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March 2017

VILLAGES EDITION

DeLuca Toyota, a legendary dealership, 39 years in the making.


BMW of Ocala

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“This is the third Cadillac we’ve purchased from Plaza Cadillac. Each time, I tell them what I want and the price range I’m looking for. They work very well with me. Our salesperson, Lynn Sparks, has excellent communication skills and always treats me right. That’s why I keep coming back.”

PLAZA — PETE AND MARY WALL,

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8893 US HWY 441, LEESBURG, FL 34788 // 352.787.1323 // PLAZACADILLAC.COM


(L–R): GREG YAGER, GENERAL MANAGER; MARY AND PETE WALL; LYNN SPARKS, SALES REPRESENTATIVE


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MY KNEE IS A-OK THANKS TO AOI. For all of our advanced technologies and leading edge breakthroughs in joint repair and replacement, the advancements we at AOI are most proud of are those that our patients make in reclaiming their quality of life. If you are experiencing pain or weakness in a knee, shoulder, or hip and feel it’s time to do something about it, there’s no time like right now. Come see us, we’re here for you.

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“The entire staff treat you tremendously! They are the epitome of professionalism. Before [eyelid surgery] I looked like my father and after, I look like a whole new person. I would recommend Dr. Terpstra to anyone.” — MIKE FLASCH

Over time, gravity can cause your eyelids to sag, get puffy or turn outward, creating vision problems and making your face look more tired and haggard than you feel. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer from disabling and disfiguring eyelid problems, thanks to a safe cosmetic surgery called blepharoplasty. Board Certified Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Shelby Terpstra is highly experienced in cosmetic and reparative blepharoplasty, and has returned clear vision, a refreshed appearance and self-confidence to hundreds of patients. “Most report seeing, looking and feeling better than they have in years,” says Dr. Terpstra. “Blepharoplasty can be truly rejuvenating.” In some cases the surgery is covered by insurance, so call today to schedule an appointment and learn what blepharoplasty can do to improve your vision and your life.

YEARS

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A HISTORY OF BRILLIANT VISION DEFINING THE FUTURE OF EYE CARE

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*Patient and any other person responsible for payment has a right to refuse to pay, cancel payment, or be reimbursed for payment for any other service, examination, or treatment that is performed as a result of and within 72 hrs of responding to ad for the free, discounted fee, or reduced fee service, examination, or treatment.

Dr. Rich

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MARCH 2017 // VOL.13 NO. 5 // F e a t u r e s

38 The Legends of Lake and Sumter Lake and Sumter counties have flourished in Florida’s history due to the people in the area who make things happen. Whether it’s those who preserve the treasures of history, serve in the local government, or raise amazing amounts of money for local charities, they are the leaders who make our towns and cities so great. STORY: LEIGH NEELY, JAMES COMBS, THERESA CAMPBELL

68 One Shining Moment Andrew DeClercq loved playing basketball at the University of Florida, and during his junior year, he helped lead the school to its first Final Four appearance.

Though Stewart Paquette thought he was just going to get a tractor for his grandchildren to ride on, he sparked an interest that continues today. Paquette’s Historical Farmall Museum has an array of beautifully restored tractors and a story for each of them. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI

March 2017

94 Plowing Through The History Of Tractors

DeLuca Toyota, a legendary dealership, 39 years in the making.

VILLAGES EDITION

STORY: JAMES COMBS

On the covers LAKE & SUMTER STYLE PHOTOSHOP: JASON FUGATE VILLAGES EDITION DIRECTION: JASON FUGATE PHOTOGRAPHY: FRED LOPEZ PHOTOSHOP: JOSH CLARK MODEL: FRANK DELUCA

March 2017

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21 I N TH E KNOW

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#Trending Person of Interest Outstanding Student This ‘N That

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ON THE SCENE

74 76 78 80 88 90

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

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

104 106 110 112 116

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

COLUM NS

18 From the Publisher 132 Final Thought

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From The Publisher

C o m m e n t s o r qu e s t i o n s ?

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

elcome to our second edition of Legendary Leaders. We

introduced our first issue last year, and the response to the coverage was overwhelming. So, of course, the natural thing to do was to do it again. However, this year we go a little bit deeper and brought you much more than just our local leaders. We are also highlighting legendary businesses and legendary places throughout our community. At Akers, we believe new ideas and bold thinking are the catalysts of growth. We also believe everyone has the ability to be bold and creative. The difference between ordinary people and legendary people is the ability to communicate ideas. I think back to when we launched our first magazine, Healthy Living. My husband and I developed the concept for this magazine by having a simple conversation. We wanted a magazine that would inspire, educate, and promote a well-balanced lifestyle—a magazine that was not simply about health and fitness. We knew that to live a healthy life, it takes more than just a healthy body. That led us to creating four pillars for the magazine: Mind, Body, Spirit, and Finance. The fact that we brainstormed and didn’t just move forward with a health magazine made all the difference in the world. It made Healthy Living unique. No other health magazine at that time focused on financial health or an overall healthy lifestyle. Thus, Healthy Living has won numerous awards and has maintained the title of “Best Overall Magazine” in the state of Florida for more than seven years. You see, we are just two ordinary people with an idea, but the ability to communicate that idea allowed us to create something extraordinary. Therefore, I challenge you to wake up every day and ask yourself, “What can I do today that will create a better tomorrow?” I also challenge you to dream big! Communicate your dreams and make them a reality. I can assure you that is exactly what the people you read about in this month’s issue did, which made them legends. Be a leader! Until next month,

Kendra Akers

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At You r S e rv i c e

Kendra Akers PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF kendra@akersmediagroup.com Doug Akers VICE PRESIDENT DOUG@AKERSMEDIAGROUP.COM Jamie Ezra Mark CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER jamie@akersmediagroup.com

Hot Off The Press!

Sneak Peek

The latest editions of Lake and Sumter Style, Village Style, Healthy Living and Welcome to Lake County.

Upcoming

TO LAKE COUNTY

DeLuca Toyota, a legendary dealership, 39 years in the making.

March 2017

VILLAGES EDITION

ANDREA VINEYARD

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

Nancy Howell Debbi Kiddy Tom Kubala Gary McKechnie Ron Vandevander

sales // marketing

Tim McRae VICE PRESIDENT, SALES & MARKETING tim@akersmediagroup.com Mike Stegall SENIOR ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE mike@akersmediagroup.com Sylvia Ducote ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE sylvia@akersmediagroup.com

Coming in April:

SPONSORED BY

Editorial // Design // Photography

Diane Dean Mary Ann DeSantis Jessy Flinn Fred Hilton Christopher Holmes

David Coté ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE david@akersmediagroup.com Tina Morrison ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE tina@akersmediagroup.com Melanie Melvin DIRECTOR OF CLIENT SERVICES melanie@akersmediagroup.com

2015-2016 Lake County “Teacher of the Year”

SHOWING SOME CLASS Issues that impact education

PEDAL THROUGH THE HEART OF LAKE COUNTY ON THE COAST-TO-COAST CONNECTOR

Events

Get yours

SUBSCRIPTIONS: Order a subscription of your favorite magazine to be delivered directly to your home for just $72. Each subscription includes 12 consecutive issues of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Style or Healthy Living. Choose 2 or more magazines for $85 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 $7, or 2 or more single issues for $9. To pick up a back issue from our office, please call 24 hours in advance. Digitize your life.

Visit the Apple or Android app store today and download the Lake & Sumter Style or Healthy Living online magazine app for your mobile device.

FIND US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Presented by

Administration

Deb Matlock OFFICE MANAGER deb@akersmediagroup.com Aubrey Akers Shaena Chastain ADVERTISING COORDINATOR RECEPTIONIST aubrey@akersmediagroup.com shaena@akersmediagroup.com distribution

Scott Hegg DISTRIBUTION MANAGER scott.hegg@akersmediagroup.com Lake & Sumter Style is a proud member of

Florida Magazine Association

Leesburg Partnership

Leesburg Tavares Chamber South Lake of Commerce Chamber Chamber of Commerce of Commerce

Sumter County Chamber of Commerce

American Advertising Association

#Jaxon Strong

Creativity at its peak

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 352.787.4112

Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2017 by Akers Media. All rights reserved. Lake & Sumter Style is a registered trademark of Akers Media. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. For back issues or billing information, call 352.787.4112. Return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts and artwork if they are to be returned. Manuscripts are welcomed, but no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. “Paid Promotional Feature” and “Special Promotional Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.

Facebook Stay connected to everything going on

Brandon Buell’s blog about his son, Jaxon, and the positive impact that Jaxon’s life is making around the world.

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March 2017

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

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T H I S ‘ N ’ T H AT

21 In the Know

Make America “spplussh” again. SEE STORY on PG 30

March 2017

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* #I TnR ETNhD eI N GK n o w

Foundation funds new Beacon programs

Leading students into uncharted waters Sometimes, teachers need to think outside the box…and the classroom. Just ask Leesburg High School teacher Tessa Clark. To help her advanced placement (AP) environmental science students prepare for their final exam in May, she is allowing them to test the quality of water at Lake Louisa State Park, Leesburg Canal Street Waste Water Treatment Facility, and Bourlay Historic Nature Park. Tessa secured a $2,000 grant from the Lake County Water Authority and purchased wastewater treatment kits, biological factor kits, nitrate water test kits, and digital soil test kits. Her students tested the water in February.

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Beacon College in Leesburg has received a $50,000 grant from the David R. Clare and Margaret C. Clare Foundation to boost career-readiness programs for students with learning differences (LD) through a residential experience. The grant allows the college to launch its innovative First Career and postgraduate Beacon Certificate programs. “The Clare Foundation has assumed a leadership role in advancing Beacon’s vision of a superior undergraduate institution that will understand an obligation to benefit the society beyond the boundaries of our campus,” says Dr. George J. Hagerty, president of Beacon College. It’s estimated that 20 percent of graduates from Beacon or LD students from other institutions may boost their chances of thriving personally and professionally with a postgraduate-mentored living, learning, and employment program. Participants will get that with First Career, a two-year communal experience, where members live together, engage in service and learning opportunities, and attend weekly group sessions with other residents. They also will work full-time entry-level jobs provided by JP Morgan, JetBlue, Sea World, Disney, and other Beacon national corporate partners.

TAVA R E S

Rock the boat It’s a beautiful March day in Tavares. A great blue heron stands statue-like on the banks of Lake Dora while a great bald eagle spreads its wings and soars overhead. The sun’s rays shine down on shiny, sleek wooden boats displayed in water and on land, stretching as far as the eye can see. This scene becomes reality when the Sunnyland Antique Boat Festival makes its way to Wooton Park March 24-26. More than 200 boats will be displayed, making the event the largest antique and classic boat show on America’s East Coast. The types of boats on display include historic boats built before 1918; antique boats constructed between 1919 and 1942; classic boats built between 1943 and 1975; and contemporary boats manufactured from 1976 to the present.


Garden fair takes root

The sixth annual Landscape and Garden Fair is a free botanical-themed festival filled with activities for the entire family. Slated 9am to 4pm March 25 and 10am to 3pm March 26 at the Lake County Extension Center’s Discovery Gardens, 1951 Woodlea Road, Tavares, the fair is sponsored by Lake County, University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension in Lake County, and Lake County Master Gardeners.

2016 FACERS Award The Florida Association of County Engineers and Road Superintendents (FACERS) awarded Lake County Public Works, and its collaborative team, the recipients of the 2016 State and Local Collaboration Project of the Year for the the Lake County Roundabout Project at County Roads 561 and 455. Pictured (left to right) is Jim Stivender, Lake County Public Works; Tony Nosse, FDOT District V Safety; Richard Atta-Armah, HDR; Brad Bublitz, lead engineer, BESH; Wendy Breeden, Lake County Commissioner; Welton Cadwell, former Lake County Commissioner; Fred Schneider, Lake County Public Works. Not pictured but recognized for their work on the project were: Lori Koontz, Bill White, Alan Kirkland, Terry Scott, Lake County Public Works; Steve Ferrell, Jamie Kreminski, HDR Inc.; T.J. Fish, Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization; J. Malaver, J Malever Construction.

The indoor/outdoor event features vendors selling landscaping, native plants, roses, and fruit trees. Guest speakers share their expertise on butterfly gardening, unusual edibles, shade gardening, and hydroponics. Several activities are planned for kids including a Maze Scavenger Hunt, complete with prizes, and a special butterfly release set for the morning of March 25. Call 352.343.4101 for more details.

NEW

THE VILLAGES

Fourth Location for Seniors vs. Crime A new office for Seniors vs. Crime will operate out of Moyer Recreation Center in The Villages. This is the same office as the Fruitland Park Police substation in the Village of Pine Ridge. Hours are 10am to 2 pm on Tuesdays, managed by John Townley, a volunteer. The purpose of these offices is to keep residents of the area aware of scams and crimes. Seniors vs. Crime has a database with nearly 7,000 entries to keep folks alerted. Bryan Lifsey is a volunteer in the Sumter County office, and he encourages people to check the database before hiring anyone. A volunteer since 2002, he says he has seen the number of scams continually grow along with the growth of The Villages. His motto is, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The phone number at this location is 352.674.1882.

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* #I TnR ETNhD eI N GK n o w

J o s h Ta k e s O n : AN ADMITTEDLY ASKEW POINT OF VIEW FROM THE MIND OF ILLUSTRATOR JOSH CLARK

Ja m e s C o m b s’

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A student at a Clermont high school was arrested for bringing a BB gun to campus. Looks like the student’s sneaky little plan…well… backfired.

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

Last October, police officers in Clermont participated in a program called “Hero Deliveries” where they brought pizzas to residents in different parts of the city. Unlike the pizzas they delivered, this act of kindness cannot be topped.

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A pharmacy tech at a Lake County Walgreens was arrested for stealing more than 70 hydrocodone pills. Stealing drugs at the pharmacy where you are employed? That’s a prescription for disaster. Getting arrested for it? That’s a bitter pill to swallow.


A new chapter in philanthropy Members of Pennbrooke Fairways Book Club in Leesburg love to read and share their passion with young readers. The 30-plus members recently donated 110 books of “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, to Oak Park Middle School’s Language Arts Department. Pictured are Bill Miller, the chief academic officer from Lake County Schools, along with Oak Park’s Language Arts Chair Christina Fulton, and Oak Park Principal Barbara Longo. They accepted the donation from Patricia Moore and Rosella Valentine, book club members, during a luncheon at Continental Country Club in Wildwood.

Amazing Realtors These names were left out of last month’s list of Million Dollar Realtors in Lake and Sumter counties. Style is happy to recognize these members of the Realtors Association of Lake & Sumter Counties. Gold Lease Club: Twila Largent, ERA® Grizzard Real Estate; Ronald Ricketts, ERA® Grizzard Real Estate Platinum Lease Club: Shelley Anderson, ERA® Grizzard Real Estate; Diane Schlosser, ERA® Grizzard Real Estate; Paul Purvis, BNB Realty, Inc.

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CLERMONT

The ripe stuff The Citrus Tower was opened in July 1956 to promote Lake County’s booming citrus industry. Constructed of steel and concrete, the 226-foot-tall building attracted locals and tourists alike. Visitors take an elevator to a glassenclosed observation deck and receive a birds-eye view of the area’s citrus trees, lakes, and rolling hills. Unfortunately, major freezes in 1983 and 1989 dealt a serious blow to the citrus industry. Today, the view from atop the Citrus Tower features more rooftops than orange groves. However, clear days allow guests to see parts of Lake, Sumter, Polk, Pasco, Orange, Hernando, Osceola, and Seminole counties.

Police issued a warrant for a general manager at Sweet Tomatoes who embezzled $18,006.18 from the store. Didn’t he realize his shady acts would ketch-up to him someday? Much like the tomatoes he sells, this idiot is going to realize what it feels like to be canned.

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On a clear day,

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counties are visible from the top of the tower.

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

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* PIEnR STOhN eO FKI NnToE w REST

“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

V I TA L

S TAT

lakeandsumter

Leesburg Deputy City Manager/Economic and Community Services

We see Main Street Antiques as: An opportunity to invest in the community who supports us.

S

Michael and his wife Kristi, who works for Ro-Mac, made a commitment last June to keep Main Street Antiques open in downtown Leesburg. The pair will celebrate three years of marriage in August.

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Michael Rankin

.com

What it takes to juggle the business and full-time jobs: Anything difficult requires the talents of a juggler and the support of a great family.

What excites me about Leesburg: Working with

individuals who are committed to improving the quality of life for our residents and visitors.

My hero: I have many. Will start with our incredible city staff who work for the citizens of Leesburg.

small part of helping our community.

Best advice ever been given: Set your goals high and don’t stop till you get there.

Credit my success to: Anyone crazy

What I love most:

enough to believe in me with that chance to grab ahold of the gold ring.

My wonderful wife and partner Kristi and a sense I am a

My favorite food: Sushi.

Pet peeve: “This is the way we always do it.”

One word that best describes me: Industrious. Favorite quote: “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

Photo: Fred Lopez

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* OI UnT TS ThA NeDKI NnGoS w TUDENT

V I TA L

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Annie Mansfield

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The 5-foot-10-inch outside hitter played a vital role in the Eagles’ first district volleyball championship against Orlando Christian Prep.

Age: 17 // SENIOR AT FIRST ACADEMY-LEESBURG

One word that describes me: Goofy.

Started playing volleyball competitively in eighth grade; she has been attending First Academy-Leesburg since fifth grade.

A special moment: Winning the district volleyball championship was definitely a memorable experience, especially with the girls I have grown up with. We have been working so hard for the last couple of years, and we accomplished it together as a team.

Signed volleyball scholarship to play at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina, a NCAA Division II school.

What I love about First Academy: That I can openly confess my faith…I feel like I wouldn’t be who I am today if I weren’t here.

Ready for next phase: I’m super excited to play at Coker College. I love the team and the coach. I’m ready.

Future ambition: To become a physical therapist with my own family practice. Pet peeve: People smacking their food.

Favorite food: Eight-piece chicken nugget meal from Chick-fil-A.

Biggest influence: My dad, Steve. He has always been there for me; he’s like my best friend. My role model: Kerri Walsh, professional beach volleyball player.

Another passion besides volleyball: Acting. I have always loved acting. In college, I hope to take some classes.

Favorite subject: English. I love writing and expressing my feelings. Credit my success to: God and

Photo: Fred Lopez

my parents. My parents have been my support system.

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* TI HnI ST‘ Nh’ eT HKAnT o w

NURSE! SPONGES AND A CHURCHKEY, STAT!

Not long ago and not by choice, I spent a few days in the hospital. As hospital stays go, it wasn’t bad. During one of the many once-overs by medical staff, a young nurse was poking my side and asking if anything hurt. Nothing did but I then asked her if she had noticed my appendix scar. STORY: FRED HILTON // ILLUSTRATION: JOSH CLARK

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It was obvious the dreaded generation gap had struck again. The churchkey was an integral part of my youth and yet Young Nurse didn’t have the foggiest notion what one was.

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ou have to understand that my appendix scar is something to behold. It’s monstrous. It’s a huge ugly gash that goes across half of my more-than-ample tummy. The enormous scar resulted from my appendix rupturing when I was four years old. It ruptured because I lied to my doctor. Our doctor in those days was a fellow who was known as “Dr. Charlie.” He was the epitome of the kindly country doctor. He made house calls at all hours of the day and night. He did all those things that you read about. Everyone loved, admired, and revered Dr. Charlie…everybody but me. Oh, I would admire him eventually but, at age four, he scared the bejeebers out of me. He’d poke me in the side with his long, boney finger and gruffly ask: “Does that hurt?” Of course, it hurt like the blazes but I lied and said “no” because I just wanted him to go away and leave me alone. Shortly after that, my appendix burst and the emergency surgery gave me the huge scar. It was huge when I was four, and as my girth has increased, it’s become even larger. There were, however, some advantages to the big scar for a four-year-old entrepreneur. My relatives all wanted to see the appendix scar and marvel at how nasty it looked. I was OK with that but I figured out I could get a dime each from anybody who wanted to see the scar. (I did, however, charge Aunt Tillie a quarter since she smelled funky.) Getting back to current events and the Young Nurse, I told her my standard appendix-scar

joke: “I think the surgeon used a churchkey to operate.” She got this blank deer-in-the-headlights look. “You do know what a churchkey is, don’t you?” I asked. “Yeah,” she said, “it’s a big brass kind of thing…” It was obvious the dreaded generation gap had struck again. The churchkey was an integral part of my youth and yet Young Nurse didn’t have the foggiest notion what one was. The churchkey was a vital part of American culture at one time. Now, sadly, it has disappeared from our kitchens and our consciousness. Back in the day, the churchkey was vital to the life of any young man or woman growing up. It was important not only for the pragmatic end of opening your beer can or soft drink can. The churchkey made a pleasant and reassuring “spplussh” noise when you tapped a fresh can. A small spray of your favorite beverage followed the “spplussh.” The noise alone was thirst quenching. It sounded so good you had to finish your first can, then another and another… Sadly, some smart aleck then invented the pop-top can. No doubt, it was part of a larger plot to change our way of life forever. It was probably Communist inspired. Sure enough, the churchkey disappeared from the scene. The reassuring “spplussh” of opening a can of suds was replaced by a wimpy little “phfft.” We became a nation of wussies. Those who had been manufacturing


Fred Hilton

and selling churchkeys were forced into unemployment lines. It is time to reclaim our heritage. Bring back the churchkey! Make us a nation of “spplusshers,” not “phffters.” Free us from the burden of pop-top cans. It will be a boon for the economy when we put the people back to

work who used to make churchkeys but have been on welfare for the last 30 or 40 years. Be patriotic and do your part. Rush out today and buy a churchkey. Make America “spplussh” again. Besides, you never know when you might have to perform an emergency appendectomy.

