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THE STATE OF OUR LAKES

Going to great depths to assess our bodies of water. JUL '21

VILLAGE EDITION

LIVE SIMPLY See more on pg. 40


Superior cardiac care from leaders in health. Backed by the experts at UF Health, our cardiac team delivers the superior care you need close to home. As part of the most experienced program in the area, we perform thousands of lifesaving procedures each year, provide a full range of diagnostic services and are consistently recognized as an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology, delivering a proven level of expertise in advanced cardiac care.

Learn more at: TheVillagesHospital.org

Close. Caring. Connected.


CONNECTED CARE FOR

EVERY ADVENTURE.

For life’s adventures – no matter how big or small – you need a seasoned team caring for you through it all. As Orlando Health Medical Group FHV Health, it’s easier than ever to connect with our awarded, nationally recognized healthcare system throughout Lake and Sumter Counties. For a quality partnership that delivers quality care, choose Orlando Health.

OrlandoHealth.com/FHV

ORLANDO HEALTH IS NOW PARTNERS WITH FHV HEALTH.


Sundance Collection by Hooker Furniture

(352) 728-5600 8345 US Highway 441, Leesburg, FL 34788 Mon – Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Closed Sunday

(352) 643-6430 3691 Meggison Rd, The Villages, FL 32163

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Mon – Sat 10 am – 7 pm, Closed Sunday


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.

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John T. Williams, Jr., MD

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Alfred J. Cook, Jr., MD


Tony Pagano, General Sales Manager (left) Rick Jimenez, Salesperson (right)

Billy Graham

P L AZ A CA D I L L AC If you are going to go ‘First-Class’ then go with the car and the people at Plaza Cadillac. Special thanks to Rick Jimenez and Tony Pagano for a ‘job well done’! I am enjoying my new 2021 Cadillac Escalade Duramax 4X4 Sport Edition! — BILLY GRAHAM

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


Harold and Pamela Durocher

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

P L AZ A L I N CO L N Purchasing a new car can be stressful, but not at Plaza Lincoln. The sales team took the time to understand our needs and recommend the right model at a reasonable price. We are very satisfied with our decision and our purchase. — HAROLD AND PAMELA DUROCHER

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


IMAGELIFT COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY Facial and cosmetic plastic surgery in Tampa and The Villages®

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JUL'21 V.17

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CONTENTS 1 of 2

FEATURES

044

036

State of our lakes

On a mission

Lakes are our niche and what make our county unique. This month, Style dives into what issues our lakes are facing and how we can all do our part in protecting our scenic and valuable waterways and the animals who call them home.

Two boys with a passion for saving the earth and its endangered animals are sharing their knowledge of environmental impacts on their YouTube channel. Hear all about how you can save the world too, from Captain A and Captain SySy.

STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

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TB

F INANCIAL G ROUP I NC . We Listen. We Care.

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SEMINARS FOR JULY CALL TO REGISTER!

July 22nd | 9:30 a.m. BROWNWOOD HOTEL & SPA 3003 BROWNWOOD BLVD., THE VILLAGES

Seating is very limited and by RSVP only. 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. Investment advisory services offered by duly registered individuals through ChangePath, LLC a Registered Investment Adviser. ChangePath, LLC and TB Wealth Management, LLC are unaffiliated entities.

LIZ CORNELL, CAS®, CEO, TB FINANCIAL GROUP


JUL'21 V.17

≈ N.09

CONTENTS 2 of 2

DEPARTMENTS

first

021

026

028 030

THE HIT LIST 022 PERSON OF INTEREST 026 OUTSTANDING STUDENT 028 THIS MONTH IN HISTORY 030

agenda

055

051

TO-DO LIST 052 LOCAL TALENT 055 ATTRACTIONS 056 HI, SOCIETY 060

healthy living

069

052 070

056 102

072 100

INSPIRATION 070 HEALTHY MIND 072

menu

086112

081

IN THE KITCHEN 082 FORK ON THE ROAD 086 DINING GUIDE 088

082 THE STATE OF OUR LAKES

JUL '21

L AKE & SUMTER

columns FROM THE PUBLISHER 016 AT YOUR SERVICE 017 FINAL THOUGHT 096

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

Going to great depths to assess our bodies of water. JUL '21

VILLAGE EDITION

E ON TH R C OV E

096

Going to great depths to assess our bodies of water.

AL SO

IT’S NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD Emotional trauma can affect your physical health.

DINING OUT … SIDE

Recipes for the perfect picnic.

CHANNELING THEIR KINDNESS YouTubers raise awareness about environment, endangered animals.

Lake and Sumter Style

LIVE SIMPLY See more on pg. 40

Village Edition


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Contact us today! Our team will show you how easy it is to say goodbye to medications for AFib, forever. Christopher Jones, M.D.

Vatsal Inamdar, M.D.

352.674.2080 | villageheartandvein.com 8575 NE 138th Lane, Suite 203, Lady Lake 708 Physician Court, Suite 2, Leesburg


FROM THE PUBLISHER

Identity crisis The color of your skin shouldn’t matter. he Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I always look forward to burgers and hot dogs and watching an array of colorful fireworks illuminate the night sky. Throughout the years, I’ve participated in different Fourth of July events around Lake County. I celebrate with family members, friends, and even strangers. Some are from different races, some belong to a different political party, and some were born in other countries. Nobody pays attention to our differences. We’re all there to celebrate America, a country whose greatness comes from the melting of many races and cultures into one happy American family. I wish such unity existed in all parts of our country. Unfortunately, that’s not

the case. Identity politics, which divides people into subgroups based on race, gender, sexual identity, and other labels, has reared its ugly head, spilling across the U.S. like toxic sewage. Identity politics threatens to deepen the divide that exists between different groups in society. I agree with former President Barack Obama when he said this at the 2004 Democratic National Convention: “There’s not a Black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.” That day, he was calling for an America in which skin color didn’t matter. His message clearly did not resonate with supporters of identity politics but may have resonated elsewhere. The 2020 presidential election offers a glimpse of hope that not everyone is buying into this divisive ideology. We spent four years hearing how Donald Trump is the most bigoted,

homophobic, and sexist man to ever walk the earth. Despite that, he received a larger share of Black, Asian, and Latino votes than any Republican presidential candidate in 60 years. His support among LGBT voters doubled in 2020. Yes, the U.S. is flawed. There have been many despicable acts of racism that leave an ugly stain on our country. Still, at the end of the day, the U.S. has managed to become the most successful multicultural melting pot in human history. That’s why we should come together as one on the Fourth of July. Let’s celebrate the red, white, and blue without caring whether the person standing next to us is black, white, brown, or yellow. 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

/

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

THE STATE OF OUR LAKES

JUL '21

L AKE & SUMTER

Going to great depths to assess our bodies of water. JUL '21

VILLAGE EDITION

STAFF WRITER victoria@akersmediagroup.com

Douglas Tyler Roxanne Brown

DIGITAL ART DIRECTOR douglas@akersmediagroup.com

Anthony Rao

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER/ VIDEOGRAPHER anthony@akersmediagroup.com

STAFF WRITER roxanne@akersmediagroup.com

CON TRIBUTIN G WRITER S

Joe Angione Nicole Hamel Kathy Porter

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER nicole@akersmediagroup.com

CON TRIBUTIN G ED IT OR Gary Corsair

SALES

/

M A RK ETIN G

Tim McRae

VICE PRESIDENT, SALES tim@akersmediagroup.com

Melanie Melvin Shaena Long

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING melanie@akersmediagroup.com

ADVERTISING COORDINATOR shaena@akersmediagroup.com

ADMI N IS TRATION Aubrey Akers Simmons OFFICE MANAGER aubrey@akersmediagroup.com

Going to great depths to assess our bodies of water.

AL SO

IT’S NOT ALL IN YOUR HEAD Emotional trauma can affect your physical health.

DINING OUT … SIDE

Recipes for the perfect picnic.

CHANNELING THEIR KINDNESS YouTubers raise awareness about environment, endangered animals.

LIVE SIMPLY See more on pg. 40

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.

DI S TRIBUTION Scott Hegg

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.

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

Find us on social media

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be t

Best

of the


Here’s your chance to

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

lakeandsumter tyle.com VOTING ENDS JULY 15


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first PEOPLE. COMMENTARY. NEWS.

History is alive and well with the reopening of the Mote-Morris House.


THE HIT LIST

Cami Hoopes and McKenzie Harrington

WHO WILL WIN THE MIRROR BALL TROPHY?

Anthony Sabatini, FL House of Representatives District 32, with his partner, Gina Angel.

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Six Lake County community leaders are learning to dance the fox trot, rumba, cha cha, swing, and tango, all in efforts to raise money for Lake County Schools teachers and students for the 15th annual Stepping Out for Education, to be hosted in two evening performances, July 23-24, at the Black Box Theater of Clermont Performing Arts Center, 3700 U.S. Highway 27. The popular sellout event is Lake County’s version of “Dancing With The Stars,” and will feature Dr. Emily Feltner, assistant superintendent of Lake County Schools; Kristin Jamieson, branch manager of Success Mortgage Partners; Dina Simpson, owner of Renew Day Spa; Tim Murry, mayor of Clermont; Jerome Brouhard, manager/sommelier of Maggie’s Attic; and Tyler J. Borowski, deputy tax collector. Each local celebrity will be partnered with a professional dancer to perform both nights. They will be judged on their technical and artistic abilities by a panel of judges and the audience will also vote for their favorite dancer. After combining the voter’s choice from the two nights, the overall winner will be chosen. The last Stepping Out for Education benefit hosted in 2019 raised nearly $103,000 for the Educational Foundation of Lake County with Lake County Superintendent Diane Kornegay winning the coveted mirror ball trophy.


FLAVORS OF DECADENCE If you think you’re a cookie fan now, just wait until you visit Twisted Sugar – you’ll be falling in love with cookies all over again. The new bakery, located at 756 W. Montrose St. #102, in downtown Clermont, offers the sweet treats in flavors like chocolate chip, peanut butter beer, cookies and cream, key lime pie, peanut butter Nutella, banana cream pie, lemon raspberry, smores, chocolate coconut cream, carrot cake, and many more. The cookies are baked fresh daily and are frosted and decorated by hand upon ordering. “It’s been great. The community has been so awesome and welcoming. I kind of feel we’re on the ground level of what’s going to happen in Clermont and we are just thrilled to be here,” says Twisted Sugar’s Owner Cami Hoopes. Twisted Sugar originated in Utah about eight years ago and today, there are stores in Colorado, Idaho, North Carolina,

HISTORY COMES ALIVE The doors are open to one of the most recognizable houses in Leesburg. In June, the City of Leesburg held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of the Mote-Morris house, which was damaged by a fire in February 2018. Tours of the home will resume this month. The Mote-Morris House was built in 1892 by E.H. Mote, a developer and hotel owner from Washington, D.C., who served eight terms as city mayor and one term in the Florida House of Representatives. Known for its Victorian Revival architecture, the home contains some interesting features. Among them is an L-shaped stairway leading to three bedrooms on the second floor, a clawfoot tub made of cast iron and a four-story turret, or small tower.

South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and now Florida, thanks to Cami and business partner Whitney McBride, whose store opened on May 21. The bakery offers more than 20 unique flavors of cookies and two featured flavors each month. They also have special holiday/monthly boxes people can order, with specialty flavors not offered on the menu, and a corporate cookie club that offers free delivery for nearby businesses. Additionally, the shop serves ice cream-based Twisters (Twisted Sugar’s version of Disney’s Dole Whips) in nine flavors, and sodas in more than 150 various mixed flavors. In Clermont, the shop is family owned and run. The manager is Cami’s daughter McKenzie Harrington. We want everyone to come in, enjoy our cookies and the vibe we have here. It’s just a happy place. A lot of love went into this place, we built it ourselves, and a lot of love goes into each cookie,” Cami says. Twisted Sugar is open Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and closed Sundays. For more information, visit twistedsugar.com or call 352.404.8149.


THE HIT LIST

TAKING LEESBURG BY STORM As the smell of popcorn and hotdogs wafts through Pat Thomas Stadium, loud cheers and a thunderous applause erupt when the boys of summer officially take the field. Leesburg Lightning players are ready to play ball. The Lightning, which is a member of the Florida Collegiate Summer League (FCSL), plays the following home games in July. JULY JULY JULY JULY JULY JULY JULY

4 VS. WINTER GARDEN AT 5 P.M. 8 VS. WINTER PARK AT 7 P.M. 10 VS. WINTER PARK AT 7 P.M. 16 VS. SEMINOLE COUNTY AT 7 P.M. 19 VS. WINTER GARDEN AT 7 P.M. 20 VS. SEMINOLE COUNTY AT 7 P.M. 22 VS. DELAND AT 7 P.M.

CLERMONT HOSPITAL UNDER NEW LEADERSHIP Orlando Health has named Lance Sewell as the new president of Orlando Health South Lake Hospital, promoting him from his role as chief financial officer. Lance joined the hospital in 2006 as director of finance before being promoted to chief financial officer in 2007. During this role, Lance headed a number of initiatives which include leading the recruitment of primary care physicians as well as specialists to fulfill the needs of the community. Heavily involved in the South Lake and Central Florida communities, Lance has served with the South Lake Rotary and Leadership Lake County. He is a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives. In addition to his professional associations, he has also served as past board chair for the Community Foundation of South Lake, past board chair of the South Lake Chamber of Commerce and a board member for New Beginning of Central Florida. Lance’s new role at Orlando Health South Lake became effective Dec. 1, 2020 and on May 21, 2021, he was the speaker at the South Lake Chamber of Commerce’s first in-person breakfast since the pandemic. There, Lance spoke to guests about his new role, the hospital’s status and new future projects in the works.

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Robin Navarro, Kenda Robinson and Debra Lasby

NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE… While driving around in Wildwood near The Villages, one might notice what many refer to as the Wizard of Oz house, since a mural that spans its entirety, is in honor of the classic film. “I realize that this joyful house is not for everyone, but it brings a lot of people smiles! We could all use a little happy expression in our lives,” says artist Robin Lasby Navarro, who painted the mural on the house her sister Deb Lasby and wife Kenda Robinson bought in 2006. Deb says that upon purchase, the 1950s-built wooden house located at 8802 County Road 121, was painted a drab brown color, and was in serious disrepair inside-and-out, so they embarked on major renovations and remodeling. In 2007, a tornado passed through their yard and downed several trees, but the house remained in-tact, though the screen porch and some windows were damaged by flying debris. It was then Deb says they decided to repaint the house – which they nicknamed the tornado house – a more vibrant color (teal) and soon after that, with the Wizard of Oz theme since they are big fans of the movie. “We thought it would be fun to zip up the front and thought of a mural of sorts. The Oz idea was a play on the tornado history.

Another thing was seeing all the boring ‘vanilla’ houses around us,” Deb says, explaining that the front of the house mainly depicts scenes and characters from the Land of Oz, while the sides and back are reminiscent of other parts of the movie, including its black and white beginning. “The painting was a labor of love with my sister Robin and I,” Deb says. “Once we started, it took about 3-5 months.” Today, Deb says people pull up to the house to take pictures of the mural and selfies of themselves with it, and she and Kenda welcome that, as long as they try and pull off the road when doing so. The inside of the house features vintage and retro collectibles, art, and memorabilia the two acquired over the last 40 years and on occasion, it is open for tours. At one time, tours were given on a donation basis to raise money for a kidney transplant Robin’s daughter was in need of. Deb says they welcome passersby and just ask that people “toot their horns” or come to the door if they have questions or want to speak with them, instead of wandering about the property. “We love how it makes people smile,” Deb says of the house.

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PERSON OF INTEREST

PEO PLE

Tim Murry Local native on a mission to serve citizens and lead Clermont with an open mind and heart. INTERVIEWER: ROXANNE BROWN

≈ PHOTO: ANTHONY RAO

L V I TA AT S ST

• Fifth child of 12 siblings. • Would one day like to travel cross-country by train. • 66 years old.

Family includes wife Kassier Kyler-Murry (married February 2020), daughter Tiffany, son Tim Murry II, and stepdaughter Karissa.

How long have you lived in Clermont? I was born and raised in Clermont where I resided until 1972 when I left to attend college in Tallahassee. I moved to Connecticut in 1974 where I joined the U.S. Air Force in 1975. After retiring from the U.S. Air Force in 1998, I lived in Kissimmee and Orlando before moving back to Clermont in 2001. In 1999, I began working for the U.S. Postal Service, a second career which spanned nearly 22 years before my retirement in January 2021.

What inspired you to run for mayor in 2020? Besides my love for Clermont, I decided to run for mayor to be the voice for sensible growth that focused on the needs of all residents. When I attended council meetings, I felt that the council was not always listening to the residents. In addition, none of the council members were from Clermont.

Thoughts when you realized you’d been elected? I was at a planning and zoning board meeting when I received my first update of the election results and that I had a slim lead. Thank God the meeting was coming to an end because it was hard

• 1972 graduate of Clermont High School. • Enjoys putting jigsaw puzzles together.

for me to contain my excitement. About 20 minutes after the meeting, I received my first official unofficial notice that I won. I was driving so I had to stop for a couple of minutes to give thanks to God and my wife for her support. After sitting and realizing that I had won the election, I could only start to think about getting to work on the promises I made during my campaign.

