26 28 30
In the Know Person of Interest Outstanding Student This ‘N That
107 ON THE SCENE
108 110 112 114 118 121
The To-Do List In Concert Local Talent Near & Far Social Spotlight Hi, Society!
131 Food & Drink
132 136 138 142 144
In the Kitchen Quick Bites Fork on the Road Saluté Dining Guide
16 From the Publisher 148 Final Thought
THE AIR-KING A tribute to the golden age of aviation in the 1930s, featuring a prominent minute scale for navigational time-readings. It doesnâ€™t just tell time. It tells history.
OYSTER PERPETUAL AIR-KING
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From The Publisher
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My favorite of all time! or those of you
who are avid readers of Style, you probably have already predicted that I am going to tell you that this is one of my favorite issues of the year. If so, you are correct. In fact, this isn’t just one of my favorites; I believe this is the best issue our team has ever produced. Every year, we share stories of women who are leaders within our community and the passion that has driven them to succeed. I am always impressed with their stories and inspired by their dedication. This year is a little different. This year, we truly feature modern-day Wonder Women. We share stories of female war heroes, firefighters, and police officers, and, of course, our amazing Business Women of Style. But out of all of these amazing, strong, powerful women, there is one who stood out to me the most. She is the woman behind the scenes of this issue, our managing editor, Leigh Neely. I have always known that Leigh is amazing and strong and loves her work. But I didn’t know how much until this issue. In the midst of interviews and writing features, Leigh awoke one morning to a knock on her door from a state trooper telling her that Richard, her beloved husband of 48 years, had been killed in a horrible car accident. To say she was in complete shock and devastation is an understatement. Only a few of us could ever imagine how this must have felt and how much pain she was enduring. Just a day or two after the news of her husband’s accident, we deadlined on the stories for this issue. Leigh was not quite finished with her veterans’ profiles, but in all of her grief felt so passionate about these women and their stories that she wanted to finish them herself. She wanted to make sure that their stories were told the way that she had heard them, and the way that they inspired her. Leigh is the epitome of Wonder Woman. I will never forget the strength I saw in Leigh during this cycle, and I will never forget the passion and power of all of the women featured in this issue. It will forever remain my alltime favorite. Congratulations to Rose Connell of The Villages Insurance for being selected as our Business Woman of the Year. And to our readers, I hope this issue empowers you to be your best and to follow the amazing role models featured here, and the women behind the scenes. Until next month,
HARMONY UNITED PSYCHIATRIC CARE Kendra Akers PUBLISHER email@example.com Doug Akers PRESIDENT firstname.lastname@example.org Jamie Ezra Mark CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER email@example.com
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Joe Angione Mary Ann DeSantis Diane Dean Fred Hilton sales // marketing
Tim McRae VICE PRESIDENT, SALES & MARKETING email@example.com Jacquelyn Singer William Carter ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Shaena Chastain SALES ASSISTANT Shaena@akersmediagroup.com Administration
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AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE
We provide psychiatric evaluations, diagnosis, psychotherapy, and management of the following mental health conditions:
Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2018 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.
CATHY LAMBERT, DEBORAH LCSW HEWITT, LMHC
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Photo: Fred Lopez
SEE STORY on PG 28
O U T S TA N D I N G S T U D E N T //
T H I S ‘ N ’ T H AT
23 Up Front
Morgan Nobles aspires to be a plastic surgeon, but she’s focusing on a great high school experience.
* IUNpT HFErKoNnO Wt
Don’t forget Mom on May 13 Ja m e s C o m b s’
Florida lawmakers may pass a bill that will allow the state to remain in daylight saving time year round. Thank God! I just love arriving home from work in the dark—said nobody ever. I’m glad politicians are finally seeing the light on this issue!
An 88-year-old Umatilla man recently donated his 150th gallon of blood. Giving his blood to people in need is admirable, and I need to start following his example. Unfortunately, I give most of my blood to mosquitoes in the summertime.
A Tavares business was shut down for illegal gambling after law enforcement officers seized more than $10,000 in cash. The owner should put a new sign out front that reads: “Closed. We just can’t deal with our customers anymore.”
A man driving a Ford Ranger picked up a woman who was on the run after a botched shoplifting spree at Wal-Mart in Summerfield. The man said “she was pretty” and he “wanted to help her.” Somehow, the lyrics to a Roy Orbison song just popped in my head: “Pretty woman, walking down the street. Pretty woman, the kind I like to meet.”
The Ocklawaha Valley Audubon Society of Lake County began hosting a beginner’s class on basic birding. Maybe they should call it “Lord of the Wings.”
Similarly, the Eustis Recreation Department is offering yoga classes inside the Lakeview Room at the Eustis Community Center. That’s great news because I have been bending over backwards trying to find a class like this.
Mother’s Day will be celebrated May 13. The day was established in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson after Anna Jarvis campaigned for a May date in memory of her mother, who had died that month. However, Anna reportedly became disappointed with the commercialization of the day. “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world,” she said, believing her original sentiment for the day had been sacrificed for profit.
Save the date Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of Mexico’s victory in the battle at Puebla on May 5, 1862. In The Villages, Cinco de Mayo is a battle for parking spaces and seats at the squares. Villagers will pretend they’re Mexicans from 5-9pm May 5 at both Spanish Springs Town Square and Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, according to thevillagesentertainment.com. High-energy salsa and mariachi bands, themed routines by The Villages Festival Performance Groups, and the ever-popular stilt walkers in Spanish attire are among the highlights. Get there early!
Move the ote
The Lake County Supervisor of Elections Office is moving this summer. Elections staff will share a building with Reunion Bank at 1898 E. Burleigh Blvd. (U.S. Highway 441), across from Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares, according to a newsletter. The new site is larger than the current office at 315 W. Main St., Suite 144, Tavares, so elections operations—equipment and administrative offices—can be consolidated in the same building. The new office also will have enhanced security measures, better accessibility for the public, and it will be utilized as the county’s 10th early voting site. Look for a date soon for a public open house.
Thinking about adoption? According to a press release from Kids Central Inc., almost 900 children in Florida are awaiting adoption. Selfless Love Foundation, a Florida-based nonprofit, has partnered with Adoption-Share to launch Family-Match in the state. This is a datadriven technology that uses predictive models to assist social workers with placement decisions. Compatibility assessment was developed with help from eHarmony and is intended to reduce the time for adoptive placement, match children with families where they will thrive, and improve caseworker efficiency. Zackary Gibson, chief child advocate and director of the state Office of Adoption and Child Protection says, “We believe that Family-Match will help unlock the vault of waiting families and provide children with the permanency they need and deserve. This innovative private-public partnership will make a difference for children in foster care.” Visit kidscentralinc.org for more information.
More female centenarians In 1980, there were 15,000 people who reached the age of 100. Today, there are more than 720,000 centenarians, and 80 percent of them are women, according to retirement facts from Fross & Fross Wealth Management in The Villages.
Hey, Mom! Manatees are very important to Florida, and the Save the Manatee Club, an international nonprofit organization, is promoting Adopt-A-Manatee during May. Here’s your chance to be a part of one of Jimmy Buffett’s favorite charities. Read about the work of Save the Manatee and watch a great video here: savethemanatee.org/smchist.htm, and add a new member to your family.
nt * PuEpR S fO Nr o OF INTEREST
My motivation to teach:
V I TA L
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. My dad was a middle school teacher and when he would bring home papers to grade, I would sit at the table and secretly write comments on his students’ papers. For Christmas, I would always ask for school supplies such as a chalkboard and chalk, teacher books, and colored pens so that I could pretend to be a teacher. I would sit all of my stuffed animals on my bed and pretend that they were my students.
Lives in Grand Island. Has been teaching 29 years. Family includes husband, Randy; two sons, Austin and Alex.
What I love most about teaching at Seminole Springs Elementary School: It’s a rural community with such loving children and very supportive parents. We have the best administration that allows teachers to teach using individual styles. It is a welcoming environment where students feel loved and safe.
My hero: My father. He is a strong Christian man who loves with all of his heart and soul. He is a true role model for any man becoming a husband or a dad. I love and respect him with all of my being.
Three words to describe myself: Loving, tenderhearted, and supportive.
What I hope my students learn the most from me: Important life lessons that will help them succeed way beyond test scores, class projects, and daily struggles.
Guilty pleasure: Butter pecan ice cream.
If I could have dinner with anyone (living or dead) it would be: My dad’s dad who died before I was born.
My goals or bucket list: I want to own a beach house on the West Coast. Something about me that no one knows: I’m good at playing ping-pong.
Pet peeve: People who leave their Christmas lights up past Jan 2.
Secret to my success: My supportive family.
Favorite quote: “Be still and know that I am God.”
journey with adventurous twists and turns. You will have your ups and downs but hang in there—it’s all worth the time and effort. Surround yourself with positive people and be open for change. Definitely don’t lose sight of why you are a teacher. Simply love your kids.
Photo: Fred Lopez
My advice to new or future teachers: Teaching is a
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Morgan Nobles Senior at Leesburg High School
Career aspiration: I want to attend medical school and become a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgery is an attractive field to me because I can help people look better and feel more confident. I think it will be an exciting and challenging career.
Future college: Obviously, I want to go somewhere that has a good medical program. I would also like to attend a college where there are many activities to enjoy outside the campus.
Favorite subject: Math because I love
Favorite teacher: Tammy Jerkins. I took her pre-calculus class during my junior year and really enjoyed her. She always went out of her way to make sure I understood what was being taught.
Volunteerism: I’ve done everything from helping handicapped students with their schoolwork, picking up trash alongside the road, and conducting bake sales during the holiday. Volunteering makes me appreciative and grateful for everything I have.
Why my generation will succeed: We will succeed because we are determined to be the best, whether it’s our schoolwork or extracurricular activities. Being OK is not good enough; we want to be high achievers in everything we do.
Maintains a 4.2 gradepoint average while dual-enrolled at LakeSumter State College. She has been on both cheerleading and dancing competition teams.
Favorite music: I love country music. My favorite singers are Kane Brown, Chris Young, and Luke Combs.
Involved in National Honor Society, the Beta Club, and Triad Club.
to focus on the important things. That is what helps me balance my time.
Three words that describe me: Determined,
Received a $30,000 scholarship from Stetson University.
Balancing school, extracurricular activities, and work: It’s important
Favorite television show: “The Bachelor” because it has lots of drama.
Photo: Fred Lopez
S TAT V I TA L
figuring out challenging problems on my own.
A flush beats a full house PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
Built on the principles of hard work, honesty, and integrity, Leesburg Septic Inc. has developed quite a reputation throughout Lake County and Central Florida. In fact, the company derives most of its business through word of mouth, a sure sign that each job is handled with the highest level of professionalism and reliability. The company originally opened as Leesburg Concrete and Septic Tanks in 1983. In 2005, Kami Suggs and her husband, Bradley, purchased the business from her parents and renamed it Leesburg Septic Inc. To say they have much pride in owning and operating their own company would be an understatement. “I love having my own business,” Kami says. “You have to be passionate if you want to succeed in today’s world. It takes a personal touch to rise above your competition, and we put that personal touch into our business on a daily basis.”
The company can handle all your septic needs, ranging from pumping out tanks to conducting drain field repairs and installing new tanks and drains for homeowners and contractors. Leesburg Septic also conducts inspections for realtors, potentially saving homeowners money, headache, and time. Leesburg Septic Inc. services Lake, Sumter, Marion, Orange, and Volusia counties. “We don’t do sod or plumbing,” Kami says. “We specialize in septic and stick to what we know. We do septic and do it well.” Because their company is family-owned and operated, Kami and Bradley see their employees, customers, and community as one big family, too. After all, both are lifelong Lake County residents and as a result strive to treat each client as a friend. “For us, it’s important to hire honest, hard-working people because they’re a reflection of who we are,” Kami says. “We
treat our employees like family and even paid for one to go on his honeymoon. When you find good employees you have to hang onto them because we don’t want them going anywhere else.” The combination of good employees and a personal touch is why Leesburg Septic Inc. saw its sales triple only three years after the Suggs purchased the company. It’s also why local companies such as Harbor Hills, Kevco Builders, American Family Homes, and Hegstrom Homes rely on the company for their septic needs. “When I leave my house, I transfer the company phone to my cell phone so I can answer,” Kami says. “The last thing a person with septic problems wants is to hear an answering machine. They want someone who answers their initial call, and they want someone who cares. That’s what we strive to provide.”
* We don’t do sod or plumbing. We specialize in septic and stick to what we know. We do septic and do it well. Leesburg Septic 821 Lake Ella Road, Fruitland Park 352.787.5435 LeesburgSeptic.net
* TUHpI S F‘ Nr’ oT HnAtT
Hair today, gone tomorrow The biblical story of Samson says he needed his hair for his strength. But does hair truly define the man? STORY: FRED HILTON
roving once again that I have too much time on my hands, I calculated the number of times I have shaved in my life. Remember, there are lot of years involved here. The number I came up with is a staggering 21,170—give or take a few hundred. The number 21,170 might sound pretty precise but it’s only an estimate. It doesn’t consider those pesky February 29th’s that pop up every now and then. It also doesn’t include that day in September 1987 when I shaved twice or the time in January 2003 that I didn’t shave at all. In addition, it ignores those days in boot camp when I shaved every 30 minutes to keep that surly man with all the stripes on his arm from yelling at me. Assuming that it takes me about four minutes to shave, I’ve spend 86,800 minutes over the years doing nothing but shaving. That amounts to more than 60 days – two months! (Don’t forget that I’m math-challenged.) If that number is right, or even nearly right, it means that I’ve spent 60 days that surely could have been put to better use. I could have learned to speak Portuguese, written the great American novel, climbed Mount Everest (or at least one of Florida’s larger hills). Actually, instead of missing a chance to learn Portuguese, I was really thinking about how nice it would be to have 60 more days of eating, drinking, or being involved in fun activities that one should not discuss in a family magazine. It may be time to pull a David Letterman. Have you seen old Dave lately? Well,
the 71-year-old clean-shaven king of late-night television is no more. The smooth-cheeked reader of 4,600 Top Ten lists has disappeared. He’s been replaced by a scruffy, hairy guy who has a humongous grey beard that sprouts in about 82 different directions. The New York Times wrote a long story about Letterman and his new beard. One might think that Letterman was making some bold sociological statement by not shaving or perhaps expressing a deep and profound statement about the duality of man. (I have no idea what that means but I heard it in a movie once and it sounded cool.) Letterman’s reason for the beard was a lot less philosophical: “I just got tired of shaving every day.” The new beard, the Times said, makes Dave look “either like a lanky Santa Claus or an escapee from an asylum.” The asylum escapee analogy is right on, but the Santa Claus one falls short. Dave actually looks more like a tall Gabby Hayes with a cigar. Gabby Hayes-look or not, the idea of not shaving did have some appeal to me—at least until my wife rolled her eyes and reminded me of the Great Mustache Mistake. A few years back, everybody where I worked was growing a mustache. I tried but found that my facial hair grows very, very slowly. (My 5 o’clock shadow is a 5 o’clock fuzzywuzzy.) For weeks, while my mustache was trying to come to life, my upper lip looked like a small caterpillar with a crew cut was taking a nap there. It’s amazing to see the number of people in my demo-
graphic (meaning old, fat men) who have facial hair. They have glorious handle-bar mustaches, bushy sideburns, goatees, and dozens of other options. There also are all those guys who have fuzzy faces that look like they haven’t shaved in the last three days, which, of course, they haven’t. That won’t work for me since it would take three weeks to get the same look. All of this means that growing a mustache or any kind of beard is out for me. Maybe I should give up haircuts. There are those, including my wife, who claim that I’ve already done that. There was a time not long ago when long hair on men was not only accepted, it also was applauded. Remember those days of wonderful fashions for men, like flowered bell trousers, leisure suits, and the remarkably weird Nehru jacket? My hair was about average for those psychedelic days—meaning it hit my shoulders. During this delightful era, I took a job at a college in an ultraconservative small town. On my first day on the job, the New Boss called me into his office. With a very somber face, New Boss said, “We need you to do something.” Since I was a smashing-looking young fellow (in my mind anyway), I was certain he was going to tell me not to hanky-panky with the coeds since they wouldn’t be able to resist me. I was ready to tell him that I was happily married and, besides, I didn’t want to become a Harvey Weinstein in 30 years. New Boss just looked me square in the eye and said: “Get a haircut.”
All of this means that growing a mustache or any kind of beard is out for me. Maybe I should give up haircuts.
EDI T I O N
Skin Cancer: Know the Signs
id you know that doctors recommend checking your skin regularly? Our moles, blemishes, freckles, and other marks are unique. They can change over time, from aging or from seasonal variation, but also from skin cancer. How can you tell when you should see your doctor? Learn your skin patterns. Skin self-exams work best in a well-lit room before a full-length mirror. Use a hand-held mirror for hardto-see places like the backs of your thighs. Examine all areas, including your palms and soles, scalp, ears, nails, and back.
Main Types of Skin Cancers Basal cell carcinoma accounts for about 80% of non-melanomas. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 20% of nonmelanomas. Melanoma, though rare, is much more likely to grow and spread if left untreated.
Tell your doctor about any spots on your skin that are new or changing in size, shape, or color, or if you find any unusual sores, lumps, blemishes, or markings. Changes in how your skin looks or
feels could be a cancer warning sign. Signs include skin that is red, swollen, scaly, or crusty, that feels itchy, tender, or painful, or that is oozing and bleeding. Key warning signs for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas include a new growth, a spot or bump that grows larger, or a sore that doesnâ€™t heal within a few weeks. Key warning signs for melanomas also include mole changes. Sometimes even doctors canâ€™t tell the difference between melanoma and an ordinary mole, another good reason to learn your skin and to be aware of any changes.
Did You Know?
Additional Skin Cancer Risk Factors
Exposure to certain chemicals (like arsenic) can increase your risk of skin cancer.
1. Exposure to ultra-violet (UV) rays from sun and from tanning beds
Radiation exposure, especially for children who received radiation treatment, can increase the risk of skin cancer.
PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
2. Light-colored skin 3. Previous skin cancer 4. Long-term or severe skin inflammation or injury.
by the numbers
Moles: Benign, or Melanoma?
91,270 The estimated number of melanoma cases that will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018
When examining moles, use the ABCDE rule: A=Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other. B=Border: Edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred. C=Color: Color is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black, or may have patches of pink, red, white, or blue. D=Diameter: Spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about pencil eraser width). E=Evolving: The mole’s size, shape, or color changes. Also check to see if a spot looks different from all the other spots on your skin. If you see something that doesn’t look right or that causes you concern, tell your doctor. quick quote
“Skin has a good memory. Skin is like the ground we walk on every day; you can read a whole history in it if you know how to look”
>3 million The estimated number of non-melanoma skin cancers diagnosed in the U.S. each year
30 Minimum recommended SPF strength for sunscreen
92% 5-year survival rate among all people with melanoma of the skin, from the time of initial diagnosis
Herman Flink, MD
Radiation Oncologist at RBOI
Protect Yourself with Sunscreen Most of us are aware of the cause of skin cancer: Excess sun exposure. The important thing to note is the sun exposure in our youth and subsequent few decades which leads to the skin cancers that develop in our 50s, 60s, and 70s. Avoiding sun exposure at any age is worthwhile, but when we are with our grandchildren, urge either minimal Sun exposure or the liberal use of sunscreen, SPF 30 or more.
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June Lew is on top of the world...
top of the changes in the medical industry.
June Lew: Sitting
on Top of the World Whether pursuing her dream to help doctors build successful medical practices, shooting wildlife on a Serengeti photo Safari, or climbing to the summit of a mountain range in China, June Lew approaches every new opportunity with passion and the drive to positively impact lives.
Twin Medical Consultants
Twinning the ‘art and science’ of medicine with the ‘business’ of medicine helps make practices perfect. And no one understands that better than June Lew. She and business partner Gary Blakely are the principals in Twin Medical Consultants, a company which makes
it easier for physicians to take care of businessrelated and IT issues within their practices so they, their physician assistants and nurses, and their administrative teams can focus on a much greater priority… diagnosing, treating and caring for patients. “Above all, a physician’s commitment and obligation is to his or her patients—to doing what’s
in their best interest,” said June. “Gary and I help doctors solve some of their most complex business and technology problems, so they have more time to be doctors and care for their patients,” she added. Whether a doctor or practice needs turnkey assistance to open an office, assistance with billing, a fully integrated information technology system, or help merging with, or acquiring, new practices, Twin Medical Consultants is here to help. “We help practices run smoothly by providing as much or as little help as they need. Our clients include physicians who are opening or restarting medical practices and want to establish best practices right from the start, practices that are successful, but want to make improvements to encourage growth, and those that need to implement changes to see improvements quickly. “After 25 years of experience working with
a medical practice, I have become something of an efficiency expert,” said June. “I use the practice’s own staff to fix their particular problems, helping them to perform better and cut inefficiencies. I provide spreadsheets, so they get the proper reports on everything, including inventory and where it’s going. This is also an important step in helping them keep up with patient satisfaction.” “Gary and I bring fresh, new insight and advice to a situation to solve problems or to identify any obstacles in the way of the growth and productivity of a practice,” June added.
