BUSINESSWOMEN OF STYLE These ladies work hard to get the job done right
You wouldn’t total your car after a mere fender bender. So why total your knee? Why undergo a total knee replacement if only a small portion of your knee is arthritic? That’s the beauty of a partial knee replacement performed by Dr. Kerina of the Tri County Orthopaedic Center. Dr. Kerina is a national leader in the innovation and development of partial knee replacements. The procedure leaves all the normal knee ligaments and
tendons intact and resurfaces only the damaged cartilage and bone thereby leaving up to 70% of the knee in it’s natural state. This allows for vastly shortened recovery time and significantly improved patient satisfaction through the restoration of normal knee bio-mechanics. Dr. Kerina designed the Uni Path program which is
the nations first outpatient partial knee replacement program to help hundreds of patients get back to their active lifestyle without a hospital stay. Don’t total your knee without exploring viable options like the partial knee replacement. For an appointment call Dr. Kerina 352-787-9141.
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2014 // VO LU M E 1 1 N U M B E R 7
34 FORGET ME NOT
Lisa Elliott helps pet owners hold on to a lifetime of love and memories. STORY: JAMES COMBS
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
BUSINESSWOMEN OF STYLE
Meet businesswomen of Lake and Sumter counties who not only work hard, but look stylish while doing it. These women are leaving their marks in an arena once thought to be just for men. And when it comes to taking care of business, their strong tenacity, vibrant personalities, and business savvy are certainly qualities to be admired.
Six trailblazing women who made lake county a better place to live. STORIES: JAMES COMBS
WOMEN ON THE VERGE
They are in the infancy of their careers, these three young career women have big plans to reach the top and better their communities while doing it. STORY: SHEMIR WILES
FRUITLAND PARK â€” THE FRIENDLY CITY
Fruitland Park has seen its share of changes. Today, the small city is poised for phenomenal growth as The Villages of Fruitland Park takes shape. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS
LAKE&SUMTER EDITION On the cover MODEL: LISA ELLIOT PHOTOGRAPHY: FRED LOPEZ PHOTOSHOP: JOSH CLARK
VILLAGES EDITION On the cover ELIZABETH CORNELL AND NICK LIZZIO OF TB FINANCIAL PHOTOSHOP: JOSH CLARK
May 20 14
102 THE TO-DO LIST Everything from rocking docs to big bass fishing.
ON THE SCENE
EDITOR’S COLUMN FIRST THINGS FIRST 24 #TRENDING Hot topics being talked about in Lake and Sumter counties. 28 PERSON OF INTEREST Beverly Steele has introduced arts to hundreds of local children. 30 OUTSTANDING STUDENT Teen Miss Leesburg Emily Pelton is also a competitive twirler.
106 SOCIAL SPOTLIGHT Nature’s call During Nature Fest, attendees can learn about native Florida snakes, kayak Lake Louisa, and enjoy butterfly hikes. Story: James Combs
108 OUT+ABOUT Behind Bikefest What does it take to pull off the largest three-day motorcycle and music event each year? Story: Gary Corsair 112 HI, SOCIETY! The Circle of Excellence Realtors Award Gala, Bella Ballroom Dance Studio’s grand opening, and other local happenings.
1 25 EATS!
126 IN THE KITCHEN Breaking bread Baking bread takes a little persistence and practice but a lot of love. Story: Shemir Wiles 130 SALUTE Wine notes Check out wines produced by iconic rockers. Story: Mary Ann DeSantis 132 FORK ON THE ROAD Elijah’s Café Thanks to its diverse menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes, Elijah’s Café continues to be a popular eatery among locals. Story: James Combs
144 FINAL THOUGHT To be a mom The road of motherhood isn’t always smooth. Story: Gary McKechnie
Kendra Akers PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF firstname.lastname@example.org
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LAKE & SUMTER STYLE IS A PROUD MEMBER OF
FLORIDA MAGAZINE ASSOCIATION
LAKE EUSTIS AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
SUMTER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
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WINNER OF AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE
Lake & Sumter Style, May 2014. Published monthly by Akers Media, 1450 E. North Blvd, Leesburg, Florida 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2014 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. “Special to Lake & Sumter Style” and “Special Promotional Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.
May 20 14
This month on
What’s happening beyond the print edition
HOST OF “STYLE TV”
Lake County has no shortage of talented women. At this year’s Businesswomen of Style mixer, women representing all facets of business came to the stunning Mission Inn Club & Resort in Howey-inthe-Hills to enjoy an evening of cocktails, live music, and a reverse draw to see who would be featured on the May cover of Style.
It is hard to find true home cooking in restaurants these days, but that is certainly not the case at Bloom’s Baking House in Leesburg. Bon Appetit correspondent Jana Wheeler takes “Style TV” viewers to this local eatery to savor dishes that taste like they are straight out of grandma’s kitchen.
Businesswomen of Style
Bloom’s Baking House
THIS MONTH’S SPONSOR: OCALA EYE Over 60 percent of Americans need glasses or contact lenses to see clearly. And chances are many of us think at least occasionally what it would be like to wake up, open our eyes, and see the world without reaching for a pair of specs. At Ocala Eye, they are making this dream a reality every day.
Planes, Trains, and BBQ Known as “America’s Seaplane City,” Tavares has no shortage of fun, family friendly events, and Planes, Trains, and BBQ, held on April 12, was no exception. Hi, Society! correspondent Tina Morrison was on location to take “Style TV” by land, air, and “sea.”
Catch us on LSTV on Bright House channel 199 and Comcast channel 13. Tuesday: 10a.m. and 6:30p.m. Thursday: 10a.m. and 6:30p.m. Saturday: 10a.m. and 10p.m. Sunday: 11a.m. and 5:30p.m.
TELL US WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT STYLE AT: 16
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At your service Where to find us
SUBSCRIPTIONS: Order a subscription of your favorite magazine to be delivered directly to your home for just $24. Each subscription includes 12 consecutive issues of Style or Healthy Living magazine. Choose both magazines for $36 per year. To order, call 352.787.4112, go to www.akersmediagroup.com or mail us at Subscriptions at Akers Media Group, 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 email@example.com or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media Group, Inc. P.O. Box 490088 Leesburg, FL 34749.
ARY 2014 ROT
BACK ISSUES: Order by mail for cover price at $4.95+ sales tax and shipping. To pick up a back issue from our office, please call 24 hours in advance.
Weâ€™re looking for
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Camps for Ages 4 to 18
For registration and more information, call the Leesburg Center for the Arts at 352.365.0232 or visit LeesburgCenter4Arts.com 237 West 4th Ave. Suite 2 * Mount Dora, FL 32757 * 352-383-3600 We are located in the Arbors & Eyebrows complex at the corner of Alexander and 4th Ave. in Historic Downtown Mount Dora. Open 7 days a week
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*Cooks Tools & Gadgets Galore *Demo Cooking Class are available *Hard to Find Baking & Cooking Ingredients *Specialty Gourmet Salts PLUS Salt & Pepper Mills *Everyday Cooking & Baking Supplies for Everyone
*Gift cards available *Also shop on-line at www.KaDeeKay.com
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WHAT’S IN A NAME? You may be tempted to refer to us as Style since the ultramodern, swooshy part of our name jumps off the cover, but we wish you’d use our whole name. We’re equally proud of the first part of our handle. Style is what we do. Lake and Sumter, and The Villages, is who we are. Allow me to explain. We know how to present life-enhancing information on fashion, finance, relationships, employment, food, physical and emotional well-being. You’ll learn something every issue. But we want to do more than inform. We want our magazine to be deeply personal, one that deals head-on with issues, concerns, and challenges germane to your community, or better yet, your household. Our goal is to hear you say things like, “I was just thinking about that,” or “That’s information I can use” as you turn the pages. To reach our goal, we need you to be a stakeholder … to have a voice in our editorial thought process … to be a participant, as well as a reader. We want to know where the best waitress works, where you to go for a romantic evening, who to turn to when you need advice or an honest mechanic. We want you to look around your neighborhood and workplace and tell us who picks up trash alongside the road, who takes
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the elderly shopping, who survived a life-altering event. Will you help us? Will you be our eyes and ears? In return, we’ll give you a magazine that accurately reflects the world you live in. Style will continue to be a must-read, but we’ll extend our shelf live through the magic of the Internet. We’re beefing up our website, lakeandsutmerstyle. com, with updates, breaking news, sidebars to print stories, and more. And we’re making the web edition of Style more interactive. We’re adding online forms so you can give us restaurant and bar reviews, nominate friends, family, and neighbors for our Person of Interest and Outstanding Student, tell us what you’re reading, let us know if you’ve been promoted or are retiring, and clue us in on the hottest local bands. In short, if something’s important to you, we want to hear about it so we can tell everyone. Here’s how it could work: We publish a restaurant review. You add your opinion online. Others put in their two cents. Before long we have a comprehensive local restaurant guide that rivals any website diners visit when they seek good eats. Our web magazines will also allow us to update
stories about people we write about in our print edition. Wouldn’t it be cool to go online and read the latest news about someone battling cancer, raising money for charity, trying to lose weight, or visiting their grandparent’s birth place? The possibilities are endless. So tell us how we can best serve you. Giving you a monthly/ daily magazine is an ambitious goal, to be sure. But we can do it — with your help. In the process we’ll build an online community and establish a forum where you can inform, as well as be informed. Until next time,
Gary Corsair Executive Editor
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A HAPPY TAIL OF THANKS
Thank you for raising awareness about how wonderful rescue pets are in this community (“In a League of Its Own,” by Shemir Wiles, April 2014). Your team was a true pleasure to work with for the pet issue. A generous donation from a kind South Lake Animal League friend will allow us to begin phase II of our adoption center. In addition to much needed nurseries, meet and greet areas, and animal care facilities, this phase will include an educational component for the community as we feel it is essential to teach responsibility, safety, and compassion for living things to children. We will also offer dynamic seminars to adults on interesting and important pet topics. In addition, to clarify, the Pet Peace of Mind program is a Cornerstone Hospice Program in which the South Lake Animal League assists by providing a safe haven for a Hospice patient’s pet when the program is unable to do so. The Hospice’s dedicated team does an amazing job with its program. We are deeply grateful to all of those in our community — county shelter workers, our amazing volunteers, supporters, thrift shop patrons, and our adopters near and far — for allowing the League, through your support, to grow and make a real difference for so many pets and their people. You are helping to change things for the better; we cannot make progress without you.
We are very excited about the future. Please come by and visit us soon! — Doreen Barker,
South Lake Animal League President
A ‘REAL’ PAT ON THE BACK
Thank you for all the hard work that went into producing March’s home issue. My ad turned out great! I really enjoyed working with everyone there. You made the process so easy and the staff was very friendly. Thanks again! You guys are awesome! — DonaMarie Nosse, Foxfire Realty
A ROUND OF A-‘PAWS’
What is YOUR story? Each month we show you why Lake and Sumter counties are wonderful places to live. Now it’s your turn. We want to hear about the special people, places, and things that impact your life. So please take a minute to share your experiences with us. By doing so, you’ll help us decide where to shine our spotlight in future issues. And, who knows, you just may show up in our magazine as well! ______________________________ is the most famous person I’ve met. _______________________________ is kind to everyone he/she meets. _____________________________is the most courageous person I know. _______________________________ is the most honest person I know. ___________________________refuses to let a disability slow them down.
Thank you Lake and Sumter Style magazine!! You were all so wonderful and we enjoyed all your hard work and dedication.
_______________________________________ is an unsung hero.
— Ellen Shier Coggins
My favorite watering hole is: __________________________________
Yay, Cover-Boy Ronnie, and Lake and Sumter Style for helping to promote animal adoptions!
My favorite restaurant is: ____________________________________ My favorite restaurant dish is: _________________________________
My ideal day trip is to: _____________________________________ Best place to spend a quiet evening: ______________________________ Most romantic place in the area: ________________________________
— Mount Dora Buzz
My favorite restaurant server is: ________________________________
Awwww! Love April’s pet issue!!
My favorite bartender is: ____________________________________
— Terri Anne Allerton
We love feedback! Send
your letters and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail us at: Letters at Akers Media Group, Inc. P.O. Box 490088 Leesburg, FL 34749. (Letters may be published. If you prefer not to be published, just mark your correspondence “not for print”).
My favorite place to hear live music is: ____________________________ My favorite local band is:____________________________________ ________________________________ is a wonderful doctor (or nurse). You can contact me by phone at ________________________________ Or email me at: _________________________________________
Style Magazine staff will not disclose your name or personal information without your permission. SEND TO: Gary@akersmediagroup.com
OR MAIL US AT: AKERS MEDIA, INC. P.O. BOX 490088 LEESBURG, FL 34749 May 20 14
Thursday,May15,2014@7–9PM CHARITY RAFFLE FOR HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win fabulous items donated by local businesses, individuals, and organizations. Light Hors D’oeuvres, Chocolate Fountain, and Beverages. Entertainment by Steve Robinson and Master of Ceremonies Evelio Silvera. All proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Marion County. PLEASE join us for this wonderful event. You will not be disappointed.
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f1rst 24 28 30
#TRENDING PERSON OF INTEREST OUTSTANDING STUDENT
Read about her crowning achievements ON PAGE 30.
May 20 14
First things first // #trending Spotlighting the best of local people, places, and events
RUNNING THE GOOD RACE
As part of Fruitland Park’s “Love Week,” a 5K run was held to benefit Beyond the Walls, a food pantry that has served the community for more than 30 years. Michelle Yoder, city recreation director, recently presented the food pantry with a check for $3,704.54. “We had an exciting event with more
than 200 runners, and we are already looking forward to next year,” she says. “It is a privilege to partner with Beyond the Walls and help feed those in need within our community.” The late Betty Sexton formed the food pantry formerly known as Dayspring Ministries. It was renamed Beyond the
Walls in February 2013. The pantry serves between 100 and 120 families each week, providing them with basic food resources and other household items. The ministry is funded by partners of Heritage Community Church, as well as local businesses, civic groups, and concerned citizens.
DUMPING A LOAD OF MESSAGES There is nothing trashy about how the City of Tavares is communicating messages these days. Residents who want to know about an upcoming event or free leaf pickup can find that information on the side of city garbage trucks. The city’s fleet of garbage trucks sports mobile messages to inform and educate residents and visitors. Each truck features a photo background of a beautiful view of the Tavares Seaplane Base on Lake Dora. In the forefront are two seaplanes flying through a bright blue sky pulling message banners. The banners are magnetic strips that can be changed in minutes, allowing a wide variety of topics to be rotated on and off the trucks. “The Tavares City Council always looks for creative solutions, and I think this one hits the mark, and then some,” says Jeff Henderson, who serves as solid waste manager for Tavares.
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By the numbers
1875 was the year Leesburg was incorporated
people live in the City of Leesburg
A NEW LOOK Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce has unveiled a bold new logo designed by Akers Creative, which is also revamping the chamber’s website The new logo, which represents an ongoing commitment to progress while honoring the city’s rich past, made its debut during the April 24 chamber breakfast meeting at the Leesburg Community Building in Venetian Gardens. The chamber’s logo is closely related to the logo of the Leesburg Partnership, an association of residents, government, business people, and resources that are focused on the goal of aiding in the physical, economic, and social revitalization of the Leesburg community. Looking forward, Akers Creative believes the logo could eventually become a unified
emblem for Leesburg’s three core organizations: the chamber, the Leesburg Partnership, and the City. The chamber’s new website, scheduled to launch June 1, will have new features, including videos and online applications for chamber membership.
JOSH TAKES ON: AN ADMITTEDLY ASKEW POINT-OF-VIEW FROM THE MIND OF ILLUSTRATOR JOSH CLARK
parcels of land form Leesburg’s historic district
landings and takeoffs occur at the Leesburg International Airport Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; leesburgflorida.gov
May 20 14
First things first // #trending Spotlighting the best of local people, places, and events
JAMIE MARK’S MAY
Laura Fagan, an eighth grade Social Studies teacher from Windy Hill Middle School, was named 2015 Rookie Teacher of the Year. The award ceremony was held at Lake-Sumter State College. “If asked, students would say my class is fun. But, I would argue that it is something else,” Fagan says. “What my students don’t know is there is a difference between fun and novelty. The novelty of history is what makes it fun and exciting. I am thrilled my students are captivated by it.” The other finalists were Cynthia Murray, a kindergarten teacher at Eustis Heights Elementary School, and Lindsey Massaro, a band teacher at Umatilla Middle School.
THE TEACHERS LISTED BELOW WERE NOMINATED: Carissa Kase,
Astatula Elementary Kelly Messer,
Beverly Shores Elementary
Clermont Elementary Howard Gowan,
Fruitland Park Elementary
Luis Robles, Minneola Charter Elementary
Grassy Lake Elementary
Cari Urankar, Micaella Glenn,
Groveland Elementary Jordan Bombard,
Spring Creek Charter
Mount Dora High
Patricia Franklin, Pine Ridge Elementary
Mount Dora Middle
Oak Park Middle
Cypress Ridge Elementary
Charles P. Durante,
Stephanie Fishel, Rimes Early Learning Center
Courtney Welch, Leesburg Elementary
Nicole DeLuca, Leesburg High
Kacy Wolfe, Lost Lake Elementary
Nicole Marie Austin,
Jodi Cousins, Mascotte Charter Elementary
Joseph E. Davidson,
East Ridge High
East Ridge Middle Eustis Elementary Eustis High
Lake Technical Center
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John Joseph Ardizone,
Sawgrass Bay Elementary
Seminole Seminoles Elementary
Round Lake Charter Elementary
South Lake High
Triangle Elementary Ashlee Raczkowski, Jennifer Rausch,
1 // BIKEFEST How was this year’s big bike event? To paraphrase this year’s headline act, “Nice, nice baby.” 2 // SINKHOLE REOPENS IN THE VILLAGES Villages officials claim to have it all under control. Anyone else think there are a lot of holes in that story? 3 // MOTHER’S DAY Not to be confused with the Japanese holiday, Mothra’s Day. 4 // LAKE COUNTY’S FIRST FEMALE BIKER DEPUTY She laughs off people who doubt her ability. No CHIPs on her shoulder. 5 // WRIGLEY FIELD TURNS 100 The iconic Chicago baseball stadium marks it’s centenial and proves, unlike it’s chewing gum namesake, some things don’t lose their flavor after time. 6 // TACKO VIRAL VIDEO 7-foot-5 Tavares high school basketball player Tacko Fall’s highlight video goes viral. With 3,769,752 views and counting, his getting plenty of college offers is a slam dunk. 7 // BANDANNA WORLD RECORD Bikefest attendees beat the record for the longest bandanna chain. A feat previously not thought possible without Brett Michaels involvement. 8 // SHRINKING LAKES Some people are upset by the low water levels in Lake County, but being an optimist I’m choosing to see the lakes as half full.
Family and friends of Lake-Sumter State College graduates can watch the May commencements from afar on Lake Sumter Television (LSTV). The graduation ceremony on the Leesburg campus will be aired live on May 3 at 10a.m. The Sumter and South Lake campus graduations will be shown at 2p.m. The ceremonies will re-air back-to-back on the following dates: May 10 at 7p.m.; May 11 at 10a.m.; and May 14 at 2p.m.
CHALK IT UP TO CREATIVITY The artistic kids listed below were winners of Clermont’s Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival:
First: Haley Hall Second: Saryna Renfrow Third: Madison Loftis
First: Emily Gatewood Second: Emily Mason Third: Brianna Welsh
Ages 19 and up
First: Theresa Comellas Second: Nina Moreau Third: Michael Gonzales
First: Kaya Mohammed Second: Summer Westmoreland Third: Eriana Chavez
FISHING FOR KNOWLEDGE Students from Triangle Elementary School, Mount Dora Middle School, and Tavares Middle School enjoyed a presentation from National Geographic’s Greg Marshall. Marshall is a scientist, inventor, and filmmaker who has dedicated the last 25 years to studying, exploring, and documenting ocean life. He encouraged students to begin exploring their world as young scientists, advocates for animals, and conservationists for the Earth. To illustrate his points, he showed videos and shared motivational quotes. “The students were engaged and could have listened to him for hours,” says Nancy Moore, media specialist at Triangle Elementary. “They had great questions for him, and he was very motivational. He even started the day with a guest appearance on our morning news show.” Marshall is a two-time Emmy
Award winner in cinematography and sound for his work in National Geographic documentaries “Great White Sharks” and “Sea Monsters: Search for the Giant Squid.”
May 20 14
First things first // person of interest Movers and shakers
VITAL STATS AGE: 58 QUITE THE HEART:
Has cultivated the artistic skills of more than 450 area youth since founding Young Performing Artists.
Of her numerous accomplishments, one of Beverly’s favorite is ranking fifth in her graduating class at Wildwood High School.
holidays where students up to age 22 can learn from professional artists. CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: By introducing children, teenagers, and young adults to the arts, we are helping them grow intellectually and allowing them to be more productive in life. PET PEEVE: My biggest pet peeve is seeing a child erasing something he has already drawn. I want children to see beauty in everything they create because nothing is perfect. They have to dig deep to see the beauty of what their mind and pencil have already created.