What do you like most about serving as mayor? I enjoy meeting and talking with residents, sharing Clermont’s history, and most all, bragging about the beauty of Clermont. Goals as mayor? Increasing affordable/workforce housing and increasing communitypolice relations, working to improve traffic issues on the county roads of Hancock and Hartwood Marsh,

Know a person of interest? Tell us!

Email your recommendation to roxanne@akersmediagroup.com.

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and to work with our police and fire departments to make sure they can continue to provide quality services as our city continues to grow.

What does being elected Clermont’s first African American mayor mean to you? Being the first African American mayor of Clermont was not a consideration in making the decision to run, but it is a great honor and it let me know how far Clermont has come from my earlier years of growing up there.


When you want to make it

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Featuring: • 8,360 square foot ballroom with 2 airwalls, ceiling height of up to 20’ and over-sized access doors for autos and the large displays. • 4 additional meeting rooms and a boardroom • Separate conference center motor lobby • Complimentary wireless internet


OUTSTANDING STUDENT

PEO PLE

Jackson Cheplick Born in Lake County, Jackson wants to experience the world to its fullest.

VITAL STATS

INTERVIEWER: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

• • • •

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

Recent graduate of East Ridge High School. Was a participant in HiQ academic trivia team. Was a participant in Mathlympics. Vice president of DECA at East Ridge HS.

• • • •

National Merit Scholarship Finalist. Part time job at Ellie Lou’s Brews & BBQ. Member of Lake County Rowing Association. 18 years old.

What are your plans after graduation?

Best advice you’ve been given?

I’m majoring in international affairs at FSU, and for that I’ll be taking some history classes. When working in international affairs, it’s always good to know the history of the places you’re working at to have a better understanding of the country and culture. I will also be taking German and Russian language classes for that major.

My parents tell me to always take time for fun, you can’t be doing work all the time. You have to find time for yourself, de-stress, and just take time to make yourself happy.

What first got you interested in your field of study? One of my parents works with the airlines so I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to fly to different countries, and I’ve been exposed to a lot of different cultures. I’ve always been interested in how other people live and how our country interacts with others as well, so international relations is fitting.

Where would you like to be in 10 years? I’d like to have graduated with a master’s degree and be working somewhere in the international relations field, whether at an embassy, with the state department being an international lawyer, or being a bureaucrat with the UN or EU, and hopefully working abroad and doing a lot of traveling. It’s a big world, I don’t want to die in the same place I was born in. I want to see the world and experience new things.

Who is your role model? I think seeing my friends, family, teachers, and coaches go through life, and seeing all the work that they put in just inspires me to put in my work and accomplish my goals too. What do you think your 10-yearold self would say if he could see you now? I think he would be proud of what I’ve done throughout school and would tell me to keep up the hard work throughout college and beyond. I think at that point I wanted to be an architect which is obviously different from what I currently want to be, but I think 10-year-old me would be happy with my choices.

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

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THIS MONTH IN HISTORY

L AND MARK

A sweet 65 anniversary th

Visitors have always been juiced about visiting the historic Citrus Tower. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

n July 14, 1956, representatives from Silver Springs and Cypress Gardens made their way to Clermont to celebrate the opening of the Citrus Tower, a tourist attraction dedicated to the area’s once booming citrus industry. The 226-foot-tall structure is located at 141 N. U.S. Highway 27, where orderly rows of orange groves used to stretch as far as the eye could see. Today, tourists receive a bird’s-eye view of a landscape of a different kind by taking an elevator ride to an observation deck and looking out into the vast horizon. When the Citrus Tower opened, giant theme parks had not yet found their way to Central Florida. In those days, tourists found thrills through roadside attractions featuring snake handlers, alligator wrestlers, and swimming mermaids. That said, the Citrus Tower was immediately a big hit. Each year,

Are you a history buff ?

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approximately half a million vacationers from around the country would stop in for amazing views and much more. In those days, the attraction also featured a gift shop and soda fountain, a restaurant and cocktail lounge, a glass-blowing studio, a candymaking factory, and an exhibit where guests could see the entire handling process for fresh fruit. Visitors received free samples of fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice and loaded up bags of the vibrant fruits to take back home. Of course, taking the elevator ride to the top of the tower was the big highlight. The inside of the elevator door is painted with interesting facts about the structure. • The Citrus Tower contains 5 million pounds of concrete. • The Citrus Tower contains 149,000 pounds of steel. • The tower is 543 feet above sea level and is equivalent to a 22-story building. • From the observation deck, visitors can see eight counties and more than 2,000 square miles.

When the elevator door opens at the top, guests step into a 360-degree, glass-enclosed observation deck, where helpful signs inform them about what natural and structural landmarks can be seen in each direction. To the west is the Clermont Chain of Lakes. Lake Apopka, the state’s largest spring-fed lake, and Sugarloaf Mountain, the highest point in peninsular Florida, are to the north. Magic Kingdom’s famous castle and Epcot Center’s iconic Spaceship Earth arise from the south, and Orlando’s skyline can be seen to the east. Currently, visitors who stop in, besides riding to the top, can sit in the lobby and enjoy a film on what the Citrus Tower was once like, purchase souvenirs, or enjoy a cup of coffee or snack at the Citrus Coffee Co.

Tell us what you’d like us to write about at victoria@akersmediagroup.com.

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VICTORIA SCHLABIG


CELEBRATING

28 YEARS of Devotion and Innovation to Heart Health.

Rama Krishna, MD, FACC, FSCAI Dr. Rama Krishna approaches his job each day with compassion, meticulous attention to detail, and genuine care for his patients. He takes pride in his work to improve his patient’s heart health. His work includes complex heart and vascular interventions including heart valve disease. He is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and interventional cardiology. He trained at the top hospitals in the United States and completed fellowship training in Interventional Cardiology at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York with the experts in this field.

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

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 | Info@CVALakeCounty.com


WHO’S WHO’S LOOKING LOOKING AFTER YOUR AFTER YOUR HEALTH? HEALTH? When it comes to taking care of yourself, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start — especially if you feel great don’t to have any care major concerns. Add it’s thehard fact that we’rewhere livingtothru a— global pandemic, Whenand it comes taking ofhealth yourself, sometimes to know start especially if youand feelit’s understandable that you have feltconcerns. uneasy about care services lately.pandemic, The good news is, great and don’t have any may major health Add seeking the fact out thathealth we’re living thru a global and it’s seeing a primarythat careyou provider is the perfect place to seeking begin your to long-term wellness. understandable may have felt uneasy about outjourney health care services lately. The good news is, seeing a primary care provider is the perfect place to begin your journey to long-term wellness. Advances in medicine give all of us the opportunity to access a wide range of simple tests and screenings that can detect potential health give problems they turn into primary care can help you that identify Advances in medicine all of before us the opportunity toserious access aconditions. wide rangeAnd, of simple tests and screenings can which tests you health need and when you need them. detect potential problems before they turn into serious conditions. And, primary care can help you identify which tests you need and when you need them.

Primary Care Providers – Your Advocates for Life Primary Care Providers – Your Advocates for Life A primary care provider (PCP) is a health care professional who practices general medicine. PCPs

can be doctors, nurse practitioners or physician assistants, who and are our first stop for general PCPs A primary care provider (PCP) is a health care professional practices general medicine. medical care. Think of practitioners them as youror personal care partner who helpfirst youstop manage your overall can be doctors, nurse physician assistants, and can are our for general health and create strategies to accomplish your wellness goals. medical care. Think of them as your personal care partner who can help you manage your overall health and create strategies to accomplish your wellness goals. As your regular physician, your PCP knows you better than any other provider and is familiar with your baseline health measurements. That means they can somethingw isn’t with right As your regular physician, your PCP knows you better thandetermine any other when provider and is familiar more quickly, and if treatment is needed, canthey prescribe it based on your personal health your baseline health measurements. That they means can determine when somethingw isn’t right goals, medicaland history and preferences. more quickly, if treatment is needed, they can prescribe it based on your personal health goals, medical history and preferences. If you don’t have a PCP you visit regularly, you aren’t getting the regular health screenings you need avoid potentially serious illnesses like pressure, diabetes, problems If you to don’t have a PCP you visit regularly, you high aren’tblood getting the regular healthheart screenings you or cancer. Remember, your PCP is your source for preventive medical care and ensures the need to avoid potentially serious illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems consistent, coordinatedyour carePCP youisdeserve. And for in most cases,medical your out-of-pocket cost tothe visit or cancer. Remember, your source preventive care and ensures their office is much lowercare thanyou a trip to the And emergency an urgent care clinic. consistent, coordinated deserve. in most room cases,oryour out-of-pocket cost to visit their office is much lower than a trip to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.

PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

Your PCP is Your is for your PCP source your sourcemedical for preventive preventive medical care and ensures care and ensures the consistent, the consistent, coordinated care coordinated you deserve. care you deserve.


The New Face of Today’s Family Medicine

Primary care is not only administered by doctors. For example, Katie Sanford is an advanced practice registered nurse with more than a decade of diverse clinical experience in health care. Katie earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Central Florida, where she graduated with honors. She completed her Master of Science in Nursing degree as part of the University of Cincinnati’s distinguished Family Nurse Practitioner program, also with honors. Katie represents the way many people access family medicine these days. As a primary care provider, she specializes in a wide range of services including sick visits, flu shots, annual physicals, minor injuries and overall health management. And she provides all of this from her practice at AdventHealth Medical Group Family and Internal Medicine at Tavares. In her case, she is part of the world-renowned AdventHealth network, which gives her patients the Scan the QR code added benefit of direct access to to schedule an appointment. highly skilled specialists — just in case they need them.

Katie Sanford, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

When selecting a primary care provider, make sure you choose one that puts the health of you and your family first. New safety measures are designed to protect patients. When selecting a primary care provider, make sure you choose one that puts the health of you and your family first. AdventHealth is leading the way in this area with a multitude of measures designed to protect patients during extraordinary times like these. This includes universal masking and temperature checks for visitors and staff, frequent sanitizing of spaces, social distancing and remote check-ins to keep you from waiting in line. You may even be able to visit your doctor from home through a virtual house-call on your smart phone or computer.

To find the right primary care provider for you and your family, call 407-599-6111 or visit CentralFloridaPrimaryCare.com.

The AdventHealth Clean & Safe Assurance badge means we maintain the highest possible standard of cleanliness for the safety of our patients and visitors.


All About

Screening PA ID

P R O MOTION AL

Why Screen? A cancer found early is generally easier to treat, improving both survival and quality of life. Screening can find cancer before any symptoms appear, but an abnormal test is not an instant cancer diagnosis. Instead, screening can indicate whether more tests (called diagnostic tests) are needed, like a biopsy. The following screening tests play a major role in cancer survivorship.

Pap Test: the Most Successful Cancer Screener Pap tests cut cervical cancer diagnoses in half between 1975 and 2014. The American Cancer Society recommends that women not

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F E ATUR E

otherwise at risk have a Pap test every three years from age 21-29, followed by a Pap test combined with a human papilloma (HPV) test every five years from age 30-65. Alternatively, women age 21-65 should have a Pap test every three years.

PSA: A Revolution in Prostate Cancer Diagnosis ”When I came into practice in 1982 there was no screening test for prostate cancer,” says Dr. James W. Young, board certified urologist at the Urology Institute of Central Florida. “Back in those times, when we diagnosed somebody with prostate cancer, most likely they had cancer that was already advanced and not curable.” Dr. Young recommends that every male get a PSA blood test once

a year, starting at age 50. “Unless you have a close family history of prostate cancer or if you’re an African American. Then it’s age 40.”

Colorectal Screening Can Save 1,000 Lives a Year According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 1,000 colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented each year if enough people get screened. The best-known test, the colonoscopy, is also recommended if any other test, like the following, yields an abnormal result. • A fecal occult blood test checks for blood in the stool. • A sigmoidoscopy checks the rectum and lower colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer. • A virtual colonoscopy (CTC) uses X-rays. • A DNA stool test checks the DNA in stool cells for genetic changes.


Heavy Smoker? Get Screened The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual lung cancer screening for anyone aged 55 to 80 with a smoking history of 30 pack-years or longer and who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, A pack year is equal to smoking 20 cigarettes (1 pack) a day each year. Testing is done with a low-dose CT scan. If caught early (stage 1), the 5-year survival rate for lung cancer is 68-92%, but if caught late (stage 4), that survival rate drops to 0-10%.

Here for You from the Beginning You can consult with us free of charge from the moment you have any abnormal test results. RBOI’s cancer navigators can help guide you through the screening process, regardless of whether or not you have been diagnosed. Give us a call.

100% Five-year relative survival rate (meaning no death from other causes) if prostate cancer is caught before it metastasizes

45

American Cancer Society’s recommended age to start regular screening for colorectal cancer for people at average risk

5

Breast cancers found for every 1,000 screening mammograms

10

Minutes it takes to undergo a lung cancer screening

Mammograms Save Lives Mammograms were shown to reduce breast cancer deaths by 20% in one analysis, but more recent results from Europe and Canada show that screening reduced deaths by more than 40%. The American Cancer Society recommends that women at average breast cancer risk be screened annually from age 45 to 54, and that women age 55 and older be screened every two years. Recommendations differ for women at higher risk, and additional screening like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and breast ultrasound may be indicated.

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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Aye Aye,

Aidan Cardoza

Sylar Borden

Captain A and Captain SySy are on a mission to teach families about how to save the environment and endangered animals. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

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≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL


iden Cardoza and Sylar “SySy” Borden, better known by their online aliases, Captain A and Captain SySy, respectively, are dedicated to saving the earth and the many species of animals that have become endangered in recent years. At home, both boys are the loving owners of a labradoodle brother and sister pair named Rocket and Bella. Rocket is A’s puppy and Bella is SySy’s. “At ZooTampa we learned about how some species of animals are becoming endangered and how the earth itself is in danger,” says Captain A. The boys became inspired to help. SySy’s favorite animal at the zoo is the sloth, and A’s is the black bear and the Sumatran tiger. “I like to go to places like ZooTampa and other AZA zoos (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), which help to

save endangered animals like the Aldabra tortoise, the second biggest tortoise in the world,” says Captain A. Noticing the boys were so passionate about animals and the environment, their moms decided to start a YouTube channel with the goal of teaching other kids and their families about the same endangered animals they care about, and how to help. “It actually started when we did a Hurricane Matthew video. Then after that, we did our zoo animals videos when we learned about climate change and animals that are becoming endangered and extinct,” says Captain SySy. The first video featured on the Captain A TV YouTube channel was to bring awareness about Hurricane Matthew and how to stay safe, but after that video, the family decided to continue. “We mostly focus on how climate is affecting the animals, and how we can save them. We get the ideas from ZooTampa,

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“THEY INSPIRE US TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, NOT ONLY FOR THEIR FUTURES, BUT THEIR CHILDREN’S FUTURES, AND THAT OF ALL GENERATIONS TO COME.”

and of course look them up to see if they’re true and they always are,” A says. “We talk about certain animals in every video like kangaroos, Aldabra tortoises, mostly ones that are endangered or critically endangered. The Florida panther is endangered because of car accidents and poaching. At ZooTampa we learned about one whose paw was stuck in a bear trap and sadly had to be removed.” “Captain A and Captain SySy’s videos focus on educating families about caring for our Mother Earth and animal friends. They even discuss important topics like climate change using a kid-friendly approach,” Monica says, adding that the captains want to reach as many families as possible and get more kids excited about helping their planet. Monica also explains how the boys have changed their own families’ ways and efforts in helping the earth. “We have added solar panels to our home, recycle all we can, and donate our compost to Eco Strategies Group, which uses what their garden produces to help feed cancer victims. As the captains’ parents we have realized, through their eyes, that the world is more precious than we ever imagined. They inspire us to make a difference, not only for their futures, but their children’s futures, and that of all generations to come,” she says. How did they get their captain titles, you might be wondering? Well, both boys actually got their names in different ways. Aiden’s mom, Monica, and SySy’s mom, Sofia, are mother and daughter themselves. However, Monica says, the boys were raised kind of like brothers because of their closeness in age. Aiden is 10 and SySy is 9. “The captains started because Captain A was a huge fan of Captain America, and started calling himself Captain A.

