Style Magazine - June 2022

Page 1

MAY'22

L AKE & SUMTER

FE ATURIN G

HOMEBOYS Meet the men of Morris Realty and Investors.

AL SO

MONKEY BUSINESS Practicing yoga... with lemurs.

CREATING A BUZZ Enjoy a floating tiki bar in Tavares. SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

MEN AT WORK Unveiling 2022’s Men of Success.


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Protecting your future so you can focus on the NOW

Our team of financial experts is ready to assist. Give us a call today!

(352) 374-3405

TheVillagesInsurance.com 60216 06/01/22


TAKE CONTROL

OF YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE

WOMEN IN FINANCE SEMINARS June 22 at 10 am The Rose Plantation, Fruitland Park June 28 at 10 am Wolf Gang Puck Kitchen, Brownwood RSVP

Heather Franklin Owner & Founder of American Retirement Specialists

352.460.4390 | americanretirementspecialists.com 1300 Citizens Blvd., Ste. 325, Leesburg, FL 34748


(352) 643-6430 3691 Meggison Rd, The Villages, FL 32163 Mon – Sat 10 am – 9 pm, Sun 12 - 5 pm

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(352) 728-5600

8345 US Highway 441, Leesburg, FL 34788 Mon – Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Sun 12 - 5 pm


KNEE REPLACEMENT?

OR DO YOU MEAN

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At Advanced Orthopedics Institute we specialize in hips, knees, shoulders, ankles, wrists...and tennis players. Knee pain, stiffness, locking, giving way (buckling), creaking, swelling or inability to walk or play without pain can occur because of traumatic injury, arthritis, or overuse. Depending on the cause, conservative care such as a brace or therapy may relieve the pain. If not, rejuvenative stem cell therapy, arthroscopic knee surgery or partial or total knee replacement can be life-enhancing and allow you to return to your active lifestyle. Get moving. Call 352.751.2862.

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


John T. Williams, Jr., MD

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

Alfred J. Cook, Jr., MD


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JUN'22 V.18

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CONTENTS 1 of 2

FEATURES

032

Getting down to business Smart. Savvy. Successful. These three words accurately describe Scott Strem, Style’s 2022 Business Man of the Year. STORY: JAMES COMBS

037 SPECIAL PRO M OTIO NAL FE ATURE

In the business of succeeding They represent different professions, but they all share common characteristics. They’re skilled leaders, out-of-the box thinkers, and creative visionaries. They’re the 2022 Men of Success. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL, ROXANNE BROWN, JAMES COMBS

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CONTENTS


TB

are. C e W . n e t s We Li e. We Educat

Liz Cornell, CAS®

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

ANNUITIES 101 CALL TO REGISTER!

June 21st @ 9:30 a.m. BROWNWOOD HOTEL & SPA 3003 BROWNWOOD BLVD, THE VILLAGES Seating is very limited and by RSVP only.

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.


JUN’22 V.18

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CONTENTS 2 of 2

DEPARTMENTS

first

022 026

019

THE HIT LIST 020 PERSON OF INTEREST 022 OUTSTANDING STUDENT 024 MEET A VILLAGER 026

agenda

067

071

TO-DO LIST 068 LOCAL TALENT 071 ATTRACTIONS 072 HI, SOCIETY 074 BOOK CLUB 080

healthy living

083

022 024 072

080

CONTENTS

084

086

INSPIRATION 084 HEALTHY BODY 086

menu

093

094

IN THE KITCHEN 094 FORK ON THE ROAD 098 DINING GUIDE 100

columns

098

112

FROM THE PUBLISHER 014 FINAL THOUGHT 112

MAY'22

L AKE & SUMTER

JUN '22

VILLAGE EDITION

FE ATURIN G

E ON TH R C OV E

HOMEBOYS Meet the men of Morris Realty and Investors.

AL SO

MONKEY BUSINESS Practicing yoga... with lemurs.

CREATING A BUZZ Enjoy a floating tiki bar in Tavares. SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

MEN AT WORK Unveiling 2022’s Men of Success.

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

Fernando Serra, MD, FACS Learn more about Dr. Serra on page 57

Lake and Sumter Style

Village Edition

Design: Volkan Ulgen On the Cover: Morris Realty and Investments

Design: Volkan Ulgen On the Cover: Central Florida Plastic Surgery


A PLASTIC SURGERY SPECIALTY BOUTIQUE REFRESH

YOUR FACIAL APPEARANCE

RESTORE

YOUR YOUTHFUL FEATURES

REGAIN

YOUR INNER VITALITY

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American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

American College of Surgeons

drserra.com | 352-259-0722

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


FROM THE PUBLISHER

Men aren’t monsters It’s time for a man-to-man talk about toxic masculinity. n recent years, culture war enthusiasts have come up with an insulting, misleading, and unfair stereotype of men. You’ve undoubtedly heard the term toxic masculinity. Apparently, some have convinced themselves that all men are prone to physical aggression, acts of violence, sexual aggression, and anti-gay views. See, I think the term itself is toxic. In my opinion, it is completely unfair to assign gender stereotypes because you’re forcing people into boxes they often don’t fit in. For example, not all women are submissive, moody, terrible drivers, and materialistic. Likewise, not all men are destined to become the next Unabomber, the next serial killer, or the next mass shooter. That’s why I’m glad this month’s issue is oozing with testosterone. Yes, it’s that time of the year to unveil our annual Men of Success. In these pages, you’ll read about men who are living proof that masculinity is anything but toxic. They’re successful entrepreneurs. They’re pillars of the community. They’re wonderful husbands, fathers, and friends. They show

that masculinity is a wonderful quality we should embrace rather than demonize. And while we’re on the topic of men, it is an opportune time for me to express gratitude toward the men in my life. First, there’s my soulmate and wonderful husband, Doug, whom I married 14 years ago. I spend countless hours with Doug both at our home and at work, and I don’t mind it one bit. Being around him is when I’m happiest. I’m also blessed with two wonderful now adult sons, Michael, and Matthew. They are as different as day and night. Michael formerly served in the Navy and likes routine, while Matthew is a free spirit who has traveled the world and likes variety. Despite their differences, both, in their own unique way, have brought a tremendous amount of joy to my life. Finally, there’s my adopted son, Conner, who just turned seven. I’m extremely proud to be ‘Mommy’ to this spunky, loving boy who is so full of life and very active. I’m excited to see where life takes him, and with that, don’t even get me started on my grandsons! As I conclude this letter, I’d like to leave you with one final thought. Let’s stop referring to half of humanity as toxic. Let’s stop unfairly stereotyping anyone and start being more respectful and kind to one another. Sincerely,

Kendra

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

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Kendra Akers Doug Akers

OWNER/PUBLISHER kendra@akersmediagroup.com

AT YOUR SERVICE

PRESIDENT doug@akersmediagroup.com

DESIGN / PHOTOGRAPHY / EDITORIAL Michael Gaulin James Combs

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR michael@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER james@akersmediagroup.com

Volkan Ulgen Theresa Campbell

SENIOR ART DIRECTOR volkan@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER theresa@akersmediagroup.com

Megan Mericle Roxanne Brown

SENIOR DESIGNER megan@akersmediagroup.com

Shawnee Coppola CON TRIBUTIN G DESIGNER WRITER shawnee@akersmediagroup.com Kathy Porter Nicole Hamel Cindy Peterson STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER nicole@akersmediagroup.com

SALES

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SPONSORED BY

MAY'22

L AKE & SUMTER

JUN '22

VILLAGE EDITION

2022

STAFF WRITER roxanne@akersmediagroup.com FE ATURIN G

HOMEBOYS Meet the men of Morris Realty and Investors.

AL SO

MONKEY BUSINESS Practicing yoga... with lemurs.

CREATING A BUZZ Enjoy a floating tiki bar in Tavares. SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

CON TRIBUTIN G P H OT OGRA P H ER Douglas Tyler Cindy Peterson

MEN AT WORK Unveiling 2022’s Men of Success.

Fernando Serra, MD, FACS Learn more about Dr. Serra on page 57

Water World

Our lakes bring a wave of excitement.

Hot off the press! The latest editions of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Edition Style, and Welcome to Lake County.

M A RK ETIN G

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ACCOUNT & CLIENT SERVICES aubrey@akersmediagroup.com

DI S TRIBUTION Scott Hegg

Get yours Subscriptions: Order a subscription of your favorite magazine to be delivered directly

to your home for just $84. Each subscription includes 12 consecutive issues of Lake & Sumter Style and Village Edition Style. Choose 2 or more magazines for $108 per year. To order, call 352.787.4112 or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. Change of Address: If you are a seasonal resident or have moved, send your address change request to general@akersmediagroup.com or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. Back Issues: Order a single issue by mail for $8. To pick up a back issue from our office, please call 24 hours in advance.

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Winner of 200+ Awards for Excellence

Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2022 by Akers Media. All rights reserved. Lake & Sumter Style is a registered trademark of Akers Media. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. For back issues or billing information, call 352.787.4112. Return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts and artwork if they are to be returned. Manuscripts are welcomed, but no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. “Paid Promotional Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.

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What is

Survivorship? PA I D

PROM O T IO N A L

F E AT U R E

T

he term “cancer survivor” was controversial when Harold Benjamin coined it in 1986, the year he co-founded the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). Before then, people were “cancer victims.” NCCS says you are a cancer survivor from your day of diagnosis through the rest of your life. Not everyone identifies personally with the term “survivor,” but the concept of survivorship is farranging and inclusive. Survivorship includes both physical and mental health. Survivorship applies not just to patients, but also to families and caregivers. Survivorship care is holistic, addressing the entire cancer community at all levels of support. Survivorship care is a continuum. It begins on the day of diagnosis and applies to the rest of one’s life. After lobbying by NCCS and other advocates, the National Cancer Institute established its Office of Cancer Survivorship in 1996. The office spearheads cancer survivorship research and supports cancer patients and caregivers. Robert Boisonneault Oncology Institute takes that support to heart. Our support programs and services are designed to help you and your family from the beginning -- even before a diagnosis is made -- for as long as you need them and at no charge. Completing treatment does not mean the end of care. Our cancer navigators and social workers make sure that you can get the resources and support you need. Give us a call.


Strength in Numbers Speaking at We Can Week, a virtual gathering for cancer survivors and their loved ones, RBOI founder Dr. Norman Anderson explains how support can literally save lives. Citing a study comparing metastatic breast cancer survivors who did and did not have support groups, Anderson says, “Those who participated in a group actually lived three times longer than those who did not have a support group. And yet their care was identical. So let’s enjoy this time together and realize that we’re benefiting each other physically, emotionally, and mentally.” RBOI offers a variety of free support activities to the community, including:

by the numbers

16,353,421

Estimated cancer survivors in the U.S. (based on 2018 data)

About

39.2%

Men and women diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes (based on 2016–2018 data)

Book club for people transitioning out of radiation or chemo

NED, Remission, or Cure? “Dancing with NED” may sound like fun at a disco. But when it comes to cancer survivorship, NED stands for No Evidence of Disease, also called complete remission. It means that the signs and symptoms of cancer are no longer found. In near-complete remission, some abnormalities exist even if tests show no clear evidence of disease and one is symptom-free. In partial remission, cancer is still present but is greatly reduced. Some doctors may say you are cured if you remain in complete remission for at least five years. But even then, some cancer cells may exist in your body, undetectable, and cancer may return years later. The chance of recurrence depends on the kind of cancer that was treated. Every patient at RBOI receives a customized Survivor Care Plan that tells the best ways to monitor for any cancer recurrence.

Breast cancer support group Collaborative 12 week Wellness Program with AdventHealth Ocala Friday Zoom guided meditations

1,898,160

Estimated new cancer cases in 2021

General cancer educational and support group

Patient-centered radiation oncology close to home

Mindfulness for health Monthly Villages cancer support group Women’s weekly online cancer support meeting For more information, visit our website or call Wendy Hall, LCSW at 352-527-0106 or Amy Roberts, LCSW at 352-732-0277.

1.8%

Average decrease in cancer deaths per year over 2010–2019 (age adjusted)

The Villages 352.259.2200 Ocala 352.732.0277 Timber Ridge 352.861.2400 Inverness 352.726.3400 Lecanto 352.527.0106 RBOI.com

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Not Just Cardboard 208 W. Main St., Leesburg, FL

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D reams

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Owner of Not Just Cardboard a Yankee, the main reason I wanted to move into “ As downtown Leesburg was that I wanted to be a part of something bigger than just being a “Mom & Pop” location anywhere else in the area.

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leesburgpartnership.com


first PEOPLE. COMMENTARY. NEWS.

Enthusiastic graduate Emma Ethington has her sights set on a brew-tiful life filled with success and happiness.

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THE HIT LIST

A HOLIDAY RUN: The 3rd annual AdventHealth Freedom 5K, presented by Kroger and FloDash, will take place at 7:30 a.m. on July 4, starting at 490 West Ave., downtown Clermont. Participants can choose to run virtually, or tackle the racecourse in person, with an option to carry a watermelon the 3.1 miles. The 5K includes race swag and a custom medal. Afterwards, participants will enjoy an awards ceremony and finish line party at Suncreek Brewery, complete with cold watermelon and other post-race goodies. For more details, visit: runsignup.com/ Race/Info/FL/Clermont/ClermontFreedom5kand1mile#directions, and to register, go to: 5kfreedom.com.

LIVE THEATER: The Studio Theatre Tierra del Sol, 806 San Marino Ave., The Villages, announces four new shows for its seventh season, which runs from the fall of 2022 to spring 2023. “Each story is focused on characters demanding to be seen and understood for who they are,” says Whitney Morse, artistic director. The shows are: “In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play,” “The Chinese Lady,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” and “These Shining Lives.” For show details, visit TheSharonStudio.com.

FOLLOW THE TRAIL OF HISTORY: The Florida National Scenic Trail, which is approximately 1,500-miles long, had its birth in Lake County. In 1966, Jim Kern, founder of the Florida Trail Association, began building the trail at the entrance to Clearwater Lake Recreation Area, which is located just outside of Paisley in the Ocala National Forest. Today, the trail spans from Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida to Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Panhandle.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: A crowd of excited city/church leaders and residents recently attended a ribbon cutting for the Nathanial Community Gymnasium at Hope International Church, 13806 State Road 33, Groveland. The goal of the facility, a partnership between Hope International and the City of Groveland, is to provide resources for the community, including multi-purpose rooms, meeting space, gourmet kitchen for community aid, etc. In addition, the community and gymnasium will be a safe environment for school events, youth sports and law enforcement leagues. To donate toward the #WeBuildHope campaign vision, or for more information, visit ncg-hope.com.

CULTIVATING CULTURE: While Clermont is the “Choice of Champions” because of its reputation as the training ground for elite athletes, the town is equally rich in culture. The Juneteenth Cultural Celebration features an evening of art, music, and authentic cuisine. The family friendly event will be held June 18 from 4-9 p.m. at Waterfront Park. For more information, call 352.708.5989.

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Ribbon cutting photo provided by Barbara Hollerand. Photos of Ichigo the cat taken by Nicole Hamel. Gymnasium photo provided by Hope International Church.

BREEZY MUSIC: Singer Billy Buchanan is noted for having a soulful sound that flows naturally like a breeze, influenced by Otis Redding, Prince, Seal, John Mayer, and Stevie Wonder, along with the dance floor synth funk of Bruno Mars and Prince. Catch Billy in action, July 10 at noon at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, 19239 U.S. 27, Clermont.

SUMMER CAMP: Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center, 39034 County Road 452, Leesburg, will be the site of several summer camp sessions, including the Super Summer Preteen Camp, to be hosted July 11-15 for third- to fifthgrade youths. Visit lybcc.com to learn about Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center’s offerings.

DOWNTOWN CELEBRATION: Clermont Main Street, with help from many community leaders recently celebrated its new Main Street designation and brand – “Lure of the Lake, Gem of The Hills.” During the event, hosted by the South Lake Chamber, a new logo, Main Street signage and banners lining the area’s streets and South Lake Trail, and more, were unveiled. The new branding honoring Clermont’s roots and rich history was designed to evoke the charm of Downtown Clermont, warm lake breezes and abundant trails that entice visitors and residents to rediscover the area’s diverse shopping, dining, and recreational opportunities. For more information about Clermont Main Street, visit ClermontDowntown.com or email downtownclermont@gmail.com.