FAVORITE JUNK FOOD: Lay’s potato chips. BEST ADVICE GIVEN TO ME: My grandmother once told me to never sell my soul. God owns it, and the only one who wants to buy it is the devil.
FOUNDER OF YOUNG PERFORMING ARTISTS
ONE WORD THAT DESCRIBES YOU: Extraordinary. I apply the extra to my ordinary. DESIRED TOMBSTONE INSCRIPTION: “Here lies the lady of Steele.”
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PASSION: I moved back to Sumter County in 1992. Six years later, I founded Young Performing Artists, a program that allows young performing and visual artists of today to keep the arts of tomorrow alive. The program awards mini-scholarships, which can be used for anything from tap shoes to paintbrushes. The money does not have to be used for art school. In addition, the program offers local enrichment programs during school breaks or
GUILTY PLEASURE: I don’t have one. If I enjoy doing something then I should feel no shame. IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?: I would be a bull. A bull has control of the field, looking over and analyzing their surroundings in a cool and calm manner. However, when something comes up, a bull knows how to take charge.
PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ
GROWING UP: I was raised in Royal, one of Florida’s oldest African-American communities. I graduated from Wildwood High School in 1974 and earned a bachelor’s degree in consumer science from Florida A&M. I later moved to New York City and worked at J.C. Penney Co., then at National Securities and Research Corporation. I then started my own company, Steele Organization LLC, a consulting and marketing firm.
You Grow Businesses, Increase Revenues and Enrich Communities. Now Take Time for Your Own Strategy. You know that talking to the right people makes all the difference. The right people know how to listen and distinguish the latest fad from a proven strategy. At Edward Jones, we are guided by a set of principles that have shaped all aspects of our business, particularly the way we build our client relationships and the investment strategies we recommend. Creating a long-term strategy to help you work toward your financial goals doesn’t have to be complicated. As a first step, we get to know you so that we understand what you’re trying
PINPOINTE LASER TREATMENT The Center for Ankle & Foot Care uses the stateof-the-art PinPointe Laser to cure embarrassing and unsightly toenail fungus. This FDA-approved treatment is a safe and effective way to kill fungus and improve the appearance of your nails. Our practice also sells the SteriShoe. This patented ultraviolet shoe sanitizer kills the microbes that cause athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and offensive shoe odor.
to achieve. We want you to ask questions because our clients’ interests always come first.
To find out how to get your financial goals on track, call or visit today. Jeananne C Niemann, AAMS® Financial Advisor .
114 East Dixie Avenue Leesburg, FL 34748 352-787-7782
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May 20 14
First things first // outstanding student Making the grade
AGE : 1 7 J U N I O R AT T AVA R E S H I G H S C H O O L
I WON THE TITLE of Miss Leesburg last October during the Miss Leesburg Scholarship Program pageant. At age 16, I was crowned Teen Miss Leesburg. I WAS ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD when I began competing in the Miss Leesburg Scholarship Program pageants. It took me more than 10 years to finally win, but each disappointment inspired me to try harder. TO ME, WINNING A PAGEANT is not about the
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ONE OF THE MOST STRESSFUL ASPECTS OF A BEAUTY PAGEANT is the onstage question. Sometimes they can be tricky, and you have to think quickly on your feet.
I do competitive baton twirling. I compete individually and as part of a team. During team competitions, we have a seven-minute routine where we twirl with flags, ribbons, rifles, and knives and perform moves such as cartwheels, front flips, and aerials. It is an amazing routine.
MY VOLUNTEER WORK AS A PAGEANT WINNER includes collecting jackets for financially disadvantaged people. I also collect nonperishable food items that are distributed to a local food bank.
IN 2012, I WON THE TITLE OF Miss Twirl Mania, which is held at Walt Disney World. I competed against other females from around the world. This event is the Super Bowl of twirling.
VISITING LOCAL NURSING HOMES is one of my favorite volunteer activities. I have an adopted grandma at a nursing home in Leesburg. She enjoys talking to me about her family and some of the fun things she did earlier in her life. I gain so much knowledge from listening to her. I visited her on Christmas and gave her an amber vase. Amber is her favorite color.
AFTER GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL, I want to attend Lake-Sumter State College and then transfer to the University of Florida to earn a business degree. Ultimately, I want to become a cosmetologist while focusing on hair and makeup.
crown and banner; it’s all about how you wear it.
ANOTHER PASSION OF MINE is twirling. I’ve twirled since I was a small kid and today
I LOOK FORWARD TO OWNING A COSMETOLOGY COMPANY because I feel glamorous whenever I’m competing in pageants. I want other people to achieve that wonderful feeling.
PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ
MAKING A POINT: Emily maintains a 3.6 grade-point average. GOING FOR A SPIN: A competitive twirler, Emily displayed her twirling skills during the halftime show at the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl.
TSPA c of Dec lass ember 2011.
ADORES HER HANDSOME FIVE YEAR OLD SON te i r o Fav or is co l iny” “sh
MEET SOMER. SHE APPLIED HERSELF DURING SCHOOL, WORKED HER BUTT OFF BEHIND THE CHAIR, DOUBLED HER INCOME IN ONE YEAR AND IS NOW A SALON OWNER!
MAKE IT HAPPEN!
OWNS A TOY POODLE ’T WHO CAN A WALK IN T STRAIGH LINE
Worke as a resd coord earch beforienator enrol ling at TSP A
11915 CR 103, THE VILLAGES THEVILLAGESTSPA.COM FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE TO THOSE WHO QUALIFY
Brian Donaldson, MD, FACS Steven Head, PA-C
Steve Tieche, MD
MD, FRCS (Edin) , FACS
Patricia Hurst, ARNP-BC
THE VILLAGES: 8550 NE 138th Lane, Bldg. 400 // OCALA: 1920 SW 20th Place, Bldg. 100 // 352.237.1212 THE VEIN CENTER // 352.237.1820 Most insurance plans accepted. Please call 352.237.1212 if you have any questions or would like to make an appointment.
BRIAN DONALDSON, MD, FACS Dr. Donaldson is so looking forward to becoming entrenched within the unique communities of Lady Lake, The Villages, Summerfield, and Leesburg. His vast surgical experience will have an immediate impact on the residents he treats. Board-certified in General Surgery, Dr. Donaldson is moving from New York and will begin seeing patients in May. He and his wife, Ava, look forward to making this area home. Specializing in the following: • Hernia: inguinal, ventral, epigastric, hiatal or umbilical • Gallbladder: laparoscopic removal • Appendix: laparoscopic removal • Colon: resection, laparoscopic or open • Breast: biopsy, lumpectomy, mastectomy • Thyroid: biopsy, removal
Dr. Donaldson has extensive vascular experience as well, including the treatment of: • Peripheral vascular disease • Varicose veins • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms • Chronic ulcers • Deep Vein Thrombosis
If you’re looking for a surgeon, you’ll want to call
Lisa Elliott helps people cope with saying goodbye to beloved pets.
Forget me not STORY: JAMES COMBS PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ
Lisa Elliott has fond memories of her playful and loving Great Dane, Maggie Mae. They were nearly inseparable. “I once took her to a Halloween dress-up party and dressed her as a lion. She won first place,” she recalls. “I also threw a birthday party for her and invited other pet owners and their dogs. Every dog wore birthday caps. She was certainly a big part of my life.” When Maggie Mae died in 1997 at age 7 from a spinal embolism, Lisa was naturally heartbroken.
May 20 14
“I had to put her down and I remember the veterinarian asking me whether I wanted to take Maggie Mae home or if I wanted him to take care of her. At the time, I had no idea he was talking about private cremation. So I took her body home with me and buried her. When I moved from Lady Lake to Ocala, I completely left Maggie Mae behind.” Today, the 49-year-old Ocala resident devotes her life to ensuring others do not have to leave their deceased pets behind. As director of Central Florida Pet Crematory in Belleview, she helps pet owners secure a final resting place for their furry friends by preserving ashes and keeping cherished memories alive. “My veterinarian came to my house on his lunch hour to help me bury Maggie Mae. You always remember someone who goes above and beyond for you in a time of need. That’s what I want to be to pet owners who come to our crematory.” Lisa’s voice fills with excitement as she talks about pets that brought joy into her life. As a sixth-grade student in southern Illinois, she fondly recalls being outside one day and hearing a faint “meow” in the distance. She looked around and saw an adorable kitten sitting on a tire of her parents’ camper. For Lisa, it was love at first sight. “I asked my parents if I could keep it, and they said yes. My mom had always owned small dogs, so this is what introduced cats into my life. I named the kitten Misty, and taking care of her made me a cat lover. Anybody who says they do not like cats has obviously never owned a kitten.” Her love for animals continues to this day. She is now the proud owner of a rescued greyhound named Ding Dong, a border collie named Steinnie, and cats Gabby and Stache. While Lisa is single with no children, she never feels lonely. Her pets provide her with all the companionship and
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unconditional love one could possibly need. “My pets are the people I come home to every day,” she says. “People can sometimes be mean, but pets are never mean. They love you 100 percent of the time.”
“Because I work at a crematory, people always ask me how I can be around deceased pets. I tell them I’m a pet lover helping another pet lover. That’s how I look at it.” Her unyielding devotion to animals made her a perfect fit to become director of Central Florida Pet Crematory 11 years ago. She formerly worked as a sales representative for Phillip Morris and then owned a Golf USA retail store in Leesburg for five years. “This is a very fulfilling career be-
cause I wake up each morning excited to go to work,” says Lisa, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University in 1988. “Because I work at a crematory, people always ask me how I can be around deceased pets. I tell them I’m a pet lover helping another pet lover. That’s how I look at it.” Inside Lisa’s office are various urns of different shapes, sizes, and colors. One is brass with engraved black paw prints. Another is wooden with glass photo frames. Simply put, pet owners spare no expense in securing a special resting place for their furry friends. The company has two crematory machines that operate at 1,700 degrees and are powered by natural gas. Depending on the size of the animal, cremation takes one to three hours. Once complete, Lisa places the ashes into a decorative urn. More often than not, pet owners choose to witness the cremation, while others opt to walk along a road winding through an 80acre horse farm until the process is finished. Countless tears are shed on these dreadful days, but in the midst of sadness and final farewells, Lisa always makes certain she cares for those who are grieving. “I’m like a funeral director,” she explains. “I am always empathetic toward the families. They need someone strong to lend support. I encourage them to share travel stories about their pet or tell me funny stories about their pet. I know exactly what they are feeling. When Maggie Mae died I would burst into tears watching television because I felt she should be lying right beside me.” For Lisa, the only disheartening aspect of her job is hearing mourning pet owners say they’ll never own another animal. “I don’t like when they say that because anyone getting a pet cremated is obviously a good parent. There are so many animals that need loving homes.”
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3509 Wedgewood Lane, The Villages, FL 32162 in the Southern Trace Plaza 352.391.1334 Delivery not available in all areas. EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS® & Design and all other marks noted are trademarks of Edible Arrangements, LLC. ©2013 Edible Arrangements, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Our 4th Annual
STYLE This yearâ€™s stellar lineup of women have enjoyed tremendous success in their respective professions, which range from real estate and finance to health care and law. Possessing a unique blend of substance and style, these ladies have garnered the utmost respect among their peers and clients alike. In essence, they are living proof that the business world is no longer a manâ€™s world.
May 20 14
Lake Eye ASSOCIATES
Tavares 3310 Waterman Way, Third Floor Tavares, FL 32778 352.343.2020
The women of Lake Eye Associates may play hard, but they also work hard, too. For them, teamwork is the name of the game. “We are big on communication in our offices,” says Linda Ricketson, Director of Human Resources and Marketing. “It’s important that everyone understands what each team member is doing, especially when we are working on big projects. At the end of the day, we all share the common goal of providing great service to our patients and their families, and we want people to walk away feeling they had the best experience with Lake Eye.” That level of dedication also translates to a highly encouraged and tight-knit staff. “We are each other’s cheerleaders,” says Linda. “We’re not just clocking in every day to work and go home. We want everyone here to feel needed and appreciated for what they add to the practice. It is important our employees like their jobs, and in turn, that trickles down to the people we serve. It truly benefits the entire company.”
The Villages 1400 U.S. Highway 441 N., Suite 521 The Villages, FL 32159 352.750.2020
Leesburg 601 E. Dixie Ave., Medical Plaza 201 Leesburg, FL 34748 352.365.2020
CO-OWNER/OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Halah Ismail fell in love with the skincare industry when she was training to work at Alani Medical Spa. For her, the best part of her job is helping people achieve a younger, more radiant appearance. “Everything we sell in our spa is medical grade and proven to show results,” she says. “We only want the best for clients.” From Botox to microdermabrasion, Halah and her team offer first-class physician-directed cosmetic skin treatments in a safe, peaceful, and relaxing environment.
Medical Spa 13838 U.S. HIGHWAY 441/27 LADY LAKE, FL 32159 352.350.1210 ALANI.COM
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, INVESTMENTS CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Giving back to the community is a responsibility Tracy Belton takes very seriously. A Lake County native, she is passionate about making Lake County a better place to live and work. “Investing well has afforded me the opportunity to give back to the community,” says Tracy, a financial advisor with Belton Financial Group of Raymond James. She is the President of the Rotary Club of The Villages-Noon, a past board member of the Lake Eustis Museum of Art, a volunteer for Deliver the Difference, and a passionate supporter of Camp Boggy Creek. She also loves animals. Accompanying her to work each day are her 5-year-old Papillion, Bella, and 5-year-old Maltipoo, Ladybug.
531 W. MAIN ST., TAVARES, FL 32778 352.253.5244 BELTONFINANCIALGROUP.COM
Leigh Ann PIPPIN BROKER/OWNER
As broker and owner of RE/MAX Realty Center International in Eustis, Leigh Ann Pippin equips her team of Real Estate Agents with the necessary tools to help their careers flourish. In 2013, her company achieved over $75 million in sales production. “I enjoy seeing our agents become successful, and we offer them everything from business planning to marketing and technical support to day-to-day encouragement,” says Leigh Ann, a lifelong Lake County resident. Leigh Ann and her business partner, Danny Teems, are very community oriented, supporting multiple organizations including Deliver the Difference, The Amazing Race for Charity, and many of the local school groups and events. On a personal note, Leigh Ann is proud that her 21-year-old daughter, Hayley, will graduate from the University of Florida this year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Finance, with Minors in Real Estate and Entrepreneurship.
RE/MAX REALTY CENTER INTERNATIONAL 2801 S. BAY ST., EUSTIS, FL 32726 352.508.5532 HOUSESINLAKE.COM
Aileen SMITH OWNER
Aileen Smith opened T. Weston’s Smokehouse in March 2013. The Wildwood-based restaurant is one of the area’s best-kept secrets, but the secret is getting out. The restaurant has been recognized as one of the “Best of the Best Barbecue Restaurants in America” by the publication National Barbecue News. In addition, T. Weston’s received the ‘Best Ribs and Brisket of Sumter County’ award. While it is known for barbecue, visitors can order other high-quality food items such as smoked Prime Rib, ribeye, pork chops, smoked salmon, and Santa Maria style tri-tip. “We’ve received great response from our customers,” Aileen says. “We also do catering for parties and events.”
T. WESTON’S SMOKEHOUSE “WE’RE SMOKIN’ HOT!” 1210 N. MAIN ST., WILDWOOD, FL 34785 352.748.9378 TWESTONS.COM
Tiffany ROSE-MITCHELL OWNER/DIRECTOR
Since age 10, Tiffany Rose-Mitchell had dreamt about owning her own performing arts center. And about a year and a half ago she made that dream come true by opening A Step Ahead Performing Arts Academy in Oxford. Her academy offers programs such as pointe, ballet, tap, contemporary, clogging, hip-hop, cheerleading, jazz, modern, acrobatics, lyrical, Broadway, technique, acting, and music, among others. Through the arts, Tiffany says she grows her students to become wellrounded individuals. “They learn teamwork and self-confidence,” she says. “And by giving back through events like Relay for Life or organizations like Adopt A Highway, they also gain a sense of community.”
3619 E. COUNTY ROAD 466 OXFORD, FL 34484 352.330.2272 ASAPERFORMINGARTS.COM
Polly WATSON OWNER
Women today juggle more than ever before — from working full-time jobs and raising children to taking care of ill family members. Because they wear so many hats, it’s easy to see why women tend to ignore finances. Polly Watson understands this very well. As owner of Leesburg-based Thomas A. Newman and Associates, PA, one of her passions is helping women take charge of their financial situation. “My goal is to help educate my clients so they can make informed decisions about their finances,” says Polly, a financial advisor who earned the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) designation. “Women need to focus on retirement now to get to where they need to go.”
2100 CITRUS BLVD., LEESBURG, FL 34748 352.728.1122 NEWMANANDASSOCIATES.NET
Administrator and Chief Financial Officer
KIM PANZER Marketing
M.D., Internal Medicine
DEVIN DI SCALA ARNP
From marketing to operational management, the ladies of ICE serve as a good representation of what their practice embodies. “No matter what is each of our responsibilities, we’re all focused on one important objective: making sure we offer the best in patient care,” says Kamachie “KC” Chinapen, administrator and chief financial officer at the Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence. “We don’t just look at the bottom line. We always make sure to provide quality service.” As administrator, KC explains her job is to oversee the flow of business, which includes spearheading this team of dynamic women to accomplish ICE’s mission. With a visionary like Dr. Asad Qamar at the helm, the ladies agree that they are given the encouragement and space for creativity needed for the good of the practice and their patients. “Dr. Qamar is not only an excellent cardiologist, but he is also a brilliant person. We all feel very blessed to work for him,” says KC. “In general, I think we have an incredible group of people who work here at ICE. Everyone possesses caring and positive attitudes, and we support each other, which makes it an enjoyable workplace.”
Merideth NAGEL Micki BLACKBURN ATTORNEY AT LAW
MICKI BLACKBURN REALTY CLERMONT OFFICE 450 E. STATE ROAD 50 CLERMONT, FL 34711 352.394.6611 WEBSTER OFFICE 211 N. MARKET ST. WEBSTER, FL 33597 352.793.8084 MASCOTTE OFFICE 311 W. MYERS BLVD. MASCOTTE, FL 34753 352.429.1009 MICKIREALTY.COM
Separately, Merideth Nagel and her mother, Micki Blackburn, run highly successful businesses. At her law practice, Merideth Nagel, P.A., Merideth offers compassionate and genuine representation in various areas of law, including real estate, bankruptcy, probate, estate planning, adoptions, and guardianships. Micki, with 42 years of experience in real estate, helps people find their dream home through her company, Micki Blackburn Realty. Her keen business sense and visionary leadership have helped the company become one of the county’s most proficient real estate firms. Over the years, Micki says she has learned that being honest and ethical are crucial in having an enduring business. Those are some of the very attributes Merideth learned from her mother, which she says have helped her become successful in her own right. “We may have different management styles, but my core values and work ethic I learned from my mother. She taught me the essentials of being a true businesswoman.”
MERIDETH NAGEL, P.A., ATTORNEY AT LAW 450 E. STATE ROAD 50, SUITE 4 CLERMONT, FL 34711 352.404.4634 MNAGELLAW.COM
CANDIDATE FOR LAKE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, DISCTRICT 5 With a flair for multitasking, Nancy Muenzmay has always maintained the ideal balance between her successful career, family, and friends. And all the while, she has always stayed connected to her community, whether it is through volunteer work or in her role as Director of Incubator Programs at Lake-Sumter State College. Now, she is ready to combine her passions for education and community service to run for Lake County School Board, District 5. “I want to find the middle ground between business and education and bring these worlds together,” she says. “I was once a teacher, so I know what it is like to be in the classroom. I also know what the business world is looking for when it comes to workforce. Therefore, I believe I can look at both sides of the coin and be able to address the needs of both the educators and residents of Lake County.”
POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT PAID FOR AND APPROVED BY NANCY MUENZMAY FOR SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 5.
Whether you are a 20-year-old looking to start a Roth IRA or a widowed senior learning to manage your estate, Jeananne has the expertise and caring attitude to help make reaching your financial goals achievable. “I believe it’s important to spend my time to understand what you’re working toward before you invest your money,” she says. “Working closely with you, your attorney, and other professionals, I can help determine the most appropriate financial strategy for you and your family.” Jeananne has worked with Edward Jones for 10 years. In her job, she says her biggest motivation is helping find solutions for her clients and sharing the importance of balance and budgeting. “It’s the customer service part of my job that makes it truly gratifying.”
114 E. Dixie Ave., Leesburg, FL 34748 352.787.7782 edwardjones.com
Meredith KIRSTE ATTORNEY AND COUNSELOR AT LAW
While Meredith Kirste has a busy career as an attorney, the lifelong Lake County resident enjoys giving back to the community. She serves as a board member of the Lake Sumter Children’s Advocacy Center, a lector at St. James Episcopal Church, and a member of Altrusa International. She also served as chairwoman of the Fifth Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission. “I enjoy practicing law, but believe it is important to give of my time and services to make Lake County a better place to live,” Meredith says. Within the last year, she moved her practice, M. Meredith Kirste, P.A., next to Vic’s Embers on U.S. Highway 441 in Leesburg. A lawyer for 18 years, she handles estate planning, guardianship cases, and real estate law.