A Passion for Caring for Doctors…and Their Patients
“We’re not just their consultants, but their friends,” said Gary about the clients he and June work with. “We get joy out of taking a problem and coming up with a solution for it. For
example, we don’t just handle billing. We’re right here, locally, so patients can call us directly with billing questions. So often, a doctors’ office will take a call from a patient with a billing question, call the billing company, call the patient back, and then find out the patient has an additional question. We invite that patient to call us directly, instead. We can answer every billing question until that patient has the information he or she needs, and is satisfied that every question has been answered. “I’ve seen how many doctors can use our help,” said June, who in 1991, was instrumental in helping to establish a cardiology practice that has now grown to one of the largest and most successful multi-specialty groups in Central Florida. That practice now has more than 25 physicians and 10 offices. She retired in 2017 in order to move ahead full speed with her newest venture. “This is where my passion is. I see many doctors who are simply burned out after years of struggling with regulations and the demands of an ever-changing healthcare environment—a key reason many small doctors’ offices have been gobbled up by large practices or hospitals. We work sideby-side with these doctors
to help them regain their passion by allowing them to do what they do best and enjoy the most.
Great Support Translates to Superior Results
Services provided by Twin Medical Consultants run the gamut from billing and coding, help with location selection and buildout, office expansion, Insurances, risk management, purchasing of equipment, marketing, monitoring office flow, analyzing finance and overhead, overseeing accounting and bookkeeping, assisting CPAs on tax planning, inventory control, front office, physician recruiting, strategic planning, and compliance. “Billing correctly is a critical issue for physicians. Often, a physician’s staff does not have time to follow up with insurances on medical billing issues and this causes money to go uncollected. We offer a fully customizable billing service that helps to increase revenue throughout a medical facility. If Twin Medical handles a practice’s billing, June’s other medical consulting services are included in the fee. Gary is equally passionate about handling a practice’s
“Gary and I bring fresh, new insight and advice to a situation to solve problems or to identify any obstacles in the way of the growth and productivity of a practice.” —JUNE LEW
medical IT and tech support needs. With over 20 years of experience in the medical field, he is ready to assist practices with a wide array of services to help them run smoothly and efficiently, creating IT systems from the ground up, or providing whatever a practice may need. “Doctors today are being compensated based on the quality and value of their services, not the quantity. They’re being held accountable for giving better care instead
of more service. We thoroughly understand what it takes to capture the information they need for the merit-based reporting of performance information that Medicare and insurance agencies require today,” said Gary.
Medical Knowledge Boosts IT Productivity
“When a practice calls in just a traditional computer company— most don’t understand the complexities of the
medical field. MIPS and MACRA (quality measures), EHR and EMR (electronic health records and electronic medical records), we completely understand them. We have used many of the software products doctors use like eClinical®, MicroMD®, and Amazing Charts™, and can provide all the hardware and software needed to fully integrate their systems. “I believe computers should work for us, and helped design a personal health package. A lot of companies sell EHR
packages to doctors and then train them to use them. Instead, I look at the doctor’s workflow and create an EHR package that works for them.” “In 2017, if everything was not done correctly, such as billing and coding, a practice could lose on average four percent of their revenue. In 2018, it will be more,” Gary says. “Technological innovations are deeply changing everything around us. Our team at Twin Medical Consultants is driven to succeed in
providing healthcare IT solutions for today and tomorrow,” he added. “It’s exciting to help doctors get back to what they love—practicing medicine and having the time to enjoy their doctorpatient interactions,” said June. We help doctors be doctors, give nurses more time to take care of patients and provide office staffs with the administrational skills they need to operate like a well-oiled machine. “We want them to enjoy the time they spend in the practice, and we
want to give them more time to spend with their families and friends.”
The Dream is Alive
June and Gary work very hard and are very passionate about what they are doing together. Their passion spills over into other aspects of their lives. For June, who came to the US as a high school sophomore from Seoul, South Korea, the field of medicine has always been a passion. She earned a pharmacy degree from the University of Georgia and worked as a practicing pharmacist in Gainesville for seven years before moving to Leesburg. While raising her family, June dreamt of becoming a wildlife
photographer. Seven years ago, she began realizing her dream, setting out on her first photography safari. For her, this was a pictureperfect second calling. Since then, June has begun raising awareness of the beauty and fragility of the natural world with a portfolio of captivating wildlife photographs which includes mischievous baby pandas playing together in China, and an awardwinning photograph of a lion balanced majestically on a rock in the Serengeti in Tanzania. She has been privileged to visit numerous countries to photograph rare and exotic animals, becoming an advocate for the preservation of wildlife in their natural habitats.
“It’s exciting to help doctors get back to what they love—practicing medicine and having the time to enjoy their doctorpatient interactions.” —GARY BLAKELY
Other passions she pursues with much the same gusto and drive include tennis, biking, ballroom dancing, scuba diving, cooking and spending time with her family.
Doubling Down on a Great Life
After moving to Florida from Radcliff, Kentucky, in 1987, Gary married the love of his life and soul mate Diane in 1988. Raised in a small town, Gary was attracted to Lake County life.
Today, Gary and Diane have twin daughters who mean the world to them. In fact, keeping them close to his heart was the impetus for the creation of the Twin Medical Consulting company name and logo. When not working, Gary enjoys riding his Harley, scuba diving and exploring the underwater world, playing video games, going to movies, and reading comics. Twin Medical Consultants is prepared to help doctors focus on the health of their patients. Call them today.
Our Services Full Billing Service Billing Review Management Consulting Medical Bookkeeping EHR/EMR Consulting Macra Consulting Risk Analysis Consulting Remote and On-Site Support Hardware & Software Upgrades New Installs of Hardware & Software Setup/Maintenance of Servers & Networks Software Updates Network Cabling Virus Detection/Clean Up Setup/Maintenance of Backups Support Contract & Hourly Rates Available
310 Market Street, Leesburg, FL 34748 | 352.353.0096 | twinmedicalconsultants.com
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rove p o t s n ha e will not a m a t says to prove s,hret. a h t e s g y ld ada woman hial, U.S. Nav o n a is da Va ‘Thereot great anapt. Doris he’s nailure.’—C be a f LY STORY:
ary, contr e h t ies to y y stor rt of ever n a m a f p o t. a n e t n spi have been involveme War e n n h e wom h America y War to t r it nar w thei r a w olutio n served v c e R e istori the om From nistan, w st of the h rving as se gha Mo in Af proudly. of women e their y e i r c t sd coun ve eviden ght along fi a h wars they could so n e m
husbands, brothers, and fathers to keep democracy safe. Recent statistics from the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs indicate there are 166,222 female veterans in the state, and 35,586 of them are 65 or older. Many don’t feel they get the recognition they deserve. Lt. Cmdr. Kathryn Wilgus, U.S. Navy, retired, and a registered nurse, worked in an operating room in Kandahar, Afghanistan, during Operation Enduring Freedom. She and her husband served in Afghanistan and both proudly wear the familiar hats. However, Kathryn is frustrated because people thank her husband for his service and ignore her, even though her hat is like his except it says, “Afghanistan War Woman Veteran.” “I’ve been pushed aside, and he’s the only one recognized,” Kathryn says. “And a lot of times, they’ll say, ‘Is that your hat? Did you serve?’ while men are immediately thanked for their service.” Another unfortunate aspect for female veterans is many don’t know they’re eligible for the full range of federal and state benefits, and there are times women must go before a panel to prove their injuries are related to military services. Capt. Doris Vail, U.S. Navy, retired, says companies like Walgreens and Lowe’s give veterans a discount. “I’ve given them my card and had them say, ‘Did your husband serve in the Navy?’ I tell them to look closer at the name on the card,” Doris says. Neither soldier nor veteran is indicative of gender. In fact, Florida has the third-largest number of female veterans in the United States, and they are one of the fastest-growing segments of veterans.
NEXT E H T T A CCEED UE TO WORK U S T ’ N O TIN ID E.” “EVEN EIFVEL, I WILL COFNOR THIS CAAMUBSL I S S L LOCALLY N G E L A C H —A
ANGEL A CHAMBLISS SENIOR AIRMAN, HONORABLY DISCHARGED, U.S. AIR FORCE
he reigning Mrs. America, Angela Chambliss served in the U.S. Air Force from 1990-1994, ending her career as a senior airman. She was a meteorologist charged with getting weather news to pilots to ensure safe flights to and from their base of operations. “When I came in, the rating for error-free forecasts was about 80 percent for female meteorologists,” Angela says. “I was the first to keep my people error-free. We were 99 to 100 percent error-free, and I also was the first woman to work directly with pilots.” She continued her education at
N THE I N E F WOM MILITAR Y O E N TES ELI A TIM NITED STA U
Florida State University and earned a degree in atmospheric science, but was unable to find a civilian job to fit her qualifications. She eventually moved into makeup and hair styling and began working steadily behind the scenes of scholarship pageants. That led to her eventually becoming a contestant herself, winning Mrs. Florida and then Mrs. America at the Pure International Elegant Pageant. As Mrs. America, Angela recently spent a week in Washington, D.C., working to get more done for veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS). “This is my platform as Mrs. America,” Angela says. “I spoke to a congressional panel on suicides because alternative therapies are not covered
under VA benefits. My hope is that will change.” She says Alabama has the highest rate of suicides among veterans, yet the government continues to want to use medication and label veterans’ problems as “mental illness.” As Mrs. America in the Pure International Elegant Pageant, Angela will compete for the international title in June in Orlando. “Even if I don’t succeed at the next level, I will continue to work locally for this cause,” she says. Angela also is a leader in her church, Frontier Church in Leesburg, where she was ordained as a minister in December 2015. As expected, her biggest supporters are her husband David, and her children, Briton Bond, 26, and Bethany Chambliss, 23.
LT. C O L . MARIANNE ESTES RETIRED, U.S. AIR FORCE
inding work after getting her undergraduate degree was tough for Marianne Estes, but within two weeks of submitting her paperwork to the USAF, she was
called to go to Officers Training School in San Antonio. Her brother was attending the Air Force Academy, so she had no trouble selecting the branch where she would serve. After joining the Air Force in 1979, Marianne spent 10 years on active duty. She began her work in administration, but decided she wanted more of a challenge. Her next assignment was with the Air Force in a maintenance squadron, but after a year of that, she became section commander in a civil engineering squadron. “That gave me the prefix showing I had command time, and after that, I went to work for the base commander as his executive officer at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California,” she says. Working with contractors was the next assignment. “They have a special program called Education with an Industry, and there are only a couple of people that get pulled for this, but I did,” Marianne says. Once she finished the course work, she went to work as a USAF representative at Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California. As a liaison
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The Sunshine State is home to the third-largest population of women veterans in the nation, with more than 166,000. Women veterans are one of the fastestgrowing segments of the veterans population. Of the approximately 21.3 million veterans nationwide, more than 2 million are women.
Many women veterans don’t know they are eligible for the full range of federal and state benefits. Here are some resources for women veterans: General resources in Florida: veteransflorida.org/resources Florida Department of Veterans Affairs Cynthia Brown, women veterans coordinator 727.319.7440 firstname.lastname@example.org Veterans Villages by Habitat for Humanity, Lake-Sumter, Florida habitatls.org/veterans-village Florida Department of Health and Department of Veterans Affairs Created VA Service-Connected Disability program floridahealth.gov
for the Air Force, she was given deluxe training in what Lockheed did with every contract it received from the USAF. The next move was to WrightPatterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, to the Aeronautical Systems Division to oversee the modification of the B-52 and the B-1B. She was one of the first to use a simulator that was set up for more than one aircraft. “I was pregnant, but I didn’t have that discrimination,” The Villages resident says. “When I told my commander, there were no congratulations, just frustration that they were going to have to replace somebody for a while.” Following the birth of her second son, she moved to naval reserves and served there for 10 years. While in the reserves, one of her most exciting adventures involved
LT. COL. MARIANNE ESTES
traveling to several bases in Germany in a government-issued car that couldn’t go over 65 mph. It became quite an adventure because she had to learn the location of the next base as she was leaving a base. With her government car, driving on the famous German Autobahn highway was not the adventure it could have been. The recommended speed is 80 mph, but there are areas where there is no speed limit. The Air Force is a family affair for Marianne. Her brother, Dean, commissioned her, and she commissioned her son, Nathan. “My son has done better than any of us. He turned a pilot opportunity down and is a combat-ready officer, working behind the scenes,” she says. In addition, her niece is a pilot with the Pentagon and her nephew also is a pilot.
Though her retirement officially began in 2013, the Air Force always will be a part of Marianne’s life.
CMDR. LINDA DUNN RETIRED, U.S. NAVY
hough she had intended to have a career teaching special education, Linda Dunn lost her job with the local school system and couldn’t find another one. She decided to join the U.S. Navy in 1981. She did well on the test, but was told there were no openings for women as an electronic technician for three years. Her response, “I want to take the officer’s test.” The recruiter tried to discourage her, reminding her it was a very difficult test and usually meant failure, but she insisted and took the test. “About three weeks later, I got a call from a very disappointed recruiter who said, ‘Not only did you pass, but you got the thirdhighest score we’ve ever had in the valley,’” Linda says with a laugh. “The thing is, tests to me weren’t hard. I loved to take tests. I aced the physics test even though I’d never had physics.” However, she couldn’t get into Officer Candidate School for a year,
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so she enlisted and went in as an E-3 due to her test score. “They sent me to New London, Connecticut, where I was on the pier for the submarine tender,” and she adds, “I joined the Navy to see the world, and what I actually saw was the entire East Coast, but I enjoyed it.” Linda’s career involved a lot of paperwork as a legal officer, school director for the boiler-water, feed-water guys—the personnel in the bottom of the ship that keep it running—public affairs, and personnel support detachment. “The last thing I did was foreign liaison officer for CENTCOM in Tampa in charge of the South Pacific. Each of the countries would send over officers, and they were all higher-ranking officers, and we would work with them to help their countries send soldiers to fight in Iraqi Freedom and in Afghanistan, so it was a coalition, not an individual effort,” Linda says. With the reserves, she picked Naples, Italy, for her two weeks of active duty, and a chance meeting with someone she’d been stationed with in Atlanta led to 90 days of active duty in Naples. She was scheduled to return the Friday after 9/11 but
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that was canceled, and she was unable to go back. Now living in Tavares, she does Overseas Adventure Tours, works with Lake Cares, Friends of the Tavares Library, and the Purple Heart Cruise Foundation with veterans.
LT. C O L . J O D Y NELSON RETIRED, U.S. ARMY
s owner of the Spice & Tea Exchange of Brownwood, Jody Nelson spends her days selecting spices and teas and teaching her customers how to enhance their cooking with these flavorful offerings. Prior to doing this, she was Lt. Col. Jody Nelson of the U.S. Army and a commander of a combat team. Apparently, she likes things spicy in every area of her life as she chose to work with nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare. “I did the job that nobody else wanted to do, and I asked for it,” Jody says. “It’s one of the smallest branches of the U.S. Army. I worried about nuclear war, so I wanted to know how you protect yourself.” The chemical part of the job involved protecting against it. She briefed those headed into areas where suspected chemical weapons might be used. “The LT. COL. JODY NELSON more I knew, the
more I could talk to troops more knowledgeably,” she says. Her 28 years in the Army included serving in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and other significant assignments. “My aim was more toward crisis management, damage management, and I briefed all the commanders on what to expect in the areas where they were going,” Jody says. Jody was the first female combat commander in Afghanistan. She was with the 4th Infantry Division, 4th Combat Brigade and had 1,000 troops serving under her. “What I did always affected the troops, and I enjoyed my soldiers. A commander is only as good as her forces,” Jody says. Besides working with the Spice & Tea, Jody lives in The Villages and fosters service dogs, training them for Guardian Angels. The dogs stay with her for eight weeks to learn how to acclimate to public gatherings, and then they’re given to those who need them. “This is how I give back,” Jody says.
C A P T. D O R I S VA I L RETIRED, U.S. NAVY
hen I entered the Navy, 2 percent were enlisted women. It was so restricted,” says Doris Vail, of The Villages. “There were no female captains, and we referred to our commander as the ‘head skirt.’ When I retired in 1984 as a Navy captain, there were only 10 captains on active duty.” Doris saw a lot of changes for women during her 26 years in the Navy. She also saw many things that remained the same. She served in administration, communications, and as a personnel
officer. She was the only female officer in command at the Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego. When she served in Rota, Spain, in the communication station, she was the only woman there. There were no restrooms for women so she had to use the commanding officer’s private toilet. “As the only woman, it was an interesting integration for the entire command,” Doris says.
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Throughout her time in the navy, Doris was fortunate to continue her schooling, eventually getting her doctorate. She spent many years in Washington, D.C. While teaching at the National Defense University, she taught many of the newly released prisoners of war from Vietnam to help them integrate back into the workforce. “It was a marvelous experience,” she says. “Most of them had a great sense of humor, and I felt honored to be a part of their group and socialize with them and their wives.” During her naval career, Doris worked steadily to increase the involvement of women in the Navy. She helped get the first woman enrolled in the Naval Academy and saw many restrictions end when more women were promoted to captain and admiral. “I worked 12- and 14-hour days to be the best so my boss knew I could do what I was hired to do,” she says.
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joined because in my high school I would have been voted ‘most likely not to succeed,’” Kathryn
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Wilgus says. “When I decided to go back to school so I could join the Army, I thought at least this way, they would say she tried.” While a man can join the Army with a GED, women are required to have a high school diploma, so Kathryn went back to school that summer and got hers. She began her service in 1987 in the U.S. Army Reserve Delayed Entry Program. She was an operating room technician, rising to the rank of sergeant before leaving the reserves to pursue a nursing degree due to the encouragement of her fellow reservists. She was direct-commissioned as a lieutenant junior grade in the Navy Nurse Corps reserves in 2004, assigned to Operational Hospital Support Unit in Jacksonville. Her deployment to Landstuhl, Germany, was in 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with rotations on the USS Continuing Promise Mission in Antigua, Colombia, and Panama. “My first active duty in Afghanistan was being on the Medical Embedded Training Team,” Kathryn say. She was a mentor for Afghan National Army nurses and surgeons and
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volunteered for the Female Engagement Team, leaving the compound to interact and train Afghan policewomen. “They were being raped, and I tried to help them,” Kathryn says. “I always called myself a ‘MacGyver’ nurse. You have to make it happen no matter what.” One of the physical problems Kathryn deals with is back pain. The chronic pain is the result of wearing a combat vest made for a man. Not having the proper fit puts pressure on the spine and hips. Kathryn went from Afghanistan to fill a critical need billet in Kandahar for Operation Enduring Freedom. As an operating room nurse, she was charged with maintaining operational readiness in a combat zone and as a training officer. It was here she faced her greatest challenges. Treating battlefield injuries is often fast, grueling work with few rewards. “You never know how your patient does after leaving your operating room,” Kathryn says. “We just got them ready to be able to fly to Germany for more care.” However, when one patient received a Purple Heart, Kathryn remained in the room to watch. Each soldier is given a book and those attending can sign it, which Kathryn
VETERANS AFFAIRS DATA O N SUICIDE
did. This man was her second patient and was severely injured. Later, he contacted everyone who signed his book to thank them for the care he received. With a smile, Kathryn says, “I finally got to see somebody I helped.” During a retirement ceremony, there is a flag demonstation called “Olde Glory Presentation.” Representatives from each branch and rank she had served attended Kathryn’s ceremony. They passed the flag from one white-gloved soldier to the next with tributes to Old Glory and its beauty as the American flag. It was this man, Kathryn’s second patient, who had lost a hand, who passed the flag to her to end her ceremony. It is Kathryn’s wish that those in the highest ranks of the military will realize that what happens to their medical teams in battle is a different kind of battlefield trauma. She still suffers PTSS and hopes to eventually see support groups for medical personnel and women to create a unique kind of bond for participants. Female veterans of all branches of the military service serve with pride and reverence for their country and their flag. “I am a woman. I served in the military. I am a veteran.”—Anonymous
Findings show there is variability across the nation in the rates and numbers of deaths by suicide among veterans. Overall, the veteran rates mirror those of the general population in the geographic region, with the highest rates in Western states. While there are higher rates of suicide in some states with smaller populations, most veteran
suicides are still in the heaviest populated areas. The suicide rate among middle-age and older adult veterans remains high. In 2014, approximately 65 percent of all veterans who died by suicide were age 50 or older. After adjusting for differences in age and sex, risk for suicide was 22 percent higher among veterans
when compared to U.S. nonveteran adults. After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 19 percent higher among male veterans when compared to U.S. non-veteran adult men. After adjusting for differences in age, risk for suicide was 2.5 times higher among female veterans when compared to U.S. nonveteran adult women.
