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WORTH A SHOT

An update on COVID vaccinations. POSITIVE STEPS

Forward Paths helps local youth.

MAR '21

VILLAGE EDITION

RESORT LIVING CLOSE TO HOME

Landings


E.R. care backed by a name you trust. More than ever, you want to be sure of where to turn for quality care, the moment you need it most. As part of the only regional health care system backed by the experts at University of Florida Health, our emergency room offers advanced stroke and cardiac care, air medical services, lifesaving treatments and access to over 100 specialists — right where you call home. Learn more at: TheVillagesHospital.org

Close. Caring. Connected.

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


THE VILLAGES ®

1560 Santa Barbara Blvd 1950 Laurel Manor Dr, Ste. 142 8485 SE 165th Mulberry Ln Dr. Glick 1501 N US Hwy 441, Ste. 1102

S PE CIALI ZI NG I N

Primary Care Cardiology Vascular Surgery URGENT CARE Nephrology 201 La Grande Blvd, Lady Lake Lab Services OPENING 2021 Brownwood ® Center for Limb Preservation LEESBURG Radiology Services 511 Medical Plaza Drive, Ste. 101 Vascular Access Center Dr. Bello 25010 US Hwy 27, Units G&H 601 E Dixie Ave, Ste. 805 Urgent Care 802 E. Dixie Ave URGENT CARE

27637 US Hwy 27 352.350.5704 fhvhealth.com


DR. RICH CASTELLANO FACIAL SPECIALIST SURGICAL AND NON-SURGICAL

FACELIFTS (SURGICAL AND NON SURGICAL) FACIAL POLISHING (CO2, IPL, SKINPEN MICRONEEDLING) FACIAL SCULPTING (FILLER, WRINKLE RELAXERS)

Liz had ImageLift, Laser, and filler treatments. Results are typical and do vary.

Kathy had a Laser ImageLift. Results are typical and do vary.

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DR. RICH CASTELLANO

is a Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon as seen on:

*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.

8630 East CR 466, The Villages www.IMAGELIFT.com


At Babette’s, we understand that whether you are shopping for one or two rooms or an entire home, it can be overwhelming. Our talented decorators specialize in making the process simple, working with you every step of the way. Scheduling a design consultation whether in our store or in your home, is the perfect way to begin planning a design vision for your home. Whether you are looking for a custom look or want to start with a pre-designed package, our design process is all about each individual customer and we really personalize it. View our design portfolio and schedule an appointment at

www.MyBabettes.com

(352) 617-6001 8345 US Highway 441, Leesburg 3691 Meggison Rd., The Villages


PAIN TODAY GONE TOMORROW At Advanced Orthopedics Institute we specialize in hips, knees, shoulders, ankles, wrists...and kayakers. We bring an extraordinary focus to your care with advanced technologies and leading-edge breakthroughs in joint repair and replacement that can help you reclaim your life. If you feel it’s time to fix what hurts, there’s no time like right now. Get moving. Call 352.751.2862.

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


John T. Williams, Jr., MD

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

Alfred J. Cook, Jr., MD


4 IN ING D N PE

YS DA

40646 OAK WOODS WAY, LADY LAKE, FL 32159 Expect to be Impressed with this GORGEOUS 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath, 2-Story GLAMOROUS Crafted Lodge Style Home with 5-1/2 ACRES backing up to Grand Oaks Resort & Carriage Museum. $469,750 | MLS#G5037483

N8 GI DIN N PE

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56 LAKE JUNE RD, LAKE PLACID, FL 33852 STUNNING VIEWS! This Charming 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath, Custom Built LAKEFRONT HOME nestled at the deepest point in the cove, of the prestigious 3,500 acre freshwater LAKE JUNE in the HEART of Highlands County in Lake Placid Florida. $569,750 | MLS#G5037333

ES AG ILL V E TH

1104 BECKER AVE, THE VILLAGES, FL 32163 BEAUTIFULLY-APPOINTED 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath “Avondale” Bungalow Courtyard Villa nestled in The Village of Pine Ridge on a CORNER homesite. Solid Block and Stucco construction with a Two-Car garage, privacy wall, completely “Turnkey furnished”! Income-producing/Tenant Occupied w/2-Year Lease $1,800/Month. $334,500 | MLS# G5027614

LE DA IRS E W

14329 SE 170TH ST, WEIRSDALE, FL 32195 Private and Secluded! 10 Gorgeous Private and Secluded Acres with Trees. Let’s build your DREAM HOME! Dynamite location Close to Lake Weir, The Villages, Grand Oaks Resort and Orange Blossom Opry. There is a 20’ x 46’ slab for your pole barn. $175,000 | MLS# G5033687

1540 CR 44A, WILDWOOD, FL 34785 HOT DOG! INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY for YOU to OWN your very own “TURN KEY” Specialty Restaurant in Wildwood Florida. Completely REZONED to Neighborhood Commercial (NC) and Completely REMODELED from top to bottom, inside to outside! 1264 Sq. Ft. Under Roof with a Brand-New ADA Accessible Bathroom accessible from the Covered Patio. This FABALOUS LOCATION offers 1.23 ACRES of Land on a ROCKSTAR Corner of CR-44A! Terrific Visibility from Highway 44 with Tons of room for Parking, additions and accessibility. SAMMIE’S Hot Dog & Ice Cream, Inc. has been the Talk of the Town and may be just what you are looking for. Spring is near and who wouldn’t love to have a Nathans all Beef Hot Dog or a Scoop of Delicious Wisconsin Ice Cream? If you have a DREAM, there are Endless possibilities with this GEM! Take Advantage of this Up and Running, One-of-A-Kind “TURN KEY” Specialty Hot Dog & Ice Cream Shop or Create your own Specialty Coffee Shop, Deli, Catering, Grocery or Boutique, Insurance or Real Estate Office, or any Neighborhood Business you have Dreamed about! If you want something bigger, re-zoning to Heavy Commercial could be a possibility. Located JUST minutes to Brownwood, The Villages Downtown Square, Downtown Wildwood, Interstate 75, Turnpike, Inverness, Crystal River and Tampa. Call Today to schedule an Appointment to see this Fabulous Property! $324,500 | MLS#G5038601


746 VIA SAN POLO, LADY LAKE, FL 32159 YOU CAN ONLY IMAGINE! This ALL-INCLUSIVE Resort Style POOL Home is Nestled on 3.15 Acres and Zoned Agriculture/Residential.

LOADED with Upgrades and all of the Amenities you can Imagine! (4) Spacious Bedrooms, 4-1/2 Baths with an Office/Inlaw Suite, Billiard and Game Room, 6-Car Garage, Carport, RV Port and SOOO MUCH MORE! 4,242 Square Feet Living and 7,877 Total Square Feet under Roof. Call TODAY for a Private Tour! This one will not last long!

$989,998 | MLS# G5037522 S OR EST INV N TIO EN ATT

RS OU 12 H N I G DIN PEN

5031 SE 115TH STREET, BELLEVIEW, FL 34420 ATTENTION INVESTORS! GREAT LOCATION with SIX Beautiful ACRES ZONED R-3 with Retention pond, TOPO and ENGINEERING reports available. Perfect for Multi-Family and close to shopping, restaurants, medical and much more! $344,900 | MLS# G5031672

8917 SE 132ND LOOP, SUMMERFIELD, FL 34491 BREATHTAKING GOLF COURSE VIEW! ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath “Kingston” POOL HOME in Del Webb Spruce Creek South. Florida’s Lovely 55+ Adult Active Community. $397,500 | MLS# G5038461

Sharon Bassett, Owner/Broker HSE, MRP, RENE, SFR, SRES, GRI, ABR

352.307.2925 / BassettPremierRealty.com Spruce Creek Professional Plaza / 10935 SE 177th Place, Suite 201, Summerfield


MAR'21 V.17

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CONTENTS 1 of 2

FEATURES

032 Small deal

The benefits of going small are big. Just ask residents who happily reside in a tiny home community in Oxford. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

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037 SPECIAL ADVERTISIN G SEC TIO N

Ask the Expert Local professionals provide their expertise on everything you need to know about your home, from top to bottom.

050

Forging a new path Forward Paths places local at-risk youths on road to independence. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN AND THERESA CAMPBELL


We Listen. We Care. We Educate.

Liz Cornell, CAS®

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Annuities 101

SEMINAR S FO

R M ARCH | CA

LL TO REGISTER

th .m. Mar. 11 | 9 a th a.m. Mar. 30ood H|ot9 el & Spa

Brownw llages d Blvd., The Vi 3003 Brownwoo

3rd | 9Inan.m. Mar. 2W aterfront

The ges nding, The Villa Lake Sumter La d and by RSVP only Seating is very limite

352.350.1161

TBFinancialGroup.com 3261 U.S. Highway 441/27, Suite F-2 Fruitland Park, FL 34731 TB Financial Group Inc. is a licensed insurance agency for life, health, and annuities. We are not securities licensed.We are not tax advisors. Our seminars are very general in nature and not meant to replace the advice of your CPA, Tax Preparer, Investment Advisor or Attorney. We will not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax or legal professional for these matters.


MAR'21 V.17

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CONTENTS 2 of 2

DEPARTMENTS

first

019

THE HIT LIST 020 PERSON OF INTEREST 024 OUTSTANDING STUDENT 026 MY FIRST TIME 028

agenda

020

026

057

TO-DO LIST 058 LOCAL TALENT 061 ATTRACTIONS 062 HI, SOCIETY 064

healthy living

058

061 062

071

INSPIRATION 072 HEALTHY BODY 074

menu

024

074

072

088

083

IN THE KITCHEN 084 FORK ON THE ROAD 088 SPIRITS 090 DINING GUIDE 092

columns FROM THE PUBLISHER 016 AT YOUR SERVICE 017 FINAL THOUGHT 100

084 100

090 WORTH A SHOT

An update on COVID vaccinations. POSITIVE STEPS

Forward Paths helps local youth.

WORTH A SHOT

An update on COVID vaccinations. POSITIVE STEPS

Forward Paths helps local youth.

MAR '21

LAKE & SUMTER

MAR '21

VILLAGE EDITION

E ON TH R C OV E RESORT LIVING CLOSE TO HOME

Landings

Lake and Sumter Style

Village Edition Photo: Douglas Tyler

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L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M • M A R ' 2 1


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FROM THE PUBLISHER

All systems go for space launch Counting down to Style’s moon mission. hadn’t been born when astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon and uttered the historic words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” but I appreciate that the Apollo 11 crew achieved one of history’s greatest milestones and changed the course of history on July 20, 1969. That successful mission not only advanced science and technology but also taught the world to dream. By now you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about space. It’s because Lake and Sumter Style magazine is following Armstrong to the moon. Yes, we’re actually going to be launched into outer space! It gives me chills to type that. How is this possible, you’re wondering? Good question. Dave van de Velde, a resident of The Villages and founder of Van Gogh Vodka, spearheaded a project for students in Leesburg schools to create a virtual City of Leesburg on the moon. They’ve spent months designing computerized images of buildings, streets, and parks. The content they created will be stored on a micro-SD card with 2 trillion bytes and launched into space this spring. Because Dave asked local businesses and organizations to participate, the entire contents of this month’s issue of Style will also be put onto that micro-SD card.

This is particularly exciting for me because I helped launch Style in 2004. Several career opportunities opened up and temporarily took me away from the magazine, but in the back of my mind I always had a vision for what it would look like under my ownership. That was my dream. And the dream came true in 2010 when I purchased Style from a publishing company in Marion County. My mission was a go! We had liftoff ! This publication is my baby. Now my baby is going to a galaxy far, far away where few publications like mine have ever gone before. So, what can readers take away from this letter? Whether you’re an astronaut on a historic mission or an aspiring entrepreneur like myself, don’t ever give up on chasing your dream. The road to get there may be filled with speed bumps, potholes, and detours – even moon craters and meteor showers – but you can successfully navigate any challenge and reach your ultimate destination. When you do, you’ll feel like you’re out of this world. Sincerely,

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

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Kendra Akers Doug Akers

OWNER/PUBLISHER kendra@akersmediagroup.com

DESIGN

/

AT YOUR SERVICE

PRESIDENT doug@akersmediagroup.com

PHOTOGRAPHY

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EDITORIAL

Michael Gaulin James Combs

SENIOR DESIGNER michael@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER james@akersmediagroup.com

Volkan Ulgen Theresa Campbell

ART DIRECTOR volkan@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER theresa@akersmediagroup.com

Megan Mericle Victoria Schlabig

GRAPHIC DESIGNER megan@akersmediagroup.com

WORTH A SHOT

An update on COVID vaccinations. POSITIVE STEPS

Forward Paths helps local youth.

WORTH A SHOT

An update on COVID vaccinations. POSITIVE STEPS

Forward Paths helps local youth. SPONSORED BY

MAR '21

LAKE & SUMTER

MAR '21

VILLAGE EDITION

STAFF WRITER victoria@akersmediagroup.com

TO LAKE COUNTY

Anthony Rao Roxanne Brown

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/ VIDEOGRAPHER anthony@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER roxanne@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER nicole@akersmediagroup.com

CON TRIBUTIN G ED IT OR Gary Corsair SALES

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M A RK ETIN G

Tim McRae

VICE PRESIDENT, SALES tim@akersmediagroup.com

Mike Stegall

SENIOR ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE/ SPECIAL PROJECTS mike@akersmediagroup.com

Melanie Melvin Shaena Long

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING melanie@akersmediagroup.com

RESORT LIVING CLOSE TO HOME

Landings

Joe Angione Kathy Porter

ADVERTISING COORDINATOR shaena@akersmediagroup.com

ADMI N IS TRATION Aubrey Akers Simmons

Perfect

THE

CON TRIBUTIN G Nicole Hamel WRITER S

+

PICK

Lake County has bushels of berries and a bounty of agritourism sites.

ON THE WATERFRONT

GO FISH

MUTUAL ATTRACTIONS

Launch yourself into endless waterways and discover scenic wildlife areas.

Explore a fishing mecca with countless hot spots for anglers of all skill levels.

By land, sea and air, visitors can find adventure, sightseeing and recreation.

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

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

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

OFFICE MANAGER aubrey@akersmediagroup.com

DI S TRIBUTION Scott Hegg

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

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER scott.hegg@akersmediagroup.com

Akers Media is a proud member of

Winner of 200+ Awards for Excellence

Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2021 by Akers Media. All rights reserved. Lake & Sumter Style is a registered trademark of Akers Media. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. For back issues or billing information, call 352.787.4112. Return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts and artwork if they are to be returned. Manuscripts are welcomed, but no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. “Paid Promotional Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.

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M A R ' 2 1 • L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M

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L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M • M A R ' 2 1

Red Roads Southern Boutique 200 W. Main St, Leesburg 34748 (352) 901-6582

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first PEOPLE. COMMENTARY. NEWS.

When it comes to playing the oboe, high school student Emerald Lewis is a hit.

M A R ' 2 1 • L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M

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THE HIT LIST

SPRING IS IN THE AIR March brings longer days, increased sunshine, greener grass, and colors abounding as flowers start to blossom and bloom – all which lead up to the first day of Spring on the 20th. That day, known as the March or vernal equinox, is when the length of day and night is nearly equal (12 hours each) in all parts of the world, hence the literal meaning of the word “equinox,” which comes from the Latin words for “equal night”—aequus (equal) and nox (night).

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The vernal equinox marks the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator. This is the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator, from south to north, says nationaldaycalendar.com. In 2021, March 20 will mark the vernal equinox – or the first day of spring – and after that, the amount of sunlight will increase incrementally each day until the first day of Summer. “With the equinox, enjoy the increasing sunlight hours,

with earlier dawns and later sunsets,” says almanac.com. To welcome spring this year and help mark the occasion, nationaldaycalendar.com is touting a hashtag -- #SpringBegins – for people to use across social media platforms to post pictures of a sunset, your favorite flower at a park or garden or even a selfie mowing your grass for everyone to see, share and bask in.


STILL MAKING WAVES The Lake County Rowing Association (LCRA) has navigated a major milestone. That’s because 2021 marks its 10-year anniversary of making a difference for people interested in rowing as sport or hobby. The organization serves all of Lake County but is based in downtown Clermont at a boathouse (dedicated in Feb. 2015), at Victory Pointe Park, 1050 Victory Way, overlooking Lake Minneola – the very entity that serves as its fluid training ground. According to the organization’s website, LCRA was founded in 2011 as a non-profit with the goal of “promoting rowing in Lake County while also encouraging people from across the Nation to visit our beautiful lakes and waterways.” LCRA’s mission involves rowing with people across Central Florida of all ages and experience levels. “Rowing embodies grace, power and symmetry. It develops endurance, discipline, teamwork, and mental and physical toughness that builds relationships between athletes, helping them to learn to work together as a team,” says the website’s homepage. At LCRA, coaches work with families, children and area teams on achieving their rowing goals. The City of Clermont, in partnership with LCRA, has invested in a 2,000m Olympic style buoyed racecourse that allows for eight rowing lanes. In 2019, a first-class AccuDock system for boat launches and rowing regattas was installed.

Keith Young serves as the organization’s team or adult individual trainer, while LCRA’s Coaching Director Justin Knust oversees youth and adult club memberships, and Mike Furukawa is current president. Justin says that since its formation, the LCRA has given more than 1,000 people the opportunity to try the sport of rowing, and hundreds have become members of the rowing team. Additionally, the percentage rate for college scholarships awarded to rowing athletes is phenomenally high – 90 percent for females and about 80 percent for males. Justin says that in 2019, one female and three male athletes with the LCRA all received full ride scholarships to row in college. In 2020, four of five graduating seniors on the rowing team achieved the same. Perhaps the coolest thing, however, is that unlike other sports, students can start with rowing later in life and still go far with it, says Justin. “Your destiny is ordained so early in life with some of these other sports, but with rowing, you can pick it up later and go far. Nobody really rows before middle school,” Justin says. “You don’t have to be this underage superstar to have a lot of success in it.” For more information about the LCRA, or for a listing of upcoming classes, events and more, visit rowlcra.org or call 407-970-1855.