7928 U.S HIGHWAY 441, SUITE 3 LEESBURG, FL 34788 352.326.3455
JOAN DEFOE Joan@MorrisRealtors.com 352.516.6843 SHARON SMITH Sharon@MorrisRealtors.com 352.391.0099 KIM DUCHARME Kim@MorrisRealtors.com 352.874.5906
CAMIE KENNEDY Camie@MorrisRealtors.com 352.408.4668 LINDA MARSH Linda@MorrisRealtors.com 352.978.3016
KRISTEN MYER Kristen@MorrisRealtors.com 352.636.4982
Most of us have played the legendary board game Monopoly, where competitors strategize their way to the top of a real estate game. Thanks to the talent and hard work of the real estate agents at Morris Realty and Investments, the company has built a real-life Monopoly empire in Lake, Sumter, and Marion counties. The professionals at Morris Realty and Investments don’t want you to leave your real estate decisions to chance. Let them juggle all the obstacles for you. After all, they pride themselves in using their extensive training, education, and experience in helping clients realize their dream—whether it’s buying a home for the first time or selling their current home for the right price. Meet eight Morris Realty agents who successfully juggle their personal and professional lives with utmost class. All are selfmotivated, honest, and trustworthy, upholding the company’s motto of “Integrity. Experience. Results.” “Our team blends technology with old-fashioned service to provide clients with the best real estate experience possible,” says Theresa Morris, broker/owner. “We are a very close-knit group of real estate agents who pride ourselves in performing our jobs with passion and excellence.”
LENA WILLIAMS Lena@MorrisRealtors.com 352.636.4488
THERESA MORRIS Theresa@MorrisRealtors.com 352.360.3736
Ishbel NIEVES DMD
Dr. Ishbel Nieves and her staff at Highland Lakes Dental believe in taking care of their patients as a whole and making them feel like family. “We don’t treat you as a number. We make a concerted effort to make your dental visits as comfortable and relaxing as possible,” she says. “As a result, we have been able to build a loyal patient base.” In the future, Dr. Nieves says she would like to practice dentistry in a hospital for people who are not able to be seen in a private practice setting and going to the hospital is the only way they can receive dental care. “Dentistry combines arts and science together, which is what I love most about what I do every day,” she says. “I also love the fact that I get to provide people with a gentle dental experience.”
26540 ACE AVE. LEESBURG, FL 34748 352.326.4404 LEESBURGFLORIDADENTIST.COM
Lisa ELLIOTT DIRECTOR
The bonds people form with their animals can be very profound; therefore, facing the death of a pet can be a heartbreaking and traumatic event. There to lend a helping and compassionate hand at Central Florida Pet Crematory is Lisa Elliott. As the owner of four pets herself, she understands how difficult it can be to say goodbye. “I’m very sympathetic to their grief, which is why I find it important to help people cope with their loss,” says Lisa. At Central Florida Pet Crematory, pet owners are able to say goodbye to their special friend in the most caring way using their pet cremation service. For many, cremation offers a special comfort, allowing pet owners to keep the ashes of their lifelong companion and give their pet the same respect and loyalty after death that they gave freely while living.
10725 S.E. 36TH AVE. BELLEVIEW, FL 34420 352.307.2256 CFLPETCREMATORY.COM
Susan WELSH GENERAL MANAGER
1900 COUNTRY CLUB BLVD. MOUNT DORA, FL 32757 352.735.4059 MTDORACOUNTRYCLUB.COM
After spending years working in food and beverage, Susan Welsh decided she needed a change. When an opportunity became available to answer phones at the Country Club of Mount Dora, she jumped at it, and she has loved working there ever since. For the past three years, she has served as general manager at the country club. Of all her duties, her favorite is interacting with their 250 members. “I love getting to know them. Since most of our members are retired, I like hearing about what they did for a living before retirement,” she says. “They are also full of energy, which is great. They really keep me on my toes.”
Nan COBB OWNER
Sometimes all a business owner has is his or her name and reputation. That is why Nan Cobb and her staff at Classic Tents & Events are so dedicated to superior customer service. “You can go anywhere, but good service is something that can’t be undervalued,” she says. “We give our customers our undivided attention.” For seven years, Classic Tents & Events has served as the premier full service party rental company for many local events, as well as for individuals looking to turn their events from ordinary to extraordinary. Nan admits none of what she accomplishes would be possible without her incredible staff. “This is not easy work,” she says. “What we do is very physical and demanding, which explains why I’m grateful to have such a dedicated and hardworking staff. I couldn’t do it without them.”
CLASSIC TENTS & EVENTS 1255 E. COUNTY ROAD 44, EUSTIS, FL 32736 352.357.7920 CLASSICTENTSEVENTS.COM
Uzoma NWAUBANI M.D., FACOG
When treating women with sensitive urogynecological issues, Dr. Uzoma Nwaubani makes certain to offer care that is both comprehensive and compassionate. “Being a woman myself, I understand what my patients are going through and I know how important this part of their life is,” she says. At Female Continence and Pelvic Surgery Center (FeCAPSC), Dr. Nwaubani helps women reclaim their quality of life from common medical conditions such as female incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. “By combining my passions for urology and gynecology, I not only restore women’s pelvic and urinary health, I help them rediscover their femininity and sexuality,” she says.
1050 OLD CAMP ROAD, SUITE 202 THE VILLAGES, FL 32162 352.633.0703 ADDLIFEUROGYN.COM
Leesburg DOWNTOWN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
When you own a business in downtown Leesburg, expect to be a part of a big family that is all about helping one another. “We all care about each other,” says Dell Ross, owner of Doggibags on Main Street, “and when there is an event downtown, we all volunteer to help.” Though these women have their own individual businesses, they work together as one unit for the betterment of their downtown. “We like to make people aware of our presence in downtown Leesburg because sometimes people forget about us,” says Dell. “However, we have a lot of unique stores that are locally owned, so through word-of-mouth we always see lots of new faces, and that keeps us busy.”
SANDI MOORE Leesburg Chamber of Commerce
Go Figure Tax Solutions
DELL ROSS Doggibags
Chiropractic Physician/ Owner
Rhonda Fross didn’t have difficulty finding her calling. “I’m a second-generation chiropractor; one of seven chiropractors in my family,” Rhonda says from her office at Back Pain Relief Clinic in the Fross & Fross Wealth Management Building in The Villages. Rhonda’s experience compliments her impressive pedigree. She’s operated (and continues to operate) a successful practice in St. Petersburg for 14 years. But Rhonda’s much more than a first-class chiropractor. Back Pain Relief Clinic offers massage, muscle stimulation, back decompression therapy for herniated discs, and other personalized treatments. “We create a plan of treatment based on each person’s specific situation,” Rhonda said. “We research and create a plan to address their pain.” It’s one-stop care for patients, even if they aren’t sure they are patients. “When people are in car accidents, or slip and fall, they should get checked out. Even if they’re not hurting. Pain often comes later,” Rhonda said. State-of-the-art, digital x-rays allow Rhonda and her staff to quickly determine if therapy is needed — or more serious treatment from a team of doctors who work closely with Back Pain Relief Clinic. Call to learn how Back Pain Relief Clinic can help you. Fross views her approach to pain management as “a more sophisticated” form of chiropractic medicine. But technology aside, her success stems from a giving heart. “I love helping people. That’s all I know,” she says.
910 OLD CAMP RD., SUITE 92 THE VILLAGES, FL 32162 352.633.7853
The Villages Premier Board Certified Plastic Surgery Group
MEMBER OF American Society of Plastic Surgeons
MEMBER OF American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Our practice is dedicated
to providing exceptional plastic surgery and achieving a beautiful, natural-looking result for our patients. We strive to combine surgical expertise, artistic vision, and outstanding service to make your visit with us a positive, rewarding experience. We offer a complete range of modern procedures that include non-surgical and surgical techniques. Each of our surgeons is board certified in plastic surgery. They are all fully trained and experienced in cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery. Our surgeons are always on site and are directors of our medi-spa and ancillary procedures. In addition, we have registered nurses assisting the physicians with your care. This cadre of dedicated professionals ensures that all your questions are answered and that your experience is personal and complete to your satisfaction.
So, if you are seeking a more youthful face, enlarging your breasts, a flattering figure, the solution to a problem area, or guidance to help beautify and rejuvenate your skin, our practice can help you achieve your goals.
GET TO KNOW OUR James Rogers DMD, MD
Dr. Rogers is a native Floridian. He is a graduate of Emory University, and completed his dental and medical degrees from the University of Florida. He trained in surgery at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida, and completed his plastic surgical training at Tulane University and Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. Dr. Rogers is a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and has performed Cosmetic and Reconstructive Procedures in Ocala for over twenty years. He is one of the most experienced surgeons in Central Florida.
Navinderdeep Nijher MD
Dr. Nijher is a native New Yorker who now resides in Ocala with his wife who is a pediatrician. He completed his plastic surgery training at the prestigious New York Hospital of Cornell and Columbia Universities and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He provides the latest cutting edge techniques in minimal scar surgery of the breast, face, forehead, and eyes. He also specializes in all facets of body sculpting including but not limited to liposuction, abdominoplasty, and post bariatric body contouring. Dr.Nijher lectures extensively trying to educate patients on plastic surgery and has subsequently become one of the most sought out plastic surgeons in Central Florida.
Leonik Ahumada MD
Dr. Ahumada specializes in cosmetic and plastic surgery. He is trained in the latest plastic surgical techniques of the face, eyelids, breast and body with emphasis on minimal scarring. This includes non surgical (fillers,botox,fat grafts,sclerotherapy) and surgical procedures (facelift, eyelids, nose, breast,tummy tucks,liposuction). He graduated from Harvard with a degree in biochemistry and completed medical school at the University of Miami. He was awarded many honors while completing Plastic Surgery training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and has authored and co-authored papers in plastic surgery. He prefers a personal approach to his patients and will listen to your concerns when suggesting procedures. Dr Ahumadaâ€™s family is from South America; in addition to English he is also fluent in Spanish and has an international clientele. He is married and father to three girls; when not seeing patients he enjoys time with his family.
Fall in love with the skin you’re in...
Come join us for an opportunity to see what our Aqua Med Spa offers and to view the latest procedures available.
Don’t miss the LIVE DEMO AT 1:30
Introducing our newest skin care specialist Brenda Fannon
• • • • • •
15% off Spa products (during day of event) Product samples Pre-payment package specials Treatment raffles Door prizes! Refreshments
Have the opportunity to meet and speak with one of our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons
May 9th • 1pm–3pm • Dr. Rogers May 30th • 1pm–3pm • Dr. Nijher July 10th • 2pm–4pm • Dr. Ahumada
THE VILLAGES LOCATION
1501 US Hwy 441 N, Bldg 1000, STE 1001 The Villages, FL 32159 C A L L U S T O D AY
(352) 750-0019 REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION
SPECIAL ADVERTISING FEATURE
The philosophy behind TB Financial Group is simple: an educated consumer is an informed consumer.
Guests enter a room inside Waterfront Inn in The Villages and sit at white cloth-covered tables. On the tables are No. 2 pencils, sticky notes, notebook paper, and even heartshaped pencil sharpeners — all essential note-taking tools. On this day, guests are attending one of TB Financial Group’s increasingly popular seminars, which owners Elizabeth Cornell and Nick Lizzio affectionately refer to as “Annuity University.” Nick leads off the two-and-a-half hour seminar by explaining the current state of the market and encouraging guests to be proactive versus reactive with their retirement savings. Then, Elizabeth talks about the history of annuities, the different types of annuities, and how consumers can take money out of annuities. Guests even learn how financial advisors and agents are compensated. During the presentation, Elizabeth points out how legendary baseball player Babe Ruth was a proponent of annuities long before they became mainstream financial-planning
options. “He said, ‘I may take risks in life, but I never take risks with my money.’” Nick, a financial professional since 1990, has transitioned from a risk taker working with stocks and government bonds to a risk manager working with fixed products offered by the insurance industry. His overall knowledge of financial markets makes his endorsements of annuities as “the single best tool to preserve principle and provide income for life” a powerful one. Elizabeth is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to annuities, and her passion for sharing knowledge with the public is quite obvious to those in attendance. “I doubt there is another financial advisor in the country who knows as much about annuities as she does,” says Betty Collins, a resident of Highland Lakes in Leesburg. “This is actually the second TB Financial Group seminar that I have attended. I was so impressed by her the first time I decided to bring my daughter, who is a financial advisor in Colorado. Elizabeth is thorough, passionate, and well-versed in financial products.”
SPECIAL ADVERTISING FEATURE
Bob Thomson, a resident of The Villages, is equally impressed by what he heard. “I like how Elizabeth does not pressure us into becoming clients of TB Financial Group. She genuinely wants to educate people so they can make informed decisions regarding their financial future. She speaks straight from her heart.”
After witnessing the uniqueness of “Annuity University,” it is easy to understand what the “TB” in TB Financial Group stands for: “The Best Financial Group.”
our moral compass in check 100 percent of the time. When you do the right thing, it always comes back.” Elizabeth and Nick specialize in financial retirement strategies. Although they have more than 30 years of combined experience, they are not full financial planners. They work only with fixed annuities, index annuities, and life insurance to increase income, minimize taxes, and protect principal against market volatility. “There is absolutely nobody within a 5,000-mile radius who knows as much about these products as we do,” says Elizabeth, the company’s chief executive officer.
“We are educationoriented; we’re not, nor will we ever be, sales pitch-oriented.” That’s precisely what Elizabeth and Nick have aspired to be since opening the Fruitland Park-based company in August 2013. Realizing some people are leery about entrusting their hard-earned money to financial professionals, Elizabeth and Nick approach their job with the highest levels of honesty and integrity. As financial professionals, they are very forthcoming and transparent about their approach to handling money. There is no salesmanship, and they encourage clients to become engaged in the process by asking as many questions as possible. That’s why TB Financial Group is one of the fastest-growing private financial firms in the United States. In addition, the company is one of 20 firms recognized as “Florida’s Financial Leaders” in the June 30, 2014 issue of Forbes Magazine. The company has attracted clients of all age groups. “We are education-oriented; we’re not, nor will we ever be, sales pitch-oriented,” says Nick, who serves as the company’s chief financial officer. “Rather than manipulating a plan so we receive an extra 1 percent, we keep
SPECIAL ADVERTISING FEATURE
From day one, both realized the importance of providing education about a complex financial services industry. With more vast and complex investing options in today’s world, they realize educating the public fills a muchneeded void. “People are hungry to gain financial knowledge,” Nick says. “As a result, we’ve had such an overwhelming response to our workshops. We advertise for one seminar and end up having to set aside a room for two days because we book full for four workshops.” After all, learning more about the financial world helps consumers build confidence to make good decisions and positive choices regarding their financial future. “I leave no stone unturned during my presentation,” Elizabeth says. “I tell them how we get compensated and how the industry makes money. That is part of being transparent. I provide the rawest information you could possibly imagine. We know by the end of the presentation it’s not going to be for everybody, which is not our objective to begin with. We want people to walk away with information they
did not know beforehand, and we also want to distinguish between fact and fiction.” “Annuity University” is not your typical seminar where attendees enjoy a fancy dinner and PowerPoint presentation from a man dressed in a fancy suit. Utilizing an old-school approach to seminars, Elizabeth and Nick use a chalkboard and provide No. 2 pencils so guests can take notes. They do not pass out brochures or other literature. “I want everything to be timeless, classy, and simple,” Elizabeth says. “We don’t have fireworks shooting out of the room. Guests know exactly what they’re coming to and what they’re going to get. You do not have to be a savvy investor to enjoy ‘Annuity University’ because I explain things in simple terms. The seminar is very general and non-product specific.”
Elizabeth was born and raised in Leesburg and is a graduate of Leesburg High School. Her parents and grandparents all reside in Lake County. She has always maintained a wonderful sense of hometown pride and enjoys using her expertise as a financial professional to serve the wonderful people of this community. Although Nick is a native of New Jersey, he has quickly developed a deep appreciation for the small-town hospitality and friendly people of Lake County. Both are passionate about giving back to the community that has so graciously supported TB Financial Group. One way they give back is by supporting
“You do not have to be a savvy investor to enjoy ‘Annuity University.’” Their willingness to educate consumers is a testament to their honest approach. After all, it defies how they were trained to handle clients. “You’re always taught that with a client, you get them to think you know just a bit more than they do,” Nick says. “This way, they will trust you, and it will not matter where you put their money. That has always been the norm. If clients and consumers are asking questions, then many financial advisors consider that to be a problem.” Just six months ago, Elizabeth and Nick attended a convention with 200 of the top financial advisors across the country. They were disappointed by what they heard. “We were told you do not educate the consumer,” Elizabeth says. “You get them to trust you, build rapport, and they’ll do whatever you want them to. We were kicking each other under the table because the entire foundation of our company is just the opposite.”
Beyond the Walls, a food pantry in Fruitland Park that serves nearly 120 families each week by providing basic food resources, toiletries, and clothing to financially disadvantaged people. Beyond the Walls was formed more than 30 years ago by Betty Sexton to help individuals and families dealing with hunger. One of the food pantry’s largest sponsors is Heritage Community Church. “Beyond the Walls is a wonderful organization that reaches so many people,” Nick says. “Giving back to the community where we work and live is a deeply held value for me and Elizabeth.” In addition, TB Financial Group also donated money for the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry’s fundraiser in April. Elizabeth’s father, Jim Cornell, is chaplain at the Lake County Jail. His position is paid for strictly by donations. TB FINANCIAL GROUP is located at 3261 U.S. Highway 441 in Fruitland Park. For more information, please call 352.350.1161 or visit tbfinancialgroup.com. SPECIAL ADVERTISING FEATURE
Two new locations to serve you. LEESBURG 803 E. Dixie Ave., Leesburg, FL 34748
THE VILLAGES 1149 Main St., The Villages, FL 32159
Dr. Sanjeev Bhatta
Call today to schedule your appointment.
Two new locations to serve you. LEESBURG 803 E. Dixie Ave., Leesburg, FL 34748
THE VILLAGES 1149 Main St., The Villages, FL 32159
Call today to schedule your appointment.
Dr. Ronnie Sabbah
WINNING WOMEN The Lake County Womenâ€™s Hall of Fame celebrates special achievements and pioneering roles. STORY: JAMES COMBS PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ
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t’s been said the best man for a job is a woman. That’s often been the case in Lake County, where dozens of women distinguished themselves through outstanding professional achievements and made significant community contributions through volunteerism. Women like Catherine Hanson, who served as a county commissioner for 16 years, is in her seventh year as a director of the East Lake Chamber of Commerce, has twice been co-chair of a Relay For Life event, and is a respected Realtor. During her tenure as county commissioner, Catherine took action to make sure other dedicated, hardworking women were recognized. “There were many women who gave their time, energy, and skills to make our county a better place to live,” she says. “I thought it was important to honor them in some capacity.” So Hanson pitched the idea of creating a Lake County Women’s Hall of Fame to her fellow county commissioners, who approved the concept in 1994. Imagine Hanson’s surprise when she was nominated for the honor and inducted the following year.
Thirty-three women have followed Hanson into the Hall, reminding everyone of the talent and generosity women bring to Lake County every day of the year. “It is very exciting because we continue adding top-notch women each year,” Hanson says. “This is a great way to pay tribute to these remarkable women who have given so much.” In the following pages, you will read about six of these women — including the first inductee, Hanson, and the latest inductee, Linda Watts. Prepare to be inspired as you read about women who grew up in an era where most wives were content to stay home and let husbands be the breadwinners. Rather than conforming to traditions and gender stereotypes, these women bravely ventured into the workplace and discovered they were every bit as bold, valuable, and courageous as their male counterparts. These women made impacts in health care, agriculture, education, government, business, and many other areas. They have held esteemed positions ranging from teachers and newspaper editors to elected officials and public servants. And outside the workplace, they continued to selflessly give of themselves to create positive change in the community.
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WINNING WOMEN ABOUT THE LAKE COUNTY WOMEN’S HALL OF FAME Women inducted into the Lake County Women’s Hall of Fame are nominated. Anyone nominating a potential candidate must fill out an application and attach a brief summary defining the nominee’s accomplishments. The deadline for completed forms is August 23. “In July, I send out a letter to officials in each city, run a press release in local newspapers, and ask for nominations on our web page,” says Wendy Taylor, executive office manager of the Board of County Commissioners. “We receive anywhere from 10 to 25 nominations each year.”
A five-person committee thoroughly reviews each application and chooses one or two nominees for induction. No more than two women can be inducted in a given year. The inductees are recognized in November either at a county commission board meeting or at the State of the County Address. They receive a plaque and their photograph is prominently hung alongside photographs of past inductees in the Commission Chambers. “I think the Lake County Women’s Hall of Fame provides great motivation for women to aspire to always do their best,” Wendy says.