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Sp rkling with success Arden’s Fine Jewelers loves to brighten the day of their valued customers. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
Throughout the years, businesses in The Villages have come and gone. However, one business continues shining by impressing longtime clientele and new customers alike. Arden’s Fine Jewelers opened 14 years ago, and the company’s meticulous attention to detail and superior customer service has stood the test of time. “Many businesses that were open when we first started are now gone,” says Nedra Townley, owner of Arden’s Fine Jewelers. “We’re one of the last men standing and we’re still going strong. We’ve grown right alongside The Villages.” A big reason for that is because Nedra invests in continuing education, allowing her team of 11 employees to keep abreast of the most current fashions and trends in the jewelry industry. A master jeweler, a Gemological Institute of America (GIA)-certified gemologist, and a laser welder are all part of her team. In addition, her company is one of a dozen or so jewelry stores throughout the country that is
certified as a diamond repair center by Hearts on Fire Diamonds, a privately held diamond jewelry design and manufacturing company. “Continuing education and training allows us to offer the best quality, the best deals, the best designs, and the best pricing,” Nedra says. It also allows the company to keep up with the everchanging demands of customers. A new generation of retirees is moving into The Villages and has focused its attention on custom jewelry. Nedra and her team began offering this service four years ago and today can design each piece of custom jewelry to fit the individualized style of each customer. “In the past year, the demand for custom jewelry has really grown,” Nedra
says. “If someone has a diamond and wants to make a custom ring out of it, we will work with the customer until we get the design exactly the way she wants it.” In addition to custom designs, Arden’s Fine Jewelers offers a wealth of other services—including jewelry and diamond appraisals, jewelry cleaning and repair, watch repair, and diamond upgrades. But despite the company’s staying power and continued growth, Nedra hasn’t lost sight of what has helped her business sparkle the most: superior customer service. In fact, making customers happy is a point of pride for Nedra. “People who moved to The Villages saved their money to live in the country’s nicest retirement community,” she says. “Therefore, they deserve nothing but the best. They expect a certain level of service. My staff respects that and goes above and beyond to deliver exactly what they deserve. We listen to customers. If we feel a change is needed we jump on it. If
* we feel there’s a demand for something we try to meet it.” That’s precisely why her company has developed a reputation for trust and high ethical standards. “We try to maintain the trust of our longtime customers and gain the trust of our new customers,” Nedra says. “Our goal is to get to know them on a personal level and build solid relationships. It’s all about the trust.” Each year, she hosts events and parties to thank her loyal customers for their business. Nedra also feels passionate about giving back to the community that
Continuing education and training allows us to offer the best quality, the best deals, the best designs, and the best pricing —NEDRA TOWNLEY
has supported her business throughout the years. She has faithfully supported schools in The Villages, local youth and polo teams, The Villages Regional Hospital, and Veterans Affairs (VA). “When you give back, you’re making the community a better place to live and
work,” she says. “I think that’s very important.” She also feels it is important to hire employees who share her idealistic values. That’s why Nedra is excited about her daughter, Victoria, joining the company. Victoria recently graduated from Colorado Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She will marry her fiancé, Zechariah Montera, on June 2. “I cannot wait for her to join our sales team,” Nedra says. “Knowing my daughter and her husband will be working in The Villages is an extremely satisfying feeling.”
L-R: ZECHARIAH MONTERA, VICTORIA TOWNLEY, VICTOR TOWNLEY, NEDRA TOWNLEY, JORDAN SIX, DANIELLE SILVIA, JASON SIX, MONIQUE TAPANES, HARRY CORDELL, AIMEE MULLINS, NIKKI PARSONS
Arden’s Fine Jewelers 1060 Canal St. The Villages
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ED TO D I C E D I “WHENLICE OFFICER, A PO SION BECOMEWAS A PROFESROUD I FELT IATT I COULD BE UPLD BE TH Y SON CO F.” M PROUD O OF, THAT ELL A HOW —JE S S
s a teenager, Jessica Howell became a mother during her junior year at Mount Dora High School and dropped out of school. “I don’t think anyone thought I would do much with myself at that point,” she says. People couldn’t have been more wrong. Jessica obtained her GED, attended Lake Technical College’s Institute of Public Safety, and became the first member of her family to get a college degree, a bachelor’s in criminal justice administration from Columbia Southern University. Now she’s a corporal with the Mount Dora Police Department, where she’s worked for 12 years. “As a young mom with limited opportunity, I faced a lot of difficulty and obstacles. I made the decision to go back to school because I wanted to make a better life for my son,” Jessica says. “When I decided to become a police officer, I felt it was a profession that I could be proud of, that my son could be proud of, and that it would allow me the opportunity to be a strong role model for my son as well as a loving mother, and allow me to provide a stable environment to raise him in.” Working in community relations, Jessica promotes community involvement and crime prevention,
and also responds to calls for service. On road patrol the previous three years, she often encountered dangerous situations and was honored by the department for apprehending an armed bank robbery suspect. She raised her son, Joshua, now 15, on her own until a few years ago, when she met her future husband, Jeramy, who also has a son, Jase, 5. Balancing home life and work can be difficult, she says. “As a mother, my first concern is always my children, and long hours can really inhibit my ability to give them the time I would like to,” Jessica says. “Over the years, I have sacrificed time with my family, I’ve missed soccer games and school recitals, and been late to parent meetings. But I make sure my family knows they are my number one priority by making the time we do have together count.” When it comes to juggling work and family, Athena Ross has a built-in advantage: her husband. She and her South Sumter High School sweetheart, Michael, both majored in criminology at the University of South Florida and attended the police academy together. Now they’ve been married nine years, have a 3-year-old daughter, Brylee, and are sergeants with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. “My husband inspired me to make the choice
IRED P S N I D E BAN “MY HUMSAKE THE CHOIC ME TO OME A LAW ER, TO BECCEMENT OFFICD EACH ENFOR E HAVE HELPE RT.” AND W FROM THE STA OTHER O S S — AT H E
to become a law enforcement officer, and we have helped each other from the start,” Athena says. “I am so grateful I share my work and home life with my husband, who supports me and understands what I face in the field when I am not at home. I think he understands better than a spouse that is not a cop would.” Stress and safety are concerns for the couple, but the job’s not a drawback to family life. “I don’t think it is hard to balance my work and home life because I don’t think about it, I just do it,” Athena says. Athena, who has a master’s in criminal justice administration from St. Leo
University, started at the sheriff’s office 12 years ago. As a road patrol supervisor, she responds to 911 calls that can involve homicides, child abuse, domestic battery, and other tense situations. That sometimes creates stress for her family, especially since she became a mother. “I don’t think at first my parents or siblings really understood what it would be like for me as a female deputy,” Athena says. “My parents have always expressed concern for my safety in the field and they would rather see me do something less dangerous. As the years have passed, they have just adapted to it, and I try not to tell the scary stories that would worry them more.”
ALL IN THE F A M I LY
ike Athena, many women in law enforcement have partners at home who work in the same profession. Deputy Amanda Galbreath, of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, lives with her boyfriend, Robert Casaburi, a master deputy with the LCSO, and together they have five children from previous relationships. Born in Leesburg, Amanda was inspired to go into public safety by an uncle, Steve Race, a captain with Lake County Fire Rescue. “He recruited me at a young age as a volunteer firefighter,” Amanda says.
“Every call I responded to, I became more and more interested in the law enforcement aspect of the call.” On road patrol, Amanda works 12-hour shifts and also serves as a field training officer. She and partner Richard Sylvester recently received a Meritorious Service Award for taking a knife away from a man who was trying to commit suicide. Amanda’s parents are proud of her accomplishments though they were “not very excited” about her job choice in the beginning, she says. Her mother gains some relief by keeping tabs on Amanda on the job through a phone app. “Most law enforcement officers could agree that our chosen career is a calling,”
Amanda says. “I am devoted to making our community a safer place to live in. My career is challenging in many ways. It allows me to help others solve problems and make better choices. It gives me a huge sense of pride to protect the community that I was born and raised in.” And she comes home to an understanding family. “In our home, our work is constantly discussed as it truly is our family business,” Amanda says. “My kids think that it’s pretty cool that their mom works to make our community a safer place. Robert is very supportive and inspiring. He makes me want to be a better person and the best deputy every day.” Having a spouse in the same job isn’t always easy, says Clermont police Officer Erin Razo, who’s married to a sergeant with the department and has four children ranging in age from 3 to 18. “With both my husband and I being in the same line of work, it can be difficult at times. We have a strong family foundation which helps us get through it,” she says. “One of the drawbacks is that we miss family events together. We sometimes go days where we only see each other in passing.” On the other hand, Erin thinks it’s also beneficial that she and her husband work in the same field because they understand how demanding the job can be. Born and raised in Florida, Erin graduated high school in Citrus County, and completed the police academy in 2008. She has taken several law enforcement-related training courses. “I chose to become a police officer because I wanted to do something that mattered and to be a part of something that had purpose,” she says.
RIDE TOS P F O E S UGE SENNIT Y THAT I WNA.” H A E M I U S “IT GIVEECT THE COMMRN AND RAIASLEBDR E A T H BO A M A N D A G PROT —
Erin has been with the Clermont police for nine years and currently works 12-hour night shifts in the patrol division. “I respond to all types of calls for service ranging from simple trafficrelated calls to high-stress calls,” she says. “My family does worry about me responding to high-stress calls, but they know that I have been trained to do my job.” Given today’s turbulent society, it’s only natural for people to be concerned about the safety of the police, says Senior Officer Amanda Abston, of the Leesburg Police Department. She says she relies on a great squad of officers who look out for each other. “I have encountered several situations that could have resulted in injury or worse during my time in law enforcement,” she says. “As police officers, we are often called to deal with precarious situations involving desperate or irate individuals. These subjects are often intent on causing harm to whomever gets in their way, and more often than not, law enforcement is that entity.” Amanda always wanted to go into law
enforcement because “police officers get the opportunity to influence their communities and make a difference in people’s lives.” She attended Lake Tech’s Institute of Public Safety and is continuing her education at Seminole State College. Her husband, Ryan, is a Leesburg police corporal, and she has a stepdaughter. She’s currently assigned to road patrol and also is utilized as a field training officer. Like most officers, Amanda works 84 hours during a two-week cycle. “The most difficult aspect is probably the schedule,” she says. “My husband and I always have different schedules. One of us will always be on night shift, while the other is on day shift. Working 12 hours a day, especially when it is night shift, makes it difficult to have any family time together and often requires giving up a lot of sleep.”
RS GET E C I F F O “POLICEEOPPORTUNITIRY TH ENCE THE TO INFLUUNITIES AND COMMFFERENCE IN DI MAKE AEOPLE’S LIVB SETSO.”N P AMANDA A —
job as a finance manager in the automobile business would seem to beat working 12-hour night shifts and risking your life. But it wasn’t enough for Crystal Stuller, a deputy with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. “The job was a lucrative position, but I realized there was more to life than just making a paycheck,” she says. “I wanted a career that brought fulfillment and happiness and found just that in law enforcement.” Originally from Pasco County, Crystal went to the police academy at the College of Central Florida Criminal Justice Institute in Ocala. “Initially, my family was concerned about my decision to pursue a career in law enforcement, but their concern quickly turned to support once they realized I was determined to pursue that line of work,” Crystal says. She’s assigned to the Professional Standards Bureau, where she primarily conducts background investigations of new employees and also conducts internal affairs investigations. Previously, she was on road patrol for several years. “As a law enforcement officer, you never know what you will encounter and have to be prepared for anything at all times,” Crystal says. “The job of a deputy can be very stressful due to the everyday risks that are associated with the position.” The deputy also has the responsibility of taking care of her 4-year-old daughter. “As a working mother, it can be very challenging trying to juggle work and home life at the same time,” Crystal says. “I am grateful for my family and my close
UGHT O R B T A EER TH AND FOUND R A C A D S E “I WANTTAND HAPPINEESNFORCEMEU NL LTE.”R EN L ST AW FULFILLMJUST THAT IN L — C R Y S T A
friends, who have provided a good support system and have helped me balance my professional and personal life.” Darla Blackwell also switched careers after many years of building a life. The 1997 Eustis High School graduate had three kids, worked in retail, and attended Lake-Sumter State College on and off. She eventually graduated in 2016 and, on the suggestion of a neighbor, pursued law enforcement training. With the help of her parents and friends, she continued working full time while attending night classes at the Valencia College School of Public Safety in Orlando. In December, the single mother became an officer with the Mount Dora Police Department. “As cliché as it sounds, I chose to go into law enforcement to help others and make a difference,” Darla says. “The experiences I’ve been
through in my life have prepared me to be a mentor and an influence to those I come in contact with.” Darla is in training as a patrol officer. Every encounter is treated as potentially dangerous because the moment an officer lets their guard down, they put their life in jeopardy, she says. “My family is proud of my decision to go into law enforcement,” Darla says. “They understand the risks of the profession but know that with my training at the academy and at the police department that I am able to do my job safely.” She even likes the patrol hours better than those in retail, where she worked eight to 12 hours a day, six days a week. “In this profession, I have found it easier to balance work and home life,” Darla says. “The days at the police department are 12-hour shifts, but my days off are completely free for me and my family. I only work half the month!” Another new officer on the job is Shelby Batchelor with the Lady Lake Police Department. At just 20 years old and with less than a year of experience, she has a long future in law enforcement ahead of her. So, while she plans to earn a criminal justice degree one day, for now Shelby is focused on the present: working night-shift road patrol and protecting the streets of Lady Lake. “I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love my job,” she says. Shelby grew up in Ocala and was inspired to attend the College of Central Florida police academy by her grandfather, who is retired from the Ocala Police Department, and other family members and friends who work in law enforcement. “My family is fully supportive of my career choice. I chose law enforcement because I genuinely love helping people,” she says.
“The greatest feeling in the world is getting off shift knowing you’ve helped at least one person that shift.” She works a typical patrol schedule that switches up days during a two-week period and also rotates from nights to days periodically. “At times I do think it can be difficult to balance home and work life, but I manage to make it work,” Shelby says. She’s responded to several dangerous calls, but she knows she’s well-trained to handle them. “My family knows I encounter dangerous situations and, of course, it worries them as it would any other family, but they know it’s the job,” Shelby says. “It’s a great feeling for me and them when I get home at the end of the day safely.”
THE ROLE OF WOMEN
ome of these officers say they feel a “sisterhood” with fellow women on the job, while others say the greater bond they feel is with all officers, men and women, who risk their lives to “protect and serve.” But the officers agree they’re in a position to influence other females, including their daughters. Here are their thoughts on being role models: “I hope that I am a positive role model for women of all ages, to include women in my profession, my family and friends, and those I encounter in the field. I hope most of all I can be the best role model for my daughter.”—Athena Ross. “I certainly strive to be a positive role model for the young ladies in my community. I hope that my interactions with them encourage them to want a career in law enforcement. I love interacting with the kids and letting them ask questions.”—Amanda Galbreath.
“I would like to think that I am a role model but not just for women. It takes a strong woman to do this job. I was raised to be strong and I hope that others can look at me and see that we can do this job just as well as anyone else.”—Erin Razo. “I don’t know that I’ve ever thought of myself [as a role model]. I would just hope to encourage other women to work hard and achieve their goals. They should not view their gender as any sort of hurdle when choosing a profession.”—Amanda Abston. “I never thought of [being a role model] until my daughter was born, and I realized what an impact I have on her. I try to be a role model for my daughter every day and never forget that her little eyes are watching me all the time.”—Crystal Stuller. “Any woman in a maledominated profession is a role model for other women. It shows we can do anything we set our minds and hearts to. But my biggest motivator is knowing that I am a positive influence on my children. They have seen my struggles but know that with perseverance, they can accomplish anything at any time in their lives.”— Darla Blackwell. “I wouldn’t say I’m a role model for women, but I hope I can encourage other women to pursue whatever they set their mind to.”—Shelby Batchelor. Jessica Howell, the corporal who made a career for herself after dropping out of school as a teen mom, now uses that experience to her advantage. “I now see myself as someone that can relate to young women going through difficulty,” Jessica says. “Someone that can show them you can make whatever you want for yourself with the right mindset and a good amount of effort.”
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United States, only 7 percent are women, according to the National Fire Protection Association. “Whether we are on a simple medical call or a fire, I think women have a tendency to have a calming effect when it comes to people; we’re approachable,” says Denys (pronounced “Denise”) Neff, who was hired in October 2000 as the first female firefighter at Leesburg Fire Department. She was pleased to be welcomed by her male peers. “It was easier for them to accept me because they were already familiar with me since I worked for Leesburg Police Department first,” says Denys, who began working there in 1990. After developing a good rapport with the firefighters and encouraged to make the switch, she found her lighthearted, easy-going personality was a better fit with the fire crew. Trained at Lake Technical Center’s Institute of Public Safety, she valued the continuous training she experienced at both Leesburg police and fire departments, yet she noticed the public reacts differently to firefighters than to police. “People love when a firefighter or an ambulance comes up, and they’ll hug you and they are happy as anything to see me. They were not happy to see me in law enforcement,” Denys says. She enjoys driving various apparatus, including the 95-foot ladder truck housed at Fire Station 63 at the airport. “When you’re behind a big ol’ firetruck, a ladder, or tower, you can tell people are just surprised that a woman is driving,” she says. “I really love coming to work. I love that every day is different. No call is the same.” Calls come in for smoke detector checks, car accidents, and large house fires. There also have been a few odd requests. “Why would you call the fire department if you can’t reach your television remote after it fell on the floor?” she says, adding another crew
responded to that one. “But, we are public servants, and if that is what you need, we will do it.” And while television shows have depicted firefighters rescuing frightened cats from trees, Denys says those kinds of calls also happen in real life. “I’ve done the cat thing,” she says of rescuing three, yet she believes the felines eventually would have come down on their own.
C AT TA I L S
ake County firefighter and paramedic Valerie Ligi has her own cat rescue story. “We got a call about a cat in distress,” she says. It turned out to be a non-emergency call of a kitten stuck in the hole of a plastic fence post down in the ground. “We were trying to figure out how to get the cat out, and the cat was screaming. We disabled the fence, and then we got an emergency call in the middle of the rescue,” Valerie says, recalling everything was put on hold to respond to the emergency before returning to help the little feline. “I have the cat now,” Valerie says. She named the cat Pickles—for getting into a pickle of a situation. After she took Pickles to the veterinarian, she learned from his office that there was a children’s book, “The Fire Cat,” about a cat with the same name, published in the 1960s. She bought the book. “It is really a funny coincidence of me naming her Pickles,
DENCY N E T A E EN HAVEFFECT WHEN M O W K “I THINE A CALMING ; WE’RE TO HAVES TO PEOPLE IT COMACHABLE.” APPRO E F F —DENY
and then there is a children’s book about Pickles, the fire cat,” she says. Valerie has been a firefighter for a little more than eight years. She works at Lake County Fire Rescue Station 53 in Fruitland Park, and while growing up in New York, she remembers the New York City Fire Department was a big deal, even before firefighters’ heroics after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Before becoming a firefighter, she served a little more than four years in the U.S. Air Force, deployed in Kuwait and England, and while working as a personal trainer at an Orlando gym, she met firefighters who encouraged her to go into fire service. She went for training at Central Florida Fire Academy in 2009, followed by paramedic school. “Being a personal trainer did help. Physically, I was probably in the best shape of my life when I got into fire service, because I was lifting weights all the time,” Valerie says, noting women have more muscle in their legs and that’s what got her through physical agility tests. “I love this job. I really, really love coming into work and not having a clue what the day is going to bring. Every day is a new day. You don’t know
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what you’re going to get, but the reward is helping people,” Valerie says. “I never knew I would love the medical side of it as much as I do; I love being there in people’s time of need.” Two years ago, she decided to go to nursing school in Orlando, and since she already had a bachelor’s degree, she was able to transfer those credits to her paramedic training hours. She needed only one year of nursing courses to become a registered nurse. “I think my nursing education helped me to become a more compassionate paramedic,” she says. “I can see the bigger picture of the patient and not just what I am doing right now at this immediate moment, but more of what the patient will endure later on in the hospital. It has helped me to be more compassionate to the family members as well.” Her next goal is to concentrate on taking fire officer’s classes, all with a goal of getting promoted to lieutenant or possibly chief one day. “My mom is a super-proud mom,” Valerie says. “She lives in New York and she runs up to firefighters there to tell them, ‘My daughter is a firefighter in Florida!’ It’s funny.”
F A M I LY A F F A I R
ount Dora Fire Department has four female firefighters/ paramedics: Heather Churchwell, Lt. Tara Holcomb, Dara Hennessey, and Nia Hannon. They are among the city’s fire crew that responds to 4,000 calls a year, along with assisting Eustis, Tavares, and Lake County as the closest unit. “My dad was a volunteer fire chief when I was growing up,” says Heather, who remembers going to brush fires with him. In 1996, she took a volunteer course, fell in love with it, and began with a volunteer department in Sebring. She also worked for Emergency Medical Services in Lake County, went to paramedic school in Orlando, and
has been with Mount Dora Fire Department for 11½ years. “We are there for people’s worst days,” she says. “I think people are a little more accepting today (of female firefighters) than back in 1996 when I started. I had more problems, not with the guys, but with the wives,” Heather recalls of her colleagues’ spouses. “There was a little bit of jealousy.” She says MDFD is a “wonderful” working environment. “I worked for a department, and I’m not going to say the name, but I had to prove myself literally every day that I could drive the big tanker, drive the big tower, do the extra,” she says. “And after 2½ years, I chose to find other employment, and it was OK because it was a great experience and it also taught me to be stronger.”