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THE HIT LIST

CLERMONT CONTINUES TO BE A HOT SPOT

EUSTIS EDUCATOR IS TOP TEACHER

Clermont continues to be a magnet. Here’s a few things South Lake residents can look forward to this year: • Legends Golf Course in Clermont is being restored and is expected to reopen this spring after being closed for nearly three years. The HOA, which bought the golf course for $750,000 dollars last summer, is also committing nearly $2 million dollars to get the golf course in playable shape. Contact LegendsGolfandCountryClubGolf@ gmail.com for more information about the rebirth of the 18-hole course designed by Lloyd Clifton. Legends Bar & Grill recently opened. • Fast-casual Italian chain Fazoli’s will open a restaurant at 1913 South Highway 27. • A year ago, Costco planned to open a store in Clermont. And then the pandemic hit. Now, a Clermont Costco is a maybe. Costco has announced only one official new location store in 2021: in Gloucester, Ontario, Canada, but more than one source reports that a new store could open in Clermont in 2021 or 2022.

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Shannon Clark

Shannon Clark, a fourth-grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Eustis Heights Elementary, is the 2021 Lake County Schools Teacher of the Year. The Mount Dora resident who has been teaching for seven years was named the winner by a panel of judges from outside the district. Shannon also received a 2021 Honda Accord to drive for three years from Jenkins Auto Group. Insight Credit Union donated a $500 gas card and Jostens presented her with an official Teacher of the Year ring. Shannon was chosen over finalists Rikki Parisoe, Fruitland Park Elementary School first-grade teacher, and Joshua Wintersdorf, algebra teacher at Umatilla Middle School.


SAD SONG The list of famous musicians who died in air crashes is sobering. Glenn Miller. Buddy Holly. Ritchie Valens. J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Patsy Cline. Ronnie Van Zant. Stevie Ray Vaughn. Otis Redding. Jim Croce. Ricky Nelson. John Denver. The tragic deaths have occurred all over the country—an Iowa cornfield, a heavily wooded area in southeastern Mississippi, and a bay in California. Thirty-nine years ago this month, Lake County was the site of a tragedy involving a rising star. The musician was 25-year-old Randy Rhoads, who enjoyed a successful stint with Quiet Riot before becoming lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne. The band performed in Knoxville on March 18 and hopped aboard a tour bus to Orlando, where Ozzy and his crew would perform a concert the following day. The tour bus needed repairs, so the driver stopped in Leesburg for the night at the property of Jerry Calhoun, who owned Flying Baron Estates. The following day around noon, Randy, along with the bus driver Andrew Aycock, and Rachel Youngblood, the band’s cook, boarded a single-engine 1955 Beechcraft Bonanza F35. Andrew, who had a pilot license, apparently took the plane without permission. Unbeknownst to anyone, Andrew’s 3rdclass medical certificate had expired, thus making his pilots license invalid. While in flight, they decided to play a joke on the other band members still asleep in the bus. Andrew made several low passes to “buzz” the tour bus. On the fourth pass, the plane’s wing clipped the bus, spiraled out of control, and crashed into a garage of a nearby mansion. All three were killed instantly.

LAKE COUNTY IS WHERE IT’S AT Word is spreading that Lake County is the place to be, and that means more jobs, more housing options, improved health care, more opportunities! • A Mount Dora nonprofit organization recently announced it will invest $82.5 million for a major expansion at the Waterman Village senior-living facility, which currently employs 303 people. • Leesburg will grow by 542 homes after an Orlando-based real estate developer and investor breaks ground for Eagletail Landing, a community that will offer “oversized, resort-style” amenities. Eagletail Landings will be built in four phases, with 110 homes slated for the first phase. Homes will range in size from 1,700-3,900 square feet. The community will also include a park and an amenity center.

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PERSON OF INTEREST

PEO PLE

Abigail Zechman Young Numismatist hopes to inspire other kids with her knowledge of coin collecting. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

L V I TA AT S ST

• 19 years old. • Will graduate with an AA from LSSC this semester. • Will attend UCF for elementary education.

• Collection consists of thousands of coins. • Plans to work in the American Numismatics Association’s (ANA) education department.

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL What first sparked your interest about coin collecting? When I was 10, in 2012, I went with my Girl Scout troop to the January FUN Show, which is a really big coin show we have here in Florida. When I saw all the coins and the history and everything, I was hooked. History has always been one of my favorite subjects, so when I saw that there was a hobby that combined that and art, which was my other passion, I was like, “This is perfect, this is me in a hobby.”

What coins are you searching for currently? The main coin I’m looking for is a 1796 draped bust large cent. They’re the pennies that we had back in the 1700s and it’s actually an error coin, so instead of saying the word “liberty,” the “b” looks like an “h.” It’s one of those coins that no other coins, even the ones of this variety, will look the same as it.

Do you have a favorite coin? I do this thing called Hobo Nickel carving, where I essentially take the coin and

carve on it and change the design. When I started doing that, I was about 13, and I had a mentor who took me under his wing. He was one of the greatest ambassadors for Hobo Nickels and numismatics in general, and I learned a lot about that from him. He unfortunately passed away from cancer a few years ago, and some other Hobo Nickel artists carved a coin that commemorates him. That is by far my favorite piece in my collection; It has a lot of meaning in it and it’s very special to me.

What do you plan to do with the ANA in your future? The ANA has just given me so many connections and has helped increase my passion for coins, which I didn’t think was possible and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that for other up and coming numismatists. I want to work in their education department as a numismatic educator and teach kids about coins, and travel to shows as a representative of ANA and help get kids as excited as I am.

Know a person of interest? Tell us!

Email your recommendation to victoria@akersmediagroup.com.

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“We can honestly say that whilst we were somewhat reluctant to sign with Wiseman owing to the long lead time from contract signing to completion, the finished product was well worth the wait. The custom design is exactly what we asked for and we maintain that the craftsmanship of the pool, spa, equipment, pavers, screen enclosure, and summer kitchen are second to none.” — TOM & LYNDA MURPHY

We know that every single customer is unique—Building Unique Pools is our company motto—and so every project we undertake is delivered to a client’s signature set of personal tastes and, where necessary, solves any challenges their property may present. 352-431-3766 | www.WisemanPools.com | 1517 W Main St., Leesburg Wiseman Pools is a family-owned-and-operated, licensed residential and commercial swimming pool builder with an extensive portfolio of projects. From the small—fountains and in-ground spas. To the large—million dollar installations with multiple pools and spas. Our customers, large and small, demand a quality swimming pool for a fair price. And we deliver.


OUTSTANDING STUDENT

PEO PLE

Emerald Lewis Journey into music carries LMHS jewel home.

VITAL STATS

INTERVIEWER: JAMES COMBS

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

• Senior at Lake Minneola High School. • Maintains a weighted 5.0 grade-point average.

• Completed seven advanced placement courses and seven dual-enrollment courses.

Tell us about your journey into music: My grandmother had been

Xi’an, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. For me, this was very special because I’m from China and was adopted by an American family when I was 10 months old.

in musical theater her entire life and my two older sisters played piano, so I’ve been surrounded by music my whole life. I started band in sixth grade. I initially chose to play the alto saxophone, but there were too many students playing it, so I got put on oboe.

Why do you love the oboe? It’s very challenging and technical because it has two reeds. Most instruments only have one reed. With a double reed instrument like the oboe, two pieces of cane vibrate against each other when I blow against them. It takes a lot of precision. I spend about eight to 10 hours a week playing the oboe.

Where have you performed? I’ve performed in numerous honor bands, including the Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) and the UCF Rising Knights Honor Band. I’ve also performed solo at several state musical festivals. Tell about your favorite performance: I’m also involved with the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, and in the summer of 2019, we toured and performed for 12 days in China. We went to Beijing,

What was it like to return to your native country? It was life changing. I enjoyed seeing the culture, eating the food, and being surrounded by other Chinese people. Since I don’t speak Chinese, communicating with others was a little difficult, but it motivated me to start studying the language.

Colleges applied to: The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Florida, and the University of Miami. I’ve already been accepted into Baylor University’s honors program. Future plans? I want to do something in the medical profession so I can help people. However, I’d still like to find time to be part of an orchestra and perform in concerts. I’d also like to give private lessons.

What would you like to do in the medical field? I’m not 100 percent sure. I do like neuroscience.

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

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Membership is open to anyone in Alachua, Marion, Lake, and Sumter counties.3 May not be combined with any other offer. Offer subject to change without notice. One bonus per household. Offer is not available to members with an existing CAMPUS checking account. 1. Credit approval and initial $50 opening deposit required. Member must elect to receive eDocuments. 2. Within the first 60 days, member must use their debit card as a non-PIN based transaction (online purchase, contactless purchase, or swiping your debit card without using a PIN) at least 6 times within 60 days. If requirements are met and the account remains open after 60 days, the $150 reward will be made available to the member. $150 is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. 3. Credit approval and initial $5 deposit required. Insured by the NCUA.


MY FIRST TIME

PEO PLE

Norm Stulz Long-time jokester conquers COVID-19 with comedy. INTERVIEWER: THERESA CAMPBELL

am in my 40th year in professional comedy and have performed probably 5,000 times, telling stories as I have aged about my wife Sharon, our lives, and embellished it all. I have it made. When I was doing music with a band, in between songs I would tell little funny stories about what happened that day, because I really wasn’t a good musician. Somebody told me, “You should try Comedy Castle in Detroit, Michigan.” It was the only venue in the Midwest between New York and L.A., and the place anyone and everyone in comedy stopped to perform. I started there in

What about your first time?

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≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

1981, and it was my first time to step on a professional stage for 10 minutes, open mic on a Monday night, almost at 11 p.m. I wasn’t nervous; I was excited. Afterwards, I was told, “Good job; come back.” I made $3 that night. I have met a bunch of people over the years and worked with so many great entertainers, and have gotten compliments from Tim Allen and Dick Smothers, and Ed McMahon of “Star Search” said I was very funny, but not right for the TV show. Comedy is a combination of teaching, preaching, and making people laugh. Performing on stage is a very safe place for me, it’s like a cocoon. The outside world doesn’t come in. All the energy goes to the performance, the execution of

what I want to do. It’s wonderful being in that moment of being creative, sharing, and working. I try to take people out of their life and into mine. And it’s not just the patrons that have given good reviews, but when the crew or staff of a venue say, “Man, that was special,” that’s very rewarding. I recently worked The Sharon in The Villages and they were limited to 200 people in a giant 1,000-seat theater. They had the patrons and cardboard cutouts spaced out (for social distancing). There were like 300 or so cutouts of celebrities, Michael Jackson and two old guys from the Muppets, all looking rather thin, just staring off. No, the cutouts did not laugh once, but the real people did!

To share a story about your first time doing something significant, email theresa@akersmediagroup.com.

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S

et on the relaxing shores of scenic Lake Harris and nestled within a 78-acre nature preserve, Lake Port Square has everything to offer to live your life your way, with the benefit of continuing care.

LEARN TO LIVE

YOUR LIFE YOUR WAY

JOIN US Ready to make life a little easier? Come learn about the benefits of lifecare & the peace-of-mind living you’ll experience at Lake Port Square, a distinctive senior living community. Join us at our next event, RSVP today.

RSVP TODAY!

For yourself and a guest by phone or online.

CALL (352) 728-1329

ONLINE lakeportseniorliving.com/events Seating is limited.

Tuesday, March 16 @ 2:00PM Thursday, March 18th @ 3:00PM Friday, April 9th @ 11:00AM th

Lake Port Square 600 Lake Port Blvd, Leesburg, FL 34748


Survive Well

Live Longer PA I D

PROM O T IO N A L

F E AT U R E

A

ccording to the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the U.S. has more than 16 million cancer survivors and those numbers are expected to climb. “Twenty years ago, we didn’t really talk that much about survivorship and quality of life after treatment,” says Robert Boisonneault Oncology Institute’s Dr. Joseph Bennett. “We basically focused on cure rate, cure rate, cure rate.” Speaking at RBOI’s “We Can Week,” a virtual event for cancer survivors and their supporters, Dr. Bennett explains how the approach to cancer has changed over time. “With more and more cancer survivors, we have got to focus on minimizing the side effects, long term-wise, of treatment, but also focusing on what can be done to help people survive and lead a happy life.”

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Dr. Bennett outlines two different types of risk factors. The factors we cannot change include family history, age, and gender. Those we can change include our behavior, such as tobacco and alcohol use, eating habits, and exercise. “You can change your pair of jeans but you can’t change your genes,” Bennett explains. The Population Reference Bureau reports that nearly half of all early deaths in the U.S. could be prevented just by changing our habits. Two factors alone, (1) tobacco use and (2) poor diet and lack of exercise, accounted for a third of all preventable early deaths in 2010. Says Bennett, “If we literally eliminated tobacco products and if we ate better and were more active, we could probably eliminate a million deaths per year.”


More than

Consistency is Key “You can’t say I’m going to exercise today and then go a month without doing anything,” Dr. Bennett says. “It needs to become part of your pattern of life.” Doing what you enjoy will help you exercise consistently. “If you like paddling a boat or a kayak, walking, riding a bike, anything it is, you have to find something that you like to do,” he advises. “What we recommend is at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on five or more days of the week if you can. If you can bump it up to 45 minutes to an hour, that’s preferable.” Exercising for at least three hours per week delivers a significant benefit, but “one hour a week is better than nothing.” The rewards are well worth the effort. “By being more active, you’re losing weight and increasing your immune system,” Bennett says. “Your body’s better able to fight cancer and other disease processes.” Bennett adds that our temperate weather gives us an advantage: Floridians exercise more than the U.S. average. “So we can all go out in a pair of shorts and ride a bike.” Or do whatever gets us moving.

650,000 Early U.S. deaths in 2010 resulting from poor diet alone

2

Smoking was the second leading cause of U.S. early deaths in 2010

Many Happy Returns “There are a lot of health benefits of being more physically active,” Dr. Bennett says. Exercising regularly can help you: Sleep better at night. Keep mentally sharp. Decrease depression. Increase self-esteem. Strengthen muscles and bones (better balance/reduced risk of falling). Improve your immune response. Lower your cholesterol.

48%

Lower your risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases like diabetes. Lower your cancer risk.

Proportion of U.S. early deaths due to preventable factors

More than

2 years Decrease in average life expectancy for Americans compared to 16 other high-income countries

Patient-centered radiation oncology close to home The Villages 352.259.2200 Ocala 352.732.0277 Timber Ridge 352.861.2400 Inverness 352.726.3400 Lecanto 352.527.0106 RBOI.com

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Thinking

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of downsizing

?

Tiny homes offer huge rewards for retirees, snowbirds, and those ready for the next stage of life.

Photo: Courtesy of Coles Carangian

STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

ocated on Lake Andrew in Oxford is 70 acres of beautiful land, plentiful with tree canopies, greenery, wildlife, and soon, tiny homes. Simple Life is creating a tiny home community with private amenities for people who value living simply over maintaining things. It provides a collection of one- and two-bedroom, spaceefficient cottages with an amenity-rich community lifestyle at a lower overall cost than traditional communities. Laura Pawlowski, one of Simple Life Lakeshore’s first residents, is in “awe” of the old trees the location has, as well as the “stunning” variety of birds. Laura enjoys walking on the trails and appreciates the long tree limbs that reach over the paths and create a wonderful walk. “One of the things I love about Florida and that I loved about this location are the beautiful tree canopies,” says Laura. The retired schoolteacher, who previously lived in a two-bedroom, two-bath condo with vaulted ceilings, says tiny home living was always in her plans. “I have been following the lifestyle for years. It was in my plan to build a tiny home, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted it to be a tiny house on wheels or if I wanted a foundation,” Laura says. After retiring, she spent a few years in a 120 square-foot RV and downsized her “stuff,” just to find out if she really could live tiny. “I felt unburdened by my things, I was available for more adventure, and the only two things that I missed were my own washer and dryer, and a bathtub. But I realized I enjoyed the simplicity.” “Generally, when you downsize you find that the lifestyle is much less stressful. There’s just much less to maintain, fewer things to worry about, so you free up your time to do more of the things you like doing,” says Coles Carangian, Simple Life’s marketing director. “Fewer bills, fewer responsibilities; cleaning our type of house takes much less time than a bigger house, so with that time put back into your life you can really pursue the things that you love whether it’s traveling, gardening, or spending time with friends.” Laura wants potential tiny home owners to know that she did not downsize overnight. It took time, and she still has things she has to donate, or find a way to repurpose. She’s found that most of what she brought with her were family heirlooms, and her favorite things, which she found a way to repurpose in a much smaller space.