SOAPBOX DERBY TIME: The first annual Down the Hill Soapbox Derby will run 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 30 at Elizabeth Evans Park, 100 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora. Sponsored by Adult Medicine Lake County, the event will feature races for children and adults. Local businesses will be showcased at the site, and all proceeds will benefit veterans. For details, visit downthehill.us. FIND THE PURR-FECT COMPANION: June is National Adopt a Cat Month. If you’re seeking a furry friend, then look no further than the Cat Protection Society. At this no-kill shelter, located in Eustis, approximately 300-400 cats are adopted each year. Visitors will find a great selection of colors, temperaments, ages, and activity levels.

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PERSON OF INTEREST

PEO PLE

Daniel Keel By becoming a black fighter pilot, Daniel Keel broke racial barriers and changed the future.

VITAL STATS

INTERVIEWER: JAMES COMBS

• 99 years old. • One of the famous Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army AirCorps.

Military service: I was drafted in 1943 just 10 days before my 21st birthday. Before being drafted, I always went to the movies and before the movie started you saw broadcaster Lowell Thomas delivering the news. He showed the Marines storming the beachhead, a quick way to get yourself killed, and Army soldiers eating rations. He’d also show the Navy bombing, and I knew the water made me seasick. Then he’d show the Air Force, with three square meals a day, clean beds to sleep in, and 50 percent more pay for flying personnel. I knew if I was drafted the Air Force is where I wanted to go.

The road to becoming a Tuskegee Airmen: More than 15,000 blacks took the exam to become a pilot, but only 10 percent of those were chosen to go to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. I eventually became triple rated as a navigator, a bombardier, and a pilot. Being black, our brains were supposed to be 25 percent smaller. That was the general belief among the military brass. The Tuskegee Airmen showed the world that if black men were given the

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≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

• His photograph appears in two books, “Tuskegee Airmen: The Men Who Changed a Nation” and “We’ll Find the Way.” • Honored by Clermont City Council members, who in 2022, declared March 17 as Tuskegee Airmen Recognition Day.

opportunity, we could do the job as well as anyone else. I think we played a big role in President Truman desegregating the military in 1948.

Overcoming racism: I was eventually assigned to the Army Air Force Bombardier School in Texas. As soon as I got off the train, a Lieutenant Colonel Phelps approached us and told us we couldn’t eat in the mess hall or enter the officer’s club, and if we went into town, we had to ride in the back of the bus. I had many run-ins with Phelps, and he even tried to court martial me and other black aviators after we complained about being the last to be fed in the mess hall. Leaving the military: I was assigned to the 477th Bombardment Group and was scheduled for deployment in the Pacific in September 1945. However, one month earlier the U.S. dropped an atomic comb over Hiroshima, which ended the war. I left the military in February 1946. I earned my master electrician license, opened an electrical contracting company, and trained many young black men to become electricians. I retired in 1998.

Email your recommendation to james@akersmediagroup.com


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OUTSTANDING STUDENT

PEO PLE

Emma Ethington From bowling to tennis, FFA and student government, Emma Ethington has well-rounded experience to prepare her for the next chapter. INTERVIEWER AND PHOTO: CINDY PETERSON L V I TA AT S ST

• 2022 top 10 senior graduate of Umatilla High School

• FFA President • Senior Class and SGA Vice President

My major accomplishment: I have earned my state degree in FFA which is the highest degree that can be given by the State FFA Association. Also, I feel super accomplished throughout my years of spreading epilepsy awareness and all of the people I’ve helped and continue to help educate on what epilepsy is and how it is nothing to be ashamed of. MA EM OF A RT I S P IS N TEN NG THE LI W O D B AN M TEA

I want everyone to know: I am very dedicated to my passions like FFA which I have been a part of for seven years. I enjoy being outdoors and raising livestock to show and sell at the Lake County Fair Association.

My greatest quality is: My amazing music taste!

• Earned State Degree in FFA • Summa Cum Laude

to feed my caffeine addiction with an iced caramel macchiato.

In the future I plan to: Live in Orlando and own my own coffee shop and tower garden nursery and if I have time, visit all the Disney parks around the world. Who I admire most: My mother for all she has done for my upbringing. Her dedication and the time she puts in for my benefit mean the world to me.

A saying or mantra I live by: “Keep moving forward” from the Disney movie “Meet the Robinsons.” My best advice: Enjoy the little things. They may be small, but they matter the most.

Top of playlist right now: Chris Stapleton, Tyler the Creator, Aerosmith, and Weezer.

My go-to restaurant is: Panda Express 10000000%, where I will get a bowl of fried rice and orange chicken with teriyaki sauce. Then, shout out to Foxtail Coffee

What I would say to my 10-year-old self: Don’t follow the crowd. They aren’t always right.

If I could have a superpower, it would be: Teleportation. It would save me gas money.

My message to the world: Life is complicated. That is why it’s fun. Complications help us figure life out.

Know an outstanding student? Fill us in! Email your recommendations to editorial@akersmediagroup.com

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MAY 15 – JULY 15

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Membership is open to anyone in Alachua, Marion, Lake, and Sumter counties.1 There are costs associated with the use of this card. For specific information call 800-367-6440 or write us at P.O. Box 147029, Gainesville, FL 32614. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may vary with the market based on Prime Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the last day of each calendar month. The APR is determined by adding together the index and the margin applicable to the card type and the consumer’s credit. The APR could change without notice. APR not to exceed 17.99%. Bonus CURewards points are eligible for Lodging, Travel, Dining, and Entertainment purchases from May 15, 2022 through July 15, 2022. Points on all other purchases and balance transfers will continue to accrue at one point for every dollar spent. CAMPUS USA Credit Union shall determine which purchases qualify and will not be responsible for merchant misclassifications. Points will be posted to your account at the close of each billing cycle. Cash advances and finance charges do not earn points. Mastercard and the Mastercard Brand Mark are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated, used pursuant to a license. 1. Credit approval and initial deposit of $5 required. Insured by the NCUA.


MEET A VILLAGER

PEO PLE

‘A good life’ Married 65 years, Villagers Lamar and Colleen Young say this is the best time of their lives. INTERVIEWER: THERESA CAMPBELL

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

ixty-five years of marriage has allowed Villagers Lamar and Colleen Young to live in six states, yet The Villages is the lovebirds’ most favorite place of all, and where they are enjoying life to the fullest. “We both want to go to heaven, and this is heaven on earth,” says Lamar. “It’s a beautiful place to live.” The Villages has been their home since 2002. The Youngs moved from Kansas City, eager for a warmer climate. They had known of the area since they had come to Florida for many years. Colleen’s parents retired in Ocala, and Lamar’s relatives live in Winter Garden. The Youngs keep active in The Villages by going to their neighborhood swimming pool four times a week on summer nights, and Lamar also keeps busy managing softball. “It’s fun to watch his team play and cheer,” says Colleen. Lamar also sings with Village Voices, and is in Brothers in Song, a men’s glee club, where he sings baritone. “And I’m a listener,” adds Colleen. She accompanies Lamar on other activities, including The Villages Butterfly Club, where Lamar is also a member. Lamar maintains the Fred Funk Butterfly

Know an interesting Villager? Fill us in!

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Garden, a demonstrations garden at the Lady Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, where a bench was recently dedicated to Lamar and Colleen by the club. “The first time I saw her, I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to marry her,’” says Lamar, recalling he was smitten by Colleen’s beauty, and she was impressed that he was “a real gentleman.” They began dating in 1955, and most of their dates were on roller skates. They were married June 9, 1957, when Lamar had just turned 20 some 12 days earlier, and Colleen was close to turning 19. Lamar sang “Bless This House” when his bride walked down the aisle. The Youngs fondly recall their 50th anniversary at the Savannah Center in The Villages, where family and friends from all over the country came for the occasion. “That will last us the rest of our lives,” says Colleen. “We’ve had our ups and down,” Coleen says, adding that “love and stick-toitiveness” is what made their marriage work while they raised two children and relocated to six different states throughout Lamar’s work in hospital administration. “We liked having a home with laughter, smiles, and prayers through all the trials.” They are active at Lady Lake Seventhday Adventist Church, where Colleen sends out cards and letters, and Lamar serves as an elder. “It’s been a good life,” says Lamar, noting he has one special wish. “My BIG bucket list item is that I want to sing a duet with Jesus.”

Email your recommendations to theresa@akersmediagroup.com



Jonathan Molzof, Salesperson (left) Tony Pagano, General Sales Manager (right)

Gary and Belinda Scoles

P L AZ A CA D I L L AC Jonathan was very thorough and helpful in telling us about our new vehicle. He introduced us to all the service staff. A very friendly atmosphere. One of the better experiences we’ve had, shopping for a new car. — GARY & BELINDA SCOLES

8893 US HWY 441 | LEESBURG, FL 34788 | 352.787.1323 | P L AZ A C A D I L L AC . CO M


Sherrita Smith, Salesperson (left) Tony Pagano, General Sales Manager (right)

David Smith

P L AZ A L I N CO L N I would definitely recommend this dealer. Excellent Sales and Service team and they followed through on all commitments. Overall experience was 5 stars! —DAVID SMITH

8925 US HWY 441 | LEESBURG, FL 34788 | 352.787.1255 | P L AZ A L I N C O L N O F L E E S B U R G . CO M


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New In-house Financing Option Available


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Judd Dickerson Trey Haliday Kevin Shipley Guy Shipley Mike Barrett, Jr.

Scott Strem

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The

MEN

of

MORRIS REALTY AND INVESTMENTS At Morris Realty and Investments, a group of dedicated male agents help clients find closure. STORY: JAMES COMBS

orris Realty and Investments began as a dream of Theresa Morris. She wanted to establish a family-owned real estate company built on the values of hard work and family virtue. In 2008, Theresa’s dream became reality when she officially opened her company in Leesburg. Fourteen years later, the success of Morris Realty and Investments has exceeded her wildest expectations. She has assembled an elite team of experienced multi-million-dollar producers who specialize in residential and commercial real estate. She has developed innovative marketing strategies, ensuring each listing receives maximum exposure. Most importantly, she has made customer service a top priority, helping her company achieve and maintain a reputation for integrity, dependability, and client satisfaction. Theresa is joined by her daughter, Lena Williams, a second generation to the family business. For Theresa and Lena, real estate isn’t merely a job; it’s their life passion. What drives them is developing relationships with clients and making sure

the agents at Morris Realty do the same. Giving back to the community is something the company is passionate about. Every agent participates in the community through their commitment to various charitable organizations. “Helping support our community is part of our business plan,” Lena says. Theresa and Lena have hired a team of real estate professionals who share their enthusiasm and values. Each of the men at Morris Realty reflect the company’s commitment to honesty and integrity in both their work and home lives. They provide the level of service that every client deserves. They each live in the communities they serve and as a result have intimate knowledge of each community and the resources needed for a successful real estate transaction. Simply put, clients of Morris Realty and Investments can feel confident that their real estate needs will be handled in a trustworthy, professional, and efficient manner. Morris Realty and Investments won the reverse drawing for Style’s 2022 Men of Success. So, without further ado, we are going to introduce you to the company’s fabulous male real estate agents who go above and beyond to make a client’s real estate dream come true.

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SCOTT STREM

GUY SHIPLEY

KEVIN SHIPLEY

Scott Strem is the agent featured on this month’s cover. That seems appropriate considering he is one of the company’s longest-tenured agents. He joined the team at Morris Realty and Investments 13 years ago. Scott, whose focus is commercial real estate, has been a consistent million-dollar or multi-million-dollar producer since 2005. That impressive accomplishment can be chalked up to a genuine passion in helping his commercial clients succeed. “I love helping clients meet their goals,” Scott says, “whether it’s a family business hoping to find the right building or a manufacturing business expanding into a larger warehouse. Ultimately, I love seeing my real estate sign go down and a company’s new sign go up.” As a commercial real estate agent, some of Scott’s duties include helping local companies build or move into new offices, locating land for commercial building projects, and overseeing commercial property management. “No client is too big or too small to assist in buying, selling, or leasing commercial property,” Scott says. “For me, the most important part of being a commercial real estate agent is paying attention to the wants and needs of my clients. That helps me exceed the expectations of all of my clients.” Outside of work, Scott enjoys spending time with Kris, his wife of 20 years, and daughter, Corinne. Kris is a teacher at Tavares Elementary School and Corinne enjoys equestrian horse riding, barrel racing, and art.

Guy Shipley is affiliated with the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. That affiliation assures affluent buyers and sellers that Guy has experience and expertise in the luxury home and estate market. “The affiliation is based on selling so many luxury homes in a certain time frame and at a certain value,” Guy says. Guy has spent 14 years as a Realtor in Lake County and joined the team at Morris Realty and Investments three years ago. He is a consistent multi-million-dollar producer. In 2021, he achieved nearly $13 million in sales. “To be a successful Realtor, you have to listen to the needs of your clients and pay attention to their lifestyles,” he says. “Also, you have to focus on what is right for the buyer or seller rather than what is right for us or the industry. I don’t do this career for the money; I do it because I love helping people.”

Guy’s son, Kevin, is also a Realtor at Morris Realty and Investments. The father-son team are co-listers, meaning they work together on the same listing. “We enjoy co-listing because it allows us to work with the same customer and share job responsibilities,” Kevin says. “It’s also beneficial for customers because they essentially have two agents at a time.” Kevin became a Realtor in July 2015 and has been a multi-milliondollar producer for six consecutive years. There’s a reason for his success. With each transaction, he abides by his business philosophy: “How do I give value to others?” “One reason I’m successful is my approachability,” he says. “I give each client 100 percent of my attention. I also value customers’ time as much as I value my own time. As a Realtor, I realize that purchasing a home is one of the biggest decisions my clients will make. I love guiding them through the process.”

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“AS THE BROKER OF MORRIS OUR COMPANY MISSION OF REPRESENT OUR MORRIS


MIKE BARRETT, JR.

JUDD DICKERSON

TREY HALIDAY

While technology is a valuable component to a real estate agent’s success, what truly sets Mike Barrett, Jr. apart is his in-depth knowledge of the towns he serves. Mike is a native Lake Countian who has lived here most of his life. He graduated from both Leesburg High School and Lake-Sumter State College. He has spent the past three years serving as head coach of Leesburg High’s baseball team. Simply put, Mike understands local housing trends and how to find what buyers and sellers want and need. “I have lots of knowledge about the area and the people,” he says. Mike joined the team at Morris Realty and Investments seven years ago. He is a multi-million-dollar producer who focuses on residential homes. “I love working here because it’s more like a family environment than an office environment,” he says. “Real estate is truly a rewarding profession because I love interacting with people and seeing new homes.”

A Realtor puts a focus on sales, while an architect concentrates on design. Yet, for Judd Dickerson, the worlds of real estate and architecture have plenty of common ground. That’s why Judd, an architect since 1995, decided to join the Morris Realty and Investments team three years ago. For him, becoming a Realtor meant blending the two professions to better serve his clients. Judd specializes in commercial properties and land. His broad range of knowledge in the architectural industry carries over into real estate. “Before I became a real estate agent, I provided one part of the project by working on the design of the building,” says Judd, a registered licensed architect who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Mississippi State University in 1995. “Now, I can help a client find the best site suited for his or her intended use. I get to be involved with the entire project—from the first step to the final walk-through.”

Since joining Morris Realty and Investments in May 2015, Trey Haliday has served as director of the company’s property management division. In that position, he coordinates activities between landlord and tenant, handles the day-to-day activities centered around the home or property, and makes sure tenants are taking adequate care of the property. It’s certainly a busy job. Trey currently oversees 149 residential, commercial, and industrial properties. For Trey, the hard work is well worth it. “To me, it is rewarding to help landlords achieve their goals,” he says. “It is also rewarding to provide tenants with a quality home they can rent and a place they can enjoy.” Trey is a lifelong Leesburg resident and 1997 graduate of Leesburg High School. “I love living and working in Lake County because of the small-town feel,” he says. “I enjoy being part of a community where I know the residents and they know me.