Tara grew up in a firefighting family. Her father was a firefighter for 30 years in Orlando, and her uncle was one in Seminole County. Being a firefighter was not her initial career plan. After completing college in religious studies, she thought she’d work at a fire department for a few years before going to grad school. “Then I went to fire school at Lake Tech and loved it,” she recalls, which was followed by emergency medical technician school in Orlando. While doing her EMT clinicals in Mount Dora, “I was riding 24-hour shifts with the guys and just ended up finding my place here.” She says it’s vital to be calm on calls. “You may be going to an emergency, but it is not your emergency. If you get caught up in it, you become part of that rather than part of the solution,” she says.
Tara was involved in rescuing four stressed cats, including two trapped in a structure fire, and all four felines now live with her. Nia dealt with stressful moments working in three hospital emergency rooms in Orlando, South Seminole, and Florida Hospital Waterman for 15 years, 12 of those as a paramedic, before she chose to make a career change in 2016 and become trained as a firefighter. “I was never really in tune with the ER job, but I feel like I am in tune with this job,” says Nia, who is now focused on heading a health and safety committee for the department. She wants to generate awareness to fix cardiac and cancer woes that have been common for many firefighters in retirement. Most retire after 25 years. “To not live more than two to five years after that sucks, and I don’t think anybody deserves that. We work too hard not to enjoy retirement,” she says, encouraging new firefighters and those going the fire academy to be disciplined in thinking about their future.
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She also believes it’s important to be disciplined about exercise and doing activities that are good for overall health. She found practical workout equipment that’s specific for firefighters. “I want a long, healthy retirement, and there’s kind of a selfish component,” she says. “I don’t want to hear somebody I know died; I don’t want to go to their funeral because they died too early.” Dara is very education-minded, too. She has been a firefighter for nearly 16 years, and she joined MDFD in January. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Seminole State College, teaching standards (basic firefighting), and she instructs in technical rescue at Lake Technical College. She’s the only female instructor in the public safety courses. “At the beginning of my career, I got put on a truck company for an aerial apparatus and found I have a passion for that, and I made it kind of a goal of mine to be perfect in the craft and do what I can to share it with other people,” Dara says. “When people come in, especially in the technical rescue realm, they are expecting a bunch of men. I think they are taken back by seeing a female teach them new skills, but once they understand that you do know what you’re talking about and have been around the block a little bit, you earn their respect. I let my actions speak over words and certificates,” she says. To become certified by the state, prospective female firefighters—just like men—must pass several written tests as well as skills tests in full, hot gear (typically an extra 50 pounds) designed to keep heat out. Dara finds most students are surprised by the physical ability it takes to do the job. “Someone may think they are in decent shape because they go to the gym or run a lot, but it’s a different cardiovascular and muscular demand
on the body that you can’t replicate. You can try, but it is not the same as actually going through the motions with the gear and the equipment,” she says, adding it’s also important to learn not to get caught up in the drama of the emergency. “As far as structure fires and things like that, the more amped up you are, the more chaotic the scene will be, so it’s almost like a self-discipline that you have to be calm, cool, and collected,” she says. Dara also is affiliated with East Coast Tactics, where she and other firefighters travel for training conferences. “A lot of stuff we do is our own time and money because we try to focus on the departments that may not have the funds to train,” she says. “We believe the worst type of knowledge is the knowledge unshared.” She notes the highlight of her career has been training, teaching, and mentoring. “When you have great leadership like we do here, it trickles down to the field to the people that we serve in the community,” Dara says. “It’s all about customer service. If you come to work and you’re a happy employee and do your job and you run these calls—it could be the same person over and over again—but you treat this person with the respect that they deserve. We are by trade and tradition public servants, and they expect nothing less than excellence. And when you give that to them and meet and greet them with a smile, they are happy to see you every single time.”
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Finding balance in The Villages ‘I definitely feel younger being here, and I feel healthier.’ STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ
orking on legal cases can result in stressful all-nighters, yet litigation attorney Freeda Louthan, 67, finds a perfect balance living in The Villages, where she cherishes the warmer climate, the people, and her community’s beauty and amenities. “No one else has what The Villages has,” she says of the plethora of recreational, shopping, and dining opportunities. “I don’t have great genes,” she adds. “By the time my mother, my grandmother, and great-grandmother were my age, they all had strokes.” She wanted to avoid the risk, and was very thankful to be introduced to USANA, a science-based company developed by microbiologist Dr. Myron Wentz, who created products with optimal nutrition on the cellular level. “Because of all of the people I have represented over the years, and I had health challenges myself, [these products] introduced me to thinking I had not been exposed to before, that you could get better,” she says. “Within three months, I got in control with asthma that I had since my mid-20s; it actually has gone away, and I don’t have it anymore.” Also gone were allergies and frequent illnesses from viruses. And she no longer has right knee pain and is able to jog regularly. “I don’t accept that when we become older we have to become arthritic, have to look old, and have heart problems,” says Freeda, who became an independent associate for USANA in 2003. “I want and expect to live to be at least 100 and healthy.” She also sincerely believes living in The Villages makes a difference too. “I definitely feel younger being here, and I feel healthier. I honestly believe because of the active environment and better climate that we live in, there is a good chance we may live longer and healthier,” says Freeda, who moved to The Villages in 2007 with her husband, Doug. Law has been her career since 1976, and she’s working on a medical class-action case that ends next year for women to receive compensation for different conditions resulting from silicone gel breast implants. Throughout her life, she has been determined to make the best of challenging situations. She also believes stress plays a big role in aging, so Freeda makes an effort to exercise and take supplements for normal health maintenance.
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Villages’ flowers need more than ‘April showers’ Landscapers’ loving care keeps the community beautiful. STORY: JOE ANGIONE
Deciding on the proper year-round landscaping plan requires lots of handson knowledge of the maintenance needs of a wide range of plant varieties.
he old saying that “April showers bring May flowers” doesn’t tell the full story of why The Villages’ landscapes are blooming in such wonderful array and color this month. Mother Nature is only partly responsible. The trees, shrubs, and flowers that decorate The Villages’ traffic circles, beautify our walkways and streets, and decorate other public areas are mainly the work of the District Property Management Landscape Department managed by Mike Harris and supported by more than 30 DPM staff and team members. In addition, Mike uses hundreds of contract personnel to handle the planting, pruning, weeding, and trimming work. Deciding on the proper year-round landscaping plan requires lots of handson knowledge of the maintenance needs of a wide range of plant varieties. That maintenance includes when they should be planted, how best to feed and look after them, and when certain plants should be removed and replaced by other varieties. Even in Florida’s flower-friendly climate, keeping landscapes bright and healthy is a big task for Mike’s crews that goes on without let-up all year long. For one thing, there are many plants that won’t stay strong and glorious in all seasons; some require more tender, loving care than others. Mike explains that the beds are changed out a minimum of four times a year. “There are hundreds of species of flowers, trees, and shrubs displayed throughout The Villages,” he says. “Our goal is always to use material that is proven to be successful in this area.” Mike has worked in The Villages since 1999, first with a landscape installation contractor until October 2015, when he accepted his current position with District Property Management. He manages all aspects of new construction and landscape maintenance operations for the developer as well as maintenance operations for District Property Management and Commercial Property Management. “We install approximately 1.6 million plants each year,” he adds. An unofficial estimate of the size of The Villages’ landscaping budget, to include labor costs, puts it at many millions of dollars, and Mike’s responsibility also includes caring for the community’s 12 championship golf courses. The beauty of The Villages’ landscaping is one of the prime attractions that brings new homeowners here in droves. Current sales data show that more than 20 people move into The Villages every day. As a horticultural paradise, The Villages also is an inspiration to everyone living here, making them want their homesites to be part of the splendid landscapes that delight the eyes and enrich the soul everywhere you look in “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.”
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Women have a long but underappreciated history of military service. Their roles have evolved considerably. There was a time when women in the military were primarily cooks and nurses. Today, they patrol streets with machine guns, dispose of explosives, and drive trucks down bombridden roads. They have a larger presence in the military than ever before. In fact, women will comprise nearly 11 percent of the total veteran population by 2020, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Style recently sat down with three female veterans from The Villages and learned about their stories from years of military service.
BEDSIDE ON THE B AT T L E F I E L D
s a military doctor, Joan Sullivan saw it all. Bodies from the fiery TWA Flight 800 crash. The hellish storm of smoke, shattered glass, and ashes at ground zero in New York City on 9/11. Bloodied U.S. soldiers who took enemy fire in Iraq and Afghanistan. During her career with the Army Reserves and the New York Army National Guard, Joan provided medical expertise at battlefields and disaster zones across the globe. “I feel lucky that I was able to use my God-given talent to make a difference,” she says. Joan joined the U.S. Army Reserve in May 1977 and later completed medical school at the University of Tennessee. In 1991, she finished a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Cincinnati, and three
years later enlisted in the New York Army National Guard. Former New York Gov. George Pataki activated her unit to assist in the 1996 crash of Flight 800, which exploded shortly after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 passengers and crew members. Joan served as task force surgeon. “I was in charge of all military medical assets at the site,” she says. “The bodies were hard to identify because they were bloated from being in the water so long. There wasn’t enough room to put all the bodies in morgues, so a company let us put them in a refrigerator truck. I remember seeing men riding dune buggies through the sand and picking up body parts.” Five years later, she returned to New York City and served in the same capacity following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She and her unit stayed at an armory on 5th Avenue, sleeping on military cots and covering themselves with old Army blankets. “What struck me about being at ground zero most was the smell,” she
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recalls. “You had organic waste, construction waste, JP-8 jet fuel, and burning flesh. It was tough. You didn’t work until 5pm or 6pm. You worked just until.” Joan faced an equally challenging workload after being deployed to Iraq in 2005 and Afghanistan in 2007. The demands of treating the many wounded in an environment of armed conflict puts added pressure on physicians and surgeons. Danger is everywhere. “In Iraq, an enemy soldier we named Lunchtime Larry would fire mortars at our facility every day,” she says. “And whenever you traveled in either country, there were always gun trucks to accompany you. You couldn’t just get in a vehicle and go somewhere.” A proud veteran, Joan is a member of American Legion Post 347, the Tri-County Women’s Veterans Association, and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 150.
A FEW GOOD WOMEN
he United States Marine Corps has a famous slogan: “The Few, The Proud.” Carole Bruce was certainly one of the few. When she enlisted in 1975, there were fewer than 2,000 activeduty female service members in the Marines. However, joining the most physically demanding branch of the U.S. military was a
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challenge the Pennsylvania native openly embraced. “I wanted warmer weather and the ability to travel,” says Carole, who was taking business courses at the University of Pittsburgh when she enlisted. “I visited recruiters from all military branches and felt the Marine Corps suited me the best. It is an elite branch, and I wanted to do something challenging.” She got her wish while transforming from civilian to Marine at the USMC’s 13-week boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina. She remembers the countless hours of marching, traversing obstacle courses, and crawling over cargo nets. And she entered the dreaded gas chamber that makes even Marines cry. “Your face is burning, your eyes are watering, and your nose is running,” she says. “At the end, you have to take your gas mask off and file out calmly.” She discovered that shutting up and listening was the best way to survive the Marine Corps boot camp, famously depicted in the 1987 movie “Full Metal Jacket.” “Do what you’re told to do, and everything falls into place,” she says. “I really got buffed in three months from all the running and exercising.” Graduating boot camp marked the beginning of a 24-year military career. Carole spent five years as a court reporter before joining the officer ranks through the warrant officer program. As a chief warrant officer, she worked with various Marine units, handling a variety of administrative and legal duties. “That was a very exciting job because each unit has an entirely different mission,” she says. “I moved 13 times in 24 years and lived in beautiful places such as Puerto Rico, San Diego, Hawaii, and Okinawa, Japan.”
Although she retired in 1999 as chief warrant officer 4, she still wears the title of Marine with great pride. In fact, she gathers with other Marines each year to celebrate the Marine Corps’ birthday on Nov. 10. “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” says Carole, who moved to The Villages in 2016. “We’re a small band of brothers… and sisters.”
MIDLIFE CALL OF DUTY
t’s a question military recruiters hear all the time. “How old is too old to join?” In the 1980s, the answer was 35. Kathi Cahall barely beat the clock. Kathi was 34 when she joined the U.S. Navy in 1987. At the time, she was enrolled in a college psychology course that focused on death. “I realized then that when I die, I want my family to say I had a great life,” she says. “Joining the military was something I always thought about doing. I was only one month away from turning 35 so I decided to join.” Kathi spent the first 13 years of her career in the Navy Reserve before enlisting as an activeduty service member in 2000. She fondly remembers serving on the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee for the inauguration of President George W. Bush. “The committee starts preparing one year in advance,” she says. “We were in charge of security, staging, VIP escorts, and transporting food. I was truly amazed by all the detail that goes into it.” During her career, Kathi had unique opportunities to work for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, sail aboard the USS
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Constitution, and travel to faraway places such as Spain and Italy. But one of the more memorable assignments involved a threeweek stay at the Arctic Circle. She was part of a team that installed sonobuoy software on planes to detect underwater sounds and locate Russian submarines. “I went in April, and there was white permafrost, or frozen soil,” she recalls. “There were snowstorms, and I saw beautiful white foxes. The barracks that I stayed in had big, thick doors like you’d see in a meat locker.” For Kathi, there were difficult moments as well. When serving on the chief of naval operations staff, she looked out her office window and saw the Pentagon ablaze in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “It was horrifying. There was no Internet or cellphone service. Communications were wrecked. The Navy Yard was closed, and streets were blocked off. You couldn’t go anywhere,” she says. “In the weeks following the attacks, I remember seeing surface-to-air missiles on top of parking garages.” Kathi retired in 2009, earning the Joint Service Achievement Medal and the Naval Enlisted Reserve Association’s 1776 award. Her only regret is not joining the U.S. Navy out of high school. “I could’ve traveled and done more,” she says. “I think everybody should be required to join the military for at least two years after high school. It teaches you discipline, responsibility, and respect.”
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But you don’t look sick! There’s nothing fake about arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. STORY: JAMES COMBS // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ
utwardly, Karen Marshall of The Villages looks perfectly healthy. She does not rely on a wheelchair, cane, or walker for mobility. She has no surgical scars or missing limbs. Inwardly, she copes with an “invisible” illness called Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that leaves her battling dry mouth, dry eyes, and chronic fatigue. Some fail to acknowledge her disease. In fact, cynical looks and raised eyebrows are common after telling a friend she is not feeling well enough to go shopping or participate in an activity. Such is life for the 46 million people who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suffer from arthritis and other rheumatic conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome. Rheumatic diseases cause inflammation to the body’s supporting structures: tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. For sufferers like Karen, invisible illnesses can result in invisible friends. “I’ve lost friends simply because I didn’t feel well enough to do something with them,” Karen says.
There is hope
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the country, according to the Arthritis Foundation. “Arthritis is not just one entity or disease state,” says Dr. Kenneth Stark, a rheumatologist who opened his Tavares-based practice in 1989. “There are more than 100 types of rheumatic diseases. It is important for patients to see a doctor who can distinguish what type of arthritis they have because they are all treated differently.” Dr. Stark has treated many types of rheumatic conditions, including Sjogren’s syndrome, gout, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma. Two of the more common forms are osteoarthritis, caused by wear and tear on the
joints, and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder where the body’s own immune system attacks joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint disfigurement and make a mundane task like turning a doorknob impossible. However, treatment for rheumatoid arthritis has progressed significantly, Dr. Stark says. At his practice, he uses drugs such as lowdose methotrexate, which reduces inflammation and slows the progression of joint damage. One of the latest treatment advancements is biologics, or disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, which specifically target blood proteins responsible for inflammation. The medication can be administered intravenously or through self-injection. “We’ve come such a long way in the last 30 years in improving quality of life for rheumatoid arthritis patients,” he says. “I’d say the quality of life for rheumatoid arthritis patients has improved by 90 percent. I see fewer patients in wheelchairs or with hand deformities. I see fewer patients who have trouble holding a fork. We prevent patients from becoming totally disabled. We want them to continue working their full-time job or continue enjoying activities such as golf and pickleball.” In addition to seeking medical treatment, patients with arthritis
and rheumatoid disease also can perform gentle exercises at home for pain relief. Dr. Stark cites research conducted by the American College of Rheumatology touting the benefits of tai chi, a mind-body practice that originated in China. He also says that the overthe-counter supplement glucosamine may ease pain for mild arthritis sufferers. “But before anyone begins an exercise regimen or taking supplements, I strongly recommend that they consult their doctor first,” he says.
Making an invisible illness visible Karen, who was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2004, serves as support group leader of The Villages Arthritis Support Group. For her, it is disappointing that arthritis, one of the country’s leading sources of pain, often is dismissed as “an old person’s disease.” “Some medical conditions attract the public’s attention and gain their sympathy,” she says. “Arthritis is not one of them. My goal is to educate people that just because someone looks healthy does not mean they feel well. The more information I can get out to the public, the more they will understand.” Her support group meets on the fourth Friday
at 10am at La Hacienda Recreation Center, 1200 Avenida Central, The Villages. Guest speakers such as rheumatologists, yoga instructors, and nutritionists have provided educational and informative talks. For members such as Jan Bartok, learning new and effective pain management techniques is invaluable. She suffers from arthritis, secondary Sjogren’s syndrome, and lupus. “If I go to the grocery store I have to wear gloves because I cannot pick up anything cold,” says Jan, a resident of The Villages. “If I touch anything cold, my fingers turn red then purple and go completely numb. I have chronic fatigue. One activity can completely wipe me out. That’s why I only plan one activity a day. Sometimes I do two but pay for it afterward.” Attending the monthly support group meeting is one activity she rarely misses. After all, it’s a safe place where she finds strength, friendship, and hope. “Being around others going through the same thing as me is comforting because we can share advice and ideas and be there for one another,” Jan says. “When you see other people going through the same thing, it reminds me that I’m not crazy. Nobody here judges one another.” That’s because they know invisible illnesses are indeed very real.
There are more than 100 types of rheumatic diseases. It is important for patients to see a doctor who can distinguish what type of arthritis they have because they are all treated differently.” —DR. KENNETH STARK
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‘A Piece of the World’ By Christina Baker Kline. A young girl whose world is a simple family farm comes to life in a famous painting and now in a novel. STORY: DIANE DEAN
" This novel is about an artist, a strong-spirited woman, and the small town in Maine that contained their relationship." —BARBARA FISHER
Piece of the World” by Christina Baker Kline brought life to a well-known painting by Andrew Wyeth entitled, “Christina’s World.” Those attending the Bookworm Book Club had a variety of opinions and impressions of the book, the characters, the author, and the artist. “This novel is about an artist, a strongspirited woman, and the small town in Maine that contained their relationship. Christina’s world was limited; Andrew Wyeth opened it to the world,” says Barbara Fisler of the Village of Amelia. Shari Griefner and I were facilitators, presenting background of the Wyeth family, the Christina Olson home, now a historic landmark, the Farnsworth Art Museum of Wyeth art, and the culture of a sparse Maine existence. Shari portrayed the author being interviewed, offering explanations of her interest in Maine, the painting, and her life. “It is a story of struggle and pain for a woman overcoming great odds to live her life the way she wanted to live it,” says Dorothy Green, Village of Sunset Pointe. Shari then took the role of Christina Olson and offered the main character’s thoughts on circumstances and choices in the book. “This book is a fascinating look at Christina Olson, the woman portrayed in Andrew Wyeth’s painting.” says Betty Eich, Village
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of Mira Mesa. “Why did she live in that house without modern conveniences her whole life? Was the house her haven or her prison? The book also gives insight into Wyeth, the nature and purpose of his art. I highly recommend it.” Christina’s education ended at age 12 when her father insisted she tend to housekeeping duties for the family. Her infirmity from Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, a degenerative condition that damages nerves in the arms and legs and has no cure, made it difficult. Sharon McHenry, Village of Summerhill, says: “This story is a reminder to us all that there are those who struggle with great mental and physical challenges. They manage to not only persevere, but to live with strength and grace.” “I felt sorry for Christina and all the sacrifices she made for her family despite her infirmity,” says Mary Jo Johnson, Village of Ashland. Appreciation of poetry was an element in the book. Betty recited Emily Dickinson’s poems “I’m Nobody, Who Are You” and “My Letter to the World that Never Wrote to Me.” Those, along with Oliver Wendell Holmes’ “Chambered Nautilus,” illustrated the confines of Christina’s world, allowing the group to consider “the labels we put on people, the life choices we make, and the decisions everybody faces in life,” says Linda Evans, Village of Chatham. The now-famous painting, an inspiration for the story, allowed readers to see the world of Christina Olson. The book concludes, “She wanted to be seen, and she is.”