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“It was also a matter of practicality. The big pieces of furniture have to serve more than one purpose,” Laura says. A daybed in the living room serves as a sofa but is able to house two guests when needed. In her bedroom, a queen size Murphy bed also serves as a desk, leaving her floorspace to practice yoga as well. That said, tiny home living isn’t for everybody. Simple Life targets amenities to singles, couples, empty nesters, and those simply looking to downsize. “It’s a lower cost, a smaller footprint, not giving up any of the quality,” says Simple Life founder and CEO Mike McCann. “That said, they’re not for everybody. Our homes may be too small for some. But for those who feel that they can connect with the lifestyle and the size of the home, there’s no real estate tax, there’s much lower utility costs, and it’s for that couple, that single, who really needs and wants a lower burden,” he adds. The Resource Group that founded Simple Life has been land developers and homebuilders for over 20 years. They conceptualized and developed right-sized housing and efficient living without sacrificing home features, after realizing much of their own generation of baby boomers were ready for an easier and more experience-based lifestyle. Mike states: “As we came out of the 2008 financial crisis, we recognized, all

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of us being in our 50s, that there was going to be an overwhelming need for affordability, especially in Florida and alot of the Southeast.” Mike and the entire The Resource Group saw land and development costs rapidly rising, and “all of the ingredients that go into developing the lot for a home were, for the first time in a generation, going up at a rate that had us very concerned,” he says. Mike and his partners began studying low-impact development options, specifically for active baby boomers, with the realization that their generation would likely not have a chance to recover from the 2008 downturn and would not be able to afford housing solutions. “We realized that a traditional lot was larger than most of our demographic’s needs, we looked at school impact fees that they were paying, and larger homes (1,500-2,000 square feet), and we thought, ‘There’s probably another way of doing this,’” says Mike. Though Simple Life is based in Jacksonville, the company found a mobile home park in Asheville, North Carolina, with issues they thought they could fix. Simple Life met with local officials regarding their plans for the land. “We said, ‘Hey, what if we were to really clean this place up, build a nice amenity package where we can create

walking trails, dog parks, swimming pools, yoga rooms, and exercise rooms, and plug it with a manufactured home built in a factory?’” says Mike says. The idea was welcomed, and Simple Life was born. Now, the Asheville location has 185 people “living happily ever after” in homes ranging from 400-600 square feet. Simple Life is happy to finally announce their arrival to Florida. Laura first visited the North Carolina location, but was pleased to find out Simple Life would soon be developing in Florida, as she had wintered for years in the Destin area. “Their philosophy was right along with the philosophy that I was looking for, so I checked them out last January and got myself my lot, ordered my home, and here I am,” she says. Laura, along with her 3.5-pound yorkie poo, opted for the Sebring, a 499 square-foot one-bed one-bath home with front and back screened in porches, which are included in the square footage. Lakeshore’s homes range from 400 square feet to 1,100, which is the maximum to still be considered a tiny home. Prices for homes range from $145,000 for smaller one-bed, one-bath, to $180,000 for the larger models. Mike explains: “We had a lot of folks asking for the brand to come to Florida, and one of the things we look for in a community that we’re gonna invest in is


“GENERALLY, WHEN YOU DOWNSIZE YOU FIND THAT THE LIFESTYLE IS MUCH LESS STRESSFUL.”

Photos: Courtesy of Coles Carangian

—COLES CARANGIAN

that there is an established pattern of baby boomers coming to the area, and The Villages is the ideal place to demonstrate that baby boomers are coming to the area.” Coles adds: “I think Florida in general is a wonderful location for our tiny home communities because people in the age range we cater to are moving here already. There’s also a lot of natural beauty in Florida; lakes and rivers, beautiful tree canopies, and we always try to build where there’s some natural amenities.” Lake Andrew is the main draw to the beautiful Oxford location, but the land also has “an abundance of live oaks,” Mike says, “that we’ve been able to preserve and develop around, and the feeling when you walk around the property with about a 30 foot drop down to the lake and looking at all the beautiful live oaks, it’s a very special piece of land.” As far as extra amenities go, each Simple Life community is unique in what they offer because each location has its own “personality,” Coles says. “We do provide in each a clubhouse for intimate or bigger gatherings, where there is coffee shopstyle seating with complimentary gourmet coffee.” There will also be a pool, workout facility, yoga room, and classes, as well as access to envoys.

Envoys are volunteer residents who collect and share feedback and ideas, and help make plans for the future, all while having fun doing what they enjoy. Envoys at the Lakeshore community include a garden envoy, dog park envoy, social envoy, and more. Simple Life also tries to optimize the outdoor space because when you’re living in a smaller home you tend to spend more time outside. The outdoor space will be filled with walking paths, sports courts, dog parks, and lots of green space. Laura is most excited for the pool and walking trails, and to meet and spend time with her new neighbors, as she moved in before amenities were completed. “It’s nice to be out and talk to the few neighbors I have, but I’m really looking forward to building up the community here. I think that’s gonna be really cool,” she says. Another great perk about Simple Life living is the “lifestyle value fee,” which streamlines all expenses you would typically be paying in a home (water, sewer, high-speed internet, premium cable channels, irrigation, trash removal), as well as extra amenities such as ornamental landscaping and lawn service, all into one payment. The monthly fee of $450 also includes access to the pool, clubhouse, classes, envoys and so on. If you only spend your winters in Florida, Simple Life Lakeshore is still a great option. They allow residents to rent out their homes (independently) for a minimum of 30 days. Through Simple Life, homes are available only for purchase, so you would rent the home out yourself, which you are able to do for the time you are not going to be using it. The Simple Life Lakeshore grand opening will take place on March 27, and will include the first 100 lots, the pool, clubhouse, workout facility, walking trails, and so on. Within the next few years, Mike says, they plan to expand the Lakeshore location to house 250 homes.

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UNCOMMONLY

We Are Ready to Knock Out COVID-19.

GOOD

A Little Vaccine Packs a Big Punch of Protection!

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Our residents and staff are already scheduled to receive the Coronavirus vaccine! YOURLife has spent the last 9 months working diligently to keep our residents safe, healthy and happy – now those efforts include the vaccination of our residents, staff and essential family caregivers. TM

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CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO!

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L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M • M A R ' 2 1

Inspired • Engaged • Fulfilled Inspired • Engaged • Fulfilled

7330 Powell Road | Wildwood, FL 34785 YourLifeWildwood.com Assisted Living Facility License #13436


Local professionals provide their expertise on everything you need to know about your home. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

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Solar Jazmin Felix, Owner

≈ Kenkay Solar

352.460.0402 / KenkaySolar.com / 600 Market St., Suite 117, Leesburg

Q.

Who is Kenkay Solar?

A.

We are a locally owned solar installation company in Lake County, Florida, that offers commercial and residential solar systems. We work by our principals and with a firm commitment to providing great customer service from initial consultation to project completion. Our ability to expand our business will always be accredited to our unconditional passion for solar and the benefit it provides to our friends, family, neighbors, and throughout the state of Florida. We have partnered up with our other company, Women in Solar LLC, to provide our customers with safety and quality in every installation.

Q.

Why should I switch to solar?

A.

Besides the footprint that you’re leaving as far as eliminating fossil fuels, solar is now considered the cheapest form of electricity. Energy companies have rising costs of an average of 4% every single year, and by going solar, you are eliminating that rising cost. You can either purchase the solar panels outright or finance, but financing is a fixed payment, so you don't have to worry about having an increase on your electricity costs every single month.

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Q.

Q.

A.

A.

Are some houses not suited for solar panels because of roof orientation or shady trees?

In order to get the most sun exposure, we would need a South-facing roof followed by an East and/or West-facing roof. A North-facing roof gets the least sun exposure, which is why we try to avoid those installations. One solution for that is tilting the panels to face South, or if you have enough space on the ground, we can do a ground mount.

What safety precautions are you taking considering COVID-19?

Due to COVID-19, we are taking safety as an even bigger concern than ever before, so we make sure that our workers are safety-trained and compliant with OSHA, and we make sure that they wear gloves and masks before entering your home. Safety is the number-one priority in our business.


Window Treatments Roxanne and Alexa Stafford

≈ Window Reflections

352.330.2055 / 103 N Main St., Wildwood / WindowReflections.net

Q. A.

How do I add drama to a drape?

Drapes not only play a functionable role in your home, but also elegantly dress up the window while tying the room’s design and décor together. We recommend having your window treatments custom made to add drama and step the look up even further. This allows you to have a better selection of high-quality fabrics, as well as unique decorative rods and hardware. More drama is created when you add height and volume, such as floor-to-ceiling panels. It gives a feeling of luxury and provides the illusion of having a larger room. Depending on the size and type of window, you can also custom design panels into different sections as shown in the photo. All these are great examples of taking an average drapery up a notch while adding a “wow!” factor, elegance, and a feeling of luxury!

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Building Inspections Dustin and Darrell Turner

≈ Florida Building Inspectorz

352.327.4430 / FloridaBuildingInspectorz.com

Q.

Do I really need a home inspection?

A.

Yes. They are absolutely necessary. We’ve discovered foundation issues, roof issues, and mechanical issues that would cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace. Homeowners can have different inspections. My company does a thorough standard inspection where we go top to bottom, front to back, and side to side. Some people opt for a four-point inspection, where we examine the roof, HVAC, electrical systems, and plumbing. We also offer a wind mitigation inspection, meaning we check a home’s wind-resistant features. If a home needs a new roof or new door or window coverings, then homeowners can significantly reduce the cost of their homeowner policy. Now is the time to call us for a wind mitigation inspection before you apply for a quote. Of course, we’re only human. We’re not going to catch every problem in every inspection. If we do miss something, we try to make it right. If we missed something significant, we offer a 90-Day Buy Back Guarantee, meaning we’ll purchase the home for whatever you paid for it. We also offer a 120-Day Home Warranty for $20. For example, let’s say your air conditioning unit quits working after you move in. This warranty provides you coverage, and you would not pay anything for the air conditioner to be repaired.

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Q. A.

What makes your company special?

At Florida Building Inspectorz is a veteran-owned and operated, fatherson team. I served in the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division. I work with my son, Dustin. Typically, Dustin and I both go on inspections together. He sees things that I don’t see and I see things that he doesn’t see. Being together allows us to do a more thorough inspection. One misconception about inspections is that people think we’ll find every single thing wrong with the home. However, what we do is a noninvasive, visual inspection only. Our company prides itself on offering superior customer service. I’ve received phone calls at 9 p.m. on a Sunday night. I tell every client that just because the transaction is over does not mean customer service is gone. We will always be here for you. We are licensed in the State of Florida. We will travel all over Florida as long as it is financially responsible. Being part of the Lake County community is a point of pride for us. When I started the company, one of my goals was to give back to the community in any way I could.

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CELEBRATING

28 YEARS Of Innovation In Cardiovascular Care Reaching one of life’s milestones is cause for celebration.

L-R:

Miguel Bryce, MD, FACC Adina Ion, MD Rama Krishna, MD, FACC, FSCAI Theresa Mills, MD, FACC J. Henry Lesmes, MD, FACC Samuel Goss, DO, FACC Moises Fraifeld, MD, FACC

Cardiovascular Associates is proud to celebrate 28 years of providing the latest in cardiovascular care to our patients. As a full service cardiology practice we were the first to bring comprehensive cardiac care—including nuclear medicine and heart catheterizations—to Lake County. We were also the first in the county to offer cardiac electrophysiology (EP) and establish accredited echocardiography and nuclear medicine labs. We proudly offer the latest in image technology and diagnostic accuracy with Lake County’s first cardiac PET lab. Recently, we just opened our new Angio Vascular lab. All of us at CVA say a “hearty thank you” to all our patients and referring physicians for allowing us the privilege of providing innovative cardiovascular care for 28 years.

LEESBURG 352.323.5700 – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday 705 Doctors Court - across from UF Health Leesburg

TAVARES 352.742.1171 – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday 1879 Nightingale Lane, Suite A-1 & C-1 - across from AdventHealth Waterman

CVALakeCounty.com


Enjoy life Lakeside Landings at


The Berkshire Model

Superior constructed, maintenance-free homes in a family-friendly neighborhood near The Villages make this an ideal place to live and play. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

hen the coronavirus pandemic broke out in early 2020 and people were quarantined or working remotely, Lakeside Landings sales agents were pleasantly surprised to receive calls from serious buyers interested in touring the beautiful community. Kelly Luplow, a resident and lead real estate agent at the Lakeside Landings, recalls COVID-19 was a topic of conversation. “When it began, I asked people touring the model homes, ‘Can you picture yourself being quarantined here?’ And amazingly and thankfully the answer was ‘yes!’” Lakeside Landings is home to a mix of retirees and multigenerational families. The non-age-restricted community is being built and developed by Power Corporation. “Last year we had one of our best years ever,” says Kelly’s husband, Eric, sales manager at Lakeside Landings. “We are absolutely amazed. We now have 30 to 40 new homes left to build.” Once Lakeside Landings is built out, it will have over 600 homes, including the entrance’s pretty tile-roof condominiums and villas. In the last 10 years, Power Corporation has focus on building single-family homes, and the community’s convenient location of being next door to The Villages® has appealed to residents and many new buyers. Lakeside Landings is only a couple of miles from Lake Sumter Landing, Publix, Walmart, and The Villages® Charter School. “Everything is very close, so you’re not driving a distance to get to places,” says Eric. “There are a lot of families working in The Villages®, including doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, and we also have a good amount of residents who have lived in other neighboring communities who don’t golf or participate in activities, but they do like to go to the (Villages) town squares that anybody can go to.” Denise Pozniak, a resident for 14 years, happily noted her community is a wonderful place to call home: “We made the right move to Lakeside Landings!”

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The Luplows feel the same way and cherish the “small-town feel” and the sense of “belonging” they share with their neighbors. “There is a sense of pride living in this community,” says Kelly, adding there are large events going on every month and smaller ones in between. Movie night, game night, trivia night, beach trips, day trips, comedy club, etc. The community also has events honoring veterans and fundraisers for special causes. “This is one of those places where you can be as involved or uninvolved as you want to be,” she says. The entrance into the community is welcoming with tile-roofed condominiums, nicely landscaped grounds with colorful flowers, pavers, a great fitness center, and the large picturesque resort pool with waterfalls. Several model homes are open for public viewing, so it’s worth visiting or calling the sales office at 10299 Hawks Gully Court in Oxford to schedule a tour of homes. Each spec-built house is block and stucco construction and features a new extended warranty. The windows are double pane/low E. There are hurricane straps on the trusses to keep the roof down, and many “upgrades” are standard features with Lakeside Landings’ homes, including quartz countertops, 42-inch maple or cherry wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances along with a washer and dryer, and an upgraded air-conditioning system. “A lot of things that you think you’d have to upgrade, we put in the house,” says Eric, adding buyers can choose from several different plans. The price point starts at $250,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bath home with 1,652 square feet of living space, such as the Osprey, which is popular with retirees, while one of the larger plans that is attractive to families is the Oakmont, which features four-bedroom, 2.5-bath homes with 2,016 square feet for $299,000. Lakeside Landings’ different floor plans and features set the community apart from other area builders. “We don’t compete with The Villages®—the No. 1 retirement community in the world—we

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The Berkshire Model

just try to offer something different … different plans, a good price range, quality construction,” says Eric. Lakeside Landings does not have bonds or community development districts because Power Corporation has paid for all improvements to be in the purchase price. However, residents do have two monthly association dues; one for maintenance and the other for amenities. “Combined, it’s about $265 a month and that takes care of everything outside. You own the house; you own the lot. We just maintain the lot and everything around it for you,” Eric says of lawn and landscaping maintenance, fertilization, mulching, irrigation, maintenance of all roads, pest control and garbage pickup. He proudly notes he has never pulled a weed, mulched, cut the grass or sprayed for bugs at his home. Lakeside Landings’ maintenance-free lifestyle also appeals to retirees and younger residents. “We have a lot of families who work five to seven days a week and they appreciate that it’s maintenance-free,” says Eric. Sales agent Adam Brown hears the same. He says younger residents and families have happily commented the maintenance-free lifestyle gives

them more free time to do the things they enjoy. Residents can partake in a variety of Lakeside Landings’ common-area amenities, including the resort pool and satellite pool, hot tubs, lighted tennis court, two lighted pickleball courts, putting green, 140-foot fishing pier, gated entrance, and clubhouse amenities such The Berkshire Model


The Cordova Model The Cordova Model

as the fitness center, ballroom with dance floor and lighted stage, catering kitchen, billiard room, card room, craft room, and a library with Wi-Fi. Families with children who do not qualify to attend the charter school go to the schools in Wildwood. The school bus picks them up at the front entrance of the community. Some older residents appreciate that Lakeside Landings is not age-restricted, especially if they ever need younger family members to come stay with them for longer stays than most 55-plus communities allow. “If you have some kind of medical emergency and need your granddaughter to come live with you, that’s no problem. We get a lot of that,” Eric says. “A lot of places think they should be a 55-andolder community, but we want to offer homebuyers an opportunity to choose Lakeside Landings regardless of age because there are a lot of retirees who don’t mind living around kids. It’s not like we have a ton of families, but we have enough to where is feels like a different kind of community. There are residents who enjoy seeing children in the community, and we hear that a lot. We have a great mix.” It’s also a very pet-friendly community. Lakeside Landings has one dog run and is slated to have two dog runs once it is built out.

Kelly invites those house-hunting this year to arrange a visit to Lakeside Landings, tour the model homes, and see for themselves all the amenities the community offers. “There is no high pressure sales here, and that is what I really like,” she says. Lakeside Landings just may be the right fit for your next home, whether as a retiree or for your family. Kelly encourages potential buyers to visit the community before they make any final decisions. “One consistent thing we often hear is ‘I wish I knew of Lakeside Landings a lot sooner.’” “Lakeside Landings really is a great place to live,” adds Eric, reminding that 2021 will be the last year of new home construction. “We are down to the end and it has been a great run.” Power Corporation Vice President Matthew J. Loiacano also reflected on the community’s final stages of the build-out. “As we near project completion here at Lakeside Landings, I’d like to thank all our residents, employees, subcontractors, and the many individuals from local government that we have dealt with over the years,” he says. “Our success here has been much about them as anything we have done. Together, we have built a beautiful community and an outstanding addition to this area of Florida.”

The Bassano Model

352.330.4305 / LakesideLandings.net / 10350 Regatta Blvd., Oxford

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MASSAGES

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WHY IS HIGH DOSE VITAMIN IV THERAPY NEEDED? Giving ourselves the essential vitamins and nutrients is the least we can do. They work so hard for us every day performing millions of functions in the body. We cannot receive these nutrients solely from the foods we eat so we must utilize supplements. IV therapy bypasses the GI system and allows our body to absorb 100% of the vitamins and minerals administered. I can bet that most of the general population has some sort of micronutrient deficiency. There are just not enough nutrients in the soil used today to provide us with those essential vitamins and minerals that we all require to function at our best. Prescription and OTC medications are known to cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies. So, with the US consuming over 50% of the world’s prescription medications, that is yet another indication that the majority of the population is nutrient deficient.