REALTY, I VALUE EACH AND EVERY MALE ON OUR TEAM FOR LIVING INTEGRITY AND PROFESSIONALISM. I AM PROUD TO HAVE THEM REALTY FAMILY!” —THERESA MORRIS

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

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You see them every day. You may do business with them. They’re your neighbors and friends—the 2022 Men of Success.

PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Quan Nguyen Owner/Operator

Quan Nguyen is the sole owner of Duct-Man Mechanical, an HVAC company he opened in 2006. He gave up a full-ride college scholarship and grant money to become a bluecollar worker. Today, the business – started with a mere $4,000 he’d saved up, and a two-year degree under his belt – has grown into a multimillion-dollar grossing company. “With hard work, determination, and perseverance, we are able to be the fastest and largest Trane dealer in Lake County for 2020-21,” says Quan. Additionally, Quan owns Lake County Limos, builds houses, manages properties, and is a business financier. He’s involved in community service and philanthropic work, and in his spare time, he speaks at schools, emcees charity events, and spends time with his lovely wife, Tiffany, and their three kids: Ty-Bryant, 15, Alexis, 10, and Ronin, 7. From a business standpoint, Quan’s main venture remains Duct-Man.

Duct-Man Mechanical 352.589.3828 / 935 Eustis Grove St., Eustis / TheDuctman.com


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Danny Soares, MD Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Village Institute of Plastic Surgery 352.259.8599 / plasticsurgeryvip.com 607 County Road 466A Fruitland Park

Dr. Danny Soares is a triple-board certified facial plastic surgeon. Larry Blevins is a highly trained physician’s assistant who specializes in cosmetic procedures and the art of laser rejuvenation. Together with their stellar team of providers they utilize the latest advances in surgical and non-surgical modalities to help you achieve your desired results. Continually striving to raise industry standards. Dr. Soares and Mr. Blevins have launched the American Foundation for Aesthetic Medicine (AFFAM), a nonprofit organization created to advance educational standards in the practice of aesthetic medicine. This unique program allows licensed practitioners to undergo six months of hands-on fellowship training in a supervised clinical setting. Their work has not gone unnoticed. The company Med Aesthetics America named Village Institute of Plastic Surgery as one of the “Top 10 Aesthetic Clinics” in the U.S. Additionally, Mr. Blevins was recognized as one of the Top 100 Aesthetic Injectors in America.

Larry Blevins, PA ASLMS Fellow & National Trainer


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Chandler Strong Owner

CSS Electric 352.396.5404

Chandler Strong is wired to be an electrician. His grandfather, father, and uncles have all owned electric companies. Therefore, it was hardly a surprise when Chandler opened his own company, CSS Electric, one year ago. So far, business has remained steady, a testament to both his industry knowledge and dedication to customer service. “I take a lot of pride in my work,” he says. “I complete each job to the best of my ability.” He has earned the designations of electrical contractor and master electrician. For Chandler, a lifelong Lake County resident and 2013 graduate of Leesburg High School, it’s a point of pride to provide electrical services to the community. He gets the job done right the first time and at a good value for his customers’ hard-earned money. “I love this industry because it’s always changing due to better technology,” he says. “I’m always learning something new, and that’s exciting to me.”


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Rev. Dr. Isaac Deas

Deas Consulting 352.406.1264 / 385 W. Alfred St., Tavares / deas.consulting

Rev. Dr. Isaac Deas has always had a way with people and was led to the business of helping them. He serves as pastor for the New Bethel Community Church in Summerfield, and founded Deas Consulting, where he is a counselor for people of all ages. In that capacity, one of his passions is helping men break away from the

macho mentality, a mindset instilled in him by his mother, and one he works diligently to impress based on increased cases of divorce and domestic violence through the pandemic. “I think most of us men copy our dads, and our dads probably told us, ‘Work hard, make sure there’s food on the table, and make sure the bills are

paid,’ but they probably didn’t speak too much about kindness, and we tend to follow that pattern,” he says. Isaac says he encourages men to treat their wives as they’d like to see their own moms or daughters treated, and not to think of their wives as glorified mothers with benefits, adding: “Treat your wife with respect, love, and kindness, and she’ll give you the world.”


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

The Bone Law Firm 352.315.0051 918 W. Main St., Leesburg thebonelawfirm.com

Attorney Robert E. Bone Jr. has 32 years’ experience in his law practice of helping people navigate through issues of estate planning, bankruptcy, business, and real estate. He has been praised for being a caring, compassionate lawyer, one who provides authentic advice and expertise as he assists individuals through emotional, complicated legal matters. He also strives to help them reach their life goals. On a personal level, Robert is committed to serving the Leesburg community, where he and his wife Tiffany have been proud to call home for 18 years. Together they have shared successful business, real estate, and health and wellness ventures and have been active in several civic and community organizations over the years. Robert was elected to the Leesburg City Commission in 2014, served as Leesburg Mayor in 2017, and is a past president of the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

Robert E. Bone Jr. Attorney at law


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Cesar Villarroel Realtor®

Cesar Villarroel 352.455.6815

Cesar Villarroel has been a successful Lake County business man for the past thirty years. His name is synonymous with Lake County Tennis as a result of his thirty plus years at Mission Inn Resort and Club where he has served as the Director of Tennis since 1988. He has shared his love of tennis with several generations of Lake County families through his tennis program at Mission Inn Resort and Club where he presently serves as the Director of Racquet Sports and Fitness. In 1990 Cesar hosted the world renown Billie Jean King at Mission Inn where she served as the guest speaker for a tennis event. Thereafter, in 2008 Cesar was responsible for bringing the number one world ranked tennis player, Justine Henin to Lake County where he partnered with her in forming the Sixth Sense Tennis Academy. One of the former students of the Academy was Monica Puig, the 2016 Olympic gold medal winner. Additionally, Cesar engineered and brought both the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy and fitness guru, Pat Etcheberry, to Mission Inn Resort and Club. More recently, Cesar has expanded his focus to real estate. As a long-time Lake County resident, Cesar is especially well suited to represent both sellers and buyers throughout Central Florida. Cesar’s wide based international and local contacts enable him to draw from a variety of potential real estate prospects, whether they are potential buyers or sellers. Cesar received the Multi Million Dollar Producer award from the Lake and Sumter County Realtor Association. Cesar is currently a realtor with the Olympus Executive Realty team, where he continues to close real estate transactions throughout Central Florida. Whether on the courts or in the office representing a homeowner in a real estate purchase, Cesar always give his clients 100%. He is definitely a professional you want on your side.


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Thomas Fross President, Wealth Advisor

Geoffrey Southwell Wealth Advisor

Patrick Fross, RICP® Vice President, Wealth Advisor

Fross & Fross Wealth Management

910 Old Camp Road Ste. 90, The Villages 352.205.7800 / frossandfross.com


Zechariah Montera Registered Investment Services Associate

Casey O’Rourke Wealth Advisor

When one thinks about financial security, the first consideration that comes to mind is trust. Trust is believed to be a financial advisor’s most important asset. It is confidence that someone is honest and reliable. The staff at Fross & Fross Wealth Management exemplify a level of trust when calling the office and a friendly voice answers saying, “Good morning. How can I make your day better?” Fross & Fross is excited to announce that they will be able to make the day better for even more Villager residents. The firm is opening a second location in Brownwood Paddock Square to serve the influx of retirees moving south of S.R. 44. “It is humbling to see how our firm has grown alongside with The Villages,” says owner and Wealth Advisor, Thomas Fross. “For us, a natural part of the growth process is to have another location where so many people are moving. It’s important to have a presence there and be accessible to our new residents.” Thomas opened the company 20 years ago. Since that time, Fross & Fross Wealth Management has earned an outstanding reputation for its leadership, innovation, and influence in the financial services industry. “The goal of the firm I created was never to be all things to all people,” Thomas says. “We are all things to a few people. Clients who come to us are wealthy and in a very important phase of their life. They built their wealth during the accumulation phase and now they rely on us to maintain that wealth during the preservation phase.” At Fross & Fross, financial advisor-client relationships often turn into friendships. They are a family-owned business which inevitably creates close bonds not only between coworkers, but also with those in their community. “We’re a team here—a team of highly experienced financial advisors who rely on each other,” Thomas says. “Managing money comes with its stresses. Fortunately, our expertise and family-like atmosphere provide unwavering support and dedication.” And ladies, don’t be deceived by the picture. Fross & Fross also has a successful female financial advisor, Renee Springstead. She mainly works with widowed women to ensure they are not overwhelmed by financial matters following the death of a spouse. The Fross & Fross Family is delighted to grow in their expansion as they look forward to building many new friendships. Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.

Fross & Fross we alth

m ana gemen t


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Advanced Orthopedics Institute 352.751.2862 / 1400 N US Hwy 441, Suite 552, The Villages / goaoi.com

Dr. Alfred J. Cook, Jr., and Dr. John Williams, Jr. have what competitive pool players call “Big Game”. They’re experts at getting patients moving again without pain…and usually without surgery. For those who do need a hip, shoulder or knee replaced, up to 80% can go home the same day. Dr. Williams is nationally known for his hip and knee replacement expertise. Innovative robotics and special implants allow him to customize knee replacements for his patients. Patients getting new hips get the interactive, personalized support

they need before surgery and throughout recovery, via Apple® watch. Dr. Cook is among the nation’s leading shoulder surgeons and nearly 99% of his shoulder and reverse shoulder replacements are outpatient surgeries. The Medical Director of TLC Outpatient Surgery and Laser Center is chosen to perform more shoulder surgeries each year than some surgeons do in a lifetime. When it comes to orthopedics, these doctors run the table.

Dr. Alfred J. Cook, Jr. Dr. John T. Williams, Jr.


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Events by

Miss Daisy 352.787.6806 / 1024 W. Main St., Leesburg / missdaisysflowers.com

Bob Tucker is celebrating 18 years owning Miss Daisy’s Flowers & Gifts and 11 years with Events by Miss Daisy’s, where he’s in demand to plan and coordinate lovely weddings and festive community social events. “The reason they come to me is take the stress off themselves,” says Bob. For weddings, Bob does everything from the flowers to full wedding event planning — utilizing local vendors, caterers, photographers, DJs, and he handles day of the wedding details. “We want to make their dream wedding a reality, and make sure their day goes the way they are envisioning,” says Bob. “The biggest compliment is when I place a bouquet in a bride’s hands and she starts crying saying, ‘This is exactly what I wanted. It’s perfect!’ And I’ve learned if the bouquet is perfect, everything else is perfect.”

Bob Tucker, AIFD, CFD, CFEJ, FSMD


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

The Villages Insurance 352.751.6622 / thevillagesinsurance.com

The Villages Insurance is a full-service all-lines provider with multi-locations for your personal, commercial, and life insurance needs, long-term care, annuities, and mortgage protection. Shane Finley and Jason Shannon serve the commercial market by taking time to get to know their clients’ business operations and risk management exposures. “We build an insurance portfolio with the most protection so that our clients can sleep well at night,” says Shane. Joshua Voorhees and Nathan Boler do the same as personal lines risk consultants.

“We consult with clients who are relocating to Central Florida, conducting a holistic review of the entire risk portfolio. As an independent insurance agency, we represent multiple insurance companies, not just one, and offer solutions for homes, autos, golf carts, collectibles, and personal liability insurance. “We put our clients in a position to make informed decisions about ways to protect their assets,” says Josh. “The Villages Insurance is a one-stop-shop. It’s rewarding to help clients leave with peace of mind knowing their insurance needs are taken care of.”

Josh Voorhees Shane Finley Jason Shannon Nate Boler


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Ken Smithgall Vice President

Sentinel Crisis Solutions 352.502.2693 sentinelsolutions.org

“When disaster strikes are you prepared?” That’s the question Sentinel Crisis Solutions Vice President Ken Smithgall and his wife Robin, owner/president, ask every one of their clients. According to FEMA, 40% of small businesses fail to re-open after a disaster. Look around your community, it isn’t hard to see. Since the outbreak of the Covid Pandemic, how many businesses have not returned, or are experiencing supply chain and labor shortages? Sometimes it’s hard to picture all the risks that might influence your operations, and that’s where Sentinel Crisis Solutions can help, Ken says, adding that he and his wife have been empowering companies to identify, understand, and plan before disaster strikes, so that your business can survive and thrive. Sentinel Crisis Solutions team of experts provide services that include business continuity planning; threat, risk and vulnerability assessments; crisis and emergency preparedness training and strategic planning. Sentinel’s clients include, federal, state, and local government agencies, private businesses, health care, schools, churches, and individuals. Ken adds: “Having dedicated over 30 years in both law enforcement and the fire service, our goal with Sentinel Crisis Solutions is to provide our clients with planning and training solutions to keep you, your family, and your employees safe”.


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Scott Strem 352.978.3428

Guy Shipley 352.356.3755

Mike Barrett 352.255.5710

Judd Dickerson 352.516.7809

Kevin Shipley 352.744.7539

Morris Realty & Investments Local knowledge. The men of Morris Realty and Investments have plenty of it. They live, work, and play in the same community where they help clients purchase homes. That’s particularly important because prospective buyers desire real estate agents who can provide valuable knowledge about the area. They want to know which coffee shops serve the best espressos,

which schools provide the best education, and which parks provide a fun family experience. They also possess two other characteristics that are critical in today’s real estate industry— honesty and integrity. That means a great deal for anyone trying to select the right real estate agent, especially when it comes to a major financial decision like home ownership or commercial real estate.

More importantly, they firmly believe that relationships are established through honest communication between the seller/buyer and real estate agent. Combining local knowledge and integrity with innovative marketing methods provides a powerful combination to help the men of Morris Realty and Investments rise above the competition.

352.435.4663 10135 U.S. Hwy 441, Leesburg morrisrealtors.com


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Fred Griffin, Jr. Owner

Fred Consulting 352.217.9193

Whether looking to establish a new company or keep one afloat, Fred Griffin, Jr. is in the business of ensuring success. “My company, in a nutshell, is me helping new or established business owners be successful, and when they start failing, that’s when I step in to intervene,” Fred says, explaining that his company specializes in human resources, operations, and marketing. Since launching Fred Consulting seven years ago, Fred says he has helped hundreds of business owners, especially following unprecedented events brought on by the pandemic. “There was a lot of available funding during COVID that a lot of business owners did not know they were able to take advantage of, so it was very rewarding to host Zoom calls or one-on-one sessions to help them complete applications for it to help them stay open,” Fred says. Additionally, Fred helps new business owners navigate through the start-up process. “They know they want to make money, but they don’t know the logistics behind it, so that’s where I come in,” Fred says, adding that he is also available for workshops and speaking engagements for schools, businesses, and more.


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Mathias

Foodservice Equipment Company 352.326.3434 / 1608 State Road 44, Leesburg / mathiasfoodservice.com

Bill Mathias President


Bob Mathias Vice President

Mathias Foodservice Equipment Co. had humble beginnings 40 years ago as the business was first started in the Leesburg Train Depot on Palmetto Street with $5,000.00. “Sparky” Baas owned it, and on a handshake, he rented it to me for $50 a month,” recalls Bill, who agreed to pay more when he could. By the end of the year, Bill was pleased to pay $750 for rent, which the owner said was enough. “We’ve come a long way,” says Bill. His company is now located in 27,000 sq ft west of Leesburg. He has grown from regional distribution to national and designs internationally. He has done food service designs in 14 countries, and design build and procurement in 30 states within the United States, parts of Canada and the Caribbean islands. Bill credits past and present employees for being the cornerstone of Mathias Foodservice’s overall company success in creating over 1,600 kitchens, and he’s pleased his company has had a 37-year relationship of being part of the team to design restaurant kitchens and bars in The Villages. Bill’s son, Bob, recalls going out on the road with his father when he was a young boy. Later he would begin working for the company, first starting in the warehouse and as receptionist. He returned to the family business after serving in the Air Force. “Finding a solution to a client’s problem is the most enjoyable part,” Bob says of his role as company’s vice president. Mathias Foodservice Equipment Co. won Business of the Year by the Leesburg Partnership, and Bill has been awarded Community Leader by The Chamber Alliance of Lake County, and named School Board Member of the Year for the State of Florida. Bill has served on the Lake County School Board for 10 years and plans to run one more time. “When I came on the board, we were $438 million dollars in debt, and $43 million a year was going from the classroom to service the debt,” Bill recalls. “I brought to the board a sense of ‘pay as you go’ and reduce the debt. Today we are under $160 million in debt, and $30 million moved back into the classroom.” Bill closed with, for 40 years selling American made restaurant equipment has fed my family. Being part of the design process and seeing a restaurant go from concept to completion feeds my passion and my service on the LCSB feeds my soul.