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(l to r): Gregory, Nicole, Michael
The Lake Sumter Group at Morgan Stanley Gregory Prevatt, CLTC, CFP® Portfolio Management Director Senior Vice President Financial Advisor gregory.prevatt@ morganstanley.com Nicole Silberstein Client Service Associate nicole.silberstein@ morganstanley.com
Michael Monteith Financial Planning Specialist Portfolio Manager Vice President Financial Advisor michael.monteith@ morganstanley.com
832 Lake Sumter Landing The Villages, FL 32162 352-751-7845 • 800-447-6036 fa.morganstanley.com/lakesumter Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Clients should consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning and other legal matters. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP,® CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the US. © 2017 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. CRC1875964 MAR013 09/17 CS 9068657 10/17
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Betty Meadows Often times the loss of a beloved spouse creates the need for a change in living environment. Betty Meadows and her family faced just such a choice. Moving was not easy. In fact between her grief and adjusting to a new home the family was at a loss as to what to do. “The Benton House staff assured us that it can take some time to adjust but not to worry.” Sure enough, with love and time Betty was happy, thriving, and saying she never wants to live anywhere else. Her family is forever grateful. “Betty’s improvement was a miracle and we attribute it all to the patience, caring, knowledge and understanding of the Benton House staff.” Betty says “Coming here has been the best thing for me. We’re like a family and we help each other, both the residents and staff. I just love it!”
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The 2018 Business Woman of Style has overcome heartache and now takes time to smell the roses in her career and personal life. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ
umter County native Rose Connell, 28, beamed with excitement and received high fives when it was announced she would be gracing this month’s Lake & Sumter Style cover. The private risk management advisor for The Villages Insurance was the winner of a reverse drawing hosted in April at the eighth annual Business Women of Style gala at the Leesburg Opera House, home of Akers Media. “I was just happy to be up there,” Rose says of making it to the final four. “And then when it was down to the last couple of people, my heart was just beating. It was just so exciting and so cool to hear that I was going to be on
the cover. Winning this has made my year!” The Villages Insurance, which has eight offices and about 65 employees, was eager to participate in the 2018 Business Women of Style, Rose says. “Our marketing director is very involved in the community; she knows everyone is reading Style, and it’s in many offices, too.” Employed at The Villages Insurance for six years, Rose now works at the insurance’s operations center at Southern Trace, where she specializes in putting together insurance portfolios for clients with high-valued homes, automobiles, and other assets—all personal lines. “I love the people at my job, the atmosphere, and the environment. It is always friendly, positive, upbeat, and encouraging,” Rose says. “It’s a great company and they care a lot about people. They listen to us, it is very service-focused, and we always put the customer first.” Clients are served all over Florida, not just in The Villages, and Rose says many customers also have homes in other states that need insurance coverage. Jody Harter, chief operating officer, praises Rose’s work ethic and dedication. “I am very proud of Rose and all of her accomplishments and her growth since she has been with the agency,” Jody says. “She is a very caring individual and always has our clients’ best interest at heart.”
THE VILLAGES INSURANCE TEAM
“IF YOU DON’T ASK FOR SOMETHING YOU WANT, Rose’s job in The Villages came at the right time, giving her the 9-to-5 hours she wanted as a working mother. She previously worked in the medical field in Clermont, and the commute became too much after she experienced a personal tragedy seven years ago when her thenfiancé and the father of her two daughters was involved in a terrible car accident. “He is still alive but is fully incapacitated living in a nursing home. He can’t talk or walk,” Rose says. “When that happened to him, it was challenging. I went through the roller coaster of emotions, and once you go through something like that, it makes you stronger. You learn from it, and you
don’t let the little things bother you because you know things could always be worse.” Rose smiles as she talks about finding love after the tragedy. “I wasn’t looking; it just happened,” she says of meeting her husband, James. They’ve been married five years, and Rose loves how devoted James is to her daughters, Isabella, 9, and Emily, 8. “It’s a great relationship,” she says, recalling her husband cared for the girls when she had to devote hours to studying for her insurance state exam. Rose initially started at The Villages Insurance as a receptionist, a position she held for a year, then received her license to be
an insurance agent. She had to wait a year to take the state exam, which she passed the first time— something many people do not achieve. She attributed her success to James and her employer. “My husband being at home with the kids helped. Every day when I came home, I was studying at home and he was taking care of the kids so that I could focus on studying,” she says. “My employer was really good, too, because they knew a lot of people struggle [with the exam], so they gave me time during work hours to study.” Rose cherishes every moment she has with her daughters. “My kids are Mommy’s girls. We’re together every
THEN THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE ‘NO.’” waking moment that we can be together,” she says, adding she knew her daughters would be so excited to see this month’s cover of Style. “They are going to be screaming, telling all of their friends, all of my friends, all of our family, and they are going to be so proud.” Her advice to other working women and young moms is to make the most of their lives, be there for their kids, and set goals. “Just keep going. Don’t hesitate, don’t question yourself, just go,” she says. “If you don’t ask for something you want, then the answer is always going to be ‘no.’ Have goals, and I’m not going to stop with mine.” Rose says she feels compelled to help others.
“I like to help people and I like to be involved. I want to do something that makes a difference,” she says. “I’ve pushed through,” she adds of her work. “I was a receptionist, I was a writing agent, I was a manager, and I’m going to keep going.” Her ultimate desire is to be in a leadership position. “I want to help people become better than they already are. I want to help people succeed and have the confidence to just keep going,” she says. Rose also makes a conscious effort to inspire her daughters. “I tell them to love themselves, believe in themselves, and to push themselves,” she says. “You should always be looking for a challenge; you should always be looking to
grow, and to learn something new. I tell them all the time that I am still learning.” She also believes it’s vital for her daughters to know it’s important to learn from their mistakes. Someday, Rose would love to travel worldwide, and she notes her desire to try skydiving is a more realistic and closer bucket-list goal. She’s appreciative of her Florida roots and of being raised by her 87-year-old grandmother, Iris, who lives in Sumter County. They share the bond of being named after flowers. “I love it, and I do love my name,” says Rose, who has been given roses throughout her life and serenaded with song lyrics and poems about her name.
“I hear every line from the ‘Titanic’ movie, and ‘Romeo and Juliet,’” she says, grinning. “I hear them all.” Among the lovely Rose quotes: “There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.” —Ralph Wa ldo Emerson “What a lovely thing a rose is!” —Arthur Conan Doyle “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” —William Shakespeare And Rose song titles: “Ramblin’ Rose” “Nothing’s Prettier than Rose Is” “Lady Rose” “Goodnight, Rose” “Love Is a Rose” “Rose, Rose, I Love You”
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N E M O Wof LE STY
You see them every day. You may do business with them. They’re your neighbors and friends—the 2018 Business Women of Style. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE
Morris Realty and Investments 10135 U.S. HWY. 441, STE. 3, LEESBURG – 352.435.4663 // 1217 W MILLER ST., FRUITLAND PARK – 352.530.2665 // morrisrealtors.com
his year marks the 10-year anniversary of Morris Realty and Investments and from the first day, it seems Theresa Morris never had a doubt about the vision or the success of her company. “I opened 10 years ago in the downturn, maybe the worst time to open a business, but I went on true faith and I knew it would succeed.” Part of her vision was to bring together a boutique-style company with a staff of strong, independent-minded women who were also spiritually based. The women of Morris Realty all share similar values, including commitment to their clients, families and community. Each of them supports a charity of her choice and is well-known throughout the local area for their knowledge and client service. With only 12 agents, Morris Realty ranks 12th in
production in Lake and Sumter counties for 2017. That’s an incredible accomplishment competing against major franchises with hundreds of agents! This speaks directly to the strength of the Morris team and their unique approach to the real estate industry... These women are a true example of “Integrity, Experience, Results!” which is the Morris Realty Motto.
DUCHARME LEVENSOHN 352.874.5906
ADAMS-RAE Owner/Certified General Contractor s Busines
4070 CR 124A SUITE A, WILDWOOD // 352.461.0888 // HOMETOWNBUILDERSCFL.COM
aving built a reputation based on trustworthiness, craftsmanship, and reliability, HomeTown Builders’ expertise goes beyond technical skills. There’s a personal touch. That reputation stems from the passion and dedication of Elisa AdamsRae, owner and General Contractor. Her ability to listen to clients’ needs and her meticulous attention to detail has resulted in many satisfied customers. You’ll notice a difference from the very beginning. They bring a unique style to each job you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. “We take the time to listen. We never lose sight of the fact that this is YOUR project,” says Elisa, who is bilingual. “Many customers have become lifelong friends.”
NECK s Busines
Edible Arrangements 3509 WEDGEWOOD LN, THE VILLAGES // 352.391.1334
he professional careers of Rachelle Neck and Becky Pilipow have blossomed, and they are enjoying the taste of sweet success—literally. In August 2016, they purchased Edible Arrangements, a company known for its artistic fruit bouquets that resemble floral arrangements. However, instead of flowers, the elegant bouquets feature ripe bananas, crisp apples, fresh strawberries, sweet pineapple, and other fruits. Thus, someone special receives a memorable gift that is as lovely as it is delicious. “Our philosophy is that if my momma wouldn’t eat it, we’re not sending it,” Becky says. “Everything we make is fresh,” Rachelle says. “We can make an arrangement for any occasion imaginable.” All arrangements are prepared at the company’s Villages store and are personally delivered to clients.
PILIPOW May 2018
Alani Medical Spa 13838 U.S. HIGHWAY 441, LADY LAKE // 352.350.1210 // ALANI.COM
e cater to each individual and their needs; we customize everything, and clients say they love that we treat them like family,” says Halah Ismail, owner and operations director of Alani Medical Spa. “The best compliment is when they refer a friend.” Clients appreciate that the laser and injectable procedures are provided by a physician at the spa, and licensed esthetician Jessica Folgore-Arnold says clients love seeing their skin look fresh and hydrated. Botox and SilkPeel are the most requested services. “I love my clients,” says Jessica. “Being able to see them on a regular basis makes my job so enjoyable.”
de JONGH Gastroenterologist
Gastroenterology Associates 1400 US HWY 441, SUITE 531, LADY LAKE // 352.751.4885 // GAOCALA.COM
here’s a reason why listening is an important quality for doctors to have. It enhances diagnosis, healing, and the doctor-patient relationship. Listening is certainly one of the strengths of Dr. Mariana de Jongh, a gastroenterologist at The Villages office of Gastroenterology Associates. “I love my job because I enjoy interacting with people while listening to their concerns and addressing their needs,” she says. A native of Venezuela, she received medical training at Tufts University in Boston and Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. She performs colonoscopies, endoscopies and Interstim, among other procedures. “I love helping people. I love healing people. It’s all about forming meaningful relationships.”
312 N 14TH ST, LEESBURG // 352.787.9995 // GLOVERCHIRO.COM
atients of Glover Chiropractic offer endless praise to the staff. Friendly. Caring. Personable. And let’s not forget fun. “They say seeing us is the most entertainment they have all day,” says Office Manager Elizabeth Sellers. In addition to Elizabeth, the staff includes Jessica Rinne, Chelsea Giles, Whitney Law, and Kendra Armbrecht. This closeknit team participates in activities outside of work, including cookouts, birthday parties, and volunteering at events such as Leesburg Bikefest. No wonder they work so well together in an office environment. “Patients know everything about us, and we know everything about them,” says Billing Coordinator Whitney Law. “One patient battling neuropathy underwent treatments with us, and she said visiting our office was the highlight of her week.”
Office Manager, C.C.P.A.
Certified Chiropractic Physician’s Assistant
Community Marketing Executive
Welcome Wagon 352.702.1579 // WELCOMEWAGON.COM
awn Hodges enjoys being the Community Marketing Executive for Welcome Wagon in Lake, Sumter, and Marion County. “Welcome Wagon is celebrating 90 years this year,” Dawn says. She visits with four to six businesses daily for Welcome Wagon and she also leads The Villages Networking Group that allows businesses to connect on Wednesdays at Bob Evans in Colony Plaza of The Villages. Dawn also is actively involved as an ambassador for both the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, and she’s a board member of the Belleview/ South Marion Chamber of Commerce. This year she won the President’s Sales Leadership Club by being in the top 10 of her company out of 400 reps in the country. She also won the Volunteer of the Year 2017 award for Sumter County Chamber of Commerce.
Engel & Völkers CLERMONT/LEESBURG/WINDERMERE // 352.242.3939 // CLERMONT.EVUSA.COM
or almost 20 years Lisa has consistently demonstrated a sincere passion for the real estate industry. Her steadfast dedication, knowledgeable staff, and diversified advisors has led to their success as a Lake County brokerage. While well over a decade known as Avalar Real Estate Services, her team recently embraced the exclusive, yet client-centric global brand Engel & Völkers that offers her advisors extensive tools to serve their clients better. “While we are expanding with new shops in Lake and Orange County, we truly do have the best of all worlds,” Lisa says. “We have extensive domestic and global exposure that assists in the quality services and lifestyle opportunities we are proud to offer our clients. At the same time, we pledge to always demonstrate the same integrity, work ethic, passion and pride towards our local community and its growth while continuing to educate our sellers and buyers in making their real estate needs obtainable.”
Larue Kay Salon 16840 US HIGHWAY 441, MOUNT DORA // 352.508.9542 // LARUEKAY.COM
ver wonder why the most successful women always have the best hair? To sport the ultimate look is all about choosing the best hair stylist and salon. Fortunately, Kara Sparks, owner of Larue Kay Salon in Mount Dora, has helped countless clients look and feel fabulous. She started her business five years ago as a single mom and relocated it to Mount Dora two years ago. Her fullservice hair salon also offers spray tanning, facials, and full-body waxing. “I love my clients,” says Kara, who routinely gives back to the community throughout the year. “I’m passionate about making them not only look good but also feel good about themselves.”
CONNER ASID / ID-00004224
Leah D. Conner Interior Design 117 N. 7TH ST., LEESBURG // 352.406.3018 // LEAHDCONNER.COM
eah’s stellar residential and commercial interior design work has generated national attention. Clients love working with Leah and appreciate her vast knowledge and fun personality. As a licensed and experienced designer, Leah is also in high demand for her expertise in commercial work. She’s one of the few local interior designers possessing the requirements to work with commercial clients. “I get tons of referrals and it’s flattering that people treat me like a rock star,” says Leah, who has degrees in interior design and business management. Check out Leah’s design tips and view some of her published works at leahdconner.com.
LRMC Foundation Board Secretary LRMC Foundation 701 N. PALMETTO ST., SUITE G, LEESBURG // 352.323.5500 // LEESBURGREGIONAL.ORG
etired” since 2006, LRMC Foundation Board Secretary Bev Wilhide loves serving others. Before moving to The Villages, she and late husband Lee lived in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor. She was PR Director for the Atlantic Division of Comcast, served Howard County (including a stint as chief of staff to the County Executive), spent 11 years on the board (two as chairman) of Howard County General Hospital, and represented the hospital on the executive board of Johns Hopkins. She also helped Lee grow the family’s floral businesses and raised a family. When LRMC Foundation President Ted Williams met Bev, he knew she would be perfect for his board and recruited her on the spot. She also helps families in the surgical waiting room as an LRMC Auxilian. It’s a busy, crazy rewarding life. “When you live to give you get so much back,” said Bev.
Livi & Tate
827 W. MONTROSE ST., CLERMONT // 352.404.7387 // LIVIANDTATE.COM
ivi & Tate is a lifestyle boutique housed in a beautifully restored 118-year-old historic building. Marcella designed every detail of the distinct black and white structure to fit her longtime vision of a store where customers could come and experience pure shopping joy. “I am thrilled to offer something unique to the local community. After all, Livi & Tate’s tag line is: Look. Shop. Be Happy.” Educated at FIT, Marcella sharpened her expertise in the fashion and cosmetics world working with Lord & Taylor and The Estée Lauder Companies in New York. She believes strongly in giving back, founding the non-profit The Pink Bow Foundation in 2014 to provide Lake County’s homeless teenagers with much-needed hygiene supplies. “I love everything about my job, and it feels great to know I am right where I’m supposed to be.”
Lake County Commissioner and Attorney Lake County Board of County Commissioners 342 E. 5TH ST., MOUNT DORA // 352.383.9020 // LESLIECAMPIONE.COM
tanding up for Lake County taxpayers” has been Leslie Campione’s mission on the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, and she’s a voice for animals at the Lake County Animal Shelter. “I’m so proud of our volunteers and staff, and our community’s commitment to maintain a no-kill shelter.” She’s also pleased to be involved in Lake Tech College’s expansion with its Advanced Center for Manufacturing. “We worked several years to make that happen,” she says. “Lake County students can obtain skills that allow them to find high-wage jobs.” Leslie has practiced law since 1991, and she’s running for re-election on the county commission. “The law practice allows me to be in touch with the business community, and to understand the challenges that are out there,” she says. “It makes me a better representative.”
FLINN Chef/Owner s Busines
Gourmet Today 352.978.1203 // GOURMETTODAYINC.COM
essica Flinn widens the eyes and pleases the palates of her clients. Since opening her custom catering and meal delivery company, Gourmet Today, she has lived up to its catchy motto, “Rare Service. Well Done.” “We meet with clients and create menus based off their needs,” she says. “Our staff is trained to work in any environment. Nothing leaves our kitchen without being tasted, and we try to knock them back with flavor. We make our own dressings and sauces and try to eliminate processed food.” That emphasis on customer service is why Gourmet Today has grown exponentially each year since Jessica and her husband, Kevin Flinn opened it in 2011. In fact, the company’s services have been utilized for weddings, Christmas parties, and corporate functions. Beacon College, the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce, and Florida Hospital Waterman are just several local businesses that routinely hire Gourmet Today to cater their events. “We have a closet full of themed costumes to match the themed event that we’re catering,” Jessica says. “As a result, we become part of the event. Clients don’t want a robot serving them; they want someone with personality serving them.” Word of mouth has landed Gourmet Today many new clients. “Clients compliment our staff as much as they compliment our food.”
LEW Owner s Busines
Twin Medical Consultants 310 MARKET ST. LEESBURG // 352.353.0096 // TWINMEDICALCONSULTANTS.COM
hen it comes to the business of medicine, June Lew is an influential woman. As a principal in Twin Medical Consultants, a company built on her 25 years of experience building one of the largest and most successful medical multispecialty groups in Central Florida, June is fulfilling a dream to help a new generation of physicians with their most complex business and IT needs so they can focus their attention on caring for their patients. She finds purpose and meaning in helping doctors open or restart their practices, grow more successful practices, and reduce the stress of rapidly changing regulatory requirements and reporting. â€œFor me, finding my passion in life generates happiness. Whether as a consultant, photographer, tennis player or mom, I believe I can fulfill any dream I set out to, and make a positive impact on others along the way.â€?
WALKER Owner s Busines
Metes & Bounds Title Company WofOMELNE 17301 PAGONIA RD., STE. #310, CLERMONT // 352.242.1881 // /METESANDBOUNDSTITLE.COM Y ST
he company’s name was derived from the centuries-old system of describing real estate property’s legal description. Susan Walker’s 13 year old company has its roots in beautiful Clermont where she employs a staff of 10 exceptionally intelligent, educated women. Passionately spoken, “We put a lot of emphasis on education, here—on the loan side, real estate side and of course the closing side. Every one of our team players have their own individual strengths that complement one another. We currently have six staffed licensed title agents and because I strongly believe that if a Realtor is required to be licensed to represent a Buyer/Seller in a real estate transaction, so should the closing agent representing the title insurance. We take pride in having a state licensed agent in every in-house closing and can say we are claim free. We are organically grown and independently owned. We are opening new locations for convenience to our clients and I love it. Thank you to ALL of our clients who trust in us and to my staff Nevada, Diana, Kim, Kalynn, Molly, Michele, Stacy, April and Tammy for your consistent hard work and unique qualities you bring to ‘our’ company.”
Mia Bella Salon & Spa 201 W MILLER ST, FRUITLAND PARK // 352.508.7277 // MIABELLASALONANDSPA.NET
usiness is blooming at Mia Bella Salon and Spa, owned by Dawn Coulliette and her daughter Danielle Daugherty. In order to keep up with the demand, Dawn says the 11-employee salon is now open six days a week and longer hours. “This last year has been so wonderful,” adds Danielle. “The team that we have built has made a name for themselves, and the community sees us as their trendy hometown salon.” Mia Bella’s homey farmhouse setting is also being expanded with new construction at the back of the business. “We are adding four more hair stations, and a facialist room,” says Danielle, “so overall, things are booming!”
Optima One Realty 720 W. MONTROSE ST., CLERMONT // 239.220.7271 // 352.243.6784 // AIMEEOPTIMAONE@GMAIL.COM
imee Stanley is committed to her community. Between running Optima One Realty, and serving with the South Lake Chamber of Commerce and The Pink Bow Foundation, which aids homeless teens, virtually all her time is spent helping others. “I’m really involved in what’s going on and I want to give back to my community,” says Aimee, one of the youngest female real estate brokers in Lake County. Aimee recently moved her company into a larger office and she has 20 agents covering the region. Optima One Realty is a full-service “boutique” real estate company. “Our motto is, ‘Experience the Difference,’” she says. “We go above and beyond for our clients. We strive to be an exceptional real estate company.”