Women’s Hall of Fame Inductees 1995 Catherine C. Hanson
2000 Dorothy M. Shipes
2008 Annie Nutt
1995 Florence M. Hunter
2001 Ann Dupee
2008 Harriett Mann
1995 Margaret Cason Ward
2001 Rena Poole
2009 Alta Trask
1996 Marie B. Bowden
2002 Bennye Montine Jones-Kinsler
2009 Doris Ragan
1997 Lillie Mathews 1998 Annie “Jo” Tucker 1998 Susan Scott Pennacchia Ricci
2002 Carman Cullen 2003 Priscilla C. Getchell 2004 Effie Treadway
1999 Gwen M. Manning
2005 Emogene Stegall
1999 Pearl Long Cullen
2006 Sanna Henderson
1999 Nellie Conley Skeen
2006 Norma Hendricks
2000 Miriam W. Johnson
2007 Antionette Viti 2007 Barbara Mittermaier
2010 Agnes Berry 2010 Pauline Yowler 2011 Betty Brennand 2011 Evelyn Smith 2012 Gwen McLin 2013 Betty Sexton 2013 Linda Watts
As a girl growing up in Seminole County, Catherine Hanson spent much of her time becoming accustomed to milk pails and swishing tails as she and her dairy-farming family worked every day to bring fresh, wholesome milk to consumers in Central Florida. “It was a ton of work — we basically worked seven days a week. But I didn’t mind it because we were close to the land and nature.” After earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from the University of Florida in 1969, Catherine balanced her time between teaching seventh grade and helping her family maintain the farm. In 1975, the farm was moved from Seminole County to Sorrento. Her family sold it in 1983. “Being a dairy farmer taught me the value of hard work, and it was a character-building process,” she says. Those attributes came in handy when Catherine opened a real estate company in 1990. That same year, she became the first female elected to the Lake County Commission. “I was approached to run because people wanted representation from east Lake County. I was hesitant because I was a farm girl who was shy and quiet and was never a political person,” she says. “However, I
jumped into it and immediately took confidence-building and leadership courses. I figured educating myself would help me listen to all sides of an issue and make good decisions.” She served as county commissioner from 1990 to 2006. Some of her notable accomplishments include expanding fire services to rural areas, initiating an affordable housing program, implementing responsible growth, and establishing the annual State of the County Address. Without question, she paved the way for women to be elected to countywide seats. Six females have served as county commissioners during the past decade. “In today’s world, there are not too many barriers keeping women from achieving their goals. With passion and preparation, women can accomplish anything.” Catherine was also the first woman elected to the Lake County Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995. While she continues running her real estate company, the 66-year-old finds time to exercise at the gym, spend time with her eight grandchildren, and travel around the country.
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LINDA WATTS The Mentor
As a teacher, she cultivated curious and creative minds of students. As founder and director of the Miss Leesburg Scholarship Program, she encourages young ladies to volunteer and do for others. Linda Watts has helped shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by teaching values like integrity, respect, and perseverance. Her years of dedication and hard work have not gone unnoticed. She was inducted into the Lake County Women’s Hall of Fame in December 2013. Two years earlier, the City of Leesburg proclaimed Oct. 1, 2011, as “Linda Watts Day.” That same year, Linda also received the Citizen of the Year award from the Leesburg Partnership. The 67-year-old Leesburg resident has always accepted such awards with a big dose of humility. Those close to Linda know her not for her accolades, but rather for her big smile and sweet personality. Linda’s motivation behind becoming a teacher was simple: she wanted to be near her two children, Angie and Keith. After
earning her teaching certification, she began teaching at Lake Christian School the same year her daughter entered pre-kindergarten. “Being a mother, naturally I wanted to be a part of their lives,” says Linda, a lifelong Lake County resident and 1964 graduate of Umatilla High School. “Although I was not their teacher, I still took field trips with them and saw them throughout the day. Having the same schedule as my children made my role as a mother even more special.” Linda spent 20 years teaching prekindergarten and kindergarten — 13 years at Lake Christian School and seven years at Morrison United Methodist. “I loved being around young children because of their innocence,” she says. “Each child was special in his or her own way.” After retiring from teaching, Linda continued having an impact on students when she founded the Miss Leesburg Scholarship Program in 1986. Through this organization, she advocates volunteerism and community service to
hundreds of local girls who visit nursing homes and participate in food drives, jacket drives, and many other meaningful endeavors. “Throughout the years, I’ve seen these girls blossom into outstanding young women. Some are doctors, attorneys, dentists, actresses, and moms. I have attended their weddings, baby showers, and other special events. I feel blessed to have made so many wonderful friendships.” Linda was also director of the Leesburg Art Festival for 13 years and served on numerous committees for the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she has helped organize the Kid’s Parade for the Leesburg Mardi Gras. Linda does not plan to slow down anytime soon. She certainly has good genes. Her mother, Ouida Kenney, is 92 and resides in Umatilla.
BARBARA MITTERMAIER The Chameleon
Barbara Mittermaier was a loving wife and mother of three children, but she was not the typical homemaker like many females of her generation were. She always possessed a bold and fearless spirit. In the 1960s, she rebuilt an antique Piper Cub plane and was an avid scuba diver. In 2000, she became a United States ballroom dance champion. During her career, she did everything from leasing commercial shopping centers to
serving as a state consultant for emergency medicine. “I always related more to the discussions men were having about business than the discussions women were having about diapers and dishes,” she says. Barbara has certainly made an impact on Lake County since moving here in 1989. She has served as a board member for the Leesburg Area Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club, United Way, Lake-Sumter State College Foundation, and
Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties. She is also past president of the Leesburg Noon Rotary Club. Although Barbara is 82, she continues going strong. “I feel wonderful and have lots of energy because I remain involved,” says Barbara, who was inducted into the Lake County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007. “At this point, when I wake up and see green grass instead of dirt I am happy.”
ANN DUPEE The Community Leader
Most people know Ann Dupee for her bubbly personality, warm smile, and positive attitude. And many realize she’s a woman of many hats. “I have some very fun and colorful hats that I always wear,” says Ann, 79. “I also wear a flower in my hair and pick a color that matches my outfit.” Without question, Ann has worn many hats since moving to Clermont. With her late husband George, Ann purchased the South Lake Press in January 1968. She served as an editor and reporter of the weekly newspaper, which turned 100 in 2013. “I covered thefts, accidents, and arrests. I was never sued, which is quite an honor,” she says. “Even though the citrus industry dominated Clermont at that time, we were able to get advertising from large companies like Publix and Winn Dixie.” Under her leadership, the newspaper increased from 16 to 48 pages and grew to a circulation of 4,000. According to Ann, the secret to producing a successful newspaper was keeping its content local. Even after selling the paper in 1992, Ann never slowed down. She served on the Central Florida Regional Planning Council, became the first female member of the South Lake Kiwanis Club, and served a two-year term as president of the Greater Clermont Area Chamber of Commerce. Ann was inducted into the Lake County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001. She was also inducted into the Lake County Business Hall of Fame, as well as the Lake-Sumter State College Hall of Fame. In addition, Café Dupee at Cooper Memorial Library in Clermont is named after Ann for her longtime support.
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CARMAN CULLEN-BATT The Philanthropist
When Carman Cullen-Batt was a little girl, her mother provided her with sound advice. “She told me it is a man’s world. Therefore, you have to be smarter and work harder.” Carman, 55, has heeded that advice throughout her professional career. She worked in newspaper advertising for 25 years, including a nine-year stint with the Leesburg-based Daily Commercial. “I loved the newspaper industry. No day was ever the same, and we were always on deadline so it was exciting.”
For the past 10 years, Carman has served as executive director of the Educational Foundation of Lake County. During that time, she and her staff have raised more than $8 million for public schools. The money is raised through donations and fundraising events such as the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire and the Scott Strong Memorial Golf Tournament. “I wake up excited each morning because I put a smile on a kid’s face and help make a teacher’s life easier.” Her contributions to the community are seemingly endless. She has served as a board member of United Way, the Lake County Cultural Affairs Council, and Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties. She is also past president of the Leesburg Partnership. “Many times I work seven days a week. I have a mind that never stops.” Carman was inducted into the Lake County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2002.
EMOGENE STEGALL The Civil Servant
Although Florida was the laughingstock of the nation during the 2000 presidential election (remember hanging chads?), Lake County avoided embarrassing glitches in the voting process. That is largely in part to the experience, dedication, and commitment of Emogene Stegall. Emogene is undoubtedly one of the most respected public officials in Lake County history. She started her career in the elections office in 1958 at age 32. In 1972, she was elected supervisor of elections, a position she has held ever since. In a county that has trended Republican for the past 20 years, winning as a Democrat is no small feat. “I believe in honest, fair, nonpartisan, and transparent elections,” she says. “For
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me, this job is not about a paycheck; it is about allowing the citizens of Lake County to participate in elections and have the privilege of voting.” Emogene and her staff typically work from 5:30a.m. to 10p.m. during election days. “We are always prepared for 100 percent voter turnout. When one election is complete, we immediately begin working on the next one.” Although she is 87, Emogene is not ruling out another run for office in 2016. “It all depends on my health,” says Emogene, who was inducted into the Lake County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005. “Truthfully, age is something I do not think about. I’m just glad I am here and have a job I love.”
25 of f NE W
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People treat us differently based on how young or old they think we are. We don’t make the rules up, that is simply how our world works. As facial plastic surgeons, our job is to help people understand the latest technologies and the least invasive techniques, to look and feel their best, and to regain or maintain their
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still maintaining a natural appearance. Our most popular facelift is split into three categories: – You like what you see when you pull on your neck and jawline in the mirror, pulling the skin in the direction towards your ears.
– You need the MOST improvement right under your chin, the – You need the most improvement you can have with one procedure, you want general anesthesia (though it can be performed under local anesthesia by some doctors), and you are comfortable with extended recovery times. There is no need for a complete overhaul! If you need even just a little perk-up, we also offer little to nodowntime treatments. We can even create long-term plans for you! You deserve to look and feel your best, so what are you waiting for? At ImageLift, we are a National Center of Excellence for our long-term in the ImageLift techniques. The combined experience of two Double Dr. Rich Castellano and Dr. Randall Weyrich, is sought across the country and internationally. They will absolutely provide you with a customized treatment plan that works for you and your individual needs, right here in The Villages, no travel required.
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Three local up-and-comers to watch.
VERGE ON THE
STORY: SHEMIR WILES PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ
May 20 14
Images of female entrepreneurship and modern-day businesswomen have become increasingly conventional in a world that once was male dominated. Today, women own more than 8.6 million U.S. businesses, generate more than $1.3 trillion in revenue, and employ nearly 7.8 million people. They are marketing directors, chief financial officers, business executives, and managers. The opportunities for women’s advancement in business seem unlimited, even though it wasn’t that long ago that sexual discrimination in workplace was common. Nevertheless, a quick look at history shows that women have always been about business. In the early 1900s, many womanowned businesses were born out of necessity. Some women found themselves shoved into the role of business owner after the death of a husband or father. Others, without breadwinning husbands, became entrepreneurs so they could take care of themselves and wouldn’t become a burden on society. Then there were progressive women like beauty product entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker who launched businesses to target the largest demographic of consumers: women. However, the Great Depression spawned a societal reversal as public attitudes shifted away from embracing women in business and back to tradition, especially when it came to women’s and men’s economic roles. When World War II broke out, women returned to the workforce in droves as men left to fight. Yet by the 1950s, the push for domesticity reared its head as women were urged to be more like June Cleaver and bombarded with advertising messages like “Christmas morning she’ll be happier with a Hoover.” The media heavily emphasized that a woman could best serve her country by being in the home taking care of her family, and the road to total fulfillment
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A QUICK LOOK AT HISTORY SHOWS THAT WOMEN HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT BUSINESS.
was paved in pearl necklaces and homemade baked goods. Still, many women during that time capitalized on their domestic skills by establishing home-based businesses, though a number of challenges still existed. Banks usually did not want to lend money to women, and men typically did not want to do business with them. But by the early 1960s, the social landscape was changing. Women were stepping out from behind the vacuum cleaner to assert their independence. The feminist movement coupled with national legislation for equal opportunity employment served as the watershed moment for female entrepreneurship in the 1970s. And slowly, women began to assume more managerial positions at American corporations. By the late 1980s, women owned half of all American businesses and accounted for more than a third of MBAs earned in the United States in a single year. These brave trailblazers gave way to the sweeping change in people’s mindsets — it was possible for a woman to be business savvy and successful. The small steps by those who sought to dream made a way for women to crash through the proverbial glass ceiling. Enter the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, and Carole Black, who took it a step further by making themselves into household names that inspired a whole new generation of businesswomen to aim higher. And aim higher they did. The battle for equality is not over. But as evidenced by three local women on the verge of leaving their own marks in the professional world, the revolution is still strong, although it has transformed. It is no longer just about infiltrating the “good ol’ boy” system; it’s about improving people’s lives beyond the bottom line and encouraging future business women to keep fighting the good fight.
SOURCES: “The Paradox Of Women Business Owners.” Forbes.com. www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/06/18/the-paradox-of-women-business-owners/; “Women in Business: A Historical Perspective.” amhistory.si.edu/ archives/WIB-tour/historical.pdf; “From Ideas to Independence.” entrepreneurs.nwhm.org/#/introduction/1
WOMEN ON THE VERGE
TRISHA KHANNA Countless people talk about making a difference in the world, but so few ever do. Trisha Khanna is looking to be an exception, and given her grit and enthusiasm, there is no doubt this 22-year-old is destined to change lives. Since a young age, Trisha has been a girl with big dreams. Her father, Dr. Dinesh Khanna, and mother, Seema Khanna, always encouraged her precocious nature and challenged her to strive for the best. Her mother, especially, has been a huge influence. “She taught me to be strong and independent,” says Trisha. “A lot of what my mother would tell me made me want to do something noteworthy with my life.” Spending time after school at her father’s medical practice fortified her desire to become a physician. She found herself drawn to the position of authority and care. “I love people and forming bonds with them,” she says. “I find it gratifying to help and counsel people in their times of need. Moreover, I am a product of my environment because I grew up around medicine. I just really want to be that trustworthy and reliable person that people can count on.” And while she is close to finishing her senior year at the University of Florida and deciding on whether Vanderbilt University will be the college she attends for medical school, Trisha has even bigger aspirations on her mind — aspirations that include helping women and the underprivileged.
“Medically, there are a lot of underserved areas. Unbelievably, some of those areas are in our own backyard, like Ocala and The Villages. As a physician, I want to do something to help people, especially women, gain access to quality health care,” she says. “I want to get involved in women’s social issues, too. I used to volunteer in a domestic violence shelter and it struck a nerve with me.” Trisha also has her sights set on tackling another social issue that affects thousands of children across the globe, and even here in Central Florida—child trafficking. “I read an article about it a few years ago in Style magazine, and it shocked me to know it was happening here,” she says. “Right then I knew I had to get involved. It is my hope that once I have my education and become a doctor, I can use medicine as a platform to help others.” Though many young adults dream of the day they can leave their hometown to go out into the big world, Trisha wants to return to Lake County because she is passionate about improving her community. “I don’t want to just settle and live a comfortable lifestyle. I want to come back and really make some changes for the better in my community,” she says. “My family has given me the tools to do well in life, and I want to show people I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I understand I have to work hard for what I want in life and help those who need it along the way.”
May 20 14
WOMEN ON THE VERGE
ANNA STANAGE Anna Stanage never saw herself becoming a businesswoman. “I’ve always loved kids, so I became a nanny after I graduated from Leesburg High School,” she says. “I also looked into teaching, but after having my first child, Kooper, I stayed at home.” However, Anna soon found herself wanting something more. Therefore, when her husband, Brian, expressed interest in starting an arbor care business three years ago, Anna joined in to be the corporate face of the company. “My husband had the tree service knowledge, but I had the professional skills to take care of the promotion side of the business,” she says. “I became heavily involved in the local business community.” Anna, 24, not only is an active member of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, she is also a part of BNI Central Florida, a business networking and referral marketing organization. She believes networking and self-promotion are essentials for growing a successful business. “I’m always out there talking to people,” she says. “It is important to stay plugged in to the business community and take advantage of the opportunities here.” As a result, she has been able to surround herself with other like-minded businesswomen who share her drive and can impart their own knowledge of what it means to be a modern-day female entrepreneur. “A lot of these local businesswomen worked extremely hard to get where they are and I am pleased to be around them,” she says. “It’s like we are all growing wiser together. I’m always learning something new from these incredible women who really blazed the trail that I get to follow.”
HALEY GERIG Haley Gerig’s love affair with fashion began with a desire to be unique. Living in a small town, she did not want to be stuck wearing the same clothes as her peers. She wanted to create outfits that not only flattered her body but also suited her quirky personality. She began sewing at 13, and by 16 she was a business owner, starting Haley’s Comet Clothing to design custom apparel and home décor. She draws most of her inspiration from her clients. “It’s not just one style. I really design my clothes based on what the client wants,” she says. “It’s open, not cookie-cutter.” After graduating from Tavares High School, Haley enrolled at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Orlando and earned her degree in fashion design and merchandising. She then returned to Lake County to continue building her business and her brand. “When you go out and start working for mass market retailers, your designs don’t stay your own,” she says. “I wanted to keep my business here locally to give more exposure to my designs while also giving back to my community.”
One wildly successful way Haley has put her fashion prowess to good use is by co-founding the annual Sweet Treats for a Cause event with her mother, Shelly Gerig. The fundraiser, which includes vendors and a fashion show featuring designs by Haley and other local fashion retailers, raises scholarship money for high school students who want to participate in school arts programs, but can’t afford to. The Educational Foundation of Lake County, Inc. is the recipient and fiscal agent for the scholarships. Haley and her mother have been able to raise more than $19,000 over the past two years through the Sweet Treats event and other activities, an accomplishment Haley says keeps her passionate about preserving the arts in schools. “Every year I would hear about funding being cut for the arts in public schools and it would bother me because I come from an arts background,” she says. “I want to make sure children have those opportunities that I had in high school, so it’s great to see the impact Sweet Treats has really made on lives. I like to see that it makes a difference.”
May 20 14
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From helping pioneer no-stitch/noneedle cataract surgery techniques to opening the area’s first eye surgery center, Mid Florida Eye Center has been advancing eye care in Lake County for over 25 years. Now, with Laser Cataract Surgery, our patients have more options than ever before for restoring their vision and being independent of glasses. A BLADELESS SURGICAL EXPERIENCE Laser Cataract Surgery is an option for patients who want to increase their chance of freedom from glasses. It’s the most advanced cataract surgery technique available today. The surgery is totally bladeless, giving surgeons
increased accuracy and the ability to correct astigmatism. Plus, the laser’s real-time 3D visualization, when combined with our surgeons’ expertise, results in a truly customized lens replacement procedure. EXPERIENCE MATTERS Together, our internationally renowned cataract surgeons— Dr. Jeffrey D. Baumann, Dr. Gregory J. Panzo, and Dr. Keith C. Charles—have performed more than 140,000 successful cataract and laser procedures. They understand how to effectively leverage laser technology to achieve the best possible visual outcomes.
ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY LENSES When paired with the right lens, Laser Cataract Surgery can dramatically improve your vision—at all distances. Thanks to our participation in groundbreaking clinical research trials, we have a diverse selection of advanced technology lenses. We’ll help you choose the one that fits your lifestyle best. Schedule your cataract consultation today by calling 1-888-820-7878 (toll-free) or 352-735-2020 to see if Laser Cataract Surgery is an option for you. www.MidFloridaEye.com
city series STYLE’s guide to the places we call “home”
THE FRIENDLY CITY STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ+MATTHEW GAULIN
VITAL STATS CURRENT POPULATION: 4,181 (2012) SIZE: 3.7 square miles INCORPORATED: 1927 PUBLIC OFFICIALS MAYOR: Chris Bell COMMISSIONERS: Sharon Kelly, Chris Cheshire, John Gunter, Albert Goldberg POLICE CHIEF: Terry Isaacs CITY MANAGER: Gary La Venia
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HOLY TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH ONE OF THE OLDEST CHURCH BUILDINGS IN FLORIDA
Eagles Nest Road
Lake Ella Road
FLORIDA’S OLDEST KART TRACK
S. Dixie Ave.
FRUITLAND PARK CAFÉ
WHERE THE LOCALS GATHER
Griffin Road Thomas Ave.
May 20 14
city series // fruitland park STYLE’s guide to the places we call “home”
Driving along the U.S. Highway 27/441 corridor that dissects a good portion of Lake County, it’s easy to miss the small city of Fruitland Park. If you’ve visited Lake Griffin State Park, though, you’ve been to one of Fruitland Park’s most cherished treasures. And there is more if you look just beyond the highway’s seemingly endless road construction.