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He wanted to fly and save people, save animals, and SySy wanted to do these things with him, so he started calling himself Captain SySy because he liked pirates. You would always see A in the Captain America cape and SySy in the pirate hat and boots, so that’s how the names started,” Monica says. Being interested in pirates and Pirates of the Caribbean, SySy has always been interested in the Kraken, as well, which is why the giant squid is his favorite sea animal. “All of the times people say they have seen the Kraken it’s believed that what they saw is the giant squid,” SySy says. His mom, Sofia adds, “SySy likes the sand, but A likes the water.” When the family took a trip to Hawaii, they had adventures on land and sea. Besides lots of hikes, SyS,y’s favorite excursion was the helicopter ride they took over the active volcano rock bed. A’s favorite was when he and the dads went scuba diving in the ocean, and he saw lots of sea urchins. His favorite sea animal is the great white shark, and the hammerhead. “We have explored more of the moon than we have the ocean, so I’m more of a fish guy,” he says. The family puts in a team effort to produce the videos and explore nature. SySy’s dad, Frank Borden, is a professional video editor and produces their videos, and has also helped A with his photography, along with A’s dad, Tony Cardoza, also an amateur photographer. “I’m a photographer and I usually like to take pictures of endangered animals,” says Captain A. “It’s important to take pictures of the animals because it shows people how much you care, and it can show people how much they should care too.” Captain A’s photography has really taken off since he started taking pictures on their family hikes. “Aiden has been in the FLVS (Florida Virtual School) photography club for two years and he’s won awards both times. He’s very dedicated, and when he takes photos he spends hours out there,” says Monica. Both of the boys attend FLVS and are homeschooled. In the club, students are given

Exhibition and Zoo Tampa photos are courtesy of Monica Cardoza.

—MONICA CARDOZA


“projects,” and Aiden is often identified for his good eye. “He’s very creative and SySy is a super actor and model because he does all these great poses,” Monica adds. The year 2021 was A’s second year winning the gold medal in photo club at FLVS’s Club Awards. Currently, his work is being recognized and is on display in the “Environmental Art Exhibit” at the Orlando Science Center in downtown Orlando. The exhibit is called “Earth’s Voice: an Environmental Art Exhibit,” and is put on by the Orlando Science Center and the CLEO Institute, a nonprofit focused on environmental efforts. Monica says the CLEO Institute’s goal is “sharing awareness from exceptional Earth Advocates through impactful art that expresses the urgency we need in caring for our Mother Earth and all of her beautiful creatures.” “It’s really cool when you see your child making a difference and getting noticed,” she adds. Both captains plan on using their photo artwork to help raise awareness and funds for AZA zoos and aquariums working to save endangered species from going extinct, Sofia adds. As a family of content-producers, the team works together building storyboards. The captains come up with most of the ideas, facts, jokes, and solutions for what they will feature in their videos. In addition, they all go out into the field to film a variety of “animal friends” at local AZA registered zoos and aquariums, wildlife sanctuaries, and preserves, for Captain A TV’s awareness videos. They often meet with Zoo Animals Ambassadors at these locations, who take part in the filming of the captains’ educational videos. While Captain A TV has been around for nearly four years, last year, due to COVID-19, the boys decided to host their very first Zoom Earth Day event, so all of their friends could safely

participate. In preparation for their event, they were able to meet with National Geographic’s Secrets of the Zoo: ZooTampa’s Animal Ambassador, Roni. “She was incredible with the children,” says Monica. “She also continues to support the captains in their efforts to raise awareness, and joined us as a live guest speaker for Captain A TV’s 2021 Zoom Earth Day event.” This year, the 2nd Annual Captain A TV Earth Day Event was a great success, doubling the captains’ team of Kid Ambassador Correspondents, with over 90 families attending. The captains premiered their newest Earth Day video with ZooTampa Animal Ambassadors Roni and Katie, where they learned about two-toed sloths and Indian rhinos. Guest speakers from ZooTampa, Eco Strategies Group, City of Orlando Waste Division, and Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park were also in attendance. So, how can you help the captains in their efforts to save Mother Earth and her animals? The best way, Captain A says, is by using the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reduce your waste with the amount of non-recyclable products you buy and use. Reuse materials by, for example turning empty plastic bottles into artwork, Captain A suggests. And recycle, by recycling all paper, plastic, and metal products and trash you would normally throw away. Additionally, composting your food waste products is another way of reusing materials; turning “trash” into fresh soil to help plants grow faster without chemical fertilizers, Captain A explains. To watch Captain A TV videos, visit YouTube.com and search “Captain A TV.” You can also find the captains on Instagram @ captainatv, Twitter @captainatv1, at captainatv.com, and on Facebook. Lastly, if you would like to see the boys’ artwork, “Earth’s Voice: an Environmental Art Exhibit,” will be featured at the Orlando Science Center until August 22, 2021.

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Live life simply

Lakeshore by Simple Life allows residents to embrace downsizing in beautiful cottage homes with great amenities. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

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new concept in simplified, lowercost living has come to the Lake and Sumter County area, just a mile from The Villages®. Located in the heart of the most coveted location in Central Florida, Lakeshore is an innovative housing choice that allows downsizing, without sacrificing the comforts of home and luxurious amenities. As an all-inclusive community, Lakeshore offers an intimate gathering of cottage homes along the shore of tranquil Lake Andrew, with exclusive access to private amenities and events. Located just outside The Villages® in Oxford, Florida, Lakeshore is a connected

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community of cottage homes embraced by those seeking a permanent residence, second home, or vacation property, at a significantly lower cost than traditional real estate. New homeowners at Lakeshore choose from a selection of 1 and 2-bedroom cottage homes from 499 to 1,100 square feet that are fully customizable including space for full-sized gourmet kitchen appliances, stackable washer and dryer, and in some cases an additional 100 square foot loft. A smaller home means less to maintain and more time to live. Lounge in the lakeside open-air pavilion on beautiful Lake Andrew or take in nature and quiet moments at countless places throughout the community.


“SIMPLE LIFE’S CULTURE EMPHASIZES RESIDENTIAL EXPERIENCES, AND NOT NECESSARILY A COLLECTION OF RESPONSIBILITIES AND POSSESSIONS.” —MIKE MCCANN,FOUNDER/CEO

Lakeshore is the first Florida offering from Simple Life, a company believing new homebuyers can focus on the ‘value of lifestyle,’ instead of the ‘cost of living.’ Simple Life creates and operates cottage home communities throughout the Southeastern US with private amenities for people who value living life over maintaining things. Over 40 homesites are currently reserved or purchased at Lakeshore with many residents already happily in place. Simple Life also has one sold-out cottage home community in North Carolina, a second North Carolina community underway, and is in the early stages of development on its fourth community in Punta Gorda, Florida with projected home presales beginning in 2022. “Simple Life’s culture emphasizes residential experiences, and not necessarily a collection of responsibilities and possessions,” says Simple Life founder and CEO Mike McCann. “The best life is lived simply, at a lower cost and with fewer burdens in a community of neighbors who become friends. This

is a pillar of our philosophy for Simple Life where neighbors are encouraged to step outside and connect with others, and to live a healthier life in a home with a smaller footprint and less to maintain.“ Lakeshore’s efficient design results in more experiences and less cost. The secret to offering a better lifestyle at a lower cost is Simple Life’s unique approach to community building. The cottage homes at Lakeshore exist on a single tract of land and residents lease the land under the home they own. No cost of land in the purchase of your home creates immediate savings and eliminates the significant ongoing costs and hassles of property ownership. Lakeshore’s single community land approach also allows buying all services in bulk and passing the quality and savings along to the homeowner. Keeping it simple, all home-operating costs traditionally paid separately are streamlined into one convenient monthly payment. Owners never worry about paying for water, sewer, trash and recycling, premium cable, hi-speed

internet, tree care, lawn care, fertilizing, irrigation, or use of the pool or fitness facility. Lakeshore residents enjoy one affordable monthly fee, allowing for less maintenance and more life. The predictable monthly costs and allinclusive maintenance create a savings of time and money. “For most Lakeshore homeowners, the savings on real estate taxes together with HOA and CDD fees on a traditional home far exceed the Lakeshore land lease,“ said Josh Summers, CEO of the Lake Sumter Realtors Association. “There are no HOA fees, CDD fees, DDA fees, assessments, or community improvement costs. Everyone enjoys the peace of mind of knowing those big-surprise bills are a thing of the past.” “The sense of community that we have is amazing. I like the freedom it gives us, and the amenities are incredible,” said homeowner Linda Gosselin. “The fitness center is a huge thing for me to have classes in because I am a fitness fanatic. The area is beautiful, we built a deck on the back of the house, because we can see the farmland out there, so just being able to be across the lake and the farmland and to see all of that nature is breathtaking.” Lakeshore by Simple Life is professionally managed by a dedicated staff, all leaders in the hospitality industry. They believe life is about experiences and not things.

Lakeshore is a community where “the best life is lived simply,” a community with lower costs, fewer burdens, and where neighbors become friends.

352.561.8114 / 3488 E County Road 466, Oxford / simple-life.com

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Look good, feel great With stylish clothing and accessories, Prominent Fox helps women feel empowered and confident.

PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

LeighAnn Berry OWNER

ince moving Prominent Fox Boutique from Oxford to Leesburg, the shop’s customer base has continued to grow and flourish. Leigh Ann Berry’s goal has always been to make women feel better and more confident about themselves, a feat she accomplishes by continually bringing new products into the store and getting to know her customers and their likes and needs. “I think that’s what keeps my customers coming back to me, I build relationships with them. I end up knowing them on a first name basis and getting to know them personally,” Leigh Ann says.

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Kinsley Walsh and Kayla Harris, who have both been members of the Prominent Fox team for about a year, say they love coming into Prominent Fox every day for work. “Leigh Ann is such a good boss. She is so cool about everything, and she just always makes us feel good,” Kinsley says. Kayla agrees, adding: “She's one

of the best bosses I’ve ever had and she just makes the environment such a positive atmosphere, and really treats her employees like family. I've never had a boss like her, and she makes me really enjoy working at Prominent Fox every day, and also the store itself is just such a fun place.” When the City of Leesburg offered Leigh Ann the second location on Main Street, she jumped at the chance. At the new location, customers can now find clothing, accessories, and products from the above-mentioned companies, while the 4th Street location will soon feature decor, furniture, and other home goods and accessories.


Kinsley Walsh

Morgan Myer

Kayla Harris

Kenzie Berry

SALES ASSOCIATE

SALES ASSOCIATE

SALES ASSOCIATE

SALES ASSOCIATE

Since expanding to the shop’s second location in May, the girls have watched their original client base returning as usual and have seen a lot of new faces as well. “It’s been amazing. It’s so exciting to see and meet more customers. They love our products, so it’s been exciting to have more clientele and see people fall in love with Prominent Fox,” Kayla says. Kinsley adds, “We’ve had a lot of new faces come in, and we’re really glad they’re finding us. I love making our customers feel good about themselves and feel special, especially when they try on outfits and just look amazing.”

Some of Kinsley’s and Kayla’s favorite Prominent Fox items are the dresses, rompers, and tops. “They’re so different; I feel like you can’t find them anywhere else,” Kayla says. Kinsley also loves Prominent Fox’s jewelry options, and says her style matches the style of Prominent Fox perfectly. It’s also very important to Leigh Ann that she brings other local small businesses and entrepreneurs into her shop, a few being Cracker and Cur, SPRAY Mobile Tanning, and Madden Design products, among more. “We’re always expanding and growing, and I have new arrivals all the time.

We’re always switching it up so you never know what you’re going to find,” Leigh Ann says.

352.435.7304 200 W. Main St., Leesburg

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Getting to the

Lake County Water Authority officials talk about the condition of the area’s many lakes. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN


STATE OF THE LAKES: With summer upon us, Lake County’s claim to fame – its more than 1,000 lakes – are a focus among boaters, swimmers, fishermen, sunset chasers, photographers and people just wishing to stroll around and enjoy the lakes’ generally peaceful nature. Because of that, water officials are continually looking at water conditions to see where the lakes are thriving and where they may be in need of help.

LAKE COUNTY WATER AUTHORITY The Lake County Water Authority (LCWA) has been dedicated to water quality improvements in our lakes and rivers since 1953. Its office, based in Tavares, is run by a board of trustees and a staff committed to not only doing what they can to uphold the organization’s mission, but to spread awareness of what people can do to help. The LCWA works closely with other entities like the St. John’s River Water Management District (SJRWMD), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), city and county officials and residents.

HARRIS CHAIN OF LAKES According to the LCWA’s Executive Director Ron Hart, the good news is that the Harris Chain of Lakes is at the top of its game. “The Harris Chain of Lakes is one of the few in Florida we are seeing tremendous improvements in water quality, habitat and fisheries,” Ron says, explaining that those improvements are due to various projects the LCWA and partnering organizations have led and helped fund. He adds, “Our agency and multiple other agencies within our county have placed a lot of effort and money into implementing programs that have dramatically reduced pollutant

loadings to our water bodies, and established quality habitats within our lakes and waterways, and we’re seeing the results of the benefits now due to the improvements that have been occurring over the last 10 years.” Ron says one of the greatest benefactors of those efforts is bass fishing, a sport near and dear to Lake County. He says for many years, Lake County was known as the place to catch trophy fish, but conditions had declined drastically, that is, until recently. “Fishing tournaments were avoiding Lake County because of the poorquality habitats and the low number of game fish. Now, they are really starting to flock to Lake County because they are getting some of the highest catch rates in the country when they are fishing on our water bodies. Not only that, but it is also large fish that they are catching,” Ron says. “It represents the county very well in the work we are doing.”

CLERMONT CHAIN OF LAKES According to Water Resources Director Jason Danaher, the Clermont Chain of Lakes in the south end of the county is a whole different story. He said certain areas, including Lake Minneola, a highly frequented lake for recreational swimming and boating, is experiencing an unusual outbreak of blue green algae blooms,

which could potentially be dangerous if not managed. Jason says when City of Clermont officials notice a heavy bloom in the Waterfront Park area, they’ll immediately call on the LCWA to take water samples and test them for toxins. “We’ve tested it many times and although there is the presence of the blue-green algae, the concentration of toxins has been very low or not present at all. It’s still well below EPA guidelines as far as what’s considered harmful for humans or pets,” Jason says. “Blue green algae is natural, it’s been around for billions of years. You look at a super clear lake, and if you go to sample it, there’s going to be blue green algae but just in low concentrations.” He says the thing to look out for is pond scum, that sometimes looks like spilled blue-green paint, on the lake’s surface. “When you see the pond scum, that’s when people start to notice it and when it’s at that high of a concentration, you run the risk of it producing toxins,” Jason says. Ron says, “We tell people, if it looks bad and there’s a surface scum, avoid it, don’t go in. Even though it’s probably very safe, because it rarely produces toxins in high amounts, it’s still better to err on the side of caution, than risk the health of your children.”

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS On the Harris Chain, the impacts from muck farms near the lakes were affecting water quality, but the SJRWMD purchased many of those former agricultural sites to control the loading source of excessive nutrients,

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cutting off the flow of nutrients coming downstream and into the water. On the Clermont chain, the culprit stems from new development and a growing population. Water Resources Manager Steve Crawford says eliminating the problem will take the cooperation of residents who live near lakes to leave native shoreline vegetation intact so the plants can filter upland runoff and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. Instead, many lakeside residents clear the land to create beaches. This leads to more nutrients entering our waterways, erosion problems and attracting invasive plants like torpedo grass. Most of all, Steve says residents throughout town need to accept that “maybe it’s ok that our yards are not as green, because instead, we want clear water in our lakes.” Ron says green lawns equal green lakes. “When people fertilize their lawns, the fertilizer runs off into the lakes and what doesn’t is going somewhere, so we’re seeing elevated nutrients in our ground water,” he says. Also, as the population of people in and around the Clermont Chain and throughout Lake County increases, so

MOST ABUNDANT FISH SPECIES THAT CAN BE FOUND IN LAKE COUNTY’S LAKES: • Bluegill (by far the most common) • Threadfin Shad

• Pugnose Minnow • Largemouth Bass • Redbreast Sunfish (in many lakes the redbreast sunfish would be replaced by the redear sunfish)

• Eastern • Mosquitofish

• Florida Gar

• Inland Silverside

• Seminole Killifish

• Golden Shiner

does the volume of sewage, which includes nutrients and pharmaceuticals. “Pharmaceuticals are great for our health, but they are also entering our groundwater and waterways and some of those persist for very long periods of time,” Steve says.

PROJECTS Ron says many of the improvements the Harris Chain has experienced are due in part to the construction of the Nutrient Reduction Facility (NuRF) downstream of Lake Apopka that treats the source of the water running into area lakes. Ron says the facility is designed to remove 60 percent of the phosphorus in the water. Phosphorus is important because it is the primary cause of algal blooms. The improvements being made at Lake Apopka by the SJRWMD combined with the 60% nutrient removal greatly improves water clarity, habitat, and fisheries downstream in places like Lake Beauclair and Lake Dora. With that, Ron adds: “I think we’re at the tip of the iceberg right now.