WHAT TO ASK WHEN INQUIRING ABOUT AN IV DRIP? There are many questions to ask when considering an IV drip. What ingredients do they contain? How much of each ingredient? How will this benefit me? Any major or minor side effects? Who is going to be starting the IV and what is their background? It is important to make

WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR IV THERAPY Virtually anyone seeking to enhance their wellness and be proactive on living a healthy lifestyle may consider this revitalizing treatment option. Some common reasons for needing IV therapy are, dehydrated, fatigued, stressed, needing an immune system boost, sluggish metabolism. IV therapy should not be considered a replacement for a balanced diet and healthy habits. However, it can be used to supplement a generally healthy lifestyle to enhance your overall wellness!

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I RECEIVE IV THERAPY There are many things to consider when developing a treatment plan, so how often you should undergo IV therapy will vary from person to person. When you first begin treatment, you may need to schedule weekly infusion sessions. If you have a chronic health condition that affects your immune system, you may decide to maintain this schedule. However, most people will benefit from treatments spaced about two weeks apart once their nutrient levels become stabilized. This is because you should expect your nutrient levels to remain elevated for between two to three weeks after each treatment. Some patients choose to schedule infusion therapy sessions monthly once they have achieved their desired results, and others only seek treatment when they experience symptoms. Because your treatment plan will be customized for you as an individual, it is difficult to put a schedule on sessions. Call us to schedule a free consult to speak to our provider about the best options for you.

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THINKING

BIG,

building small

Tiny dwellings will make big impact on lives of vulnerable youth. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN AND THERESA CAMPBELL

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≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL


local nonprofit is thinking in tiny terms to make the biggest impact for Lake County’s homeless unaccompanied youth and young adults aging out of the foster care system. Since being founded in 2013, Forward Paths Foundation Inc. has helped at-risk youths by providing temporary housing, job skills and help completing their education, but its vision for the future involves building a tiny home community on private property gifted to the organization, located in Eustis. Forward Paths’ Founder and Executive Director Denise Burry, a certified Guardian ad Litem with Florida’s 5th Circuit Court and mother of eight children, says the venue will give the organization a less scattered feel. Today, the nonprofit organization rents homes throughout Lake County, mainly in Leesburg, to house youths. Individuals will have their own rooms and spaces to care for in tiny homes within the supervised community they will call home until they transition out of the program ready to live successful, independent lives. “I really think this project is going to be a game changer, it will really give us a chance to solidify our program and make a difference for more youths than ever before,” says Denise. Senior Director of Student Development Christy Orpurt explains that owning the homes Christy Orpurt

instead of renting from landlords will save the organization money that, in the long run, could be used to expand services for students, including counseling, and medical/dental care. Another plus is that Eustis is much closer to Lake Technical College, where many of the youths are enrolled for training they need to land better jobs in various industries. Students can ride their bicycles to school from the community. And having all the students in one area will make it easier for volunteers and mentors to provide services, and keep them safe and on track with their goals. “It’s no different than kids living together in a dorm going to college,” Denise says. With that, the community will also give them a sense of family, community and support – things many of them have never really had. “Some of those kids will come and because they’ve been passed around and bounced around so much, once they realize they’re in a safe place for longer than a month or two, sometimes they crash a little bit, some of them get a little depressed because they don’t know what to do. They’ve never been in a place like this, they’ve never been in a place that’s home,” says Christy, a former LifeStream employee with a background in domestic violence, sexual assault and homelessness. “But they have to do two of three things–school, counseling or work–and they are all doing amazing, and it’s because they have a support system around them,” she adds.

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The property and tiny-home plans The 1.5-acre property on Grove Street in Eustis where the tiny homes will be built was donated to Forward Paths by the First United Methodist Church, located directly across the street since the 1950s. Church leaders had discussed various things they could do with the land, which sat empty except for two houses (not tiny homes) that were also donated by the congregation to Forward Paths. One of the houses was being rented by a family for a time. When the renters vacated, Forward Paths moved three students and a resident assistant in. The second house, previously used by the church for storage, was in need of work so Forward Paths used a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from Lake County to have it renovated by Kevco Builders Inc. The house will be ready for five students later this year. Ten tiny 600-square-foot homes with approximate 100-square-foot-porches will be built alongside the two houses, a community room and garden. Forward Paths has entered into preliminary discussions regarding regulatory issues surrounding the project with Eustis’ Director of Development Services Lori Barnes and other officials. “I would love to see Eustis get behind us and support this project,” Denise says. Eustis officials say they are interested in learning the full scope of Forward Path’s range of services and their plans for the tiny homes. “Obviously, it is a need in Lake County,” says Eustis City Manager Ron Neibert. “They are just starting; we’ve seen some concepts of drawings. At this point, the city is willing to look at their project and coordinate with them to make sure that we get a quality project that meets both the goals of their program and obviously the needs and impact of the community as a whole.”

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Neibert says the city, as a regulatory body, will have a vital role. “We want to make sure the project is consistent with Florida building codes, local codes, and other state codes regarding this type of development, and we want to make sure it is done right,” he says. According to Ron, whether the project goes forward with just a staff approval or vote of the full commission will be determined after city officials learn the full scope of the project. Even with those hurdles to conquer, Denise says she hopes they can break ground on the project by year’s end. In anticipation, money is being raised for its completion. Denise says the cost of the project is estimated at $1.3 million, but only about $500,000 has been secured. Twenty-seven students will call the tiny community home. That’s more than the number of students the organization is able to house currently.

Ron Neibert

Those who will benefit According to Denise, youths who find their way to Forward Paths have nowhere to go, and usually no one to turn to for help they really need. She says most have undergone some sort of hardship or abuse that left them homeless, afraid, and with little knowledge of how to move forward or better their situations. Some live in their cars, on couches at friends’ or families’ homes or outdoors. Some end up in trouble with police, desperate, or in the hands of people trying to take advantage of them. Christy adds: “Some of these youths come to us with just a backpack on their back. They don’t even have life skills as far as cooking, cleaning, washing their clothes, anything like that, so it’s usually starting from square one with them and so having a place over their head, we found, is essential.” Denise says it is important to get the youths off the streets and focused on

Kiesha Williams


“I REALLY THINK THIS PROJECT IS GOING TO BE A GAME CHANGER.” — D E N I S E BU R RY

getting educated, working and on their way to making a better life for themselves. “Everybody’s got a little bit of a different story, but the common thing is that you’ve got these kids that are usually behind in school, they do not have a solid family base and then, some of them have never had jobs, they don’t have identification, they don’t have driver’s licenses, and they are all alone and just trying to survive in the real world without connections,” says Denise. “In a normal family you have that, but most of these kids come from living situations where there is a crack in the family foundation.” That’s the exact boat Kiesha Williams, 20, found herself in when she aged out of the foster care system on her 18th birthday. She did what she could to find shelter while looking for a job, continuing with school and just surviving, but after an unfortunate turn of events, she was left homeless. “I was living in my car for a little bit and couch surfing technically, but I ran into some bad people. I decided I didn’t have to be there, so I left, but then I had no other place to go,” Kiesha says, explaining that she heard of Forward Paths and decided to check it out after a few nights in a homeless shelter in Ocala. In doing so, she found her hope, and today is living in an apartment Forward Paths put her up in, working, going to school and most importantly, she’s got support. “I was glad to be accepted to the program because a lot of people need help, especially now with COVID,” Kiesha says of Forward Paths. “For those wanting

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Dreama Shifflett and her nephew, Keith Shifflett IV

to actually improve in their lives, help is there. They help you with interview stuff, clothing, housing, food, school and the rules are not unreasonable.” Kiesha continues: “It makes me feel like somebody is here for me.” Dreama Shifflett, 21, moved out of her dad’s home at 18 with a nephew she was legal guardian to. She and Keith Shifflett IV, now 3, went to live with her ex-boyfriend, but when the environment turned abusive, she left, only to find herself couch surfing. Dreama was turned away every time she applied for housing or shelter, but then a co-worker told her about Forward Paths. What she found is much more than housing, Dreama says. “I was shocked to find out there was such a place. It’s an amazing program for young adults trying to get on with their lives after tough situations and not only did they get us into an apartment, but they are helping me finish my GED and making

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sure I get whatever help I need,” Dreama says. “It’s scary getting out into the real world, but it’s something you can do, and you don’t have to do it alone.” “I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found this organization, I don’t know where we’d be right now.” Dreama’s advice to others in need of help, is to ask. “If you’re ready to help yourself, don’t be scared to ask, because part of helping yourself is asking for that help that you need and it’s there,’ she says about Forward Paths.

How you can help Christy says Forward Paths is always looking for monetary donations, but other donations are also welcome. The organization’s main office, located in Morrison United Methodist Church in Leesburg, is the hub of the program. There, participants can use computers and WIFI for job searches and

schoolwork. There is also a food pantry that Lake Cares in Mount Dora keeps full and a supply room for students in need of clothes, including work clothes for interviews, small appliances and household items, toys, personal hygiene products, and more. Christy says they also need snacks, backpacks, bicycles, and new sets of bed sheets and bedroom furniture since every individual with Forward Paths gets a bedroom set to keep. In addition, the organization needs volunteer mentors to offer advice, support and friendship. Retiree Sally Palmer of The Villages cherishes being one Forward Paths’ regular and longest-serving mentors. She recommends the experience to anyone wanting to make a difference. “I very much enjoy it,” says the Delaware native. “Being almost 70, I find it fun working with the young people and it makes me feel young.”


Photo of Dreama Shifflett and her nephew, Keith Shifflett IV, by Mikaela Fields.

She has been with Forward Paths five years. She learned of the organization after being involved in Guardian ad Litem, an advocacy program that represents children’s interest in court cases. “I recognized there was nothing beyond foster care for most of these children,” she says of the youths that age out on their 18th birthday. “I mentored one young lady and now I am mentoring another,” Sally says, recalling that the first student she mentored affectionately called her Grandma and they were together for four

take you here or there’ and it doesn’t happen,” says Sally. “So, if you’re going to promise a kid that you’re going to take them to lunch or promise that you’re going to help buy a bicycle, you have to do it, otherwise you are just another disappointing adult in their life.” Trust is a big thing, she says. She believes more adults would enjoy serving as mentors. “Even a working person can handle two- or threetimes-a-month meeting for dinner,” says Sally, who delights in seeing a transformation in the young women Sally Palmer

“IT’S AN AMAZING PROGRAM FOR YOUNG ADULTS TRYING TO GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES AFTER TOUGH SITUATIONS.” —DREAMA SHIFFLETT

years, often meeting each other twice a month over lunch or dinner. “When I first met her, she was still a senior in high school and was going to drop out, and I wouldn’t let her drop out. I talked her out of it,” says Sally, adding that the young girl went to college and now has a good job with benefits. Sally now mentors a young mother with a new baby, providing advice about money, boyfriends and more. Sally isn’t just teaching, she says she’s really learned to appreciate what some of the foster children go through. “The minute they are taken from their parents they are traumatized,” she says. “They have trauma on trauma on trauma because they are pushed from foster home to foster home, so by the time we get them, they have been traumatized their whole life.” Sally’s advice for other adults interested in becoming a mentor is to take the position seriously. “All of their lives, these children have been promised things and adults have let them down. Promises of ‘I’ll

she has mentored. “They both have come a long way and I’ve gotten the satisfaction of helping others.” Christy says she pairs mentors with students only after she is sure of people’s commitment to the program. “I want to know that they are going to stick around for them long term. We don’t need one more person to let them down or let them go,” Christy says. Christy says in her role, she too serves as a mentor, calling it “satisfying.” “I always treat these kids like I would my own. We learn from them and they learn from us and it feels amazing, it really does. Working at a non-profit, we all know you don’t get paid a lot but it’s all about how you feel here,” she says, clutching her heart. “Knowing that you are making a difference in these kids’ lives is what makes it worthwhile.” For more information about the program, the tiny homes project, about volunteering or donating, call 352.408.2307 or visit forwardpaths.org.


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agenda EVENTS. TRAVEL. PEOPLE.

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THE TO-DO LIST

mar. 2021

MAR

6-7

EVENT

Great Clermont Campout Few things spell family togetherness like camping under the stars while roasting marshmallows and swapping ghost stories. Just don’t forget to pack your sleeping bags, tent, lantern, and bug spray. March 6-7 / Waterfront Park, 330 3rd St., Clermont / 352.708.5975

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MAR

13

EVENT

19TH ANNUAL TASTE IN MOUNT DORA AND CASINO NIGHT Enjoy delicious food from some of Mount Dora’s finest restaurants. Enjoy sample-size portions of entrees and beverages. Music, dancing, and gaming will also be part of the event. March 13 / Sunset Park, 230 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora / 352.383.2165

mar.ON STAGE Enjoy quality entertainment on the many stages of Lake and Sumter counties. CELTIC ANGELS

3/5

Celebrating their cherished Irish heritage, the Celtic Angels will delight the audience with stirring songs of Ireland, rigorously precise dances, and traditional musicianship. Clermont Performing Arts Center / 3700 S. U.S. Highway 27, Clermont / 352.394.4800 RON FEINGOLD

3/12

Clermont’s own Ron Feingold blends stand-up comedy and a cappella music. During his hilarious hour on stage, he sings all of his own backup and lead vocals. Clermont Performing Arts Center / 3700 S. U.S. Highway 27, Clermont / 352.394.4800 SIRENS

3/12 - 4/4 When he first fell in love with Rose, Sam Abrams wrote a hit song that has been recorded by every big vocalist and heard everywhere. He has longed to reignite that creative spark. While celebrating their 25th anniversary on a cruise, Sam is enraptured by a sublime song—an achingly funny journey of seeking desire in the second half of life. Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse / 1100 N. Unser St., Mount Dora / 352.383.4616

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THE TO-DO LIST

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

3/5 @ 5 p.m.

3/14 @ 1 p.m.

C.O.D. FLORIDA Hurricane Dockside, Tavares

THE DAMNSELVES Gator Bay Marina, Lisbon

3/6 @ noon

3/15 @ 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

CARL LEE ADCOX Yalaha Bootlegging Company, Yalaha

VILLAGES PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA The Sharon, The Villages

3/6 @ 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. RHONDA VINCENT Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

3/6 @ 1 p.m. JIMMY HUNTER Lake Harris Hideaway, Tavares

3/6 @ 5 p.m. SEPTEMBER DOGS Key West Resort, Tavares

3/10 @ 2 p.m. ALLY VENABLE BAND Savannah Center, The Villages

3/12 @ 5 p.m. C.O.D. FLORIDA AM Vets Post 2006, Leesburg

3/12 @ 5 p.m. MANFREDI ROCKS Lighthouse Point Bar and Grill, The Villages

3/12 @ 7 p.m. OUTLAW COUNTRY Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

MAR

20-21

3/12 @ 9 p.m. CRYSTAL DAGGER Oasis Saloon, Sorrento EVENT

MOUNT DORA SPRING FESTIVAL Looking for an event that’s absolutely art-rageous? Then consider this one, where more than 200 arts and crafts vendors line the streets of downtown Mount Dora to showcase and sell their beautiful work. March 20-21 / Downtown Mount Dora / visitmountdora.com

ONGOI NG EV ENTS Events are subject to change and cancellation.

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3/13 @ noon CARL LEE ADCOX Yalaha Bootlegging Company, Yalaha

3/13 @ 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. JASON D. WILLIAMS Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

3/19 @ 5 p.m. C.O.D. FLORIDA Hurricane Dockside, Tavares

3/15 @ 5 p.m. MANFREDI ROCKS Lighthouse Point Bar and Grill, The Villages

3/20 @ noon CARL LEE ADCOX Yalaha Bootlegging Company, Yalaha

3/20 @ 2 p.m. THE DAMNSELVES Pugs on the River, Umatilla

3/20 @ 7 p.m. SEPTEMBER DOGS Puddle Jumpers, Tavares

3/24 @ 2 p.m. BILL FORNESS Crane’s View Lodge, Clermont

3/27 @ noon CARL LEE ADCOX Yalaha Bootlegging Company, Yalaha

3/27 @ 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. RONNIE MCDOWELL Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

4/2 @ 5 p.m. C.O.D. FLORIDA Hurricane Dockside, Tavares

* Dates and times are tentative due to COVID-19 guidelines. Contact the venues for updates.

1ST FRI

1ST FRI

EVERY SUN

EVERY SUN

Eustis 1st Friday 6-9 p.m. Historic Downtown Eustis

Clermont First Friday Food Trucks 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Downtown Clermont

Clermont Farmer’s Market beginning at 9 a.m. Downtown Clermont

Downtown Mount Dora Village Market 9 a.m.- 2p.m. 230 N. Alexander St. Mount Dora

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LOCAL TALENT

PEO PLE

Acting chops Drama class, performing on stage boosted Alan Hickey’s self-esteem as a teen. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

cting is in Alan Hickey’s blood. Performing on stage has been the Ocala mental health counselor’s lifeblood in high school, college, and community theater groups where he has won outstanding performance awards. In February, he took part in the Gainesville Film Festival, where participants were given a theme and 72 hours to submit a finished product. “It’s a thrill to be a deeper part of the creative process,” says Alan, who also aspires to act on stage of Studio Theatre at Tierra del Sol in The Villages. “I would love to perform in any production of the Studio Theatre,” he says, adding that he’s impressed by the current fifth season lineup: “It has an overarching theme for empowering women. Their tagline ‘Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History,’ is an amazing way to commemorate the centennial of the suffrage movement.” Alan credits drama for enriching his life when he needed it most. He had just moved to Florida from New Mexico after his parents’ divorce when a Forest High School guidance counselor suggested, “Why don’t you try a drama class?” The class and being on stage became the self-esteem boost Alan needed, which

Do you know of a talented person in our community?

led to performing in the International Thespian Society Florida District 12 competitions, all thanks to his mentor Chad Taylor. “He gave me pointers on stage presence, the importance of comedic pacing, and most importantly, how to harness my anxious energy. ‘You don’t have to be amazing, just don’t suck,’” Alan recalls of Chad’s advice. “It was such a simple shift in approach, yet amazingly effective at reducing anxiety and stage fright, and widely applicable today to those needing to give a presentation.” Alan also performed Shakespeare in college, “where I developed a deep love for the language, prose, and the iambic pentameter for which Shakespeare wrote.” Alan treasures two drama awards most, for “Best Actor” and “Outstanding Performance,” awarded to him and his co-star, Chip Morris, for their two-man show, “Jump” in 2003. “It was a wonderful exercise in acting chops,” recalls Alan. He cherishes life with his favorite performer, his daughter, Alba, who will be 10 in May. “She’s the most amazing marshmallow-cheeked cutie patootie I’ve ever seen and has a way of captivating my attention like no one else with her stories. She tells me about her dreams each morning she remembers them and I’m in awe of her mind. She’d like to be a director when she grows up, so I would absolutely love to act in one of her films.”