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

LassiterWare Insurance

Byron Holton

800.845.8437 1317 Citizens Blvd., Leesburg lassiterware.com

Vice President

After spending several years with the Walt Disney Company in resort development, Byron Holton decided to leave the corporate world and switch to a career in insurance. Byron has been in the industry for 20 years. He currently serves as a vice president in the commercial lines division for LassiterWare Insurance in Leesburg. To say he’s happy in his current position is an understatement. “LassiterWare offers a good balance,” he says. “We’re a professional insurance agency that also provides a supportive family atmosphere for our employees.” Byron sells different types of insurance policies, including commercial building, automobile, general liability, and worker’s compensation. “Each day brings something different because of the changes in the insurance marketplace,” he says. “That keeps things unpredictable and prevents the job from being monotonous. I enjoy lessening the stress and uncertainty of clients when they are insuring their business.” Byron currently serves as chairman of the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce and is past president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Central Florida.


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Zimmermann Podiatry 1208 W. Dixie Ave. Leesburg 352.435.7849 / drzpodiatry.com

Dr. Erik Zimmermann, DPM

A trip to the doctor’s office is hardly a laughing matter. However, patients of Zimmermann Podiatry in Leesburg typically enjoy a few laughs. That’s because Dr. Erik Zimmermann, DPM, is a die-hard fan of one of the most iconic sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld. He plays reruns throughout the day on a television in the waiting room. He even named three treatment rooms after some of the show’s most-memorable characters— Kramer, George, and Elaine. “Our office is Seinfeld-themed because I love the show,” he says. “I’ve seen each episode countless times.” Dr. Zimmermann spent six years in the United States Marine Corps before attending podiatry school. He began practicing in 1999 and moved to his current office in Leesburg four years ago. He currently treats all foot problems and some of his most common are ingrowing nails, heel pain, diabetic foot problems, and wounds. “When I first started practicing, I did house calls all over Lake and Sumter counties,” he says. “I really love the area and serving the people. Patients enjoy the friendliness of our staff.”


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Puddle Jumpers 352.508.5862 111 W. Ruby St. Tavares Puddlejumperslakeside.com

Jon Aramino Owner

After spending seven years as banquet manager of Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort, Jon Aramino decided it was time to utilize his skills and knowledge by starting his own restaurant. As a result, he opened Puddle Jumpers in downtown Tavares. Regular customers rave about the delicious meals, festive atmosphere, and unforgettable views of seaplanes landing on Lake Dora. To say he has developed creative culinary dishes is an understatement. Guests can order fried cheese with chipotle raspberry or the Gosh Jam It burger with caramelized onion, bacon jam, and goat cheese. “When I opened the restaurant, I wanted to bring my own twist to casual dining,” he says. “I also wanted to create a restaurant where I would like to go every day. We offer a fun, laid-back atmosphere for our guests.” The restaurant’s diverse menu includes steakburgers, wraps, soups, and salads. Puddle Jumpers also offers a private dining area to accommodate banquets, events, and parties.


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Central Florida Plastic Surgery 910 Old Camp Road Suite #102, The Villages 352.259.0722 | drserra.com

Dr. Fernando Serra MD, FACS

For Dr. Fernando Serra, 2022 is a year of milestones. This marks the 24th anniversary since he opened his practice, Central Florida Plastic Surgery. Since that time, he has provided patients with meticulous surgical skill and the latest in plastic surgery technology. Additionally, it has been 30 years since Dr. Serra earned his medical degree at the University of Florida. That same year, he began a six-year plastic surgery residency at The Ohio State University. Dr. Serra is also celebrating his second anniversary. In April 2020, he married his wife, Teri, medical director of the Healthy Kids Start Program at Langley Medical Center in Sumterville. Dr. Serra says there’s no greater joy than serving the area where he spent his childhood and teenage years. He is a 1985 graduate of South Sumter High School. “With affluent baby boomers moving to this area, my practice has flourished,” he says. “I am extremely grateful.”


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Merrill Insurance 352.589.5200 / 1520 S. Bay St., Eustis

Alex Hurst traveled all over the world while in the United States Marine Corps. After returning to his Leesburg roots, he graduated from Lake Sumter State College with a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management. Shortly after, he decided to make his mark in the Insurance world. Today Alex, a licensed Commercial and Benefits Insurance Advisor, is not only an integral team member at Merrill Insurance in Eustis, but is an advisor for many local businesses. He is proud to serve our community and educate businessowners on how to best protect their companies, properties, and employees. “As soon as I got to Merrill Insurance, it all clicked. We’re a faith-based organization, that’s the foundation of the company, and that was attractive to me,” Alex says, adding that he focuses on contractors and small to middle sized businesses. He writes all lines of business – from General Liability to Workers Compensation and Bonds. Alex has been with Merrill for five years. He strives to keep communication with clients at the forefront of each day and goes above and beyond to support you when it really matters — claim time. “I’m born and raised here. I’m six generations local to Lake and Sumter County and in this for the long haul,” he says.

Alex Hurst

Commercial Insurance Agent


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Sayler Kottke Co-Owner

Above and Beyond Pest Control aboveandbeyondpestcontrol.com 352.589.5989 / 531 N. Bay St., Eustis

Sayler Kottke began working for his father Tom Kottke, at Above and Beyond Pest Control as a teenager, and today, they co-own/operate the business together and proudly stand behind their “We Fight What You Fear” promise. “I was 15-years-old and running one 400-gallon lawn truck for him and 14 years later, we’ve not only grown the business to over 11 trucks, but we have a statewide commercial contract from Georgia to Key West, and a large residential customer base in Lake, Sumter, and Marion Counties,” Sayler says. Through their company’s growth, the fatherson team has never lost sight of its core values: honesty, top-notch customer service, and good old-fashioned hard work. Sayler says he credits those standards for the company’s success, and for customer loyalty since many clients have been with them for more than 15 years. “That’s one nice thing about working with the community; you start out as a bug man for them, and you become friends, almost like distant family after so many years,” Sayler adds. “Longtime clients become more than just customers, they become part of your life.”


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Quality

Moving Services

352.430.7393 36600 Micro Racetrack Road, Fruitland Park qualitymovingservicesllc.com

Turner “Junior” Long

In business for eight years, Quality Moving Services is family-owned, operated, and a licensed and insured company that has generated raves for providing a stress-free moving experience from beginning to end, along with professional, friendly service, and attention to detail. Whatever you need, everything from assembly and disassembly of your furniture, appliances, boxing, packaging, loading, and unloading, owner Travis Long, his brother Turner “Junior” Long, and their team of experienced movers strive to make it hassle-free.

“We even do small loads where we come in an unload a container, pod, or U-Haul truck for customers. There really are no limitations of what we can accomplish for people. Moving is very stressful, so we like to step in and take the stress away,” says Travis. Junior enjoys interacting with customers and is pleased to see Quality Moving Services is growing. The company now has eight trucks and trailers, 15 to 18 fulltime movers, is able to accommodate out of state jobs, and hoping to open a small branch in Ocala this year.

Manager

Travis Long Owner


MEN OF SUCCESS 2022

Paul Young

Owner/Broker/Veteran

Young Real Estate 407.633.HOME / youngrealestate.com

If you think real estate is a house of cards, make sure you call the guy who has the winning hand! Paul Young knows first-hand what it takes to become a successful Realtor. He is self-made and created his own brokerage from scratch. Young Real Estate will soon be the largest single brokerage in Seminole County, with Realtors all over the state of Florida. As the founder/broker of Young Real Estate, Paul’s mission is to help agents become successful in the real estate world. Paul is passionate about helping new agents, fresh out of school and seasoned agents who come from different companies, achieve their goals of success through real estate. Paul is not only a broker, but also a mentor to his agents by teaching them the practical tools in real estate that they need to acquire in order to be successful. YRE’s priority is adding value to the clients’ experience. Our agents help our clients, through the whole buying or selling process, which could be connecting them with the best loan and insurance companies, assist clients with contractor relationships, so they can deal with the cosmetics issues of a house. The goal is to know all the ins and outs of the industry and become a one stop shop for the clients’ real estate needs. “There are many different aspects of buying or selling a home, and if you can be that source of value for all of them, they will use you,” says Paul. Similarly, Paul’s brokerage consistently attracts top talent because he uses the same mentality when it comes to his firm. “We have multiple 100 percent commission splits for our realtors and offer a wide variety of resources. When it comes to commission, training, great systems, vendor relationships, mentoring and office culture/environment, we strive to be the absolute best. As a company, we have to offer so much value that if somebody doesn’t want to work with us, it’s their loss and we move on to helping someone else” Paul adds.


L O O K I N G

F O R

L O C A L

FREELANCE WR TERS If you’ve got talent for play on words contact Kendra Akers at kendra@akersmediagroup.com

F O R

M O R E

I N F O R M A T I O N

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I N T R O D U C I N G

90 Second Style Spotlight New episodes premier every Friday on the Style and LSTV Digital Facebook pages.

With host Marc Robertz-Schwartz

Listen to the Style Spotlight every hour on the hour all weekend long on:

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Lost and

found

Members of the Villages Genealogical Society enjoy looking into their own family ancestries, and helping others do the same. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

fter his parents died, George Zitterell realized just how little he actually knew about his family’s history and lineage. That revelation got him and his wife Arleen thinking about what they could do to ensure their own three children would not end up feeling the same way one day, so what they decided was: “Lets give our kids some history.” To start with, George joined The Villages Genealogical Society (VGS), and one of about 20 special interest groups that goes along with it called RootsMagic, not realizing that six years later, he’d be what Arleen lovingly calls “obsessed” with the endeavor. “I felt it was important to do this, because I wanted to give my kids and grandkids something they could look back on to see how far back the family goes, how many generations, where we came from, information about the little towns and cities where they lived,” George says, explaining that besides knowing he was first generation German and Arleen was second generation Polish and Italian, he didn’t have much to go by. “We had really no documentation to speak of. My mother left me very little stuff, so it really was a process of going through church records, estate records in Germany, Italy and Poland, and getting the information there, and so that’s what we’ve been doing for the past 5-6 years,” George adds. Arleen and George Zitterell


“I MADE IT MY MISSION TO TRY AND FIND OUT ABOUT MY MOM’S FATHER, MY GRANDFATHER.” — PAT R I C I A A DA M S

VGS President Patricia Adams, known to most as Pat, can totally relate, since she too, has spent years researching her family’s Scandinavian roots. She says her folks didn’t speak much about their families when she was growing up, so after her dad died, she decided to delve into their histories. Pat says her mom also mentioned not knowing anything about her own father, so finding out about him became a top priority. Pat started her research in 1993. After moving to The Villages in 2004, she became more heavily involved in it, or as she puts it – addicted. “I made it my mission to try and find out about my mom’s father, my grandfather, and figure out what happened to him because she never found out and although she was happy I was looking into this, I think it was much more relevant to me,” Pat says, adding that over the years, and with the help of all the technology available these days, resources, online documentation, and help from others in the VGS, she’s become a more skilled researcher. George says the same thing, giving credit to the RootsMagic computer program he uses for some of the information he’s found, and to Ancestry for tracking possible familial matches through DNA testing. In fact, George, because of DNA tests they completed, found a long lost second cousin of Arleen’s no one in her family knew existed. That cousin, who’d been put up for adoption, lives in Pennsylvania. After her adoptive parents died, she began looking for other family. “It was a sad situation, so I’m doubly happy she found me. She had no extended family to speak of, and now she has this huge family,” Arleen says, explaining that talks are underway for an eventual face-to-face meeting. George also has been able to find a lot of information about his own family. “The name Zitterell was actually first documented in 1430, but they came from Austria, not Germany,” George says, adding that he’s an only child, so finding all this information “creates a family tie.”

George says: “On my dad’s side, I found out that my grandfather, a mason and brick layer, came here in 1906 on a ship. He was here for a short time, then went back and got married, and that’s where my mother came in. I have ship manifests of when they came, so it gets interesting.” Pat learned that her maternal grandfather was from Scotland and served on a ship during WWI that was involved with the well-known Battle of Jutland. She also found a great aunt who after the passing of the 19th amendment for women’s suffrage, fought the courts to get women placed on the prospective juror list. “She was not successful, but it was something very interesting and exciting to find out, because when I first started out, I thought, ‘Boy, what a boring family I have,” Pat jokes. Pat also says VGS’ mission, and that of any of the special interest groups people belong to, besides tracking their own histories, is helping others by sharing what they’ve learned and offering tips and insight. She says she is always happy to help when possible, and George says he and others in VGA and RootsMagic, really take that mission to heart. “The group itself coordinates learning activities, and we help people who run into what we call brick walls,” George says. “They get so far and can’t go beyond that, so we help lead or direct them past it.” Pat says currently, the VGA has about 900 members and counting, but new members are always welcome. The VGA meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Savannah Center in The Villages. Additionally, each special interest group has its own meeting schedule. For more information, visit vgsfl.org.

Patricia Adams

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COUNTER-OFFER CAFE

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FUSION LOUNGE

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THE GRILL ROOM

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THE CHEFS STUDIO

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ZEST

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S I G N AT U R E S

THE GRILL ROOM

QUINTESSENTIAL AND EXCEPTIONAL FIVE-COURSE, PRIX FIXE FINE DINING • NIGHTLY SEATING EACH FRIDAY AND SATURDAY

Where exceptional hospitality meets fine dining. Our five-course, personalized dinners always surprise and delight. Open Friday and Saturday evenings for one special seating, The Grill Room welcomes residents, friends, families and guests. Reservations required. This is HarborChase. Come celebrate with us. Experience a Taste of HarborChase

HARBORCHASE OF VILLAGES CROSSING 3 5 2 . 3 2 9.6 6 1 2

HARBORCHASE OF WILDWOOD 3 5 2 .6 5 6 .7 9 7 1


agenda EVENTS. TRAVEL. PEOPLE.

Tom DiPietro uses his love of music as a bass-is for touching others.

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THE TO-DO LIST

JUN

11

EVENT

Going to the dogs Ready to have a doggone good time? Then consider attending Clermont’s Pups in the Park, a celebration for dogs of all breeds. The event features a dog swimsuit parade and competition, a frisbee competition, and plenty of other activities for pooches and their owners.

jun. 2022

June 11 / Lake Hiawatha Preserve 450 12th St. Clermont / 352.708.5975


JUN

16

jun.

ART

A work of art

ON STAGE

A stroll through Mount Dora’s New England-style downtown is always an enjoyable experience. However, Art in the Alley adds a little more color and visual appeal to the visit. During the event, art aficionados can visit the downtown’s nine art galleries and artists’ studios, immersing themselves in a world of creativity.

Enjoy quality entertainment on the many stages of Lake and Sumter counties. HAVE A DOG IN THE FIGHT

6/1-6/5

Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse presents “Sylvia,” a story about a man who brings home a stray dog that he finds in a Manhattan park. His unilateral decision angers his wife and causes friction in their marriage. Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse 1100 N. Unser St. Mount Dora / 352.383.4616

June 16 / Downtown Mount Dora / 352.383.0880

A LITTLE SCREAM TIME

6/24-7/10

Bay Street Players presents “The Rocky Horror Show,” a cult classic about two sweethearts who discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank N-Furter. They meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker and a creepy butler. Bay Street Players / 109 N. Bay St. Eustis / 352.357.7777

ONGOI NG EVENTS Events are subject to change and cancellation.

EVERY SUN

EVERY SUN

EVERY MON

EVERY TUE

EVERY THU

Clermont Farmer’s Market 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Downtown Clermont

Downtown Mount Dora Village Market 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Mount Dora

Webster’s Farmer’s Market 6 a.m.-2 p.m. 524 North Market Blvd., Webster

Lady Lake Farmer’s Market 9 a.m.-2 p.m. 250 Rolling Acres Rd., Lady Lake

Lake County Farmers & Flea Market 8 a.m.- noon 250 Rolling Acres Rd., Lady Lake

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THE TO-DO LIST

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

6/3 @ 5 p.m.