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

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PROBLEMS WITH YOUR PROSTATE? Does this sound familiar? As you grow older, do you realize you are getting up more often at night to urinate? Have you come to accept this as in inevitable part of aging as your father did or his father before him? There is no need for men to suffer from frequent urination because they are getting older. Dr. James Young, a down-to-earth urologist in Lake County since 1982, has successfully treated thousands of patients who suffer with enlarged prostate (BPH). What’s even better is that treatment options are more numerous and far less invasive than those offered to our fathers and grandfathers. Dr. Young is internationally recognized as one of the leading experts in Prostiva RF Therapy, an in-office procedure for the treatment of enlarged prostate in men. Prostiva utilizes low-level radiofrequency energy to destroy the obstructing component of the enlarged prostate The procedure allows men to stop taking medications for their prostate issues without undergoing major surgery. That distinction has placed him on Castle Connelly’s prestigious Top Docs list for five consecutive years. “Dr. Young is one of the pioneers and current leaders of in-office BPH therapy, particularly with the Prostiva

RF therapy system,” said Greg Fluet, former CEO of Urologix, Inc. “He has been a consistent and committed champion. For that, I have significant respect and admiration.” Dr. Young has performed more Prostiva procedures than any urologist in the United States and possibly the world. In 2014, he performed nearly 400 Prostiva procedures, accounting for approximately 5 percent of the 8,000 performed worldwide. The procedure is performed in Dr. Young’s office under local anesthesia. “I am very happy with the results I have achieved for many patients using Prostiva RF Therapy,” says Dr. Young, who has successfully treated nearly 3,000 patients with this procedure. Not only is Dr. Young happy; patients are extremely satisfied, as well. That’s evidenced by the glowing reviews he receives on healthgrades. com and vitals.com from patients who underwent the procedure. “His revolutionary procedure

was easy with very little discomfort,” wrote one patient. “My urinary problems have disappeared, I sleep better, and have significantly more energy,” another patient wrote. Dr. Young encourages all patients to visit vitals.com and healthgrades. com to find for themselves what patients are saying. Dr. Young’s Healthgrades online profile was visited 2,311 times between January 2015 and January 2016, ranking him 18th among 978 urologists in Florida. Always striving to be on the cutting-edge of therapies to treat enlarged prostates, Dr. Young is now offering a new procedure called Rezum. This safe and efficient treatment uses thermal energy in water vapor to remove obstructive tissue surrounding the prostate. The procedure is performed in-office under local anesthesia or oral sedation.Dr Young is the first urologist in Central Florida to offer this cutting edge treatment. At this time Dr Young has

III PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE III

performed more Rezum therapies than any urologist in the United States. Within the next year it is anticipated that Dr Young will have performed more Rezum treatments than any urologist in the world. “It takes less time to perform and destroys even more of the obstructive tissue. It also has rapid symptom relief and minimal discomfort“After seeing the results I have obtained with this procedure I am overwhelmed with the benefits the patients are receiving. There is no doubt in my mind that Rezum therapy is the best way to treat an enlarged prostate; in addition to superior results, one of the most compelling aspects of this treatment is how minimally invasive it is to the patient, thus the patient tolerates the procedure with little to no discomfort.” ________________________________

JAMES W. YOUNG III, M.D. Board-certified Urologist

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


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

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

Prostate Cancer Screening

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

Annually over 50 years of age (At age 40 if family history or African American)

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Introducing Rezum Therapy for enlarged prostate. Medicare, TRICARE, and most medical insurances accepted. III PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE III


A DRIVE FOR

SUCCESS Frank DeLuca, owner of DeLuca Toyota, has zoomed past the competition by offering a unique experience for customers waiting on service or contemplating the purchase of a vehicle. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE DELUCA TOYOTA

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CUSTOMER LOUNGE

hen customers venture into DeLuca Toyota in Ocala, they typically feel like they’ve been transported to one of three places. Some imagine themselves aboard a luxurious cruise ship. Some think they are standing inside the lobby of a fancy hotel. Others envision being in a clean, spacious airport terminal. Frank DeLuca, owner of the dealership, hears these customer compliments all the time. And he always responds the same way. “I can’t promise you that your flight will be on time. I can’t promise that you’ll have smooth sailing on your cruise ship. I can’t promise that I can upgrade your hotel room to a presidential suite. But what I can promise is you’ll have the most pleasant car-buying experience anywhere.” That’s a promise Frank has kept since opening his dealership 39 years ago in Ocala. It explains why his dealership is one of the country’s largest Toyota dealerships that is now selling automobiles to the grandchildren of his first customers. Who wouldn’t want to do business at a dealership where the owner is not only on premise and visible but also goes out of his way to thank loyal customers? “I try to personally thank each and every customer who purchases a car here. I have an opendoor policy, and my salespeople know they can interrupt me if I’m in my office so I can thank the customer. Customers are the most important part of a successful dealership, and we strive to treat each one like an honored guest in our home.”

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Customers are the most important part of a successful dealership, and we strive to treat each one like an honored guest in our home. —FRANK DELUCA


PARTS/GIFT SHOP

CAFÉ DELUCA

SHOWROOM

Going full throttle

THE ORIGINAL DELUCA TOYOTA DEALERSHIP

Since 1978, Frank’s company has grown from 18 employees to 182 employees. His facility, which at one time was the only automobile dealership on S.R. 200 in Ocala, has grown from 18,000 square feet to a 79,400 square-foot facility that was opened in January 2015. It provides the ultimate customer experience, whether you are shopping for a new or preowned car or simply waiting on an oil change. As Frank succinctly puts it: “You’ll notice the DeLuca difference the moment you walk through the door.” He’s not exaggerating. Imagine enjoying delicious lobster crab rolls prepared by professional and experienced chefs. Afterward, you take

AIR-CONDITIONED SERVICE BAY

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a short walk to a salon, where you lie back and feel pampered while receiving a complementary manicure (complementary manicures are offered for women on Monday and Wednesday). You then venture up to the rooftop, where a putting green with artificial grass helps you improve your short game. Once your putting is up to par, you hook your laptop up to a Wi-Fi workstation so you can answer a few business-related emails. To unwind from all the excitement, you opt to relax on an ultra comfortable sofa while sipping complimentary coffee and donuts. This sounds like something you might experience while vacationing at Disney World or staying at the Ritz Carlton. Instead, it is Frank’s way of making a memorable and lasting impression. Customers who enter DeLuca Toyota can gaze skyward and see large, eye-catching photographs that beautifully capture Ocala— glass-bottom boats gliding down Silver Springs, horses grazing in an open field, and Spanish moss dangling off ancient oak trees.


Beautiful tile flooring with shiny surfaces allow customers to see the undercarriage of automobiles on display. Granite countertops found throughout the dealership add a touch of elegance. Glass-walled offices symbolize the DeLuca Toyota’s emphasis on openness and transparency. Pet owners have the unique option of walking their furry friends in an outdoor, fenced-in area equipped with water dishes. There’s also a parts store that resembles a small boutique shop found inside airports. Customers can purchase wheel covers, car cleaners, gift mugs, sunglasses, greeting cards, jewelry, candy, and yes, even socks. The dealership is also home to the everpopular Café DeLuca, where professional chefs Jim and Leslie DuPont serve up a delicious selection of breakfast and lunch items. The couple, who formerly owned a

restaurant in Lake Tahoe for seven years, have developed quite a following, especially from residents of The Villages who show up on Fridays in droves to enjoy fresh Maine lobster rolls. “Several weeks ago I approached a customer who’s car had been ready for hours,” Frank said. “She was just hanging out at our facility and said she feels more comfortable being here than she does at her own home. Coming here is a destination.” Frank also built the facility with employee comfort in mind. The service repair department is air-conditioned and features 41 service bays, helping to maximize efficiency. Speaking of efficiency, mechanics can perform an inspection of the vehicle’s brake performance, battery health, and alignment in less than three minutes.

FRANK DELUCA WITH A BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED TOYOTAL LANDCRUISER ON THE SHOWROOM FLOOR

Making a difference in the community Eighty-one percent of DeLuca Toyota’s customers are repeat customers. “Our goal is to create and retain customers for life,” Frank said. “We’ve had some who have purchased as many as nine or 10 Toyotas from us. And since we’ve opened, more than 94,500 vehicles have been sold.” Frank has returned that customer loyalty in kind by being a good steward of the community. Throughout the years, he has donated to organizations such as the American Heart Association, helped raise more than $400,000 as honorary chairperson for the 2009 March for Babies, and donated seven homes for Habitat for Humanity. He also donated $1 million for renovations of the Frank DeLuca Family Center YMCA. DeLuca Toyota has even served as a platinum plus sponsor for the March of Dimes. “I am blessed to be able to give back to the community. Without the generous support of the community I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. Not only does giving back feel good; it’s the right thing to do.” Other organizations he has supported include the American Cancer Society, the Boys and Girls Club, the Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, and the Salvation Army. Frank also allows civic organizations to use his 50-person meeting room. Organizations that have utilized his meeting room include the Ocala Royal Danes for Cancer Research, the Home Instead Alzheimer’s Senior Care, Sell-State Next Generation Realty, and the Ocala Sunset Rotary Club.

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I am blessed to be able to give back to the community. Without the generous support of the community I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. —FRANK DELUCA


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THE LEGENDS TOLD IN LAKE AND SUMTER COUNTIES ARE STORIES OF PEOPLE WHO MADE THEIR DREAMS REALIT Y, WERE VISIONARIES WHO COULD BUILD THE FUTURE, AND TREASURED THE LEGACY ENOUGH FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO CONTINUE IT. PEOPLE IN THE AREA CARE ENOUGH ABOUT HISTORY TO PRESERVE BUILDINGS, HOMES, AND CHURCHES. THIS IS THE PLACE WHERE THERE IS DEFINITELY MORE THAN ONE LEGEND.

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STORY: LEIGH NEELY, JAMES COMBS, THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ & PROVIDED

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LAKESIDE INN

FLORIDA’S OLDEST CONTINUALLY OPERATED HOTEL

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ount Dora’s bright yellow Lakeside Inn built in 1883 on the shores of Lake Dora has attracted guests from all over the world, including President Calvin Coolidge and First Lady Grace Coolidge, who came for a month-long stay in the winter of 1930. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the inn holds the distinction of being the oldest continually operated hotel in Florida. “It’s a very unique experience,” says owner Jim Gunderson, who loves that guests travel from all over the world to stay at the iconic hotel. “On weekends we are generally quite busy, active, full with weddings and parties,” he says. “We hear a lot of comments from guests and visitors of how special and beautiful it is, and that is a real treat to hear.”

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1968, 1983, 2011

WOLFY’S 918 N. 14

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Wolfy’s is not only a hometown favorite, it’s also a very difficult place to get a table when the snowbirds are in town. Good food keeps people coming in, and owner John Wolf has assured that the quality and delicious quotient continues every day. He was at the original restaurant in 1968,

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Jim’s mission is to restore Lakeside Inn to its optimum glory. He purchased the hotel in 2011, at a time when it was in dilapidated condition. “It was declining rapidly, but I fell in love with the inn,” says Jim, who made the move from Naples. “In the last six years it has been a constant state of restoration, and it probably will be for a good many years to come.” Preserving the hotel has become his fulltime project. Jim has his own construction crew of carpenters, painters, and mechanical workers at the inn Monday through Friday. “There will always be something we are working toward,” he says, “but every year more and more are checked off.”

when it was part of the Lum’s chain. When it went under, John bought the restaurant and made it the great American diner that it is today. Every day offers a different special: meatloaf Monday to fish Friday. Everybody has their favorite meal, from Crunchy French Toast – breakfast is served all day – to Chicken Pot Pie with mashed potatoes. A gas leak in old equipment caused a

fire that burned the beloved restaurant to the ground in 2010. Though John thought he might move to one of the Leesburg storefronts, it just wasn’t to be, and he brought Wolfy’s back out of the ashes at the same location. Today, it is still one of the most popular restaurants in town, and many of the earlier employees still work there.

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28° 47’ 56.0256’’ N / 81° 38’ 40.9416’’ W

MARY VALBUENA

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COMPASSION FROM THE HEART

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ary Valbuena of Mount Dora has been instrumental in raising $2 million for patient care through Women for Hospice, a group that provides funds for the not-for-profit Cornerstone Hospice. She has been involved with Women for Hospice for 30 years and is one of the early members. Mary joined after Erymne Pearson, the group founder, asked her to be in the group, handling the money from the Hospice Hope Chest in downtown Mount Dora. Hospice Hope Chest represents about 60 percent of the group’s annual $100,000 gift. She’s pleased that Women for Hospice has been vital in raising funds to benefit thousands of hospice patients over the years. “I admire that all the money goes to patient care; it doesn’t go for salaries or anything like that,” she says. However, Mary recalls when the club members felt compelled to help make the last days on earth more comfortable for one patient. “It was a man dying of cancer, and it was summertime and very hot. We bought him a window-

unit air conditioner,” she says. “Even though he passed away, the family could use it. We didn’t want it back or anything. The best part of being in the group has been helping others.” More than 300 women are members of Women for Hospice, she says. The group often meets for monthly luncheons, and Mary believes more women would enjoy being involved in the organization since its devoted to helping patients in need. Helping patients has always been part of Mary’s life. As a retired nurse, she assisted her orthopedic surgeon husband, Julio, at his Eustis office and when he performed surgeries. Married for 54 years, the pair moved to Florida from Connecticut in 1971 and raised five children. They now have 14 grandchildren. Mary recently retired from the board of Women for Hospice after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, yet she intends to remain a member. “Any way that I can be a help, I will be,” she says. “I want to do anything they need.”

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HOLY HISTORY Many times a church was opened before a town was fully established. These lovely churches are a part of Lake and Sumter counties’ history.

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NEW SONG COMMUNITY CHURCH 1 1 8 W. M C C L E N D O N S T. , LADY LAKE

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This church was established as Equity Baptist Church and is the oldest church building in town with an original operating bell. It contains a short pew in the back that belonged to the only African-American man who attended services.

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HOLY TRINITY EPISCOPAL

2 2 0 1 S P R I N G L A K E R D. , F R U I T L A N D PA R K

The ministry of this church began in 1886, when Florida still was being settled by pioneers. Many groups came from the British Isles and they wanted an Episcopal Church, so they raised funds and built the church in 1888. It’s considered “carpenter gothic,” a modification of an English church style.

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MOUNT OLIVE AFRICAN AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH 1 6 3 0 N G R A N D V I E W S T. , MOUNT DORA

Services were originally held under a brush arbor and, according to historic papers, the church was constituted in 1906. The building was erected in 1912 and dedicated in 1915.

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MASCOTTE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

ST. THOMAS EPISCOPAL CHURCH

BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH

COMMUNITY CHURCH

Built by men in the community on land donated by Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon W. Fiske, with lumber donated by J.W. Dulton.

The first service in the Gothic Revival building was held in May 1883. It took several years to complete the building, and it was consecrated by Bishop Weed in April 1890.

Catholic families began gathering as early as 1910 in homes to celebrate Mass. In 1933, a mission church was built, and the first Mass was offered on Christmas Day 1933.

4 41 S. MAIN AVE ., GROVELAND

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4 20 N. PALM AVE ., HOWE Y-IN-THE-HILL S

The community church of Howey-in-the-Hills originated with a meeting of 10 worshipers in their homes before moving to a dilapidated schoolhouse. This was five years before the town was incorporated.

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UNION CONGREGATIONAL ST. JAMES EPISCOPAL CHURCH CHURCH 3 0 2 N . S T. C L A I R A B R A M S AV E . , TAVA R E S

Organized in April 1885, this sanctuary was built on land donated in 1888 by the founder of the city of Tavares, Maj. Alexander H. St. Clair Abrams.

GANT LAKE BAPTIST CHURCH

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH 24125 SR 46, SORRENTO

2 0 4 L E E S T. , L E E S B U R G

In 1885, a small group organized the Protestant Episcopal Society of Leesburg. It became a mission and, in 1889, the first service was held in the Gothic-style church.

This church began in October 1912 with a group of 22 people. Property was donated by George Battle, and a church was built that has continued to flourish ever since.

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FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF UMATILLA

1444-C 478A, WEBSTER

In 1890 a Baptist Church was organized Among those listed as founders are Rev. and Mrs. George Hayes, Mr. and Mrs. Dan McCleod (Cloud), Mrs. Tom Wilson, and Mrs. Hanritta Wilson. The land was donated by J.B. Gant and George Hayes solely for the purpose of building a church, which is why the community named it in honor of John B. Gant one of the earliest settlers in the area.

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Located at 100 W. Guerrant St. and added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2000. 26° 79°

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JEAN KAMINSKI

SHE SET A STRONG FOUNDATION

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There was always so much going on in so many different areas that going to work every day offered a new adventure.

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hether she was leading the Home Builders Association or working in local government, Jean Kaminski left her mark on her community. Jean served as executive director of the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter from 1983 to 2008. Under her tutelage, the Tavares-based organization made lasting impacts on the community. In 1989, the association revived the Parade of Homes, an event where builders showcase their homes to the public. The organization also started continuing education opportunities for homebuilders, built homes for Habitat for Humanity, and expanded programs into Sumter County. “I loved my job because every day was different,” said Jean, who resides in Tavares with her husband, Frank. “There was always so much going on in so many different areas that going to work every day offered a new adventure.” After accepting the job in 1983, Jean ran a one-person office. Her duties included attending meetings, planning events, bookkeeping, formulating a newsletter, meeting with government officials, and maintaining media relations. She also attended county commissioner meetings and city council meetings. “I was always blessed with a supportive board of directors who were very hardworking. I never felt like I was rowing the boat alone,” she says.

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ALL ABOARD! By 1900, more than 3,000 miles of tracks throughout the state helped launch Florida’s growth. 29°

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ASTOR 1881

TAVARES

A line from Tavares to Orlando was chartered in 1881 as Tavares, Orlando & Atlantic. The construction of 32 miles of track to Orlando via Lake Jem, Zellwood, Plymouth, and Apopka was completed in 1884.

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The St. Johns & Lake Eustis Railway Company, chartered in 1879, first built the railroad in Astor on the St. Johns River. Passengers and freight came down the river from Jacksonville on steamboats and boarded the train in Astor for ports on Lake Eustis, Lake Dora, and Lake Harris. The tracks went through Altoona, Umatilla, and Fort Mason before reaching Eustis. To go farther south, travelers moved to lake steamers. 1880

EUSTIS The line to Eustis was completed in 1880 and then continued south through Tavares to Lane Park on Big Lake Harris. A 15-mile extension put it in Fort Mason around the north and west sides of Lake Eustis. There was a break for the St. Johns & Lake Eustis Railway when it was leased to the Florida Southern Railway Company, but the lease was canceled in 1890, and the company was back in business until 1893, when it went bankrupt.

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1883

LADY LAKE Established in 1883, Lady Lake most likely owes its success to the railroad built there. It was sold to Florida Southern Railway in April 1884. Though the depot is gone now, the Puc Puggy Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a historical marker. 1884

LEESBURG The railroad came to Leesburg in 1884 and served as a land bridge for the river and the steamboat traffic to provide transportation to Central Florida’s interior. By that time, this was a large system that went from Fernandina Beach to Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Ocala, Wildwood, Leesburg, and Tavares.

Sylvan Lake, Sorrento, and Mount Dora before reaching Tavares in 1887. Built in 1915, the Mount Dora passenger and freight depot is still standing and on the National Register of Historic Places. It houses the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce. The Tavares and Gulf railroad served this area until 1969, moving grapes, citrus, and vegetables as the main freight.

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OKAHUMPKA This train depot was built to service a section of the Henry B. Plant Railroad System that went from Tampa to Savannah. In 1978, the original train depot was donated to Cracker Country museum, on the Florida State Fairgrounds, by Seaboard Coastline Railroad. The museum allows visitors to sit in the original waiting room and stand in the ticket office that Florida pioneers used.