Email their story to theresa@akersmediagroup.com


ATTRACTIONS

Tom Foster

EVENTS

Showing off muscles Local car show revs up interest among automotive enthusiasts. STORY: JAMES COMBS

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

ose Fuentes pops the hood of his 1968 Chevrolet Camaro to reveal an engine as clean and shiny as the white exterior. Nine years ago, he restored the vehicle, installing a 400 horse, small-block engine and a new 700 R4 transmission. He also repainted and reupholstered the vehicle. His classic Camaro has two distinct features: it’s one of only 4,896 models to come with a bench seat rather than the standard bucket seats. And it was one of only 5,294 models to have a gearshift on the steering wheel column instead of between the front seats.

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“It runs great,” Jose says. “I’ve taken it as far as Georgia and Tennessee.” Jose is one of many car buffs who frequently roll into the Eustis Classic Car Cruise-In on the fourth Saturday of each month from 4-8 p.m. The downtown area becomes a massive parking lot as an amazing collection of cars stretch as far as the eye can see. As classic songs like “I’m a Believer” and “Respect” blare from a loudspeaker, sun rays beam down on mighty fine pieces of machinery, revealing their meticulously polished surfaces, sparkling chrome, and shiny tires. The show offers appeal to all age groups. For older people, it’s a trip down memory lane. For younger people, it’s a rare glimpse into the automotive industry of yesteryear’s design, styling, engineering and performance.

Unlike some car shows, none of the vehicles are roped off, so car aficionados can get up-close views of both the interior and exterior. And owners are enthusiastic to talk about their automobiles. Kevin Sheppard, who lives in Volusia County, came to the show in January to showcase his 1928 Ford Model A Sedan. When he purchased the car six years ago, it had all original parts. He spent $7,500 beefing it up, including the installation of a 350-airboat engine and a new coil spring suspension. He also repainted the vehicle with orange flames. It’s quite the conversation piece. “I cruise in this every weekend,” Kevin says. “Women often wave to me. Women also want to take pictures with their kids standing outside the vehicle or sitting in the front seat.”


Kevin Sheppard

David Boudreau

“I’M ALWAYS SURPRISED BY THE UNUSUAL CARS HERE THAT YOU DON’T EXPECT TO SEE IN EUSTIS.” — JAC K RU DY

Tom Foster, of Port Orange, is equally proud of his 1983 AMC Spirit he purchased six months ago. The ruby-red car can complete a quarter mile on a track in 12 seconds. “I had been looking for a car, and when I came across this AMC Spirit, I couldn’t think of the last time I saw one on the street,” Tom says. “It rides really smooth.” Of course, not all vehicles on display are tire-smoking, engine-roaring automobiles from a bygone era. Some are the tire smokers of today. David Boudreau, of Tavares, who made his first appearance at the Eustis Classic Car Cruise-In since obtaining his 2015 Dodge Challenger

SRT, patiently waited two years before finding the exact model he wanted. The wait was worth it. Several months ago, his sublime green car with a 6.2-cylinder engine ran 150 miles per hour on a track in Bradenton. David, once a Ford Mustang devotee, is now a Dodge Challenger fan. “I love the color because it really pops,” he says. “You just don’t see many Challengers with this color.” Others attend the show merely to observe. Jack Rudy, a resident of Eustis, is a YouTuber who under the handle “Raconter1” produces videos of older cars with mostly original parts. Jack, who has 11,000 subscribers to his channel, enjoys

talking to automobile owners and learning the history of their individual cars. “Owners really open up when it comes to their vehicles,” Jack says. “The vehicles are like part of their family.” Though he travels to classic car shows throughout the state, Jack never misses the Eustis Classic Car Cruise-In. “This show happens every month and is never canceled,” he says. “I’m always surprised by the unusual cars here that you don’t expect to see in Eustis. You can come here and be surrounded by great vehicles, great people, and great food. This is an awesome event.” In other words, this show will definitely get your motor running.

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

JAMES COMBS

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HI, SOCIETY!

Craig Leeas, Darrell Thomas and Tony Wrisht

Emma Parker, Jyden Sonnabend, Jordan Lasnoones, Brendon Elliott, Brian Malone, Ricky Collado, Emil Collado and Bretton Mackiewicz

Chuck Hiott, ErIc English, Rob English and Steve Skaggs Linda Bokland and Robert Bell

Steve Skaggs, Sid Brock, Mike Stegall and Bobby Rowe

Bre Murray, Cathy Hoechst and Rona Rowe

Jay Reid, Luke Covey, Steve and Janice Lotz

SUCCES SFU L GOLF BEN EFIT @ HISTORIC MOUNT DORA GOLF CLUB ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. The first annual MLK Unity Day Classic Charity Golf Tournament on Jan. 15 at the Historic Mount Dora Golf Club was a success, according to Bobby Rowe, one of the organizers. “It was better than expected,” says Bobby, who was pleased 92 golfers participated in the inaugural fundraiser that will benefit Get Connected, Stay Connected Tutoring and Mentoring, a program geared to help today’s youth become tomorrow’s leaders.

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See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety

Lillie Taylor, Lorraine Bowman and Wendy Simpson

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC


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HI, SOCIETY!

Brian Burger, Mike McIntyre, Phillip Hooks, Earl Hill, Kevin Merideth, Ben Burkett and Matt Burkett

Allen Barton, Gregory Noland, Jeff Hill, Joey Smith, Steve Fortier, Joseph Smith and Patrick Perkins Angie Kidwell, Donna Chaperro, Medic with Punishers

Luke Boyce, John Howard, Larry and Dee Boyce

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Kelli Staab, Sara Vaughn, Amanda Rivera, Meagan Miller and Heather Hatt

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@ GATOR HARLEY-DAVIDSON ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. Team Smoke N’ Ash was declared overall grand champion and winner of the $500 top prize at the eighth annual BBQ and Chili Competition, a Florida BBQ Association sanctioned event, hosted Jan. 22-23 at Gator Harley-Davidson in Leesburg. Team Smoke N’ Ash is Blake Wood, Stephen Hall, Billy Owens and Kenny Wood. The event was a big hit, drawing several teams cooking up batches of chili, chicken, and ribs for judging. The Firefighters’ Charity of Lake County benefit also featured foods cooked by firefighters, live music, cash bar, vendors, fire trucks, and a chance for the public to meet area firefighters. As a nonprofit organization, the firefighters’ charity supports community programs and raises funds to help local firefighters facing cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

See all the photos for this event at lakeandsumterstyle.com/hisociety

Mark Fuller, Brad Fuller, Berniece Fuller and Tera Ritchie

Danny Newsome

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC


villages PEOPLE. PLACES. EVENTS.

Monkeying around Jerry Hone has built a hobby making unique items.

No safe space What happened to NASA whistleblower Thomas Baron?

A voice of The Villages Meet karaoke DJ Bart Zoellner.


MEET A VILLAGER

PEO PLE

Innovations by Jerry Ingenious Villager continues to create extraordinary items for sheer fun. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

ince moving to The Villages nine years ago from Akron, Ohio, Jerry Hone has captivated friends and neighbors by making unique, one-of-akind items that attract attention, including a fan jet-powered 1916 bicycle. “It’s more for show than go,” says Jerry. “Usually, I pedal to get up to speed, to get rolling, and then I switch on the power to get up to 25 to 30 mph and just sit back and let it push me.” The creative Villager also turns heads driving a vintage, aqua blue Dodge bumper car mounted on a modified golf cart frame. “There are quite a few people doing different things with golf carts,” he says, “but not very many people are doing things with a 1957 bumper car.” Jerry’s latest creation is a large mechanical music machine of six chimpanzees riding a 20-inch bicycle. One chimp can be seen drinking a

bottle of Coca Cola while the cola company’s iconic radio and TV jingle “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” plays in the background. Jerry has made it his goal to work on one major project a year, and all of his creations feature a small plaque with fitting proverbs or scriptures. His large musical pieces are displayed inside the lanai of the home he shares with Joyce, his wife of 54 years. He is a member of the Music Box Society International Society, the Music Box Society of The Villages, The Villages Hangar Flyers, and the Castaways RC Boat Club. Outside of The Villages, Jerry treasures serving as a Stephen minister for Community Church in Fruitland Park. “It’s really important to me, and that is when you come along the side of other men that maybe have lost their job or their wife and just take them out to have coffee so that they have somebody to talk to.”

Do you know an interesting Villager?

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Email theresa@akersmediagroup.com

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL Jerry worked as a tool and die maker for General Motors for 14 years, followed by 16 years as a video producer. He retired after 30 years with GM. “We came down to visit my uncle,” Jerry recalls of visiting The Villages from Ohio. “We went back up north when it was 5 below zero, and I said, ‘Why are we staying up here?’” Relocating to The Villages, he says, was the best move.


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IN THE VILLAGES

CO MMENTARY

Got vaccinated?... Time to climb out from under the blanket and crawl out of the bunker – with caution. STORY: JOE ANGIONE

sizable number of Villagers have received COVID-19 vaccinations. And since there are few, if any, complaints about the safety and efficacy of this preventive medication, it’s time to break out of our self-imposed quarantines and begin socializing once again. This isn’t to say that we should throw caution to the wind and go back to person-to-person relationships. Social distancing is still pretty much a must, and masks remain a reasonable precaution when socializing with people, including those we haven’t met before and also those whose health status is in doubt. But our need to be cautious should not stop us from breaking out of our isolation at home and preventing us from getting reacquainted with neighbors and family. It’s been amazing how during the last 12 months, Villagers have lost contact with friends and neighbors. For a long time, Village resident associations

were closed, as were our recreation centers and entertainment venues. Our restaurants were sometimes shut tight, and even our places of worship were forced to close their doors at times. Most opportunities to socialize outside our homes quickly disappeared. Sure, we travelled to shop for essentials and to take care of medical needs, but these trips were few and short, and contact was limited to only a few people. Often retail stores—supermarkets, pharmacies, even restaurants--came to us, allowing us to order by phone and pick-up purchases outside the establishment, or have them delivered to our door. Fear of closeness fell like a stifling blanket over the Villages. We adopted a “bunker mentality” and ignored virtually everyone. Although, we were avoiding contact to protect our physical wellbeing, our mental and emotional health suffered. Our days became filled with nothing to do, no one to see, only endless

Joe Angione loves to share stories of his adventures. If you want to contact him, email joeangione@aol.com.

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hours of TV where there’s never much worth watching anyway. It’s time to put all that isolation and dreariness behind us. Some courageous neighbors have reinstituted driveway get-togethers. Some are scheduling walking tours and bicycling events to bring people out together for conversation and exercise. Encouraged by the safe experiences of holiday gatherings, some are beginning to feel comfortable about hosting a few friends over for cocktails, cards, and maybe even for dinner. Remain cautious, but think positively. New vaccines promise a safe, active social future for everyone.


INVESTIGATION

h eat d ely r. m i nt lowe u nd istleb a life A wh ORSAIR t r ho NAS Y: GARY C s e OR ST Th of a 6 /

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eil Armstrong would never have declared “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” on July 20, 1969 if fellow astronaut Roger Chaffee hadn’t shouted, “We’ve got a bad fire! Let’s get out! We’re burning up! We’re on fire!” 30 months earlier. Those horrific exclamations at 6:31 p.m. on January 27, 1967 were Roger’s last words. He died 17 seconds later alongside Apollo 1 crewmates Virgil “Gus” Grissom and Ed White, trapped in a space capsule atop a Saturn 1B launcher. All three had their lungs charred by toxic fumes. That fatal inferno led to widespread improvements in equipment and procedures that ensured a safe, 237,700-mile flight to the moon for Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew. “Apollo 1 tragically cost three lives, but I think it saved more than three lives later. Without it, very likely we would’ve not landed on the moon by the end of the decade,” Apollo 11 Commander Michael Collins told an interviewer. The conclusion that three astronauts gave their lives so others could live has become part of NASA folklore. Left unsaid is that the Apollo 1 spacemen wouldn’t have died if NASA officials had heeded warnings voiced by Thomas Ronald Baron, a safety inspector for the company that built the space capsule/death trap White, Chaffee, and Grissom perished in. In December 1966, Baron told a space agency employee, “Something has to be done. Someone is going to get killed.” On January 26, 1967, Baron told a newspaper editor, “I fear for the lives of the astronauts.” The next day, White, Chaffee and Grissom were incinerated in the very spacecraft Baron inspected and deemed unsafe. Baron reached that alarming conclusion after observing and reporting poor safety practices, shoddy workmanship, accidents, overheating equipment, fluid leaks, altered specs, and damaged/defective parts. Among the most serious safety lapses: employees drinking on the job, technicians unfamiliar with equipment, a fire started by a welder, and a tank damaged when a worker fell on it. Supervisors who initially praised Baron’s thoroughness became annoyed with his fault-finding. North American Aviation fired him on Jan. 5, 1967. Baron promptly delivered 55 pages of concerns to NASA in hopes the Apollo 1 launch would be postponed until safety concerns were addressed. NASA reviewed the report, interviewed Baron, and dismissed his complaints as “hunches.” Unbeknownst to Baron, Apollo 1 Commander Gus Grissom was also concerned. “There are a lot of things wrong with this spacecraft,” Grissom declared. “It’s not as good as the ones [Mercury and Gemini] we flew earlier.

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There’s something different about this thing.” Grissom had reason to be wary. Apollo 1 had undergone 740 engineering changes… and the space capsule still wasn’t ready with liftoff just 36 days away. Despite misgivings, Grissom climbed into Apollo 1 for a launch simulation. Eight hours later, he and his crew suffocated in a 1,000-degree Apollo I Capsule after the fire Fahrenheit inferno. The next day, reporters who had dismissed Baron as a “crank” clamored to hear how he knew tragedy was inevitable. Meanwhile, NASA moved decisively to reassure Washington politicians that space exploration must continue. Hundreds of millions of dollars in funding were at stake. Some lawmakers wanted the space program discontinued. Within 24 hours of the fire, NASA convened the Apollo 204 Review Board – an 8-member panel that included six NASA executives – to investigate the tragedy. More than 40 “witnesses” were interviewed. By the time Baron testified, his 55-page report had grown to 276 pages. Apollo program employees had been secretly feeding information to Baron since his termination by North American Aviation. The review board found that “the test conditions were extremely hazardous… deficiencies existed in Command Module design, workmanship, and quality control” – exactly what Baron had been shouting for months. The board did not, however, determine the cause of the fire. And it did not validate Baron and his report. Baron’s former employer was more forthcoming. The “Titusville Star-Advocate” reported that North American Aviation officials “agree that Baron’s allegations are, for the most part, true, but that the problems and discrepancies noted by Baron have since been cleared up.” The non-finding of the review board didn’t sit well with politicians who controlled NASA’s funding. Congressman Donald Rumsfeld railed, “I am deeply disturbed by the

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report of the Apollo 204 Review Board … the Board failed to examine, or at least report on, the fundamental conditions which permitted the accident to occur …” On February 27, the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences convened a congressional hearing to find answers NASA couldn’t (wouldn’t?) produce. Baron was called, but his long-awaited testimony was vague and devoid of details. Baron was clearly nervous. He seemed to be protecting someone. He was – North American Aviation electronics technician Mervin Holmberg, who told Baron he knew what caused the Apollo 1 tragedy. Subcommittee members insisted Baron identify his informant. With great reluctance, he named Holmberg. To Baron’s surprise, the committee called Holmberg. As Holmberg entered the room, Baron realized he’d been set up, that he was about to be discredited. Sure enough, Holmberg denied telling Baron anything. In closing, Baron offered his report, now 500 pages, into evidence. Chairman Olin Teague declined, saying, “No thank you. Then we’d have to print it, which would be quite expensive.” Baron was flabbergasted. How could the committee turn down first-person documentation of problems within the space program? Discouraged, ill (a severe case of diabetes), unemployed, and broke with a wife and two young children to support, Baron continued gathering information about unsafe practices at North American Aviation. Why? Baron explained, “It could happen again, unless someone makes sure things have changed in the space program.” NASA was already making wholesale changes, but Baron didn’t live to see reforms he had advocated. Seven days after testifying before the Congressional committee, the “StarAdvocate” reported: “Apollo Critic, Wife And Child Killed in Wreck. A man who spent the last few months in a race against death – the death of astronauts, lost a race against

Photo of the Apollo I capsule and the astronauts: Courtesy of NASA.gov.

INVESTIGATION


Why did astronauts Chaffee, Grissom and White die? death Friday night when his car collided with a Florida East Coast Railway switch engine in Mims.” Fifty-four years later, speculation persists that the car/train collision was, in fact, murder. With its most vocal critic forever silenced, NASA resumed its quest to put a man on the moon. Today, Chaffee, Grissom and White are memorialized in a Kennedy Space Center exhibit. There are no monuments to Tom Baron. We still don’t know who Thomas Ronald Baron was, what he knew, or why he died. To find the answers we must return to Launchpad 34. Baron was a nobody – and would have remained an unknown if Chaffee hadn’t shouted, “We’re on fire!”