6/17 @ 7 p.m.

C.O.D. FLORIDA Hurricane Dockside Grill, Tavares

CRAIG SAWYER World of Beer, Clermont

6/4 @ 3 p.m.

6/18 @ 5 p.m.

ACE SUGGS Lazy Mac’s Taco Shack, The Villages

MANFREDI ROCKS Augustine’s 1812 House, Lady Lake

6/4 @ 7 p.m.

6/18 @ 7 p.m.

TY HERNDON Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

JEFF BATES Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

6/5 @ 1:30 p.m.

6/19 @ noon

MANFREDI ROCKS Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

DENNIE AND THE JETS Lakeridge Winery, Clermont

6/10 @ 3 p.m.

6/19 @ 4:30 p.m.

ACE SUGGS McGrady’s Restaurant and Pub, Wildwood

C.O.D. FLORIDA Hurricane Dockside Grill, Tavares

6/10 @ 3 p.m.

6/23 @ 7 p.m.

MICHELLE INGRHAM Edna’s on the Green, Wildwood

MANFREDI ROCKS Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

6/10 @ 7 p.m.

6/24 @ 3 p.m.

July 3 / Mount Dora / Elizabeth Evans Park

IVAN J. MUSIC Mammoth Oak Brewing Company, Leesburg

THOM JOHNSON Loyal Order of Moose, Leesburg

July 4 / Tavares / Wooton Park

6/10 @ 7 p.m.

6/25 @ 1 p.m.

July 4 / Leesburg / Venetian Gardens July 4 / Clermont / Waterfront Park

BOBBY RANDALL AND THE OBO BAND Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

JIMMY HUNTER Lake Harris Hideaway, Tavares

July 4 / Groveland / Lake David Park

6/11 @ 7 p.m.

HIGHWAY 101 Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

JUL

1-4

H O LIDAY

Celebrate with a bang Fourth of July is right around the corner. It’s a day where we celebrate America’s independence, barbecue with family and friends and watch a colorful array of fireworks sparkle in the night sky. Several Lake County towns will celebrate this holiday in grand style. July 1 / Eustis / Ferran Park

6/25 @ 7 p.m.

CHAD BROCK AND BUDDY JEWELL Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

6/29 @ 3 p.m. ANDY SHREEVE Lazy Mac’s Taco Shack, The Villages

6/17 @ 6 p.m.

Let us help you get the word out!

MANFREDI ROCKS Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille, 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: calendar@akersmediagroup.com or Lake & Sumter Style Calendar, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749

6/30 @ 3 p.m. ANDY SHREEVE McGrady’s Restaurant and Pub, Wildwood

6/17 @ 7 p.m. DENNIE AND THE JETS Elks Lodge #1578, Tavares

6/30 @ 7 p.m. MICHELLE INGRHAM GarVino’s Cigars, Fine Wine and Gifts, The Villages

1ST FRI

1ST FRI

2ND FRI

2ND SAT

2ND SAT

4TH SAT

Eustis First Friday 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Downtown Eustis

Clermont First Friday Food Trucks 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. 685 W. Montrose St., Clermont

Groveland Farmer’s Market 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Lake David Park, Groveland

Plaid in the Park 5 p.m.-9 p.m. 230 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora

Main Street Classic Car Show 5 p.m.-7 p.m. 510 W. Main St., Leesburg

Eustis Classic Car Cruise-In 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Downtown Eustis

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LOCAL TALENT

PEO PLE

All about that bass Tom DiPietro’s love for music runs deep. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

assist Tom DiPietro, 35, of Mount Dora, experienced some fun gigs when he toured the U.S. and several countries, and now he’s eager to stay closer to home and play for the Central Florida crowd. He has been playing the bass guitar for 25 years, starting with rock bands and musical groups in high school, all before going on the road for five years as a bassist with the touring band Madison Rising. Tom also played with Boot & Rally, a modern country cover band from Baltimore, Maryland. Topping the list of Tom’s favorite gigs include entertaining troops overseas in Japan and South Korea. He also performed at the red-carpet premier for the Michael Bay directed film “13 Hours in Benghazi,” starring John Krasinski, and Tom has performed on national television on the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends in Manhattan, and he has played on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. “When I toured around the U.S. for five years straight, I ended up either playing in or passing through all 48 states that you could drive to … Hawaii and Alaska are all that’s left on my list of the states,” he says of places he’d like to play as a musician. Playing the bass guitar has been Tom’s passion since he was a

10-year-old kid. “I was inspired to begin playing while in early childhood in the ’90s. I remember being no more than age 7 or 8, watching music videos on MTV. I looked up to the musicians, and knew it was something I wanted to do.” He enjoys all styles of guitar-based music, from rock and roll, heavy metal, country, and from funk to blues and even some reggae. “Being a bass player, I was inspired early on by the band The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and was heavily influenced by their bass player, Flea. He has always been one of my rock idols.” Tom’s advice to youths drawn to music is to embrace it. “Learn to play an instrument, join a band! We have to keep rock music going in the younger generations.” The bassist relocated to Lake County in 2019, before the pandemic began. He started playing with a new rock band that had set its sights on playing seasonal events, such as Daytona Bike Week and Leesburg Bikefest. The pandemic complicated life for bands, and yet this bass guitarist hasn’t lost his desire to entertain crowds. “I’ve brought my 25 years of playing experience to Lake County, and I am here to stay,” says Tom. “I am looking to meet professional musicians in the area for projects and gigs.” Those interested in collaborating with Tom can reach him at tdipietro.bmore@gmail.com”

Do you know of a talented person in our community? Email their story to theresa@akersmediagroup.com

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ATTRACTIONS

ADVENTURE

Tiki Time in Tavares Exploring Lake Dora aboard a floating tiki bar is a fun, cool attraction to enjoy with friends, family, colleagues. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

tyle magazine covers a lot of fun attractions throughout Lake and Sumter counties, and cruising on Lake Dora on a floating Tiki bar is one of the coolest ways to enjoy the waterways. DeeAnn Squire, Jessica Remillard, and Sara Squire are the owners of the familyowned and operated Cruisin’ Tikis Lake Dora, which they started in January, and they invite residents and visitors to come aboard. Up to six passengers can sit comfortably around the tiki hut bar boat to savor their favorite foods, snacks, drinks, and playlist, all while enjoying scenic views during a relaxing boat ride on the Dirty Merty.

Yes, Dirty Merty is the vessel’s name. “My mom’s name is Marie, and her nickname is Mert,” explains DeeAnn. “My dad called her Merty, so my daughterin-law, Sara, who is one of the owners, said how about we call the boat the Dirty Merty?” “People love it,” DeeAnn says of being aboard the handcrafted Tiki boat, which is part of the Cruisin’ Tikis franchise based in Fort Lauderdale. Each Tiki vessel is built to specifications of the American Boat and Yacht Council and is steered by a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain. “We’ve had a bachelor party, a bachelorette party, and birthday parties. We had a guy bring his wife, daughter, and granddaughter for his wife’s 80th birthday, and we even had a 15-year-old say that it was


“THE CAPTAIN ALWAYS LETS PEOPLE DRIVE THE BOAT, TOO, WHICH MAKES IT FUN.” —DEEANN SQUIRE

relaxing,” says DeeAnn, adding the Dirty Merty is available for private charter. The vessel is expected to be in demand this month for summer night dates, Father’s Day, graduation parties, family gatherings, anniversaries, girls’ day out, and more. Santa Claus gave a thumbs-up approval when he hopped on the Tiki boat during a practice session last December before the cruises were open to the public. Since then, Cruisin’ Tikis Lake Dora has generated buzz as a new experience to explore in Lake County. “The captain always lets people drive the boat, too, which makes it fun,” says DeeAnn. “And when the weather is nice, that’s when the phone rings. We’re getting people from The Villages, which is great, and we are pet-friendly, so people can bring their dogs on the boat, too.”

The first boat cruise of the day goes out at 11:30 a.m. for a two-hour trip. “And we just started doing a stopover at the sand bar, which is another fun cruise that runs three hours,” says DeeAnn, who knows the words “a threehour tour” sparks some to start humming the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song. The sunset cruise is another popular attraction, which starts at 7 p.m., and usually runs 1.5 hours. Guests are encouraged to bring their own favorite beverages to enjoy around the Tiki bar for the evening sunset tour. Captain Tom Marx says he enjoys seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they have fun cruising on the picturesque Tiki boat. “People love it, they really enjoy it,” says Tom, adding the cruises have also been pleasant for him. “I go out every time I get a call.” IF YOU GO

CRUISIN’ TIKIS LAKE DORA 150 East Ruby St., Tavares 1.866.845.4386 Phone hours for booking: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. First cruise of day starts at 11:30 a.m. Last cruise runs 7 to 8:30 p.m. Cost: $59.95 per person for two-hour tour; the boat also can be booked for private charter. cruisintikislakedora.com info@cruisintikislakedora.com

Know of a cool local attraction you’d like us to feature? Contact us at least three months in advance and provide all the details to theresa@akersmediagroup.com

THERESA CAMPBELL

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HI, SOCIETY!

Aubrey Simmons, Shaena Long, Kendra and Doug Akers, and Melanie Melvin

Sandi Moore, Linda Fowler, Amanda Neil, Lena Williams, and Michael Randolph

Chuck Broadway, Junie Biddle, Norine Blanch, Marni Kay, Jeff Biddle, and Stephanie Luke

Bailey Viator

Kim Martin, Tiffany McBride, Shay Chairs, EVP Principal Jason Morgan, Holly Duke, Lori Gelaides, Wendi Ward, and Rosa Dalbow

GOLFING FOR EDUCATION

(Front) John Waldrop, (Back) Jennifer Forst, Cheryl Wilson, Shannon Waldrop, and Tina Hall

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

@ CONTINENTAL COUNTRY CLUB ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. Ladies Fore Education Annual Golf Tournament was back by popular demand on April 8 at Continental Country Club in Wildwood. Billed as an event for women who play golf and those who don’t golf, the fundraiser was a funfilled day for teams of four and their caddies. The proceeds will benefit the Education Foundation and the Linda Kohlmeyer Scholarship Fund.

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Ashley Goldberg, Erica Shay, Ryan Strandquest, Sara Gentry, and Leah Zeiler

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC


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HI, SOCIETY!

Dr. Laura Byrd, Representative Keith Truenow, and Dr. Heather Bigard

(Back) Ruth Alagano (Front) Dr. Vilma Witten, Rosalie Ridge, and Dorie Barcenilla

Evelyn and David Pelton

DSC_7559

Kristen Hopper and Megan Kriebel

Gretchen and Bill Camp

SUCCE S SF U L GA L A

@ STERLING EVENT VENUE ≈ PHOTOS: PAUL PENDERS. A Night on Paradise Island was the theme of the Lake-Sumter State College Foundation’s 36th annual gala auction on April 8 at Sterling Event Venue in Clermont. Generous donors, sponsors, silent and live auction bidders, raffle ticket purchasers, attendees and supporters made the premier fundraising gala a record $220,000 success. Proceeds from the event benefit student scholarships and programming at Lake-Sumter State College.

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

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Michelle and Gene Kanikovski

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC


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HI, SOCIETY!

Cheryl Chestnut and Conni Berry

Barbara Smith, Solange Eubanks, Vicki Garrick, Tanisha Williams, and Mellisa Banh

Oliver Deffenbaugh and his son Oliver

Jeff Moore

Robbie Garvin and Saylor Deas

United Southern Bank

CELEBRATING SPRING @ MOTE-MORRIS HOUSE ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. The annual Leesburg Partnership Fish Fry has been a popular tradition for decades and a great way to welcome the spring season with friends. The April 7 event was hosted under the oak trees of the Mote-Morris House where hundreds savored a hearty meal of fresh fried fish, cheese grits, hush puppies, cornon-the-cob, steamed oysters, collard greens, coleslaw, corn bread, key lime pie shooters, and drinks.

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

Mike Pederson, Gus Grizzard, and Tony Cruz

Scan this code to view all photos on lakeandsumterstyle.com.

Miss Leesburg Meagann Goodridge and Jacob Ponds

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC


Be

PAW some and

Adopt a Pet!

DID YOU

W O

KN

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Lake County offers a Spay/Neuter Rebate Program. Visit lakecountyfl.gov/animalservices/programs to learn more!

EV ER

Y

CATURDA Y IS Y DA

Help decrease the feral cat population in your neighborhood with our Operation Community Caturday program. To learn more, visit lakecountyfl. gov/animal-services/ community-cats

Looking to add a tail-wagging, fun-loving companion to your home? Then you’re barking up the right tree. By adopting a pet at the Lake County Animal Shelter, you’re giving animals the FURever home they deserve. In return, your new friend will bring an overwhelming amount of fun, joy, and love into your life. Leslie Campione is currently serving on the Lake County Board of County Commissioners and she resides in District 4. Leslie has been a strong advocate for animal welfare and shelter reform. THIS AD IS SPONSORED BY LESLIE CAMPIONE, P.A. LAW OFFICE 342 E. FIFTH AVENUE, MOUNT DORA, FL 32757 352.383.9020 | LESLIECAMPIONELAW.COM

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lakecountyfl.gov/animal-services

HOURS:

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BOOK CLUB

REVIEW

‘The Personal Librarian’ By Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray. The story about one woman’s climb to the top despite a lie that set her up for success. STORY: KATHY PORTER

t is the early 1900s. Beautiful Belle Marion Greener is the daughter of Richard Greener and Genevieve Fleet, both very light-skinned blacks. Belle’s father is the first black man to graduate from Harvard College. Belle is one of five children, but she is her father’s favorite, and he has imbued Belle with a love of Renaissance paintings and medieval manuscripts. Although her father fights passionately for equal rights for blacks, her mother knows that this will never come to pass in the family’s lifetime. Genevieve lists the family as white on the census. When Richard discovers what she has done, he is furious and leaves the family. The family will now live as white in a very racist nation. Genevieve gives Belle a new heritage as Belle de Costa Greene who has a slightly darker complexion because her grandmother was from Portugal. For the past five years, Belle de Costa Greene has been a librarian at Princeton University. Junius Morgan, nephew of the famous J.P. Morgan and a patron of the Princeton Library, has recommended that Belle be interviewed for his uncle’s newly

created position of personal librarian for the newly constructed Pierpont Morgan Library. J.P. Morgan offers Belle the position and thus begins their mutual quest over the next decade to make the Pierpont Morgan Library a place of legend. Belle scores coup after coup at auctions and with private sellers acquiring the rarest of art and manuscript treasures for the library. She is hailed as one of the most important art historians of the time. The gossip columns are filled with stories about the stunning Belle, who also has entered the rarified world of the nouvelle rich of New York society. As a self-made woman, she is the darling the suffragist movement. But she lives a lie. Although a work of historical fiction, the authors have endeavored to share the life and legacy of Belle de Costa Greene as accurately as possible. Because Belle, J.P. Morgan and Richard Greener were well-known public figures, there was much material from which to draw. This is a fascinating read both about the accomplishments of a black woman passing as white, and society as a whole at the turn of the twentieth century.

Want to read more about Belle’s double life? “The Personal Librarian,” can be found at Target, Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, or on Amazon

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healthy living MIND. BODY. SPIRIT.

v

Bill Miller lived every day sparing no opportunity; inspiring others to never give up despite obstacles.