We’re seeing some very positive benefits, but if we continue on this route, we can greatly increase what the potential truly is on these waterbodies.” Ron says the LCWA is seeing new areas of submerged aquatic plant growth in these lakes. These areas are creating new fishery habitats that have not been present for over 50-70 years. “I think it’s an exciting time to work for our agency and be a resident living here because we’re seeing some results, I thought we would never see in my lifetime on the Harris Chain of Lakes,” he says. Ron adds: “We have a lot of very good cooperative agencies that are all working together towards one common goal,” citing the LCWA, the SJRWMD and the FFWCC. “With the work they are doing in restoring and managing habitats along our lakes, we’re seeing some dramatic improvements,” Ron says. Other beneficial projects include major storm water treatment projects like those recently funded and constructed in Tavares, Leesburg and Clermont. These systems have been installed to filter the majority of pollutants out of the stormwater prior to entering our lakes

Steve Crawford, Ron Hart and Jason Danaher

Lake Louisa

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Lake Minneola

Lake Eustis

Lake Harris


Lake Yale

Emeralda Marsh

Horseshoe Lake Wolf Wolf Lake Lake

Montgom ery Lake

Umatilla

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Lake Tutuola

North Lake Mer ritt Yale-Gr iffin Canal

Moon Lake

Griffin Flowway

Moss Lake

TANNER PRESERVE

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Lake Arthur

Little Lake Blackw elder

Little Lake Br acy

La ke Sm it h

CITY OF LADY LAKE

Emeralda Marsh

Lake Hiawatha

Indianhouse Lake

Indianhouse Lake

Lake Br acy

Sylvan Lake

WILKIN PROPERTY

Mir r or La ke

Mathews Pond

Schoolhouse Lake

Deacon Deacon Lake

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Jones Lake Pine Me a dow s L a ke

Lake Spencer

VIL LA CITY WCS

Shepherd Lake

Sams Sams Lake Lake

Gourd Lake

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Lake Desire Hear t Heart Lake Lake

Teardr op Lake

Lake Emma

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Lake Idlewild

Lake Nanny

Lake Lake Christa Christa

Unity Lake

Long Lake A ps ha wa La k e

Clear Lake

Lake Lake Isabel Isabel

" p

EAGLE RIDGE PRESERVE

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Haynes Cr eek

OCKLAWAHA PICNIC GROUNDS

BURREL LOCK & DAM

Cam p Lake

Clear Lake

Dot Lake

Lake Griffin

Lake Lucy 8-Ball La ke Apshaw a Lake

Trout Lake

" p Cherry Lake

Big Bluff Lake

CITY OF FRUITLAND PA R K

Lake Lucy Lake Lucy

Big Bluff Lake

Grassy Lake

Wilson Wilson Lake Lake

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FLOWING WAT ERS PRESERVE

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CITY OF EUSTIS

Spring Lake

Willie Lake

Cook Lake

Hunt Lake

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CITY OF MINNEOLA

Stew art Lake

Little Bluff Lake

Palatlakaha River

Lake Do t

Lake Eustis

" p

Little Grassy Lake

Green Lake Lake Gracie

Lake Indiola

Lake Jackson

Maggie, Lake

Ch loe, Lake

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La ke N et tie

Lake Claire

Lake Linda

CITY OF MASCOTTE

HIDDEN WAT ERS PRESERVE

Plum Lake

Palatlakaha River

Sunset Sunset Lake Lake

Lake Luana

Silver Lake

CITY OF GROVELAND Dukes Lake

Haines Lake

Co ok Lake

Purdum Pond

Lake Minneola

Gallow s Lake

FERN PRAIR IE PRESERVE

Patterson Lake

West Crooked Lake

La k e H er m o sa

East Crooked Lake

SABAL BLUFF PRESERVE Lake Dicie

Lake Lake Cather Catherine ine

Lorraine

Lake Etowah

Linda, Linda, Lake Lake

Edgewood Lake La k e Wood wa r d

BOUR LAY HIST. NATU RE PARK

Clarence Lake

Knight Lake

Lake Louise

Lake Hiaw atha

Cr own Lake

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Lake Memory

Lake Juniata

" p Lake Willow

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Lake Hiaw atha Canal

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CITY OF LEESBURG

Lake Charles

Sparkling Water Lake

" p

Lake Saunders

Dead River

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La k e Jo hn

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Danger Pond

Lake David

Lake Gertrude

Lake Frances

Lake Elsie

Shady Nook Lake West Dixie Lake

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East Dixie Lake

Shakey Shakey Lake Lake

Lake Lake Audr ey

Jacks Lake

Lake Douglas

Do ra Canal

Lake Lucerne

C ry s ta l La k e

Lake Tavares

Bo naire Pond

Center Lake

Dot, Lake

Ja c k s La k e

" p

Ho llywood, Lake

Lake Stew art

CITY OF CLERMONT

Lake Palatlakaha

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St Clair Lake

Sunnyside, Lake

" p Lake Winona Big Bear Lake

" p Sumner Lake

Minnehaha/P alatlakaha Canal

Lake Winona Canal

Palatlakaha River

Olsen Lake

Cresc ent Lake Wilma Lake

Middle Middle Bear Bear Lake Lake

Priest Basin

Lake Dora

Marm ette Canal

" p Stewart Lake

FLAT ISLAND PRESERVE

Lake Minnehaha

Little Bear Bear Lake Lake

Los t La k e

Lake Harris

Lake Wash

CITY OF TAVA R E S

Lake Newark

Lake Beauclair

Lake Virginia

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Lake Idam er e BANANA POINT

Lake Felter

" " p p

Helena Ru n

D ia n e La ke

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Bu gg Spring Ru n

Lake Terry

Lake Susan

Lake Carlton

WINONA CANAL

Monovista Canal

Lake Lake Clare Clare

Lake Willamee

Hattie Hattie Lake

Lake Lake Kather Katherine ine

Black Lake

Astatula Sand Mine Bu gg Spring

Lake Lake Minneola Minneola Canal Canal

CR Small Lake

Arlene, Lake

Lake Melton

Lake Victor ia H ors e s hoe La ke

CR Big Lake

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Crescent Lake

" p

HICKORY POINT RECREAT ION AL FACILITY CROOKED RIVER PRESERVE

Lake Jem

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Mill Pond

" p

Lake Margaretta

Lake Bell

Ralph La ke

Saddle Bag Lake

Lake Lena

M-2 PROPOSED

Stum p Lake

Heron, Lake La ke Ma r y

Speckled Perch Canal Shell Cr acker Canal

Sap Pond

Lucke Lucke Lake

Mill Stream Swamp

Eagle Lake

Egret, Lake

SAWMILL LAKE

Kahur ski Kahur ski LakeLake

Lake Lot's Wife

Saw Mil l Lake

Evert, Lake

Florence Lake

Blue Br eam Canal

Pike Canal

Red Br east Canal

Warmouth Canal Sunfish Canal

Dague Lake

Bass Canal

King Lake Summ erall Lake

Pine Island Lake

Little Lake Harris

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Porter Porter Lake Lake

Twin Lakes

Lessm an Lake

Big Cam p Lake Little Lake Nellie

Pretty Lake

Harris Estates Canal

Sun Lake

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Lake Glona

Lake Louisa

Erie Lake

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Pumpkin Center Lake

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Dilly Marsh

" p

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Lake Gary

Blue Spring Lake

Ho lland Lake

CITY OF A S TAT U L A

Lake Nellie

CITY OF H O W E Y- I N - T H E - H I L L S

Turkey Lake

M-4 PROPOSED

Lake Sally

Pretty Lake Little Creek

Dilly Marsh

Old Peat Mine

Clermont Chain of Lakes

Harris Chain of Lakes

DOUBLE RUN PRESERVE

Lake Lucille

Lake Br ight

Haw k Lake

An nabelle Reed Lake

C la y La k e

Emor y Lake

Ho ward Lake

Bear Lake

Fischer Lake

Round Lake

Duda Farms

Esri, HERE, Garmin, (c) OpenStreetMap contributors

Aerial photos provided by the Lake Water Authority. // Photos of Steve Crawford, Jason Danaher and Ron Hart by Nicole Hamel.

Mulehead Lake

“These projects address historic discharges of pollutants that are not required to be treated by regulation, but rather, projects these cities are choosing to perform because it’s the right things to do to protect our lakes and waterbodies. That’s why we’re helping these cities by funding the implementation of these retrofits,” Ron says.

ON THE HORIZON In August 2020, the Lake County Water Authority hired a national consulting firm to conduct a study of the sources responsible for the pollution of chemicals causing blue-green algae blooms and other problems in Lake Minneola. The agencies are working on determining the source of the problem but have been unable to trace it, so Jason says the next step may be testing the water as it enters Lake Louisa – the mouth of the Clermont Chain of Lakes. “We’re looking at trying to treat a symptom, the symptom being the blue green algae that persists in Lake Minneola, but we have to work on trying to find the source to cut the head off the dragon and that may be the source of

Ro bbins Lake

CITY OF GROVELAND

M-5

Tr ipple Lake

Esri, H

Sugar Lake

water making its way down the chain, because all the Clermont Chain water bodies were experiencing blur-green algae this year,” Jason says.

SHARING THE WATERWAYS According to the LCWA, a female manatee named “Leesburg” — the first recorded manatee in Lake County — was first spotted in the Harris Chain of Lakes in 2015. “Leesburg” became a familiar face in many areas around Lake Harris, but because she was suffering from frost bite from cold water temperatures, she was captured, transported to Lowry Park Zoo, fitted with a tracking device and released to the St. John’s River. Immediately however, she made her way right back to Leesburg and with her companion “Trevluc,” (culvert spelled backwards since that’s where he was rescued from), she later became pregnant. In the summer of 2017, she gave birth to a calf the public helped name “Sunset.” Unfortunately, with an increase in numbers of manatee visits comes an increase in manatee deaths, most due to collisions with watercraft, a fate that

Trevluc and Leesburg both met. In fact, when Leesburg died as a result of a boat strike about a month before she was found injured by a local resident in January 2020, she was carrying a near full-term male calf, who also died. According to Ron, the same thing continues happening to other manatees and because of that, he urges people to stay alert when boating on the lakes. LCWA officials say boaters can help protect these gentle giants by tasking someone to be the lookout for manatees and boat responsibly, particularly when in a narrow waterway, along a shoreline or nearing a navigation lock or other structures. For more information on manatees or the Lake County Water Authority’s programs, including podcasts, visit lcwa.org or call 352.324.6141.

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Enjoy both splash and dash with Jones Brothers Air and Seaplane Adventures.


THE TO-DO LIST

JUL

10

jul. 2021

JUL

8

ANTIQUE SH OW

ARMED WITH ARTIFACTS If you enjoy military memorabilia, then be sure to visit the Florida Military Collectors Show, which will be held at Renninger’s Antique Center in Mount Dora. Collectors, aficionados, and fans will have a field day while browsing at helmets, knives, swords, bayonets, uniforms, and medals. 20651 U.S. Hwy. 441 Mount Dora. Call 407.462.2163 for more information.

SH O PPIN G

Fresh from the farm Those who shop the Lake County Farmers Market are in the ripe place at the ripe time. The free weekly market draws 300 vendors who sell produce, seafood, raw honey, plants, and handmade items. Every Thursday July 8, 15, 22 and 29. 2101 N. County Road 452, Eustis. Call 352.357.9692 for more information.

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jul.

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

AN ACT OF WAR

7/9

JUL

17-18

COMPETITION

A LICENSE TO THRILL The “World’s Fastest Race on Water” will certainly make a big splash when it comes to Lake County. The country’s best jet ski racers hope to leave competitors in their wake when they flock to Wooton Park in Tavares for the Hydro Drag Jet Ski Nationals. This is a great time to introduce yourself to this highly explosive and exciting sport. 100 E. Ruby St., Tavares. Call 850.376.5495 for more information.

EVENT

PITCHER PERFECT The beer crawl at Corelli’s Pantry in downtown Clermont promises to brew up plenty of suds and satisfaction. For $20, attendees can crawl to participating businesses for a little shopping and sampling of more than 20 varieties of beer. They’ll also enjoy live music.

Clermont Performing Arts Center will present “WWII—A Personal Journey,” an intimate look at the war through the eyes of celebrated Americans who served their country with honor. Charlie Grinker, who won Emmy and Peabody awards, shares his interviews with WWII heroes such as General William Westmoreland and Senator Daniel Inouye. 3700 S. Hwy. 27, Clermont. Call 352.394.4800 for more information. PIPELINE

7/13-7/31

The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center in The Villages’ Spanish Springs Town Square, presents “Pipeline,” a stage drama by Dominique Morisseau. The show draws its name from, and delves into the unfortunate social phenomenon of the school-to-prison pipeline that sometimes effects young Black men in today’s society. 1051 Main St., The Villages. Call 352.751.7799 for more information. MOVING IN FOR THE KILL

JUL

17

7/16-8/8

Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse presents “Murder Mystery,” a whodunit, spine-tingling thriller. It’s a riotously funny spook of amateur theatrics in which everything that can go wrong does. The scenery collapses, cues are missed, and lines are forgotten. 1100 N. Unser St., Mount Dora. Call 352.383.4616 for more information.

732 W. Montrose St., Clermont. Call 352.708.4085 for more information.

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THE TO-DO LIST

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

7/3 @ noon

7/17 @ 5 p.m.

CRYSTAL VISION DUO Hurricane Dockside Grill, Tavares

CRYSTAL VISION DUO Cody’s Original Roadhouse, The Villages

7/3 @ 1 p.m.

7/18 @ 4 p.m.

JIMMY HUNTER Lake Harris Hideaway, Tavares

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

7/3 @ 5 p.m.

7/24 @ 7 p.m.

SEPTEMBER DOGS Puddle Jumpers, Tavares

SEPTEMBER DOGS Fish Camp Lake Eustis, Tavares

7/4 @ 1 p.m.

7/24 @ 7 p.m.

YOU’LL GIVE A HOOT

C.O.D. FLORIDA Yalaha Bootlegging Company, Yalaha

KEN MELLONS Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

Gazing skyward and seeing birds in their natural habitat will be a feather in your cap if you like to volunteer. So says the 1963 song that told us “the bird is the word.” But have you actually seen them in their natural habitat? Here’s your chance. The public is invited to assist park staff in identifying various species of birds and butterflies that inhabit Ellis Acres Reserve in Paisley. Participants must bring their own binoculars.

7/4 @ 1 p.m.

7/25 @ 11 a.m.

JIMMY HUNTER Lake Harris Hideaway, Tavares

C.O.D. FLORIDA Grand Oaks Resort, Weirsdale

7/10 @ 5 p.m.

7/30 @ 4 p.m.

C.O.D. FLORIDA Grand Oaks Resort, Weirsdale

CRYSTAL VISION DUO Cody’s Original Roadhouse, The Villages

7/10 @ 7 p.m.

7/31 @ 7 p.m.

DENNIE AND THE JETS Elks Lodge #1578, Tavares

DARRYL WORLEY Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

7/16 @ 5 p.m.

7/31 @ 8 p.m.

MACK LIVERMAN Hurricane Dockside Grill, Tavares

JEFF VITOLO AND THE QUARTER MILE REBELS Rat Rods Wood Fire Pizza, Wildwood

JUL

24

AC TIVIT Y

25302 County Road 42, Paisley. Call 352.253.4950 for more information.

7/16 @ 6 p.m. CRYSTAL VISION DUO Lake Veterans Club, Tavares

7/16 @ 9 p.m.

Let us help you get the word out!

8/1 @ 1 p.m. C.O.D. FLORIDA Yalaha Bootlegging Company, Yalaha

SEPTEMBER DOGS Frank’s Place, Leesburg

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

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

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

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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.-9p.m. Downtown Clermont

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

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

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


LOCAL TALENT

PEO PLE

Tuned into his passion Local man hasn’t let an illness stop him from finding his voice. STORY: JAMES COMBS

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

ach day, aspiring singers arrive in Nashville hoping to make it in the country music business. Tyler Haney, a singer/ songwriter from Leesburg, joined those dreamers when he moved to Music City in 2018. Odds are against him becoming a mega star, but he remains undeterred. He’s used to overcoming odds. Tyler, 29, battles spherocytosis, a blood disorder that causes anemia and dehydration. The condition landed Tyler in the hospital for weeks during his childhood, forcing him to miss out on sports and social events. Fortunately, one activity always brightened his day during lengthy hospital stays: listening to country music. “Country music was a blessing for me because it helped me cope with what I was going through,” he says. The disorder attacked red blood cells in his spleen, which was surgically removed when Tyler was 12. Following surgery, his condition improved and his passion for performing music was unleashed. He played various instruments

Do you know of a talented person in our community?

throughout his middle and high school years and taught himself to play guitar and piano while studying music business at Southeastern University. He also led musical worship services for several churches. His big break came nearly seven years ago when the owners of 1884 Restaurant and Bar in Eustis invited Tyler to perform live. That first gig was a big hit. “Performing in front of a large crowd gave me a sense of security that I can really do this,” he says. “People liked my music that night, which gave me fulfillment.” Tyler spent several years performing at local venues before taking his show to Nashville. He typically sings at dive bars on Music Row, a lively district home to record label offices, radio stations, and recording studios. “It’s crazy,” he says. “You get the drunk people who literally will never remember your name, and you also get people who are mesmerized about being in the country music capital of the world and appreciate good music. They are completely engrossed in what you’re doing.” Like many singers who move to Nashville, he is still trying to figure out where he fits in. However, he remains more focused on enjoying his musical journey than singing his way to stardom. “I don’t care about signing a label and being part of the bureaucratic nonsense,” he says. “I just want to make enough money to continue doing what I love.” Tyler’s country music strays from the stereotypical truck-driving, beer-guzzling, girl-ogling lyrics. He says his songs are relatable because they’re “about things that have happened to me that I know have happened to other people.” He anticipates releasing his first single, “Dust Cloud,” in August. The song’s message: Dust clouds are a wayward traveler just passing through before light shines on a new day. An apt metaphor for a man whose life continues shining above the storm of a lifelong blood disorder.