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and they requested the name to be changed to Gardenia in 1884. The railroad that came through town had already listed Fruitland Park on all its printed materials and refused to recognize the name of Gardenia. For four years, confusion reigned as freight had to be directed to Fruitland Park while mail was addressed to Gardenia. In 1888, the postal service relented and granted the petition to change the name back to Fruitland Park. The name Gardenia lives on, though, with one of the most popular city parks located next to the library on Berckman Street. The complex includes a swimming pool, soccer and football field, playground, and one of Lake County’s oldest skateboard parks. BUCKET AND DIPPER CLUB Welcoming an onslaught of new residents from outside the Deep South is nothing new for Fruitland Park. During the 1800s, the community had a steady stream of settlers from Ohio, Illinois, Maine, and England. In 1863, Londoner R.F.E. Cooke immigrated to Florida with a group of British colonists. He later became a banker, businessman, and a prime mover in Lake County. In fact, so many Brits came that Fruitland Park had its own English community. Englishman A. P. Bosanquet built a boarding house on Zephyr Lake, called Zephyr Hall, where the American, British and Colonial Racing Association was formed. The first organized races were held in 1887,
SOURCES: FAMILYSEARCH.ORG/LAKECOUNTY; FRUITLANDPARK.ORG/HISTORY.HTML; AND GEOCITIES.COM/HIKEPLANS
ake a westerly turn off U.S. Highway 441 onto Fruitland Park’s historic Berckman Street and you’ll find neighborhoods, lakes, and city parks tucked behind massive oak trees lining the streets. The quiet charm belies the noise and congestion of the highway that many people associate with Fruitland Park. All that road construction is a harbinger for the growth that Fruitland Park will soon experience. The Villages of Fruitland Park, an extension of Florida’s fastest growing active adult community, will bring 2,000 new homes and a steady stream of new residents. Predictions are Fruitland Park’s population will double after the new development opens in 2015. Encompassing more than 700 acres just off County Road 466A, the development is also expected to bring to the area commercial development that often accompanies The Villages. Anticipating the growth, city leaders recently outlined a fiveyear plan that includes new enhancements and amenities for Fruitland Park, including better signage, a visitors’ center, and historical museum. At first glance, Fruitland Park may not seem like a place that has much to offer visitors and new residents, but that is not the case. Just ask the locals who recommend its small town charms and family friendly amenities. And, of course, the town’s unique history certainly adds to the sense of place for many newcomers and residents alike. Fruitland Park has seen its share of changes since the area was first settled prior to the American Civil War by M. Calvin Lee of Leesburg’s Evander Lee family. The person who may have had the biggest influence on Fruitland Park’s history, however, was Major Orlando P. Rooks, a horticulturist originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, who built a home on Crystal Lake in 1877. Major Rooks chose the name Fruitland Park in honor of his friend J.P. Berckman, who owned Fruitland Nurseries of Augusta, Ga. Rooks also named the town’s main street, Berckman Street. All did not go smoothly, however. Postal authorities refused to recognize the name because Florida already had a Fruitland,
and guests also participated in fox hunts and played golf. English residents also formed the Bucket and Dipper Club for those who were British by birth or had been born to British subjects. The club was known for its parties, dances, theatrical productions, and for its only method of refreshment — a dipper of water from a bucket. Near Zephyr Hall, a Carpenter Gothic style church was built in 1888 and still stands as one of Florida’s oldest church buildings. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also home to the oldest “lych gate” in Florida, given to the church in 1889 by Emily Tatham. The lych gate was used in British and European churchyards as a resting place for coffins.
A “CASINO,” BUT NO GAMBLING Many of Fruitland Park’s homes are examples of early 20th century architecture. One eye-catching building is the “casino,” built in 1914. Early Florida casinos were just community gathering places, no gambling allowed. The restored casino on Rose Avenue is still used as a community center and the home of biweekly senior socials.
LAKE GRIFFIN STATE PARK Home to one of the state’s largest mammoth oak trees, Lake Griffin is a great place to hike, kayak, or enjoy a picnic. No swimming allowed, though, because the alligator population is quite healthy. Anglers have found the park’s canal to be an excellent access for Lake Griffin, the eighth largest lake in Florida.
HARD-DRIVING KIDS The go-karts look like small replicas of Daytona 500 cars, and the pint-size drivers are every bit intense as NASCAR legend Kyle Busch as they make their turns toward the finish line. Fruitland Park’s Speedway Park has been offering family fun since 1958 when it began as the MicroMidget Race Track. Operated as a non-profit organization, Speedway Park is Florida’s oldest 1/6 mile dirt go-kart race track, and generations of Fruitland Park youngsters have spent their Saturdays feeling the wind in their hair, learning about safety, and competing for trophies. For information, visit www.speedwaypark.biz.
HOMESTYLE COOKIN’ The iconic Fruitland Park Café on U.S. Highway 441 is where the locals gather, especially for the legendary “Nawlins Style French Toast” and 50-cent cups of coffee for breakfast. Open from 6a.m. to 2p.m. every day, the café is all about honoring its customers and supporting local causes including Fruitland Park Days and the local elementary school.
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“Men no longer need to suffer from frequent urination because they are getting older,” says Dr. James Young, a down-toearth urologist with thirty-one years of experience in treating men with prostate problems in Lake County. Although the cause of these symptoms is most likely an enlarging prostate (BPH), a normal part of the aging process in men, treatment options are more numerous and less invasive than those offered to our fathers and grandfathers. Years ago there were two options for treating an enlarged prostate: surgical excision via an open operation (knife) or much more commonly by performing a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), commonly referred to as a “roto-rooter” by patients and physicians. Both required hospitalization as well as major anesthesia and could be fraught with complications such as bleeding, infection, loss of bladder control and even death. “In my career I have performed over 3,000 TURPs; however, I no longer perform any,” says Dr. Young. “There are presently too many excellent alternatives to consider a hospital operation for the vast majority of patients with BPH.” “When I see a new patient I perform a physical examination and properly evaluate the patient’s symptoms, thus diagnosing the underlying problem(s),” he says. “Next, I describe to the patient what’s normal and then explain what is abnormal with him. Lastly, I teach him his treatment options. If I’ve done a good job of teaching, he will select the correct option for himself.” While prescribing medications for BPH
can be done by primary care physicians, only urologists are trained to thoroughly evaluate the bladder and prostate (including ruling out prostate cancer), as well as providing extremely effective minimally invasive, office-based therapies as alternatives to lifelong medical therapy. One such option is Prostiva-RF Therapy, a procedure performed by Dr. Young in his office under local anesthesia that usually takes less than thirty minutes. Prostiva utilizes low level radiofrequency energy to ablate (destroy) the obstructing component of the enlarged prostate. “I am very happy with the results I have achieved for my patients using Prostiva-RF Therapy,” says Dr. Young, who has successfully treated more than 1,200 patients with this procedure. “Medtronic is a $13 billiona-year, publicly traded corporation that perfected the technology for Prostiva and produces the necessary hardware. Recently, Medtronic produced an educational DVD for international distribution to inform patients and physicians worldwide regarding the benefits of Prostiva therapy. Seven of the eight patients featured on the DVD are my patients. I am very proud Medtronic selected my practice to feature the benefits of Prostiva-RF Therapy. However it is sort of a bad news/good news thing. The bad news is neither my patients nor myself received a penny for our participation. The good news is Medtronic gave us all the DVD’s we want, so if anyone wants one all he needs to do is drop by my office at 801 Northshore Drive in Eustis, and we will give him one!” And with an office staff with nearly as much experience as the doctor, (many have worked with Dr. Young more than twenty
years) you don’t spend a great deal of time waiting to see him. “We pride ourselves in being timely in seeing our patients. We respect our patient’s time as much as we do our own,” adds Dr. Young. “Patients appreciate this; many of our patients tell me I have the best office staff on the planet. I consider that a huge compliment.” So if you are getting up at night and can’t get back to sleep because you are thinking about what may be wrong with you, it’s time to check in with Dr. Young and have him check you out. “Many men accept frequent bladder urges as part of aging. And while it is part of the aging process, it’s not like death and taxes. There is something you can do about it,” he says.
JAMES W. YOUNG III, M.D. Board Certified Urologist Practicing in Lake County for over 31 years with extensive experience in evaluation and management of prostate problems. For more information, contact
PHYSICIANS FOR ACCOUNTABLE CARE 920 Rolling Acres Road, Suite 201 Lady Lake, FL 32159
352.751.4990 801 Northshore Drive, Eustis, FL 32726
THEY MEAN BUSINESS
FIVE BUSINESSWOMEN PROVE THE VILLAGES ISN’T JUST FOR THE RETIRED Page 8 CLUB OF THE MONTH
YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO BE A GIRL SCOUT Page 2
THIS ‘N THAT
NOT TOO MUCH TO LOVE WITH LOVEBUGS Page 6
CLUB OF THE MONTH STORY: JAMES COMBS PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ
RETIRED WOMEN JUST WANNA HAVE FUN A GROUP OF WOMEN IN THE VILLAGES WHO HAVE PROVEN TO BE QUITE THE TROOPERS The word “Girl Scout” conjures up images of sweet-faced, innocent girls standing outside a supermarket and attempting to sell shoppers those irresistible Thin Mints, Samoas, and peanut butter cookies. What we typically do not picture are retired women sitting around a fire cooking hot dogs on a stick. Donning yellow shirts rather than the standard geren vests and sashes, members of the Girl Scout Alumnae Silver Trefoil Group in The Villages are living proof that it is never too late to join in the fun of scouting. The 40-member group is part of the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida Council. For some, they are discovering for the first time what being a Girl Scout is all about. Others are rekindling the youthful spirit they once possessed as members of a Girl Scout troop. “This takes me back to when I was 10,” says Deborah Smith, who serves as co-chairwoman of the group. “I think being a part of the group helps us stay forever young.”
Deborah has fond memories from her Girl Scout days as a child growing up in New York. Later in life, she served as a group leader for her daughter’s troop, honing her skills in canoeing, lifeguarding, and building fires. “I can make a camp fire in the rain. That is one of the reasons my husband married me,” she says jokingly. That skill set comes in handy when the Silver Trefoils take overnight camping trips to Camp Wildwood each spring and fall. The 600-acre property provides ample space for them to ride horses, hike scenic trails, or make beautiful crafts. At night, they sit around a campfire to enjoy stew, hot dogs, and S’mores. Then, in true Girl Scout tradition, they sing songs around a campfire. “With our group being small in numbers, we truly get to know everyone on a personal level,” Deborah says. “And while we have fun together, we also believe in having a purpose.”
For the Silver Trefoils, that purpose is directed toward children. For five years, the group has held a Pajama and Book Drive for homeless children in the tri-county area. Beginning in November, they set up boxes in 30 recreation centers throughout The Villages, allowing residents to donate pajamas and books. The children who receive these gifts live in homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, group
homes, shared housing, transitional housing, and in the Ocala National Forest. In 2013, they collected and donated 5,500 books and 3,900 pairs of pajamas. “It’s sad, but some of these children do not even have a change of clothes,” Deborah says. The club meets on the fourth Monday of every month at 3p.m. inside Laurel Manor Recreation Center. You do not have to be a former Girl Scout to become a member.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL DEBORAH AT 352.259.6928 OR RAEANN BETHEL AT 352.259.0406
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meet a villager STORY: JAMES COMBS PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ
PAT DEACON NOTEWORTHY ACHIEVEMENT: Teaching and coaching at Transylvania University in Kentucky for 28 years while helping to implement Title IX. Not only did the number of athletic teams for women grow from three to 14, facilities were greatly improved and the female studentathletes were much more enthusiastic, finally feeling empowered after many years of being treated as a step below their male counterparts. FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: Visiting the Bay Area of San Francisco and beyond. I enjoy touring Golden State Park, Alcatraz, Travis Air Force Base, Marin Headlands, and area wineries. I also love attending the rodeo in Salinas and stopping on the way in Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world. FIRST CAR AND WHAT DID IT MEAN TO YOU: As a freshman at the University of Kentucky, I won a 1953 Chevrolet pickup truck at a public drawing. Because college freshmen could not have cars, I turned the truck over to my father for use on the farm. After college, he made a nice deposit for my second car, a 1957 Dodge Coronet. MUSICAL INSPIRATION: I enjoy listening to the magnificent music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Sound of Music,” etc. HOMETOWN: I am from Dry Ridge, Ky. This is where I learned to drive the John Deere-B, plant and harvest garden vegetables, and mow the yard. During the weekends, I loved to ride horses and go fishing on my father’s farm.
Your partners for life
A cardiac positron emission tomography (PET) exam helps to evaluate your heart health by measuring the blood flow brought by the coronary arteries to the heart muscles. PET scans are used to identify coronary artery disease and manage your treatment plan. As one of the oldest private cardiology practices, Cardiovascular Associates of Lake County was first to bring this technology to our area. We are dedicated to bringing innovations in cardiovascular care to our patients. Since 1992, we have been your partners for life.
1879 Nightingale Lane, Suite A-1 and C-1, Tavares â€˘ 352.742.1171 LRMC Medical Plaza, 705 Doctors Court, Leesburg â€˘ 352.323.5700
this ‘n’ that STORY: FRED HILTON
LOOK! UP IN THE SKY! SPLAT!
The folks who run The Villages, Walt Disney World, and the State of Florida have one important thing in common: they are all master marketers. They have slick publications, brilliantly produced television ads, and world-famous brands. To their credit, they all pretty much stick to the truth in spreading the word about their products. They do, however, utilize the device that all good marketers have used for years — something called “selective truth-telling.” That means they tell nothing but the truth but they never ever tell the whole truth. The Villages, Disney, and Florida all conveniently forgot to warn any of us about that nasty, dirty secret that descends on us twice a year — the lovebug. Unless you just arrived in Florida, you know all about lovebugs. About this time each year, and again around September, they descend on us for a couple of weeks in a way that makes the biblical plagues of Egypt look wimpy. The nasty little critters are everywhere — splattered all over the front of your car and your windshield, diving into your margarita when you are at the pool, swarming around the third tee, or simply flying into your mouth. Lovebugs have one purpose in life: to make little lovebugs. Shortly after they hatch, a guy lovebug and a lady lovebug proceed to get it on. They stay that way for nearly all of the three or four days they have on this earth. During that time, they fly around with the lady lovebug pulling her little
scrawny husband lovebug along behind her. The guy lovebug flies backward and gets to see where he’s been, kind of like those folks who ride on the rumble seat of a golf cart. If the lovebugs are fortunate enough not to splat into a windshield or be stomped by some irritated human, they finally end their airborne hanky-panky. When this happens, the male lovebug promptly dies — perhaps with a smile on his face. Mama ladybug lays 600 or so eggs, and then she croaks, too. A few months later, a gazillion lovebugs hatch and it starts all over again. If The Villages, Disney, and Florida were completely honest, they would incorporate lovebugs in their advertising. The Villages ads could say, “Free golf for life on our executive courses while you smash lovebugs with your seven-iron.” Disney’s ad could read, “Come to the Magic Kingdom and see Cinderella pluck lovebugs from her gorgeous blond tresses.” Florida could poach from the “Virginia is for Lovers” ad campaign and proclaim, “Florida is for Lovebugs.”
ABOUT THE WRITER Fred Hilton spent 36 years as the chief public relations officer/spokesman for James Madison University in Virginia and 10 years prior as a reporter and editor for The Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Va. He is now happily retired in The Villages with his interior designer wife, Leta, their Cadillac Escalade golf cart, and their dog, Paris. (Yes, that makes her Paris Hilton).
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THEY MEAN BUSINESS At the end of 2013, the U.S. had more than 8.6 million woman-owned businesses, employing approximately 7.8 million people and generating $1.3 trillion in revenues.* And the numbers and economic contributions of women-owned firms continue to grow, which doesnâ€™t surprise women who own businesses in The Villages. STORY: AMANDA MIMS PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ
Many come to The Villages to relax and enjoy their golden years, but five businesswomen profiled in this feature story are not here to retire. These women know what they want, and they mean business. They come from different backgrounds. For some, this is an unexpected second career. For others, owning a business has been a lifelong dream. Despite the variety of their businesses, they have a lot in common as business owners. They will tell you that running a business is far from easy. They will tell you that it takes a lot of time and dedication. They will also tell you itâ€™s worth it.
PROVIDING A NEEDED SERVICE When Belinda Maitre developed plantar fasciitis, a painful foot condition, in 2006, she had no way of knowing the experience would eventually lead her to a new career as a business owner. It was back in 2006 when her friend Kim Carter brought Maitre to Foot Solutions, which helps its customers with foot problems and provides custom orthotics. Fast forward to 2013. Although Maitre, 58, was retired from government work, she wasn’t ready to stop working. And neither was Carter, 57. They were, however, ready for something new. When the pair heard Foot Solutions was for sale, they seized the opportunity and purchased the store in July 2013. The women say they got involved in this business because they wanted to help others the way the store had helped Matire, whose plantar fasciitis was eventually cured. “We have shoes and orthotics that can make a difference in the health of a person and help to provide them with a full, active life,” Carter says. “We are able to achieve that by listening to our customers and addressing their wants. We are also a retail shoe store and no matter the reason for the customer to be there, it is always a fun and exciting experience.” While Maitre says she wishes she had started out with more knowledge about foot care, they were able to lean heavily on their store manager at the beginning. “We were very fortunate that the store manager, Kristine Cimiotta, decided to stay on with us,” Carter says. “She has been here seven years and her experience and knowledge has helped us get through the most difficult first year. “I think the key is understanding your weaknesses and surrounding yourself with people who compensate for those weaknesses.”
LIVING THE DREAM To its customers, The Rustic Rose in Brownwood is a place to shop for home décor, gifts, and women’s fashions. To its owner, Rosalyn Housley, 57, it’s the culmination of a lifelong dream. The Bradenton, native worked for 25 years in the home decorating business before opening her first store in North Carolina in 2008. Since that time, she has opened several stores, the most recent on January 15 in The Villages. Although Housley lives in The Villages, she isn’t nearly ready to retire. “I’m living the dream,” she says. Her only regret is not opening a store in The Villages sooner. What advice does she have for others who are considering owning a business? “Be prepared to work harder than ever. If you are going to have a very successful business, it requires not only your talents, but lots of time.” And Housley doesn’t mind the hard work, because the rewards are many: “The fun of being the shop owner, the fulfillment of helping folks decorate their homes, the continued income and the challenge of having the busiest store I’ve ever had.” She loves her work, but that doesn’t mean Housley never thinks about retirement. “I love what I do and decided to go ahead and move to a great retirement area,” she says. “When I get ready to slow down a bit, I’ll be settled.” But that hasn’t happened so far.
During her decades-long career in education, Corda Oehling, now 63, never thought she’d be her own boss someday. But the Pittsburgh, native and Villages resident went into business for herself in 2009 when she bought Turtle Bay Clothing Company. Her career as a business owner started with one simple fact: she loved the merchandise at Turtle Creek Clothing Company. And that was all the push she needed when she heard the previous owner was selling. The boutique carries clothing brands such as Fresh Produce and Life Is Good and several jewelry lines and accessories. “Considering I had not done retail before, I still have a great deal to learn, but I know I love the products I carry, which is why I started when the previous owner was selling,” Oehling says. “I love to be around people and love my customers. It’s fun getting to know people from all over the country who have moved here.” Oehling employs five people part-time and says her biggest challenge initially was finding the right employees. “I now have great employees who have been with me for a long time,” she says. Although the work is not easy, Oehling wouldn’t hesitate to buy the store again if she had it to do over. “I never dreamed years ago I would be a business owner, and I doubt this dream would have happened if I had not come to The Villages,” she says. “I only wish I had started at a younger age.”
*Sources: www.womenable.com/userfiles/downloads/2013_State_of_Women-Owned_Businesses_Report_FINAL.pdf; nawbo.org/section_103.cfm
LOVING THE PRODUCT
SPARKING CREATIVITY For Stephanie Vaughn, each day is a new opportunity to ignite a creative spark in the people she meets. As the owner of She Scrapbooks at La Plaza Grande, Vaughn, 46, wants to teach her customers and encourage their creative ideas. The store sells crafting supplies, stamps, and mixed media, but the business is as much about helping customers hone their scrapbooking skills as it is about selling supplies. “I have a passion for recording our family’s memories so that our sons, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews will have a keepsake of our lives and the traditions we experienced,” Vaughn says. “She Scrapbooks offers customers what the big box retailers don’t,” Vaughn says. “We give our customers one-on-one time to educate and inspire their creative side.” Vaughn, of Summerfield, runs She Scrapbooks while continuing to work as a planning director in The Villages. She Scrapbooks has four employees and offers classes on scrapbooking. The business also has three to four weekend retreats each year for women to socialize and exchange creative ideas. “We have discovered that education is key to inspiring our customers to develop their artistic and creative abilities,” she says. “We have to assume this is the case in many businesses and would encourage a strong educational aspect in your business plan.” Vaughn says she started She Scrapbooks earlier than she planned to and that the business was her “retirement plan.”
book club STORY: KATHY PORTER
MY BELOVED WORLD
A CANDID, MOVING, AND INSPIRING MEMOIR
When 50 book club members were asked if they were less than enthused with March’s book choice of My Beloved World, almost everyone raised their hands. When the group was asked after reading the book if they had changed their minds about the memoir and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, everyone raised their hands and felt this was a must-read book, regardless of political affiliation. Sotomayor writes in a candid, sometimes humorous, style and gives us an intimate look at her life. A child of Puerto Rican descent who hardly spoke English, Sotomayor grew up in the South Bronx projects with an alcoholic father and a mother who was a nurse. After being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 7, she began giving herself daily insulin injections. Her relationship with her mother was often distant and became more strained after her father died when she was 9. The light in her life was her paternal grandmother who gave her “protection and purpose.” However, it is her mother’s love of education that nurtured Sotomayor’s desire to excel, which is evidenced by this quote: “… you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. The real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire.” The book group discussed affirmative action at length. Affirmative action allowed Sotomayor to gain entrance to Princeton University and Yale Law School on full scholarships. On the subject of affirmation action, she says, “I think that even someone who got into an
THE NEXT MEETING
The Bookworm Book Club will meet April 15 to discuss Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa. Club chair Kathy Porter can be contacted by phone at 352.259.8196 or email at email@example.com.