GOODBYE, OLD FRIEND

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WILDWOOD The line from Wildwood to Orlando stopped running in 1954, the tracks from Leesburg to Tavares were abandoned in 1982, along with the tracks from Wildwood to Leesburg in 2008, but the historic branch of Florida Central Railroad is still active more than 125 years since it began. The depot, built in 1947 by Seaboard Air Line Railroad, now serves as a bus station for Amtrak’s Thruway Motorcoach bus systems.

The Orange Blossom Cannonball and the Lake Dora Limited have left Lake County. For six years, residents and visitors enjoyed rides on the great locomotive between Tavares, Mount Dora, and Sorrento. The trips were especially fun at Christmastime, when Santa went along, and at Halloween, when children received pumpkins. The beautiful old trains will be greatly missed, but stay on the lookout for them. The Cannonball was built in 1907 and is known as “America’s Movie Train,” having appeared in the TV miniseries “North and South,” and the films “True Grit,” “Appaloosa,” “3:10 to Yuma,” and “There Will Be Blood.”

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MOUNT DORA The railroad came to town through the Tavares and Gulf as the Sanford & Lake Eustis Railway in 1885. The construction in Sanford continued the route through 26° 79°

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28° 43’ 32.1564’’ N / 81° 46’ 59.394’’ W

MISSION INN

CELEBRATING A CENTENNIAL AND HIGH RANKINGS

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The hotel was just ranked No. 9 in the United States for layout and design and El Campeon is the only course in Florida to be recognized in the top 10 for layout and design. — DREW TOTH

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he iconic El Campeon Golf Course—The Champion—at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills was built a century ago on land of former citrus groves. The course opened its first nine holes in 1917, and is hailed as an original member of the Florida Historic Golf Trail. Mission Inn and its golf amenities earned high rankings through the years, including No. 2 in the United States, based on Golf Adviser player surveys. “The hotel was just ranked No. 9 in the United States for layout and design and El Campeon is the only course in Florida to be recognized in the top 10 for layout and design,” says Drew Toth, marketing director for Mission Inn Resort and Club. “It’s a big deal to us because we are compared to our peers.” The acreage that is now Mission Inn Resort and Club all began when businessman John “Bill” Howey bought land in Lake County in 1914. He hired golf professional and architect George O’Neil of Chicago to design the course when the property—first called Florida ChainO-Lakes Country Club—was one of the first in the Sunshine State with grass greens. The design was upgraded in 1926 and the club was renamed Floridian Country Club. Years later, in May 1964, Illinois businessman Nick Beucher spotted a classified advertisement in the Wall Street Journal that

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the 18-hole golf course on 168-acre property near Orlando was for sale. He purchased the Floridian Country Club in September 1964 and went to work to renovate the golf course, club house, and enhance the resort with Spanish architecture. The award-winning Mission Inn now features 176 hotel rooms, fresh-water fishing, marina, full-service spa, three restaurants, and 30,000 square feet of group space for meetings, weddings, and special events. A second golf course, Las Colinas –The Hills—opened in 1992 and was designed by former PGA Tour player Gary Koch. Golf Digest proclaimed it as “best new resort course” when it opened. Mission Inn remains in the Beucher family; today, the second and third generation is actively involved in the daily operations.

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I love helping people. I love the memories— people coming in and telling me about my parents and my brother.

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28° 48’ 39.2976’’ N / 81° 52’ 33.5856’’ W

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GETZEL’S

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t’s a familiar store on Leesburg’s Main Street. For 67 years later, Getzel’s has kept the men in the area looking stylish. The phone rang constantly at Getzel’s Department Store on a recent weekday morning while two men took turns being assisted by owner Freddie Mularsky. One customer wanted a white suit for his sister’s funeral; the other came for a black tuxedo for the Black and White Ball in The Villages. Freddie, 57, gives his undivided attention just like his late parents Getzel and Betty Mularsky did when they opened the popular store Feb. 1, 1950. The 127 W. Main St. shop in downtown Leesburg specializes in ethnic clothing and men’s apparel of pants, suits, jackets, ties, shirts, shoes, hats, socks and accessories, yet it has a nostalgic feel—the same cash register and décor from when Freddie’s parents and brother Melvin ran the store. “I love helping people,” Freddie says. “I love the memories—people coming in and telling me about my parents and my brother.” He envisions his deceased family members being pleased the business lives on. Getzel’s has remained in the same location for 67 years while other department stores that once were on Main street—Penney’s, Sears, Woolworth’s, McCrory’s— all left downtown decades ago. “I hope my mom, dad, and my brother Melvin are happy because I’m still trying to please them,” Freddie says. It would have been easy for him to close up shop since he’s a retired schoolteacher who taught for 30 years, including 18 of these at Leesburg High School before ending his career at Tavares Middle School. “Running Getzel’s is not as easy as teaching school,” says Freddie, who happily continues the traditions his parents started, including giving away socks with every pair of shoes purchased. “We have been doing that for 67 years; we have given away hundreds of thousands of socks,” he says. “I’m impressed,” says first-time customer Mel McLaughlin of The Villages, and a member of Sophisticated Gents. “My friend, Art, bought his tux here and he recommended Getzel’s to me.” Freddie credits customers from The Villages for boosting business while Freddie’s son, Nathan, 29, says being in Getzel’s is special. “It brings back memories of my grandfather,” he adds.

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THE STATE THEATER

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What began as a vaudeville theater has become a treasured part of the lively scene on Bay Street in Eustis. The State Theater not only presented live entertainment in those early days, it was a place for “moving pictures” accompanied by one of the largest “photo play” pipe organs in the Southeast. The Southern premiere of the first sound motion picture, “The Jazz Singer,” starring Al Jolson, was held at the State before going to Tampa and Miami. Eventually, it became just a movie house. Unfortunately, the doors closed in 1974, but not for long. In 1975, the founding members of the Bay Street Players worked tirelessly to clean and paint the building, and make it usable again. They debuted “Hello Dolly” in July of that year and are still going, becoming owners of the building in 1986. Further renovations are underway. The troupe stages five plays a year, plus the Young People’s Theatre, which is the longest-running program of its kind in Central Florida. Deborah J. Carpenter, box office manager, is one of the founding members of the theater group.

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GLORIA AUSTIN HORSE DRIVER EXTRAORDINAIRE

In elite horse and carriage-driving competitions throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S., Gloria Austin is lauded as a one of the world’s premier four-in-hand drivers. “For me to be able to handle four 1,200-pound horses and a 3,000-pound coach and be in the same company as wealthy men and be accepted by them socially is probably my motivating force,” she says. Gloria made the move 35 years ago to the Lady Lake/ Weirsdale area from New York to start the Austin Carriage Museum and the Continental Acres Equine Resort. “I wanted to be in the most rural, isolated place I could find in Central Florida,” she recalls. “I came here for the weather and so that I could use my horses year round. The collecting of carriages has given me an opportunity to go around the world, and being here and actually setting up the museum gave me an opportunity to share the history of horses and carriages that I learned along the way.” Seventy people a day were visiting the museum when she sold it in 2011, yet she still owns the carriages, artifacts, and educational material inside the museum. She also lives on the spacious property.

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The museum at 3000 Marion County Road, Lady Lake, now called Grand Oaks Carriage Museum, continues to house the world’s largest private collections of carriages and equine artifacts. Visitors can see more than 160 European and American carriages, including the elaborate 1850 Armbruster Dress Chariot once owned by an emperor of Austria. “I am still driving four horses every morning,” says Gloria, who was recently preparing for an international weekend event for the Carriage Association of America. She has published seven books about the history of horses and carriages. Her latest book, “Carriage Lamps,” came out last month. She has two more books in the works. “The philosophy that I have writing contemporary books is at least 50 percent of each page has to be pictures,” she says. Gloria also devotes time as president of the Equine Heritage Institute, a not-for-profit, and its website along with GloriaAustin.com allows her to continue to share her passion for horses and carriages.

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JUDY MERRY

A PLACE WHERE THE SMILES SPARKLE AS BRIGHTLY AS THE JEWELRY 27°

Gruy “Smiley” Merry opened Merry Jewelers seven decades ago. Judy Merry is thrilled to continue the tradition of running the store her beloved father founded in downtown Eustis. “Daddy started it in 1946,” recalls Judy, 75. “I would come down after school to help him as a little girl.” After she married and had her own children, Judy returned to Merry Jewelers. In 1965, her father decided to retire, but after the death of his wife in 1986, Judy encouraged him to come out of retirement, and the two worked alongside each other again.

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“I feel really blessed. Not only did I have a wonderful father whom everyone just loved and he loved them, too, but he left a wonderful business behind for me to carry on,” she says. “A business which I truly love very much—I love every facet of it.” Her father visited Merry Jewelers in his later years before he died Feb. 23, 2016—two months after turning 100. “Every day I hear some really nice stories about my dad,” Judy says. “I admired his love for people. He was honest; everybody loved and respected him.” It was her father’s infectious smile that people often noticed, along with his

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upbeat personality and friendliness. Judy credits her father with teaching her to respect customers, give them good service, and to be honest. Her father graduated in 1934 from Eustis High School and served two years in the military as a part of the U.S. Navy SeaBees while stationed in the Philippines during World War II. He entered the jewelry business after the war. Judy is pleased her daughter, Merri, works at the store—allowing the family tradition of Merry Jewelers to keep going.

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DECADES OF COMPASSION Providing empathy, compassion, respect, and services to families during the loss of their loved ones is a top priority for the local and family-operated funeral homes in Lake and Sumter counties. 29°

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BEYERS FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATORY

BANKS/PAGE THEUS

1 1 2 3 W. M A I N S T. , L E E S B U R G 2 7 9 S C E N T R A L , U M AT I L L A 1 3 4 N . U. S . H I G H WAY 4 4 1 , L A DY L A K E 24540 SR 40, ASTOR 1 1 4 W. N O B L E S T. , B U S H N E L L

Beyers will soon hit the century mark of remaining local and family operated since 1920. According to the company website, Ivan E. Beyers purchased the LC Page Funeral home in Leesburg in 1931 and relocated Beyers Funeral Home to its present site. In 1956, Byers built Central Florida’s first stand-alone funeral chapel. A crematory was added in 1987. 27°

4 1 0 N . W E B S T E R S T. , W I L D W O O D

Banks/Page Theus has served Sumter County regions for decades. The founders were Coleman Banks along with Lonnie Page and his son-in-law, Cecil Theus.

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HAMLIN & HILBISH FUNERAL DIRECTORS PAGE THEUS Hamilin & Hilbish in Eustis has been under the same FUNERAL HOME local owners since 1974. Verdual Hamlin was joined by 9 1 4 W. M A I N S T. , LEESBURG

Arthur and Carol Gill Hilbish when they purchased the former Zeller Kennedy & Hamlin Funeral Home.

Page Theus has served the Leesburg community since 1924. Lonnie Page and his son-in-law, Cecil Theus, were the founders.

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HIERS-BAXLEY FUNERAL SERVICES 1 5 1 1 B U E N O S A I R E S B LV D . , T H E V I L L A G E S

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Hiers-Baxley is privately owned and has been serving North Central Florida since 1885. It expanded out of the Ocala area 11 years ago.

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STEVERSON, HAMLIN & HILBISH FUNERALS AND CREMATIONS Steverson, Hamlin & Hilbish has been serving the Tavares area since 1959. Hermon Steverson, Verdual Hamlin, and Art Hilbish started it.

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PLACES WITH A PAST

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A place where families lived stays in memories forever. It’s always exciting, however, when the building remains holding those memories in its precious walls while looking to the future.

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HARPER HOUSE

1 74 08 E . PORTER AVE ., MONTVERDE

One of the oldest houses in the area, it is a two-story, frame vernacular home with an exotic and very tall monkey-puzzle tree in front of it. Built by Reuben Wyatt Harper as his family home, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

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CLERMONT HISTORIC VILLAGE

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490 WE ST AVE ., CLERMONT

This historic area was created to keep historic buildings intact though they had to be moved. The Herring Hooks one-room schoolhouse dates back to 1881; Cooper Memorial Library was built in 1914; the Kern House and Townsend House were built in 1895. 1892

MOTE-MORRIS HOUSE

1 1 9 5 W. M A G N O L I A S T. , L E E S B U R G

1902

EDGE HOUSE

1 2 1 8 W. B R O A D S T. , G R O V E L A N D

Built by Elliott Erastus “E.E.” Edge, who founded Edge Lumber Company along with several other businesses, including farming, citrus, and a department store. His son, L. Day Edge, was Groveland’s first mayor.

Eight-term Leesburg Mayor Edward H. Mote and his wife, Lucretia, built the house for $9,000. The Motes left in 1908 and Bishop Henry Clay Morrison had it until John S. Morris bought it in 1918. It was moved to its current location in the late 1980s. It recently became home to the Leesburg Chamber of Commerce offices and will be open daily for tours and events.

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HOWEY HOUSE

1 0 0 1 C I T R U S S T. , H O W E Y- I N -T H E - H I L L S

Citrus magnate William J. Howey built and lived in this 20-room mansion until his death in 1938, and his wife lived there until she died in 1981. After several owners, it was abandoned. However, the William J. Howey Mansion Community Restoration Project, led by Realtor Jacklyn Cheatham, is committed to preserving and restoring the beautiful mansion to its original glory.

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1886 1914

FRUITLAND PARK COMMUNITY CENTER 6 0 4 W. B E R C K M A N S T. , F R U I T L A N D PA R K

The wood-frame Cracker-style building is more than a century old and originally was a casino built by hotelier George T. Clark. When the city’s progress posed a threat of the building being torn down, a historical society was quickly organized and now the building is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. However, the building was demolished in January.

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BAKER HOUSE

6106 CR 44A, WILDWOOD

Built by state Sen. David H. Baker in Orange Home, Baker House is a beautiful example of Victorian architecture. It has a two-story front porch under a Spanish-moss draped oak tree. There also is a separate two-story kitchen house. Fortunately, much of the main house has the original wood floors and a beautiful stained-glass window on the second floor. Now a landmark in Sumter County, it was donated to the city of Wildwood in 2012, and the Wildwood Area Historical Association is restoring it.

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DYCHES HOUSE

2 4 0 E . L A D Y L A K E B LV D . , LADY LAKE

Built by John Wilson Dyches, the house is Folk Victorian style with decorative double front doors and scrollwork on the porch railing. Something notable about Dyches is that he was married five times.

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A Cut Above Tenaj Salon Institute is celebrating its 10th anniversary of graduating licensed cosmetologists who are in greater demand than ever before. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

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tudents of Tenaj Salon Institute in The Villages receive top hands-on training. They learn the techniques and skills needed for the real world beyond the state board exams, according to graduates and instructors, who praise the school for offering an educational experience that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s everything from business skills needed for success and the ability to learn from national artistic directors in the salon industry. TSI is also embraced by up to 2,500 guests each month who sit in the students’ chairs for cuts, coloring, and styles. Meet some of the graduates and TSI instructors

who love being a part of the amazing beauty industry.

Natalie Hunter designer

As a 2009 graduate, Natalie credits Tenaj Salon Institute for boosting her confidence and allowing her to express her creativity and style. “I love hair coloring; it is definitely my passion,” she says. Natalie has been a professional stylist for the past eight years since graduating. She is thrilled to be a member of the Salon Jaylee team at Rolling Acres Plaza. Her work was featured in Modern Salon magazine, and Natalie enjoys continuously learning new techniques, and is passionate about advanced education to further her training. She credits her foundation at TSI for her success.

Kayla Bryant designer

Natalie Hunter

When Kayla enrolled at the institute in 2010, she immediately knew it was the right move for her. “I walked in and I instantly knew this was where I needed to be,” she says. After

graduation, she worked at salons in Ocala and Clearwater and is now at Salon Jaylee at Colony Plaza. “I’m very comfortable in my career choice, and I feel that I can help others, inspire others, and it’s very rewarding,” she says, praising TSI. “People in our industry refer to it as the Harvard of cosmetology schools. You graduate with all the skills and advanced training needed to be a successful stylist”. Kayla loves all aspects of hair artistry including color, design, and specialty haircuts. “The customization behind what I do really is what drives me. You are able to be artistic and to look at each person and put your own spin on how to help them look and feel their best,” she says. “We’re trained to look at a person and be able to step back and say, ‘This is what I really think is going to accentuate and complement you, your face shape, your skin tone, and your whole style.’” Kayla will be traveling to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in just two weeks to attend an advanced training with Schwarzkopf Professional. She looks forward to bringing


Parker West

Kayla Bryant

back what she learns and offering her guests the very latest trends in hair color. She finds it rewarding when a client loves his or her new style.

Parker West

managing partner Parker grew up in the salon industry. He is the son of Janet West, founder and president of Tenaj Salon Institute, three

Salon Jaylee locations and professional haircare line Tenaj. “I have been in the salon environment since I was a toddler, but I started helping with things in the salon when I was about 9 years old. I would help clean, do towels, sweep hair for the stylists, and anything else that was needed,” he recalls. As he got older, Parker worked the cash register in the salons, and loved interacting

with people, which led to him attending cosmetology school at Tenaj Salon Institute, where he graduated from in 2008. As a colorist, Parker’s clientele includes those seeking high fashion hair colors with an elegant, sophisticated look. He also specializes in long hair. “I work with clients and professionals that want very soft, pretty hair. Many of these same customers also want ‘interior work’ in their hairstyles, where by changing the part of their hair, they show off vibrant colors for a weekend away from the office.” Parker has clients who travel from Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and even women who come from Atlanta,

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Our business plan is to always exceed the guest’s expectations in quality of service and customer care. — PARKER WEST


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Being a licensed stylist has been a rewarding and amazing journey. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. — SAMANTHA WEST

North Carolina, New York, and Philadelphia for him to style their hair. “They wait to have their hair done by me because they know they are going to get the results they want,” says Parker, who works at Salon Jaylee at Southern Trace, where he is part owner. He’s proud that his company embraces professionalism, and he credits Tenaj Salon Institute for instilling these principles in him. “We are training constantly and learning what the new techniques are and working with the highest level artists in the nation and in world. We work with the biggest names in the business,” he says, including Kim Vo, a celebrity artist based out of Los Angeles. Parker will also be attending a class with Kim Vo’ in LA this spring, and he will be attending the Royal Master’s Program in Philadelphia this year to earn his advanced color certification with Schwarzkopf Professional. “Our business plan is to always exceed the guest’s expectations in quality of service and customer care,” he says. Parker believes it’s also vital to debunk the myth about age-appropriate hairstyles, hair color, and length. “There is no such thing as age-appropriate,” he says. “We match the look to your lifestyle and your personality.”

Samantha West graduate designer

After graduating from Tenaj Salon Institute in 2013,

Samantha West

Samantha joined the Salon Jaylee team at their Colony Plaza location. “I love the beauty industry and all that it has to offer. At the school, we were taught that you never stop learning and training.” So this year she will be attending The Royal Masters Academy in Philadelphia, with Schwarzkopf Professional. She will travel there three times during the year and attend an intensive ten-day advanced color training and certification class. Samantha says. “Being a licensed stylist has been a

rewarding and amazing journey. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.” She enjoys interacting with guests and changing the way they feel about themselves. Initially, Samantha considered the medical field, but instead, she chose cosmetology school. “I realized as a stylist, I still get to work with people every day, and help them feel better about themselves” she says. “When they leave my chair in a great mood and feel good about themselves and the way they look, that’s my favorite part.”


Hannah Longest instructor

Some 100 students a year go through Tenaj Salon Institute, and Hannah treasures teaching at the Nationally Accredited Institute, where classes begin 10 times per year. Hannah just finished her instructor training with Cengage Learning and Milady and is now a Milday Certified Master Educator. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is the business training we give the students.” Hannah says. “We teach them not only how to be successful doing hair, the technical abilities, and the knowledge behind it all, but we teach them business-building skills.” Some 2,000 to 3,000 customers a month visit the clinic floor for services with supervised students. “Our students definitely get a lot of hands-on training,” she says, including color service and highlighting. Prices are less than what is charged at salons, allowing our students to gain a wide array of hands-on experience. “A lot of our guests like to be part of our students’ journey,” Hannah says, recalling she initially went to college for a career in the dental field. “I worked in a dentist office part-time when I was in college, and I decided that no one came in happy and excited, and it was kind of a downer,” she says. “I wanted to do something that would make people happy and excited.” Hair school was the answer. “I love every minute of it and I love everything about

Hannah Longest and Kaylee Parish

our industry,” she says. “I love getting to share my passion and what I love with other people. It’s a win-win situation all around.”