Email their story to james@akersmediagroup.com

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Seaplane flights are a fun way to enjoy the Sunshine State’s wilderness and beauty. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL AND ANTHONY RAO

hose seeking an unforgettable water adventure should look to the sky instead of the surf. Jones Brothers Air and Seaplane Adventures in Tavares, famous for providing “the ride of your life,” offers a variety of scenic seaplane flightseeing tours, from a 15-minute touch and go on the water with aerial views of Mount Dora and Tavares, to fly-in breakfast, lunch, and dinner excursions, and full-day trips to Clearwater, Cedar Key, and Key West, the southernmost Point of the U.S. Among Jones Brothers’ most popular adventures are: • A 45-minute Gator Tour for spotting wild gators over Lake Apopka on the way to Orlando attractions; • A Seaplane Bar Hop, a four-hour hop to different waterfront watering holes and restaurants with live music and cold brews; • A 30-minute Sunset Celebration flight of breathtaking sunset views across vast areas of Lake Harris and Lake Griffin and the wilderness of the Ocklawaha River and Ocala National Forest before turning back across Lake Yale and Lake Eustis in time to fly into the sunset across Lake Dora.

“The experience of splashing in and out of Lake Dora is exhilarating,” says Tavares City Administrator John Drury, adding that many passengers find their first seaplane ride to be unforgettable. “The flight will remain in your memory forever as a bucket list item worth doing again and again.”

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The excitement begins soon after passengers buckle up and the pilot skims the top of the lake on takeoff and then flies low in certain areas for amazing bird’s-eye views of the area’s wilderness and beauty. “People really love the water takeoffs and landings,” adds Peter Closi, president of Jones Brothers Air and Seaplane Adventures. “With so many tour and route options, there is plenty to see for everyone. Our tours range from the popular tourist attractions and gator parks, to the spring-fed, crystal-clear waters and the St. Johns River, which is Florida’s longest river, and the only other North-flowing river in the world other than the Nile. Lake County is also home to some of the most beautiful sunsets; it’s simply breathtaking to see from the air.” “At some point during each tour, the pilot will gently land on the water, skim along the water for a bit and then take off again,” Peter adds. “It’s something most people have never experienced in their life and cannot be compared to any other sort of conventional flying.” Another fun seaplane/water offering for outdoor enthusiasts is a 15- to 20-minute seaplane flight from Lake Dora over Harris Chain of Lakes. After landing on Lake Eustis, the adventure continues with a one-hour guided kayak tour from Adventure Paddle back to Tavares through the beautiful Dora Canal.

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Peter Closi

A lunch fly-in to Lake Weir includes taxing up to the beach so passengers can enjoy lunch at Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Grill, which features Florisiana cuisine and menu selections inspired by deep-seated culinary roots of Cajun, Creole, Low Country, BBQ, and Spanish cuisine. Jones Brothers also offers a romantic dinner fly-in to Hillstone Restaurant, an upscale lakefront setting in the Winter Park area, or passengers can choose alternative restaurants. If breakfast sounds better, there’s a fly-in to DeLeon Springs, along the edge of the St. John’s River and Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where passengers can enjoy pancakes at Old Spanish Sugar Mill, where each table is equipped with a griddle and guests are given pitchers of homemade batter to make their own pancakes. Tavares established its seaplane base in 2010. Jones Brothers began the same time and has grown into an iconic attraction in the heart of America’s Seaplane City. The company’s fleet includes a Cessna 172, Cessna 185, Cessna 206 and SeaRey. In addition to seaplane tours and charters,

Jones Brothers also provides training to over 18,000 pilots and Central Florida visitors and hosts several annual events such as “Seaplane Bingo,” which awards a $10,000 aviation scholarship to a student. Peter, a Florida native and entrepreneur, acquired Jones Brothers last December with a mission to combine Jones Brothers’ seaplane tour, charter, and training operation with his two helicopter and seaplane tour locations in Key West and St. Pete-Clearwater. “I have a passion for aviation and see a tremendous amount of growth potential for Jones Brothers with its symbiotic relationship with the City of Tavares,” says Peter. “With thousands of glassy water lakes, Lake County is a very ideal location for training seaplane pilots and I only see demand increasing. By year-end, I plan to double the number of employees, triple the fleet of aircraft, and call Lake County home.” To learn more about seaplane adventures, visit jonesairandsea.com.

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

THERESA CAMPBELL

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HI, SOCIETY!

Evelyn and Joesphine White

CVMA National VP Christopher Akers, Marie Bogdonoff Founder and CEO Villagers for Veterans, LCDR Katheryn Wilgus NC Navy Retired and Al Newman CVMA Florida Representative

Jan Wideman and Theresa Campbell

Brittany, Josh and Deborah White

LCDR Katheryn Wilgus, NC, Navy Retired

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC

Marie Bogdonoff, Founder and CEO Villagers for Veterans

Ruth DiDomenico and Linda Muss

Jan and Jim Wideman with Ber Kremer and Jim Revell

Ann Fagan, Carol Kaliwowski and Christine O’Brien-Veitch

CLASSY INAUGU RA L GA LA @ LAKESIDE INN ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. Mount Dora’s Lakeside Inn was the venue for the inaugural New Beginnings Gala, a benefit hosted April 11 by Villagers for Veterans to raise funds for transitional housing to be built for female veterans. The home will be called Ashley’s House, in memory of First Lieutenant Ashley White, who was killed during combat operations in Afghanistan. The next fundraiser for Ashley’s House will be Villagers for Veterans’ seventh Orchid Gala, from 5 to 9 p.m., Aug. 7, with the theme “A Night in Havana,” hosted by the new Brownwood Hotel & Spa in The Villages.

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

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Julius Francis and Jose Rivera

John Riordan and Erika Greene

Mike Vitale, Thom Kieff, Heather Bigard and Stan Sidon

Cathy Bateham and Richard Chapman

Susan Saunders and Lori Wuchevich

Amanda Nethero and Shahanaz Rahaman

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

HI, SOCIETY!

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC

Kroger Employees

Deena Thurmond and Joe Carlisle

I M PR E S SI V E K ROGER T OU R ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. Clermont Chamber of Commerce members were invited to a special behind-the-scenes tour on May 26 of Kroger’s new 375,000-square-foot high-tech distribution center in Groveland, featuring Ocado’s cutting-edge robotics and automation system. Kroger, expected to bring more than 400 jobs to Lake County, is the country’s largest grocery retailer. The Groveland facility will allow the grocer to fill its Kroger online orders to be delivered directly to Florida customers.

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Tammy Holt, Vickie Stockglausner, and Sandra Guckenberger Mike Ison, Gary Hessert, Josua Martinez, Jonathan Brownfield, Cindi Johnston and Tim Myers

Erika Buigas, David D’Agostino, Chuck McMaster and Pam Jones Shaina Keough, Stuart Scott and Jill Leasure

Hannia Yarbrough and Jonathan Brownfield

E 'S WHER ?! M Y P IC

Hardy Vaughn and Brad White Peggy Ford and Linda Weekley

Robin Richter, Tim Totten, Emily Lee and Brooke Matthews

N EW BR A NCH BA N K I N T OW N @ TAVARES CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL. Tavares Chamber of Commerce hosted its June Business After Hours gathering with a ribbon cutting on June 10 to celebrate Seaside Bank and Trust’s new Tavares branch location at 115 E. Burleigh Blvd. The crowd was treated to refreshments, hors d’oeuvres, libations, and door prizes while meeting and greeting with others in the business community. Tavares Chamber of Commerce offers Business After Hours on the second Thursday of each month from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

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

HI, SOCIETY!


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villages PEOPLE. PLACES. EVENTS.

Charity begins at home

Just poking around

Fan-atic

One organization seeks to build a transition home for female veterans.

Villagers enjoy the ancient sport of fencing.

Rich Sobieray delights in his extensive collection of sports memorabilia.


MEET A VILLAGER

PEO PLE

Coloring his world Longtime sports fan delights in sketching, giving away his portraits of athletes. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

ich Sobieray, 81, lights up as he reminisces in the “memory room” of his villa home, filled with a wide array of sports memorabilia, including his most-prized sports item—the No. 5 Cincinnati Reds’ jersey he wore on the mound in a Reds fantasy camp game. “We were at a Cincinnati Reds game in Cincinnati for my birthday on July 20, 1985, and my daughter Robyn asked me, ‘If you had your wish for anything that you could have in this world for your birthday, what would it be?’” Rich replied: “I’d want to play one inning at third base down there.” He didn’t know the Reds were preparing to hold their first fantasy camp, where fans could play ball with former pros for a week in a setting like spring training. “I didn’t know anything about it until I got a call on Christmas Eve from Joe Nuxhall, who was the announcer and a former pitcher for the Reds, and he said, ‘Get your glove oiled, get your spikes clean. You’re coming to fantasy camp.’” Rich, a Villages resident for 21 years, went to camp in 1986 and liked it so much that he returned in 1990. “They treat you like you’re a prized rookie the whole time,” he says. His collection includes much more than a Reds’ jersey.

≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL

“Everything has a meaning; it’s not just collecting,” says the retired Indianapolis, Indiana architect, who draws colored pencil portraits of baseball greats in his favorite room, where the walls are covered with watercolor portraits of hall of fame baseball players painted by Dick Perez, whose artwork appeared on Donruss baseball cards. “Perez came here, and he liked my Mickey Mantle,” says Rich, who gave Perez the sketch of the famous New York Yankees player. “I don’t keep them; I give them away,” the Villager says of his artwork. “There is a guy here in The Villages, Sam McDowell, who pitched for the Cleveland Indians, and I did his portrait and asked if he wanted it. Yeah, he wanted it. His best friend is Joe West, who is an umpire in the National League, and he has been an umpire for a long time. I did a little research and found out Joe is a John Wayne fan, so I did a portrait of him and John Wayne looking at each other. They’re both patriotic guys, so I put a soldier in (the middle). Joe came up here and he wanted the picture. He’s a good guy.” Rich also treasures the friendships he’s forged in The Villages. “You can be out playing golf with a guy who was a Supreme Court justice

Do you know an interesting Villager?

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in Baltimore, and you don’t know that, and he doesn’t want to tell you that because he doesn’t care anymore. Or he could be a plumber,” says Rich. “The people here are unpretentious.”

Email theresa@akersmediagroup.com


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IN THE VILLAGES

CO MMENTARY

The enigma in your medicine cabinet There's a lot that goes unnoticed on the label of your multivitamins… STORY: JOE ANGIONE

he manufacturer of your multivitamins wants you to believe it is providing every vitamin you need to keep you in the best of health. But often that's not so. Vitamin makers will pack your multivitamin with an array of vitamins and supplements that may not be the wellbalanced blend that is a must for your daily health needs. Many doctors will tell you that if you’re in good health and eat healthy, there's probably no need to take a multivitamin. Others say the diet of most Americans can't possibly include every vitamin and supplement in the proper daily volume that your body needs. Nutritionists say these are the seven essentials for an adequate daily multivitamin: Vitamin D, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Folic acid and Vitamin B12. If your multivitamin has additional nutrients, such as other B vitamins, Chromium, Niacin, Vitamins C and A, that's good. It's a bonus. But, without the seven essentials, nutritionists believe you’re getting short changed. I was surprised that my multivitamin is missing Magnesium, Zinc and Iron. Unless you closely read the label on your multivitamin, you're in the dark about what you're swallowing. There are multivitamin formulas for young people, and formulas compounded for older folks who don't get much exercise. The first step in selecting a multivitamin is to choose one formulated for your age group, and one that includes the seven essentials. Some vitamins in a multivitamin are present in more than 100 percent of the minimum daily requirement. Some are at 125… 150… and sometimes 200 percent. Manufacturers put in more than 100 percent because each vitamin has a different absorption rate. For vitamins that are very difficult to absorb, more is packed into each capsule to give you the full 100 percent of the daily requirement. However, some vitamins in a multivitamin are present in less than 100 percent of their minimum daily requirement. And no one tells you why. Since absorption is such a critical factor in vitamin efficiency, it's strange that only fractions of the minimum daily value are included. There’s no clear answer for this, but it's an established practice of manufacturers. If your multivitamin's contents leave you with nagging questions, ask your doctor. Better still, ask your pharmacist. You'll probably get more precise answers. Multivitamins are an enigma, but they shouldn't be.

Joe Angione loves to share stories of his adventures.

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If you want to contact him, email joeangione@aol.com.


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A vital need Villagers for Veterans’ big project: building a transition home for female veterans in Lake County. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

illagers for Veterans continues to do more than its name implies since being formed in 2015 as a nonprofit to raise funds to help severely wounded military veterans. This extraordinary volunteer organization sees a need, addresses it, and devotes all efforts to make it happen. Case in point: getting building estimates toward their goal of building and operating “Ashley’s House,” a 4,000-square-foot transitional group home to be constructed on Grove Street in Eustis dedicated to the memory of First

Lieutenant Ashley White-Stumpf, 24, who was killed by an improvised explosive device during combat operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Oct. 22, 2011. “The house will be an all-female veteran transition home offering women veterans a temporary safe haven while also providing job training, counseling, and much needed female camaraderie as they work towards self-sufficiency in a secure and loving environment,” says Marie Bogdonoff, founder and CEO of Villagers for Veterans. The group noted on its Villagers for Veterans website that many veterans find it difficult to transition from

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military to civilian life, and that some find themselves facing severe financial hardship, PTSD, and the threat of homelessness. Even though there are transition programs provided by the military, Villagers for Veterans members discovered many of these programs are predominately geared towards men, while female veterans find themselves isolated, with fewer options than their male counterparts and face challenges unique to women. According to a study performed by HUD and the VA, female veterans are more likely to be homeless than their male counterparts. They are also four times more likely to be homeless than their non-veteran sisters. The Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau determined that “sex-segregated residential centers staffed by qualified individuals who are sensitive to the needs of female veteran culture” was a top priority because many women have faced domestic abuse and military sexual trauma, therefore living in a co-ed transition housing facility promoted by the military is not a safe option. In one documented case, a woman who experienced sexual trauma was housed in the same facility as a male sexual offender. “We identified a critical gap within the Veterans Administration to meet the serious needs of the ever-growing population of women veterans to have a stable environment,” says

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Villagers for Veterans founder Marie Bogondoff, who adds that women need a place where they can feel safe “while working to create a new beginning and pathway to a successful future.” Marie is hopeful for a late fall groundbreaking for Ashley’s House. Villagers for Veterans hosted its inaugural New Beginnings Gala at Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora on April 11 where they revealed plans for Ashley’s House and introduced Ashley’s family from Ohio, including her parents Robert and Debbie White, twin sister Brittany, and her brother Josh. “We are so honored,” Debbie said to the gala crowd of plans for a female transition house to be named in her daughter’s memory. “Ashley was very quiet, genuine, passionate person and that is all she ever wanted to do was take care of whoever she was taking care of, and I am hoping that is what this house accomplishes, to take care of the women who need taken care of, because they mean everything, the veterans mean everything.” Josh praised and thanked Villagers for Veterans for “taking it next to the level” in doing something different and needed for female veterans. The next fundraiser for Ashley’s House will be Villagers for Veterans’ seventh Orchid Gala, from 5 to 9 p.m., Aug. 7, with the theme “A Night

in Havana” at the new Brownwood Hotel & Spa. “People of these communities are super generous, and we hope that they will support this endeavor with cash donations, building products and services and by attending our many upcoming fundraisers,” says Marie, adding in order to move forward on Ashley’s House, items needed are cash, building materials, electrical, plumbing, lumber and anything else that helps the group be successful. “This first house being built under our New Beginnings program will hopefully become the footprint for future homes,” says Marie. “We realize the need is huge, but we need to start small so that we can make sure it is a success.” She adds that the New Beginnings Gala will become an annual event, and the next one is slated April 9, 2022, at Eustis Community Center, “and we want the community to be a big part of it.” Marie is eager to see Ashley’s House come to fruition. “The most exciting thing is the fact that we will meet a great need,” she says. “Women veterans are so very special and having Ashley’s family bless us with the permission to honor Ashley’s sacrifice is very humbling. It will serve to remind these women of the amazing sacrifice and it will give us the opportunity to thank them for their service.”


Villagers for Veterans Gala photos by Nicole Hamel.