Prominent Fox 4313 E. CR 466, SUITE 103, OXFORD // 352.661.3170
hoppers go to great lengths to find clothing items that are not sold anywhere else. That’s why Prominent Fox has enjoyed increasing popularity since owner Leigh Ann Berry opened the store in October 2017. Visitors to the Oxford based company will find clothes that are unique and fashionable from Dresses to T-shirts along with beautiful accessories including jewelry purses and shoes. Many clothing items were handpicked or designed by Leigh Ann. The company also sells Candleberry candles and Farmhouse Fresh organic skin items. “I pretty much have anything for any event,” says Leigh Ann, a 1998 graduate of Wildwood High School. “My goal is to make customers feel special when they’re here and more confident when they leave.”
LEISNER Broker s Busines
RealTeam Realty 826 WEST DESOTO ST., CLERMONT // 352.394.1144 // REALTEAM-REALTY.COM
rish is somewhat of a rarity in the real estate market who can be summed up in four letters: CCIM—Certified Commercial Investment Member. “Having that certification, being a broker and owning the business places me on a different level. This program is currently being offered at Florida universities as a part of the masters curriculum. very prestigious, but also very difficult to achieve. I do market analysis, pro formas and property valuations on commercial real estate. I especially enjoy industrial properties and working on the nuts and bolts of estates and trusts. I’ve bought it, built it and sold it. I also do residential, of course. And I love it all. It’s the thrill of the chase, really. You go at it. Put the pieces together. You close the deal. It’s what I do.”
RODRIGUEZ s Busines
The Law Office of Karen Rodriguez, P.A. 301 N. HIGHWAY 27, SUITE D // CLERMONT // 352.404.7881
hen clients come to the Law Office of Karen Rodriguez, they get the full experience of participating in their case. “From the moment you get to the office to the moment the case is finished, you’re part of the process and you’re informed,” says Karen, adding that her office uses high-tech software that enables clients to log in and follow their cases. As a former prosecutor, Karen has experience handling criminal cases, and she also focuses on family law, including divorce, child support, and adoptions. She has operated her law office since 2013 and covers Lake, Sumter, Orange, Osceola, and Polk counties. Karen has received honors such as the Top 40 Under 40 Attorneys by the National Trail Lawyers, and the Client’s Choice Award from Avvo, which reviews attorneys.
Branch manager/mortgage loan officer NMLS #1097663
Success Mortgage Partners 16903 LAKESIDE DR. UNIT #1, MONTVERDE // 352.242.1535 // KRISTINJAMIESONFL.COM
ristin Jamieson runs the No. 1 small branch at Success Mortgage Partners, a national company that serves 18 states. If that isn’t impressive enough, she built her business with her partner and husband, Joe Jamieson, while raising three children: Kansas, 8; Maggie, 4; and Joey, 10 months. With 17 years of experience, Kristin helps clients get loans to buy residential properties, strives to steer them away from predatory online lenders, and pushes even the most unlikely loans through to closing. “We want people to shop local. All 12 of my employees live in the same communities as our clients,” Kristin says. “It’s important to support local businesses because it’s our community that’s growing, too.” In fact, 100 percent of her leads come from the community and past clients, not the internet, an approach that has led her to No. 1!
OWENS Owner/Broker s Busines
2785 S. BAY STREET, EUSTIS // 352.223.0053 // REMAX.COM
ddie Owens is the Owner and Broker of the multi-office Real Estate Firm, RE/MAX TOUCHSTONE. Addie serves as Vice President of the Realtors Association of Lake and Sumter Counties and also represents the Mount Plymouth/Sorrento Community Redevelopment Agency. Most recently, Addie has been awarded the Certified Residential Specialist, the highest credential awarded to a sales associate or broker. She also recently founded the RE/MAX TOUCHSTONE Community First Foundation to help improve the communities her offices serve.”
Private Risk Management Advisor
Private Risk Management Advisor The Villages Insurance 352.751.6622 // THEVILLAGESINSURANCE.COM
ose Connell and Janie LeBeau are the power duo behind the Private Risk Management division of The Villages Insurance, specializing in protecting highly successful individuals with complex insurance needs. “We analyze our client’s risks and then put together a portfolio that will cover all of their insurance needs,” says Rose, who has six years of experience in the insurance industry. They take a “holistic approach” to their analysis, looking at the personal, business, and family aspects of a client’s life, says Janie, a 20-year professional in insurance. Established in 1985, The Villages Insurance offers insurance and risk management solutions to families and businesses throughout Central Florida. They also boast a 24-hour claims hotline and 24/7 Emergency Response Team.
CUTLIP Owner s Busines
Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 CR 448, TAVARES // 352.343.6823 // ILOVEMARYS.NET
resh, delicious, homestyle foods served in a super friendly atmosphere generates regulars and newcomers to Mary’s Kountry Kitchen, which has been a Tavares favorite since 2007. “I love my customers. I do this because I love the people,” says Mary, recalling the restaurant was her husband’s idea. She is hands-on in the kitchen and has gotten marriage proposals for her sweet desserts. Mary and her staff also hear raves over the Cinnamon Pancakes, Eggs Benedict, Captain Crunch French Toast, homemade hash, thick hamburgers, and southern fried chicken. “The best compliment is when the customers say ‘being here feels like family,’” says Mary.
Thank you to the sponsors of the 2018â€¦
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Stepping Out For
Congratulations to the
2019 Lake County Rookie Teacher of the Year
LOCAL VERSION OF DANCING WITH THE STARS!
Mission Inn â€¢ Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida Hosted by The Educational Foundation of Lake County. Benefiting the teachers and students in Lake County Schools
Chelsey McCurdy Lost Lake Elementary School
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Friday, July 27, 2018 or
Saturday, July 28, 2018 May 2018
Events by Miss Daisy Let us plan your event!
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BUILDING UNIQUE POOLS We know that every single customer is unique— Building Unique Pools is our company motto—and so every project we undertake is delivered to a client’s signature set of personal tastes and, where necessary, solves any challenges their property may present.
And we deliver.
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This was our ﬁrst experience with a pool, and that’s why I’m so grateful we went with Wiseman Pools because the company has an extremely friendly and talented staﬀ. They were readily available throughout the project and enthusiastically answered our questions or addressed our concerns. I would highly recommend the company to anyone who wants a pool.
Wiseman Pools is a family-ownedand-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.
—VALERIE RHOADES, THE VILLAGES
COLD, ALLERGY & SINUS
Michael A. Freedman, DO Board Certified, Otolaryngology
Dino Madonna, MD Board Certified, Facial Plastic Surgery, Otolaryngology
Judith Milstead, MD
Board Certified, Otolaryngology
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Chronic Sinus Conditions | Allergies Pain | Pressure | Nasal Obstruction
352.728.2404 LakeENT.net LEESBURG THE VILLAGES TAVARES
THE TO-DO LIST //
IN CONCE RT //
LOCAL TALENT //
NEAR & FAR //
On the Scene Mount Dora artist brings the ocean to you. SEE STORY on PG 112
* TOHnE TTOh- DeO SL cI S eT n e
May M AY 5
Street Party! Here’s to the first annual Cinco de Mayo Street Party from 5-10pm on Ruby Street in Tavares. M AY 1 - 1 7
It’s Andrew Lloyd Webber! “Tell Me on a Sunday” is a oneperson musical. Tickets: $20-$25 at thesharon.com. 7pm at The Studio Theatre at Tierra del Sol, 806 San Marino Dr., The Villages.
Farmer’s Markets Saturdays The Saturday Morning Market Leesburg Towne Square 8am-1pm
M AY 2
Mama’s back “Vicki Lawrence & Mama” is a “twowoman” show based on the popular TV show, “Mama’s Family.” Tickets: $45-$80 at thesharon.com. Meetand-greet tickets: $100 with limited availability. Proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter. Showtime: 7pm at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages.
Brownwood Farmer’s Market 2726 Brownwood Blvd. Wildwood, 9am-1pm Tuesdays Lady Lake Farmers Market Lady Lake Log Cabin 106 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 9am-1pm
M AY 3
Sing! The Villages Charter School Spring Choir Concert. Tickets: $10 at thesharon.com. Showtime: 7pm at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, The Villages.
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: email@example.com or Lake & Sumter Style Calendar, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749
M AY 4 - 6
Belly bump “9 Months” is a play about a young couple having their first child. Discount tickets for expectant moms.
Go to moonlightplayers.com for tickets and call 352.319.1116 for info.
Hospital Auxiliary Foundation. Tickets: $25 in advance; $30 at the door. Call 352.751.2862 for info.
M AY 4 - 2 0
A song for you “The Wedding Singer” is a play based on the hit Adam Sandler movie. Go to melonpatchplayers.com for tickets and information. 311 N. 13th St., Leesburg. Call 352.787.31013 for showtimes. M AY 4 - 2 0
A hot time in the old town Just days before the Fourth of July, the race is on for the Miss Firecracker Contest when unexpected—and possibly unwanted—family arrives on the scene. Tickets: $11-$21 at baystreetplayers.org. Showtimes vary. Call 352.357.7777 for info. 109 N. Bay St., Eustis.
M AY 5
Photos and genealogy Pastfinders meeting, 10am-noon. “Preserving Your Past for Future Generations” by digitizing photos and one-on-one help to learn how to start or break down those brick walls. Pastfinders meet at Cooper Memorial Library, 832 W. Minneola Ave., Clermont. For info, call 352.242.9805. M AY 5
Need a header George Trullinger performs at the Orange Blossom Opry, 16439 SE 138th Terrace, Weirsdale. Call 352.821.1201 for information. M AY 5 - 6
M AY 5
Bob Marley tribute band John Truth and Reflexx perform in concert to aid The Villages Regional
See the artisans! The ninth annual La Plaza Grande Art & Craft Festival, 1120 Bichara
M AY 1 0
Here’s your sign! Comedian Bill Engvall brings his stand-up routine to The Sharon. He is well-known for voicing characters in animated movies, and as part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Showtimes: 5 and 8pm. Tickets: $25-$85 at thesharon.com. The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages.
Ongoing Events M AY 1 5
A night of magical opera The Sharon hosts The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra with its glorious “Magical Night of Opera,” featuring selections from the greatest operas. 7pm. Tickets: $20-$60 at thesharon.com. The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages.
Blvd. in The Villages. 10am-5pm. Free admission. M AY 6 & 1 3
Down the rabbit hole “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” is a play with no rehearsal, no director, a different actor each night, and a script waiting in a sealed envelope onstage. Warning: Adult content. The Studio Theatre at Tierra del Sol, 806 San Marino Dr., The Villages. For tickets, see thesharon.com. M AY 1 2
Fight cancer Relay for Life, from 2-10 pm at Lake-Sumter State College, 9501 U.S. Highway 441 in Leesburg, is a tribute to cancer patients. M AY 1 2
‘Rocky Mountain High’ Ted Vigil pays tribute to the man whose music is still among the favorites today—John Denver. Mount Dora Community Building Theater, 520 Baker St. Proceeds will support Lake Cares Food Pantry. See getoffthebusconcerts.com for ticket info. M AY 1 2 - 2 7
She’s blind, but they’re in the dark “Wait Until Dark” is a chilling play by Frederick Knott. Two men are
searching for a mysterious doll in the apartment of a blind woman.. Tickets available at tavarestheater.org or call 352.343.9944. Bridges Covenant Church, 1100 N. Saint Clair Abrams Ave., Tavares. M AY 1 2 - 1 3
A little time for jazz Jazz on the Vineyard Green fills the weekend with great jazz musicians, Admission: $5 adults; free for children 12 and younger. 10am-5pm both days. Purchase tickets at lakeridgewinery.com/events/jazzon-the-vineyard-green/. 19239 U.S. Highway 27 N., Clermont. M AY 1 7
Leader of the band The Villages Charter School Spring Band Concert at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, Spanish Springs Town Square, The Villages. Tickets: $10 at thesharon.com. M AY 1 8 - 2 8
Southern gentility “The Glass Menagerie” is a timeless play by Tennessee Williams that evokes memories of times past. Once seen, it’s never forgotten. Tickets available at icehousetheatre.tix.com for various shows. Group rates available. Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse, 1100 N. Unser St., Mount Dora. Call 352.383.4616 for info.
Every Friday Wear Red Fish Fry Enjoy a fish fry at AMVETS Post 2006, 500 N. Canal St., Leesburg. For more info, see amvets2006.com. 5-7pm 1st Saturday: Wine Tasting Stroll Starts at Maggie’s Attic at Alexander Street and 4th Avenue. 6-8pm (7-9pm in summer) 2nd Friday: Art Splash Features artists and performers on the sidewalks of downtown Mount Dora. 6-8pm 2nd Friday Acoustic music Live local musicians at Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St. 7-9pm 2nd Friday: Movie in the Park Starts at dusk at Donnelly Park, downtown Mount Dora. 2nd Saturday Food Truck N Flick Night Leesburg Towne Square. 3rd Wednesday: PAWS Reading Dogs W.T. Bland Library, Mount Dora. 3rd Thursday: Mount Dora Food Trucks Downtown Mount Dora. Every Thursday Family game night Tavares Public Library, 315 N. New Hampshire Ave. 6-8pm. 4th Saturday: Classic Car Cruise-In Downtown Eustis.
* IONnC OTNhC EeR TS c e n e
Defenders of Daisies
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Gator Bay Marina, Leesburg
Maiden Voyage Band
American Legion, Mount Dora
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Mount Dora Brewing Company, Mount Dora
Lake Harris Hideaway, Tavares
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Southpointe Baptist Fellowship, Leesburg
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
The Simple Caveman
Yalaha Bakery, Yalaha
East Side Rock
Puddle Jumpers, Tavares
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Defenders of Daisies
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Jeff Whitfield The Villages Charter School Spring 2018 Band Concert Lindsey Brown and Crystal Dagger Maggie Melville
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Yalaha Bakery, Yalaha
Leesburg Center for the Arts, Leesburg
A Night with Elvis
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Frank’s Place, Leesburg
Defenders of Daisies
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Blue Stone Circle
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
McGregor’s Bar, Mount Dora
The Simple Caveman
Yalaha Bakery, Yalaha
A Salute to Our Fallen Heroes
Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale
McGregor’s Bar, Mount Dora
Defenders of Daisies
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
Ruby Street Grille, Tavares
The Sharon, The Villages The Oasis, Sorrento Graffiti Junktion, Clermont
Bands subject to change. Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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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A change of scenery Mount Dora artist starts fresh with new gallery. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ
ane Slivka has faced a lot of blank canvases in her life. After raising two sons, she was divorced unexpectedly and found herself in need of a career and a new start. She had always dabbled in art, so she decided to be a painter. “It was a very pivotal point in my life,” Jane says. “I bought a tent and started doing art festivals.” That was 20 years ago, and Jane has been pitching her tent all over the Southeast and Midwest ever since. Her home base is Mount Dora, where she recently opened a new space for the Jane Slivka Gallery at 110 E. 3rd Ave. near Donnelly Street. Jane’s spontaneous, impressionistic work also is displayed at the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy in Sarasota and the Lost Art Gallery in St. Augustine. She exhibits at 10 shows a year, including the Mount Dora Arts Festival and Florida’s circuit, and also travels to teach workshops. Earlier this year, she sold 30 paintings at two shows. That’s the good news. The bad news is, she was left with few paintings for her gallery. Fortunately, Jane doesn’t need an elusive muse to help her fill a canvas. “I’m a fast painter. I just go,” she says. Jane paints both still life and people in motion—landscapes, seascapes, Caribbean islanders. Much of her work features water scenes, a favorite setting of many customers. “That’s what people say about my artwork—it puts them in a place they want to be,” Jane says. She paints exclusively in acrylics after switching from watercolors when she started painting professionally. “I felt I could express myself better with strong brush strokes and bold colors,” she says. “It also was a very freeing experience to paint with acrylics.”
Jane exhibits at 10 shows a year, including the Mount Dora Arts Festival and Florida’s circuit, and also travels to teach workshops. Earlier this year, she sold 30 paintings at two shows.
Jane had another unexpected jolt this year when she had to move out of her former gallery on short notice. She found the 3rd Avenue space, but it was another blank canvas—it needed work. She painted it bright white and now her paintings “pop” off the walls. She’ll also conduct workshops there, because teaching brings as much reward to Jane as creating. “I enjoy helping people to relax and enjoy the process and experience great results,” she says. “I try to teach students to trust themselves…to trust their instincts and be brave.” Brave enough to try something new. For hours and workshops at the Jane Slivka Gallery, call 352.812.0546 or email email@example.com.
So much more than assisted living! Meet Gary, Osprey Lodge’s bus driver –voted one of our top employees by residents and associates! From driving the bus for resident appointments and trips, to playing a round of pool, or performing an impromptu ballroom dance, Gary is a big part of “Lodge Life.” He makes our residents feel special every day! Come get a taste of lodge lifestyle yourself. Schedule your tour today and receive an Osprey Lodge signature gift as our way of saying “thanks for getting to know us.” Call Ruth Cantillon at 352.253.5100
Osprey Lodge, 1761 Nightingale Ln, Tavares, FL www.ospreylodgetavares.com Assisted Living Facility #11259
* NOEnA RT&hFeA RS c e n e
Getting away with your gal pals is a chance to renew friendships and rejuvenate with fun and relaxation. These locations offer something different for a successful trip. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS
Putting toes in the sand CLEARWATER BEACH, FLORIDA In Florida, girlfriend getaways almost always involve some beach time. One of the most popular destinations for putting toes in the sand is Clearwater Beach, consistently named among the top beach vacations. The crystal-clear Gulf waters always are beautiful, but the views and tranquility from a balcony room at Opal Sands Resort & Spa are unbeatable. And the good news is that all the Opal Sands rooms are balcony rooms overlooking the shimmering waters. Clearwater Beach bustles from morning to night with shoreline activities, restaurants for all budgets, and entertainment. But for those who want the ultimate relaxation, never leaving Opal Sands is a viable option.
In addition to tastefully appointed suites with spa-size master baths and kitchenettes, the resort offers a luxurious spa with a rooftop garden where I relaxed in a personal-sized “yurt,” following a soothing massage. Other spa treatments include rejuvenating body scrubs and enhanced facial treatments. The relaxation area outside the treatment rooms is the perfect location for meeting up with your BFFs for herbal teas and treats. Opal Sands also offers one of Clearwater Beach’s local favorites for restaurants. Sea-Guini is known for its fresh seafood, exquisite pasta and custom cocktails. As my gal pals finished a sunset cruise aboard the Schooner Clearwater—a 52-foot staysail schooner built for relaxing
– the captain’s wife and first mate asked where we were headed next. “You girls know how to do it right,” the Clearwater native commented when we told her Sea-Guini. The fine-dining restaurant happened to be one of her longtime favorites. For more casual fare, the hotel’s Sandbar cafe is open for lunch. It’s a great place to enjoy one last meal overlooking the Gulf before bidding your friends goodbye and making plans for next year’s getaway. opalsands.com
* NOEnA RT&hFeA RS c e n e
The cocktail bar at The Alluvian hotel in Greenwood, Mississippi, was filled with groups of women, including my own group. We were all waiting for our respective classes at the renowned Viking Cooking School across the street. Viking, the manufacturer of high-end ranges and appliances, began in this Delta city in 1987. Since then, Viking has heated up nearly three city blocks downtown with its corporate headquarters and state-of-the-art culinary center. The cooking school, which began in 2005, aims to get more amateurs like me into its classes (and, hopefully, into its appliances and kitchenware). Designed for both novice cooks and seasoned home chefs, Viking’s classes range from three-hour workshops to a six-week series to accommodate a wide range of interests and schedules. Viking has made Greenwood a destination for bridal parties, mother-daughter excursions, and other visitors who want to channel their inner chefs and learn new culinary skills in a no-pressure environment. I learned a few simple culinary tricks just by watching Viking instructor Loren Leflore, but the real challenge was learning how to make Delta hot tamales with friends watching me press cornbread dough into something edible. Loren, a consummate coach for insecure cooks like me, says, “You’re doing great,” with a sweet Southern accent so encouraging that I decided to make several tamales right there under the Viking spotlights.