Kaylee Parish instructor

Graduating from Tenaj Salon Institute in 2007, Kaylee loves being involved in TSI today. She is a master certified specialist, color certified, and is now in a program to be a master educator. “Color is my specialty,” she says. “It’s my favorite and working with lots of textured hair, so I love to teach that to my students.” While working as a Redken Artist, Kaylee traveled to other schools around the country. She says TSI is a premier school. “The one thing that sets us above other schools is our dedication to our students,”

Kaylee says. “We teach the business aspect to our students and set them up for growing a successful clientele and future income. “We are so fortunate to have a lot of retired salon professionals and hairdressers who come in to support our students, which is terrific because they get to tell the students their personal experiences in this industry while they are in their chair.” Many retired stylists tell Kaylee they wish they had attended a cosmetology school like TSI and received the specialized attention the school provides. “If anyone is looking for an amazing career and to be involved in something that is forever changing, forever growing, give the beauty industry a try. It is rewarding, it’s challenging, it’s creative, and it’s a passionate industry,” Kaylee says.

Tenaj Salon Institute 11915 County Road 103 The Villages, FL 32162 352.753.5511 tenajsaloninstitute.com


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ABOVE, L-R: Ann Marie Gordis, Jennifer Brooker, Mark Costa, Rodney Risner, Chad Boliek, Jim Culbreath, Beau Franklin, Terry Williams, Richard Crews, Tom Myler, Haily Franklin, Melisa Franklin, Angie Boliek

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ucceeding in today’s business world is becoming increasingly difficult. Having superior office technology and a network setup are instrumental in helping companies meet their goals.

That’s why businesses throughout Lake, Sumter, Citrus, and Marion counties rely on Business Techs for all their office technology needs. Based in Leesburg, Business Techs sells and services top-

of-the-line copiers, fax machines, and network laser printers manufactured by Sharp, HP, and Brother. The familyowned company has thrived in the area for more than two

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IN

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thing, and bending over backward for our customers,” said Beau Franklin, who bought Copy Machine Service & Supply in 1995. Beau and Terry Williams merged in 1997 to form

“Because we are the largest local presence in the office equipment industry, we guarantee we can be at your company in one to four hours,” said Beau, a 1987

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We believe in hard work, doing the right thing, and bending over backward for our customers — BEAU FRANKLIN

Business Techs. “We provide the best digital document management through appreciative customer service.” Business Techs services large and small companies alike, including real estate agencies, automobile dealerships, banks, cities, and law enforcement agencies such as the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. He said one distinct advantage of being a local company is that “no other company in Central Florida is able to match our response or turnaround times.”

graduate of Leesburg High School. Beau also served in the USMC from 1987 to 1991 and used his GI Bill to earn his AA from LSCC and then his business administration degree from UCF. “When you purchase equipment from us, we spend hours ahead of time setting up, testing, and programming it. This saves your office a lot of downtime. We are even capable of placing a new mid-tohigh multifunctional printer unit with up to 100 users at your business in as

little as 15 minutes. This is unheard of in our industry.” In addition to offering brandname equipment, Business Techs has six technician services professionals with more than 120 years of combined copier and printer service experience. That knowledge and experience is invaluable when it comes to consistently streamlining and simplifying the sales, service, and installation process. Moreover, that knowledgeable team strives to build lasting relationships and takes pride in proactively fulfilling all their clients’ office equipment needs. “It’s all about appreciating the customer, and I communicate that all the time to our employees.” Beau is also adamant about supporting the community that has faithfully supported his business for so many years.

Business Techs helps support March of Dimes, The Villages Charter School, the Sumter County Economic Development Council, the National Association for the Blind, the Cystic Fibrosis Fund, the Lady Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Leesburg Chamber of Commerce, the City of Leesburg Baseball League, youth sports in Fruitland Park, the Miss Leesburg Scholarship Pageant, the LakeSumter State College Foundation, and the Leesburg Partnership. “Our service, sales, and admin support personnel are some of the hardest working and most caring people I know. They are men and women I would get in a foxhole with.” Beau encourages all prospective clients to stop by his office. “Please give us a chance to demonstrate how our expertise can enhance your document workflow capabilities.”

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F e at u r i n g

8 Pete Wahl A legend in The Villages.

Plus

2 Meet Alene Kraus She loves clowning around.

12 Girls just wanna have fun The Red Hat Society.


* MVESEtT yAlVeI L L A G E R

Alene Kraus

(Clown name: Rufflez)

STORY: TOM KUBALA

Why did you become a clown? Before moving to The Villages, I taught middle school Spanish for nearly 30 years in Macungie, Pennsylvania. I needed to fill time previously devoted to teaching. I learned about Clown Alley, and thought it might be like teaching middle schoolers, so I joined. I soon became president of Clown Alley 179, which now has 120 members. We are the only clown organization that is exclusively Villagers. I also taught clowning at the Lifelong Learning College. Clown Alley 179 signifies we are the 179th Alley in the World Clown Association. What do you like best about clowning? S TAT V I TA L

S

Grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Moved to The Villages in 2011 from Mertz Town, Pennsylvania Lives in the Village of Fernandina

Putting on my costume and makeup. I look forward to making people’s days happier. I love to be recognized by my clown name. I especially try to be a positive influence on kids and leave them with a message of confidence. We add fun to any activity.

How do you update your skills? When we are not performing, we attend workshops to help us hone clown skills, improve makeup, and sharpen clown magic. This means we are the best clowns we can be. It is a noble art from the heart, and is G-rated. Some of us competed in clown competitions at clown conventions and won prizes. Have you found some people fear clowns?

Has a border collie named Blaze

Yes, especially young children. If they are fearful of Santa or Big Bird, they are usually fearful of clowns, so we don’t push it. We are respectful of their fear.

Collects clown figurines

Optimistic.

Motto: “At the least, be kind.”

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What word or phrase describes you? What performances stand out for you? We participate in festivals and parades

in The Villages and entertain with balloon animals and painting faces at charitable events at the Polo Fields, such as autism, Alzheimer’s, and MS. We also assist the Salvation Army’s Christmas in The Villages. We entertained at Kids Beating Cancer and at a variety of clubs, schools, churches, soup kitchens, veterans’ groups, Honor Flight, Relay for Life, nursing homes, assisted living residences, memory care facilities, Kids in Crisis, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. If a group makes a request, we do our best to support their cause.

Greatest accomplishment? The birth of my daughter Jamie; I am very proud of her. She gave me my wonderful granddaughter, Joey. However, I feel I may yet accomplish other great things.

What are you passionate about? The younger generation, they are our future. They deserve positive direction and compassion from older adults. What brought you to The Villages? My husband Jack, who was interested in the golfing opportunities, so we took advantage of the lifestyle visit, stayed a week, and were hooked.

What other community service do you do? I volunteer for Parady Cares Foundation.


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Health and a long life to you “An old broom knows the dirty corners best.” – Old Irish Proverb STORY: PAT JOCELYN // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ

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Next to your family, friends are the closest people to you. They can be new friends you just met, friends you’ve had since [childhood] or even rekindled friendships. —RON FROEHLICH

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I

rish proverbs usually make us smile or laugh, but often it’s those same sayings that carry within them some pretty sage advice. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it appropriate to ask two Villagers, Ron and Colleen Froehlich, to choose one of several proverbs and discuss their meaning. Later I’ll throw my two cents worth into the mix. May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty. Ron chose this proverb because he said his life without his friends would surely be an empty one. “Next to your family, friends are the closest people to you,” Ron says. “They can be new friends you just met, friends you’ve had since [childhood] or even rekindled friendships.” The 67-year-old Wisconsin native added it’s shared experiences that make friendships so important, and he used a recent eighth-grade reunion as an example. “There were people there I haven’t seen in more than 50 years,” Ron continues, “but we had a great weekend.” In fact, they had so much fun reminiscing and catching up, they decided to continue their get-togethers. Colleen chose the proverb: You never miss the water till the well runs dry. “It’s all about appreciation—how you should

appreciate what you have when you have it,” Colleen says. “Not waiting until it’s gone and then you’re left with guilt and remorse.” The attractive blonde knows a thing or two about the subject because she used to work at a cancer center. She often observed old friends and family members of patients wait until it was almost too late to reunite with their loved ones. And me? I chose two proverbs: An old broom knows the dirty corners best. The majority of us have a family matriarch, neighborhood “mayor,” or seasoned school friend who appears to be the keeper of all the “secrets.” It’s usually an older person who has lived a full life and has learned it’s often more valuable to listen than to talk. As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way. I’d wager most of us have had a splinter or two that was pointed in the wrong direction while we slid down that infamous banister; but I’d like to think the tools and implements we gathered along the way helped us go back and repair that railing and heal the wounds caused by it. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! May your feet bring you where your heart is.


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ONCE IT WAS FIELDS OF WATERMELONS AND OTHER CROPS. NOW IT IS A PLACE CALLED “FLORIDA’S FRIENDLIEST HOMETOWN,” AND PETE WAHL WATCHED IT GROW.

STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ

I

n early 1995 in The Villages, most of the land west of Morse Boulevard was vacant, County Road 466 was just two lanes, and Lake Sumter Landing wasn’t on the map. Pete Wahl, who was managing all of Lake County at the time, received a job offer from the fledgling Villages Community Development Districts. “When they offered me the job up here, I went home and told my wife,” Pete says. “I said, ‘I just accepted a job in The Villages as district administrator.’ She says, ‘The Villages?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ She says, ‘What are you going to do the other four days of the week?’ Pete wound up doing plenty. As administrator of the Village Center CDD, he oversaw the district departments during the early development of Spanish Springs Town Square. Other than the square itself, only a church and Katie Belle’s restaurant were taking shape. Of course, that would change. “I remember meeting with [developer] Gary Morse and he took me down and we stood on the

corner and he told me exactly what was going to be on every piece of vacant property,” Pete says. “And I thought, ‘Oh, boy.’ ” Pete later became district manager of the Sumter Landing CDD, as Janet Tutt took over the Village Center. After Tutt became the sole district manager in 2008, Pete “retired” but continued as community projects director for the developer. He guided the southern districts’ growth, which included Eisenhower Recreation Center, a fire department, and other public facilities around Brownwood Paddock Square. “One of the joys of the job was watching that stuff come from pretty much the cosmos, the atmosphere, and watching it all come together and pretty much work the way it was designed to work,” Pete says. He grew up in a Minnesota town of 1,329 people. His father was a farm equipment dealer, and Pete started working behind the parts counter at age 12. “I think that’s probably the place I really came to understand what the meaning of customer service

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In early 1995 in The Villages, most of the land west of Morse Boulevard was vacant, County Road 466 was just two lanes, and Lake Sumter Landing wasn’t on the map.

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was, and I’ve focused on that my entire career,” he says. After 21 years in Brevard County administration, Pete spent “three of the longest years of my life” battling the Lake County Commission as county manager. After the 1994 elections, the makeup of the commission shifted from pro-growth to no-growth, and he asked to have his contract terminated as of March 1995. The pro-growth advocate couldn’t have found a better new job as he watched The Villages rise from the ground under developer Gary Morse and his father, Harold Schwartz, who began the community with a mobile home park east of U.S. Highway 27/441. “I was baffled by the vision of Gary Morse,” Pete says. “I mean, he could describe what he was going to do almost down to the color of the building. He was that finite of vision. And they made it fun. The Morse family hires you, throws the keys at you and says, ‘Run it like you own it, and come see us if there’s a problem.’ They don’t micromanage.” While Gary’s style was to remain in the background, Harold was out in the community. “Harold was an interesting guy,” Pete says. “I won’t say he was as much as a visionary as Gary, his son, but Harold always had the title, ‘Leader of The Villages.’ ”

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One of the strengths of The Villages is the bond among people working for the same cause, Pete says. CDD 6 Supervisor Peter Moeller says he developed an excellent working relationship with Pete, and they’ve become good friends over the past 10 years. “He saw The Villages through its initial growth,” Peter says. “He did a yeoman job putting the organization together, especially district property management and the recreation department,

“THE VILLAGES IS LIKE A WELL-OILED MACHINE. EVERYBODY SHARES THE SAME GOALS. EVERYBODY SHARES THE SAME VISION. EVERYBODY SHARES THE SAME VALUE SYSTEM.”

the two huge areas. He did a fine job.” He describes Pete as giving, understanding, and charitable. Pete has served on the boards of The Villages Charter School and Lake-Sumter State College, worked with the Lake Sumter Children’s Advocacy Center, and mentored students through Take Stock in Children. CDD 3 Supervisor Gail Lazenby has seen Pete’s charitable nature up close as a fellow member of the Rotary Club of The Villages. He has watched Pete turn the

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club’s chili cook-off/home and garden show into a significant moneymaker each year, raising funds for food pantries and scholarships. “A lot of people talk a good show—Pete turns that thought into action,” Gail says. “If something needs to be done, he’s the first to step up and make sure the task gets accomplished.” Pete’s also not shy about dipping into his own wallet, Gail says. “He’s a guy with a big heart and big ideas, and a guy who follows through,” Gail says.

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“I have tremendous, tremendous respect for the man because, as I said, he gets things done. He’s very focused on what’s important to the community.” Pete can’t seem to stop giving—or retiring. He left his Villages post in 2011, but Mark Morse, Gary’s son, asked him to fundraise for the Moffitt Cancer Center, which provided care at The Villages Regional Hospital. He performed that task until he retired again in early 2013. Then one day that spring, his phone rang.

State Rep. Marlene O’Toole was on the other end, explaining she needed to open a new office in Sumter County because of redistricting and telling, not asking, Pete to be her new aide. Last year, after Marlene ran for state Senate and lost in the primary, Pete retired yet again. The fourth retirement might stick. Pete, who will turn 72 in April, wants to spend more time at his Village de Allende home with his wife, Nancy, a retired kindergarten teacher.

Their daughter, Molly, and her husband, Keith, also gave them a grandson last summer. Pete feels lucky to have been in the right place at the right time for his “fun ride” in The Villages. “What’s really fun is knowing that it’s going to continue to roll,” he says. “The Villages is like a well-oiled machine. Everybody shares the same goals. Everybody shares the same vision. Everybody shares the same value system. “Would I do it again? Yeah, in a heartbeat, if I wasn’t this old.”

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Painting the town

RED

They’re legendary. They’ve been around The Villages for almost 20 years, and they’re easily recognizable. They’re the members of the Red Hat Society. STORY: LEIGH NEELY

J

enny Joseph is a poet who wrote a warning to her family and friends that when she was an old woman, she would wear a red hat and a purple dress that didn’t match. She had no idea that little poem would create a nationwide craze that would mean those red hats and purple outfits meant you were seeing a group of women getting out, laughing, and enjoying themselves as they grow older. Bonnie McCarroll, who lives in the Village of Bridgeport, is the Queen of Queens in The Villages—and she has the crown and scepter to prove it. “When my husband and I were down here to finalize plans for our house, we were at a town square,” Bonnie says. “He came and got me and said there was a parade going on. It was so exciting, and after the parade, I got my picture made and they signed a book for me.” Bonnie says she made plans then to join the Red Hat Society once she was settled in her new home. She now has 37

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ladies in her group from the Bridgeport community. Across The Villages, there are 50 chapters, and at one time, there were upwards of 85. The society has been referred to as a “playgroup for women.” There was a time when older women were characterized as grandmas who sat in rocking chairs knitting afghans or baking cookies and maybe attending the senior luncheon at the church once a month. The women who move to The Villages are prime examples of those who have changed that stereotype. They play sports, act in plays, dance, sing, twirl batons in parades, and do anything their heart desires. With clubs and social groups numbering in the thousands, there’s always something to do. “Our goal is to keep the sisterhood going,” Bonnie says. “And we’re always trying something different.” On April 1, the Red Hats will celebrate their 19th anniversary in The Villages


with a big party at Katie Belle’s Restaurant that includes brunch, entertainment, and eating dessert first. That’s right, these women are so bold, they enjoy dessert before their meal. Dignitaries visiting that day will include ViceQueen Linda Murphy, a leader in the national group who recently relocated from California to Tampa. Donna Moore, who does impersonations of famous women, will provide entertainment. “We’re so excited she’s going to be able to join us,” Bonnie says of Linda. “She recently attended the national convention in New York City. I don’t know if any of our ladies went, but I would have gone if it hadn’t been in February (because of the cold).” For their last big event, Pirates Day, they took over Cody’s Roadhouse at Lake Sumter Landing, and all of them came dressed as pirates with swords from the local dollar stores. Every big event also includes Red Hat vendors, the people who make their hats and design the gaudy jewelry filled with rhinestones that they love to wear. According to Lynn Dickey, who was a Red Hatter in Fort Lauderdale before moving to The Villages, it’s lots of fun, friendship, and glitz. “You can’t have too much glitz or fun,” Lynn

says. “The Red Hat Society is a true sisterhood, and it gives you a chance to socialize and be with people you wouldn’t normally see. And we get to dress up in our red hats, our purple outfits, and lots of glitz.” The event at Katie Belle’s also will feature vendors, including a famous hat and jewelry maker from Jacksonville that Bonnie has been trying to get to their annual party for two years. “Joyce Hunter is very well known, and her jewelry is always up to date.” Bonnie stresses that the Red Hat Society chapters in The Villages are not like most clubs. Their main goal is not fundraising or charitable work. That is for the other clubs and organizations to which they belong. Their main goal is to have fun together, support each other, and enjoy living every day to the fullest. They do have a fashion show once a year, and the proceeds go to St. Jude’s Research Hospital and to help The Villages Cheerleaders in their

endeavors. That is their only philanthropic effort. The rest of the time, it’s women enjoying having a good time together. “Some of the women just enjoy going to lunch or dinner together, and other groups like to do day trips. We don’t want anyone feeling obligated to join in on anything,” Bonnie says. Because their April event is not being held at a recreation center, they’re able to have outside guests, so they have Red Hat chapters coming from Fruitland Park, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Melbourne. “Some of them will be staying over with friends, and some are staying at the Waterfront Inn, so we’ll be shopping and enjoying ourselves around The Villages, too,” she says. The Red Hat Society of The Villages is always open to new members, and chances are, you can find a new chapter where you live. If you don’t know who to call, just look for a group of women with red hats, boas, and rhinestones at your local restaurant.

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“Our goal is to keep the sisterhood going,” - BONNIE MCCAROLL

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* BVOSOtK yClL UeB

Learn More:

*

It is a book about lost lives and the politics behind the loss.

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Club chairwoman Kathy Porter can be contacted at 352.259.8196 or kathymporter@comcast.net.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania By Erik Larson. A gripping account of history that puts a human face on the tragedy STORY: DIANE DEAN

T

hinking a about a cruise? “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson is not recommended reading while on your cruise. Spoiler alert—the luxury liner Lusitania took its last voyage in May 1915. This book tells the story of the Lusitania’s voyage from New York to Liverpool in 1915. Captain William Thomas Turner was not prepared for a torpedo attack though Germany had earlier declared the north Atlantic to be a war zone. The Lusitania, a fast and luxurious liner, tended to draw the richest and most prominent passengers,

including Alfred Vanderbilt and Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat, who traveled with invaluable Thackery drawings and an original Charles Dickens work. Theodate Pope, an architect and suffragette, and complicated character was also onboard. Many others lives were illuminated as the story of the crossing unfolded. The Bookworm Book Club discussion facilitated by Nancie Rohmann asked several questions of attendees: How did the people unable to sail on the Lusitania feel after the tragedy? Were there munitions on the ship for the British Army and did that cause the second explosion? How can a ship sail with faulty lifeboats and no instructions on how to put on life jackets? Were porthole windows left open the cause of the rapid sinking? Did a delayed departure, going slow to save fuel, along with the fog lifting create a perfect storm for the Germans to torpedo the ship? If the manifest of cargo was not butter, but munitions for the British military, why did the British not intervene to save the ship? Did Winston Churchill intend the Lusitania to entice a U-boat torpedoing?


Did the British deliberately not respond to the sinking in order to lure the United States into World War I? Was Woodrow Wilson a lovesick puppy and ineffective in a time of crisis? President Wilson (recently widowed) was courting Edith Galt and may have not focused on the war in Europe. The author also described life aboard the German submarine. Temperatures reached 100 degrees within the sub, 36 men who never bathed had only one lavatory, and diesel fuel smell permeated everything. Captain Walther Schweiger, who surely knew the Lusitania was a passenger ship, decided to torpedo the British ship in a quest for “tonnage” rather than respect innocent human life. His strike took down the largest ocean liner

in only 18 minutes. Of the 1,959 passengers and crew, 764 survived though 1,198 died, and 123 were U.S. citizens. Yet after this tragedy, it still took President Wilson two years to ask Congress for a vote to enter the war. The author switched between characters as he told their personal stories and built suspense relating one of the great sea disasters of history. It is a book about lost lives and the politics behind the loss. This may have been considered the first “terrorist” attack. Before this happened, countries played by the war rules. In a massive tragedy, there are always questions but not always answers. The author, Larson, raises many questions that were considered during the book discussion.