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy doomed the Apollo mission when he told Congress: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” The goal was, quite simply, unrealistic. By 1966, space agency officials realized they couldn’t reach the moon before the end of the 60s…unless they cut some serious corners. “… It was obvious to me that we weren’t going to be able to land on the moon in the decade or even come close to it if we kept proceeding in the same sort of plodding way,” NASA Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr. admitted. NASA decided to forgo testing Apollo one stage at a time, the way it had readied Mercury, and then Gemini. The Apollo launch, in effect, would be the test, like a baseball player going from first to home and bypassing second and third base. Spacecraft propulsion researchers at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center were “absolutely aghast.” Seamans recalled, “They said, ‘It will never work.’ But the idea was simple. It was, if you’re going to go through the exercise and the hundreds of millions of dollars to test the first stage, you might as well put everything else on top of it.” Simple idea. Disastrous results. The Marshall Space Flight Center rocketry experts were right. The “all systems go” approach didn’t work.

Virgil I. Grissom, command pilot; Edward H. White II, senior pilot; and Roger B. Chaffee, pilot.


INVESTIGATION

Thomas Baron

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One reporter called Baron “strange,” another remembered the 28-year-old as “intense.” A co-worker portrayed Baron as “way out there.” His ex-wife says he was “extremely intelligent.” They were all correct. Baron was many things. Above all, he was a perfectionist. The son of a Pennsylvania locksmith found his niche working on the Hound Dog missile program at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle, then parlayed his Air Force training into a job as safety inspector at North American Aviation. Baron loved his job, even though he worked long, pressure-filled hours as NAA scrambled to finish the Apollo 1 space capsule.

Photos : Courtesy of Gary Corsair

Who was Thomas Baron, and what did he know?


Why did Baron die? Baron attempted to drive his beloved 1959 Volvo across railroad tracks at a crossing 7/10ths of a mile from the trailer he rented outside Mims, Florida. The Volvo was estimated to be traveling at 30 mph when it made a 90-degree turn into the crossing, struck the rear coupler of a reversing train consisting of only an engine and a gondola car, estimated to be moving at 40-45 mph. The train pushed Baron’s car 30 feet, off the tracks, and the Volvo tumbled end over end, ejecting three of the four occupants, and landing on Baron. The train conductor said he blew his whistle before impact. Alleged witness Linda Sue Mullens, who was traveling in the opposite direction as Baron, and passed him moments before the crash, said she honked her horn to warn the driver of the Volvo. Another witness, a man, refused to make a statement to the investigating Florida Highway Patrol troopers. The FHP accident report states that the crash was an accident. But some things don’t add up. For one, why would he try to beat a train that was only one car long? Baron was cautious and extremely safety conscious. He was no daredevil. And he wouldn’t have risked the lives of his wife and her two children. NASA critic/author Bill Kaysing proposed a more sinister scenario. “I believe that Thomas Ronald Baron was murdered because he had the truth to tell about the Apollo project,” Kaysing stated. Was Baron silenced because he wouldn’t stop talking about shortcomings in the space program? If so, how did his murderer(s) arrange the car/train accident? And what about the lone eyewitness, Linda Sue Mullins? Little is known about her except for the fact that she lived in a home owned by North American Aviation, Baron’s former employer. Some have suggested that Baron committed suicide. If so, would he have taken his family with him? The fact that Baron hoped to turn

CURIOUS FACTS LEND CREDENCE TO A FOUL PLAY SCENARIO: • The train Baron struck had been dispatched from a NASA facility. • Baron’s 500-page report hasn’t been seen since his demise. • Baron told a family member he had been threatened and followed. • Someone entered and ransacked Baron’s home prior to the crash. • One of Baron’s neighbors saw “two men in dark suits” searching Baron’s trailer the night he died. • All three victims had skull fractures. Were those fatal injuries consistent with a car driven at 30 mph clipping a train reversing at 40 mph?

his 500-page report into a book also suggests that he wanted to live. Did Thomas Ronald Baron possess proof that negligence led to the death of three astronauts? What became of his 500-page report? Was he silenced because he knew too much? The answers to those questions remain as elusive today as they did 54 years ago.

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SOCIAL CLUB SPOTLIGHT

PEO PLE

Sing! Crooning karaoke is chance to be silly, relieve stress, and have little fun. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

Bart Zoellner

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≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

ingling with singers and audiences is all part of Villager Bart Zoellner’s joy as a karaoke DJ, which has been his gig the last 12 years as MusicByBart. “I get such a kick out of singers coming up and singing their hearts out. It doesn’t matter how good or bad they are, it’s their 3 to 4 minutes of being a star and they’re having a good time,” says Bart, 78. “I’m enjoying them having a good time.” Villagers and visitors can enjoy karaoke with Bart at McCall's Tavern in Spanish Springs Town Square of The Villages on Mondays, 1-4 p.m., and he’s also at Margarita Republic, also in Spanish Springs Town Square, on Wednesday nights, 6-9 p.m. “I think as a businessperson,” says Bart, noting that coronavirus has prevented many restaurants from being able to afford entertainment when they reopened at 50 percent capacity. On one very quiet Monday afternoon last August at McCall’s, Bart suggested to owner Larry Ducap that it could be an ideal time slot for karaoke. Larry was pleased by Bart’s idea, and even more pleased when crowds of 60 came in on Mondays. “It filled a void in our afternoon business that we had, and this has worked out well for both of us,” says Larry. “A lot of entertainers don’t think like a businessperson,” adds Bart. “One of the main questions they (businesses) ask is ‘do you have a following?’”


“SO MANY GREAT PEOPLE HAVE COME INTO MY LIFE BECAUSE OF MUSIC THAT I WOULD NEVER EVER HAVE MET.” —BART ZOELLNER

Bart does. And he’s proud of his loyal fans. He sends out a karaoke email each week to about 300 area singers and makes social media posts. “It’s what helped me market,” he says, “and it is because of this promotion that I have an excellent following of singers that makes it a success financially for the venues that hire me.” Before starting his business, he visited one of his good friends in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and popped into a little bar, the Red Lion. “A couple guys were doing karaoke and I sang with them and had the best time,” recalls Bart. “I was thinking about doing a karaoke business and these guys made it fun.” He also was impressed watching the karaoke DJ interact with the crowd. “He was making everybody feel good and brought the audience into the performance. When you get the audience going, banter back and forth, then it is fun for everybody.” That moment of time was catalyst for Bart starting MusicByBart. He enjoys mingling with his crowd every chance he gets. “Good to see ya,” he says, going from table to table. “I know it makes them feel good, and I feel good about being gracious to people. I think that it is important that you are grateful for what you do. I’m grateful to the singers, I’m grateful to the friends that they bring, and grateful for the diners that are sitting around.” Seeing people socialize with friends and having a good time singing karaoke makes Bart smile, and he has been

Want to see your club in Social Club Spotlight?

pitching “a new song a month” deal, giving singers an entire month to learn a song. “I try to always learn a new song and encourage others to do the same. My new one right now is Billy Vera’s ‘At This Moment,’ he says. “So many great people have come into my life because of music that I would never ever have met, and my taste in music has evolved over the years. I started out singing Louie Armstrong stuff, then was doing a little Sinatra, and now I’m doing country stuff. Every song is different every year; the genre is different.” MusicByBart is also in demand as a DJ at dance parties, Villages clubs, wedding receptions in Ocala and a few events in Leesburg. “My specialty is that I can keep that dance floor full,” says Bart. “I keep them dancing.” When he’s not working a dance party or doing karaoke, Bart likes to get away for a weekend in his 42-foot motorhome with wife Carol, of 37 years, and their two pups Bingo and Lulu. They relocated to The Villages from Boca Raton in 2003 and have been in Florida since 1985. Before retirement, they previously lived in Austin, Texas, and Des Moines, Iowa. “One of my good IBM buddies moved to The Villages and we came to visit couple of times and thought it was a neat place,” Bart says. “So, we built a house and have been here ever since. Life is good. This is just a good, safe place to be.” And it’s a fun place to enjoy a little karaoke.

Send your suggestions to theresa@akersmediagroup.com.

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BOOK CLUB

CO MMENTARY

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek By Kim Michele Richardson. Blue woman pursues respectability, love amid poverty, and prejudice in historical novel. STORY: KATHY PORTER

ussy Mary Carter is the last of her kind, a blue-skinned woman of eastern Kentucky who carries a recessive gene that causes an enzyme disorder that makes her skin appear blue. Cussy’s blue color makes it impossible for her to live a normal life as she faces ridicule and extreme discrimination. She is known as Bluet in the poverty-stricken mining town of Troublesome Creek. Her saving grace is her $28-a-month job as a traveling librarian for the Pack Horse Library Project funded by the Depression Era Works Progress Administration. However, Cussy’s Pa is not happy with her job and fears for her safety as she travels the treacherous mountain trails delivering books. He worries about people who are suspicious of book learning and are quick to blame a Blue for any trouble. Pa is determined to see that she is married before he succumbs to lung disease contracted

from working in the mine, as well as fulfill the promise he made to her mama before she died that he would see to it that Cussy got herself respectability. But who would marry a Blue, a girl whose light blue color deepened to blueberry with a burst of joy or anger? If Cussy marries, she will lose her precious job and never again hear the excited cries of the hillfolk call out, “Yonder comes Book Woman…Book Woman is here!” Cussy adores the freedom her job gives her, the education she receives from the books, and the devotion of the people she serves who are starved for learning. Despite Cussy’s fervent pleas not to marry, Pa offers a dowry of 10 acres of land. Would-be courters all refuse – until Charlie Frazier comes along. Her marriage to Charlie sets in motion a series of tragic events as Cussy struggles to achieve respectability, a goal that always seems to be just out of her reach. This novel is beautifully written, and along with its extensive research, tells a moving story about a brave woman who lives in an era and a locality we know little about.

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VST Y L E • M A R' 21


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VST Y L E • M A R' 21

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healthy living MIND. BODY. SOUL.

Shirley Rolfson, who volunteers at a food pantry, with her husband, has an appetite for helping other.

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INSPIRATION

PEO PLE

Hungry to help others Needy get filled, volunteer couple in Mount Dora get fulfilled. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

or 18 years since retiring to Florida from North Dakota, Cal and Shirley Rolfson are pretty much living the dream. They enjoy a decent lifestyle in Mount Dora, they are healthy, have a multitude of friends, a beautiful family, and are active in the community – especially Cal, who retired after 40 years of practicing law to become a longtime city councilman and vice mayor. The Rolfsons have accomplished a lot, but they’ll tell you one of the things at the top of their list is volunteering at the Lake Cares Food Pantry – something they’ve enjoyed doing every Wednesday morning religiously for the past 10 years. Cal says Shirley is responsible for getting them through the doors after answering a call for volunteers that Lake Cares advertised in a local newspaper. “So, rather than sit around at home and do gardening and things like that, Shirley said, ‘Let’s go down there and check it out,’” recalls Cal. Moved by Lake Cares’ mission and purpose, they applied and after volunteering that very first Wednesday, they were hooked. “I look forward for Wednesday to come; that’s kind of my highlight. Just to come here every week and serve others, it’s such a good feeling,” Shirley says. According to Lake Cares’ Director Irene O’Malley, volunteers are the heart of the Mount Dora-based organization. Irene says that the pantry, having grown from one to eight distribution sites throughout Lake County since it was founded in 2009, distributes about 125,000 pounds of food per month, plus personal hygiene products, dog food, and more.

Do you know someone who is a healthy inspiration?

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Cal and Shirley Rolfson

Increased demand created by the coronavirus pandemic has added to the number of families served and magnified the need for volunteers, which currently numbers more than 200. Cal says as long as he and Shirley remain able, they will continue their service at Lake Cares, where they are responsible for packing and distributing personal products. “We believe volunteering here is as valuable to us as it is to the clients we serve,” Cal says. “It’s an honor and a duty to help those who are in need of food.” Shirley recommends volunteering at Lake Cares to anyone looking for something to do, a way to help or really make a difference. “People are so happy and so thankful to be getting groceries and every day, I think, ‘What if that were me? What would I do? Oh dear,’” Shirley says. “I feel very honored and humbled to be able to help all these people and do something for someone else besides myself.”

Email your recommendations to roxanne@akersmediagroup.com


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BODY

A SHOT IN

THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Lake County, state officials working together on getting as many people vaccinated as possible. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

few months ago, Betty Lemley arrived at her new doctor’s office in Leesburg carrying a cardboard sign reading “Will work for food” with the word “food” crossed out and replaced with “vaccine.” “I caused quite a stir at the doctor’s office so I’m on their radar, but now I’m all set,” says Betty, a 77-yearold resident of The Villages. “I cried at my first dose. I was so happy, and today getting my second dose, I’m just overwhelmingly happy.” Betty’s sign referred to the COVID-19 vaccine. She finally received her second dose on Feb. 3 after patiently navigating through the system and stumbling across a Facebook post stating that the vaccine was available–without appointment–at a nearby facility with minimal lines. Betty immediately threw on the first clothes she laid hands on and jumped into her car without a shower or make-up to get there as quickly as possible, since she was already two days overdue for her second shot. “Now that I’ve received both doses of the vaccine, I will still be careful and wear a mask when I go out, but I won’t feel like I have to be locked away anymore,” Betty says. On the day of her shot, Betty was one of about 2,000 people vaccinated in the huge parking lot of Amazon’s future 202,000-square-foot distribution center on 50 acres at 7453


Republic Drive in the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park off Hwy. 27 in Groveland. The point of distribution (POD) is one of several drive-through locations the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) coordinated to administer vaccines to the first wave of people Gov. Ron DeSantis deemed eligible – those 65 and older and front-line healthcare workers. FDOH officials say those drive-throughs are due to cooperation and assistance from city and Lake County officials, businesses, emergency agencies and many volunteers, including nurses and others

throughout the county who jumped on board the vaccination train with a ‘let’s do this,’ mentality. “We’ve been planning our vaccination sites and trying to put them in places our residents can get to them. We have several sites going and we just want to ensure everyone has the fair opportunity to get a vaccine,” says Melanie Chin, leader of the FDOH Lake County’s Groveland location. Led by the FDOH, drive-through vaccine PODS were set up in areas that could accommodate high volumes of

Betty Lemley

people without wreaking too much havoc traffic-wise. And though the process encountered a few obstacles at the beginning, it was smoother sailing by early February. The list of venues started with Leesburg’s Lake Square Mall, followed by a POD in the old Sears building. In Clermont, the first vaccination site was set up at the Cooper Memorial Library at Lake Sumter State College. Next, the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center. Unfortunately, ongoing traffic concerns made it impossible for Clermont to continue after thousands of vaccines were administered. That’s when Mount Dora city officials stepped up with a POD they set up in partnership with St. Patrick Catholic Church. By February, they too, had successfully given out thousands of vaccines. Groveland’s Amazon vaccination site came together on a whim thanks to the quick thinking of Groveland Fire Chief Kevin Carroll. “Groveland had been looking for a site to use for vaccines so in between two meetings I was having in the city, I had exactly one hour. I knew they were going to be paving the parking at the Amazon facility, so I came up here and met with Thomas Naumann, the foreman for the facility and asked if I could talk with him for a minute,” Chief Carroll says, explaining that when he got there, he was pleased to see the parking lot fully paved.

Lake Square Mall St. Patrick Catholic Church

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BODY

“What I said to him is something like, ‘I know this is gonna sound crazy, but they say you never know unless you ask,’” he adds, referring to the moment he set wheels in motion for use of the site. Chief Carroll says in talking with Thomas, who is with Catamount Contractors Incorporated, Amazon’s builder, he explained Groveland’s need for a place where they could get a lot of people through, then shared a vision he had formulated on the spot regarding where the cars could come in and out, where five lanes leading up to the vaccine stations could be placed, where personnel could set up, and more. Chief Carroll says Thomas liked the idea and immediately got on the phone with Amazon. In hours, he was talking to Shawn Virag, senior regional construction manager with Amazon operations in Florida. Carroll says Virag was open to the idea, eager to get involved with the community, and agreed to see what he could do.

Attorneys with Amazon, Catamount and FDOH soon got involved, and by Jan. 26, a six-week agreement was drawn up. That very day, Chief Carroll, Thomas and a few other volunteers worked into the night setting up traffic cones and preparing the site. The very next morning, on Jan. 27 at 7 a.m., the site opened. According to Chief Carroll, more than 12,000 first and second doses of the COVID vaccine were administered within six days with help from Groveland and Clermont Fire Department personnel and volunteers from various organizations including the FDOH, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and more. Each day, residents, including nurses, showed up to help where they could. Local restaurants donated lunches to feed volunteers. On Day 6, many grateful vaccine recipients expressed awe of the whole operation, including Howard and Cathy Hockhheiser, Mount Dora winter

Front L-R: Lt. Jimmy Pacheco, Lt. Bruce Wisniewski, Monica Jenkins, and Sominins Joseph Back L-R: Kevin Carrol, John and Kim Strickland, and Connor Hustead

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residents from Philadelphia who arrived at the Amazon site to take the shot in the arm together. Cathy, 66, overcome with emotion and in tears as she was vaccinated, did not have enough thanks for Chief Carroll and everyone there. “The fire departments and first responders are the bedrock of so many things, and everyone here has just been great,” says Cathy, explaining that so many things were running through her head. “I feel emotional about what we’ve all gone through this past year and so emotionally happy that maybe, just maybe, we are getting close to seeing the end of this; like this ordeal is almost over,” Cathy says. Howard adds, “Every person that gets a shot lessens the possibility of exposure for anybody else.” Leesburg’s Philip Menges, 71, with wife Kathleen Menges, 64, both got vaccinated. Philip says, “Although I think we’re still a ways off from seeing an end


Site Leader Melaine Chin

Frederick and Sheila Breton Cathy and Howard Hockhheiser

Philip Menges Left: Bruce Wisniewski Right: Kathleen Menges

is to get as many people to the whole pandemic, vaccinated as possible so the amount of people who the pharmacies and doctor’s have been vaccinated has offices can pick up from to be making some sort there, in smaller masses, of difference.” so eventually, we can get to Kathleen says, “It’s a total herd immunity.” step in the right direction,” Chief Carroll also reports explaining that although that after administering she feels a little safer than nearly 12,000 (and before, she and Philip counting) vaccines, minimal will continue wearing side effects have mainly masks, following social consisted of soreness distancing guidelines and around the injection site, limiting outings. lightheadedness, a few “Even with the vaccine, incidents involving low you can still get the virus, blood sugar, panic attacks but more than that, you — H OWA R D H O C K H H E I S E R and rapid heartbeats on-site can still be a carrier and paramedics feel may have give it to someone else and been due to bouts of anxiety why would you want to do or something unrelated to that?” she says. the actual vaccine. Leesburg resident Still, Betty waited the Frederick Breton, 80, there recommended 15 minutes with his wife Sheila, 72, who after her vaccine to make sure she would not have a reaction. was still recovering from shoulder replacement surgery just two She says she was less worried about side effects of the shot than weeks before, said he felt relieved to be getting the vaccine and getting COVID-19. was impressed with the site. Betty says growing up, she was the very first child in her “I was with medical emergency planning in southwest New hometown to get the polio vaccine and that’s what she hopes Hampshire, and we planned for this kind of epidemic and they’re people relate this vaccine to. doing pretty good there, but this one here is the best one from “Remember polio and smallpox? We eradicated them because what I’ve seen and heard in the state,” Frederick says. of a vaccine and this virus is as serious, if not more so, than both Chief Carroll is just as excited to be giving the vaccines as of those, so we need herd immunity to get it under control,” Betty those getting them. He says he and all volunteers have been says. “It’s just about health; the health of our nation, the health of inundated with kind words. “We have been meeting the most our people.” amazing, grateful people. It’s just incredible,” he says. “Our goal

“EVERY PERSON THAT GETS A SHOT LESSENS THE POSSIBILITY OF EXPOSURE FOR ANYBODY ELSE.”