“Greenwood is a perfect destination for girlfriend getaways because it is low pressure,” says Danielle Morgan, executive director for the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Friends, mothers, aunts, cousins, or sisters come to Greenwood to get away from it all…relaxing and having a good time are the main objectives.” Viking partners with The Alluvian, a luxurious boutique hotel that opened in 2003, mostly to accommodate the cooking giant’s out-of-town guests, of which there are many, including international visitors who not only want to cook but also experience some of the area’s famous blues venues. The Alluvian, with only 45 guest rooms and five luxurious suites, also offers a world-class 7,000-square-foot spa for those who prefer to indulge in relaxation over cooking. Greenwood has gained even more attention since it was the background for the 2011 movie “The Help.” Especially popular for girlfriend getaways are “The Help” tours, featuring spots around town where the movie starring Emma Stone and Viola Davis was filmed. “Whether it’s being pampered together at the Alluvian Spa, touring sites from the ‘The Help,’ or enjoying a class at the Viking Cooking School over a glass of wine, Greenwood offers the perfect recipe for priceless memories,” Danielle says. “Sometimes, getting away from the business of life with people you love is all it takes to reset your perspective.” thealluvian.com
Opener photo: Izzy Hudgins; Savannah photos courtesy of Riverstreet Inn and Savannah Riverboat Cruises; Clearwater photos courtesy of Opal Sands Resort, Greenwood photos courtesy of Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Mary Ann DeSantis
Channeling your inner chef
Mixing shopping & history SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
Quite possibly, you and your girlfriends are planning a trip for the fall—a perfect time to visit Savannah, Georgia, where you can get a head start on your holiday shopping or just take in the sights. The charming Southern city seems to make the list for every major travel magazine’s girlfriend getaway suggestions—and with good reason. Quaint shops and boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and historical sites will keep your group busy for days. And it’s the ultimate walking city, especially along Broughton Street, known for its great shopping. I am prejudiced when visiting a historic city like Savannah. I think it’s worth staying right in the historic heart and I’ve long been a fan of the River Street Inn, originally built in 1817 as a cotton warehouse on the Savannah River. Today, the historic hotel offers 86 luxurious guest rooms with modern-day amenities. Start your getaway with some phenomenal shopping at The Paris Market and Brocante, featuring museum-worthy display windows beckoning you to come inside. The shop is filled with exquisite, yet affordable, gift items that you won’t find anywhere else. Farther along Broughton Street, peruse the 24e Design Co. for one-of-kind furniture and accessories, like an airplane door coffee table. Called “the coolest store in Savannah” by locals, 24e offers design inspiration but it’s not furniture for the meek. Savannah is filled with dining options, especially Southern fare. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room at 107 Jones St. has been a favorite with locals since a young Sema Wilkes opened a boardinghouse in 1943. Another favorite is Circa 1875 Gastropub, where you definitely need to save room for French-inspired desserts. With more than 300 years of history, Savannah calls for you to walk off those lunch calories by visiting some of its famed sites and gardens. Then wind down with a sunset cruise on Savannah Riverboat Cruises for a memorable conclusion to your girlfriend getaway. savannah.com
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
Magical moments at the opera The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra is closing its season with tributes to great operas.
alking with Maestro Pasquale Valerio about The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra is like talking with a proud father about beloved children. His passion for music and his appreciation of these fine musicians comes across in every sentence. The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Magic Moments of Opera” happens Tuesday, May 15, at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center in Spanish Springs Town Square in The Villages. It is the much-loved opera program featuring the works of Puccini, Verdi, Strauss, Lehar, Dvorak, Floyd, Offenbach, and Bizet, and may also contain a Neapolitan song or two.
Featured performers include baritone Sean Christopher Stork; sopranos Samantha Barnes Daniel and Julie Batman; and tenors Mark A. de Villiers and Anthony Ciaramitaro. “These five singers will be on stage performing solos, duets, and quartets,” Pasquale says. “The opera concert is the ending of the season, and it is the most magical theatrical expression of drama and music offered with great emotion for our patrons.” The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra was the dream of Pasquale and his dear friend, the late Oscar Feliu. It took them awhile to bring the dream to reality, but now Villagers
Maestro Pasquale Valerio photo: Fred Lopez
STORY: LEIGH NEELY
Conductor Pasquale Valerio Maestro Pasquale Valerio
and other visitors have come to love the exquisite performances of the orchestra. “It was his legacy to me,” Pasquale says. “He taught me like I was his younger brother.” Pasquale was born in Naples, Italy, beginning his musical studies at age 9. In 1985, he graduated from the N. Piccinni Conservatory of Music, where he studied trumpet performance, applied complementary piano studies, harmony, and lectures from Maestro Filippo Veniero, his mentor from 1976-1989. After relocating to the United States in 1996, he continued conducting studies with J. Whitney and Günter Schmidt. After much planning and work with Oscar, he became the founder and music director of The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale in
2004, which he continues today. However, that wasn’t enough to keep him busy; he’s also founder of the Lake Sumter Chamber Orchestra and co-founder and director of the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra. Pasquale’s other passion is to keep upcoming generations interested in classical music. He has a class on Saturday for aspiring orchestra students, many of them from Leesburg High School. “Sydney Glenn of Leesburg is now part of the professional group in The Villages,” Pasquale says. “She plays the violin and began working with me in 2013.” Pasquale worries at times about the future of classical music, which, along with opera, is a testimonial of the past. “The only key is education. It gives me pleasure and great
satisfaction to see students work with a group like my orchestra,” he says. “I plan to continue my work with Leesburg High School, and my dream is to have a full season in Leesburg, maybe even a nice outdoor concert for the Fourth of July.” Keeping the passion alive for music is his main goal. “If the chef is not cooking with passion, the food is not as good,” Pasquale says. “Teaching is giving passion, giving emotion, and they will come back to a relationship with the music.” He also wants to create an endowment fund for teaching music in Lake County to bring more interest in classical music among young people. Pasquale also has developed a relationship with the music ministry of First Baptist Church in Leesburg. His orchestra will perform a concert in April at the church. He’s also excited to have The Villages Philharmonic Chorale at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the 2018 performance of “The Messiah.” “They pick only a select few choirs from around the world, and it’s an honor for my senior volunteer choir to be chosen,” Pasquale says. “They saw the video on YouTube and called me.” Wherever Pasquale Valerio is, there will be music shared by many. Don’t miss “Magic Moments of Opera” May 15 at The Sharon.
“Magic Moments of Opera” is featuring the works of Puccini, Verdi, Strauss, Lehar, Dvorak, Floyd, Offenbach, and Bizet and, may also contain a Neapolitan song or two.
Spring Fling MAY 19, 2018 10am to 4pm 6500 POWELL RD - WILDWOOD
at Wildwood Community Center across from Brownwood Paddock Square
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Honoring community leaders The Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 81st annual Installation Awards Gala at the Mote Morris House. Local business leaders were honored and officers for 2018 were installed, including Dan Robuck III, president; Phyllis Baum, president-elect; Michael Rankin, treasurer; Dr. Jeffrey Glover; secretary; and the following board of directors: Doug Akers, G. Jodie Soule, Margie Brozanski, Byron Holton, Carol Clendinen, Wylie Hamilton, Jessy Flinn, Tessa Hibbard, Page Whittle, Frank Faust, David Rosenbalm, Al Minner, Lena Williams, Tim Sennett, Steve Yates, Barbara Yaussey, and Samuel Weekly. PHOTOS: SHAENA CHASTAIN
Jacquelyn and Brett Singer
Fran and Commissioner Tim Sullivan
Jimmy and Lisa Adams
Kristen Pettis, Lena and Craig Williams, Theresa Morris, and Wade Pettis
David and Loretta Rosenbalm
Chris Wood, Trey Haliday, and Connie Gardner Cheryl and Clif Rumbley
Jason and Joanie Smalley with Pastor John Christian
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Joe Moy, Jeff Tanner, John Isner, and Kevin Johnson Ji Jong, Nick Boudreau, Flor Putigna, and Sanjay Pattani
Bryan Hoke, Josh Catron, Daniel Cook, and Atif Siddiqi Bryan Reynolds, Dean Simmons II, Josh Brooks, and Dean Simmons
Edlyn Fernandez, Bernie Livingston, and Leslie Matthews
Golfing for health care! Some 96 golfers participated in the 24th annual Partners in Health Care Golf Classic hosted at RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento, and they were instrumental in raising a net amount of $52,600 to benefit emergency room services at Florida Hospital Waterman. The hospitalâ€™s foundation notes the 25th golf classic will be hosted Nov. 9 at RedTail Golf Course. The foundation works closely with the Lake County community to raise the funds to benefit the Tavares hospital. PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL
Jason Storey, Mr. Barnes, Joe Broker, and Robert Taylor
Togeth Our patients are our neighbors, and we care for our community like family. As Lake County’s ﬁrst Chest Pain Center of Excellence, and the only hospital in the region to earn an A-rating for patient safety for the past ﬁve years, we are achieving better health together. FHWatermanER.com
If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency-get help immediately. Call 911 and get to the closest emergency department.
* HOIn, S OTChI EeT YS! c e n e Sponsored by
Chef Jessy Flinn, Nanette Edwards, and Michele Brown
Doug McDowell and Juni Valentine
Verity Johnson, Chef Mike Provo, and Denise McGlaflin
Ann D. Burgoon with Jan and Ken Hallbrook
Jason McCormick and Michael Bond Patrick Devenney and Brandy Ranch
Kay and Ken Henderson
Leigh Ann Teems with Ellie and Billy Jones
Eduardo and Areni Cendejas
Taste of Tavares Tavares Pavilion on the Lake was the picturesque site for Taste of Tavares hosted by the Tavares Chamber of Commerce. A wide array of tasty appetizers, entrees, and desserts from local and area restaurants and chefs were showcased. The next Taste of Tavares is slated to take place 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 15, and guests will be able to vote for their favorite dish at the event. PHOTO: THERESA CAMPBELL
2 1S T ANN UA L
F r iday, May 18 , 2 0 18 12- 1 Registration with Lunch Shot Gun Start @ 1:00pm C ontinen tal Country Club $ 400/Fo ursome R egister a t leesburgchamber.com or call 352.787.2131
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May’s satisfied customers
Your neighbor, best friend, colleague at work — someone you know bought a car from Vann Gannaway Chevrolet. These are happy, satisfied customers, and, chances are this isn’t the first vehicle they bought here. 352.508.1448 // 2200 E. BURLEIGH BLVD., EUSTIS // VANNGANNAWAYCHEVROLET.COM
Lynne Morgan - Eustis, FL
Frankie and Beverly Grinstead - Umatilla, FL Michael Makepeace - Apopka, FL
Mary Herpich - Eustis, FL Mayor Morin, wife Tina, and son Ceasar - Eustis, FL
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d a water pump replaced that was under warranty and the service was very fast and we were kept well informed. • Our service rep, Bra iley was very efficient and courteous. • Quick service on Volt. Had a water pump replaced that was under warranty and the service was v t and we were kept well • Our serviceLIKE rep, Brad BaileyTHAN was very cient and courteous. Quick service on Volt. Excellent jo WHERE THEinformed. ONLY THING YOU’LL BETTER OUReffi PRICE IS THE BUYING• EXPERIENCE ITSELF ff is very attentive. • Lenny was great to work with and was on top of my service. • We have experienced all facets of your dealership. d our old car serviced there and Brad Bailey was great and the reason we came to VG when we decided to buy a new vehicle. Our salesm ke Bradner was outstanding and explored every option to get us the price we wanted. Tony, in Finance was also great. All in all the best ca ying experience we have had in a long while. We would highly recommend VG to anybody. • Service dept got the truck in and out in reco e. Everyone is always very professonal and friendly. • Doug Tutin always delivers, my father deals with him and so do I. Our family will al e him for our vehicle needs. • Wayne was amazing and I will go back to him and Vann Gannaway Chevy for future vehicles. Have already n recommending to friends. Best dealership ever. • Doug Tutin is by far the most courteous and helpful salesmantwo I have met. and His kindnes “I’ve purchased Corvettes ssure tactics and great demeanor made for the most pleasant car buying/leasing experience. Great yourfrom company. Will refer and myasset most to recent Vann Gannaway Chevrolet. Whenwent I purchased my way to me back! • Rick and Tony made me feel very comfortable and confident about buying my new truck. They both out of their WHAT I HAVE TO SAY second one,right a 2015 great experience! Thank you Rick and Tony! • Roc did an excellent job on my car. • The time was finally for aStingray, me andanI am VERY ABOUT employee mywell. home and you to D with my purchaseVANN and the GANNAWAY experience. So much so that I brought my mother in today and we got her a newcame Chevytoas Thank introduced me to the technology WINKLER d Tony (finance) for makingPHIL this aTHE streamlined and pleasurable experience. • Rick was great with being patient on the amount of time ne VILLAGES, FL that this car has. Vann Gannaway to make a purchase. • Wow! What a difference after visiting other dealers in the area. Everyone was very friendly and helpful without bei employees go above and beyond to shy to sell something. Thank you very much! • Great friendly service. They’ll get the job done when theycustomers.” tell you. • My husband and I tr satisfy our 2011 Silverado for a new 2015 Silverado. This is our 3rd purchase with Delores Herman at Vann Gannaway Chevrolet and as always at experience. I recommend this dealership for any car buying needs. • Awesome experience. Delores did an excellent job showing us v s and helping us make a good decision. • Once again the tech at Vann Gannaway went out of their way to repair the shifter in my Corvet ey got the parts overnighted and had me back in the car the next day. I was very pleased with the the sevice manager as well as the techs eeded a new key FOB and didn’t have an appointment but Dwayne and Brad took care of me right away. Can’t say enough about the quali vice and the friendliness of sales at this dealership. I would highly recommend it. • Service was great! Brad in service took care of me a lvin made sure I was taken care of. Yolanda in Accessories took care of getting my windshield tinted since my sunvisor was not long enou ve the great service I always receive at Vann Gannaway! I am so very glad I bought my car from them! God bless them all! • This is the
We’re Committed Backed by years of experience, a dedication to excellence and a reputation for friendly hometown service, our team of banking professionals are committed to serving the financial needs of our customers in the Leesburg and greater Lake County area. Personal & Business Checking • Savings Accounts • Certificates of Deposit Retirement Accounts • Consumer and Business Loans • Mortgages Wealth Management • Investment Services
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Q U I C K B I T E S //
F O R K O N T H E R O A D //
DI NI NG GUI DE
Food & Drink
Great Southern food by the water. SEE MORE on PG 138
&ddT rh in un ek Ta b l e * IfANorToH d E KITCHEN
Whatâ€™s for dinner? Here are quick, easy meals with harried, working moms in mind. STORY: CHEF JESSY FLINN // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ
e’ve all been there. You get out of work late, traffic is a nightmare, and when you finally get home, you’re starving, the kids are starving (and probably not quiet about it), and you need dinner done fast. I have three easy recipes that are wholesome, require few ingredients, can be made quickly, and, best of all, are delicious. The first meal is my guaranteed quick and easy meal. I actually categorize it as one of my meals for when I am hangry. (You know, hanger—to be so hungry that you appear angry.) It has great protein from the shrimp, a fresh pop of sweet corn, and ooey, gooey cheese. One thing to note about this recipe, I use Chihuahua cheese in my quesadillas; it is readily found preshredded in the Latin food section of your dairy case at most grocery stores. It is SO GOOD. It has great flavor, melts perfectly, and gives you that perfect string cheesy pull we all secretly want when eating a quesadilla. It really is a quick dish, but even better, with shrimp cooked in advance, dinner is ready in 10 minutes or less.
Shrimp and corn quesadillas Ingredients:
flour tortillas (I use taco size for smaller appetites)
cups shredded Chihuahua cheese
pound cooked, peeled
and deveined shrimp 1
cup canned corn, drained
tablespoons chopped cilantro Salsa of your choice and sour cream for dipping
Spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Place one tortilla in the pan and sprinkle with a ¼ cup of cheese, top with 5-6 shrimp, 1-2 tablespoons of canned corn and 1-2 teaspoons of cilantro leaves, sprinkle another ¼ cup of cheese over the top of the shrimp and place the second tortilla on top of the filling. Once the bottom side of the tortilla is golden brown, use a spatula to carefully flip the quesadilla over to get both sides golden brown and to melt the cheese. Once the quesadilla is crispy and golden brown, move to a separate pan that is oven safe. Repeat this process until all your quesadillas are ready to devour. This recipe serves four people. You can keep your other quesadillas warm by holding them in an oven at 200 degrees. I love these quesadillas with salsa verde (a tomatillo-based mild salsa) but dip them in whatever tastes good to you!
These three easy recipes are wholesome, require few ingredients, can be made quickly, and, best of all, are delicious.
& drink * IfNoToH d E KITCHEN
I honestly don’t know a single person who doesn’t like pizza. Truthfully, my weaknesses are pizza and pasta, so naturally this is perfect for me. Don’t limit yourself to the ingredients listed below; instead, add what works for your family. Olives, banana peppers, mushrooms, and more would be awesome in this dish.
Pepperoni pizza pasta Ingredients:
cup of mild ground Italian sausage, browned and drained
cup pepperoni slices
teaspoon Italian seasoning
14.5 ounce can of basil, garlic and oregano diced tomatoes
(rotini is my favorite) 1
bell pepper diced finely
cups of water
cup of shredded mozzarella
cup of ParmigianoReggiano cheese
(8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
Extra pepperoni for topping
2 ½ cups short pasta
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Add the sausage, pepperoni, Italian seasoning, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried uncooked pasta, and water to a large 12-inch skillet on medium heat. Stir to combine the ingredients. Bringing the skillet to a boil, cover and reduce heat from medium to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Stir well and season to taste with salt, pepper, and, most importantly, the parmesan cheese! Top evenly with the cheese and pepperoni slices and cover the pan to melt the cheese (or if you have access to an oven, broil the cheese uncovered until bubbly and brown for about 2-3 minutes).
Last but not least, this sesame chicken comes together with three ingredients for the sauce and it is so easy to adjust to your taste. If you want it sweeter, add a little more sugar; if your family likes a little kick, I add crushed red pepper, and you can never have too many green onions for me! Fake-out take-out for 1/3 the price! Win-win!
Sesame chicken Ingredients:
cup of all-purpose flour ½
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper ¼
cup canola oil
cups boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into medium-size pieces
cup reduced sodium soy sauce
teaspoon sesame oil (more to taste)
1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds ¼
cup chopped fresh scallions
Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Toss chopped chicken breasts in flour to coat. Coat a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray, add canola oil, and warm over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes or until no longer pink. Transfer to a plate. Combine soy sauce and sugar in the skillet and add the chicken back into the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves (1-2 minutes). Add sesame oil and sesame seeds, garnish with scallions, and serve immediately over the rice of your choice.
* QFUoI CoKdB I&T EDS r i n k NEW
Better luck this time? The faded words on the building at the southwest corner of U.S. Highway 441 and Griffin View Drive read “Lady Luck.” A restauranteur soon will try their luck at the Lady Lake location that has changed hands frequently in recent years. Brisas del Mar Mexican Restaurant & Grill II posted the traditional “Coming Soon” sign at the site. Brisas del Mar also has a Daytona Beach location. The new restaurant will take over the former space of Athena NY Diner and Texas Stockyards. As for Lady Luck, news reports say the stationery supply store was shut down last year as an illegal gaming site. The Brisas del Mar owners no doubt hope they have better odds of surviving than their numerous predecessors.
Time for boiled peanuts!
Fresh-boiled peanuts have been an addictive, Southern favorite since the Civil War, and this month through November, many roadside stands will offer these treats locally and throughout the South. Cooks start with raw, green peanuts and boil them in salty water over an outdoor fire for hours to generate the fresh legume flavor. Compared to raw or dryroasted peanuts, boiled peanuts are noted as being lower in calories and fat, and they have a higher concentration of nutrients that protect your cells from oxidation, making them a healthy addition to your diet. Bushnell native Dr. Fernando Serra remembers it wasn’t just the cold weather that made him return home to Florida 20 years ago to begin his cosmetic surgery practice following his residency in Columbus, Ohio. “Seriously! I know it sounds ridiculous, but I really missed boiled peanuts,” he says.
Healthy commerce The South Lake Chamber of Commerce is getting healthy, recently welcoming two new health-related companies as members. Get Back 2 Basics is a kitchen and meal service that opened earlier this year in Minneola. The organic company offers plant-based meals, health coaching, and workshops, according to its website. Order meals by phone at 352.348.1893, online at getback2basicsnow.com, or stop by the kitchen at 205 W. Washington St., Suite B, Minneola. This Honest Food, 2419 S. Highway 27, Suite 200, Clermont, bills itself as a holistic teaching kitchen and retail store. For information on classes and wellness programs, call 321.474.6346 or go to thishonestfood.com.
Snacking with no guilt Carve Nutrition recently introduced an absolutely guilt-free cookie to satisfy those sweet cravings and meet nutritional needs at the same time. The staff of Lake & Sumter Style received free samples, and they were gone in a matter of minutes with rave reviews all around. The ingredients are simple: 3 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein, 9 grams net carbs, and 7 grams fiber. They are non-GMO as well as gluten-, egg-, and soy-free. They are delicious and can be ordered at carvenutrition.com for some enjoyable snacking. Protein cake, fudge, and chocolate quinoa also are available.