Fiction Bestsellers As of February 20

1 Echoes in

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2 Milk and

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3 Two by Two BY NICHOLAS SPARKS

4 Never Never BY JAMES PATTERSON

5 The Girl

Before

BY JP DELANEY

About the Author Erik Larson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. He lives in Seattle. His blog on his website shows his sense of humor, though his books have taken on very serious subjects and include “Isaac’s Storm,” “In the Garden of Beasts,” and “Devil in the White City.” The latter is to be a movie produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorcese.

Member Comments Erik Larson does it again! His gift of storytelling and his extensive research depicts the horror of the sinking of the Lusitania so vividly with the events, it felt as if a movie was playing in my mind as I read this book. —Gail Feind, Pennecamp Book is slow going at first but very well researched with incredible detail. The gruesome descriptions of the dead leaves one wondering. —Pam Sherman, Santa Domingo Erik Larson has written a true story that read like a fictional story. The “what ifs” can make you forever

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Behind You BY LISA GARDNER

7 The Chemist BY STEPHENIE MEYER

8 The

wonder “how” and “why.” —Charlotte Priestner, Rio Ponderosa Erik Larson is masterful in the story telling narration of the Lusitania. He captures the events surrounding the disaster including the political, historical, and sociological. He is always able to draw the reader into the momentous events of history. Read all of his books. —Kathie Caron, Winifred Another riveting book from a favorite nonfiction author! Larson is a master at bringing history to life. —Kathy Porter, Rio Ponderosa

Underground Railroad BY COLSON WHITEHEAD

9 The Whistler BY JOHN GRISHAM

10 The Wrong

Side of Goodbye

BY MICHAEL CONNELLY

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The last-second buzzer beaters. The unbelievable upsets. Tears rolling down the cheeks of seniors playing their final collegiate game. Yes, drama will unfold this month on the basketball court as March Madness takes center stage. One Lake County resident remembers it all too well. He shares what it’s like to play in the NCAA Tournament and the Final Four. STORY: JAMES COMBS

SHINING MOMENT.

Photo courtesy of the University of Florida

THE FINAL FOUR.

It’s Mecca. It’s Utopia. It’s college basketball’s grandest stage. As a young boy, Andrew DeClercq dreamed about playing under those bright lights and on that big stage. After all, he witnessed some of the most iconic moments in Final Four history. He remembers Michael Jordan’s game-winning shot against Georgetown in 1982. He remembers the “Cinderella” Villanova team that took down Goliath Georgetown in 1985. He remembers coach Jim Valvano’s victory lap in 1983 after North Carolina State Wolfpack stunned Houston in the championship game. Three years after the 6-foot-10-inch power forward from Clearwater Countryside High School signed with the University of Florida, Andrew would have an opportunity to create his own Final Four memories. As a junior in 1994, he helped lead UF to the school’s first Final Four appearance. Andrew was a reliable scorer and fully capable of snagging any rebound or blocking the shot of players who dared enter his lane. But the individual accomplishments

March 2017

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meant little. For him, that season was defined by sharing a special moment with teammates. “Cutting down those nets with my teammates after we won our game in the Elite Eight was the best feeling in the world. I realized at that moment how all the blood, sweat, and tears were worth it. All that time we spent in the weight room and on the practice floor, and here we were on the floor together after winning the biggest game in UF history and getting ready to play in the Final Four. I’ll never forget that feeling.”

"Cutting down those nets with my teammates after we won our game in the Elite Eight was the best feeling in the world." The 44-year-old Andrew has not played competitively since retiring from the NBA in 2005. Today, he lives in Clermont with his wife and three children and is co-founder and executive pastor of HighPoint Church in Ocoee. Basketball is no longer a big part of his life, but the memories of the Gators’ improbable run to the Final Four will last a lifetime.

A SEASON TO REMEMBER

The 19931994 Florida squad returned several veterans, including Andrew, a junior, Craig Brown, a senior guard, Dan Cross, a junior guard, and Marti Kuisma, a senior forward. The team also featured young budding players such as athletic sophomore forward Brian Thompson and sophomore center Dametri Hill, who developed a signature hook shot that later became known as “Da Meat Hook.” Andrew and other upperclassmen were determined to take the program to a higher level after coming off two subpar seasons. In 1992, the Gators lost to Virginia in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Final Four and in 1993 lost to Minnesota in the first round of the NIT. “Craig Brown and I would gather the freshmen and get in extra workouts. We also went to Australia that summer and played professional teams. That experience was

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phenomenal for us as a team and served as a great bonding experience for the players. Our goal before the season was to win the Southeastern Conference, make the NCAA Tournament, and advance to the Final Four.” The Final Four? That’s a big expectation for a program that, at the time, had won a meager three NCAA Tournament games in its history. And when it comes to basketball, Gainesville isn’t exactly Lexington, Westwood, Durham, or Chapel Hill. Few experts gave Florida much chance to achieve that goal. In fact, the Gators entered the season unranked, and the team was devoid of any sure-fire NBA lottery picks. None of that mattered to the team. UF featured a scrappy, feisty collection of players who readily bought into coach Lon Kruger’s hard-nosed, tenacious brand of defense. “Whether we were at practice or in a game, we were a highly competitive team,” Andrew recalled. “Nobody was there for personal glory; we each accepted the roles that coaches had for us. That made playing the game much easier.” It also made for a successful season. Florida finished the year with a 23-6 record and won the Southeastern Conference’s East Division with a 12-4 conference record. The team’s competiveness earned praise from Arkansas All-American forward Corliss Williamson. “Florida is like a bunch of gnats. You keep trying to make them go away but they keep coming back. "They also proved to be pests in the NCAA Tournament after knocking off Pennsylvania and James Madison in the first and second rounds. “One thing I realized after those two victories is that the intensity level of each game in the NCAA Tournament is so much higher than in the regular season,” Andrew said. “We looked at the NCAA Tournament games as an opportunity to prove who we were as a team, and we knew we had to play at the highest level possible.” The first- and second-round victories set up a marquee showdown with two-seeded Connecticut at the Sweet 16 in Miami. The Huskies featured two All-American players in Donyell Marshall and Ray Allen. It was also a matchup of two contrasting styles. UConn was a fast-paced team, averaging 84.9 points per game. Florida played a more half-court-oriented, grind-it-out style.


“Going into that game, people wondered how we would deal with all their firepower. However, throughout the course of that season, we managed to slow down teams like Kentucky, Arkansas, and Louisville. We turned the UConn game into a half-court, possession-by-possession game.” The strategy took the Huskies out of their comfort zone and helped Florida pull off a 69-60 upset. Two days later, the Gators achieved their improbable dream of making the Final Four by defeating Boston College 74-66 in the Elite Eight. “I remember when there was about five or six seconds left on the clock and I started getting goose bumps,” Andrew said. “It dawned on me that we were actually going to the Final Four. The locker room was absolute chaos. We were screaming, hugging, high-fiving. All the long hours of hard work and sweat helped us meet our goal. It was an amazing feeling.” When the team arrived at the Gainesville Airport at 2am, more than 2,000 Gator fans donning orange and blue attire greeted them.

Photos courtesy of the University of Florida

FINAL FOUR WEEK

Suddenly, football was no longer the only game in town. The University of Florida campus was abuzz with excitement. Signs were prominently displayed on dorms, buildings, and storefronts. Many of them read “Go Gators!” or “Final Four bound!” Andrew and his teammates could not walk across campus without being congratulated or high-fived by students. “We went from being a nobody to being a somebody overnight,” he recalls. In one of Andrew’s classes, a student successfully convinced a professor to postpone an exam scheduled for the following Monday because Gator Nation would be too busy watching the Final Four. “The student then asked the professor if the entire class would receive an A if we won the Final Four. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Whoa, I don’t want that kind of pressure!’” The team received just as much attention when they arrived at the Final Four in Charlotte, North Caroline. In fact, it became a balancing act as the Gators focused on winning the game while soaking in

the excitement of college basketball’s grandest stage. Public practices were held at the Charlotte Coliseum in front of 15,000 fans. Then it was off to photo shoots and visiting with throngs of media. “The atmosphere surrounding the Final Four is unbelievable,” Andrew said. “We’d be walking around Charlotte and fans would converge around us and ask us questions. I was in awe of the surroundings, and I can honestly say I’ve never done so many interviews and photo shoots in my life.” Their semifinal opponent was Duke, a traditional college basketball powerhouse that had advanced to seven Final Fours in the past nine seasons and won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992. The Blue Devils featured versatile All-American Grant Hill, who averaged 17.4 points per game. Relying on its suffocating defense, the Gators stymied Duke’s offense and built a 13-point lead with 15 minutes left in the second half. That’s when Hill took his game to another level, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers. “We watched lots of video on Duke and never once did we see Grant Hill shoot three pointers. That caught us off guard. But that’s why he was an All-American. When his team desperately needed him, he put the team on his back.” The remainder of the game was back and forth. In the end, the Blue Devils pulled off a hard-fought 70-65 victory. “That game was a war. Afterward, we were exhausted as exhausted gets. We put everything we had into that game.” Years later, Andrew and Hill played together for the Orlando Magic. They reminisced about that Final Four game. “Grant Hill played in three Final Fours, and he told me that the game he played against us was the most difficult. He said that he never felt comfortable about Duke winning until the final horn sounded.” Andrew spent 10 years in the NBA, playing for teams such as Boston, Golden State, Cleveland, and Orlando. Still, that memorable run to the Final Four ranks as one of his career highlights. “I never got that close to a championship again. We had a great group of coaches and a great group of players. To live the dream of playing in the Final Four was amazing.”

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73 On the Scene

There’s more to the Big Easy than just Bourbon Street. SEE STORY on PG 90


* TOHnE TTOh- DeO SL cI S eT n e

March MARCH 4

Get off the Bus! Wynonna & The Big Noise will be at the Mount Dora Community Center at 7pm for a cozy evening with her and her band. Tickets are available through MountDoraLive.com. You know it’s going to be fun if Wynonna’s there!

MARCH 7

Irish Comedy Tour The Irish Comedy Tour takes the party atmosphere of a Dublin pub and combines it with a boisterous, bellylaugh band of hooligans. Show time is 7pm Cost of tickets $17-$35. For more information, go to thesharon.com. Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, 1051 Main St., The Villages.

MARCH 30

Illusionist Rick Thomas Rick Thomas bills himself as one of the greatest and most successful illusionists in the world today. He has completed five world tours covering more than 50 countries. From sold-out performances at Caesars Colosseum to headlining the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Thomas has entertained millions of people with his breathtaking magic, both on stage and TV. Showtime is 7pm. Cost of tickets $20-$60. For more information, go to thesharon.com. Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, 1051 Main St., The Villages.

MARCH 10-11

“Annie” The world's best-loved musical returns in time-honored form. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin and choreographed by Liza Gennaro, this production of “Annie” will be a new incarnation of the original. Show times are 7:30pm Cost of tickets $35-$85. For more information, go to thesharon.com. Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, 1051 Main St., The Villages. M A R C H 1 0 , 1 7, 2 4 , 3 1

Remember Our Troops Fish Fry Friday fish fry from 5 to 7pm or until food is gone. Join the event as a guest and wear red for deployed troops. AmVets Post 2006, 500 N. Canal St., Leesburg. For more information, call Peggy at 352.323.8750, or email veteransinfoandevents@gmail.com. MARCH 11

Poochapalooza Poochapalooza is a day to celebrate canine friends and enjoy the beauty of Lake Louisa State Park with canine companions. Visitors and their dogs can enjoy vendors, refreshments, and activities for dogs of all abilities. Lake Louisa State Park, 7305 S. U.S. Highway 27, Clermont. For more information, contact Amy Schulz at 352.394.3969 or amyschulz@cfl.rr.com.

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MARCH 24-26

Ninth Annual Wine & Seafood Festival The festival features live music, and local artists and crafters displaying their work. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks, and a variety of tasty seafood specialties will be available for purchase, along with complimentary winery tours and tastings. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, 19239 U.S. Highway 27, Clermont; 352.394.8627.

MARCH 13, 20, 2 7

Smooth Country Band Monday Nights Come enjoy the music and dancing each Monday night with the Smooth Country Band, featuring David Allen Potter, David Peddicord, Vern Brewer, George Hawkins, Stan Chase, and other entertainers. Olympia Banquets & Events, 2728 W. Old Highway 441, Mount Dora. For more information, call David Potter at 386.366.5623. MARCH 17

“Rhythm in the Night, the Irish Dance Spectacular” Experience the Irish dance phenomenon that is sweeping the country, “Rhythm in the Night, the Irish Dance Spectacular,” as it returns for “The Celebration Tour.” Mount Dora Community Building Theater, 520 N. Baker St. For more information, call Brian E. Young at 352.217.5072 or email visitmountdora@gmail.com. MARCH 18-19

Mount Dora Spring Fest The downtown streets come alive with an eclectic display of collectibles and crafts from more than 200 exhibitors. It's a fun, free, two-day, open-air event, with historic downtown Mount Dora as a backdrop. 4th and Donnelly streets. For more information, contact Janet Gamache at 352.217.8390 or janet.gamache@gmail.com.

MARCH 18-19

“Saturday Night Fever” The iconic musical tale of Tony, the kid from Brooklyn who wants to dance his way to a better life, is back. Show times are 7pm Cost of tickets $30-$80. For more information, go to thesharon.com. Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, 1051 Main St., The Villages. MARCH 24, 31

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” This show is a nonstop laugh fest in which Pseudolus, a crafty slave, struggles to win the hand of a beautiful but slow-witted courtesan

named Philia, for his young master, Hero, in exchange for freedom. The plot twists and turns with cases of mistaken identity. Cost of tickets $18 adults, $9 students. Melon Patch Theatre, 311 N. 13th St., Leesburg. MARCH 24

Clermont Comedy Series The Clermont Comedy Series presents the best in stand-up comedy, featuring headliners and crowd favorites from TV and national tours. Beer, wine and craft beer available at concession. Cost of tickets $15. Clermont Performing Arts Center, 3700 S. Highway 27.

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

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* IONnC OTNhC EeR TS c e n e

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

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DATE

TIME

ARTIST

VENUE

3/3

8pm

Defenders of Daisies

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/3

9pm

Orion

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

3/4

8pm

Kings County

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/4

9pm

Orion

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

3/5

1:30pm

Jon Cabrera

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/5

7pm

The Hit Men

The Sharon, The Villages

3/8

7:30pm

Jeff Whitfield

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/9

7:30pm

Dangerous Dave

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/10

8pm

Justin Heet

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/10

9pm

Chicken Train

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

3/11

8pm

Da Boys

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/11

9pm

Chicken Train

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

3/12

1:30pm

Adam Grayford

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/12

7:30pm

Defenders of Daisies

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/13

7 p.m.

Paul Anka

The Sharon, The Villages

3/14

7pm

The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra- Classic Concert

The Sharon, The Villages

3/15

7:30pm

Jeff Whitfield

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/16

7:30pm

Jon Cabrera

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/17

7pm

Blue Stone Circle

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/17

9pm

The Missin Piston

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

3/18

8pm

TC & SASS

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/18

9pm

The Missin Piston

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

3/19

1:30pm

David Julia

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/19

7:30pm

Defenders of Daisies

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/22

7:30pm

Jeff Whitfield

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/23

7:30pm

Kelly Jarrard

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/24

8pm

The Accuzed

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/25

8pm

Da Boys

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/26

1:30pm

Dangerous Dave

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/27

7:30pm

Defenders of Daisies

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/29

7:30pm

Jeff Whitfield

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/30

7:30pm

Donnie Lee

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/31

8pm

Justin Heet

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

3/31

9pm

Chris Ryals Band

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg

4/4

7pm

The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra- Opera Celebration

The Sharon, The Village


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* LOOnC ATL hT AeL ESNcTe n e

The “center” of attention Tecko Fall is standing tall in the world of college basketball. STORY: JAMES COMBS

My height is something God gave me. I cannot run away from who I am. I am trying to be humble. —TACKO FALL

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Photos: Brandon Helwig

*

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pponents of the University of Central Florida men’s basketball team have a tall order. They must find a way to slow down Tacko Fall, the Knights’ 7-foot-6-inch center who is the tallest player in college basketball. So far, their efforts in stopping him have come up short. Fall, who played high school basketball at Liberty Christian Prep in Tavares, is averaging a double-double (12.6 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game) this season. In December, he was named as the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week after averaging 17.8 points and 12.5 rebounds during the three-game Charleston Classic tournament. He has also helped the Knights orchestrate an amazing turnaround. After finishing 12-18 last season, UCF is 14-7 as of this writing and has its sights set on playing in the NCAA Tournament. Of course, Fall is not one to brag about his success. He has giant hands and massive feet, but his ego remains small. “I still need to improve my strength and speed and add more post moves. I’m just a regular college student who plays basketball. There’s nothing special about me.” Many people would disagree. Among those are the curious onlookers who hound him at airports and other public venues in hopes of a selfie or autograph. Introverts such as Fall typically shy away from such public attention, but he takes it all in stride. “My height is something God gave me. I cannot run away from who I am. I am trying to be humble,”he says. A native of Dakar, Senegal, Fall began playing basketball at the age of 16 and moved to the United States in October 2012. After traveling throughout several states searching for a charter school to play basketball, he landed at Liberty Christian Prep in Tavares. He lived with a host family, Davis and Mandy Wettstein, of Grand Island. “Tacko is a very cool human being who has a big heart,” Mandy says. “His mother instilled a strong set of core values into him, and he has never deviated from those core values.” After playing two seasons at Liberty Christian, Tacko signed with UCF and as a freshman averaged 7.4 points. 5.9 rebounds, and 2.33 blocks. Thanks to an intense offseason of workouts, Fall has significantly elevated his game this season. “I’m not worried about my individual stats; I just want to help my team make the NCAA Tournament. I love my teammates. And I praise God for giving me this wonderful opportunity.” For someone his age, Fall possesses a great deal of humility and maturity. No wonder everyone looks up to him.


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— SCOTT AND SHARON DUNCAN UMATILLA

“We like our relationship with Vann Gannaway. There’s no high pressure. Wayne Davenport worked it three different ways to give us the best deal. They don’t have a big turnover—it’s like ‘Cheers,’ everybody knows your name.”


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

Gala Military Ball The 17th annual Retired Military Ball was held in November at Savannah Center in The Villages. This is the largest military ball in the Central Florida area and perhaps the most elegant. The Retired Military Family Group in The Villages is dedicated to keeping that familial connection that comes from shared experiences in military service. PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

Ann and Wray Hall

Members of the Umatilla High School Army Junior ROTC

Bob and June Gist Linda Sorensen-Robacker

Marlene and Bob Brand

Members of the Umatilla High School Army Junior ROTC2 Villages Elementary Choir

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Come to The Dentist and let us make your smile great!

NEW YEAR SPECIAL - $150 off of Crowns (D2740) *Offer can be used for up to 6 crowns

Complimentary Exam and X-Rays EXAM - D0150 XRAY - D0210 (excludes emergencies) *For new patients without insurance only. Emergency exams excluded. Cannot be combined with other offers. Must present coupon to receive offer.

3 5 2 . 480. 0800 • 3 0 7 La g ra nd e Blvd , La dy La ke • www. c omet ot h edent is t . c om *Offer expires one month past publish date. Scan the code for more offers and to watch our latest video. FREE implant & denture consultations. We process dental claims. Financing available with approved credit. The patient and any other person responsible for payment has the right to refuse to pay, cancel payment, or be reimbursed for payment for any other service, examination or treatment which is performed as a result of and within 72 hours of responding to the advertisement for the discounted fee or reduce fee service, examination or treatment. Fees may vary due to complexity of case. This discount does not apply to those patients with dental insurance or discount plans, fees are minimal.

Carlos Medina, DMD


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

Executive Chef David Atkinson Brooklynn and Capt. Skott Jeusen

Francheska Armenteros and Lynne Kelley

Tempting Tastes of Tavares In November, visitors and residents of Tavares enjoyed many delicious appetizers, entrees, and desserts offered by the local establishments in downtown Tavares. Everyone voted alongside professional judges on which meals were the best of the best! PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

Paul Matthew, Jeremy Spauldins, and Kevin Winkler

Jordan and Mandy Wettstein

Lou Acuff and Jaw Russell

Malcolm Mompoint

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

SA-LUTE! On Veterans day in 2012 Rozann Abato, Carroll Jaskulski, and Ed Mason held their first Patriot Cruise and Salute event to honor veterans from all branches of the Armed Services of the United States. This year the PCS honored 27 veterans from WWII. PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

Jim Corbett, Bob Spaulding, and Glenn Beville

Harry Olson and Faith

HI, SOCIETY

Donald and Julia Van Beck

Mt. Dora Police Department’s Incomparable Honor Guard

George and Jean Marie Kleven

“Ozzie” Sgt. Gary Ward

Bill Blankenberg

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

Catch the Big One! Reel In 4 Autism was held at the Venetian Gardens Park Saturday, October 29, 2016. This event helps raise awareness and funds for the children in our community with Autism. Children enjoyed games, bounce houses, face painting, and of course, fishing! If you are interested in sponsoring or attending this event next year, go to reelin4autism.wordpress.com PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

Meghan Riegler, Kennedi Martin, Omar Khan, Gesa Barto, Yasmine Al-khub

David Green, Yamel Santiago and “Carty.�

James

Dodie and John Frank Shirah Harmeling, Kirstin Treber and Krista Watts

Paula Kling and Ethan Campbell

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What does The Lake Sumter Group at Morgan Stanley do? We proactively serve a select group of families with the distribution phase of their retirement by offering rigorous, relentless discipline seeking to bring a higher level of predictability.