What a U.S. Supreme Court justice and what a woman! How fortunate the Court is to have a person with such high morals, wonderful work ethic, and a caring personality.” —Pat Crigler Glenbrook
institution through affirmative action could prove they were qualified by what they accomplished there.” Members were in awe of Sotomayor and convinced she was highly qualified to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She is not only a role model for young, Hispanic women, but also a role model for all women. The following quote epitomizes the essence of Sotomayor: “There is indeed something deeply wrong with a person who lacks principles, who has no moral core. There are, likewise, certainly values that brook no compromise, and I would count among them integrity, fairness, and the avoidance of cruelty. But I have never accepted the argument that principle is compromised by judging each situation on its own merits, with due appreciation of the idiosyncrasy of human motivation and fallibility. Concern for individuals, the imperative of treating them with dignity and respect for their ideas and needs, regardless of one’s own views—these too are surely principles and as worthy as any of being deemed inviolable. To remain open to understandings—perhaps even to principles—as yet not determined is the least that learning requires, its barest threshold.” About the Author Born in the Bronx in June 1957, Sonia Sotomayor was valedictorian of her graduating class at Cardinal Spellman High School and graduated summa cum laude from Princeton in 1976. At Yale Law School, she was editor of the Yale Law Journal. She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York County and then at the law firm of Pavia & Harcourt. From 1992 to 1998, she served as a judge of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York and from 1998 to 2009, on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In August 2009, she was appointed an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Sotomayor continues to be an avid New York Yankees fan.
HARDCOVER BESTSELLERS AS OF APRIL 25
1. THE TARGET by: David Baldacci
2. CHESTNUT STREET by: Maeve Binchy
3. DIVERGENT SERIES by: Veronica Roth
4. THE BOOK OF LIFE by: Deborah Harkness
5. THE GOLDFINCH by: Donna Tartt
6. INSURGENT by: Veronica Roth
WHAT CLUB MEMBERS THOUGHT This book is a candid and introspective discussion of Sonia Sotomayor’s life before appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. We have glimpses of her early childhood educational challenges and early law experiences. It is well written, informative, and totally engaging.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor has written an honest, candid memoir. She tells her story with insight, empathy, and wisdom. It is a story that will resonate with all readers. She is truly an accomplished woman and a beacon for others.
The story of Sonia Sotomayor made me even prouder “My Beloved World” was not a book I was looking of our American system because she was able to forward to reading. However, I loved it and I would become a U.S. Supreme Court justice in spite of all recommend it to anyone. One finds out so much the impediments she had to overcome. Kathy Hansen about Sonia Sotomayor — her early life, her culture, her education, affirmative action, etc. It is Santo Domingo certainly a worthwhile read.
7. ALLEGIANT by: Veronica Roth
8. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by: John Green
9. KEEP QUIET by: Lisa Scottoline
10. ACT OF WAR by: Brad Thor
Mary Jo Johnson Ashland
Why do 60-somethings Pam and Bill
LOVE LIVING AT FREEDOM POINTE? “It’s difficult to come up with just one reason we love living at Freedom Pointe; it’s really the entire experience! The building is appointed like a small cruise ship. The pool is beautiful and we love playing water volleyball. The dining experience is second to none. If our dining room was open to the public, it would be considered the best restaurant in The Villages! The staff goes out of their Pam Buchanan, Bill Grau, way to meet our every need. The activities are always fun and well planned. Our neighbors are and Harley unbelievable! We have retired doctors, authors, and engineers. We sometimes wonder how this wealth of intelligent, interesting people all converged in the same place. Our advice to people curious about Freedom Pointe is to please throw out all of your preconceived notions. It is unlike any independent living community. Freedom Pointe is an active, and we mean ACTIVE neighborhood, with fascinating, interesting, and caring residents and staff. Residents and staff…# we all become family. We haven’t laughed or smiled as much in years!”
Join us for coffee, conversation and culinary delights!
Tuesday, May 20 | 9:30 a.m. Get the inside scoop from those who know Freedom Pointe the best…!the residents! Space is limited.
For reservations and more information, call 1-866-612-8225 by May 16. A Life Care Community 1550 El Camino Real | The Villages, FL 32159 | brookdale.com
Over 300 colors
COUNTERTOPS • VANITIES • FIREPLACES • FLOORING • CUSTOM FABRICATION
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scene THE TO-DO LIST SOCIAL SPOTLIGHT OUT+ABOUT HI, SOCIETY!
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On the scene // the to-do list
MAY To have an event considered for the Calendar, send a short text description along with a color photo (if available) 60 days in advance of event to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Lake & Sumter Style Calendar, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749
EVENTS MAY 17
MEMORIAL NATIONAL ARMED FORCES FREEDOM RIDE The Memorial Ride starts with registration at American Legion Post 101 in Bushnell. Police escort riders from the Florida National Cemetery and the ride ends at Stormy Hil Harley-Davidson in Clermont for a full afternoon of activities, including live music from Big Engine, lunch, prizes, and lots more. Starts at noon. CONTACT: 352.787.8050
WINE & BUSINESS EXPO Presented by the Business & Professional Women North Lake chapter, this free networking event wil be from 5:30 to 7:30p.m. at the W.T. Bland Library on Donnelly Street in Mount Dora. Highlights of the evening include women-owned businesses on display, shopping opportunities, and wine tasting. CONTACT: 352.348.7024
AMAC BIG BASS TOURNAMENT Hosted by the AMAC Foundation from 7a.m. to 3p.m. at beautiful Venetian Gardens. This peaceful setting on stunning Lake Harris will serve as the launching point for an expected fleet of more than 100 anglers intent on capturing the “catch of the day” for the $2,500 tournament first prize, or one of a collection of major cash prizes. There wil also be a 50/50 drawing, a raffle for great prizes, food, and drinks. Cost: $100 entry per boat. To register, visit www.amacbigbass.com. CONTACT: 1.888.262.2006
MAY 31–JUNE 1
PRO HYDRO-X TOUR From 9a.m. to 5p.m., racers wil negotiate a closed course, which can be viewed from Wooton Park in Tavares. Spectator admission is free. Some of the best watercross racers in the world wil be in attendance. CONTACT: 352.742.6176
PUTTIN’ FORE PAWS
South Lake Animal League’s first golf tournament will be from 7:30a.m. to 1:30p.m. The event will begin with a 7:30a.m. check-in and breakfast followed by an 8:30a.m. shotgun start. There will be prizes for closest to the pin and longest drive, as well as an auction, door prizes, and a 50/50. Lunch will be served following the tournament. Price: $65 per person; $240 per four-person team. Location: Kings Ridge Golf Club, 1950 Kings Ridge Blvd., Clermont, FL 34711.
MISS LEESBURG “SCHOLARSHIP SCRAMBLE” The 10th annual Miss Leesburg Scholarship Scramble wil be held at Harbor Hil s Country Club. Registration begins at 7a.m. Shotgun start at 8:15a.m. Registration fee: $75, includes lunch. There wil be awards, prizes, and raffles. The golf tournament is a fundraiser for the Miss Leesburg Scholarship Program. CONTACT: 352.326.4217
CONTACT: 352.429.6334 JUNE 5
SHOW ME THE MONEY BUSINESS EXPO Show Me the Money is the premier business expo in Sumter County. As always, exhibitors will highlight their business to potential customers and suppliers, as well as network with fellow Sumter County chamber members. The event will be held from 6 to 8p.m. at the Savannah Center in The Villages and will include over 50 vendor spaces, door prizes, a booth-decorating contest, festive beverages, and much more. CONTACT: 352.793.3099
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MUSIC+THEATRE THROUGH MAY 4
ALMOST, MAINE Composed of nine short plays that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical place called Almost, Maine. The New York Times called Almost, Maine a “comedy comprising of almost a dozen two-character vignettes exploring the sudden thunderclap of love and the scorched earth that sometimes follows.” Bay Street Players at the Historic State Theatre. 109 N. Bay Street, Eustis. CONTACT: 352.357.7777
to dethrone the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a TV network, all without denting her ‘do! Tickets: $29 ($25 students/seniors; $12 for children 12 and under). Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden. CONTACT: 407.877.4736 or www. gardentheatre.org
A TRIBUTE TO BROADWAY Enjoy a dinner show at Windsor Rose Tea Room Restaurant in Mount Dora. Whether it is “Phantom,” “The Music Man,” or other favorite duets from Broadway’s best, it wil be a real treat. From 6:30 to 9p.m. Cost: $15 for the show; dinner is optional. CONTACT: 352.735.2551
ON GOLDEN POND Openhearted Ethel and irascible Norman return to their cottage on Golden Pond for their 48th summer. This year, however, their peace is disrupted by a visit from their divorced daughter, Chelsea, who arrives with not only a big chip on her shoulder but with her new fiancé and his 13-year-old son. Generations collide in this funny and touching classic about a couple in the twilight years of a long and glorious marriage. Moonlight Players Warehouse Theatre, 732 B W. Montrose Street, Clermont. CONTACT: 352.319.1116
SOCIAL SECURITY This hit Broadway comedy centers around two married art gallery owners whose domestic tranquility is shattered upon the arrival of the wife’s nerdy sister, her uptight CPA husband, and her archetypal Jewish mother. The comedic sparks really fly when the mother hits it off with the elderly minimalist artist who is the art dealer’s best client. At 7p.m. at the Mulberry Grove Recreation Center in The Vil ages. Reserved seating. Resident price: $18; standard price: $23. CONTACT: thevil agesentertainment. com/events/
MAY 9–11, 16-18 & 23-25
THROUGH MAY 11
BOEING BOEING This classic farce tells the story of self-styled playboy Bernard and his three fiancées (all airline attendants) who, due to a scheduling mishap, end up in Paris on the same night. Bay Street Players at the Historic State Theatre. 109 N. Bay Street, Eustis. CONTACT: 352.357.7777
THROUGH MAY 25
HAIRSPRAY It’s 1962, and lovable plus-size teen Tracy Turnblad has only one desire — to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” When her dream comes true, Tracy must use her newfound power
HERMAN’S HERMITS STARRING PETER NOONE Peter Noone, former lead singer of the legendary 60s pop band Herman’s Hermits, returns to The Villages. Shows: 5:30p.m.; 8p.m. Location: Savannah Center in The Villages. Reserved seating. Resident price: $30; standard price: $35. CONTACT: thevillagesentertainment.com/ events/
THE LITTLE FOXES The play is set in the South at the turn of the 20th century and concerns the manipulative Regina Giddens and her two brothers who want to borrow money from Regina’s rich, terminally ill husband, Horace, to open the first cotton mill in town. Horace is beset by his relatives the first hour of his homecoming, but refuses to commit himself. Melon Patch Theatre, 311 N. 13th Street, Leesburg. CONTACT: 352.787.3013 or info@ melonpatch.org
MAY 16–JUNE 8
DUCK HUNTER SHOOTS ANGEL Two bumbling Alabama hunters who think they have shot down an angel are chased by a cynical tabloid journalist and his reluctant photographer. The chase to find the angel builds to a hilarious crescendo in the swamp. The Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse, 1100 N. Unser Street, Mount Dora. CONTACT: 352.383.3133 or www. icehousetheatre.com
LEESBURG CORNFEST Presented by the Downtown Leesburg Business Association, this event will feature famous Zellwood sweet corn, live entertainment, festival food, and contests for children and adults. There will be blow-up rides and games in the kids’ area. From 10a.m. to 7p.m. in downtown Leesburg. CONTACT: www.Itsyourdowntown.com
FESTIVALS/FAIRS MAY 17
NATURE FEST The Friends of Lake Louisa State Park invite you to attend this fun festival held on the main beach of Lake Louisa. The event, which starts at 10a.m., wil include a variety of exhibitors, demonstrations, displays, and activities for guests of all ages, as well as guided nature hikes that focus on getting outside and safely enjoying natural Florida. Food wil be available for purchase. Nature Fest is included in the regular park admission fee. CONTACT: 352.394.3969
SUNLOVE FESTIVAL Explore and experience the world of holistic healing arts and music. Enjoy a full day of play, activities, music, and demonstrations, including yoga, martial arts, wisdom talks, good food, and much more. From 10a.m. to 4p.m. at the Windhorse/Vitruvian Health Center in Eustis. Admission is free. CONTACT: 352.255.2551 ext.969 or vitruvianhealthcenter.com
Does your doc rock? Well, these sure do. Dr. Jay J. Rubin, a neurologist in Ocala; Gary Helfin, M.D., a family physician in Dunnellon; Jason Barr, a pharmacist at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Ocala; and Dr. John T. Williams Jr., an orthopedic surgeon in Lady Lake, are rocking out with a night of celebration and fun. Proceeds benefit Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers and patients. Tickets: $30. CONTACT: THEVILLAGESENTERTAINMENT.COM/EVENTS
MAY 2–JUNE 14
GRAPHIC EXCELLENCE Three area artists show different visions of excellence in draftsmanship, strength of imagery, and detail. Jennifer Harper is an illustrator/printmaker specializing in relief linocuts and woodblocks. Jennifer Kirton creates detailed drawings and paintings in ink and watercolor. Tena Cottle is a versatile artist whose highly expressive woodcuts are gems of creativity. The opening reception is May 2 from 6 to 8p.m. Location: Lake Eustis Museum of Art, 1 W. Orange Avenue, Eustis. CONTACT: 352.383.0880
MAY 2–JUNE 20
“MAGNIFIED” SCULPTURE Joshua Almond works primarily in wood to create abstract sculptural landscapes. This installation
takes you into a world of gigantic microorganisms, which invoke a feeling of entering an uninhabited landscape. The use of positive and negative spaces present a portrait of constraint and abandon or signs of life in a desolate landscape. The opening reception is May 2 from 6 to 8p.m. Location: Mount Dora Center for the Arts, 138 E. Fifth Ave. CONTACT: 352.383.0880 MAY 16–18 MAY 10–31
ARTIST’S WAY EXHIBIT This multidisciplinary exhibit will open with a reception from 5 to 7p.m. May 10 at the Leesburg Center for the Arts through May 31. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 9a.m. to 4p.m. and Friday from 9a.m. to noon. CONTACT: 352.365.0232
MOUNT DORA BLUES ‘N GROOVE WEEKEND The sixth annual Mount Dora Blues ‘n Groove Weekend will feature live music from artists such as Big Bill Morganfield (son of Muddy Waters), Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers, Selwyn Birchwood, Ana Popovic, Pat Travers Band, and many more. Seating is first-come-first-serve at Elizabeth Evans Park. This is an open-air venue, so bring a blanket or chair. VIP ticket holders will be provided with chairs. Cost: $25 in advance; $30 at the door; $40 VIP. CONTACT: 352.383.2165
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On the scene // the to-do list
INCONCERT TICKETMASTER 800.745.3000 TICKETMASTER.COM Dates are subject to change without notice so please call ahead to confirm venue listings DATE
05/05 05/06 05/07 05/07 05/07 05/07 05/08 05/07 05/09 05/09 05/09 05/09 05/10 05/10 05/10 05/10 05/11 05/11 05/12 05/13 05/13 05/14 05/15 05/15 05/15 05/16 05/16 05/16 05/16 05/17 05/17 05/17 05/18 05/18 05/18 05/19 05/21 05/24 05/27 05/27 05/29 05/30 05/30 05/31 05/31 06/01 06/05
Houndmouth Ghost B.C. The Faint The Glitch Mob The Head And The Heart You Me At Six “Carnival Live” Of Montreal Chubby Checker & The Wildcats Fernando Varela Letlive. Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Chubby Checker & The Wildcats Combichrist “Reggae On The Block Music Festival” T Bird And The Breaks The Fab Four - The Ultimate Tribute Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Il Divo Deer Tick Kevin Johnson Conor Oberst Blitzen Trapper Boys Noize Modest Mouse Cher Modest Mouse “Mount Dora Blues - N - Groove” Pepe Aguilar Kevin Johnson “Mount Dora Blues - N - Groove” Toadies Alan Parsons ‘Live’ Project Kevin Johnson “Video Games Live” Ingrid Michaelson The 1975 Seahaven Neon Trees Uh Huh Her Fernando Varela Raphael Romeo Santos Damon Fowler Group Huey Lewis And The News Chicago Drive-By Truckers
The Social The Beacham House Of Blues (Lake Buena Vista) Stardust Video and Coffee The Beacham Firestone Live Carnival Cruise Line - Carnival Sensation (Port Canaveral)
The Social America Gardens Theatre @ Epcot Center (Lake Buena Vista)
Private Function Backbooth Bob Carr Perf. Arts Centre America Gardens Theatre @ Epcot Center (Lake Buena Vista)
Backbooth Downtown Orlando Universal Studios Plaza Live Orlando Bob Carr Perf. Arts Centre Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live The Social
ENjoy Scrumptious Gourmet Food Trucks, Live Entertainment & a FREE Blockbuster Movie on a huge 24' screen under the stars
Disney Cruise Line - Disney Fantasy (Port Canaveral)
The Beacham The Social Firestone Live The Beacham Amway Center The Beacham Elizabeth Evans Park (Mount Dora) Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live Live Disney Cruise Line - Disney Fantasy (Port Canaveral) Elizabeth Evans Park (Mount Dora) House Of Blues (Lake Buena Vista) America Gardens Theatre @ Epcot Center (Lake Buena Vista)
Disney Cruise Line - Disney Fantasy (Port Canaveral) Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live The Beacham House Of Blues (Lake Buena Vista) Backbooth Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live The Social Private Function Bob Carr Perf. Arts Centre Amway Center The Alley (Sanford) Universal Orlando Resort Music Plaza Stage Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live The Beacham
SATURDAY May 10th 5:30pm Jill Towers Performs!
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On the scene // social spotlight Where you want to be
NATURE’S CALL Put down the remote, shut off your cellphone, and spend a day outdoors. STORY: JAMES COMBS
Slither your way to an exhibit and learn about native Florida snakes. Enjoy a stroke of luck as you kayak beautiful Lake Louisa. Let your heart flutter during a butterfly hike. Nature Fest will give nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Lake Louisa State Park’s natural beauty and local wildlife. Organized by Friends of Lake Louisa State Park, the May 17 event is a wonderful way to see Florida unspoiled by theme parks and other tourist attractions. “There are no long lines here,” says Christy Conk, event manager and president of Friends of Lake Louisa State Park. “This is a unique event. One couple flew all the way from England just to attend Nature Fest. And many
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campers come to Lake Louisa State Park in May just to be here for this event.”
In tune with nature Lake Louisa State Park has long been known for serene beauty and abundant wildlife. Visitors come to the 4,500-acre park to fish in one of six lakes, or stay overnight in the 60-site campground. Hikers enjoy 25 miles of walking trails through rolling hills of bald cypress, saw palmettos, and moss-draped oak trees along the shores of Lake Louisa. Wildlife commonly seen includes deer, osprey, red-shouldered hawks, eagles, gopher tortoises, and gray squirrels. During Nature Fest, visitors can participate in guided hikes and see the park up close and personal. A rangerled hike will educate guests about park wildlife and plant life, while those who
opt for a birding hike will learn how to use binoculars to locate various species of birds. In addition, a professional photographer will lead a hike and give pointers about the best ways to photograph nature. And what would spring be without a butterfly hike? Rangers will also lead a wheelchairaccessible tram tour through the park, as well as kayak and paddleboard tours on Lake Louisa. Swamp Girls Adventures will make a special appearance to educate festival-goers on Florida wildlife, such as skunks, armadillos, and tortoises. Representatives from Apopka-based Avian Reconditioning Center will talk about birds of prey. Visitors can even have their photograph taken with Andy the Armadillo, famous mascot of Texas Roadhouse.
Attendees will also be treated to snake, Tai Chi, and Native American demonstrations, as well as live Jimmy Buffet-style music from Malcolm Bristow. Several hands-on activities are planned for children, including an archaeological dig to locate bones they can swap for prizes. If you work up an appetite during Nature Fest, several food trucks will serve a variety of food, ranging from Hawaiian-style hot dogs to authentic Hispanic dishes. Nature Fest lasts from 10a.m. to 2p.m. Lake Louisa is located at 7305 U.S. Highway 27 in Clermont. For more information, call 352.394.3969.