Author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon penned the compelling book, “Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield,” a New York Times’ bestseller which is in pre-production for a movie to be produced by Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea, and Natalie Krinsky. In 2010, the U.S. Army created Cultural Support Teams, a secret pilot program to insert women alongside Special Operations soldiers, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and other special operations teams on sensitive missions in Afghanistan. The Army reasoned that women could access places and people inside Afghan homes that male soldiers could not and that female soldiers could play a unique role on Special Ops teams, accompanying male colleagues in questioning Afghan women. They could search

adult women for weapons, gather crucial intelligence, and build crucial relationships—woman to woman—in ways male soldiers were unable to do in an Islamic country. The CST’s work would take place in the midst of night raids aimed at capturing the weapon makers, fighters, organizers, funders and insurgency leaders with whom the women lived as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and grandmothers. Ashley was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a Medical Service Corps Officer after her graduation from Kent State University. When she heard about the CST program, she was running drills at the local armory in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where she was serving as a medic with the National Guard. She saw special ops recruiting posters that urged the women to join the mission

“and become part of history.” Ashley passed the grueling tests to become part of the elite unit of females hand-picked from the Army to serve in the highly specialized and challenging role. She was assigned to the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard, Goldsboro, N.C., and served as a member of the Cultural Support Team attached to a Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan. “I’ll be with the Rangers, not kicking down doors or anything, but as an enabler. I’ll be going into more dangerous areas, getting much closer to real combat, but I’ll be with the best of the best,” Ashley quietly told her brother Josh, who recalled the

Villagers for Veterans’ mission: to ensure veterans receive the tools and assistance needed for healing, a return to normalcy and an independent lifestyle. J U L 21 • VST Y L E

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FOUNDATION

conversation in the book “Ashley’s War.” She continued, “And I am going to be with an amazing bunch of girls who all made it through this pretty tough selection and training process. It’s a pretty incredible team.” Ashley kept the details of her deployment a secret from her parents. She didn’t want them to worry. She had them believing she would be setting up medic tents in Afghanistan. The book also tells of Ashley’s youth, the sweet love story of Ashley meeting and marrying her husband Jason, whom she met during her first months at Kent State University, and of the special bond she formed with fellow female soldiers in the CST program. Ashley was the first CTS member killed in action. Her name was placed on the Army Special Operations Memorial Wall of Honor alongside Army Rangers she served with in the unit. She was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Combat Action Badge. On Veterans Day 2013, one of Ashely’s fellow soldiers spoke of her dedication at the National Infantry Museum ceremony: “When Ashley White-Stumpf became an angel, she was at the apex of her life. She was a newlywed with an incredibly loving and supporting husband. She had just purchased her first home. She had a good job and an amazing family. And yet Ashley asked, “What can I do, how can I make a difference?”

“I’LL BE WITH THE RANGERS, NOT KICKING DOWN DOORS OR ANYTHING, BUT AS AN ENABLER. I’LL BE GOING INTO MORE DANGEROUS AREAS, GETTING MUCH CLOSER TO REAL COMBAT, BUT I’LL BE WITH THE BEST OF THE BEST.” — FIRST LIEUTENANT ASHLEY WHITE-STUMPF

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Photos of Ashley White-Stumpf courtesy of Catherine White.

Catalyst for starting Villagers for Veterans: Marie Bogdonoff attended a Christmas party at Walter Reed Medical Center on Dec. 7, 2014 for veterans recuperating from injuries and was stunned to see many warriors were still recovering from devastating injuries. The trip motivated Marie to start the nonprofit, 100% volunteer group Villagers for Veterans to help severely injured vets regain their independence.

Think about that for a minute. How much better would this world be if every person, at the happiest, most fulfilled point in their life, thought not for themselves, but for the good they could do for things bigger than themselves?” It is a question for each of us. Author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon ends “Ashley’s War” with those eight words. “When I was reading the first chapter of the book, it gave me chills and backflashes,” recalls Kathryn Wilgus, retired lieutenant commander of the U.S. Navy, who serves as vice president of Villagers for Veterans. Kathryn was an operating room nurse in Kandahar, Afghanistan and also deployed to Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan as a medical embedded training team member and female engagement team member that went on some special ops to interact with the Afghan National Army and police. Unlike Ashley, she says, “I didn’t have to go knocking on doors.” Kathryn began her military career in 1987 as part of the U.S. Army Reserve Delayed Entry Program and enlisted as an operating room technician. Some of her other key deployments were to Landstuhl, Germany in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; and a deployment on the United States Naval Ship Comfort for their Continuing Promise Mission to Antigua, Columbia and Panama. She retired in 2016 with 20 years combined military service. Kathryn cherishes serving as the board vice president of the Villagers for Veterans where she has promised on the group’s website to be a “force of nature” to move mountains and achieve great things for Veterans in The Villages as well as the Central Florida and greater Orlando area. Other board of directors for Villagers for Veterans are Paul Immordino, treasurer; Stephanie Gradford, military liaison; Sonya Kurfliss, secretary; Kevin St. Amant, Veterans Affairs director-at-large. To learn more about Villagers for Veterans’ services, programs and activities, visit VillagersforVeterans.org or call 516.220.5068.

SOME OF THE GROUP’S NOTABLE PROJECTS: • Presented disabled Army Sgt. Pam Kelly with a new smart home on the historic side of The Villages after a major fundraising campaign. Pam suffered a devastating injury in 2002 while training for deployment to Iraq which left her permanently paralyzed with very limited use of one arm. • Brought actor and veteran activist Gary Sinise to The Villages twice in 2019. He is best known as Lt. Dan in the movie “Forrest Gump.” Gary made an appearance to promote his best-selling book, “Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service,” and returned with his 13-piece Lt. Dan Band, performing at Lake Sumter Landing. The Gary Sinise Foundation aims to entertain troops, perform at USO shows, and raise money for disabled vets. “The point is, each and every one of us can all do something to empower Veterans and make their lives better. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. You just have to take the time to care,” Gary says on the Villagers for Veterans website. • Villagers for Veterans successfully raised $100,000 for an allwomen Honor Flight to take place in early 2022. • The group spearheaded a USO-themed event at Paquette’s Historical Farmall Tractor Museum in Leesburg to benefit Project SOS, which provides food to veterans and their families in the Ocala National Forest. • Villagers for Veterans is currently selling memorial bricks, ranging from $75 for a 4x8 brick to 8x8 bricks with logos for $175. The bricks will form the base of the flagpole at the women’s transition home in Eustis and be used to create a pathway from the house to the reflection garden.

MEETINGS AND EVENTS: • Villagers for Veterans’ meetings have resumed on the third Tuesday of each month, 6 to 8 p.m. at Lake Miona Recreation Center. Meetings focus on upcoming events, and members are to bring their own snack and beverage. Speakers, movies and more are featured at the meetings. • Villagers for Veterans’ monthly bingo is back on the second Monday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. at Wildwood Community Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door. • The seventh annual Orchid Gala, “A Night in Havana,” begins 5 p.m. Aug. 7, at Brownwood Hotel & Spa, 3003 Brownwood Blvd., The Villages. Music will be provided by Latin Fusion, and the gala will feature dinner, cash bar, silent auction, and a special appearance by the Hula Hands in Aloha. Tickets for the gala are $75. Proceeds from the gala will benefit Ashley’s House, the first transition home for female veterans to be built in Eustis.

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SOCIAL CLUB SPOTLIGHT

PEO PLE

Fight club Villagers take a stab at fencing. STORY: JAMES COMBS

utfitted in white pants and jackets, the two combatants look bizarrely similar. Their faces are invisible behind the dark screens of their masks. With swords in hand, they carefully position themselves in a taped-off area that is approximately 40 feet long and 4 feet wide. “En garde,” yells the referee. Their feet shuffle as they move back and forth, thrusting and parrying in a ballet-like movement all their own. Swords collide. The clang and clank of metal on metal rings out. The action is rapid as the combatants advance and retreat. Swat-clink-swat. One fighter aggressively lunges forward, striking his opponent in the torso. An electronic scoreboard buzzes. One point. This isn’t a duel-to-the-death sword fight on the deck of a pirate ship. Instead, the match takes place in El Santiago

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≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL Recreation Center in The Villages, where the centuries-old sport of fencing is alive and well. Doreen Lowther, president of The Villages Fencing Club, has one theory as to why. “Fencing allows me to get my lioness on,” she says. “When you put on your gear you feel like a gladiator inside the Colosseum.” Except these gladiators can conquer an opponent without the crushing guilt of having killed someone’s loved one in cold blood. “We spend a few hours poking each other with swords and we’re still friends afterward,” Doreen says while smiling. Inspired by the sword-fighting scenes from the old Robin Hood movies, Doreen began fencing at the now defunct Villages Lifelong Learning College. Her instructor encouraged her to form a club so fencers could continue honing their skills outside the class. She launched The Villages Fencing Club in 2013. The club follows guidelines established by the U.S. Fencing Association (USFA) and several members are USFAcertified referees. The sport is much safer than it looks.


Modern fencing blades have a flat tip and fencers wear a plethora of protective gear, including a jacket, a mask, and gloves. Women are required to wear chest pads. “You might get a little black or blue mark, but to me those little marks are a badge of courage,” Doreen says. “Nobody is going to get seriously hurt.” Although fencing can trace its origins to the Egyptians around 1200 B.C., the ancient sport comes with a high-tech twist. Electronic body cords run from the vest of the fencer’s protective jacket down to the sleeve and plug into the hilt of the weapon. Each touch of the blade in the correct target area results in a beeping sound from an electronic scoring machine placed near the piste, the French word for the strip on which fencers duel. Fencers have their choice of three separate weapons, each with its own target area. With the foil, which weighs less than a pound, points are scored with the tip of the blade touching the opponent’s torso. The epee is the largest and heaviest of the three weapons, and the entire body is a target area. The sabre is a thrusting weapon resembling a cavalry sword, and unlike the other two weapons, points can be scored with the edge of a blade by striking the torso, head, and arms. During club matches, fencers duel for three minutes, enjoy a minute of rest, then duel for another three

“OUR CLUB MEMBERS HAVE MARCHED IN THE VILLAGES CHRISTMAS PARADE WEARING OUR FENCING GEAR, INCLUDING OUR FACE MASKS. KIDS THOUGHT WE WERE EITHER BEEKEEPERS OR DARTH VADER’S SOLDIERS.” —DOREEN LOWTHER

minutes. The first to reach 10 points emerges victorious. Club members often refer to fencing as “physical chess” or “ballet with a sword” because winning requires a careful balance of brainwork, footwork, and bladework. “Fencing involves speed, the ability to change direction, and the ability to think fast on your feet and know what your opponent is doing so you can counter his moves,” says Rick Eldon, club treasurer. Rick is one of several club members who bring a wealth

of fencing experience. He spent four years on Southeastern Massachusetts University’s fencing team and returned to the sport after moving to The Villages 10 years ago. Hap Holden, vice president of the club, fenced at Drew University in northern New Jersey, and Laszlo Lipovics, who is the club’s teacher, was a fencing coach at Stonybrook University. In other words, club newbies will receive expert instruction. Just don’t expect to become a master jedi on the first day. “As a teacher, I want to get them going very quick, but like any other sport, it takes time,” Laszlo says. “But once their skillset improves, they’ll never want to leave fencing. It’s a great sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.” That’s the key. Few people 60 and older compete in physical sports like boxing or wrestling. Fencing is an ageless endeavor. “I’m 73 and I definitely enjoy the physical and mental benefits of fencing,” Doreen says. “And after a few hours of competing against each other, we laugh and have a good time. We all support one another and try to make each other better fencers.” The Villages Fencing Club meets on Mondays at Odell Recreation Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Thursdays at El Santiago Recreation Center from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. For more information, visit thevillagesfencingclub.webs.com.

Want to see your club in Social Club Spotlight? Send your suggestions to james@akersmediagroup.com.

JAMES COMBS

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BOOK CLUB

REVIEW

The Last Castle 'The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home’ by Denise Kiernan. A fascinating look at life in the ‘gilded age!’ STORY: KATHY PORTER

eorge Vanderbilt was one of the wealthiest men in America at age 25. When Vanderbilt visited the mountainous area of Asheville, North Carolina in 1888, he became captivated with its beauty and began his quest of acquiring land in the area to build a home. The plans for a rustic retreat soon transformed into a 250-room mansion named Biltmore. Tasked with the enormous job of building the mansion are the elite craftsmen and artisans of the day. Among them are architect Richard Morris Hunt, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and building engineer Rafael Guastavino, all icons in their fields. As the building of Biltmore progresses, the area reaps the benefit of Vanderbilt’s generosity. Additional railroad lines are laid, and the town has electric lighting. Hundreds of men are hired to work at the construction site and businesses furnishing the building supplies flourish. Vanderbilt furnishes the mansion with lavish marble, priceless antiques and art, exquisite tapestries and thousands of books. He continues to buy up land and then

begins replanting the forests that had been devastated by over-lumbering. The skillful management of these forests laid the groundwork for future forestry practices that are now the gold standard in silviculture. Eventually 86,000 acres of the forest would become the nation’s first national forest. Vanderbilt married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser in 1898. Together, their generosity continues to improve life in the region by investing in programs, industries and schools. After George’s untimely death in 1914, Edith takes over running the estate with exceptional business acumen. As their daughter Cornelia matures, she steps into the role that her mother so ably filled. Today, Cornelia’s grandsons are on a mission focused on preserving the legacy of George and Edith by continuing the operation of the mansion and the estate’s businesses. Read this book and you will immediately plan your trip to visit the magnificent Biltmore estate. A tour of the mansion instantly transports you to the Victorian era. If you have already visited the estate, reading this book will entice you to bask in the glow of this glorious castle, and its environs, once again.

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INSPIRATION

PEO PLE

‘Soarin’, Flyin’ Denise Lloyd reaches new heights practicing aerial skills. STORY: VICTORIA SCHLABIG

oing on her 12th year of practicing aerial arts, Denise Lloyd is grateful to have developed her aerial skills and she’s worked in many different jobs utilizing them. When she took her first aerial silks class in her 20s, she quickly “fell in love with it.” Soon, she was taking three to four classes a week. Denise says that a career in aerial arts “just sort of fell in my lap.” Back in 2012 she had a general part- time job at Universal Studios when an aerial job opened up for the parade. She took the job hoping it would become a full-time position, which it did, and her career took off from there. She went on to work at Pirates Dinner Adventure, Seaworld, and Antigravity, an entertainment company. It wasn’t until she had her second child in 2016 that Denise decided to slow down. “I had to travel and put so much time into rehearsals, it was easier to just take a break and teach at the facility I was at,” Denise says. Denise loved the idea of bringing aerial to Lake County, so she started Soar Athletics in a small studio in Mount Dora, eventually ending up in the current Eustis facility in 2020. Soar Athletics offers everything from aerial silks, hoop, and hammock training. Aerial is a full-body workout that builds muscles, stamina, and flexibility, all while being a good cardio

workout. “It’s not your typical gym workout, so you’re working out all these muscles you didn’t even know you had, and you’re having fun,” Denise says. “Anyone can do it, any age, any body type, you just have to give it a try and see how it goes. You go at your own pace, your own level, everyone is super supportive, and we are basically a little family in our studio,” she adds. A fun perk for students is the showcase that takes place twice a year. “We sell tickets for family and friends to come watch their kids perform and show what they’re learning in class, and it’s probably one of my favorite things to do because you see the kids’ faces just light up because they’re so proud of it,” Denise says. What Denise loves most about aerial, other than it keeps her fit, is that it gives her an outlet to relieve any stress she’s having and helps with her mental health. One of the reasons she started the studio was to have a place for kids to go to have an outlet as well. “It’s such a blessing to see the personalities of these little kids come out, and such a joy to watch, and all of our coaches feel the same way,” Denise adds.

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≈ PHOTO: NICOLE HAMEL


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MIND

YOUR BODY KEEPS SCORE Traumatic experiences may be making you physically ill. STORY: GARY CORSAIR

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he word “trauma” conjures up images of gruesome car accidents, speeding ambulances, medevac flights, and emergency rooms. Stat. Code blue. The golden hour. That’s physical trauma. More common, though less obvious, is emotional trauma, which is often more devastating and far-reaching than broken bones, severed limbs and other life-altering injuries to the body. Emotional trauma, left untreated, can doom you to a lifetime of serious issues that rob you of joy and fulfillment. Relationship problems. Depression. Anxiety. Substance abuse issues. Certified Trauma Therapist Pamela Hand is well acquainted with the devastating effects of untreated emotional trauma. “Trauma affects us in all aspects of our life,” says Pamela, a Eustis-based licensed clinical social worker and certified addiction professional. “Untreated or unresolved trauma – whether its acute trauma, one time, or complex trauma over a long period of time – can exacerbate many problems.” Unresolved emotional trauma can even make you physically ill. “With mental health problems, from a trauma perspective, the body keeps the score if untreated,” Pamela says. Greg knows. He was treated by physicians for acid reflux and sleep disorders but didn’t experience relief until a therapist helped him pinpoint and deal with long suppressed trauma. “My physical issues cleared up after months of therapy in which my therapist and I addressed buried memories of being abused as a child,” Greg says. “My therapist likened my childhood trauma to post traumatic stress disorder.” How did Greg make the connection between physical ailments and painful memories buried deep in his psyche? He didn’t. He sought counseling because self-destructive behavior was imperiling his marriage. Improved physical health was an unexpected benefit from facing and being helped to understand being molested by someone he once trusted.