Healthy eating at Vida 365 Vida 365, a family-owned, health-inspired bistro and juice bar, is generating buzz in Clermont. Located at 16129 State Road 50, Suite 104, the eatery promotes healthy items for lunch and dinner. The menu offers soups, salads, sides, juices, smoothies, and handheld items, including vegan tacos, and a variety of burgers made from beef, turkey, salmon, and even a balsamic marinated mushroom burger, featuring grilled portabella mushroom, roasted red pepper, sautéed spinach, and sprouts with cilantro hummus.
L AKE PANA SOFFKEE
Fish gotta swim Catfish Johnny’s Restaurant is a place where you can enjoy great hometown tastes. Oops, Catfish Johhny’s does not close for the season: that’s just when the JAMS ended on April 24. It’s open from 10:30am-8:30pm TuesdaySaturday. Some daily specials include: Tuesday—all-you-caneat wings, $12.95; Wednesday—all-you-can-eat perch, $9.95; Thursday—fish and shrimp combo, $9.95; Friday—all-you-can-eat whole catfish, $12.95. If you’re fishing for some good seafood, try Catfish Johnny’s Restaurant, 2396 N. Highway 470 in Lake Panasoffkee.
d & drink * FfOoR o K ON THE ROA D
Follow the aroma Discover authentic Italian fare at Bocce Pizzeria. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ
occe Pizzeria is not a place that will jump out at you. You have to know it’s there. So now you know. The tiny pizzeria, designed more for takeout than dining, is at one end of a “one-stop shop” in Mount Dora. Peruse a cluttered thrift store and you can buy two CDs for a buck or discover a classic board game, Kreskin’s ESP, circa 1966. At the mini-mart, pick up your smokes, brews, and a Fantasy 5 ticket (c’mon 2-7-10-31-34!). While you’re waiting for your laundry to dry at the laundromat, grab a slice or more at Bocce. The place is all Italian—displaying posters of “Scarface,” “The Godfather,” and “The Sopranos”—so go all Italian with the order. The garlic toast oozes buttery goodness with a thick layer of provolone on top and marinara for dipping. More provolone, along with ham, salami, and overflowing toppings,
is part of the Italian sub—authentic, awesome, and a perfect blend of tastes. Bocce’s pizza is New York style: thin crust, giant size, and giant flavor. The delicious meat lover’s choice includes slices of meatballs and Italian sausage that taste fresh, not frozen, plus ham and pepperoni. Among the exceptions to Italian fare are “French” fries. Not to worry. Add garlic and parmesan and you’ve got Italian fries, continuing the cheesy gluttony. The food, prepared entirely by the owner, is fantastic. He’s a busy man, so while you’re waiting for your order, browse the local news flier. Uh-oh. The lucky numbers under my horoscope are 11-21-24-33-37. D’oh! Oh, well. Unlucky in wagering, lucky in food. Bocce Pizzeria is an easy pick.
Bocce Pizzeria 925 E. 1st Ave., Mount Dora // 352.385.0067
(Out of a possible 5)
JB Boondocks 704 S. Lakeshore Blvd. Howey-in-the-Hills 352.324.3600 Hours: MondayThursday 11am-9pm; Friday-Saturday 11am-10pm; Sunday 11:30am-8pm
Food with a view With 20 boat slips, outdoor and indoor dining, and great Southern food, it’s the place to eat! STORY: LEIGH NEELY // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ
B Boondocks in Howey-in-the-Hills is a place where you can enjoy wonderful outdoor dining and a picturesque view of Little Lake Harris. The food was served hot and fresh. We started our meal with one of our favorites, smoked fish dip, a mixture of mahimahi and wahoo served with delicious gourmet flat crackers. It had a little spicy bite to it that made it go down well. We couldn’t resist the fresh seafood. I had the Filet o’ Fish Po Boy and my husband enjoyed the seafood platter. My sandwich had delicious white, flaky fish strips on a warm sub roll. The bread was as good as the fish—crusty on the outside and soft and warm in the middle. Add chopped lettuce and tomato with tartar sauce (I opted for the
regular instead of the Creole tartar sauce), and it’s a great meal with fries. The seafood platter included lightly breaded white fish filet seasoned just right, a stuffed crab, huge fried shrimp along with cole slaw and corn fritters. If you’ve never had corn fritters, this is a great place to try them. They were delicious. We finished our meal sharing a piece of Bourbon Street pecan pie that was warmed and served with fresh whipped cream. Trust me, the one piece was enough for both of us. We were fully sated and completely relaxed after a great meal sitting on the gently rippling lakefront in beautiful Howey-in-the-Hills. By the way, JB Boondocks also has rental units and a two-story rental house on lake property.
Casual dining $$ Seated immediately (dinner hour) Wait for meal: 15 mins, appetizer out immediately OUT-OF-THE-ORDINARY STARTERS: ($7.99-$12.99): Fried green beans, steamed clams, stuffed mushrooms, vegan hummus, and gator tail. ENTREES: ($12.99$21.99, and market value): Fried shrimp platter, shrimp and grits, Cajun redfish, chicken Gambino, Grandma’s meatloaf, lobster mac and cheese. 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.
d & drink * FfOoR o K ON THE ROA D
KALUA BEACH BAR
On the beach of Lake Dora Tasty, casual fare and cool, beachy atmosphere STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ
here’s a great vibe at Kalua Beach Bar on the shore of Lake Dora in Tavares, and in the middle of a hectic workweek, this open-air bar and eatery is a great place to chill out and savor the view and good food. There’s no reason to be in a hurry here, so plan for a leisurely time. Think of being on vacation and you’re bound to enjoy the experience even more. Bright-colored picnic tables and Adirondack chairs in the sandy area provide the ideal setting to watch seaplanes fly in, and some say it’s even more glorious to watch sunsets at night. A group of regulars pulled up to the beach bar in their boats and ordered chicken wings and fried pickles, while the menu offerings of burgers, wraps, salads, quesadillas, and fish tacos piqued my interest. Settling on the taco salad, I loved the hearty serving of tasty, thick chili with melted cheese on top of crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños
This open-air bar and eatery is a great place to chill out and savor the view and good food.
Kalua Beach Bar 181 S. Joanna Ave., Tavares // 352.609.5910
all piled in a deep-fried, golden-brown tortilla shell. It was served with salsa and sour cream on the side. My friend raved over her thick Sand Bar Burger, which featured the rich flavor of black angus beef topped with fresh lettuce, tomato, and onion, and it was served with flavorful and nicely seasoned fries. Since we enjoyed our lunch, we were eager to share a brownie sundae, the only dessert item listed on the menu, so it was a tad disappointing when it was not available. Kalua Beach Bar appears to be one of those great places to take guests, and some say the vibe is exciting at night when there’s live music and open mic fun.
MORE THAN JUST FEET
“It was a weekend and I tore up my leg real badly. My wife called Dr. Rosa to see how soon we could get an appointment - She was the first one I wanted to call because I had a lot of confidence in her. Dr. Rosa called us right back, and told us to come in first thing Monday morning. She stopped everything and scheduled me as an emergency so she could take care of my leg.
Happy Mothers Day! MENTION THIS AD FOR 20% OFF YOUR 1ST ORDER OF $39.00 OR MORE!
Edible Arrangements 352.391.1334 3509 Wedgewood Lane, The Villages, FL 32162 (in the Southern Trace Plaza)
Delivery not available in all areas. EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS® & Design and all other marks noted are trademarks of Edible Arrangements, LLC. ©2018 Edible Arrangements, LLC. All rights reserved.
Joseph M - TCFA Patient Dr. Rosa was also the one who noticed that the blood flow in my legs was getting very slow. So I went to my heart specialist, he took tests and agreed with her assessment. If she didn’t say anything to me, I wouldn’t have known to have that checked out and treated.” Dr. Ivelisse Rosa
Quality Foot And Ankle Care For People Of All Ages 340 Heald Way, Building 100 The Villages, FL 32163
1585 Santa Barbara Blvd, Ste B The Villages, FL 32159
* SFAoL UoTdÉ
Mothers and daughters often cook together and share common interests, but how many make wine together? The mother-daughter team at Trombetta Family Wines is all about family, food, and wine.
he winds whipped through the blooming acacia trees in Sonoma County on an early spring morning so vehemently that it was easy to understand how fires could spread quickly in California’s wine country. The winds that brought devastation to the area last fall, however, are beneficial to grapes growing in the Petaluma Gap American Viticultural Area, which became California’s newest AVA region in December. The wind also didn’t bother winemaker Erica Stancliff, who was leading an outdoor tasting of her wines and others from the Petaluma Gap.
“This AVA was drawn because of the wind,” says Erica, who runs Trombetta Family Wines with her mother. “We get fog and 7-to-9 mile per hour winds every day. You can watch the draw of the fog. The wind and the fog make the skins of the grapes grow thicker, producing more flavor and acidity.” Getting the new AVA designation was a coup for Petaluma Gap vintners. Local winegrowers, like Erica’s mother, Rickey Trombetta Stancliff, who chairs the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance, believe their wines have distinctive flavor profiles and quality. Grapes grown in the Petaluma Gap ripen more slowly
than in surrounding regions, allowing later harvest times, which results in more complex flavor development while preserving natural acidity. “This AVA designation gives us separation from Sonoma County, and showcases what is special about us,” Erica adds. Erica’s youthful appearance belies the experience and knowledge she brings to winemaking. When she was a child, her parents were home winemakers, dabbling as hobbyists. In 1998, Rickey began working for legendary winemaker Paul Hobbs, and she decided to get serious about winemaking. It was over dinner one evening that Paul and the
Photos were provided by Rickey Trombetta Stancliff
STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS
Stancliffs recognized what an extraordinary palate then 10-year-old Erica had. She could name the flavors in wines just by smelling them. Horses, however, were more important to Erica back then, and she eventually won a full scholarship to California State University at Fresno for threeday eventing, an equestrian triathlon that is an Olympic sport. After graduating in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in enology, the study of wines, she interned at Viña Cobos in Mendoza, Argentina. Erica worked as a technical enologist for Enartis Vinquiry in California to help winemakers solve problems, before returning to the family fold as the winemaker for Trombetta, the family-owned winery named for her grandfather, who was a physician, not a winemaker. “He came to this country at age 9 and eventually worked his way through medical school,” Erica says proudly. Today, Erica’s primary role at Trombetta is winemaking, although she also works with growers to source grapes and assists with marketing and
sales, especially consumer events. Rickey is focused on sales, marketing, and direct-toconsumer events and tastings. The women agree that being a mother-daughter team is an amazing experience. “For me, it has been a wonderful journey… [and] I take great pride watching her speak on panels and interacting with our customers,” Rickey says of Erica. “Her skills have brought our wines to the next level, and we are continuing to grow.” Trombetta Family Wines focuses on handcrafted, smalllot chardonnays and pinot noirs from premium Sonoma County vineyards, including the highly acclaimed Gap’s Crown on the western slope of Sonoma Mountain. “My Gap’s Crown Chardonnay is my personal favorite,” Erica says. “It distinguished my winemaking skills.” Erica uses a delicate hand in the winemaking process. Chardonnays are fermented in French barrels, but only with a small portion of new French oak. She also leaves
lees (particulates like skins) in the barrel and employs the French method of “bâtonnage,” which means stirring the lees. Her pinot noir is made with the same gentle care. In any mother-daughter relationship, communication is the key to success both personally and professionally. Rickey and Erica talk numerous times each day, they say. “We have learned how to respect each other’s opinions even if we disagree,” Rickey says. “We both feel it is important to have differing views, and—especially with the age difference—Erica’s ‘lenses’ will be different from mine. That helps us approach problems from different angles. We truly listen to each other.”
Tasting notes defined
ACIDITY Acidity gives wine a crisp or fresh taste. If the level is too high, the wine can taste sour and tart; too low and the wine is flat and dull. Acidity plays an important role in all wines, even reds, because it blends all the flavors together, resulting in more pronounced flavors or sensations.
WHAT’S COOKING FOR MOTHER’S DAY?
The Stancliffs have quite a farm at their Sonoma County property, producing vegetables, fruits, eggs, and honey, and they host “wine camps” for their club members. For Mother’s Day, the duo will barbecue a butterflied leg of lamb with their own rendition of Julia Child’s mustard sauce—paired, of course, with their chardonnays and pinot noirs. trombettawines.com
CORRECTION Due to incorrect information supplied to Saluté, the April story about Napa Valley had inaccurate figures. Less than 7 percent of Napa County’s vineyard acreage was damaged, and about 10 percent of the harvest was still on the vines at the time of the October fires, according to Patsy McGaughy, communications director for Napa Valley Vintners. “Many winemakers have sent grape and wine samples to local laboratories or the University of California at Davis for analysis to determine any potential effects from smoke,” she adds.
Mary Ann DeSantis Mary Ann DeSantis is a 2018 and 2016 fellow of the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, Napa Valley, and has 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
Barnwood Country Kitchen and Smokehouse
tion! a c Lo ours w e N and H
Barbecue, American (Traditional), Southern // 3725 W Old US Hwy 441, Mount Dora // 352.630.4903 Tue-Sat: 7a.m.-3p.m., Closed Sun & Mon // barnwoodbbq.com // facebook.com/barnwoodbbq Mouth-watering barbecue. A family-like atmosphere. Old-fashioned service. Those are three qualities that patrons of Barnwood BBQ and Country Kitchen in Eustis experience upon each visit. Owners Dan and Elaine Backhaus have discovered that the recipe behind delicious barbecue is cooking meats low and slow over smoldering wood. That method has served them well, both for their restaurant and food truck business. Diners can also purchase Barnwood’s delicious, award-winning barbecue sauces and special seasonings. Popular breakfast items include a ham-and-cheese omelet, smoked sausage omelet, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and a variety of breakfast combinations. The restaurant’s equally delicious lunch items include a three-rib sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, beef brisket platter, smoked country sausage platter, mushroom Swiss burger, and grilled Reuben sandwich. Burgers, soups, and salads are also available. Be sure to top off your meal with one of Barnwood’s popular desserts, which include fruit cobbler and dark-chocolate brownies Awards: Lake & Sumter Style magazine’s No. 1 BBQ Restaurant, Best Judged Chicken, Best Judged Ribs, Best Judged Brisket (tie), and thirdplace in Best Judged Pork (April 2015) Top Entrée (pulled pork), Lake Eustis Chamber of Commerce food contest (2015 and 2016).
Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant Open seven days a week: 11am–9pm // Food, Spirits, Music, Sports 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441, Leesburg // 352.253.2442 // CVinnies.com Cousin Vinnie’s is located on U.S. Hwy. 441 across from Home Depot. Owner “Cousin” Vinnie Vittoria and his family have created a unique atmosphere by combining a “Sports Bar” with a “Family Restaurant”. As soon as you walk into Vinnie’s you will immediately notice why they are famous for outstanding comfort food and service! Their 35+ wing sauces have awarded them 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. A few menu items offered are (never frozen – 80/20) ½ lb. burgers, personal pan pizzas, amazing rib-eye Philly cheese steaks, healthy wheat wraps, fresh homemade chicken salad and 15 awesome appetizers, including Cousin Vinnie’s Signature Secret Shrimp! Central Florida’s families simply can’t get enough of their deep-fried Ice Cream, Twinkies and Snickers Bars! Cousin Vinnie’s also offers, a small arcade for the kids, free Wi-Fi, great music, and an enthusiastic staff ready to exceed your expectations.
Gio’s Deli and Mercato 3975 County Road 201, Oxford // 352.748.5558 Mon-Wed 10A.M.-6 P.M. // Thurs-Sat 10 A.M. -8 P.M. Buon Appetito! There’s no need to travel to Italy to enjoy scrumptious homemade breads, pasta, fresh sandwiches, meats, cheeses, desserts, pastries, and foods from an Italian market—it’s all available here at Gio’s Deli, where our chef Giovanni earned his culinary degree in Italy. After opening Giovanni’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in The Villages in 2004, Gio has expanded with the deli bringing more of the old world to The Villages area to enjoy! Gio’s can cater a special family meal of lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, chicken parmigiana or baked ziti, or call us when you need a special party platter or desserts for a social gathering. We get raves over everything from our homemade cheeses, bruschetta, and sweet treats of cannoli, lemon mascarpone cake, cheesecakes, strawberry tiramisu and more. Come check us out!
The Goblin Market Restaurant & Lounge 331-B Donnelly Street (Rear Alley), Mount Dora // 352.735.0059 // GoblinMarketRestaurant.com Lunch: Tue–Sat 11am–3:00pm // Dinner: Tue–Thu 5–9pm, Fri–Sat 5–10pm, Sun 11am–3:30pm Nestled on a back alley in downtown Mount Dora, the Goblin Market Restaurant has been charming locals and tourists alike since 1996. The restaurant, housed in a renovated warehouse, features three intimate, book-lined dining rooms and a full-service lounge furnished in soothing, muted tones with tasteful modern art. The private, tree-shaded courtyard and garden patio are open year-round for al fresco dining. Low lighting and “new age” music add the finishing touches to the restaurant’s casual elegance. Owners Vince and Janis Guzinski embrace a simple philosophy of offering the highest-quality products, served in a unique and romantic atmosphere by a personable and attentive staff. The Goblin Market’s wine list and menu represent a refreshing mix of ideas from its culinary team. The diversified origins and background of each member ensure exciting menu offerings and nightly selections. Join us for our new “lighter fare” dinner menu, gourmet soups, salads, and sandwiches. Tuesday–Thursday from 3–9pm (regular dinner menu also available).
Guru Restaurant and Catering 2400 S. U.S. Hwy. 27, Suite 101, Clermont // 352.241.9884 Monday-Saturday 4pm-10 pm // Closed Sun. Guru Restaurant and Catering is the “go-to” place for a wide array of mouthwatering Indian fare, everything from appetizers, clay oven-baked Indian breads, Biryani specialties, chicken, seafood, lamb, beef entrees, and 12 different vegetable dishes for vegans to enjoy. Many diners rave about our Chicken Tikka Masala, featuring boneless chicken cooked in a clay oven, dipped in tomato sauce with onion, and flavored with aromatic herbs. All of our chefs are renowned for their creative combinations of spices and sauces, so let us cook for you!
La Palma 1690 Citrus Blvd., Leesburg // 352.323.1444 // LapalmaGrill.com Open Daily 11am – 9pm // Lunch Specials: 11am – 3pm 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 6pm-8pm eat free! r) e d n u d (10 an
Food & Drink DINING GUIDE
Mom & Dads 304 U.S. Hwy. 441, Lady Lake // 352.753.2722 Tue-Sat 4pm–9pm // Closed Sun & Mon This little place in the heart of Lady Lake is a local favorite. All the food at Mom & Dad’s is authentic and homemade, from the famous sauce to pastas to the incredible desserts. Made from scratch in-house ravioli and lasagna. Many diners automatically order Spaghetti al la Bruzzi, which is the house specialty. This baked spaghetti has a meat sauce, mushrooms, and three cheeses. Add to that the homemade bread Papa prepares every day, and you’ve got a memorable meal. You can’t stop with the entrée, however. Mama’s homemade cakes are amazing! Moist and delicious German Chocolate, creamy, luxurious Red Velvet, Cannoli, and who doesn’t love Spumoni. If you’re looking for a great Italian dinner that will remind you of home and all the goodness of eating there, try Mom & Dad’s. Mom & Dad’s also offers a full gluten free menu featuring pizza, lasagna, ravioli, and desserts all made in-house from scratch.
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.
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 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
F i na l T h oug h t
Celebrating incredible women The power of a woman may have a softer edge, but it still breaks down barriers. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL
he fragility of life has remained my constant reminder to cherish precious moments, to express gratitude, and to live life positively and fully. So, Leigh Neely, Kendra Akers, Deb Matlock, Aubrey Akers, Shaena Chastain, Jacquelyn Singer, Rheya Tanner, and Mary Ann DeSantis—my Akers Media female colleagues—you all rock! You are inspiring, amazing, special, and it’s a joy to work with you in an upbeat environment where we are valued. With this being the month for Mother’s Day and Lake & Sumter Style magazine’s annual tribute to businesswomen, I’m thankful for many women who have enriched my life, including Julie Barrett, Donna Barrett, Julia Gray, Emily Wubbena, Maria Campbell, Kim Harpel, Cindy Jackson, Pam Fennimore, Linda Watts, Danielle Stroud, Irene O’Malley, Sally Neeble, Cindy Tyner, Brenda Raney, Janice Chavers, Elisha Pappacoda, Roxanne Brown, Barbara Green, Jackie Green, and countless others. I admire each one of you for who you are and what you do. Throughout my life I have been moved by motivational quotes from women around the globe who have touched my heart with their humility, compassion, and ability to overcome adversity.
Here are a few of those quotes: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa, who is known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron, author and filmmaker. “Anywhere I see suffering, that is where I want to be, doing what I can.” – Princess Diana, reflecting on her work with AIDS sufferers and anti-landmine campaigns. “To love what you do and feel that it matters—how could anything be more fun?” – Katharine Graham, former Washington Post publisher. “Anything is possible if you have enough nerve.” – J.K. Rowling, author who broke through poverty to become a multimillionaire writing the Harry Potter series. “Please know that I am aware of the hazards. I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, author and civil rights activist.
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