How does your group achieve that? With financial planning tools and discretionary portfolio management, we build plans based on our client’s risk tolerance. As portfolio managers, we manage our clients’ portfolios on a daily basis and guide their objectives, which range from developing a health care strategy to attending to estate planning needs.

How do you help your clients achieve their objectives? Focusing our attention on our clients’ financial details means working toward their goal of living the lifestyle they have always envisioned. Having the resources in place to enjoy the next stage of their lives is important in achieving those goals. Perhaps they want to master a new language or travel to see family. Moving financial worry away from the front of their minds can put big concerns to rest.

What specific strategies do you offer your clients? Our focus is on financial planning which includes retirement planning, retirement income planning, estate planning strategies, college education planning, custom portfolio management, long term care planning and life insurance planning.

Gregory Prevatt, CLTC, CFP® Senior Vice President Portfolio Management Director Financial Advisor gregory.prevatt@morganstanley.com

Michael Monteith

Nicole Silberstein

Client Service Associate nicole.silberstein@morganstanley.com

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

The Lake Sumter Group at Morgan Stanley

832 Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages, FL 352.751.7845 • Toll free 800.447.6036 morganstanleyfa.com/LakeSumter

What makes your group passionate about what you do? Our clients have spent their working years building a legacy. We enjoy helping them build the next phase of their lives. Having an advisor who can walk that path with them can mean the difference between living, and enjoying, their retirement.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC offers insurance products in conjunction with its licensed insurance agency affiliates. This material is intended only for clients and prospective clients of the Portfolio Management program. It has been prepared solely for informational purposes only and is not an offer to buy or sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any security or other financial instrument, or to participate in any trading strategy. The individuals mentioned as the Portfolio Management Team are Financial Advisors with Morgan Stanley participating in the Morgan Stanley Portfolio Management program. The Portfolio Management program is an investment advisory program in which the client’s Financial Advisor invests the client’s assets on a discretionary basis in a range of securities. The Portfolio Management program is described in the applicable Morgan Stanley ADV Part 2, available at www.morganstanley.com/ ADV or from your Financial Advisor. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC does not accept appointments nor will it act as a trustee but it will provide access to trust services through an appropriate third-party corporate trustee. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and Federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the US. © 2016. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors or Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. CRC1651264 11/16


* SOOnC I ATLhSeP OST LcI eG HnTe

Mount Dora Spring Fest and

Show IT’S ART-RAGEOUS One of Mount Dora’s most popular events is rebranded. Don’t miss the 2017 Mount Dora Spring Fest. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

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T

ens of thousands of people are expected in downtown Mount Dora for the 20th year of the Mount Dora Spring Fest, an event where 300 crafters and artists from all over the country showcase an eclectic mix of superior handmade crafts. The event is March 18-19 from 9am to 5pm. Tavares crafter Tabitha Lauer, 38, one of the exhibitors, will have her one-of-a-kind jewelry creations made from real coins. “People tell me I should be in high-end quality jewelry stores,” Tabitha says. “I love making the pieces and I love seeing how people react to my pieces. Mount Dora is one of the most most amazing places to be an artist; the shows are wonderful and well organized.” Formerly known as the Mount Dora Spring Collectibles, Crafts and Antiques Show, it was previously tied with the antique boat show. Event Coordinator Janet Gamache noted it began as a weekend activity to give people more to do, as the men would check out the boats while women would shop downtown. Over the years, the boat show moved to Tavares, and Janet says the time was right to rebrand the festival since many antique vendors showcase their wares at an antique market. “There has been a huge decline in the interest in antiques and collectibles,” she says, noting the open-air festival has a new focus. It will be a juried event for crafters with a separate section for collectibles. Janet says the change is generating lots of excitement. “It is growing as we change status of it. We are getting more of the fine crafters coming to the event; we are getting a lot of great applications from people I have never seen before,” she says. “Before, when it was kind of antiquely and collectibles, it was hard to get the fine artists to the event when they had to

compete with mass-produced types of things. Now, people are coming from all over the country for this event.” The festival is third largest in Mount Dora. “It easily draws more than 100,000 people,” says Janet, who has been the event coordinator for five years. She notes the Fall Craft Fair in October is the event with the largest attendance, followed by the Mount Dora Art Festival in February, and this month’s spring show, featuring white tent booths set up along Donnelly, Alexander, Baker, 4th, and 3rd streets—the entire downtown corridor. “I just love that Mount Dora continues to bring the three events. There are so many festivals that you have to pay to go, and I love that we keep it a community event,” she says. “You can just go and spend the day with your family, and the weather is always gorgeous in March. It’s probably my favorite event.” The festival is also a big hit with exhibitors from Michigan, New Jersey, and Maine, who come to enjoy the warmer Florida weather. Janet understands the appeal. She has lived in Mount Dora 10 years, coming to the city for the weather from upstate New York. “We love that people come and discover Mount Dora. The whole purpose of doing the event is to draw people into the town,” she says. “It’s about showcasing Mount Dora.” Janet and the local merchants appreciate seeing big crowds, yet they love hearing stories of visitors returning to shop in the local stores and dine in the restaurants—long after the festival tents are gone. Even more exciting is news of visitors who relocate to Mount Dora and other Lake County cities after a festival event. “We get that all the time that people come back and end up moving here because of all the festivals that we have,” she says. “There is always something to do.”

*

If you go What 20th Mount Dora Spring Fest When 9am to 5pm March 18-19 Where Downtown Mount Dora Festival tips Sunday is less crowded. Go early. Wear comfortable shoes.

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NEW ORLEANS:

BEYOND BOURBON ST.

When the sun rises in New Orleans, the Crescent City reveals quiet paths that many tourists don’t take time to explore. The Garden District, home to writers, musicians, and other celebrities, is a relaxing escape from the round-the-clock partying of the French Quarter. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS // PHOTOS: TONY AND MARY ANN DESANTIS

S

ome cities are legendary. New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of those places. People are curious about the famous—sometimes infamous—city at the mouth of the Mississippi River as soon as they hear I grew up only a couple of hours from there. Of course, everyone wants to know about the legendary sites: the French Quarter, Preservation Jazz Hall, Café du Monde, Mardi BENJAMIN BUTTON HOUSE

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ANNE RICE HOUSE


LAFAYETTE CEMETERY

JAZZ LEGENDS

COMMANDERS PALACE


* OOUnT +TA BhOeU TS c e n e

Gras routes, and renowned restaurants like Antoine’s and Brennan’s. For many years, those were the things that I, too, most associated with New Orleans. Digging deeper—and walking farther—I discovered the Garden District, an area that has had a gravitational pull for writers, musicians, athletes, filmmakers, and celebrities for decades. “People, especially creative types, are drawn to the city by everything…from the architecture, to the food and the music. It’s such a melting pot,” says New Orleans native Randy Keng, who grew up in the area known as Mid-City. Although New Orleans is a melting pot of cultures

now, it wasn’t that way when Americans began arriving in the French and Creoledominated Vieux Carré (Old Square) after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Language barriers, religious differences, and mutual snobbery created friction. “Les Americains” as they were called by the Creoles, moved upriver and settled into “the village of Lafayette.” In 1832, a group of businessmen purchased the Livaudais Plantation near the settlement and quickly gridded the land into 80 city blocks. The development efforts paid off because wealthy shipping magnates and cotton brokers rushed in to build antebellum

mansions with large lawns, and Lafayette was its own city by 1833. With plenty of space and fertile plantation soil, the area became known as the Garden District, which the city of New Orleans annexed in 1852. The charm of the Garden District actually began when I boarded the St. Charles Streetcar and rode the noisy line from Canal Street to Washington Avenue. Originally steam-powered, the St. Charles Streetcar began in 1835 and is the oldest active streetcar in the world. Other street cars crisscross New Orleans, and they are an economical way to get around the city (See Trip Tip).

Other Daytime Attractions in the Big Easy Finding great music in New Orleans is easy whether it’s in the French Quarter or in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood to the north of the Quarter. Sampling the spicy Creole cuisine is also a fun way to spend an evening, but daytime can be rewarding, too. Here are a few must-see places for the daylight hours: HISTORIC JACKSON SQUARE AND THE “MOON WALK”: Known in the 18th century as “Place d’Armes,” and later renamed for the Battle of New Orleans hero Andrew Jackson, this picturesque plaza is the heart of New Orleans. Surrounded by historic buildings including the St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square is also an openair artists’ colony. Just across Decatur Street is an elevated riverside promenade named for former mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu. The “Moon Walk” is a great place to watch the river traffic and street performers. HOTEL MONTELEONE: Since 1866, this elegant hotel has served the rich and famous. You don’t have to be a guest to walk through the ornate lobby and read the displays about the literary giants—Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, and John Grisham to name a few—who have stayed, written, and drank here.

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Most organized tours of the Garden District begin at Washington Avenue and Prytania Street at the Garden District Book Shop, which has a stellar collection of signed editions. I chose a more leisurely and lessexpensive way to get a glimpse of the well-preserved Italianate, Greek Revival, and Victorian-styled mansions with a free, self-guided map from www.bigboytravel. com/louisiana/neworleans/ gardendistrictwalkingtour/. Most of the private homes in the Garden District are not open to the public, but tours often point out the former homes of actor Nicolas Cage and gothic writer Anne Rice,

who used her Prytania Street home as the setting for her 1997 novel, “Violin.” It’s also easy to recognize the house where “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” starring Brad Pitt, was filmed. Around the corner is the house where football’s legendary Manning brothers grew up. Another setting for many film projects is the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, across the street from the Garden District Book Shop. Fans of the television show “NCIS: New Orleans” will recognize the maze of mausoleums while others—like me—will never forget Ashley Judd’s character being locked inside

a Lafayette tomb in the 1999 movie “Double Jeopardy.” Whenever anyone talks about legendary restaurants in New Orleans, the name “Commander’s Palace” is always at the top of the list. The colorful culinary institution, known for its brunches, is at the corner of Washington Avenue and Coliseum Street near Lafayette Cemetery. It’s also a delicious end to the walking tour.

Mary Ann DeSantis Mary Ann DeSantis has written features for Style publications since 2006. She was recognized with first place Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards for Travel Writing in 2012 and again in 2016.

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Trip Tip For $3, buy a one-day “Jazzy Pass” from any streetcar driver if you have exact change. The pass allows you to ride as much as you want during a 24-hour period. Otherwise, each ride costs you $1.25. Be patient, because these electric cars fill up fast, and you may have to wait for the next one to come down the line.

THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM: Open since June 6, 2000, the National WWII Museum spans an entire block in the city’s Central Business District. Founded by the late historian and author Stephen Ambrose, the museum was originally known as the National D-Day Museum. In 2003, Congress officially designated it as America’s National WWII Museum. People often ask, “Why New Orleans?” The museum has its roots in the Higgins boats, which were manufactured in New Orleans. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower—and later U.S. President—said the war would have been much different without those flat-bottom boats. OGDEN MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN ART: A wonderful collection of new and old art from the American South. The modern atrium is nestled between two historic buildings near the National World War II Museum. CAFÉ DU MONDE: Yes, it’s a touristy thing to do, but eating beignets covered in powdered sugar is a New Orleans tradition that shouldn’t be missed. If the line is long, go to the walk-up window in the rear and then take the French-style doughnuts and chicory coffee to the Moon Walk, where plenty of benches await.

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PLOWING THROUGH THE HISTORY OF

TRACTORS He bought a place and a few tractors for his grandchildren to enjoy. Today, it houses a museum, gift shop, and hosts a variety of entertaining events. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ

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S

tew Paquette seems like an unlikely owner of a tractor museum. He didn’t grow up on a farm, never plowed a field or raised crops, and his distinctive New England accent is a far cry from the Southern drawl of a country farmer. But here he is, carving out 50 acres of land south of State Road 44 in Leesburg, surrounded by buffalo and cows, and operating Paquette’s Historical Farmall Tractor Museum. The museum is a tribute to International Harvester farming equipment, a subject Stew has studied since 2004, when he bought six tractors for his property because he thought his grandkids might get a kick out of them. “I didn’t know anything about them— nothing,” says Stew, a native of New

They made everything. And they were at the cutting edge at the time. Everything they did was just a bit better than anybody else’s. —STEW PAQUETTE

Hampshire who moved to Florida in 1974. “I’ve never been on a farm. I’m not a farmer. I didn’t know anything about tractors.” But he did know the International Harvester name. His father, A.J. “Tony” Paquette, owned an excavating and concrete company that used IH trucks, and Stew used them for nearly 25 years when he ran Paquette Paving in Leesburg. Stew also was inspired by the history of International Harvester, which began in 1902 when rival harvester companies McCormick and Deering joined forces and eventually would rule the machinery world for decades. “They made everything,” Stew says. “And they were at the cutting edge at the time. Everything they did was just a bit better than anybody else’s.” Now his collection totals nearly 200 tractors, all made by International Harvester— no Fords allowed. He collects them from around the country and restores them onsite with mechanics such as Lonny Loudin. The tractors cover all years, all models, from a

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1934 O-12 orchard tractor to a 7488 Super 70 Series from the 1980s. Stew, who lives on the grounds in a large farmhouse, opened the museum to the public in 2010. The campus includes a Tractor Barn with endless rows of red tractors, a Show Barn that hosts musical acts and events, an IH dealership building that’s a replica from the 1940s, and a 22,000-square-foot Hall of Fame that houses Stew’s rarest tractors. One recent morning, Stew donned a white sweater with the red-and-black IH logo on it, greeted customers and answered questions about the displays. Larry and Deanna Sextro were visiting Paquette’s for the first time and called the place “fantastic.” The couple from Kansas farm country had an appreciation for Stew’s International Harvesters. “I’ve farmed all my life,” Larry says. “That’s what I grew up with. My Dad had International tractors.” “It’s good there are people like him that want to hold on to the history of farming,” Deanna adds. The couple watched a farming video on a movie screen in the Show Barn, which has an entertainment stage with a 40-foot U.S. flag as a backdrop, state flags lining the walls, and seating for 250 guests. Over at the Tractor Barn, small tractor models and baseball caps with farming logos fill shelves along each wall. Stew has thousands of pieces of memorabilia, signs, posters, and other IH products, such as refrigerators, freezers and A/C units. But the tractors were the big draw for Ohio couple George and Kathy Gulbis. They were making a return visit after seeing Paquette’s profiled on “Classic Tractor Fever” on RFDTV. The museum has been profiled on several TV shows, and even landed an article in a Denmark magazine. “It’s just kind of an interest and a passion of mine,” George says. “It’s fun to look at this stuff, especially such a beautiful collection as this. It’s just amazing that everything’s so perfectly restored, and it’s a complete history of International Harvester. It’s a fun way to spend a day.” The Hall of Fame holds Stew’s favorite tractor, a 1206 model made in 1967 and specially painted in white on the grill, wheels, fenders, air breather and seat. The model was the first tractor


with more than 100 horsepower. The hall also includes some of the largest tractors on display, and some of the oldest equipment, dating to 1920s hay binders and threshers. The business has evolved from a few people driving by to look at tractors and family gatherings in the barn to a year-round museum with special events that attract 10,000 visitors a year, says Stew’s niece, Jennifer Sidelinger, who runs the office and organizes events. “It’s unique in that people from all over the world come here,” she says after a group of young adults from the Netherlands arrived. Jennifer’s background in tourism management has helped elevate the museum’s musical offerings and group tours. The museum also hosted the 10th annual Tractor Show this February and sponsored last year’s Vintage Tractor Caribbean Cruise. “People are excited about getting here,” Jennifer says. “They make it a point. They’re here on vacation, and they’re excited when they come and overwhelmed when they leave.”

Stew’s family never is far away. Three of his four children live onsite, and his sons, Fay and Jay, own a nearby road building company, Paquette Co. A family photo hangs just inside the entrance to the Show Barn, and photos of Stew’s father grace the garage at the dealership, including one of A.J. standing in front of a 1934 C-60 International Harvester truck. Stew followed in his father’s footsteps with Paquette Paving. But after he sold the company in 1998, he asked himself, “What am I going to do now?” Tractors were the furthest thing from his mind until he and his wife, Helen, bought the house and land where he now lives. After Helen died in 2007, Stew got the idea for a “little museum.” “This sounds crazy, but something kept eating at me about doing something,” he says. “God was good to me. I wanted to give some of it back. I wanted to do something that I thought would be worthwhile doing and I could enjoy it.”

If You Go Paquette’s Historical Farmall Tractor Museum, 615 S. Whitney Road, Leesburg, is open from 9am to 4pm Tuesday through Saturday year-round, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. The museum accepts donations of $15 for adults or $10 for groups of 10 or more. Children are admitted free. For information, call 352.728.3588 or 352.267.4448.

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SEE STORY on PG 106

Around the Table

Gustare la cucina

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LEESBURG

Five Guys and a Burger Leesburg is getting a new hamburger joint! Five Guys, with its handcrafted burgers and mega servings of fries, is coming to the Lakefront City in the space where Bojangles was for a short time on U.S. Highway 441. If that doesn’t excite you, developer Hill Gray Seven is also going to put a Chipotle there along with space for a dental office. Guess that means you can enjoy chips and salsa, a burger and fries, and then have your teeth cleaned! FRUIT L AND PARK

Fine Dining in Fruitland Park The Rose Plantation is newly opened in Fruitland Park. The 100-year-old Pine Eden Estate is being renovated to be an upscale steakhouse. James Dwight built the home in 1917 for his wife, who hosted a variety of parties, galas, and balls as most women from prominent families did. In addition to the commercial kitchen, the restaurant now has central heat and air. However, the original kitchen will be the bar, and the porches will be used for al fresco dining. Much of the house remains the same with original windows, doors, and a fireplace. Owners John and Judy Gibson have brought in Chef Don Dunbar to organize the menu of signature steaks and other fine dining delights. Rose Plantation is located at 200 Rose Avenue in Fruitland Park. MOUNT DORA

Something wonderful is brewing Mount Dora Brewing and Rocking Rabbit Brewery, 405 South Highland St., Mount Dora, recently expanded and continues to grow in popularity as a “go-to” place that serves beer brewed on site with organic ingredients. It’s also drawing crowds for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Among the breakfast offerings are special omelets including Hollandaise Shrimp Omelet filled with tender bay shrimp with tomato and mozzarella cheese topped with homemade Hollandaise sauce, and there are lunch specials of sliders, BLT, and wraps served with homemade pub kettle chips, and small orzo pasta salad.

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That’s a Big-a Meat-a-ball! March 9 is National Meatball Day, and you can now get Mama Mancini’s Meatballs at Publix! Whatever meat you prefer in your meatball—beef, turkey, chicken, pork—you can find them fully cooked and ready for your table. All you do is heat them up, maybe add some of Mama Mancini’s Slow Cooked Italian Sauce and your favorite pasta for meal the family or any single person will love. Mama Mancini’s also had pre-cooked meatloaf, a favorite among the men in the family, so you may want to try it too!

Going for the Green St. Patrick’s Day means a good time around town, and, of course, eating the Irish favorite—corned beef and cabbage. The traditional meal came about when early Irish immigrants ate it to remind them of the homeland. According to most stories, many Irish don’t even eat it these days. However, it’s still a very popular American tradition, and you can eat it every day (sans the green beer, of course) at O’Keefe’s Irish Pub in Tavares, Devenney’s Irish Pub in Clermont, or the Magical Meat Boutique in Mount Dora.