Greg says he never would have connected physical issues with unresolved trauma if he hadn’t sought professional help. That’s often the case. Nicole is absolutely certain that her past trauma led to a sleeping disorder called Atypical Narcolepsy, stomach ulcers, and Graves Ophthalmolog, an autoimmune disease that triggered mononucleosis within a month after leaving a toxic marriage with a man who refused to seek help for trauma from four deployments that contributed to his post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. He selfmedicated with alcohol. “At times it got very abusive to the point that I needed to leave with my children,” Nicole says. “Instead of choosing my home state, thinking he’d try to follow me, I decided Florida would be best where he couldn’t just show up. I had family here that was close by, thankfully.” After being in that constant fight or flight mode Nicole’s body began to malfunction. This was her nervous system reacting to the trauma. Pamela agrees. “If we leave trauma untreated, then it shows up in a number of ways,” Pamela says. “It can show up in anxiety, it can show up in depression, it can show up in behavior problems and it can certainly show up in symptomatic areas. So if we’re not taking care of our past trauma, then absolutely it can show up in the physical body.” For many people with unresolved trauma, the symptoms are less severe than Nicole’s, yet must be addressed. “People will find themselves with frequent headaches or they could have problems with running, walking, and vision problems,” Pamela says. “But we as human beings, we’re not associating our headaches with unresolved trauma. We have a tendency of burying uncomfortable life experiences and then they present themselves in different ways. So the body keeps the score and says, ‘Hey, I don’t feel good, let me let it look like it’s a headache. Let me let it look like it’s a shoulder pain. Let me let it look like there’s problems with my knees.’ Or whatever.” Of course, the average person in pain turns to the medicine cabinet or family physician. Some people

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MIND

Nonnie may also have unresolved issues. go through life never knowing that their physical illnesses can be “We get to continue to have the trauma of remembering the day related to unresolved memories. that our cousin died, or our son died or my brother died,” Nonnie The concept that negative emotions can affect the physical body says. “That’s the trauma that we have to deal with and it’s hard to are not new. In 1872, Charles Darwin wrote that emotions are forgive and forget. I pray every day that I can forgive this young expressed in heartbreak and “gut-wrenching experience.” man… I really have to pray for him because my cousin isn’t here, “And then it became obvious that if people are in a constant and I can’t talk to him. It’s hard every time I think about him and state of heartbreak and gut-wrench, they do everything to shut think about his smile and his jokes and his personality. It’s hard down those feelings to their body,” says Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, because he’s not here. I’ll never see what he would look like as an author of “The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in adult. I never will get to see him with my kids or with his children.” the Healing of Trauma.” Nonnie appears to be coping. Others, with less traumatic Dr. van der Kolk says that many people turn to drugs and experiences, struggle mightily until they get professional help. alcohol to shut down feelings of heartbreak and gut-wrench. “They come to me because of poor job performance, or they Others shut down the emotional awareness of their body. can’t get along with people at work, they don’t want to go to work, “And so a very large number of traumatized people whom we they don’t have motivation, see — I’d say the majority they’re anxious when they of the people we treat at have to be around new the trauma center and in people. It presents itself in my practice — have very all of those ways,” Pamela cut off relationships to says. “When it gets to a their bodies. They may not place where it’s difficult feel what’s happening in to function, that’s when their bodies. They may not people normally seek register what goes on with treatment, or therapy.” them,” Dr. van der Kolk “It” is unresolved trauma. told an interviewer. And most people don’t even Severing the realize “it” is triggering relationship with their problems. your body or treating — PA M E L A H A N D For example: “Let’s say trauma with drugs and your wife has a little bit alcohol merely prolong of jealousy. And you go the inevitable. to a party and somebody Addressing long-hidden happens to be standing trauma is a better solution. next to you and your wife comes along and she’s just exploding Most people aren’t equipped to process deep emotional hurts. Nonnie came face to face with that reality when her cousin was because you’re talking to this other person. Well, you haven’t done anything, and you’re thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, what’s murdered by a classmate in the school they attended. happening?’” Pamela says. “What’s happening is that in the “Yes, some of us did counseling. I had to do it. I current moment is triggered by some sort of fear, but there’s was in class and the teacher was watching the past experiences that make this current experience even more news and that’s how I found out my cousin powerful because they’ve now combined. The nervous system was murdered. I was only in the 7th has been activated because it remembers these old, unresolved grade,” Nonnie says. Nonnie shared her trauma with her feelings of jealousy – maybe betrayal, abandonment, feeling unlovable, all of that stuff comes charging in and you’re like, ‘Oh clergyman for four months. She says my goodness, I was just standing there ordering a drink.’” the counseling helped. Most people with physical ailments assume they need Her cousin Robert wasn’t as medication, not emotional healing. fortunate. “He had a breakdown, “If I have persistent headaches and the doctor gives me a and he hasn’t been the same pill, and then it resolves my headache, I’m in the belief that’s since,” Nonnie says. “We tried my solution. That happens all the time,” Pamela says. “We’re to do counseling with him, conditioned in this country to take a pill to fix it. Unfortunately, but it didn’t work. pills may mask the real problem.” He still blames So how do you determine if your pain is caused by muscle or himself for not memory? The answer is in the question. protecting Billy.”

“WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS, FROM A TRAUMA PERSPECTIVE, THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE IF UNTREATED.”

Photo of Pamela Hand provided by Pamela Hand.

Pamela Hand


HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT THERAPIST? Pamela Hand’s advice:

Google.

View profiles at psychologytoday.com/us/ therapists/fl/lake-county

Type in “therapist near me,” “trauma” and “anxiety.”

Visit therapist’s website “Does it have a good feel? Does it feel sterile, does it feel rigid, does it feel welcoming, does it feel like you can connect? What kind of information are they presenting?”

“Know thyself. Be true to thyself,” Pamela says. “I do give credit to individuals. They’re pretty astute, they’re pretty in touch, there’s more to our story. We kind of know. Even though we’ve been conditioned to take care of the physical self, we kind of know there’s more to the story and we probably need to be doing more than that. I think those are the people who take the extra next step.” Many people are reluctant to take that extra step. “Usually, if I get a patient who presents with some mental health issues but they have multiple medical things going on, I try to break that barrier, to plant the seed that, ‘Hey, if I could get you to believe that the body keeps the score, do you think there’s a possibility that your history may be part of all of your medical concerns?’ That’s hard for them to let that land,” Pamela says. “So that’s where the trust and the rapport and the therapeutic relationship between the

Are they licensed? What other credentials do they have? What higher learning have they pursued? “Don’t just pick the first therapist that comes up,” Pamela says. “What are their reviews? What are their patients saying about them? What skills do they have?”

Visit your potential therapist’s personal Facebook, Instagram, Twitter page/site. Do they look like someone you can relate to? Do they interact with their audience there? What kind of photos have they posted?

therapist and the patient come in… In general, in our culture, we’re taught to trust our physicians, that our physicians have the solutions for these ailments that we have. I’m not saying that they don’t but it does promote a gap between there might be a different avenue, there might be a different resolution, there might be additional things we could do besides going to the doctor, taking a pill and masking the problem.” Those who take the extra step are faced with the daunting task of finding the ideal person to guide them to well-being. Pamela admits that finding the right therapist can be a challenge. “It’s like a needle in a haystack,” she says. “Personally, I believe that we can all use a good therapist. But all therapists are a little bit different. We all have our own styles and finding a qualified skilled therapist is key because if you have unresolved trauma and you’re going to

see a therapist that’s not trained and skilled at identifying or uncovering that trauma then the therapeutic benefit may be lost. Having the right fit of therapy and the skills of the therapist is key in the healing process.” Pamela is certain she’s the right person to help the Gregs, Nicoles and Nonnies. “I believe you really need a trained, skilled clinician when it comes to these very intense trauma experiences so that you can really have somebody who’s skilled at helping reduce the disturbance of this overactive nervous system,” Pamela says. “You could go to therapy for 10 years and have a therapist who never talks about the nervous system.” *Editor’s note: Names have been changed. All interviewees either live in Lake County or lived here recently.

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menu FOOD. DRINKS. REVIEWS.

Luxury picnics provide a basket of treats.

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IN THE KITCHEN

Poetic Picnic’s Alexus Smiley and Dominick Jackson RECIPE

Just take it outside Luxury picnic planners and local chef share tips on creating a picnic to remember. STORY: ROXANNE BROWN

othing says fun summer get-together quite as perfectly as a picnic, and whether the venue you choose is one of Lake or Sumter’s spectacular parks, a nearby beach, or your own backyard, you can make it as simple, or as lavish, as desired. All it takes to pull off the perfect picnic is good food, good company, and a little advanced planning. Alexus Smiley and Jillian DeAnnuntis, two Central Florida-based professional luxury picnic planners, have some tips for planning a basic picnic. And for those who want to surprise someone with a luxury picnic setup like those taking over TikTok,

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≈ PHOTOS: NICOLE HAMEL Instagram, and other social media feeds, they also share what they can do to make it happen. “For me, it’s really all about the experience. It’s about something everlasting, that stays with you, that stands out and something you can always come back to,” Alexus says. “Planning a picnic is a great opportunity to express yourself and to be creative in a different way.” Alexus says the first thing to do when considering having a picnic is finding the perfect spot. “You want somewhere that’s got a little bit of shade,” she says, adding that you may not want food or bodies in direct sunlight, especially with the Florida heat. Alexus says the next thing is to make a checklist, explaining that the checklist should include reminders for things to bring, like a large blanket or sheet to spread on the ground, disposable dinnerware and utensils, ice and coolers, ice packs, napkins, wet wipes, trash bags, bug spray, games, and most of all food.


“The cool thing about picnics, is that as far as food goes, you can pretty much bring anything,” she says, though her favorite picnic foods are brunch-like items like fresh cut-up fruits and vegetables with different dipping sauces, salads, chips, small cakes and any finger foods like deviled eggs, wings or sandwiches. Jillian says the perfect picnic item, and one that is also trending at the moment, are charcuterie trays. Jillian says people can create their own combinations of the meats, cheeses, crackers, fruits, nuts and dips that go along with them, or have one made to order. “If you don’t know what exactly to make or bring and you don’t want to plan a big elaborate meal, charcuterie to me, is perfect for a picnic because it has everything,” Jillian says. The Roaming Gourmet’s Chef Ze’ Carter, a longtime Leesburg chef and instructor at The Kitchen Cooking School, says, “You have to make sure whatever you bring is easy to eat and can be held properly, meaning keeping hot foods hot and cold things cold.” Chef Ze’s idea for the perfect picnic food is a twist on Asian spring rolls using no-cook rice wrappers, but filled with various fresh fruits, vegetables, lettuce and herbs; served with different dipping sauces. “Making your fresh spring rolls is easy. I promise by the last roll you will make some visually appealing and delicious ones,” she says. Alexus says drinks, which can be added into her luxury picnic packages, should be refreshing and thirst quenching like lemonade, fruit infused waters, or even mimosas; beverages that can easily be made and brought by the pitcher. Regardless, she says the main thing to remember is that the true purpose of a picnic is enjoying yourself and your company. “You want to keep things simple when you’re doing these basic picnics because you’re just really out there to enjoy the nature and to just to be outside. You don’t want to be lugging too many things that can take away from the overall experience,” Alexus

says. “It’s all about creating a memory that lasts forever in your mind and heart.” If looking for a little more ‘razzle and dazzle’ however, Alexus, owner of a company called Poetic Picnic (poeticpicnics.com) and Jillian, who owns The Picnic Fairy (picnicfairy.com), are standing by. Alexus, explaining that her company’s name is a play on one of her favorite movies called Love Jones, where the main character (a poet), believes love is poetic, started her business in January. Alexus says she was blown away by instant success, and an extraordinary response to her offerings, especially come February when for Valentine’s Day, people were still looking for unique and romantic experiences away from large crowds or busy indoor spaces following the pandemic. Alexus’ company is based out of Orlando, but she, with help from her fiance Dominick Jackson, service all of Central Florida, including Lake and Sumter counties and beyond. Alexus says she was looking to start a unique home-based business when she began thinking of things she loved doing, like eating at nice restaurants, and about how much of a treat being outdoors was in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the mostly winter-like weather most the year growing up there. “The idea for the picnic company came from understanding the importance of being outdoors, of getting fresh air, and being in Florida, it’s easy, because if you don’t do something today, it’s gonna be nice tomorrow,” Alexus says. “Minnesota people love outdoors. We really cherish summer and spring, so when it’s nice out, you’ll see everyone outside. No one is in their house, everyone’s just outside trying to enjoy the weather.” Today, her passion is creating luxury outdoor picnics complete with fancy décor like matched color schemes, cloth napkins, wine goblets, fluffy

“IT’S ALL ABOUT CREATING MEMORIES AND JUST SLOWING DOWN TO ENJOY NATURE, SPEND TIME TOGETHER WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND HAVING A BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE.” —JILLIAN DEANNUNTIS

The Picnic Fairy’s Jillian DeAnnuntis


IN THE KITCHEN

pillows, blankets, flowers, greenery, special lighting, and more. “I love to go out to eat, I love to be in a restaurant, I love the atmosphere, I love to have fancy dinners, and nice cutlery, and just be somewhere where it’s just beautiful, so I kind of took that, and added that to outdoors,” she says, noting that she can set up picnics in various themes or color schemes. Alexus says she tells people that after an unprecedented year behind us, fun, time out for themselves, and a little luxury, is just what’s needed. “I do thrive in areas where people can just kind of share their vision with me, so I can make it come to life,” Alexus says. “Our idea of luxury can be different across the board, but I just want people to know that whatever luxury looks like to them, they do deserve that, for sure. To

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ALEXUS SMILEY’S RECIPE FOR P E AC H B E L L I N I INGREDIENTS:

Champagne flute Peach purée or nectar (this can be bought at your local grocery store.) If you want to get fancy, you can cut the skin off, pit your peaches and blend them to make your own purée. Fresh peach, cut up for garnish. /

12

teaspoon of simple syrup to add sweetness (optional) Prosecco or sparkling wine.

DIRECTIONS:

Fill champagne flute with 1/2 Peach purée and 1/2 sparkling wine or Prosecco, add simple syrup if desired, and garnish with peach. Saluti!

me it looks like beautiful picnics on a beautiful sunny day.” For Jillian, the revelation was similar in that she realized how hungry people were for fun and creative ways to spend time together, especially since her company was born in October 2020, right in the midst of the pandemic. Jillian says eating out was still taboo, so people were trying to find and create outdoor activities to pass the time. “I saw a company in California doing something like this and I thought it would be something great to offer here in Central Florida,” says Jillian, whose company, based in Clermont, services all of Florida, including Lake and Sumter Counties. She adds, “Everybody was desperately trying to get together, but in a safe way still, so it was a good time for it.”


N O - C O O K P I C N I C S P R I N G R O L L S BY CH EF ZE’ CA RTER Following the package instructions for rice spring roll wraps, fill a bowl large enough for the wrapper to fit in without folding with warm water. Make sure you have your ingredients planned and prepared. Dip wrapper one at a time into the warm water for 2-3 seconds to slightly soften. Lay the wet wrapper flat. Place your prepared ingredients in a row across the center, remember what you place down first will be on display once the roll is wrapped. After your themed ingredients are placed add lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side of the wrap. Fold the uncovered sides inward, like a package, then tightly roll the wrapper, egg roll style. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Chef Ze’ Carter with her food stylist, Durrell Hambley

P E AC H AVO C A D O W R A P Thinly sliced fresh peaches and avocado and use butter lettuce in a wrap.

A PPLE PIE W RA P Granny Smith apple sliced thin then lightly dusted with cinnamon and romaine lettuce in a wrap. Dip in caramel sauce found in the produce section in the grocery store.

OTHER WRAP IDEAS:

- Peach Avocado with Honey Mustard Dill Sauce - Cucumber Shrimp with Peanut Sauce - Caprese with Balsamic Reduction

Jillian says she runs The Picnic Fairy with help from her daughter Gianna, but the company spans state lines. Her sister runs a Picnic Fairy branch in New Jersey, and her mother and cousin, in Puerto Rico. “It’s all about creating memories and just slowing down to enjoy nature, spend time together with family and friends and having a beautiful experience,” Jillian says. Both Alexus and Jillian say they can create the perfect picnic setting for birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, baby showers, office parties, small weddings, and any other special occasion. We here at Style magazine feel that Lake and Sumter counties are perfect for outdoor picnics, with dozens of beautiful family friendly parks to consider. The only thing to remember is that when securing a spot, make sure to check with the city where it’s located about special rules or regulations they may have in place for outdoor get-togethers. And if contemplating what food or drinks to bring, these following recipes are just a couple to get your picnic started.