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On the scene // out+about A travel companion for points near and far
Thousands come from all over to enjoy the world’s largest three-day motorcycle and music event we fondly call Bikefest. But what does it take to put this massive event together? “Style” goes behind the scenes to find out. STORY: GARY CORSAIR PHOTOGRAPHY: MATTHEW GAULIN
year of planning fueled the roaring success of the 18th annual Leesburg Bikefest, but no amount of preparation could downshift the full-throttle pace of volunteers in the final days before the kick-start of the ultimate three-day street party. “Vendors come in Thursday morning and expect their space to be turn-key. And they are,” remarked Leesburg Partnership Executive Vice President Joe Shipes. Keeping 172 vendors (and 36 more up the road at Gator Harley-Davidson) happy is only the tip of the iceberg for Shipes, the Partnership staff and countless volunteers. Shipes has been involved since the first Bikefest, so he knows what — and when — things need to be done. But he’s also adapted as Bikefest has grown from infancy into a leader of the pack. This
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year’s event encompassed 30 downtown blocks and generated more than $1 million in revenue. “There are thousands of details that go into this event every year. The average person who comes to the event doesn’t realize all the things involved,” Shipes says. And they don’t see the frantic pace maintained by Shipes and his volunteers in the 96 hours leading up to Bikefest Friday. There are trash receptacles, ice machines, refrigeration units, signs, cones, barricades, portable restrooms, lights, tables, chairs, and tents to be placed … eight stages to build … schedules to coordinate, volunteer and security personnel training, merchandise to be unpacked and sorted, cash boxes to be prepared, lights to be strung, and
extension cords to be laid. “We run miles and miles of extension cords,” says Jim Radeski, Leesburg Partnership board member and a fiveyear Bikefest volunteer. “A lot of things can only be done at night because it’s so difficult to work around people who work and shop in our downtown area. Some of our volunteers work through the night. It’s a real scramble.” Fortunately, most volunteers have worked past Bikefests. “A lot of people have been doing this for years,” Shipes says. “From the product people to the entertainment people, to the cashiers and all the bar support, setup crew, and breakdown crew, everybody knows what to do.” The volunteer army is always huge for Bikefest, but no one can say for sure how many people work behind the scenes to
May 20 14
On the scene // out+about A travel companion for points near and far
make it an event that draws bikers from across the country. “There are thousands and thousands of volunteers,” Shipes said. “We don’t even know how many volunteers because we work with different civic organizations and they provide the workers.” But the Leesburg Partnership, a non-profit organization of residents, government, and business people focused on revitalizing Leesburg, is the engine that drives Bikefest. “The City of Leesburg is extremely cooperative,” Shipes said. “Of course, to most people we are the city. A lot of people don’t know what the Partnership is. The city is highly profited by Bikefest.” Civic pride is very much part of Bikefest’s success. “A lot of city workers take a week off so they can help with Bikefest,” said Leesburg firefighter Jeff Moore. “I enjoy it. It’s interesting to see all that goes on behind the scenes at Bikefest.”
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A big assist from law enforcement ensured minimal problems. “Leesburg Bikefest is known for its police. I’ve had bikers tell me they prefer Leesburg over Daytona because of our police. You have to work hard to get arrested in Leesburg,” Shipes said. “The Leesburg Police Department is just great.” So is the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, which provided personnel and communication equipment. “We’re fortunate the sheriff couples with us,” Radeski says. “They supply us with all the hand-held radios, about 120 of them.” The frenzied activity that takes place on the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before Bikefest isn’t due to procrastination or lack of planning. In fact, the opposite is true. “There are months of prep time,” says
Radeski. “We always start working on the next Bikefest the day after Bikefest ends.” It has to be that way. The event has grown exponentially. At least 200,000 bikers and revelers attended this year’s event. Between 70 and 80 entertainers performed. Beer was served at 17 stations, some requiring 45 volunteer workers a day. And at least 10 food tents/trailers fed the ever-shifting crowds. “I really don’t think people understand how much of a huge undertaking this is,” says volunteer Joanie Smalley, who is also a Leesburg Partnership board member. “There are people pretty much here 24 hours a day for a week. I am amazed by the detail that goes into this. Everything is double- and triple-checked.” For Shipes, the days leading up to Bikefest
are filled with phone calls, conferences, questions, problems, and dashes downtown to eyeball stages and tents. And his hard-working staff try to duplicate his pace. There’s no down time during the final week of preparation. Yet somehow, every year, everything is ready on time. “It’s pretty amazing how it comes together,” Radeski says. It’s even more amazing how Bikefest comes apart. “The teardown is also amazing,” Radeski adds. “It takes us eight days to get all this set up, but we start teardown at 5 o’clock Sunday evening and by 8 a.m. Monday, it’s all gone until we do it again next year.”
May 20 14
On the scene // Hi, society!
FEELING RIGHT AT HOME More than 380 people attended the Circle of Excellence Realtors Award Gala at Lake Receptions. The event recognized real estate agents from Lake and Sumter counties for their 2013 sales production. Affiliate company members and friends joined these Realtors to celebrate their success.
PHOTOS: RON VANDEVANDER
RON AND ELAINE PHILLIPS WITH MARY JO AND STEVE POINTS
JOY ZAHN, ANDY KEY, AND DARLENE MISCIAGNO
MARY LIGHTCAP AND DEBBIE GENTRY
APRIL TORRI AND SANDY LAWSON
SHARON BASSETT AND JIMMY MOORE
“The Realtors’ sales achievements for 2013 confirm that the local housing market continues to improve, which is a welcome sign.” —Andy Key
STACY BRACEWELL, AUDREY MAINE, AND JEANIE LOMBARDI
co ule Op m a m vi en un sit ity to ! to da y!
W e S ne che â€™re w d ou r
The right choice means everything HarborChase Assisted Living and Memory Care is now open! Discover our state-of-the-art community and the warm hearted associates that are ready to provide exceptional care for you or a loved one that requires assistance with day-to-day needs or is challenged with dementia or Alzheimerâ€™s.
Schedule a visit to see our beautiful new community for yourself.
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13517 NE 86th Court, Lady Lake, Florida, 32159 (across from The Villages Regional Hospital) 888-998-2395 | www.HarborChase.com/Villages.htm
On the scene // Hi, society!
HAVING A BALL
PHOTOS: MORGAN ELLIS
Bella Ballroom Dance Studio in Leesburg held its grand opening, attracting more than 130 people from as far away as Fort Myers, Bradenton, Palm Beach, and Orlando. Ballroom dance students flaunted their skills to attendees, who were treated to food and beverages. Bruce Monsanty, a dancer of 30 years and former Arthur Murray Rising Star champion, owns the studio.
KERRI SNOVAK AND GROVER WHITE
KIA MALONE, KAREN DEBITETTO, AND DANIELLA DEBITETTO
MARIA PAPAKONSTANTINOU AND JOHN KING
CINDY SAAVEDRA AND LIVIA MONSANTY EILEEN DELLACQUA, LINDA HALL, AND MELISSA PEABODY
JAKE ODELL AND SYBIL SHA
“Dancing with emotion.” —Sergio Moya
EDDIE RIVERA AND YADILIZ NIEVES
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BUS SUPPORT LAKE COUNTY SCHOOLS
The Educational Foundation of Lake County serves as the connection between our community and public education, evaluating needs and securing resources to enhance the quality of education. For information on how you can join our efforts please call 352-326-1265 or visit www.edfoundationlake.com
On the scene // Hi, society!
SATURDAY, MARCH 15, 2014
BENTON’S (OPEN) HOUSE
A beautiful Saturday morning marked the perfect day to unveil the state-of-the-art new senior facility in Clermont. Hundreds of people came out to enjoy the ribbon cutting, refreshments and tours of the facility conveinently located just behind the new Rooms To Go on Hwy. 50.
HELEN GANT, HEATHER LAYFIELD, AND MILDRED AND ALBERT STAHL PHOTOS: PROVIDED
LARRY AND DORIS WINDERS
AMBER, PIPER, GAVAN, AND SEAN FLAUGHER
DONNA AND RONALD HOROWITZ WITH ANN DUPEE
VANESSA GARCIA AND ALAYNE REID-JONES
DAVID WILKINS AND MARY QUINLAN
“This is the best spot for growth.” —Ray San Fratello
MARYLYN WHITAKER WITH RUPERT AND DELROSE BROWN
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20 14 I
On the scene // Hi, society!
A CUT ABOVE HarborChase of Villages Crossing, an assisted living facility in Lady Lake, recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Hundreds of people showed up to tour the 91,000-square-foot facility, which includes a dining hall with cathedral ceilings, a gym equipped with exam rooms, 96 spacious living units, and a state-of-the-art kitchen. The community opened its doors in mid-February. MARIE SHAFER AND KATHY HAVILAND
BETTY COSTANZA, DIANNE HUGHES, GERTA KING, AND CATHRINE WILLHITE
LISA HUMPHREYS, TARIN LAWRENCE, AND MICHELLE BROWN
LINDSEY CALDER AND DAN GURLEY
PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ
JENNY AND JOHATHAN PHILLIPS
BARBIE SMERECKI AND CRAIG TRIPPETT
SARAH ZAFFRAN AND JULIE HAYES
JOHN GRANATH, BILL REPASS, AND DON TOLLIVER
BETSY HORN AND TERRY VECE
“It is a pleasure to be celebrating seniors and our 20th community into the HRA family.” —Sarabeth Hanson
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LAKE EAR NOSE THROAT & FACIAL PLASTIC SURGERY
By providing quality, comprehensive care that is tailored to the unique needs and desires of each patient, our accomplished board-certified physicians, physician assistants, and doctors of audiology can effectively diagnose and treat individuals who come to our offices looking for answers and solutions.
Are there any new treatments for nasal polyps? Nasal polyps occur as a result of either allergy or chronic sinus infection. Surgery is designed to clean out the polyps. A new development is the placement of a drug delivering stent into the sinuses which provides topical anti-inflammatory medication to the sinuses. In the near future we will be able to place those stents in the office, allowing the polyps to shrink down without surgery.
Dr. Michael A. Freedman
Should I have Botox or fillers? It depends. If the wrinkles are secondary to facial expression and animation, Botox is the answer. If the lines are present when the face is relaxed, fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm will do the trick. Sometimes you may need both. Every treatment should be tailored to the needs of the individual. Having realistic expectations of what can be achieved is important. Sometimes laser or surgery is the optimal treatment. Come in for a Face 2 Face consultation and we can decide together. Dr. Dino Madonna
Learn more about sinus conditions and the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure at our dedicated website www.LakeSinusRelief.com
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Villages Rehab & Nursing Center The brand new and state of the art Villages Rehab and Nursing Center is now open and accepting seniors in need of a helping hand recovering from a recent hospital stay to quickly and thoroughly return to their previous active lifestyle. We are proud to bring to the area pioneering concepts to make rehab a personalized and positive experience for the patient and their family.
Rehab & Nursing Center
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Physical & Strength Therapy Schedule a total body strength & function assessment for $25
-Frank and Rosin
retina care improving
In the ever-expanding field of retina care, vitreoretinal specialist and surgeon Dr. Shalesh Kaushal is excited that the Retina Specialty Institute continues to play a key role in furthering medical advances through its participation in clinical trials and giving patients access to the most advanced care. A clinician scientist with a strong academic background, Dr. Kaushal takes great pride in being involved in cutting-edge clinical trials to treat many conditions of retinal disease. He earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work as head of the retina division at the University of Florida in Gainesville has helped cultivate his passion for solving problems for both his patients and the scientific community. As result, he has earned a reputation as being a selfless visionary and compassionate practitioner. As an avid researcher, Dr. Kaushal has participated in numerous clinical trials involving revolutionary breakthroughs in retina care such as gene therapy, stem cell treatment, and new drugs. And he is bringing these breakthroughs to Retina Specialty Institute’s Villages office, which is conveniently located in the Sharon Morse building Suite 532. High on the list of innovations is the use of stem cells. “There are many types of stem cells, but there are two basic kinds that we look at. There are cells that can rejuvenate tissue and then there are types that can actually regenerate and replace cells that are lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease,” says Dr. Kaushal. “We want to bring those types of trials to The Villages.” The Retina Specialty Institute is also highly involved in researching the use of nutraceuticals to treat a variety of visionthreatening diseases, especially within his field of specialty: inherited retinal and macular diseases like retinitis pigmentosa
(RP) and Stargardt disease as well as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). “Instead of patients receiving injections to treat dry macular degeneration, we are hoping to find oral medications to mediate the disease,” he says. “We’re bringing exciting research to Central Florida.” As a FDA-approved clinical trial study center, Retina Specialty Institute is known widely among major pharmaceutical companies, peers, and patients for delivering continual peak performance. The goal is to use the research to provide patients with better results while being less intrusive. Aside from his contributions and active involvement in clinical research, Dr. Kaushal carries a real passion for charity — as proven by his many diligent hours caring for and treating underserved populations in local communities as well as abroad. Dr. Kaushal also enjoys the sacred relationship between doctor and patient and makes it a point to communicate in a way that is both clear and understandable. He considers it a great honor to provide quality patient care that not only restores sight and improves vision but also increases quality of life. The surgeons of Retina Specialty Institute are lending shape to the unknown, forging the next generation of knowledge and technology that help preserve the gift of sight from retina diseases like diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
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eats IN THE KITCHEN SALUTÉ FORK ON THE ROAD DINING GUIDE
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EATS // in the kitchen Out of the frying pan and onto the page.
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The prospect of making bread from scratch may seem daunting, even for the most seasoned baker, but it doesn’t have to be. All you need is practice and technique. STORY: SHEMIR WILES PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ
he art of bread making is very much a science. Sure, the ingredients seem simple enough: flour, salt, sugar, water, milk, butter, eggs, and yeast. But learning how all these pieces work together to make the perfect loaf or roll can only be mastered with lots of practice and patience — two things for which I have very little tolerance. However, as I watched Cheryl Bloom work and knead her dough, she assured me even I could master the science at home with her mother’s simple recipe. Looking at her tatty and stained recipe card, I could tell it has seen its fair share of days in the kitchen. Cheryl has held on to the recipe for more than 35 years. “My mother used to make these rolls for every holiday, so the recipe is quite important to me,” she said. “It reminds me of the days when I would help her in the kitchen. Every week, she would make a fresh loaf of bread,
It reminds me of the days when I would help her in the kitchen.”
and every day she would bake a fresh pie. Growing up, very few things in our kitchen were store-bought.” Over the years, Cheryl has used mom’s basic bread recipe to make other treats, such as pizzas, cinnamon rolls, and her favorite, edible bread bowls. “When I got married, I came across this braided bread bowl recipe in an old Fleischmann’s recipe book I kept from my high school home economics class,” she said. “Now I like to make the bowls for special occasions.” The bowl is carefully constructed in layers. It takes about 40 minutes to assemble, but when the finished product comes out of the oven, it is gorgeous enough to be a centerpiece for any gathering. I would almost feel guilty eating it — almost. In my imagination, I pictured making one to hold a thick, hearty chili and maybe a creamy spinach and artichoke dip. Then Cheryl mentioned that she likes to make one to hold her rolls.
Then when the rolls run out (which happens because her family loves bread), they can eat the bowl. “It’s kind of a win-win situation,” she said with a smile. She also informed me that she likes to jazz up her plain rolls with herbs and other flavors, which immediately piqued my interest since I’m a lover of various seasoning combinations. When Cheryl is in the mood for fresh herbs, she gathers them from her indoor herb garden, which she keeps in a large terra cotta garden bowl. “The bowl grew out of necessity when I wanted to keep my herb garden alive during the harsh winters in Michigan. I would keep it in the window so the plants could get sunlight,” she said. “Then I kept using the bowl when I moved to Florida because the soil down here is too sandy to hold any water. It just became easier to maintain them indoors on my windowsill.”
May 20 14
EATS // in the kitchen Out of the frying pan and onto the page.
MOM’S HOMEMADE ROLLS Recipe courtesy of Cheryl Bloom
INGREDIENTS: 1 ½ cup milk 1 ½ cup water 2 cups sugar 2 tablespoons salt 1 cup butter 11 cups flour 3 ½ tablespoons yeast 3 room temperture eggs, slightly beaten
While Cheryl grows a variety of herbs — from rosemary to sage — there are three she absolutely adores. “My favorite is chives. You can use it in just about anything, from breakfast to lunch to dinner. I also love thyme, especially in chicken soup, but you have to be careful and not use too much because it can be overpowering,” she said. “However, my second favorite herb is parsley because it’s high in vitamins. It’s also low in calories, which many people don’t realize.” In addition to adding fresh and dried herbs to her rolls, Cheryl likes to play around with interesting flavors like bacon and cheese. “When I have it, I prefer using fresh herbs, but I’ll use dried ones in a pinch. Keep in mind dry herbs are stronger than fresh herbs, so be sure to compensate for the difference in taste,” she explained. By the end of our time together, I felt more confident about making my own rolls at home. Cheryl reminded me that in baking, even if my first batch doesn’t turn out right, it’s important to enjoy the process and not get frustrated. “You have to develop a feel for the ingredients and find what best works for you,” she said. “Experiment with different flavors but, most of all, have fun with it.”
DIRECTIONS: 1. Mix milk, water, sugar, salt, and butter and heat mixture on stove to 125–135 degrees. 2. Add eggs and stir quickly so eggs will not set. 3. In a separate bowl, mix yeast with five cups of flour. Set remaining flour aside. 4. Combine warm liquid mixture with flour/yeast mixture. Using either a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix until very smooth. Add remaining flour one cup at a time and stir by hand until ready to knead. 5. Once dough is not sticky to the touch, let set for five minutes. 6. Knead for 8–10 minutes and let rise in a greased bowl covered loosely with plastic wrap in a warm area. TO MAKE AN EDIBLE BREADBASKET: 1. Lightly spray and flour a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Place an ovenproof two-quart bowl upside-down on the cookie sheet. Lightly spray and flour the outside of the bowl. 3. Take approximately ¼ cup dough and roll into two very long and thin ropes. Twist ropes together and wind around the prepared bowl. Continue this same step until the basket is complete. 4. Set in warm area and let dough rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. 5. Place in oven and bake until golden brown for about 35 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your bowl. 6. Let set for 10 minutes and then carefully remove from bowl. Let cool completely. NOTE: Any leftover dough can be used to make dinner rolls.
TO MAKE PLAIN DINNER ROLLS: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Take ¼ cup dough and roll edges down and under to form a ball. 3. Place each roll on a greased pan two inches apart and bake for 15–20 minutes. NOTE: For assorted flavored rolls, take ¼ cup dough and season with your favorite spices and herbs. If you are only using one flavor, knead it into the complete dough and then measure out your individual rolls. Have fun with them. Mix and match if you would like. Here are some of Cheryl’s favorite flavor combinations: • Chives and cheddar cheese • Garlic power and Italian seasoning • Thyme and onion powder • Parsley and cheddar cheese • Bacon and basil • Pepperoni and cheddar cheese
HAND PAINTED HERB BOWL Provided by Cheryl Bloom
ITEMS NEEDED Standard terra cotta garden bowl Sandpaper Acrylic paints from any craft/hobby store (main color can be black, orange, yellow, or green) Freezer paper Paper towel One-inch brush Liner brush Angle or flat brush for corner loading Water-based sealer DIRECTIONS: 1. Remove any stickers from the bowl and lightly sand any rough edges. Wipe with a dry cloth or paper towel. 2. Put down a sheet of freezer paper, wax side down. Paint the inside and the outside of the bowl with your main color. Make sure to cover the bottom of the pot, as well. 3. When the base coat is dry, mark the bowl very lightly with a pencil 1 ¼ inches down from the top on the outside of the bowl. Corner load your angle or flat brush with black paint and float the paint along the pencil line with the color floating away from the top toward the bottom of the bowl. Let dry. Repeat this step at the bottom of the bowl. 4. Lightly write with a pencil the words “Parsley,” “Sage,” “Rosemary,” and “Thyme” around the top of the bowl. Repeat until you have gone around the complete bowl. Remember to space the letters further apart than normal because when painting letters, they will be thicker. 5. To make little flowers around the base of the bowl, dip the round end of a brush into a bit of paint and touch it to the lower band of the garden bowl. Space the dots about 1 ½ inches apart. Be careful not to touch the dots. When dry, dip the liner brush into a little green paint and add a few leaves by the dots. Let the brush do the work for you; this is only a resemblance of a flower. 6. When dry, spray the bowl with black paint. To begin, cover a table with newspaper and water down the black paint to an inky consistency. 7. Lay garden bowl face down. Dip brush into paint and run the bristles off the edge of a pallet or plastic knife above the bowl, creating a spray effect. Spray the bottom and complete the sides of the bowl. Let dry. 8. Turn the bowl over and spray the inside and top edge of the bowl. Then let the bowl set until it is dry. 9. Once dry, paint the bowl with a water-based sealer. Let it dry and apply one more coat of sealer. The sealer should set for 21 days before you plant herbs.
May 20 14
EATS // salutĂŠ A worldly look at wine
WINE NOTES A chance tasting of a Cabernet Sauvignon led to the discovery that several well-known musicians own wineries. Turn up your speakers and listen to some classic tunes while you enjoy these rock star wines. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS PHOTO ILLUSRATION: ANTHONY CASTO
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Ever wonder what happened to your favorite rock star or pop group frontman? He may have traded the stage for a vineyard — at least part of the time. After all, making music and wine are both artistic endeavors that appeal to creative types.
Dave Matthews Band MUSICAL GENRE: Jazz, rock WINERIES: Dreaming Tree, Sonoma County; Blenheim Vineyards, Charlottesville, Va. WELL-KNOWN SONG: “Crush”
In the early 1990s, my favorite radio program was “Jazz Flavors,” which played a lot of music by a new band out of Charlottesville, Va. I would always take special note when songs by the Dave Matthews Band aired. The blending of jazz and earthy soul with some funk thrown in was a nice escape after a stressful day — much like a glass of wine. I really hadn’t thought much about the Dave Matthews Band in recent years; however, one of my friends who shared my love for jazz opened a bottle of Dreaming Tree Cabernet when I visited her last year. As I raved about the wine, she pointed out the paragraph on the back label about Grammywinner Dave Matthews. Although Matthews had been passionate about winemaking for decades and has owned a Virginia winery since 2000, he knew he needed an expert when he relocated to Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. Matthews collaborated with veteran winemaker Steve Reeder, a Sonoma legend who is said to have an “artist’s soul.” Together, the duo has certainly found the right tones and flavors for their Dreaming Tree wines, which are readily available in our area.