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INSPIRATION

PEO PLE

Roll model Being quadriplegic never stopped Bill Miller from accomplishing incredible feats. STORY: JAMES COMBS

ometimes, life and tragedy intersect. You can either wallow in self-pity or accept the hand you’re dealt and emerge stronger than ever. Bill Miller chose the latter. Bill, a Leesburg resident who inspired countless people while living nearly 25 years as a quadriplegic, died on March 22. Following his death, dozens of Bill’s friends and family members posted thoughtful messages on his Facebook page, referring to him as a “precious soul,” a “hero,” and an “inspirational, thoughtful, and amazing human.” Words alone cannot adequately describe Bill, who was unable to move his legs, lift his arms, or curl his fingers. His life was forever changed in August 1997 when Bill, a 20-year-old student at the University of Florida, tripped over a piece of exercise equipment in the middle of the night and landed awkwardly. He became a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. The accident crippled his body but not his big heart. He proved that people with disabilities have abilities, too. Consider some of his accomplishments in the nearly 25 years he lived as a quadriplegic. • Using a voice-activated computer that he affectionately named Max, Bill created a personal website, lookmomnohands.net, in 2000 as an informational site for quadriplegics and to keep users informed of his latest undertakings. • In 2003, Bill, with the help of retired engineer Claude Giguere, invented the IKAN (“I can”) Bowler device, a fancy ramp that attaches to a wheelchair. With a bowling ball placed atop the ramp, Bill would sip and puff on a mouthpiece to direct his wheelchair to the foul line. He then stopped, which released the ball down the lane. The speed of the ball and accuracy of the shot is dependent on how he maneuvers his wheelchair. Bill introduced other quadriplegics to the sport by forming a bowling group called the “Quad Squad.” They typically bowled together twice a month. • Bill took online courses offered by the University of Florida and in August 2008 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. • In 2013, Bill completed a master’s degree in entrepreneurship online from Western Carolina University and served as a teaching assistant.

Bill’s innate power to transcend a debilitating handicap deeply touched able-bodied and physically challenged people alike. Now, Bill is whole again, walking the gold streets of heaven and sporting the same big smile that he maintained even after suffering the cruelest of tragedies.

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

Photo provided by Jackie Johnson.

• Since becoming a quadriplegic, Bill has delivered hundreds of presentations to civic clubs, women’s groups, churches, homeless shelters, and school groups to talk about his disability.


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BODY

YOGATTA BE KIDDING ME At Chase Animal Rescue Sanctuary, having a lemur as a yoga companion is hardly a stretch. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

rene Tsatiris truly enjoys the benefits of yoga and has been taking classes for years. Still, she never had reason to imagine herself in a butterfly, swan or child’s pose with a lemur doing the perfect balancing act on her back, climbing along her outstretched arms or legs, sitting on her shoulders, or using her head to catapult itself into a nearby oak tree, that is, until last year when she heard it was actually a thing. “One of my yoga instructors just casually said, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to go teach my lemur yoga class now,’ and I was like, ‘I’m sorry, what?’” Irene recalls, adding that when her teacher told her more about it, her response was: “I must do this!” The class Irene attends periodically is offered at 10 a.m. every Saturday at the Chase Animal Rescue Sanctuary, a not-for-profit animal rescue facility and safe haven in Webster for critically endangered primates, and other rare and exotic rescues in need of care and rehabilitation. Owners Nina and Donna Vassallo, who started Chase Rescue 14 years ago, say the facility runs solely on donations. Because donations are sometimes hard to come by, however, they began offering private tours and various types of classes

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Photos taken by Nicole Hamel.

involving unique animal encounters, including Lemur Yoga. The class fees are used solely for operating expenses, and although the classes are intended to promote health and wellness, they are also utilized as a platform for raising awareness about the critically endangered state of ruffed lemurs and cotton-top tamarins, the illegal capture and pet trading of exotic animals, deforestation, slash and burn agriculture, etc., and what people can do to help. At the same time, Nina says the classes benefit humans in more ways than one. “We set up under the oak trees, out in nature, so that the lemurs will come eat, and so they can climb up in the trees and play, and it’s really a serene experience for everyone,” Nina says. Irene appreciates the serenity, and says she’s really gotten a lot out of the class. “When I came here and experienced it for the first time, a curious little lemur touched my hand, and it felt so soft and sweet. It was like connecting with nature in a way that was so different than going to a zoo and seeing an animal from afar,” Irene says. “Interacting with lemurs is incredible, it feels magical and I never get tired of it, and that’s how I feel about practicing yoga too, so the classes here are a good mix.” Penny Dittbrenner, a longtime certified yoga instructor who teaches at Chase, says the benefits of yoga, which include breathing, stretching and quieting of the mind, are enhanced by the addition of lemurs because they induce happiness.

Nina Vassallo

“I THINK THAT PRACTICING WITH THE LEMURS ADDS AN ELEMENT OF JOY AND WONDER AND NOBODY HAS A BAD CLASS.” —PENNY DITTBRENNER

Donna Vassallo

Penny says in turn, happiness, like eating right and exercising, has its own positive health benefits, too. “In addition to the benefits of yoga in general, I think that practicing with the lemurs adds an element of joy and wonder and nobody has a bad class,” Penny says, explaining that the classes she teaches are good for beginners or more advanced students alike, and that students can choose to participate in every pose or sit out at any time to interact with or feed the animals. Nina says the animals are never forced to participate either and they can roam freely from mat-to-mat mimicking poses, look for food from students provided by the sanctuary, run around and play, or return to their habitat. “Even if you don’t do the yoga, those lemurs just bring so much joy to everybody. The smiles are radiant and everybody just has such a good time,” Penny adds. “It’s really relaxing as well, because when you’re that happy, your body and your mind are naturally relaxed.” Julie Hanson, a 40-year fitness instructor, with eight years under her belt as a yoga instructor, also teaches at the rescue. Julie says she sees yoga as a very healthy practice that benefits people by improving their posture, balance, strength, breath, relaxation and movement, plus it’s a practice that brings spirituality into people’s lives. Julie says practicing yoga outside among nature, and with the lemurs, takes the experience to a whole other level. She also

Kim Schaub

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BODY

says before she started teaching at Chase, she’d heard of goat, cat, alpaca and even dog yoga, but never yoga with lemurs. Regardless, Julie says she’s noticed that every student leaves her class with more bounce in their step than when they arrived. “Nobody knows each other, everyone’s at their own level of yoga, but the lemurs bond the class together,” Julie says. “The lemurs add so much to the experience and there’s nothing like it, unless you go to Madagascar or something. You’ll go home and talk for hours about your experience with these cute, curious, soft, funny

little animals.” But there’s more. After realizing how popular the Lemur Yoga classes have remained week after week for the past two years since having introduced them, Nina and Donna put their heads together and came up with other options to benefit residents and guests alike. Other classes/events Chase Rescue now offers include Painting with Primates, a class that allows students to sit outside in nature, and paint on a canvas, while a docile family of Ruffed Lemurs plays all around them, and if lucky, add paw prints to

their masterpieces, and Acoustics in the Afternoons, a gathering where people join the lemurs outside under the the grandfather oaks at the facility for a laid back concert put on by local musicians. People can also book private tours, which include an inside look at the entire 10-acre Chase facility, its mission, and a chance to see the approximate 160 animals who live there, including anteaters,

“THE LEMURS ADD SO MUCH TO THE EXPERIENCE AND THERE’S NOTHING LIKE IT.” —JULIE HANSON


Photos provided by Chase Animal Rescue and Sanctuary.

kangaroos, deer, Patagonian cavy, ruffed lemurs, cotton top tamarins, exotic birds, tortoises, potbellied pigs and more. Last but not least, Sloth Meditation, a class that just started in March, has quickly become wildly popular. The one-hour classes, offered twice a month on Saturday mornings, are held inside the sloth enclosure built specifically to simulate their natural habitat, right down to the tropical temperatures required by Chase’s two resident sloths: Seymour and Sang Mu, both rescues brought to the facility when the people who had them as pets could no longer care for them. Penny leads the classes and according to Nina, makes you feel like you are a sloth slowly moving about in their world; a beneficial visualization since sloths are one of the quietest, most passive, peaceful animals of all. Penny describes the sloth meditation class as soothing and although students are not permitted to touch or take selfies with the sloths, they are able to witness the animals up close and personal as they learn to be one with them. “Students lay down on their mats in this beautiful environment with the sloths doing their own thing around them, and I lead them through what’s called a Nidra meditation, also known as sleep yoga, but it’s a 30-35-minute-long meditation,” Penny says. Penny says comments she frequently hears from students after her class, is that they have never felt so relaxed or peaceful, and that they loved embracing their inner sloth. “It’s a really nice experience and it’s extremely relaxing. In fact, 30 minutes of a Nidra meditation is equal to three hours of deep restorative sleep,” Penny says, explaining that what she does first, is calm the entire physical person, starting with relaxing every part of their bodies, then working her way into relaxing their breathing, then their emotional and mental states. “We relax all the layers of the body, so you get to that place of, I’ll call it bliss, for lack of a better term, where you can totally relax fully,” Penny says. “Then I give them a visualization as if they are a sloth in the rainforest, in a tree, just waking up, moving

from branch to branch, and spotting a glistening rain-drenched leaf, and so on, while encouraging them to close their eyes and take nice deep breaths.” Penny says after she completes their visualizations, and guides students back into their human body and to a fully awake state, they tend to feel refreshed and new. “People say they love it and that it’s just wonderful. I have some tell me that they fell asleep half way through it, or were in and out of a sleep state, which is very common,” Penny says. “I had a woman tell me she hadn’t relaxed that deeply in like six years.” Penny says she encourages people, even if they’ve never done it, to try yoga or the Nidra meditation because the benefits of both are great, especially with the fun element of animal encounters that go along with them at Chase Rescue. “These are two of my favorite classes I teach because I get to see the joy on people’s faces and their smiles when at the sanctuary,” Penny says. “Also, I love that Nina and Donna try to keep everything they do out there Zen and beneficial for the animals as well as for guests.” Nina says Chase Animal Rescue abides by what’s known as the WAZA guidelines

for responsible and ethical animal/visitor interactions no matter the experience. For details about those guidelines, for more information about the rescue and the classes, or to donate, call 352.988.8014, visit chasesanctuary.org or follow them on Facebook by visiting @ChaseRescueSanctuary.

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Your chance to vote for the people, places, and businesses of Lake & Sumter counties that make this the best place to live, work, and play begins now! Place your votes at:

lakeandsumterstyle.com VOTING ENDS JULY 15

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menu FOOD. DRINKS. REVIEWS.

A cozy, intimate setting, as well as fresh-from-scratch food, await diners eager to enjoy a finedining experience at Root & Branch bistro + bar.


IN THE KITCHEN

RECIPE

SMOKIN’ HOT SUMMER COOKING Home Chef Michael Gaulin shares his favorite summertime BBQ secrets. STORY AND PHOTOS: CINDY PETERSON

here’s nothing like a hot summer day, cool drink in your hand and the smell of something cooking on the grill all while kicking it back with a group of friends and family. At least, that’s what summer is all about for Leesburg resident Michael Gaulin. “When I think of summer, I think about sitting outside by the pool, grilling up something good and playing corn hole or horseshoes,” Michael says. “I’ll throw something good on the smoker like burgers, chicken, pork or ribs, depending on how many people are there.” But Michael takes his cooking to a new level by bringing new flavors together and taking the original recipe and making it his own. We sat down with Michael to find out more about his love of cooking and to get a few tips on how you too, can have a smokin’ hot summertime meal.”


S PAT C H C O C K C H I C K E N INGREDIENTS

1

whole chicken

FOR THE BRINE

/

12

teaspoon Kosher salt per pound

FOR BBQ RUB

/

34

cup packed brown sugar

34

/

cup white sugar

14

/

cup paprika

14

/

cup chili powder

14

/

cup garlic powder

2

tbs ground black pepper

2

tbs ginger powder

2

tbs onion powder

2

tbs ground sage

FOR SPICY RUB

2

tbs paprika

2

tbs chili powder

2

tbs ground black pepper

2

tbs cayenne pepper

1

tbs ground sage

1

tbs garlic powder

1

tbs onion powder

DIRECTIONS

Remove spine with kitchen scissors. Break the breastbone so the chicken lays flat. Clip ends of the wings. Trim the fat. Lay the chicken flat down and add coarse kosher salt to the meat. Store in the fridge for 24 hours. Preheat smoker to 325 degrees. Remove the meat from the fridge and let it get to room temperature. Add desired amount of rub. Place on smoker and cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Once it reaches the target temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes before cutting.

Q&A What’s your earliest memory of cooking? When I was really young, I would cook Hamburger Helper with my mom. My mom worked a lot and my dad didn’t cook, so my siblings and I actually all became really good cooks, probably because we got tired of Hamburger Helper.

What’s a family get-together look like for you? Oh, it’s huge. Our family enjoys getting together and loves food. Since we all cook, we have a table full of food. My brother actually became a chef, so we are always tasting everyone’s dishes to see what they did.

What are some of your go-to recipes on the smoker? Burgers are really good on the smoker, and they’re quick and easy. So is my spatchcock chicken, which has a lot of flavor, but with little effort. People are always surprised by it, especially because of the presentation with it being spatchcock. If I have a bigger group, I’ll do pulled pork. Also, ribs are great for a bigger crowd, but they are much more time consuming. Of all the meats however, probably my favorite to make is steak. I’ve been cooking steaks

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IN THE KITCHEN

“WHEN I THINK OF SUMMER, I THINK ABOUT SITTING OUTSIDE BY THE POOL, GRILLING UP SOMETHING GOOD.” —MICHAEL GAULIN


BAKED BEANS INGREDIENTS

since I was little. My mom would buy them, and as the oldest, I’d cook them for the family. It added a pride factor.

Do you cook professionally? No, I just cook for friends and family. It’s just something I love to do. I like to take recipes and change them to please my palate and people seem to enjoy it. I started making my own cookbook, but when finished, it would just be for me and my family.

Do you have any tips for cooking meats on the smoker? Allowing the meat to get to room temperature before smoking it is a key step many people miss. Then after it’s done on the smoker, let it rest for some time before cutting into it, so it has a chance for all the juices to reabsorb. I would say those are the two most important things for getting consistently good results.

When using the smoker, does it matter what type of wood you use? Absolutely. A smoker adds another layer of flavor to the meats and specific meats use specific woods, based on the flavor you want. For poultry, I’ll use wood from a fruit tree like applewood, but for red meat, I’ll use hickory or mesquite. With pork, I combine fruit and a little bit of hickory or mesquite, but not too much because it can drastically change the flavor.

How long does it take to smoke something? Obviously, every piece of meat is different, but the thing to remember is not to rush it. Not every cut of meat is the same size. Sometimes it’s going to take longer than expected. You can’t just crank up the heat and make it finish faster. It’s a process, and you have to be flexible.

1

can of onion Bushes baked beans

1

can of country style Bushes baked beans

1

can of Rotel (Original or Mild) BBQ sauce of choice

DIRECTIONS

Combine all cans of beans and Rotel into a baking dish. Add 2-3 Tbs of BBQ sauce and mix. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

How do you know when what you are cooking is done? Everything has its own own internal temperature goal. Make sure whatever meat you are cooking gets up to its targeted temperature by using an instant read thermometer. But don’t check it too often, every time you open the smoker, it releases the heat built up inside and increases the time you spend cooking.

Is there a certain type of smoker you prefer? I use a pellet fed smoker because it keeps a consistent level of heat with little effort. It takes a lot more skill and patience to be consistent on a more traditional smoker.

The meat is done, now what? Remember to let your meats rest before cutting them, that’s very important, so use that time to finish up any side dishes you’ll be including, like potato salad, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, corn on the cob or coleslaw, and then, enjoy your meal!

M AC A N D C H E E S E INGREDIENTS

3-4 cups elbow macaroni 1

package (16 oz) Velveeta block cheese

1

cup of your favorite shredded cheese

1

pint of heavy whipping cream

/

cup milk

13

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Cook pasta according to packaging. Drain. Cut Velveeta into cubes. Stir cheeses in a pot over low heat with the milk and heavy whipping cream. Add salt to taste. Add noodles into cheese. Stir until mixed. Put in a 13x9 cooking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes until top is golden.