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Cooking with Amy:

“It’s all good”

Gustare la cucina—the Italian phrase for “enjoy cooking” heartily describes this Villages grandmother who dreams about cooking and loves being in the kitchen. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ

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ooking is definitely my passion,” says Amelia “Amy” Landi Lednak, 81. “It’s what I do. I cook from morning to night every day. I love making different things. Sometimes I don’t sleep thinking about it. I’m so excited waiting for the next day to come. I can’t wait to get up and cook!” She cherished learning how to make homemade pasta, sauce, and meatballs from her mother and grandma who immigrated from Italy. “I can remember as a little girl helping my mother make Italian cookies at Christmastime. Mother did a lot of one-pot meals and soups,” Amy says, recalling as a teenager, she ventured into making fancier meals, like Duck a l’Orange, which didn’t go over well with her father. He took the duck to the kitchen sink to rinse off the orange glaze. Amy now cherishes cooking for her husband Dick of 62 years and their Villages friends, so it’s not unusual for her to cook a spread—mostly foods from the 400-plus recipes featured in her cookbook, “It’s All Good: A Cookbook for Friends and Family.” It was out of demand that the cookbook came about. “The kids would call me all the time asking, ‘Mom, how do you make this dish?’ The cookbook was only meant to be for

my children and a few close friends,” she says. Initially, 10 cookbooks were printed. Currently, more than 400 copies have been sold. “I had one woman call me and she said, ‘I bought the book and I don’t really cook, but I took it to bed with me and read it like a novel, and it’s the best read I have had in a long time!’” Amy has a book-signing coming at Barnes & Noble in The Villages in the spring with other authors. The date is yet to be determined. “Now I’m getting calls from people who want me to write another cookbook,” she says. She looks forward to planning meals around meats and fresh vegetables on sale. “Publix and The Fresh Market know me on a firstname basis,” she says. “When shopping, I

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shop the perimeter of the store, that is where everything fresh is. Anything in a box has sugar, carbs, and it’s processed and it’s going to be lousy for you. Shop the perimeter.” Friends have told Amy that her dishes are a special treat, including when she made sauerkraut with a special touch. “That sauerkraut was the best sauerkraut I have ever tasted”—a compliment Amy heard from a retired Jewish attorney. “He said, ‘I finally figured out why yours is so much better—it had a lot of love in it.’” “And it also had a lot of gin in it,” she laughingly told him. “The secret is I cook my sauerkraut in gin. It makes it so good. I use half water, half gin and with a pork roast in it, it’s absolutely fabulous.” Amy says she’s blessed that her husband

He said, ‘I finally figured out why yours is so much better—it had a lot of love in it.’ —AMY LANDI LEDNAK

often follows her in the kitchen to wash pots as she cooks, but she remembers the time when Dick felt she was spending too much money at the grocery store and overdoing it in the kitchen. “He hounded me. I finally broke down in tears and said, ‘You know what Dick? It’s the only thing I do. I cook really good and you want to take that away from me?’ Finally, somebody told him this is my passion. I am the happiest when I am cooking. I could be in the worst mood, I could have the worst thing happen, and when something bad happens, I’ll cook. I don’t care what it is, who it is for, I will cook,” Amy says. “That’s what I do. I love to cook.” Amy can be reached at 352.430.3070 for those who want a copy of her cookbook.

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Shrimp in ginger butter sauce Ingredients:

6

ounces of large shrimp in shell, peeled

2

tablespoons medium-dry sherry

2

tablespoons unsalted butter

2

tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro

1½ teaspoons grated peeled ginger

Pat shrimp dry and season with salt.

Directions:

Heat butter in a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then sauté 2 minutes. Add sherry and sauté ginger 30 seconds. Add shrimp and sauté 2 minutes. Add sherry and sauté until shrimp are just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Serves 1.


Sangria salad

Avocado dressing:

Ingredients:

3

envelopes unflavored gelatin

1

cup orange juice

½

cup sugar

¼

cup lemon juice

2

very ripe avocadoes cup sour cream

2½ cups red wine (or can be made with white wine)

1

banana, sliced

½

2

peaches, sliced

1½ teaspoon salt

¾

cup club soda

1

2

2

oranges, sliced

cup strawberry halves

tablespoons lime juice

If dressing is desired, thoroughly mash avocadoes. Mix with remaining ingredients. Dressing may also be used as a dip.

Directions:

Soften gelatin in orange juice. Cook over low heat until dissolved. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, wine, and club soda. Chill until slightly thickened. Fold in fruit; pour into 8-cup mold or 9-inch square dish. Chill. Make early in the day or the day before serving.

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* SAArL UoTuÉ n d

T h e Ta b l e

Patience pays off A vertical wine tasting compares different vintages (harvest years) from the same winery and grape varietal. It’s also a fun way to learn what you like and what you don’t when it comes to wines. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS, WSET

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You may enjoy a 2013 Cabernet, but the 2011 vintage from the same winery may be too weak and thin for your palate.

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O

rganizing an affordable wine vertical tasting takes a lot of patience and sleuthing. If you collect wines, you know how hard it is to keep from popping a cork on a highly-rated wine as soon as you buy it. After all, you are anxious to see if your money was well spent. Patience, however, can pay off when you hold a bottle of wine for several years and then open it as part of a vertical tasting. A year or two can result in distinctive differences in a wine’s aging process, especially if a particular year was challenging for grape growers. Although winemakers strive for consistency in their products, it is not always possible. You may enjoy a 2013 Cabernet, but the 2011 vintage from the same winery may be too weak and thin for your palate. In recent weeks, I’ve participated in two vertical tastings. The first—which I organized—compared Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons from Robert Mondavi Winery. The second one at a friend’s house compared Alexander Valley Cabernets from Hafner Vineyard in Sonoma County. Interestingly, most vintage years were rated higher in Napa than Sonoma although only a mountain range separates the two counties. It was also enlightening to look at the similarities and differences in wines from


Napa Valley and from Alexander Valley. In the 2010 vintages, both the Hafner and the Mondavi had dark chocolate aromas and soft finishes. Whereas the 2010 Mondavi is a “drink now” wine, the 2010 Hafner is considered relatively young and could certainly be held for several more years. Having consecutive years is the preferred way to set up a vertical tasting, but it is not always possible so don’t let a missing vintage stop you. For example, I could not find the 2011 vintage of the Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon no matter how much sleuthing I did. After reading that heavy rainfalls in 2011 created a 20 percent reduction in Mondavi’s yields, I knew buying the 2011 vintage would be nearly impossible. However, I found the distinctive differences between the 2007 and 2009 vintages were even more pronounced as I tasted those wines side by side. When planning a vertical tasting, keep in mind that most wines are made to be

The Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon Widely planted around the world, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes produce wines with deep purple colors and lots of tannins and acidity. The intense aromas (nose) are often associated with black fruits such as dark cherries and currants.

Pairing Suggestion: Lamb Jeff Mosher, the winery chef at Robert Mondavi Winery, suggests braised lamb shoulder with olive jus to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon. Just in time for Easter, his slow-cooked recipe is the perfect complement to a full-bodied wine. See the Lake & Sumter Style website for the complete recipe.

consumed soon after their release, especially inexpensive wines. Red varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec have commanding tannins and can age longer than, for example, most Merlots. Tannins, which come from the grape’s skins and seeds, add to a wine’s greatness or can be its downfall. Too much makes a wine harsh; too little and the wine will be light and not a good candidate for cellaring for years. Aging a good wine often brings the tannins into perfect balance with the alcohol and acidity—other important elements in wine. Both Mondavi and Hafner wines are known for their complexity and balance. The wines we tasted were comparable in price, ranging between $20 and $35 each. Wines from Robert Mondavi Winery, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last July, are readily available in our local market. On the other hand, wines from Hafner Vineyard, which will celebrate 50 years in 2017, are sold exclusively through Hafner’s wine club. What was my favorite wine? I’m not sure I could pick just one, nor should I. A vertical tasting is more about learning which years may have resulted in better wines. For instance, 2013 was considered an “epic” year for Napa Valley and that was certainly reflected in the Mondavi Cabernet. However, a wine produced in a year when the weather was less than perfect can still be outstanding, such as the 2008 Hafner Vineyard Cab. That year, frost lowered yields in Sonoma but not the quality of wines. So, with all this in mind, download a vintage chart and clear a space in your coolest closet where you can put away some of your favorite wines for your own vertical tasting. And if patience is not your virtue, then ask your local wine retailer to help you find older vintages.

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

Vertical Tasting Tips 1

Select varietals with high tannins, such as Cabernet Sauvignons and Malbecs.

2

Buy at least four vintages.

3

Taste from youngest to oldest to evaluate how the wines have aged.

4

Swirl the first sip in your mouth; wait 30 seconds before your second sip and then evaluate.

5

Wait at least a minute or more before tasting the next vintage.

6

Go through the process without food; then try each vintage with a mild cheese or bread.

7

Keep notes about the vintages, particularly the ones you like.

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5

G AT O R B AY B A R A N D G R I L L

Forks

Fun, sun, and food well done

(Out of a possible 5)

Gator Bay Bar and Grill 10320 County Road 44, Leesburg 352.365.2177

STORY: JAMES COMBS // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ

Hours: 10am to 8pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am to 10pm Friday and Saturday.

A

cool breeze coming off the water blows softly on the back of my neck. Palm trees sway gently, while classic rock plays in the background. Gator Bay Bar and Grill, tucked away off County Road 44 near Haynes Creek, allows visitors to enjoy outdoor dining in a secret oasis. Accessible by automobile or boat, the restaurant features beautiful natural surroundings where, on any given day, you might see native birds flit around while eagles soar overhead. The dining area is situated under an awning that provides adequate shade from the scorching sun. Guests can choose to sit at a table or venture over to the beer and wine bar for a satisfying drink. There is also indoor seating in a screened room off the bar. Because the restaurant offers a true Florida outdoor dining experience, I began my meal by consuming bite-sized pieces of the state’s most popular rowdy reptile, the alligator. The Southern gator bites did not disappoint. Unlike some

Fork Report:

Casual dining. $$ Seated immediately (lunch hour) WAIT FOR MEAL: 17 minutes OUT-OF-THE-ORDINARY STARTERS: ($4.99-$7.99): Onion rings, frog legs, fried mushrooms, cheese sticks, Southern gator bites, smoked fish dip. ENTREES: ($5.99$12.99): Bacon cheddar burger, Gator Bay crab cake, fried nuggets, fried fish sandwich, mahi mahi, turkey or ham club. How Fork On The Road Works Our reviewers are objective and unbiased. This is not a paid feature. Our reviewer makes one unannounced visit and we pay for our meals.

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restaurants where the gator tail is either mostly breading or overly difficult to chew, the gator tail here is meaty and tender. It is accompanied with a delicious sauce consisting of ketchup, horseradish, and various spices. The beautiful surroundings also played a role in my entrée selection. I thought it would be appropriate—and I’m sure Jimmy Buffett fans would agree—to order a cheeseburger. After all, there’s nothing quite like a cheeseburger in paradise! Served on a special-ordered Kaiser roll, the tender, juicy, and flavorful cheeseburger literally made my mouth water. The onion rings are crisp with a nice crisp breading that doesn’t fall off at first bite. My companions enjoyed the flaky cod sandwich and fish bites with fries, onion rings, and homemade potato salad. The diverse menu features everything from wings and burgers to steak and cheese sandwiches and flying shrimp. Karaoke is offered on Wednesday from 5-9pm and on Friday from 5:30-9:30pm.


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CEDAR RIVER SEAFOOD

Seafood Feast STORY: LEIGH NEELY // PHOTO: VOLKAN ULGEN

C

edar River Seafood on U.S. Highway 441 has long been a favorite of locals, and I freely admit, it’s one of my regular go-to places. The fried grouper is heavenly, the catfish is light and flaky, and the tilapia is wonderful. You can get any entrée broiled or fried, and the deliciousness is equal both ways. To make it even better, the tartar and cocktail sauces complement the seafood without overwhelming the flavor. I can almost guarantee if you look at the photos on its website right now, you’ll be planning to eat lunch or dinner there. Fish comes in filets or whole. You can get seafood on pasta, lobster tails, and the hushpuppies are not to be missed. Then there’s fried, boiled, and peanut shrimp along with shrimp scampi. Sides include an array of great Southern delights like stewed okra and tomatoes, slaw, fried corn on the cob, tossed green salad, baby lima beans, applesauce, or mixed fruit. My friends and I recently enjoyed lunch and each of us

had a different tasty treat— fried grouper with mashed sweet potatoes and fried okra; broiled flounder with green beans and baked potato; catfish filets with French fries and mashed potatoes; and the fried shrimp and flounder combo with turnip greens and mashed sweet potatoes. Needless to say, it was a quiet meal because conversation stopped when the food arrived. The menu at Cedar River Seafood ensures you’ll find something you’ll enjoy even if you’re not a seafood fan. It includes hamburgers and steaks and a great variety of appetizers such as fried green tomatoes, mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat, Florida-style crab cakes, and loaded maniac fries. Soups are lobster bisque, New England clam chowder, and homemade gumbo (seasonal). Cedar River Seafood is one of those cozy places where friends meet and feel like they’re sitting around the table at home.

Cedar River Seafood // 8609 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg // 352.728.3377

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Dining in your city Astatula

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

Beach Bums 12 S. Bay St. 352.308.8504 $

Flippers Pizzeria 2523 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.242.2214 $$

Dam Smoker Barbeque 36721 County Road 19A 352.357.6555 $$

Bushnell

G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900 $$$

Beef O’Bradys 2586 W. CR 48 352.568.7000 $

Green Garden 1790 E. Hwy. 50 352.243.2077 $$

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

Chuck’s Odd Cuples Café 117 W Belt Ave 352.568.0408 $

Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.242.1910 $$$

Coyote Rojo 2082 W. CR 48 352.569.0302 $$

Lyn’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shoppe 824 W. Montrose St. 352.536.9935 $

Race Car Diner 25641 Monroe St. 352.253.6940 $

Astor Sparky’s Place 24646 State Road 40 352.759.3551 $$

Hong Kong Restaurants 2229 W CR 48 (352) 568-8888 $$ Howie’s Family Restaurant 840 N. Main St. 352.793.8582 $ Sonny’s Bar-B-Q 2684 W. CR 48 352.569.0200 $ TJ’s Family Restaurant 412 W. Belt Ave 352.793.8877 $$ Waffle House 2571 W CR 48 352.793.5656 $

Legend $: $5-14

Waller’s Restaurant 138 Bushnell Plaza 352.793.2592 $

$$: $15-24

Clermont

$$$: $25-40

Akina Sushi Bar & Asian Fusion Bistro 4300 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.8988 $$$

$$$$: $40+ Kid’s Menu

Calabria Ristorante 13900 County Road 455 407.656.5144 $$

Beer, Wine or Cocktails

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Napolis Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 $$ Robata Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar 1500 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.404.9688 $$ Sanctuary Ridge Golf Club Restaurant 2601 Diamond Club Dr. 352.243.0411 $$ Spiro’s Pizza 1203 W. Hwy. 50 352.394.5538 $$ Sugar Mama’s Bake Shoppe 648 Eighth St. 352.241.9738 $$ Troy’s Cuban & Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295 $$

Eustis 1884 Restaurant & Bar 12 East Magnolia Ave. 1.800.856.1884 $$ Barnwood BBQ 50 W. Orange Ave. 352.630.4903 $$

King’s Taste Bar-B-Que 503 Palmetto St. 352.589.0404 $$ Maria’s Latin Dinner 1 N. Eustis St. 352.357.5555 $ NightOwl Caribbean Restaurant 929 S. Bay St. 352.589.0256 $ Stavro’s & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. County Road 44 352.589.9100 $$ Taki’s Pizza House 2824 S. Bay St. 352.357.0022 $$ Thai Sushi America 925 N. Bay St. 352.357.1949 $$ The Crazy Gator 402 N. Bay St. 352.589.5885 $$ The Great Pizza Company 23 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.357.7377 $$ The Oyster Troff 936 N. Bay St. 352.357.9939 $$$ Tony’s Pizza & Subs 2760 E. Orange Ave. 352.589.9001 $$

Fruitland Park Fruitland Park Café 3180 US Hwy. 441/27 352.435.4575 $

Legends Cafe 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441/27 Fruitland Park 352.728.0006 $$

Groveland Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. State Road 33 352.429.2997 $$$

Howey-in-theHills JB Boondocks Bar & Grill 704 S. Lakeshore Blvd. 352.324.3600 $$ Mission Inn Resort & Club’s El Conquistador 10400 County Rd. 48 352.324.3101 $$$$ Mission Inn Resort & Club’s Nickers 10400 County Rd. 48 352.324.3101 $$$$ Lady Lake Harbor Hills Country Club 6538 Lake Griffin Rd. 352.753.7000 $$$ Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 504 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.753.2722 $$ Athena New York 360 S. U.S. Hwy. 441 352.750.5227 $$

Leesburg Bloom’s Baking House and Restaurant 610 W. Main St. 352.787.1004 $$ Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442 $ Cedar River Seafood 8609 S. U.S. Hwy. 441 352.728.3377 $$ Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 County Road 44 352.365.2177 $$

Habaneros 3 Mexican Restaurant 10601 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.315.1777 $$ HP Grill 1403 S. 14th St. 352.314.0006 $ Kountry Kitchen 1008 W. Dixie Ave. 352.323.0852 $ La Palma Mexican Grill 1690 Citrus Blvd. 352.323.1444 $$ Lilly’s Super Subs 2339 County Road 473 352.343.4663 $ Magnolia’s Oyster Bar 201 W. Magnolia St. 352.323.0093 $$ Naples Italian Restaurant 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.323.1616 $$ Osaka 1401 Citrus Blvd. 352.728.0788 $$ Stavros Pizza 755 N. 14th St. 352.326.4202 $$ Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344 $$ The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717 $$ The Latin Cafe 400 N. 14th St. 352.365.0089 $$ Two Old Hags Wine Shoppe 410 W Main St 352.435.9107 $$ Vic’s Catering 352.728.8989 $$$$


Mascotte Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093 $$

Minneola Jack’s Barbecue 100 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.2673 $ Lil Anthony’s Pizza 205 N. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.1516 $$ Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232 $$

Mount Dora Anthony’s Pizza 17195 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.357.6668 $ Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St. 352.383.4101 $$$ Blackbear Smokehouse 18750 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.2327 $$ Bocce Pizzeria 925 E. First Ave. 352.385.0067 $ Cecile’s French Corner 237 W. Fourth Ave. 352.383.7100 $$ Cody’s on 4th Cafe 111 E. 4th Ave. 352.735.8426 $ Copacabana Cuban Cafe 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000 $$ Cupcake Delights 122 E. 4th Ave. 352.383.2200 $ Highland Street Café 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446 $ Incredible Edible Cakes 4295 W. Old Hwy. 441, Suite 2 352.223.3581 $

Ivory’s Take Out 1325 N. Grandview St. 352.735.6797 $

Zellie’s Pub 4025 N. U.S. Hwy. 19A 352.483.3855 $$

Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744 $

Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444 $

Sorrento

The Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585 $$

Mount Dora Pizza & Subs 2718 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.5303 $ One Flight Up - Coffee, Dessert & Wine Bar 440 N. Donnelly St., Suite 100 352.758.9818 $ Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave. 352.385.2669 $$$ PizzAmore’ 722 E. 5th Ave. 352.383.0092 $ Shiva Indian Restaurant 140A W. 5th Ave. 352.735.4555 $$ Sidelines Sport Eatery 315 N. Highland St. 352.735.7433 $ Sugarboo’s Bar-B-Que 1305 N. Grandview St. 352.735.7675 $ The Frog and Monkey Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352.383.1936 $$ The Goblin Market 331-B Donnely St. 352.735.0059 $$$ The Health Basket of Mount Dora 18834 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.735.1166 $$

Del Franco Pizza Place 31436 County Rd. 437 352.383.8882 $ Gi Gi’s 25444 State Road 46 352.735.4000 $$

Summerfield Francesco’s Italian Ristorante and Stone Fire Pizza 16770 South U.S. Hwy. 441 352.693.2008 $$

Tavares Angelo’s Italian Restaurant 2270 Vindale Rd. 352.343.2757 $$ Buzzard Beach Grill 12423 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.5267 $$ Casa Mia Cafe 505 W Main St 352.742.9940 $ Hurricane Dockside Grill 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.508.5137 $$ Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313 $$ Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 County Road 448 352.343.6823 $ O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and Restaurant 115 S Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157 $$

The Windsor Rose English Tea Room 142 W. Fourth Ave. 352.735.2551 $$

Ruby Street Grille 221 E. Ruby St. 352.742.7829 $$

Village Coffee Pot 425 Donnelly St. 352.383.3334 $

Sinbad’s of Lake County 1050 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.6669 $$

Zac’s Pressed for Time Cafe 505 W Main St. 352.253.4663 $

Umatilla Old Crow Real Pit Bar-B-Q 41100 State Road 19 352.669.3922 $ The Mason Jar 37534 State Rd. 19 352.589.2535 $$

The Villages Bob Evans 2199 Parr Dr. 352.259.1224 $ Bonefish Grill 3580 Wedgewood Ln. 352.674.9292 $$ Bonifay Country Club 1033 Pinellas Place 352.205.7455 $$ Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627 $$ Carrabba’s 650 U.S. Hwy. 441 N 352.430.1304 $$ Chengs Chinese and Sushi Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678 $$ China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965 $

Evans Prairie Country Club 1825 Evans Prairie Trail 352.750.2225 $$

Takis Greek and Italian Restaurant 13761 U.S. Hwy. 441 N. 352.430.3630 $$

Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 297 Colony Blvd 352.751.0400 $$