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menu

FOOD. DRINKS. REVIEWS.

Karen Ross cooks up something special in her clients’ homes.

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IN THE KITCHEN

RECIPE

Karen’s Creative Cuisines Karen Ross offers cooking classes, dinner parties, and more. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

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≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL


rowing up with a love of cooking, Karen Ross always hoped to be a caterer someday. When a friend in Boston informed her of Boston University’s program to become a certified personal or private chef, Karen jumped at the opportunity. Now, 18 years later, she successfully runs Karen’s Creative Cuisines Personal Chef Service, offering catering for dinner parties, in-home cooking classes for up to 10, and even personal chef services. Karen learned the ins and outs of cooking at a young age from her mom, grandmother, great grandmother, and an aunt who was very special to her. Taking the skills and knowledge she learned from her family, Karen has created numerous recipes that have become client favorites, including her

Chicken a la Karen, and signature crab cakes she serves at most dinner parties. Karen says she loves making Chicken a la Karen because it is a quick and easy recipe just about anyone can make, adding that she usually serves the dish over rice, pasta, or even mashed potatoes. “You take chicken breast and you can either buy them thin or pound them down, season them, and toss them in seasoned bread crumbs, and fry them in a pan with olive oil. Then I dice tomatoes and add those and black olives to the pan, and it makes its own sauce. If you need more sauce, I usually just add a little chicken broth,” Karen says. If you’re considering booking one of Karen’s dinner parties, picky eaters and guests with allergies need not fret; Karen is very accommodating to all diets. The first thing Karen does when booking a

party is gather as much information as possible about guests’ food allergies so she can tailor her menu. For example, she will leave crab cakes off the menu if someone’s allergic to seafood. She has served parties where only one guest was vegetarian. She can accommodate every guest. Karen offers a set menu, but always lets potential clients know that it is just a suggested menu and can be altered. On the day of the party, Karen will bring all her own pots and pans (they are separate from the ones she uses at home) and will prepare the food and serve it throughout the party. She also cleans up after herself at the end of the night. As for her cooking classes, Karen is currently holding the classes in the client’s homes. “Most people want hands-on, so for hands-on I’ll bring cutting boards for

A P P L E WO N T O N C R I S P S INGREDIENTS:

1

2

package wonton wrappers, cut in half apples of your choice, cut into bite size pieces (I prefer honey crisp)

Vanilla ice cream Powdered sugar, shake through sieve Vegetable oil Butter

DIRECTIONS:

Place a small amount of oil into frying pan, enough to cover the bottom. Quick fry the wontons, drain on paper towel. In a large fry pan sauté the apples in butter with cinnamon and sugar for 2-3 minutes. Place wonton on a plate, top with sauteed apples, then vanilla ice cream. Repeat until wonton wrappers and apples are gone.

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IN THE KITCHEN

everybody. I ask them to bring their own knives, and we go through the whole process of making a meal. We actually make an appetizer, the meal itself, and then a dessert,” she says. “It’s fun. We get together and we cook. I’m not so straight and serious in classes. I like for people to laugh and have fun. If we make a mistake, then we figure out how to fix the mistake and different things like that. Cooking brings me a lot of balance, a lot of peace.” Chicken and beef broth can almost always be found in her pantry, because Karen loves trying new sauces and they can be used for a lot of things. “I always have some type of fresh vegetable in the fridge because there’s so much you can do with that. Whether it be a stir fry, or anything really. In my freezer I always keep some chicken breast,” Karen says. Karen never says no to trying a recipe or ingredient. Recently, she has been getting into making different breads and pastries that use yeast. “I used to run from yeast, now I run to it,” she jokes. “There was a time I wouldn’t even make bread or anything like that cause I’m like, what if it doesn’t rise, what if it’s hard? So, I love working with products that have yeast in it now, like breads, cinnamon rolls, different things like that.” You can find pictures of Karen’s cooking as well as info about booking a dinner party or class at facebook.com/ mychefkaren.

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CHICK EN A LA K AREN INGREDIENTS :

4

boneless chicken breasts, can also use a thin sliced chicken breast

3⁄4 cups seasoned bread crumbs

1

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes or one large tomato, diced

1

cup black olives

1⁄4 cup fresh parmesan cheese

2

eggs

3

cloves of fresh garlic, sliced or minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1

small onion, chopped

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Pound chicken breast to 1⁄2 inch or less thickness. Season with salt and pepper. On a plate, beat the 2 eggs. On another plate, add the breadcrumbs. In a large skillet, pour enough olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Dredge chicken breast in egg, then into breadcrumbs, covering both sides. Shake off excess. With tongs or a large fork, place chicken breast gently into hot oil. Pan fry 2-3 minutes on each side until chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from pan and place on plate with paper towel to drain. Drain any excess oil from pan. Add garlic and onion and sauté approximately 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes and simmer for 1 minute. Add the chicken and olives and simmer covered for approximately 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan. Serve over your favorite rice or pasta. Add a salad or a side of sautéed green beans.

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S A L M O N C A K E S W I T H H O N E Y M U S TA R D S AU C E SA LMON CA K ES

H O N E Y M U S TA R D S AU C E

INGREDIENTS:

INGREDIENTS:

eggs

1

pound fresh salmon

2

2

stalks of scallions, cut

2-3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

1

Salt and pepper to taste

tablespoon butter

1 /

14

small jar of honey mustard

3

tablespoons honey

2

tablespoons butter

cup heavy cream

3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil DIRECTIONS: DIRECTIONS:

Remove the skin from salmon. Place salmon in a large bowl, break salmon into small pieces using a fork. Add scallions, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix together well. Add 2-3 tablespoons breadcrumbs to salmon mixture. Form into patties. In a large skillet, add butter and oil and heat on medium. Place patties into the hot skillet until golden brown on each side. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towel.

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Spoon over cooked patties and serve.

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

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FORK ON THE ROAD

REVIEW

Is this heaven? Newly opened Tavares diner making a name for itself with biscuits. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

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≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL

L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M • M A R ' 2 1

o all you “mamas” out there, consider this fair warning. A slap may be coming your way should your children eat at the Twisted Biscuit Diner in Tavares. “The ‘Slap Your Mama’ originated in south Alabama just over the Florida line,” owner Don Wilson explains about one of his most popular dishes. “While there, I had a friend bring me over some tomato bacon gravy, which I had never had. I tasted it and immediately thought of my mom, who was in town, hence the name, ‘Slap Your Mama,’ ’cause she’d never made me anything like that,” Don says with a chuckle, adding that his mother, now 87, still laughs every time she hears him tell that story. The Twisted Biscuit Diner, a family business run by Don, a retired longtime president of Cisco Foods, wife Gail, and daughter Lyndsay Bray – the mastermind behind their twisted biscuit recipes – opened in November 2020. Since then, they’ve been slammed with customers eager to check out the diner’s large menu chock-full of cleverly named dishes. Most recipes are Don’s or twists of dishes he’s sampled throughout Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina during his time with Cisco. All are prepared from scratch by himself, Chef Scot Norris, and Kitchen Manager and Chef Ronie Mcree. “I‘ve seen some of the blending of flavors chefs do, so I thought, ‘Hey, why don’t we do something like that?’” says Don. “And you never know in the industry but both diners and biscuit-concepts are hot right now, so I just felt we could put a spin on it that’s different than most people out there have ever seen.” When most people think of a biscuit, they probably think of a flaky little southern comfort food served as a complement to a main dish. At Don’s diner, biscuits are stars of the show, and actually twisted as the name suggests. “We call them twisted biscuits because the main ingredients in each one are literally twisted right into the dough,” says Don. Don says Lynn bakes anywhere from 450-750 savory and sweet biscuits per day, including six staple flavors, like bacon cheddar, fruited, sage, and jalapeno corn cheddar. Several other flavors are featured on a rotating basis. My colleagues and I recently visited the diner, and what we finally decided on ordering did not disappoint. Akers’ writer James had the Harley Biscuit, described as: “two biscuits topped with a generous serving of fried Gulf of Mexico hogfish and covered in a Cajun crawfish sauce.” He was sold after learning that the hogfish, not served at many places locally, is literally hand-speared and brought in fresh from the Bahamas.


“I‘VE SEEN SOME OF THE BLENDING OF FLAVORS CHEFS DO, SO I THOUGHT, ‘HEY, WHY DON’T WE DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?’” —DON WILSON

Don says it’s their top seller, and is named in honor of Lake County’s many bikers who ride Harley Davidson motorcycles, oftentimes called ‘hogs.’” James says, “There are biscuits of the ‘Yeah, they were OK’ kind, then there are biscuits of the ‘Oh, my God, those were the best biscuits ever kind,’ and the latter, my friends, is what you will find at the Twisted Biscuit Diner in Tavares.” Writer Theresa, opting for lighter fare, thoroughly enjoyed the Caesar salad topped with succulent, large pieces of grilled shrimp and crunchy croutons made from the diner’s own biscuits. Photographer Nicole savored Bacon Potato Pancakes topped with chives and spicy honey.

Not able to resist the urge to utter the words for myself, I ordered the “Slap Your Mama Biscuit.” The creamy gravy on my “Slap Your Mama,” was unlike anything I’d ever tasted. I really enjoyed its rich flavor, and though I won’t be slapping my mom, I plan on having a serious talk with her about why she never made me anything like that either. The diner’s menu, not limited to biscuits, serves all-day breakfast, including “Twisted Pancakes” in a variety of flavors, souffle omelets, fried grit cakes, and Don’s biscuit-inspired take on favorites like eggs Benedict and French toast. Soups include a Grouper and Shrimp Chowder and a “to die for” Smoked Beef Brisket Chili (which I also had), along with hamburgers, Po’ Boys served on French baguettes from New Orleans, tacos, homemade pimento cheese, and more. The diner, equipped with

a full bar, also offers an excellent Bloody Mary and a variety of deliciously flavored and beautifully served mimosas to wash your meal down. Customer Lynn BeWitt, a retired Lake County Sheriff ’s Office analyst from Leesburg, who visited the diner 10 times in nine weeks, says her goal is to eventually try every menu item. Her favorites so far are the Pig Licker; sage biscuits topped with sausage patties and sausage gravy, and the Grouper bites. “There’s a large variety of wonderful choices, everything’s made fresh, the restaurant is clean, and I’ve noticed great comradery between the staff, the waitresses and their customers,” Lynn says. “That makes a difference because customers are not gonna come back if they don’t like the atmosphere.” IF YOU GO

TWISTED BISCUIT DINER 4101 CR 561, Tavares, FL 32778 Hours: 6 a.m.–3 p.m., 7 days a week for dine-in, pick-up or delivery. For more information call 352.508.5331 or visit twistedbiscuitdiner.com.

Let’s do lunch or dinner

Tell us about a great restaurant by emailing roxanne@akersmediagroup.com.

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SPIRITS

REVIEWS

Deja “new” Friends bring new life to familiar corner hot spot in downtown Clermont. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

he Southern on 8th Kitchen & Bar created quite a buzz with its ‘Eat, Drink and Be Southern’ motto within a month of opening in downtown Clermont on Dec. 12. “I love it here,” says Groveland’s Sherry Pilon, sitting at the bar enjoying an afternoon with one of her girlfriends and an order of house pork rinds on the Happy Hour bites menu. Sherry, explaining that she’s also visited with her husband, adds: “We love the menu, we love the ambiance, and we love the bartenders, especially since I like skinny mojitos, but nobody around here seems to be able to make them quite right. Here, like everything we’ve had, they are spot on.” That’s just what the owners – no strangers to the community – love to hear. Darren and Karen Johnson, owners of the popular Clermont Brewing Company, partnered with Richard Kaitlyn McRoy and Justin Domenech and Michelle Formato, owners of Apple Tree, Inc. – both within walking distance – to revamp the 4,000-square-foot space that once housed 801 City Grille. There, they introduced The Southern on 8th, which includes four dining rooms, including the bar and an outside porch with seating for open-air dining. The longtime friends all have deep ties to Clermont and the restaurant/bar industry, and in Richard

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≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL and Michelle’s case, to the building. Richard’s brother previously operated L.J. Grunts there. “We want people to have a great experience whether they are here to eat or have drinks at the bar,” says Michelle. My colleagues and I focused on the bar and spirits menu when we visited The Southern on the 8th, where we found a diverse mix of people of all ages chilling in an environment that exudes relaxation, friendliness and cool, upscale, yet casual vibes. Bartender Justin Domenech says some customers are new to town and exploring, some remember visiting downtown as children with their parents, and some have frequented the location for years as it’s changed hands. “We get to hear so many stories of what this place once was or about what Clermont was like,” Justin says. He and fellow bartender Kaitlyn McCroy say they like seeing people getting out to simply enjoy themselves. “We’re starting to develop some good regulars and it’s nice getting to know them,” says Kaitlyn. In all, we liked that all the craft cocktails on the menu were blended with house-made syrups and how unique spins on popular favorites made them seem more special, starting with the venue’s take on a pina colada they call “That Ship Has Sailed.” The drink is made with Malibu, Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve Scotch,


“WE WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE A GREAT EXPERIENCE WHETHER THEY ARE HERE TO EAT OR HAVE DRINKS AT THE BAR.” —MICHELLE FORMATO

pineapple juice, real coconut, agave, and lemon, but what really stood out was the freshly grated cinnamon (from cinnamon sticks) sprinkled on top and pineapple leaves. My pina colada was smooth, tasty, and not overpowering. And I loved how the cinnamon just added a little something special to it. I have had plenty of pina coladas in my day, but this one, by far, is my favorite, and one I will definitely come back for. We also ordered a Mama’s Cosmo, which had a spicy, sweet and sour kick to it. And we couldn’t get enough of an Orange Blossom Cooler made with Italian white wine. Akers writer Victoria ordered the Granny’s Mule, the cutest drink of all, which was served in

a small, rounded copper mug. Michelle says she’s heard people say it is one of the best mules around. After just a couple of sips, Victoria agreed. “A classic Moscow mule is often what I gravitate towards on most cocktail menus, and The Southern on 8th had a mule that did not disappoint. The Southern’s “Granny’s Mule” had an untraditional

twist–apple,” Victoria says. “Your average mule has lime, ginger beer, and of course, vodka, but I loved the interesting flavor twist brought in by the sweetness of the Absolut Juice Apple. This Granny’s Mule is definitely one to remember.” Many other unique cocktail combinations were also featured on the drink menu, including a variety of freshly mixed wine coolers, FOR YOUR INFO

THE SOUTHERN ON 8TH 801 W. Montrose St., Clermont, FL Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 4-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat 4–10 p.m. Sun. 2-9 p.m., Closed Monday Call 352.394.7777 or visit thesouthernon8th.com

craft beers from hoppy to refreshing, and a large variety of red, white, dry and sweet wines, including a Williamette Valley Pinot Gris that Michelle says is superb and a Squealing Pig Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand she says is a popular selection. If that’s not enough, people have the opportunity to sample smaller portions of some favorites off the “Signature Happy Hour Bites” menu from 4 – 6 p.m. every day (except Mondays when they’re closed). The happy hour menu includes pork rinds, southern deviled eggs, a tenderloin tips crostini, Alabama southern wings, and corn and chorizo fritters, along with half-priced draft beer, well drinks and house wine.

Do you know a place where we can drink? Comment on this article or send story ideas to roxanne@akersmediagroup.com.