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

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FORK ON THE ROAD

REVIEW

A WORLD OF FLAVOR At Root and Branch, Chef AJ Kraft’s goal is making people’s taste buds happy with delicious cuisine options. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

s a kid growing up, AJ Kraft remembers cooking for his parents, and as a teenager, landing his first restaurant job as a dishwasher, though it didn’t last long. AJ was soon promoted to fry cook and once he got a taste of cooking for others, there was no quenching his appetite. “It just stuck,” AJ says, adding that, “Cooking was under my skin at that point, and now it’s in my blood.” Fast forward through several chef gigs at different restaurants over the years, and a missed Thanksgiving with his wife and family that was the final straw as far as working for others, and you’ll find AJ in the kitchen as chef of Root and Branch bistro + bar, a thriving Clermont restaurant he and his wife Dana Kraft own and operate. “One of my dreams was owning my own restaurant and we’re very proud of what we’ve been able to do,” AJ says, explaining that the concept for their place was inspired by a farm-to-table restaurant called District Table and Bar in south Florida he worked at briefly, and ABC Kitchen in New York, a casual fine dining, farm-to-table restaurant he visited and loved. “Both places inspired me, but when I ate at ABC Kitchen, I was kind of like, “Wow, I’d like a restaurant like this one day,” so we made it happen. They had a great style and we wanted to exemplify that,” says AJ of opening Root and Branch, which he

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AJ Kraft


“THAT’S WHAT ROOT AND BRANCH STANDS FOR; IT’S AN AMERICAN ENGLISH PHRASE MEANING ALL ENCOMPASSING.” —AJ KRAFT

describes as a casual fine dining restaurant that serves modern American farm-totable style cuisine, but with a European and Southern twist. “We wanted to bring refined, but comfortable food to Clermont,” he adds. The menu, changed periodically to introduce people to new flavor profiles, includes dishes like Truffle Cacio Pepe, a Roman pasta dish, the Italian-inspired Spring Carbonara, Shrimp and Grits, Nashville Hot Chicken Confit, White Bean Hummus, Steak Tartare (French), Crab Cakes, Fried Green Tomatoes, a wonderful take on an all-American staple the menu lists as THE Burger, soups, salads, and much more. Every dish is made using the freshest ingredients possible and completely from-scratch. AJ and his team shuck and fire roast their own corn for certain recipes, hand cut their fries, hand butcher their pork chops, and even make their own pickles. Additionally, AJ, who studied business and sociology in college, has incorporated what his marketing teacher deemed the perfect recipe for an all-around enjoyable dining experience: great food, great customer service, a great location and a great atmosphere. “That’s what Root and Branch stands for; It’s an American English phrase meaning all encompassing,” AJ says.

Upon walking into Root and Branch, Style Photographer Nicole and I were impressed by the beautiful dining room, complete with white linen tablecloths and cloth napkins. After being seated, we were served some of Chef AJ’s favorite dishes, starting with the Steak Tartare and Crab Cakes. I felt a little out of my comfort zone when the Tartare was brought out, because I didn’t realize the meat and egg in the dish would be raw. But after trying a bite with the accompanying crustinis, I was surprised at how flavorful the steak was, and how it seemed almost tender versus raw. We tried AJ’s crab cakes next and ate every bite of the perfectly seasoned and seared patties served atop a very delicious miso corn puree and with a mini roasted corn and radish salad. “Usually, crab cakes are served on top of just lettuce, so the salad and puree really added to the dish,” Nicole says of how the appetizer was plated. Our very favorite tastes of the day, however, were the superbly cooked, and very much ‘to die for’ bone-in Pork Chops, served with crispy on the outside, soft on the inside fingerling potatoes, and a fantastic cream corn ragu we couldn’t get enough of, and the Grand Marnier Crème Brulee, a deliciously creamy custard, served

in a ramekin with a perfectly caramelized Grand Marnier-enhanced sugar topping. “I could eat this all day,” Nicole says. If visiting Root and Branch, know that it’s only open for dinner, except for Sundays, when it offers a plated brunch, and separate menu that includes items like Eggs Benedict, a French Omelet, breakfast sandwiches, salads, Shrimp and Grits, Steak Rancheros, and various desserts. Root and Branch also offers a half-off burger night on Thursdays, Prime Rib, plus half-off whiskey and wine on Wednesdays and a full bar (beer, liquor, and wine) with a great craft cocktail and boutique wine selection. Overall, AJ says he gets great satisfaction from preparing his recipes for the community and loves it when people try new things. “I like getting people out of their comfort zones and really showing them some good food, especially when they find that it’s something they really like eating,” AJ says. “I’ve always loved food and cooking it is my passion. IF YOU GO

ROOT AND BRANCH BISTRO + BAR 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. # 102, Clermont Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (brunch), Closed Mondays 352.708.4529 rootandbranchbistroandbar.com

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

ROXANNE BROWN

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DINING GUIDE

dine

OUT

From classic diners and lakeside restaurants to fine dining and everything in-between, Lake County’s culinary scene is booming. Your favorite meal is sure to be served with a side of hospitality. Denotes locations where you can find Lake & Sumter Style

A S TAT U L A Race Car Diner 25641 Monroe St. 352.253.6940 ASTOR Blackwater Inn 55716 Front St. 352.759.3802 Castaways Restaurant 23525 US SR 40 352.759.2213 Sparky’s Place Restaurant 24646 SR 40 352.759.3551 Williams Landing 55716 Front St. 352.759.2802 BUSHNELL Beef ‘O’ Brady’s 2586 W CR 48 352.568.7000 Darryl’s Diner 2237 W CR 48 352.444.2318 Howie’s Family Restaurant 840 N. Main St. 352.793.8582 TJ’s Family Restaurant 412 W. Belt Ave 352.793.8877 CLERMONT Akina Sushi Bar & Asian Fusion Bistro 4300 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.8988

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Cheeser’s Palace Café 707 W. Montrose St. 352.404.9431

Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.243.1118

Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 157 Hwy. 27 352.394.1225

Clermont Brewing Co. 750 W Desoto 321.430.2337

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

EUSTIS

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

Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill 230 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.394.0036

Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.7808

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

Devenney’s Irish Pub 16909 High Grove Blvd. 352.432.3925 El Cerro Restaurant 811 W. Hwy. 50 352.241.9884 Friar Tuck 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd. 352.404.6818 G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900

Root and Branch Bistro and Bar 1200 Seaver Dr. 352.708.4529 Sanctuary Ridge Bar & Grille 2601 Diamond Club Road 352.243.0411 Sarah’s Greek Cuisine & More 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd., Ste. 305 352.404.8031

Gators Dockside 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.242.1825

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

Goomba’s Pizzeria 2395 S. Hwy 27 352.989.4403

The Outpouring Coffee 2560 E. Hw.y 50 352.989.4406

Green Mountain Pizza 303 Hwy. 50 352.432.3380

Troy’s Cuban Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295

Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Hwy. 27 352.241.9884

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

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

Tillie’s Tavern & Grill 31 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.602.7929

La Hacienda Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.3910

Tony’s Pizza & Subs 2760 E. Orange Ave. 352.589.9001

Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.2718

F RU I T L A N D PA R K

L A DY L A K E

Fruitland Park Café 3180 US Hwy. 441/27 352.435.4575 ibar-be-que Express 3170 Hwy. 27 352.315.4227 Legends Cafe 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.728.0006 Mystic Ice Cream 1217 W. Miller Blvd. 352.812.1366

Jeannie’s Place 209 E. Gottsche Ave. 352.359.0027

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

Gators Dockside 15241 US Hwy 441 352.357.1255

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

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

Stavro’s 3223 US Hwy. 441 352.315.0028

LaCabana Mexican Bar and Grill 2060 S. Bay St. 352.357.4600 Nalan Sultan Mediterranean Grill 1 N. Eustis St. 352.357.4444 NightOwl Caribbean Restaurant 929 S. Bay St. 352.589.0256 Stavro’s & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. CR 44 352.589.9100 Taki’s Pizza House 2824 S. Bay St. 352.357.0022 Thai Sushi America 925 N. Bay St. 352.357.1949

H OW EY- I N THE -HILLS

The Rose Plantation 200 Rose Ave., Fruitland Park 352.805.4340 G R OV E L A N D Coyote Rojo 214 W. Broad St. 352.557.8999 Ikaho Sushi Japanese Restaurant 7965 SR 50, #900 352.557.8988 James Barbeque 262 W. Orange St. 352.557.4050 Lil Anthony’s Pizza 7965 SR 50 352.429.7499 Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. SR 33 352.429.2997

Bamboo Bistro 700 Hwy. 441 352.750.9998 El Ranchito 1 Lagrande Blvd. 352.750.3335 Harbor Hills Country Club 6538 Lake Griffin Rd. 352.753.7000 Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 504 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.753.2722 OakWood Smokehouse & Grill 860 S. Hwy 27/441 352.751.5640 Takis Greek and Italian Restaurant 13761 U.S. Hwy. 441 N. 352.430.3630 LEESBURG Breakfast Station 2229 Citrus Blvd. 352.315.0291 Brooklyn’s Pizzeria 27405 US Highway 27 352.728.2020 Coffee Snob 1101 W. North Blvd. 352.460.4570 Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442 Donut King 708 S. 14th St. 352.805.4888 El Ranchito Mexican Cuban Restaurant 911 W. North Blvd. 352.314.9339 Frank’s Place 201 N. 1st St. 352.323.1989

Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 CR 44 352.365.2177 God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447 Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St. 352.474.2739 HP Grill 1403 S. 14th St. 352.314.0006 Ichiban Buffet 10301 Hwy. 441 352.728.6669 Kountry Kitchen 1008 W. Dixie Ave. 352.323.0852 La Palma Mexican Grill 1690 Citrus Blvd. 352.323.1444 Lilly’s Super Subs 2339 CR 473 352.343.4663 Magnolia’s Oyster Bar 201 W. Magnolia St. 352.323.0093 Main Street Cantina 205 W. Main St. 352.435.7279 Mamma Mia Pizza 755 North 14th St. 352.326.0101 Mammoth Oak Brewing Company 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.326.0100 Mrs. T’s Place, Southern Restaurant 305 Pine St. 352.431.3217 Mystic Ice Cream 314 W. Main St. 352.812.1366 Naples Italian Restaurant 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.323.1616 Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill 2775 U.S. 27 352.435.4633 Pine Street Bar-B-Que 408 Pine St. 352.728.1293 Plantation Oaks Restaurant 4720 Plantation Blvd. 352.530.2680 Ramshackle Café 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565


Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 US Hwy. 27 352.319.8093 San Jose’s Original Mexican Restaurant 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174 Sully’s Smokehouse 10820 CR 44 352.483.7427 Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344 The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717 The Brick & Barrel Public House 209 W. Main St. 352.431.3069 The Old Time Diner 1350 W. North Blvd. 352.805.4250 The Ranch 10601 US 441, C12 352.901.6193 Turners 114 S. 5th St. 352.530.2274 Wolfy’s 918 N. 14th St. 352.787.6777

Anthony’s Pizza 17195 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.357.6668 Barnwood Country Kitchen & Smokehouse 3725 W. Old US Hwy 441 352.630.4903 Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St. 352.383.4101 Café Gianni 425 N. Alexander St. 352.735.3327 Cody’s on 4th Cafe 111 E. 4th Ave. 352.735.8426 Copacabana Cuban Cafe 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000 Fiesta Grande 421 N. Baker St. 352.385.3540 Frog & Monkey English Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352. 383.1936 Highland Street Café 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446 Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444

MASCOTTE

J.K. Thai Garden 116 E. 5th Ave. 352.385.4700

Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500

Let’s Do Lunch 426 N. Donnelly St. 352.735.4577

Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093

Magical Meat Boutique 322 N. Alexander St. 352.729.6911

MINNEOLA

Mount Dora Pizza & Subs 2718 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.5303

Lil Anthony’s Pizza 205 N. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.1516 Minneola Grill 117 W. Washington St. 352.394.2555 Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 The Surf Bar and Grill 650 N. Hwy. 27 202.527.0100

Olive Branch Grille 115 W. 3rd St. 352.729.6734 One Flight Up 440 N. Donnelly St., Ste. 100 352.735.1446 Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave. 352.385.2669

Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232

PizzAmore’ 722 E. 5th Ave. 352.383.0092

MOUNT DORA

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

1921 Mount Dora 142 E. Fourth Ave. 352.385.1921

Lake House Bar & Grill 315 N. Highland St. 352.735.7433

Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 CR 448 352.343.6823

Sugarboo’s Bar-B-Que 1305 N. Grandview St. 352.735.7675

O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and Restaurant 115 S Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157

The Bavarian Haus 433 N. Alexander St. 352.735.8387 The Country Club 1900 Country Club Blvd. 352.735.2263 The Goblin Market 331-B Donnely St. 352.735.0059 The Pizza Shop 925 E. First Ave. 352.735.3411 Vincent’s Italian Restaurant 5914 Orange Blossom Trl. 352.735.4578

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

China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965

RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.5272

Chop House at Lake Sumter 1045 Old Camp Rd. 352.750.6000

Ricciardi’s Italian Table 3660 Kiessel Rd. 352.391.9939

Evans Prairie Country Club 1825 Evans Prairie Trail 352.750.2225

Sakura 265 Colony Blvd. 352.205.7393

Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 297 Colony Blvd 352.751.0400

The Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille 925 Lakeshore Dr. 352.753.7800

Giovanni’s 3439 Wedgewood Lane 352.751.6674

Tierra Del Sol Country Club 806 San Marino Dr. 352.753.8005

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

Whale’s Tale Fish House 2720 W. Old U.S. Hwy 441 352.385.1500

Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill 118 W Ruby St., Tavares 352.508.5783

Hemingway’s at Havana Country Club 2484 Odell Circle 352.430.3200

OX F O R D

THE V I L L AG E S

Pho Saigon 11707 N. US Hwy. 301 352.492.9423

Amelia’s 1105 Lake Shore Drive 352.750.8265

Legacy Restaurant 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475

SORRENTO

Amerikano’s Grill 998 Del Mar Dr. 352.633.8027

Del Franco’s Pizza 31436 CR 437 352.383.8882 Lisa’s Kountry Cafe 23911 CR 46 352.735.3380 TAVA R E S Bella Nona Pizzeria 280 Silverado St. 352.508.9370 BTW (Burgers, Tacos & Waffles) 115 E. Main St. 352.508.9287 Fish Camp Lake Eustis 901 Lake Shore Blvd. 352.742.4400 Hurricane Dockside Grill 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.508.5137 Kalua Hale Beach Bar 181 S. Joanna Ave. 352.609.5910 Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313

Belle Glade Country Club 446 Moyer Loop 352.205.8208

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

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

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

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

Greg’s Haystax 526 Umatilla Blvd. 352.669.1555

NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994

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

Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627

Orange Blossom Country Club 1542 Water Tower Circle 352.751.4501

Shang Hai Restaurant 531 N. Central Ave. 352.669.2004

Chengs Chinese Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678

Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.750.4499

The Mason Jar 37534 State Rd. 19 352.589.2535

BlueFin Grill & Bar 2738 Brownwood Blvd. 352.571.5344

W I L DWO O D

Hurricane Dockside Grill

GOOD GRUB

THIS MONTH'S EDITOR'S PICK

You don’t have to travel far to find a beach-like experience at a restaurant. At Hurricane Dockside Grill in Tavares, just dine under the large outdoor tiki hut while sipping an ice-cold beer and enjoying spectacular views of Dead River. Of course, there are plenty of great food options, as well. Consider the cleverly named “Smothered Burgerito,” the irresistible “Tropical Mahi Mahi,” or the taste bud-pleasing “Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich.” Other menu items include sandwiches, tacos and quesadillas, and beach bowls such as “Calypso Seafood.” Enjoy a taste of paradise at Hurricane Dockside Grill! 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd., Tavares / 352.508.5137

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DINING GUIDE

El Ranchito Mexican Cuban Restaurant

Sun – Sat 11:00am – 10:00pm

911 W. NORTH BLVD., LEESBURG | 352.460.0123 ELRANCHITOMEXICANCUBAN.COM Since opening in 1997, El Ranchito has been the go-to place for Lake Countians who desire delicious Mexican food. Although the restaurant was closed for nearly two years due to the coronavirus, El Ranchito’s Leesburg location officially reopened in December 2021. The restaurant is now named El Ranchito Mexican Cuban and serves genuine Mexican cuisine and a variety of Cuban entrees with entertainment on Tuesdays and Saturdays! The menu features many of the favorite dishes diners have grown to love over the years, as well as new dishes. Consider the Molcajete Caliente featuring your choice of meats grilled with onion, potato, and bell pepper, topped with cheese and salsa verde. Or try the Bistec de Palomilla with thin-sliced steak with onions and parsley that comes with a signature steak sauce. El Ranchito fans will appreciate the remodeled restaurant, which now includes a 50-seat outside patio. Despite the changes, the food remains as scrumptious as ever. Enjoy amigos!