TooJay’s 1129 Canal St. 352.430.0410 $

Hemingway’s at Havana 2484 Odell Circle 352.753.1475 $$$ Las Tapas - Brownwood Paddock Square 352.399.5516 $$ The Legacy Restaurant at the Nancy Lopez Country Club 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475 $$$ The Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille 925 Lakeshore Dr. 352.753.7800 $$ Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant and Bar 320 Colony Blvd. 352.753.3824 $$ NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994 $$ Outback Steakhouse 710 N. Hwy 441 352.430.2590 $$ Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.391.9939 $$ RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.2930 $$ Sakura 265 Colony Blvd 352.205.7393 $$

City Fire Brownwood & Paddock Square 352.561.2078 $$

Scooples 2718 Brownwood Blvd 352.750.6263 $

Olive Garden 3680 Wedgewood Ln. 352.259.0304 $$

Square One Burgers & Bar 2542 Burnsed Blvd. 352.689.2191 $$

VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 1004 Old Mill Run 352.259.9887 $$

Wildwood Aztec’s Mexican Restaurant 348 Shopping Center Dr. 352.748.2250 $ Beef O’ Bradys 840 S. Main St. 352.689.0048 $ Buddy’s BBQ 1210 N. Main St. 352.330.0338 $$ China Jade 420 W. CR 44 352.330.5913 $ Cotillion Southern Café 101 N. Main St. 352.748.1223 $$ O’Shucks! Oyster Bar and Grill 1016 S Main St. 352.399.2200 $$ Polly’s Pantry 819 S. Main St. 352.330.4002 $$ Traditions Café 3107 Hwy. 44 352.748.1077 $$ Woody’s Bar-B-Q 1220 S. Main St. 352.748.1109 $$

Yalaha Yalaha Bakery 8210 County Road 48 352.324.3366 $$

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1884 Restaurant and Bar 12 E. Magnolia Ave., Eustis // 1.800.856.1884 // 1884restaurantandbar.com Mon-Sat: 11 am–12 am // Sun 11am-10pm Located in the historic Ferran’s building in downtown Eustis 1884 Restaurant and bar is a must for all to discover. 1884 has everything from Boars Head wraps and hand pressed burgers at lunch to hand cut filets and the signature double bone in pork chop at dinner. They also offer Sushi 7 days a week lunch and dinner. With more than 10000 sf, 1884 can accommodate an intimate dinner for two to a private event of up to 100 in one of the three semi-private rooms. Diners can also enjoy the full-service bar while ordering custom craft cocktails, 8 rotating beers on tap and an amazing wine list. Join 1884 on Mondays for Prime Rib Special… Tuesdays, where kids eat free*…Wednesdays you can get $4 by the glass or free bottle of house wine*… Thursdays offer Wing special with Friday and Saturday always the best dinner specials around and on Sundays, they serve a traditional style brunch from 11 – 3. No doubt, there is something for everyone. This restaurant has won in 6 categories for L2016 Lake and Sumter Style’s hot list as well as Open Tables Restaurant of the month several months running. You can also enjoy live entertainment nightly. Check us out on facebook for all the details. Call 1.800.856.1884 to reserve your table or book your party now. Lunch, dinner, live entertainment. 1884restaurantandbar.com to be the first to know of all specials, entertainers and events.

The 24 Tap Room 1107 W. North Blvd., Suite 26, Leesburg // 352.315.0198 Mon-Thu 3 p.m-12 am // Fri 3 p.m-1 am // Sat 12 pm-1 am // Sun 12 pm- 12 am The 24 Tap Room is a fun and new craft beer and wine bar where you can enjoy 24 rotating taps, weekly live entertainment, trivia, board games, darts, and special nightly events. Visit on Sundays to watch NFL football on one of several 48-inch TV’s inside or on their outdoor patio. Proprietor Alberto Cisneros says, “We’re focused on bringing an ever-changing selection of some of the best locally-brewed beer in the state, as well as other great craft brews from across the country, to discerning beer lovers in Lake County.” A variety of appetizers are now available, including Sweet Potato Tots, Pulled Pork Sliders, Pub Pretzels, Black Bean and Chicken Nachos and Grilled Chicken Quesadillas.

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

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NUMBER 1 IN MOBILE HOME RESALES SERVING CENTRAL FLORIDA SINCE 1982

EASY FLORIDA LIVING IN ACTIVE 55 PLUS RESORT

Great home at a great price! Affordable, updated, completely furnished, split 2/2. Smoke free & pet free w/newer carpet. Enclosed Florida room & deep carport. Updates include roof 2014, HVAC 2015, & plumbing is newer. LB8089 - Ridgecrest RV & Mobile Resort - $15,900

WHY CHOOSE FOUR STAR?

FULLY FURNISHED & SPACIOUS 3/2 IN WATERFRONT COMMUNITY

Steps from clubhouse, pool, marina & beautiful sunsets on Lake Griffin! Formal living w/wood burning fireplace, formal dining next to lg eat in island kitchen & family room. Large master suite w/dbl vanities, indoor laundry, shed & 12x28 FL room. LB8095 - Lakeside Village - $46,499

“It was a great experience, was looking for a rental and ended up buying a home!” – T. & J. Ruffolo

LADY LAKE... CLOSE TO THE VILLAGES... LOW LOT RENT

Comfy & cozy 2/1.5 w/ex large 10x22 screen room & close to everything. Restaurants, shopping & medical. Partially furnished, newer carpet, guest bath totally redone, newer stackable washer/dryer. Kitchen redone, ex deep carport, 10x12 shed. LB8097 - Lady Lake Village MHP - $28,500

“Dee was always there, patient, and helpful. We came into town, bought a home, and closed in less than 1 week!” – B. & D. Tiernan

PRICED RIGHT, FURNISHED 2 BEDROOM, 2 BATH

Move in ready w/plenty of storage, closet space & inside laundry room. Glass enclosed, air conditioned Florida room & a screen room. Work shop, plenty of parking & golf cart all on an oversized lot with a view of fountain around the pond. OM2057 - Foxwood Farms - $15,900

LOTS OF UPGRADES IN GATED WATERFRONT COMMUNITY

“Tony was great! Very much appreciated his assistance with every step of the process.” – S. & L. Wheeler

Remodeled 2/2 w/newer laminate flrs, roof, extended carport, sprinkler system. Large living & dining area w/built in shelving, spacious kitchen w/center island, wet bar, garden tub, indoor laundry, screened area, shed & paved backyard. OM2058 - Smith Lake Shores - $39,900

ENERGY EFFICIENT 2/2 WITH COMFORT AND CHARM

Energy efficient windows throughout including Florida room w/view of pond. Newer carpet & ceramic tile in the bathrooms and laundry room. There is a large kitchen, dining room, master bedroom & living room w/tape and textured walls throughout. OM2051 - Stonebrook - $42,500

352.508.1655

“Great agent with Colleen, very professional and fought for our deal. She helped us buy and sell!” – T. & D. Kline

WWW.FOURSTARHOMES.COM

BUYING OR SELLING? FOUR STAR HAS OVER 150 AGENTS WORKING 7 DAYS A WEEK • OVER 2,600 HOMES SOLD IN 2015 & 2016 WE SELL A HOME EVERY 7 HOURS ON AVERAGE • WE LIST A HOME EVERY 4 HOURS ON AVERAGE


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A r o u n d T h e Ta b l e DINING GUIDE

Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant Open seven days a week: 11am–9pm // Food, Spirits, Music, Sports 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441, Leesburg // 352.253.2442 // CVinnies.com Cousin Vinnie’s is located on U.S. Hwy. 441 across from Home Depot. Owner “Cousin” Vinnie Vittoria and his family have created a unique atmosphere by combining a sports bar with a family restaurant. As soon as you walk into Vinnie’s you will immediately notice why they are famous for outstanding comfort food and service! They also have been voted BEST WINGS in Lake County every year since opening in 2009. Additional menu items offered are killer ½ lb. burgers, personal pan pizzas, amazing ribeye cheese steaks, healthy wheat wraps, fresh homemade salads, chicken strips that totally melt in your mouth, 16 awesome appetizers and their signature deep fried Ice Cream and Snickers Bars! Every Monday is “Texas Hold’em” from 6–10pm Tuesday night is “Family Night” from 4–8pm when kids 12-and-under eat free. Wednesday night is “Trivia Night” when the fun starts at 6:30pm with prizes given to the top 3 teams. There is no better place on the weekends to see who hoists the trophy or takes home the checkered flag. Cousin Vinnie’s also offers, free Wi-Fi, great music and an enthusiastic staff, ready to exceed your expectations. Vinnie’s has been open eight years, if you have never been there… it is absolutely time for you to check it out!

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

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

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A r o u n d T h e Ta b l e DINING GUIDE

Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St., Leesburg // 352.474.2739 Mon-Thu 11 am-10 pm // Fri-Sat 11 am-12 am // SUNDAY 12 pm-6 pm It’s a fun, friendly place to hang with friends and to meet new ones. Our Chicago/Firefighter themed Tap Room offers 6-8 of our own “session” beers featuring fresh Florida fruits and other local ingredients. Our beers are brewed on premise. We also offer (10) guest taps featuring beers from small craft breweries across the U.S. There is something for everyone. Our “Chicago” Style food menu features items like real Italian Beefs with Giardiniera peppers. Italian Sausage, the Maxwell Street Polish Sausage, Gyros, Pizza Puffs, Tamales and even the original Chicago Hot Dog “Run through the garden.” All your favorite footballs teams are playing on six (6) TVs with the NFL Package. Enjoy our spacious outdoor seating area with live music many weekends. We are located Historic Downtown Leesburg which offers a great shopping experience with specialty shops, antique stores, and a host of unique food and drink establishments. Every third Thursday, we partner with Gator Harley in Leesburg for our Bike Night; Live music, beer and food specials, BBQ, prizes and more, right here at the brewery! SPONSORED BY: JOIN US FOR Cool Cars Under the Stars event March 9th! Find us online:

BIKE NIGHT ON MAR. 16TH

La Palma 1690 Citrus Blvd., Leesburg // 352.323.1444 // LapalmaGrill.com Open Daily 11:00am – 9:00pm // Lunch Specials: 11:00am – 3:00pm Owner Raudel Torres invites you to a delicious dining experience at the La Palma Mexican Grill. The recipes used for these unique dishes are a blend of old-school traditions from Mexico, combined with culinary inspirations and trends from California and Louisiana. Flavorful, homemade Mexican entrees such as Tacos Azteca, Carnitas, Fajitas, and Tamales and much more are timeless and prepared with only the freshest ingredients. Sit in the comfortable dining room or enjoy the outdoor view on the new patio deck. Fast and friendly service, reasonable prices, and three-for-one margaritas all day every day mean exceeding customer expectations. In addition to in-house service, catering is available for large parties, or meetings. Daily specials available on the website, lapalmagrill.com and you can enjoy a Mariachi band the first and third Sunday of each month.

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

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15TH ANNUAL

SHRED DAY Please bring a guest and come spend the afternoon with us and bring those old confidential documents that need proper disposal. On-site shredding for safe and secure disposal. *Raffle prizes will be drawn and lunch will be served!

HOSTS

GEORGE MATHIS

First Vice President, Investments

JOHN IVORY Financial Advisor

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

THE VILLAGES POLO GROUNDS 703 N. Buena Vista Blvd. The Villages, FL 32162

Please RSVP with Kitty Havlu at 352.674.1687 www.facebook.com/MathisWealthRJ

@mathiswealth_rj

www.raymondjames.com/mathiswealthrj

Raymond James & Associates, Inc. member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC.


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A r o u n d T h e Ta b l e DINING GUIDE

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

Momiji Japanese Sushi and Grill 24400 State Road 44, Sorrento // 352.357.2285 // MomijiFL.com LUNCH: Mon-Fri 11am-3pm // DINNER: Mon-Thu 3-10pm, Fri 3-11pm, Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-10pm Momiji Japanese Sushi and Grill offers a fine dining experience with a wide array of delicious Japanese fare, including 25 different hibachi dishes on the dinner menu (10 at lunch) and nearly 30 different varieties of chef’s special roll and a sushi bar that sushi lovers are bound to love. Among diners’ favorites are the Momiji Roll of lobster tempera, spicy tuna in soy wrap, topped with spicy king crab, mango, Momiji sauce and mango sauce, and the Sushi and Sashimi Combo with four pieces of sushi and nine pieces of sashimi and spicy tuna roll. Traditional dishes of soup and salad are available, along with starter from kitchen, starter from sushi bar, a la carte, entrée from sushi bar, rolls or hand rolls. Momiji notes its goal is to provide an unforgettable dining experience for all patrons.

Puddle Jumpers 111 W. Ruby St., Tavares // 352.508.5862 // PuddleJumpersLakeside.com Mon-Thu 11am-10pm // Fri-Sat 11am-12am // Sun 11am-8pm Casual lakeside dining at its finest is what patrons experience at Puddle Jumpers overlooking Lake Dora in Tavares. The restaurant is a local favorite and has generated raves of being a great place for good fun with friends and private events. Come check out the offerings of delicious food and drinks from a fully stocked bar, including a wide array of fresh seafood specialties, appetizers, salads, pasta dishes, homemade soups, steaks and ribs from the grill. Puddle Jumpers is also the “go-to” place to enjoy live music and entertainment on most weekends. If you’ve never been to Puddle Jumpers, it’s absolutely time to take the plunge!

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New Venue, GREAT NEW Theme! CELEBRATING EDUCATION FUNDRAISING EVENT

APRIL 29

2017 Join us on April 29, 2017 at the City of Clermont Performing Arts Center for an evening of festivities and fun in the beautiful streets of Havana, Cuba! Featuring authentic Cuban cuisine, live entertainment, dancing and our even bigger silent and live auctions!

TICKETS

AVAILABLE Now!

To order tickets or become a sponsor of this exciting event, go to

montverde.org/ CE2017


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A r o u n d T h e Ta b l e DINING GUIDE

Subway Subway.com Custom-made, fresh sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads made right before your eyes. The “healthy” alternative to fast food. Lady Lake Eustis Mount Dora Leesburg The Villages

Wildwood

208 W. Guava St. // 352.750.4929 469 Plaza Dr. // 352.357.7827 18870 U.S. Hwy. 441 // 352.735.4376 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 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 480 W. Gulf to Alantic Hwy. // 352.748.8800

Sully’s Smokehouse 10820 County Road 44, Leesburg // 352.483.RIBS (7427) Wed-Fri 11am–8pm // Saturday 11am-6pm If you’re really hungry, you may want to try the Jumbo Pulled Pork Sandwich at Sully’s Smokehouse. It’s so big you can share it. Sully’s, which is rated No. 7 out of 97 restaurants in Leesburg on Trip Advisor, also prepared meals for catering events from 20 people to 500 people. Customers pick up their orders. Meals include ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and smoked sausage with sides of homemade Brunswick stew, cole slaw, baked beans, and collard greens, along with pasta salad, mustard potato salad, and mayo red-skinned potato salad. This family-run business has been around for nine years. For information or to order catering, call the restaurant at 352.483.RIBS (7427) or call owner Trent Sullivan’s cell phone at 352.267.4861.

Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill 118 Ruby St., Tavares // 352.508.5783 Sun-Thu 11am-10pm // Fri-Sat 11am-11pm Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill has specials every day for you to enjoy. Daily specials include $2 off Dozens of Raw, Steamed, or Chargrilled Oysters on Tuesday; $9.99 Pound of Peel and Eat Shrimp on Wednesdays; $5 off Buckets of Oysters Thursday or Sunday; or $9.99 Mahi Mahi Beer Battered Fish Fry on Friday. This Tavares restaurant overlooking Lake Dora has outdoor dining area on the patio, indoor seating in the dining room, or take a seat at the oyster bar surrounded by 11 TVs. Diners also love the “All You Can Eat” Crab Legs at market price; Peel-and-Eat-Shrimp, Coconut Shrimp or Fried Shrimp for $25.99; Fried Mahi Mahi or Fried Clam Strips for $16.99. The best part about the All You Can Eat is you can reorder any of the All You Can Eat specials of equal or lesser value. Come check out our new lunch menu good Monday-Friday from 11-3. Some of the lunch specials include $6 Soup and Salad Combo, $7 Lunch Baskets and $12 Pound of Peel and Eat Shrimp. With great food specials and Happy Hour all day every day, Tiki West is the place to be!

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SAVE 50% OFF GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS ONLINE! USE CODE: “AKERS”

TOUR D’ ELEGANCE

SATURDAY, MARCH 25TH 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM $65.00 Drive the country roads of beautiful lake county. Includes breakfast, lunch, VIP gift bag.

MOTORSPORTS DISPLAY

SUNDAY, MARCH 26TH ON THE FAIRWAY 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM $20.00 A display of exotic, classic and American muscle cars, on the golf course. On site cafe's, luxury brand displays, cigar lounge, great music and more.

JOIN THE FUN!

Register your car or motorcycle today.

Vendor and sponsorship opportunities available.

WWW.FESTIVALSOFSPEED.COM 352-385-9450


Sponsorship Opportunities Available Tickets $150 Per Person For more information on tickets, sponsorships, hosting a table, and donating items for the silent or live auction, please call the LSSC Foundation at 352.365.3506 or email LewinE@lssc.edu.

Our Presenting Sponsor:


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March 2017

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F i na l T h oug h t

She’s got the whole world in her hands STORY: RHEYA TANNER

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T

o the people in my hometown, I’m what you might call a legend. I’m known as a traveler, a beast tamer. I have seen every jagged corner of the country, and I’ve tested my mettle against anyone who’s offered a challenge. My journey was not without its failures, but I worked my way to the top. I am a champion. At least I am in my spare time. Most days I’m a quiet college kid from Mount Dora, always on the lookout for free Wi-Fi and a place to belong. But when I say I’m a champion, I’m not pretending. I’m playing Pokémon. I should really say “video games.” But Pokémon has always had a special place in my heart. I even grew up watching the cartoons and collecting the cards. Of course, over time I outgrew all that, but I never stopped playing the games. Why would I? They give me new rivals to defeat, new strategies to try, and a whole new world to explore. But more than that, I love having a bunch of insane pets. Have you ever owned an electric zebra? A psychic cat? A wolf made of rocks? I have. Don’t tell my mother. See, I’ve never been the athletic type (read: I’m made of cardboard), so video games are the only way I can do anything physically impressive without my insides coming out. Even better, I can do it while I shell pistachios. But I wouldn’t say there’s no skill involved. In fact, there’s a minimum skill level required to beat a game. If you can’t finish level three, you will never get to level four. Period. That’s really why I stick to Nintendo instead of Xbox or PlayStation: I’m bad at video games, and I know it. I just can’t think fast enough. But my ineptitude makes me admire people with lightning-fast reflexes and Olympic thumbs who conquer frustratingly difficult games without breaking a sweat. Dedicated gamers are everywhere, actually—in places you wouldn’t expect. The barista who made your mocha might be a level 84 paladin and well-respected leader in his World of Warcraft guild. The woman who filed your taxes might have beaten every Legend of Zelda game three times over since 1987. The girl whose article you just read might very well be a Pokémon champion—fivefold. Every time I pick up my controller, I’m the legend of my own story. I’ve seen things I’d never have seen, done things that would’ve been impossible, and felt the sharp satisfaction of a job well done. And I’m definitely not the only one. Sometimes I worry what others might think. I wonder if level-headed business people see gaming as a waste. My boss, Doug, sits in meetings with his brow furrowed and his eyes locked onto his phone, always deep in thought. But if I crane my neck and catch a glimpse of his screen, I see a familiar patch of green and it makes me smile. He’s catching Pokémon.


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Le and BgloHealth od Clo Preve by Bry ntion Sem t an Car in ter, M ar

PA-C March 24, 8:3 0 at the a.m. 1202 A Comfort Inn venida The Villa Centra l ges, Call to FL 32159 R 352.67 SVP 4.2080

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That place right now is The Heart of the Villages. Our physicians and medical professionals have been treating Central Floridians for years with a level of exemplary cardio care that comes straight from the heart. We’re in a new location now, but our hearts are where they’ve always been—with you and the health of your family.

New location! The Oaks Professional Center, 8575 NE 138th Lane Call today for a consultation at 352.674.2080 heartofthevillages.com


Facelift Tummy Tuck Breast Augmentation Liposuction Eyelid Surgery Hair Transplant Botox & Injectable Fillers Spider Veins Chemical Peels MEMBER OF American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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C A L L U S T O D AY

(352) 750-0019 REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION

www.VillagesPlasticSurgery.com THE VILLAGES/DANA CENTER LOCATION 11950 CR 101, Suite 205, The Villages, FL 32162

OCALA/PADDOCK PARK LOCATION 3320 SW 34th Circle, Ocala, FL 34474

STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, March 2017  
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