- Strawberries and Cream with Chocolate Dipping Sauce

F O R B E S T R E S U LT S 1. Make sure ingredients are as dry as possible 2. Fill only 1-2 layers thick 3. Place on the wrapper first for a more appealing presentation

H O N E Y M U S TA R D D I L L S AU C E INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, let stand for 15 minutes and serve. Store in a covered container. will last up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

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cup dijon mustard

13

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cup honey

1

teaspoon dried dill weed

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

ROXANNE BROWN

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FORK ON THE ROAD

REVIEW

GOOD SPORTS Gators of Umatilla scores lots of points on delicious food. STORY: JAMES COMBS

≈ PHOTOS: ANTHONY RAO

t Gators of Umatilla, the infamous Boobie’s Burger tastes as good as it sounds. OK, get your mind out of the gutter. This isn’t what you think. The burger, named after owner Beau Patteson, is topped with a half-pound patty, thin-sliced corned beef and extra Swiss cheese. Not surprisingly, it has become one of the restaurant’s most-treasured menu items. “My husband’s name is Beau, and I call him Boo for short,” says his wife, Christina Patteson. “I combined the two names and his nickname ended up being Boobie. Customers love to order the burger because they get to say boobie. It creates lots of laughs.” The Pattesons, who opened the restaurant in 2017, have been gamechangers in the sports bar industry by taking the quality of food up a few notches. Now, they’re scoring touchdowns and hitting homeruns with menu items that feature distinct tastes, and lots of creativity behind each dish. Quality food is a point of pride for Christina, who has spent most her life serving as cook and general manager of other restaurants. “It doesn’t matter that we’re a sports bar,” says Christina, a 1991 graduate of Mount Dora High School. “Food should be the showcase of any restaurant, not the fact that we have 14 television sets. We feel our menu is large enough that there is something for everybody.” That’s an understatement. Even the state’s most iconic creature has slithered out of swamps and rivers to make

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Christina and Beau Patteson

“FOOD SHOULD BE THE SHOWCASE OF ANY RESTAURANT.” — C H R I ST I NA PAT T E S O N

its way onto the menu. Guests can start their meal with Cajun gator tail. Unlike some restaurants where gator tail is mostly breading or too tough and chewy, Gators of Umatilla serves up large, soft, meaty pieces with light, golden-brown breading and just the right amount of crunchiness. The Swamp Fries might be a more appealing appetizer choice for those leery about digesting bite-size pieces of Florida’s most-popular reptile. A bed of fries is drizzled in ranch dressing and covered with cheddar cheese, shrimp, steak chicken, and bacon. The plate is so filling that it can be ordered as the main meal. Hamburger junkies who hop from restaurant to restaurant in search of the delicious burger will feel elated. Gators of Umatilla offers a variety of burgers and serves each one with a half-pound, Black Angus patty. The Cowboy Burger is topped with hickory-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, onion rings, and barbecue sauce. Equally popular is The Bison, which comes with grass-fed, all-natural buffalo, seasoned and seared to perfection. Christina is partial to The Trina, which is named after... well... her. It features a half-pound beef patty served on a bed of crispy iceberg leaves with extra tomato, pickles, and onion. The menu offers other favorites such as quesadillas, salads, and entrees like country fried steak, meatloaf, grilled chicken, pork chops, and chicken wings. The Pattesons do not skimp on quality.

“We make our own potato salad, we make our own cornbread, and we make our own homemade chili and queso,” Christina says. “We order our french fries and lunch meats through quality distributors. At the end of the day, we don’t want anyone to leave here unhappy or hungry.” Few ever leave hungry, especially ones who come for the all-you-can-eat haddock on Fridays. Nor do they leave unhappy, particularly the crowd that comes in for bingo on Tuesdays and Thursdays or the ones who come for Monday night poker. “I’m passionate about food and I’m passionate about people,” Christina says. “Nothing makes me happier than seeing people enjoying themselves and having a good meal without spending a fortune.” Like any smart restaurateur, the Pattersons, who moved to Umatilla in 2015, have entrenched themselves in the community. They are active in school functions and fundraisers and support animal shelters. The couple offers discounts for military veterans, seniors, and children. “Owning a restaurant is a busy career that never stops, but it’s also very rewarding,” Christina says. “I meet a lot of great people. We’re here for the community and the community is here for us. We invite everyone to come here and try us out.” The Boobie’s Burger alone should entice everyone to take her up on that offer.

IF YOU GO

GATORS OF UMATILLA 9 N. Central Ave., Umatilla 352.669.6969 Gators of Umatilla provides catering for special events and offers a private dining area to host banquets. The restaurant also has a full-service bar.

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

JAMES COMBS

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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

Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.7808

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

Devenney’s Irish Pub 16909 High Grove Blvd. 352.432.3925

Darryl’s Diner 2237 W CR 48 352.444.2318

El Cerro Restaurant 811 W. Hwy. 50 352.241.9884

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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Friar Tuck 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd. 352.404.6818 G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900

Gators Dockside 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.242.1825 Goomba’s Pizzeria 2395 S. Hwy 27 352.989.4403 Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Hwy. 27 352.241.9884 Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.243.1118 Lilly’s on the Lake 846 W. Osceola St. 352.708.6565 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

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

Sarah’s Greek Cuisine & More 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd., Ste. 305 352.404.8031 Southern on 8th Kitchen & Bar 801 W. Montrose St. 352.394.7777 Troy’s Cuban Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295 Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 157 Hwy. 27 352.394.1225 EUSTIS 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

Ikaho Sushi Japanese Restaurant 7965 SR 50, #900 352.557.8988

NightOwl Caribbean Restaurant 929 S. Bay St. 352.589.0256

James Barbeque 262 W. Orange St. 352.557.4050

Stavro’s & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. CR 44 352.589.9100 Taki’s Pizza House 2824 S. Bay St. 352.357.0022 Thai Sushi America 925 N. Bay St. 352.357.1949 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

Lil Anthony’s Pizza 7965 SR 50 352.429.7499

H OW EY- I N THE -HILLS

Frank’s Place 201 N. 1st St. 352.323.1989

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

Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 CR 44 352.365.2177

La Hacienda Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.3910

God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447

Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.2718

F RU I T L A N D PA R K

El Ranchito 1 Lagrande Blvd. 352.750.3335

Legends Cafe 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.728.0006 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 G R OV E L A N D Coyote Rojo 214 W. Broad St. 352.557.8999

Coffee Snob 1101 W. North Blvd. 352.460.4570 Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442

L A DY L A K E

ibar-be-que Express 3170 Hwy. 27 352.315.4227

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

Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. SR 33 352.429.2997

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

Fruitland Park Café 3180 US Hwy. 441/27 352.435.4575

Brooklyn’s Pizzeria 27405 US Highway 27 352.728.2020

Bamboo Bistro 700 Hwy. 441 352.750.9998

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 Breakfast Station 2229 Citrus Blvd. 352.315.0291 Brick & Barrel 209 W. Main St. 352.431.3069

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

MINNEOLA Lil Anthony’s Pizza 205 N. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.1516 Minneola Grill 117 W. Washington St. 352.394.2555 Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 Hwy. 27 352.243.7500

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

Plantation Oaks Restaurant 4720 Plantation Blvd. 352.530.2680

The Surf Bar and Grill 650 N. Hwy. 27 202.527.0100

Ramshackle Café 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565

Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232

PizzAmore’ 722 E. 5th Ave. 352.383.0092

Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 US Hwy. 27 352.319.8093

MOUNT DORA

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

San Jose’s Original Mexican Restaurant 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174 Sip Restaurant and Wine Bar 707 W. Main St. 352.435.7840 Sully’s Smokehouse 10820 CR 44 352.483.7427 Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344

1921 Mount Dora 142 E. Fourth Ave. 352.385.1921 Anthony’s Pizza 17195 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.357.6668

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

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

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

Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St. 352.383.4101 Café Gianni 425 N. Alexander St. 352.735.3327

The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717

Cody’s on 4th Cafe 111 E. 4th Ave. 352.735.8426

The Mojo Grill & Catering Co. 9925 US-441 352.787.0494

Copacabana Cuban Cafe 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000

The Old Time Diner 1350 W. North Blvd. 352.805.4250

Fiesta Grande 421 N. Baker St. 352.385.3540

Turners 114 S. 5th St. 352.530.2274

Frog & Monkey English Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352. 383.1936

Wolfy’s 918 N. 14th St. 352.787.6777

Highland Street Café 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446

MASCOTTE

Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444

Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093

Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave. 352.385.2669

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

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 TAVA R E S Bella Nona Pizzeria 280 Silverado St. 352.508.9370

BTW (Burgers, Tacos & Waffles) 115 E. Main St. 352.508.9287 Fish Camp Lake Eustis 901 Lake Shore Blvd. 352.742.4400 Hurricane Dockside Grill 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.508.5137 Kalua Hale Beach Bar 181 S. Joanna Ave. 352.609.5910 Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313 Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 CR 448 352.343.6823 O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and Restaurant 115 S Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157 Palm Gardens Restaurant 1661 Palm Garden St. 352.431.3217 Puddle Jumpers 111 W Ruby St. 352.508.5862 Ruby Street Grille 221 E. Ruby St. 352.742.7829 Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744 Tavares Ice Cream 214 E. Main 352.508.5342 The Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585 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 BlueFin Grill & Bar 2738 Brownwood Blvd. 352.571.5344 Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627 Chengs Chinese Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678 China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965 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

Margarita Republic 1102 Main St. 352.753.4600 Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant and Bar 320 Colony Blvd. 352.753.3824 NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994 Orange Blossom Country Club 1542 Water Tower Circle 352.751.4501 Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.750.4499

Shang Hai Restaurant 531 N. Central Ave. 352.669.2004 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

Ricciardi’s Italian Table 3660 Kiessel Rd. 352.391.9939

Cotillion Southern Café 101 N. Main St. 352.748.1223

Sakura 265 Colony Blvd. 352.205.7393

Los Magueyes Mexican Restaurant 346 Shopping Center Dr. 352.461.0577

The Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille 925 Lakeshore Dr. 352.753.7800 Tierra Del Sol Country Club 806 San Marino Dr. 352.753.8005 VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 1004 Old Mill Run 352.259.9887

Habaneros Mexican Grill 3551 Wedgewood Ln. 352.633.2080

U M AT I L L A 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

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

RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.5272

Glenview County Club 3914 Glenview Rd. 352.753.0077

Hemingway’s at Havana Country Club 2484 Odell Circle 352.430.3200

Greg’s Haystax 526 Umatilla Blvd. 352.669.1555

Gators of Umatilla LLC 9 N. Central Ave. 352.669.6969

O’Shucks! Oyster Bar and Grill 1016 S Main St. 352.399.2200 Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria 2468 Burnsed Blvd., 352.626.1059 Traditions Café 3107 Hwy. 44 352.748.1077 Woody’s Bar-B-Q 1220 S. Main St. 352.748.1109 YA L A H A Yalaha Bakery 8210 CR 48 352.324.3366

GOOD GRUB

THIS MONTH'S EDITOR'S PICK

La Palma Mexican Grill At one time or another, you’re likely to develop a craving for Mexican cuisine. Fortunately, you don’t have to drive South of the Border to enjoy a delicious Mexican feast. La Palma Mexican Grill in Leesburg offers a menu full of flavorful and tasty dishes, ranging from enchiladas and fajitas to chimichangas and burritos. The restaurant’s steaks and seafood dishes are equally delicious. You’re sure to leave saying, “That food was muy bien!” 1690 Citrus Blvd., Leesburg / 352.323.1444

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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

Open Daily 8am-7pm

A German Bakery Like No Other!


COVID-19 Testing To schedule a testing appointment call 352-391-5200. Most insurance accepted, including Medicare.

352.391.5200 ExceptionalUrgentCare.com Mon-Fri 9am- 5pm | Sat 9am-3pm

Convenient Location!

John Im, D.O. Graduate of Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

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13767 US HWY 441, Lady Lake Next to Takis in front of Bealls. Golf cart accessible! HIPAA Compliant | Not for use with emergencies - Call 911 | Internet access required


MAGAZINE

experience unique shoppes fabulous food

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More information at LeesburgPartnership.com


WHEN CLEAN JUST ISN’T CLEAN ENOUGH. Ultimate Contract Cleaning is now using a breakthrough commercial cleaning process with the EMist Disinfectant Spray technology. This powerful, efficient cleaning system uses an electrostatic sprayer, that administers an even coating application that spans across hard-to-reach areas typically not touched by manual application.

PROUDLY PROVIDING OVER 30-YEARS OF: SAFER ENVIRONMENTS / SANITIZED SPACES HEALTHIER PEOPLE / PEACE OF MIND

FOR A CLEANING CONSULTATION, PLEASE CONTACT US TODAY AT 352.753.8653

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Funding the Freedom of Home. 352.669.2121 | unitedsouthernbank.com

USB NMLS# 419535

Residential Lending Team

Janet Noack

Jeanne Lazo

Carrie Cribb

Kelly Guzman

352-589-4663 NMLS#514772

352-572-4986 NMLS# 1234308

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352-771-2404 NMLS#514769

352-483-5892 NMLS#1363256


LAKE COUNTY’S HVAC SPECIALISTS

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

At Lucas Air Conditioning and Heating, we take pride in focusing on quality over quantity. As a Ruud Pro Partner, we are proud to provide our customers with high-end energy efficient equipment, a one year labor warranty and 10 year warranty on parts. Qualifying customers may receive 0% interest financing.

OUR SERVICES

• Residential & Commercial Installation • Repairs • Duct Cleaning • Pool Heater Repair • Maintenance Plans

Full home duct cleaning with the purchase of a 16 seer unit. FOR MORE INFO

LUCAS-AIR.COM 352.805.0359 | LUCAS-AIR.COM | 2003 TITCOMB STREET, EUSTIS

EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2021


FINAL THOUGHT

CO MMENTARY

Let’s play fair Transgender women should not be allowed to participate in girls’ sports. STORY: JAMES COMBS

or Selina Soule, competing in Connecticut’s 2019 state championship track meet presented a golden opportunity. A strong performance there would allow her to qualify for the New England Regional Championships, where the northeast’s top track-and-field athletes compete and showcase their skills to college recruiters. Selina should have been supremely confident as she lined up on the starting block to run the 55-meter dash. After all, she had set five track records at her high school. On that day, though, confidence gave way to pessimism. She knew a first- or second-place finish was near impossible even before the starting pistol was fired. Selina missed qualifying by two spots. Those two spots were taken by males. A policy in Connecticut allows biological boys to compete as girls in high school sports. Demoralized, Selina filed a lawsuit against the Connecticut Association of Schools. Transgender girls (biological males) competing in girls’ sports has brought plenty of controversy and conflicting opinions. President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order preventing discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Conversely, lawmakers in several states have passed legislation banning biological males from participating in girls’ sports. Perhaps it’s time to have a cool conversation about this hot-button issue. That means putting common sense ahead of political correctness and facts ahead of feelings.

Men have absolutely no business competing in women’s sports. This opinion isn’t rooted in bigotry. It’s rooted in biology. Data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) clearly demonstrates physical advantages men enjoy over women. • Females have 52 percent of the upper-body strength of males. • Females have 60 percent of the lower-body strength of their male counterparts. • Females have 45 percent less muscle tissue in their biceps, 41 percent less muscle tissue in their elbow flexors, 30 percent less muscle tissue in their thighs, and 25 percent less muscle tissue in their knees.

Here’s something else to consider. Allyson Felix is a U.S. Olympian and world-record holder in the 400-meter sprint. Her lifetime best in the event is 49.26 seconds. Based on a 2018 study, 300 high school boys would beat that time. Throughout the history of competitive sports, humans have strived to keep everything as fair as possible. We’ve banned performance-enhancing drugs. We’ve developed Special Olympics for athletes with intellectual disabilities and cognitive delays. We’ve developed the Paralympic Games for athletes with physical impairments. We’ve categorized athletes based on age and weight. And certainly, sex has always been the main categorization in sports. Transgender girls have every right to participate in sports. However, they should compete against other athletes of the same biological sex. That way, athletes like Selina won’t be marginalized and prevented from fully competing on equal footing.

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

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JAMES COMBS


15TH ANNUAL

Stepping Out For

Education

LOCAL CELEBRITIES COMPETE ON THE BALLROOM FLOOR

Dr. Emily Feltner

Kristin Jamieson

Dina Simpson

Tim Murry

Jerome Brouhard

Tyler J. Borowski

Assistant Superintendent LCS

Branch Manager, Success Mortgage Partners

Owner, Renew Day Spa

Mayor of Clermont

Manager/Sommelier, Maggie’s Attic

Deputy Tax Collector

TWO FULL PERFORMANCES!

s t e k Friday, July 23, 2021 or tic 5 2beer and wisn,e Saturday, July 24, 2021 $o1 vre en des p rs d’oeu Inclu , heavy ho dessert bar ampagne and ch ception re vote. a

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FOR TICKETS: www.edfoundationlake.com or 352-326-1265 HOST HOTEL: HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS:

ONLINE TICKET ORDERING:

https://steppingout2021.eventbrite.com

1810 S Hwy 27 Clermont, FL 34711 • 352-243-7878 Ask for the Stepping Out Room Rate of $109 per night https://www.hiexpress.com/redirect?path=event-facilities&br andCode=EX&localeCode=en&regionCode=1&hotelCode=CMT FL&_PMID=99801505&GPC=EFL&cn=no&viewfullsite=true

new venue!

Theatre Seating for the Broadway Performance Hosted by

Leading Learning Together, LLC

Diane & Scott Kornegay

Benefiting the teachers and students in Lake County Schools


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Providing exceptional urological care for over 30 years

Non-invasive treatment options • Full range of diagnostic services including but not limited to:

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Style Magazine, Village Edition, July 2021  

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