Guru Restaurant CLERMONT HILLSIDE TERRACE, 2400 S. U.S. 27, SUITE 101, CLERMONT 352.241.9884 | GURURESTAURANTCLERMONT.COM Owned by Chef Uday Kadam, Guru has a following of fans who savor the delicious, award-winning Indian cuisine inside the restaurant’s beautiful dining room filled with Indian décor and tables with linen tablecloths. Guru earned the prestigious Best Entrée award at the 2021 Taste of South Lake & Business Expo for its Chicken Tikka Masala, featuring boneless chicken pieces cooked in a Tandoor oven with tomato sauce, onion, aromatic herbs, spices, and served with Basmati rice. Guru also has tasty appetizers, Naan breads, vegan dishes, and a wide array of entrees, including Palak Paneer, a dish of homemade cubes of cheese cooked with spinach and fresh spices; Lamb Vindaloo of choice lamb cubes marinated in vinegar with potato and a blend of spices; and Tandoori Chicken Tikka, where the chicken is marinated in mild spices and yogurt. Additionally, Indian alcoholic beverages of Taj Mahal and Kingfisher are served at Guru, and the restaurant caters private functions, parties, and provides many delivery options for orders made online at mygurutogo.com.

La Palma Mexican Grill The entire staff invites you to a delicious dining experience at La Palma Mexican Grill. The recipes used for the restaurant’s unique dishes are a blend of old-school traditions from Mexico, combined with culinary inspirations from California and Louisiana. Homemade Mexican entrees such as Tacos Azteca, carnitas, fajitas, Chori Pollo, tamales and more, are flavorful and prepared with only the freshest of ingredients. Sit comfortably in the beautiful dining room, the festive bar, or outside on the patio deck with a serene view of the grounds and of the fun wild animals that can be spotted in the trees. Enjoy fast and friendly service, reasonable prices, three-for-one margaritas all day, every day, and a party room, available by reservation, for large parties or meetings. Full menu at lapalmagrill.com. AK! Call for daily specials. BWWAA ’clock It’s five ohere! somew

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Visit our Villages location! El Ranchito Restaurant 1 La Grande Blvd, The Villages 352.750.3335

Monday through Saturday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday Noon to 6 p.m.

Open Daily 11am–9pm

1690 CITRUS BLVD., LEESBURG | 352.323.1444 | LAPALMAGRILL.COM

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Follow us on Facebook for daily specials and entertainment!

Lunch Specials 11am–3pm

Margarita Mondays! Enjoy $5 margaritas all day every Monday.


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

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

Full Gluten-Free Menu

Open Daily 11am-9pm

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

Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 352.753.2722 | 304 US-441, LADY LAKE Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant in Lady Lake has the distinct honor of calling itself a true family-owned restaurant. In fact, five generations of family members have represented the restaurant since its humble beginnings in May 1962. As many generations of customers have dined there throughout the years thanks to the outstanding service and scrumptious dishes such as Spaghetti a la Bruzzi, Delmonico steak, and lasagna. This food savvy family prepares everything from scratch, crafting everything with love to satisfy your taste buds.

Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 U.S HIGHWAY 27, LEESBURG | 352.319.8093 | RODELLOS.COM Chef Amadeo Avila invites you to enjoy authentic and fresh Italian cuisine in a friendly, comfortable dining environment at Rodello’s Italian Restaurant. The recipes used for his dishes are a blend of old-school traditions from Italy—the restaurant is named for a city in the old country—with new culinary inspirations that Chef Amadeo has learned during many years in the restaurant business. Flavorful, homemade Italian entrees such as Pistachio Crusted Lamb, Salmon Saltimbocca, Lobster Ravioli, Shrimp Risotto, and many others are classics and prepared with only the freshest ingredients. The lunch menu features personal pizzas, calzones, subs, and pasta. Sit in the spacious dining room or enjoy drinks or desserts like delicious gelato in the cozy lounge, which features a full bar, wine menu, and an array of specialty cocktails. Always look for new features on Chef Amadeo’s menu, available on the restaurant’s website, Rodellos.com.

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DINING GUIDE

Subway SUBWAY.COM LADY LAKE | 208 W. GUAVA ST. | 352.750.4929 EUSTIS | 469 PLAZA DR. | 352.357.7827 MOUNT DORA | 18870 U.S. HWY. 441 | 352.735.4376 LEESBURG | 2013 CITRUS BLVD. | 352.787.6442 10135 U.S. HWY. 441, SUITE 4 | 352.326.3234 27405 U.S. HWY. 27, SUITE 4 | 352.314.8847

Custom-made, fresh sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads made right before your eyes. The “healthy” alternative to fast food.

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

Live Entertainment: Friday-Saturday 4:30 p.m. to close

The Rose Plantation

Lunch: Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

200 ROSE AVE, FRUITLAND PARK | 352.805.4340 THEROSEPLANTATION.COM Enjoy an early 20th Century dining experience at The Rose Plantation, located in a home built in 1917. This charming and delightful restaurant on Fountain Lake serves up outstanding dishes with a side of elegant ambiance, starting with the glass-enclosed garden room and veranda, eclectic china, live piano, fine silverware, linen tablecloths, and the rose garden out front. The chefs are given creative freedom to make memorable dishes such as grilled scallops, half-roasted duck with sweet potato mash, rack of lamb, and crab cakes with cauliflower puree, black bean, corn relish, and key-lime avocado crema. All dishes are upscale in both quality and presentation. Customers can also choose from 140 varietals of wine. The restaurant, which seats 128 guests, includes private dining rooms for small parties. Four additional dining rooms will be added within one year.

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Open 7 Days a week: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday Taking reservations from 4:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Visit Florida’s Largest Winery Free Winery Tours & Wine Tasting Daily Mon - Sat 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Sun 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Live Music, Wine, Beer & Food!

Sat & Sun 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

For More Information Visit www.LakeridgeWinery.com 19239 US 27 North • Clermont, FL 34715 • 352-394-8627 • 1-800-768-WINE


VOTED BE COUNTI ST FRIES IN L AKE AN ES BY S D TYLE M AGAZIN SUMTER E

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URG | O PEN DA I L Y 11 A M -9

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IES.CO

W I N N E R 2021

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M


16TH ANNUAL

Stepping Out For

Education

LOCAL CELEBRITIES COMPETE ON THE BALLROOM FLOOR

Jaime Bach

Lori Myers

Shaunna Purdy

Owner, Assistant Principal, Owner, Jaime & Company Sorrento Elementary Kurt’s A/C & Heat Real Estate

David Helton

Jimmy Adams

Tyrell Rachel

Administrator, Law offices of Pamela J. Helton

Project Manager, Electric Services, Inc.

Trainer/Coach Infinity Fitness

TWO FULL PERFORMANCES!

s t e k Friday, July 29, 2029 or tic 0 6pen beer Saturday, July 30, 2022 $1 o urse ludes inc r, 4 co a b e n & wi inner and d a vote

Mission Inn • Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida

FOR TICKETS: https://edfoundationlake.ticketspice.com/stepping-out-for-education-2022

Presented by

or Call 352-326-1265

Sponsored by

BOWEN|SCHROTH Bowen, Schroth, Mazenko, & Broome, P.A. Attorneys at Law

Attorney James Myers Hosted by

HOST HOTEL MISSION INN $145 + RESORT FEE

ONLINE TICKET ORDERING:

https://edfoundationlake.ticketspice.com/ stepping-out-for-education-2022

Benefiting the teachers and students in Lake County Schools


W Live

pain free

Know your options

W

hat causes hip or knee pain?

Injury, over-use, or lack of use can cause

short-term pain. However, if the pain lasts longer than a few weeks, seek medical advice. Arthritis is the single greatest cause of chronic hip and knee pain, and disability in America.

Treating arthritis If you suffer from one or more of the symptoms above, see your doctor. Although there is no cure for arthritis, the earlier you seek treatment, the more options you will have. Your doctor may suggest the following: •

Physical therapy to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion

24% of all adults have arthritis (CDC, Nov 2021)

Symptoms of arthritis

Topical solutions to reduce joint aches and pains

Anti-inflammatory or pain reducing drugs, such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)

Corticosteroid injections

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Surgical options for arthritis Decreased/limited

When lifestyle changes and medicine aren’t enough,

range of motion

surgery may be the recommended option. Today,

Warmth and/or

through a select few orthopedic surgeons, patients

Swelling around

redness around

have the opportunity of in or outpatient hip or knee

the joint

the joint

surgery, as well as advanced surgical techniques for

Chronic pain

Joint stiffness

Joint tenderness

performing the surgery. These advanced techniques allow surgeons to personalize the procedure and optimize patient outcomes.


Advances in surgical techniques and technology allow hip and knee replacement patients to recover faster and with less risk Advances in hip and knee replacement treatment options including implant design, pain and blood loss management, as well as minimally invasive surgical techniques are producing fewer complications, fewer infections, greater satisfaction, and shorter recovery times. Innovative 3D preoperative planning technology allows surgeons to make patient-specific bone cutting templates that determine which implant size, position and alignment is best suited for individual patients. ADVANCED TECHNIQUE IN KNEE REPLACEMENT:

Unicompartmental approach

Today, orthopedic surgeons can provide equal or better clinical and functional outcomes to patients suffering from arthritis utilizing a “partial” or unicompartmental approach. This minimally invasive surgery utilizes a smaller incision and, unlike a total knee replacement, only resurfaces the damaged bone and cartilage. All the knee’s ligaments and tendons, along with their muscles are left undisturbed while the knee is returned to its predisease state, leading to a more natural feeling knee. If a total knee replacement is necessary, the kinematic alignment approach is the only approach that returns the knee to its pre-diseased alignment, balance, and orientation. It allows a surgeon to reestablish the knees rotational axes. By using instruments that put the knee in its most natural position the need for ligament releases is eliminated. Patients who have had this procedure after a conventional knee replacement say it feels more like their natural knee and less artificial.

ADVANCED TECHNIQUE IN TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENT:

Direct anterior approach

The direct anterior approach to total hip replacement is a minimally invasive surgery to replace the hip joint without cutting through any muscles or releasing any tendons. A traditional hip replacement involves cutting or splitting the major muscles around the hip to access the hip joint. This leads to extended healing times and dislocation precautions. With an anterior hip replacement, patients enjoy a more rapid initial recovery, utilize narcotics less, and return to work and sporting activities faster than with a conventional or posterior hip approach.

99% of patients walk out and go home 90 minutes after surgery, learn how:

(352) 973-4070 www.UNOVAHipAndKnee.com


P EO P L E L OV E M A G A Z I N E S

PRINT 84% of what audience says they are more engaged when reading a print magazine than with any other form of content?

What % of US adults say they read magazines in the last 6 months?

18-64 YEARS OF AGE

THE HIGHEST OF ALL TIME

who regularly read one or more magazines.

This even includes 93% of those under 35 and 95% of those under 25.

(Bauer Media)

(GFK MRI)

The average time spent on a website is 2 minutes. What is the average time spent reading a magazine?

(Digital First Content Marketing: the Return of Print - CMO by adobe, 2016)

Of all media, which do US internet users say they trust the most?

69%

61% 25% POP UP ADS

SEARCH

71%

OUTDOOR

76%

RADIO

PRINT ADS

(Nielsen Catalina Solutions, 2015)

80%

CATALOGUES

82%

With a $3.94 return for every $1 spent, a full 50% higher than the $2.63 average ROI from digital display and more than double the $1.52 from digital video.

TV ADS

When more than 1,400 US advertisers were asked which medium offers the highest ROI, which was on top?

MINUTES

(Marketing Sherpa, 2017)

Physical material is more “real” to the brain, invloves more emotional processing, is better connected to memory, with greater internalization of ads—all important for brand associations. (FORBES)


AT

THE

SPONSORED BY

v

JULY 4, 2022 // FESTIVITIES START AT 12P.M. @Venetian Gardens, Leesburg

LAKE COUNTY’S LARGEST FIREWORKS DISPLAY! Fireworks start at 9:15p.m.

FREE FAMILY EVENT • KIDS PLAY ZONE & INFLATABLES Sponsored by

• CONCERT • LIGHTNING BASEBALL • WATER SKI SHOW • FESTIVE FOODS • VENDORS & MORE!

LIVE MUSIC WITH HAYFIRE AT 6:00 PM O U R S P O N S O R S & PA R T N E R S

MAGAZINE


FINAL THOUGHT

CO MMENTARY

Confessions of a political junkie “My name is James, and I’m a pollaholic.” STORY: JAMES COMBS

don’t smoke cigarettes. However, I sympathize with those who cannot quit. I have a terrible habit myself. Every other year when presidential or midterm elections are held, I become a pollaholic. Simply put, I spend too much time examining election polls. I trace my disease’s roots back to college. One of my degrees was in political science. Yes, I jokingly tell everyone I earned a B.S. in BS. I graduated in 2000. That same year, I watched the presidential election and became fascinated by the ensuing 36-day legal battle. The Bush-Gore fiasco was my political coming of age. I’ve paid close attention to every election since then. This year is no exception. Yes, the midterm elections are five months away, but that doesn’t stop me from Googling “latest polls” several times a day or checking the polling averages on the website realclearpolitics.com.

As the election draws closer, my habit likely will increase to a dozen times a day. And while most Americans are sipping their morning coffee, I’m checking to see if any new polls were released between midnight and 7 a.m. I have to remember that different polling methodologies will yield different results. Thus, pollaholics can endure a roller coaster of emotions in a matter of minutes. “And in the latest news, the Rasmussen poll just released has (my candidate) up by four points.” I delude myself. “Yes, that’s the most legitimate poll out there!” Then I flip to another news channel. “The Washington Post-ABC News poll has (my candidate) down two points nationally and trailing in three important battleground states.” I delude myself again. “Meh. That poll samples too many voters from the other party.” Actually, polls can miss the mark. The 2018 governor’s race in Florida between Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum is a great example. Gillum led in 33 of the 36 polls taken between late August and early

November. In fact, one poll released on election eve showed Gillum with a sevenpoint lead. Guess what? DeSantis won by 32,463 votes. Polls also can be predictable. We know a presidential candidate will receive a bounce in the polls after choosing a running mate or speaking at his party’s national convention. Similarly, a gaffe on the campaign trail could temporarily send his poll numbers plummeting. But even if polls are flawed and predictable, dammit, they’re exciting. I mean, when our candidate is leading, it’s validation that our political views are what is best for America. Secondly, I can celebrate and take pleasure in seeing the disappointed faces of those on the other side of the political aisle. Third, I can prematurely envision whom my candidate will nominate for the Supreme Court and how he’s going to handle domestic and foreign affairs. Still, I need help. After the 2022 midterms, I’m going to begin a 12-step program. Hopefully, by the presidential election in 2024, I can stop my addiction cold turkey. I just hope they have patches by then.

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

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JAMES COMBS


A Lasting Memory It is our goal to help you say goodbye to your special friend in the most caring and understanding way.

Lisa Elliott

Crematory Director

“A way to provide the respect and loyalty after death that your pet freely gave in life”

Central Florida Pet Crematory has been serving Lake and Marion Counties since 2002.

352.307.2256 // 10725 SE 36th Ave www.cflpetcrematory.com



COM M I T T E D TO YOUR H EA LT H MEN’S HEALTH WEEK — JUNE 13–19 Did you know that men have the highest rate of death for many common conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes? One of the most powerful ways men can prevent disease is to make the choice for consistent self-care. As we observe Men’s Health Month, our health care teams at UF Health Leesburg Hospital and UF Health The Villages® Hospital encourage you to schedule a checkup with your physician!


We’re here whenever and wherever you need us. Know Where to Go

When you’re sick or injured, do you know the best place to go for treatment? Use the chart below to find the best option for your condition.

Conditions

Centra Care

Family Doctor

Emergency Room

Video Visits

Allergies Asthma Back pain Bronchitis Chest pain (or suspected heart attack) Cough, sore throat, cold, flu or fever Concussion Coughing up blood Cuts (stitches) Diarrhea Difficulty breathing Ear infection Fractures (broken bone, not visible) Fractures (broken bone is visible) Headaches Major head injury Major trauma (sudden physical injury) Minor burns Nausea or vomiting Pink eye Rash (and other skin conditions) Seizure Severe allergic reactions Severe burns Shock Sprains Stroke (suspected) Urinary tract infections

22-SYSTEM-02796

Our network, your care. Visit YourCareStartsHere.com to learn more.