ROXANNE BROWN

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DINING GUIDE

dine

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

CLERMONT

Race Car Diner 25641 Monroe St. 352.253.6940

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

ASTOR Blackwater Inn 55716 Front St. 352.759.3802 Castaways Restaurant 23525 US SR 40 352.759.2213 Sparky’s Place Restaurant 24646 SR 40 352.759.3551 Williams Landing 55716 Front St. 352.759.2802

Cheeser’s Palace Café 707 W. Montrose St. 352.404.9431 Clermont Brewing Co. 750 W Desoto 321.430.2337 Corelli’s Italian Restaurant 1042 E. Hwy. 50 352.989.5924

BUSHNELL

Devenney’s Irish Pub 16909 High Grove Blvd. 352.432.3925

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s 2586 W CR 48 352.568.7000

El Cerro Restaurant 811 W. Hwy. 50 352.241.9884

Darryl’s Diner 2237 W CR 48 352.444.2318

Friar Tuck 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd. 352.404.6818

Howie’s Family Restaurant 840 N. Main St. 352.793.8582 TJ’s Family Restaurant 412 W. Belt Ave 352.793.8877

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Stavro’s & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. CR 44 352.589.9100

Lil Anthony’s Pizza 7965 SR 50 352.429.7499

Taki’s Pizza House 2824 S. Bay St. 352.357.0022

Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. SR 33 352.429.2997

Thai Sushi America 925 N. Bay St. 352.357.1949

H OW EY- I N THE -HILLS

The Crazy Gator 402 N. Bay St. 352.589.5885 The Oyster Troff 936 N. Bay St. 352.357.9939 Tillie’s Tavern & Grill 31 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.602.7929 Tony’s Pizza & Subs 2760 E. Orange Ave. 352.589.9001 F RU I T L A N D PA R K Fruitland Park Café 3180 US Hwy. 441/27 352.435.4575

Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Hwy. 27 352.241.9884

Troy’s Cuban Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295

ibar-be-que Express 3170 Hwy. 27 352.315.4227

Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.243.1118

Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 157 Hwy. 27 352.394.1225

Legends Cafe 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.728.0006

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

EUSTIS

Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill 230 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.394.0036 Robata Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar 1500 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.404.9688 Root and Branch Bistro and Bar 1200 Seaver Dr. 352.708.4529 Sanctuary Ridge Bar & Grille 2601 Diamond Club Road 352.243.0411

G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900

Sarah’s Greek Cuisine & More 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd., Ste. 305 352.404.8031

Gators Dockside 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.242.1825

The Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.7808

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Jeannie’s Place 209 E. Gottsche Ave. 352.359.0027 Gators Dockside 15241 US Hwy 441 352.357.1255 Kiku Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar 15211 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.483.8288 LaCabana Mexican Bar and Grill 2060 S. Bay St. 352.357.4600 Nalan Sultan Mediterranean Grill 1 N. Eustis St. 352.357.4444 NightOwl Caribbean Restaurant 929 S. Bay St. 352.589.0256

NY Deli N Diner 3325 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.365.0051 Rae Rae’s Restaurant 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.323.1595 Stavro’s 3223 US Hwy. 441 352.315.0028 The Rose Plantation 200 Rose Ave., Fruitland Park 352.805.4340

JB Boondocks Bar & Grill 704 S. Lakeshore Blvd. 352.324.3600 La Hacienda Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.3910 Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.2718 L A DY L A K E Bamboo Bistro 700 Hwy. 441 352.750.9998 El Ranchito 1 Lagrande Blvd. 352.750.3335 Harbor Hills Country Club 6538 Lake Griffin Rd. 352.753.7000 Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 504 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.753.2722 OakWood Smokehouse & Grill 860 S. Hwy 27/441 352.751.5640 Takis Greek and Italian Restaurant 13761 U.S. Hwy. 441 N. 352.430.3630 LEESBURG Bloom’s 610 W. Main St. 352.787.1004

G R OV E L A N D

Breakfast Station 2229 Citrus Blvd. 352.315.0291

Coyote Rojo 214 W. Broad St. 352.557.8999

Brick & Barrel 209 W. Main St. 352.431.3069

Ikaho Sushi Japanese Restaurant 7965 SR 50, #900 352.557.8988

Brooklyn’s Pizzeria 27405 US Highway 27 352.728.2020

James Barbeque 262 W. Orange St. 352.557.4050

Cedar River Seafood 8609 S. U.S. Hwy. 441 352.728.3377

Chesapeake Bay Grill 4467 Arlington Ridge Blvd. 352.315.0066 Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442 Frank’s Place 201 N. 1st St. 352.323.1989 Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 CR 44 352.365.2177 God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447 Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St. 352.474.2739 HP Grill 1403 S. 14th St. 352.314.0006 Ichiban Buffet 10301 Hwy. 441 352.728.6669 Kountry Kitchen 1008 W. Dixie Ave. 352.323.0852 La Palma Mexican Grill 1690 Citrus Blvd. 352.323.1444 Lilly’s Super Subs 2339 CR 473 352.343.4663 Magnolia’s Oyster Bar 201 W. Magnolia St. 352.323.0093 Main Street Cantina 205 W. Main St. 352.435.7279 Mamma Mia Pizza 755 North 14th St. 352.326.0101 Mammoth Oak Brewing Company 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.326.0100 Mrs. T’s Place, Southern Restaurant 305 Pine St. 352.431.3217 Naples Italian Restaurant 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.323.1616 Oakwood Smokehouse & Grill 2775 U.S. 27 352.435.4633


Arigato Steak House 1401 Citrus Blvd. 352.728.0788 Pine Street Bar-B-Que 408 Pine St. 352.728.1293 Plantation Oaks Restaurant 4720 Plantation Blvd. 352.530.2680

Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 The Surf Bar and Grill 650 N. Hwy. 27 202.527.0100 Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232 MOUNT DORA

Ramshackle Café 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565

1921 Mount Dora 142 E. Fourth Ave. 352.385.1921

Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 US Hwy. 27 352.319.8093

Anthony’s Pizza 17195 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.357.6668

San Jose’s Original Mexican Restaurant 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174

Barnwood Country Kitchen & Smokehouse 3725 W. Old US Hwy 441 352.630.4903

Sip Restaurant and Wine Bar 707 W. Main St. 352.435.7840

Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St. 352.383.4101

Sully’s Smokehouse 10820 CR 44 352.483.7427

Café Gianni 425 N. Alexander St. 352.735.3327

Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344 The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717 The Mojo Grill & Catering Co. 9925 US-441 352.787.0494 The Old Time Diner 1350 W. North Blvd. 352.805.4250 Turners 114 S. 5th St. 352.530.2274 Wolfy’s 918 N. 14th St. 352.787.6777 MASCOTTE Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093 MINNEOLA Lil Anthony’s Pizza 205 N. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.1516 Minneola Grill 117 W. Washington St. 352.394.2555

Cody’s on 4th Cafe 111 E. 4th Ave. 352.735.8426 Copacabana Cuban Cafe 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000 Fiesta Grande 421 N. Baker St. 352.385.3540 Frog & Monkey English Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352. 383.1936 Highland Street Café 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446 Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444 J.K. Thai Garden 116 E. 5th Ave. 352.385.4700 Let’s Do Lunch 426 N. Donnelly St. 352.735.4577 Magical Meat Boutique 322 N. Alexander St. 352.729.6911 Mount Dora Pizza & Subs 2718 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.5303 Olive Branch Grille 115 W. 3rd St. 352.729.6734

One Flight Up 440 N. Donnelly St., Ste. 100 352.735.1446

Hurricane Dockside Grill 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.508.5137

BlueFin Grill & Bar 2738 Brownwood Blvd. 352.571.5344

Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave. 352.385.2669

Kalua Hale Beach Bar 181 S. Joanna Ave. 352.609.5910

Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627

Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313

Chengs Chinese Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678

Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 CR 448 352.343.6823

China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965

PizzAmore’ 722 E. 5th Ave. 352.383.0092 Shiva Indian Restaurant 140A W. 5th Ave. 352.735.4555 Lake House Bar & Grill 315 N. Highland St. 352.735.7433 Sugarboo’s Bar-B-Que 1305 N. Grandview St. 352.735.7675 The Bavarian Haus 433 N. Alexander St. 352.735.8387 The Country Club 1900 Country Club Blvd. 352.735.2263 The Goblin Market 331-B Donnely St. 352.735.0059 The Pizza Shop 925 E. First Ave. 352.735.3411 Vincent’s Italian Restaurant 5914 Orange Blossom Trl. 352.735.4578 Whale’s Tale Fish House 2720 W. Old U.S. Hwy 441 352.385.1500 SORRENTO Del Franco’s Pizza 31436 CR 437 352.383.8882 Lisa’s Kountry Cafe 23911 CR 46 352.735.3380

O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and Restaurant 115 S Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157 Palm Gardens Restaurant 1661 Palm Garden St. 352.431.3217 Puddle Jumpers 111 W Ruby St. 352.508.5862 Ruby Street Grille 221 E. Ruby St. 352.742.7829

Chop House at Lake Sumter 1045 Old Camp Rd. 352.750.6000 Evans Prairie Country Club 1825 Evans Prairie Trail 352.750.2225 Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 297 Colony Blvd 352.751.0400 Giovanni’s 3439 Wedgewood Lane 352.751.6674

Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744

Glenview County Club 3914 Glenview Rd. 352.753.0077

Tavares Ice Cream 214 E. Main 352.508.5342

Habaneros Mexican Grill 3551 Wedgewood Ln. 352.633.2080

The Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585

Hemingway’s at Havana Country Club 2484 Odell Circle 352.430.3200

Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill 118 W Ruby St., Tavares 352.508.5783 THE V I L L AG E S Amerikano’s Grill 998 Del Mar Dr. 352.633.8027 Belle Glade Country Club 446 Moyer Loop 352.205.8208

NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994 Orange Blossom Country Club 1542 Water Tower Circle 352.751.4501 Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.750.4499 RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.5272 Ricciardi’s Italian Table 3660 Kiessel Rd. 352.391.9939 Sakura 265 Colony Blvd 352.205.7393

The Mason Jar 37534 State Rd. 19 352.589.2535 W I L DWO O D China Jade 420 W. CR 44 352.330.5913 Continental Country Club 50 Continental Blvd. 352.748.3293 Cotillion Southern Café 101 N. Main St. 352.748.1223

The Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille 925 Lakeshore Dr. 352.753.7800

Los Magueyes Mexican Restaurant 346 Shopping Center Dr. 352.461.0577

Tierra Del Sol Country Club 806 San Marino Dr. 352.753.8005

O’Shucks! Oyster Bar and Grill 1016 S Main St. 352.399.2200

VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 1004 Old Mill Run 352.259.9887

Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria 2468 Burnsed Blvd., 352.626.1059

U M AT I L L A

Traditions Café 3107 Hwy. 44 352.748.1077

Combat Café 831 S Central Ave. 352.483.0250 Fish & Chix 100 N. Central Ave. 352.669.7145

Legacy Restaurant 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475

Gators Dockside Grill 9 N. Central Ave. 352.669.6969

Margarita Republic 1102 Main St. 352.753.4600

Greg’s Haystax 526 Umatilla Blvd. 352.669.1555

Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant and Bar 320 Colony Blvd. 352.753.3824

Shang Hai Restaurant 531 N. Central Ave. 352.669.2004

Woody’s Bar-B-Q 1220 S. Main St. 352.748.1109 YA L A H A Yalaha Bakery 8210 CR 48 352.324.3366

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

TAVA R E S Bella Nona Pizzeria 280 Silverado St. 352.508.9370 BTW (Burgers, Tacos & Waffles) 115 E. Main St. 352.508.9287 Fish Camp Lake Eustis 901 Lake Shore Blvd. 352.742.4400

Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill

GOOD GRUB

THIS MONTH'S EDITOR'S PICK

Tiki West Raw Bar and Grill offers Southern classics with a Caribbean twist. Breezy indoor and outdoor patio seating keep things cool while diners enjoy a family-style seafood pot consisting of shrimp, andouille sausage, crawfish or snow crab legs. Consider ordering the Top Neck Cedar Key Clams ($8) from the raw bar. Another great option is the one pound of peel-and-eat shrimp and half-pound of Andouille sausage, corn and potatoes for $26. One thing is certain: You sure won’t leave hungry! 118 W Ruby St., Tavares / 352.508.5783

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DINING GUIDE

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

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

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

Full Gluten-Free Menu

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

THE VILLAGES | 1580 BELLA CRUZ DRIVE | 352.750.9600 8796 S.E. 165TH MULBERRY LANE | 352.750.9991 1070 LAKE SUMTER LANDING DRIVE | 352.205.8535 349 COLONY BLVD. | 352.391.1657 WILDWOOD | 480 W. GULF TO ALANTIC HWY. | 352.748.8800

Yalaha Bakery 352.324.3366 | 8210 STATE ROAD 48, YALAHA The family owned German Bakery since 1995, is an award-winning Bakery that offers to customers high-quality German products made with the highest culinary standards. Fine European pastries and breads are made with organic flours, chocolates, and spices, butter, and imported European ingredients. Take home tortes, tarts, and wonderful pretzels, but before you go home, enjoy something from our delicious deli menu. We serve breakfast from 8-11am and lunch and dinner are served 11am-7pm. Enjoy German specialties like Nurnberger breakfast, Hunterschnitzel with Spätzle, Bratwurst, Reuben, Quiche, typical German soups, and maybe Semelknoedel (bread dumplings with mushroom sauce) for lunch or dinner. We offer a fine selection of German beers and wines. Whatever time of day, you’ll find something you love at Yalaha Bakery. On the weekends you can come and enjoy various events and music concerts on Saturdays and Sundays at our Beer Garden. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or via our website www.yalahabakery.com

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Open Daily 8am-7pm

A German Bakery Like No Other!


Historic Downtown

THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 2021 5:30PM - 8PM LEESBURG TOWNE SQUARE

YO U C A N E A

$35, advance $45, gate (children under 13 only $15, advance; $25, gate)

T

LL

A

Join your friends and neighbors at this fun and popular annual Leesburg tradition.

URG ANNU B S A E

L

LE

LEESBURG

TREET MAIN S

Lake Port Square Presents:

WN DOWNTO HISTORIC

RG, FL LEESBU

SHOOTOUT AT THE OK CORRAL

Enjoy an array of seafood accompaniments, cash bar, and entertainment by �e Mudds Jazz & Blues Band.

Historic Downtown Leesburg

Saturday, March 13th

@ 5pm - 8pm

To purchase advance tickets, please visit leesburgpartnership.com/fishfry for more information or call the Partnership at 352-365-0053.

Free Admission Live music with Happy Days Rockers

MAGAZINE

More information at LeesburgPartnership.com


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©2021 On Top of the World Communities, LLC. A 55+ community in Ocala, FL by Colen Built Development, LLC. On Top of the World Communities reserves the right to change or withdraw any offer at any time. Prices, features, specifications and availability are subject to change without notice. Not to be combined with any other offer. See Sales Associate for specific details. *On Top of the World will continue to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization’s recommendations, and state guidelines regarding safe travel and social distancing. Therefore, offers dates are subject to change and/or may be limited by availability. At least one guest must be 55 years of age or older to participate in our World Tour Adventure. Offer valid from January 1 through January 31, 2021. All guests must be at least 18 years of age. Offers valid only for customers interested in purchasing a new home. A tour with one of our knowledgeable Sales Associates is required. Accommodations are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. A 3 Day/2 Night World Tour Adventure is $249.00; rates subject to sales tax. Must qualify to be eligible for a World Tour Adventure. A $249.00 cancellation fee applies if reservation is cancelled within 7 days of stay.


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FINAL THOUGHT

CO MMENTARY

Not so close encounter Call me crazy, but I saw…well, something. STORY: GARY CORSAIR

≈ ILLUSTRATIONS: MEGAN MERICLE

he luminous round object appeared to be massive, at least as long as a football field, as it hovered in one spot, pulsating red and blue lights outlining the bottom of the aircraft. Scene from a sci-fi movie? Uh, no. I actually saw the hovering… whatever it was…in the night sky while driving south on State Road 213, near the intersection of State Road 26 in central Indiana in August 1978. Yes, I belong to the 16 percent of Americans who admit “they personally witnessed something they thought was a UFO.” I do so with a whisper. I can’t say with even the slightest degree of certainty what exactly I saw. Unidentified flying object is an accurate description, although I use the word “flying” with hesitation. The thing I saw did indeed move–straight down, after a few seconds of hovering. As UFO sightings go, my experience is lame. No paralysis, no skin rash, no abduction, no probing… at least I don’t remember any. I only observed the UFO for 10 to 15 seconds. And the thing was at least three miles away. My best guess? Near the tiny town of Jerome, near South 1000 East. So that’s where I pointed the 1977 Caprice Classic at 90 miles per hour by earthling measurements. I drove several country roads, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary – no spacecrafts, no little green men, no crop

circles, no vibrating utility trucks like the one Richard Dreyfuss bounced around in during his close encounter. At this point I must tell you that I was completely sober, wide awake, and not under the influence of any mind-altering drugs. I canvassed the roads again the next morning. Again, nothing. I write this column with trepidation. I know I’m opening myself up to ridicule. A large portion of unbelievers–67 percent of Americans according to Gallup–will label me a nut job. So be it. I don’t know what I saw, but I saw something. I’d doubt myself if my younger brother wasn’t with me. I saw it first, but couldn’t immediately find words. As I slowed the car and pointed, Steve followed the direction of my finger. “What the…” escaped from his lips. A few seconds later, the UFO was gone. What did we see? Well, it wasn’t a weather balloon, shooting star, a radio tower, a kite, nor an airplane. Military experiment perhaps? Could be. Grissom Air Force Base was less than 30 miles away. Alien flying saucer? I’m not ready to make that leap. Perhaps I saw an Illusion created by wicked spirit creatures. 2 Corinthians 11:14 reveals that Satan the Devil “transforms himself into an angel of light.” Could his demons be responsible for UFOs? Seems as plausible as little green men. I believe one day we’ll reclassify UFOs as IFO–Identified Flying Objects. Until then, I can only agree with Agent Dana Scully. The truth is out there.

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

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2022

Presents

Presents

2022 ROOKIE

Congratulations Congratulations TO THE

2022 LAKE COUNTY TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Shannon Clark Eustis Heights Elementary

TO THE

2022 LAKE COUNTY ROOKIE TEACHERS OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

Jacob Carriero Mascotte Charter

Amy Crofts Rimes ELC

Theresa Spann Umatilla High

Presented by Presented by

Marian S. Shuck Trust

Marian S. Shuck Trust

M A R ' 2 1 • L A K E A N D S U M T E R S T Y L E .C O M

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Seek out the adventure in every day

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Style Magazine, Village Edition, March 2021  

Style Magazine, Village Edition, March 2021  

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