Journey GENRE: Classic rock WINERY: Finale, Healdsburg, Calif. WELL-KNOWN SONG: “Don’t Stop Believin’”
Journey has been one of my all-time favorite bands for as long as I can remember, and Jonathan Cain is one of my favorite songwriters. Healdsburg, Calif., is one of my favorite
towns, along with the surrounding northern Sonoma County. It makes sense, then, that Finale may become one of my favorite alltime wineries. Cain’s family has an unusual winemaking history: his grandfather made his own wine from Muscat grapes when he arrived in Arkansas from Czechoslovakia in 1920. Cain himself has enjoyed fine wine and the winemaking process since he arrived in northern California in 1981. At a barrel tasting in the Russian River Valley, he and his wife met winemaker Dennis De La Montanya who talked Cain into partnering with him to release several wines to benefit Bay Area children’s charities. Two years later, they launched Finale Wines with winemaker Darryl Groom. The venture, Cain says, is a way to blend the arts of music and winemaking. Finale Wines currently has five releases: Chanconne Pinot Noir, Finale Pinot Noir, All Access Cabernet Sauvignon, Finale Cabernet Sauvignon, and Grand Finale, a Bordeauxstyle blend from Napa. All can be ordered through finalewines.com.
Brooks & Dunn GENRE: Country WINERY: Arrington Vineyards, Nashville, Tenn. WELL-KNOWN SONG: “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”
Brooks & Dunn won more Country Music Association Awards than any other act before they retired, but to me, they will always be those “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” boys. Imagine my surprise to learn Kix Brooks founded a winery in 2007. Granted, no one thinks of Tennessee as a winemaking state, but the hills around Nashville have certainly proven certain varietals can grow there. Arrington’s winemaker, Kip Summers, planted Chambourcin grapes in 2003 just down the road from the farmhouse that now houses the winery’s tasting room. And those Chambourcin grapes are the basis for Encore, a rich, Port-style wine that seemed to be flying out the door when I visited. Arrington Vineyards grows five varietals, and the wines have an elegance that is unexpected. The wine I kicked up my boots for was the Viognier 2012, a dry,
medium-bodied wine described as pairing well with “turnips and other slow-cooked root vegetables.” Arrington Vineyards is a relaxing place to visit and enjoy a picnic if you are in Nashville, especially on weekends for the Music in the Vines programs. And you just might see Brooks helping out in the tasting room. Arrington Wines can be shipped to Florida from arringtonvineyards.com.
GENRE: Pop rock WINERY: Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company
WELL-KNOWN SONG: “Soul Sister” The coolest cats to enter the wine business have to be members of Train, a San Francisco-based band that in 2011 founded a wine company named after their hit album, “Save Me, San Francisco.” In a partnership with ACME Wine Movers, the company sells wines named after the band’s various hits, which include Drops of Jupiter California Red, Calling All Angels Chardonnay, Soul Sister Pinot Noir, California 37 Cabernet Sauvignon, and Hella Fine Merlot. The wines, which range from $12 to $20, are available in local stores. “Wine and music tell stories and connect those who share it,” says Jimmy Stafford, the band’s “lead wine explorer.” But the intent, explains Stafford, has not been to make money off the wine. Proceeds from sales are donated to support Family House, a nonprofit organization that provides temporary housing to families of seriously ill children at Benioff Children’s Hospital at the University of California/San Francisco.
ABOUT THE WRITER Living in Italy was the catalyst for Mary Ann DeSantis to understand more about wine, and she now enjoys sharing what she’s learned. Since 2010, Saluté has covered topics for oenophiles of all levels — from novice wine drinkers to experienced connoisseurs. The column received a 2013 Florida Magazine Association Bronze Award for Best Department and a 2012 Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Award for Commentary.
May 20 14
EATS // fork on the road Tasty insights and observations
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Diners of this Eustis-based restaurant have become smitten by its delicious and authentic Mediterranean food STORY: JAMES COMBS PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ AND MATTHEW GAULIN
confess. When it comes to food, I am a walking stereotype of a Kentuckian. I love my fried chicken, fried catfish, green beans, mashed potatoes, and Grandma’s delicious homemade biscuits and gravy. With the exception of Mexican and Chinese food (the Americanized versions, admittedly), I’ve rarely been brave enough to try worldly and exotic foods. In April, I surprised myself by having lunch at Elijah’s Café, which serves authentic Mediterranean food. For someone like me, I was not stepping out of my comfort zone; I was running out of my comfort zone. My nerves eased somewhat as I drove on Bay Street and turned into Eustis Square Shopping Center. Seeing a Tractor Supply store let this country boy know he was not completely out of his element. Resisting the urge to go in there and purchase hunting accessories, I parked and walked to Elijah’s. At first glance, I could not help but to notice the simplicity of the ambiance. However, if you cannot judge a book by its cover, then it is certainly unfair to judge a restaurant by its interior. These kinds of restaurants are the hidden
treasures we all desire to find. Moreover, most tables were filled with a mix of business associates, retirees, and young couples. A crowded restaurant is typically a good sign. I was warmly greeted by owner Elijah Abraham, who, come to find out, takes orders, cooks food, serves food, and rings up customers. With his warm smile and likeable personality, I quickly realized whatever this restaurant lacked in atmosphere, it made up for in customer service. Elijah, who is half Italian and half Lebanese, discovered a passion for cooking at a young age. While growing up in Beirut, he would spend countless hours in the kitchen helping his parents cook popular Mediterranean dishes. After moving to the United States at age 34, he opened four restaurants throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Florida. He did all the cooking, even without formal training. “I made each one of them successful, and then I sold them,” he says. “When you cook with love and serve with love, you will always be successful.” He opened his fifth restaurant — Elijah’s Café — eight years ago and runs it
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with his two daughters, Nasrine Abraham and Rosine Abraham. The now 64-yearold restaurateur explained why his latest venture has also been a success. “I make homemade Mediterranean food, and no other restaurant in the area has a menu like mine. Customers continually come back with family, friends, and neighbors because they enjoy our delicious, unique food.” Hearing that, I was ready to put his Mediterranean fare to the test. For an appetizer, I ordered falafel, a deep-fried vegetarian patty mixed with chickpeas, garlic, onion, cilantro, and various spices. The exterior is crispy, while the inside is soft with a spicy kick. This was certainly a good way to become acquainted with Mediterranean food. Even though I could not accurately pronounce the word, I ordered a gyros platter for lunch. It came with hummus, pita bread, tzatziki dressing, and a garden salad. I was intrigued by the hummus, which looks somewhat like a light-colored bean dip but actually has a smooth, creamy texture. Elijah makes his hummus using chickpeas and tahini, a sesame seed paste. In the middle is a “pool” of lemon juice, as well as extra virgin olive oil imported from Italy and Lebanon. The hummus is fresh because Elijah soaks the chickpeas in water overnight and boils them each morning. As I took two bites with, the lemon and garlic flavors became
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apparent. But the real treat was dipping into the hummus with soft, perfectly browned, and piping hot pita bread special ordered from Chicago. The pita bread was equally tasty with the generous serving of meat, which Elijah explained is 85 percent beef and 15 percent lamb. It was my first time eating lamb and I was quite impressed with the warmth, freshness, and tenderness of the meat. The garden salad was your typical tomato and lettuce combo, but what made this salad distinctive was the homemade tzatziki dressing, which is made of cucumbers and sour cream. The dressing was tangy and creamy and certainly a nice alternative to traditional salad dressings such as blue cheese and ranch. All in all, I found the food to be delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Elijah. It is clear a great deal of skill and pride go into each dish he serves. Perhaps Eric Meeker, a Mount Dora resident who visits Elijah’s Café twice a week, sums it up best. “The combination of great service and excellent food makes it hard for me to stay away.” And what did I learn about myself? I
did not step out of my comfort zone; I simply expanded my dining options. Considering my great all-around experience at Elijah’s Café, I will now have to familiarize myself with other local ethnic restaurants.
ADDRESS: 248 W. Ardice Ave. Eustis, FL 32726 PHONE: 352.483.0006 HOURS OF OPERATION: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday POPULAR DISHES: Chicken Gyros Platter: $12.99 Falafel Sandwich: $7.49 Baba Ghannooge Platter: $10.49 Shish Kabob Platter: $14.99
EATS // dining guide Destinations of good taste
700 NORTH HWY. 441 (IN FRONT OF TARGET), LADY LAKE // 352.750.9998 The Villages Bamboo Bistro welcomes you to experience a delightful dining experience with us. Enjoy an impressive selection of Asian dishes from China, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand, as well as a full sushi bar. Some of the more popular items include Peking duck, pepper seared filet mignon, the bamboo basil seafood delight, and the Chilean sea bass served in black bean sauce. Of course, there are plenty of other enticing items made with our freshest ingredients, such as the shrimp in lobster sauce, Mongolian beef, and the ever-popular General Tso’s chicken. Noodle soups and noodle dishes are also available; a variety of Asian beers and the extensive selection of wine will complement that perfect meal. Dim Sum Hours: Monday–Saturday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.; Sunday Noon–9 p.m. HOURS OF OPERATION: MONDAY–THURSDAY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY SUNDAY
11A.M.–9:30P.M. 11A.M.–10P.M. NOON–9P.M.
COUSIN VINNIE’S FAMILY SPORTS RESTAURANT OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK: 11A.M.–9P.M. // FOOD, SPIRITS, MUSIC, SPORTS 10700 U.S. HWY. 441, LEESBURG // 352.253.2442 // WWW.CVINNIES.COM
Cousin Vinnie’s is located on U.S. Highway 441 across from Lake Square Mall and Home Depot. Owner “Cousin” Vinnie Vittoria and his family have created a unique atmosphere by combining a sports bar with a family restaurant. Famous for outstanding food and even better service, Vinnie’s was recently named Medium Business of the Year for 2013. They also have been voted Best Wings in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Additional menu items include killer half-pound burgers, melt-in-your-mouth chicken strips, personal pan pizzas, amazing ribeye cheesesteaks, healthy wheat wraps, homemade salads, 16 awesome appetizers, and their signature deep fried ice cream and Snickers bars. Every Monday is “Texas Hold’em” from 6–10p.m. Tuesday night is “Family Night” from 4–8p.m. where kids 12 and under eat free. Wednesday night is “Trivia Night” with the fun starting at 6:30p.m. and prizes being given to the top three teams. Thursday night is “Karaoke Night” where everyone is a star! There is no better place on the weekends to enjoy the game. Cousin Vinnie’s also offers many cool electronic games for the children, free Wi-Fi, great music, and an enthusiastic staff ready to exceed your expectations. “I absolutely look forward to serving you and your family very soon!” says Cousin Vinnie.
EVANS PRAIRIE COUNTRY CLUB 1825 EVANS PRAIRIE TRAIL, THE VILLAGES 352.750.2225 // WWW.EVANSPRAIRIERESTAURANT.COM
Evans Prairie Country Club is a casual fine dining restaurant inspired by a Western flair while serving delicious cuisine in an intimate dining atmosphere. As the newest country club in The Villages, and as an extension of Brownwood Town Square, you will find our rustic décor pleasing to the eyes and our exceptional food a delight to your palate. Wrought iron chandeliers grace our dining areas accented by wood-like floors, giving you a feel of being in the Old West. Comfortable and inviting, our outside bar will delight your senses while the patio and outside tables provide a scenic up-close view of beautiful Evans Prairie. Our western-style menu is chock-full of cuisine you would expect to find, including citrus-infused salads, hearty steak dishes, and fresh mouthwatering seafood, while staying reasonably priced. Evans Prairie’s specialty drinks and our eclectic dessert menu are sure to have you satisfied, and we greatly value your guest experience from each and every visit. HOURS OF OPERATION: SUNDAY – THURSDAY: 11A.M.–9P.M. FRIDAY – SATURDAY: 11A.M.–10P.M. HAPPY HOUR: EVERY DAY 11A.M.–5P.M.
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What’s cooking at
Since opening KaDee Kay in 2010, Karen Monte and her daughters, Kelly Davant and Danielle Taylor, have baked up some delicious ideas that will make your time in the kitchen enjoyable. The company, which is located in historic downtown Mount Dora, offers one of the state’s most extensive selections of unique and hard-to-find specialty kitchen products. It is not uncommon for shoppers to venture into the 2,400-square-foot showroom and say, “Wow, I’ve been looking for this product for years!” Visitors are delighted to browse
through KaDee Kay’s merchandise, which ranges from teas and special gourmet ingredients to Nordic Ware products and kitchen tools. Fact is, you can spend hours inside the store and still not see everything. “We carefully research and test our products and product lines before we bring them into the store,” Karen says. “This ensures the highest quality and tried-and-true selections to offer our customers. For us, it is also important to carry American-made products. Buying American has to start with retailers.”
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In addition to kitchen products, the company also offers cooking demonstration classes, which have proven to be wildly popular among customers. So much so that the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce awarded the company with the prestigious Business Innovation Award in 2012. One year later, KayDee Kay received the coveted Business of the Year Award from the Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce and the Critics Choice Foodie Award from the Orlando Sentinel. Karen contributes most of the company’s success to old-fashioned customer service. “We pride ourselves in being customer-driven. We thoroughly enjoy interacting with our customers and educating them about our products. If we do not have a product someone is looking for, we are more than happy to special order an item. In fact, quite a bit of our inventory comes from customers’ requests.” Never short on ideas to continually improve customer service, Karen and her daughters recently launched a gift and wedding registry. This totally computerized service allows brides and grooms to scan items they wish to include in their registry. Then, family and friends can purchase these items by shopping online or visiting the store. The registry can also be used for anniversaries, birthdays, renewing of vows ceremonies, and other special events.
KaDee Kay Gourmet Kitchen Products is located at the corner of W. Fourth Street and Alexander Street. For more information, call 352.383.3600 or visit KaDeeKay.com.
EATS // dining guide Destinations of good taste
THE GOBLIN MARKET RESTAURANT & LOUNGE 331-B DONNELLY STREET (REAR ALLEY), MOUNT DORA 352.735.0059 // WWW.GOBLINMARKETRESTAURANT.COM
Nestled on a back alley in downtown Mount Dora, the Goblin Market Restaurant has been charming locals and tourists alike since 1996. The restaurant, housed in a renovated warehouse, features three intimate, book-lined dining rooms and a full-service lounge furnished in soothing, muted tones with tasteful modern art. The private, tree-shaded courtyard and garden patio are open year-round for al fresco dining. Low lighting and “new age” music add the finishing touches to the restaurant’s casual elegance. Owners Vince and Janis Guzinski embrace a simple philosophy of offering the highest-quality products, served in a unique and romantic atmosphere by a personable and attentive staff. The Goblin Market’s wine list and menu represent a refreshing mix of ideas from its culinary team. The diversified origins and background of each member ensure exciting menu offerings and nightly selections. HOURS OF OPERATION: LUNCH TUESDAY–SATURDAY 11A.M.–3:00P.M. DINNER TUESDAY–THURSDAY 5–9P.M. FRIDAY–SATURDAY 5–10P.M. SUNDAY 11A.M.–3:30P.M.
JOIN US FOR OUR NEW “LIGHTER FARE” DINNER MENU, GOURMET SOUPS, SALADS, AND SANDWICHES. TUESDAY– THURSDAY FROM 3–9P.M. (REGULAR DINNER MENU ALSO AVAILABLE).
704 S. LAKESHORE BLVD., HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS 352.324.3600 • WWW.JBBOONDOCKS.COM JB Boondocks is tucked away in a picturesque setting on Little Lake Harris in Howey-in-the-Hills. JB Boondocks is accessible by land, sea, and air via car, motorcycle, boat, or seaplane. With a full bar and a huge outdoor deck overlooking the lake, JB Boondocks makes for the ultimate setting to relax and unwind. The menu offers fresh seafood, steaks, chops, classic Italian dishes, tasty sandwiches, salads, sinfully sweet desserts, and much more. Each Friday night is our famous fish fry, Wednesday night features prime rib and Thursday night is Ladies’ Night. Cocktails from the bar are festive and we have a great selection of beer and wine, as well. Situated on five acres on the lake, JB Boondocks is the perfect place for your car, motorcycle, boat, or seaplane club to gather. We have plenty of dock space and parking to accommodate all your needs. JB BOONDOCKS IS OPEN FOR LUNCH AND DINNER SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. HOURS OF OPERATION: MONDAY 11A.M.–4P.M., TUESDAY–THURSDAY 11A.M.–9P.M. FRIDAY 11A.M.–10P.M., SATURDAY 11A.M.–10P.M., SUNDAY NOON–8P.M.
1317 NORTH 14TH STREET, LEESBURG // 352.365.6565 Established in 1989, Ramshackle Café has been a landmark for great food. Just for the FUN of it! Come on in and experience Ramshackle Café! It’s a great place for the whole family. Fajitas, steaks, sandwiches, salads, ribs, delicious burgers, and of course, killer wings. We feature a Happy Hour daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with most drinks 2 for 1! So, for a great time and great food, bring the kids and come on in to Ramshackle Café! Check out our menu at www.RamshackleCafe.net HOURS OF OPERATION: SUNDAY MONDAY–THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY
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11A.M.–10P.M. 11A.M.–11P.M. 11A.M.–MIDNIGHT 11A.M.–11P.M.
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EATS // dining guide Destinations of good taste
WWW.SUBWAY.COM Custom-made, fresh sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads made right before your eyes. The “healthy” alternative to fast food. LADY LAKE // 208 W. Guava St. // 352.750.4929 EUSTIS // 469 Plaza Dr. // 352.357.7827 MOUNT DORA // 18870 U.S. Hwy. 441 // 352.735.4376 LEESBURG // 2013 Citrus Blvd. // 352.787.6442 10135 U.S. Hwy. 441, Suite 4 // 352.326.3234 27405 U.S. Hwy. 27, Suite 4 // 352.314.8847 THE VILLAGES // 1580 Bella Cruz Drive // 352.750.9600 8796 S.E. 165th Mulberry Lane // 352.750.9991 1070 Lake Sumter Landing Drive // 352.205.8535 349 Colony Blvd. // 352.391.1657 WILDWOOD // 480 W. Gulf to Alantic Hwy. // 352.748.8800 HOURS OF OPERATION: MONDAY–SATURDAY SUNDAY
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOUR RESTAURANT IN OUR DINING SECTION?
CALL US AT 352.787.4112
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Final thought // Gary McKechnie
TO BE A MOM Well, it is May, which means your thoughts have likely turned to Mother’s Day. This makes sense since very few people are born without help from their mother. I’ve never seen the actual paperwork, but a mother’s contract must contain a clause that says she’ll forever put her children first. My mom was like that, although I gave her every reason not to be. When I was a teenager, the world’s most powerful microscope could not have detected a speck of gratitude within me. Fortunately, this condition went into remission, and by the time I left high school, years of overdue hugs, kisses, and repeated I-love-you’s reminded my mom that she was essential. She knew I was proud that, while in her 40s and raising five kids, she had the gumption to return to school and graduate from college. She also knew that in time everything she had sacrificed for her family would be returned tenfold. This was the only cold, thin sheet of comfort left to us when she passed away 25 years ago at just 54. In my memory, she was the best mom ever. If you share the same sentiment about your mother, it’s probably because she’s the only person you’ve ever known who is equal parts caregiver, teacher, housekeeper, nurse, lawyer, and chauffeur. Just ask and your mother will step up as your personal counselor, chef,
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secretary, psychologist, dresser, custodian, and best friend forever. At no additional fee, she’ll even tuck you in, give you a goodnight kiss, and chase away monsters. Not only can she do everything for the sake of her kids, she will do anything. I watched my wife raise her son alone after her husband had passed away. Diminutive but determined, Nancy served double duty as mom and dad and did it all without a second thought. Mothers are protectors — a SEAL Team Six with perfume. Sandy Francis is a protective mom. With two mentally challenged daughters — Heather, 37, and Sueann, 33 — she has to be. “Because they can’t fend for themselves,” she says, “I fend for them. I’m there for them 100 percent. No one will hurt them as long as I’m around.” No one who knows Sandy would doubt that. Often while working the register at Mount Dora’s Christian Home & Bible School thrift shop, daughter Sueann is by her side. With Heather in a group home, Sueann is a nearly constant presence when Sandy runs an errand, goes shopping, or grabs a bite. In most cases, children grow up and parents enjoy a transition period as their kids map out their independence. At the Francis household, that will never be. Sandy is forever her daughters’ longterm caretaker and constant
companion. To be sure, her road is not always smooth. “I have my moments when I think I can’t do this anymore,” she confesses. “And then I hear a voice from God saying, ‘Yes, you can, and yes, you will. You can get through this.’ That’s when God has His arms around me and I don’t have those thoughts anymore.” Melanie Knight of Leesburg is a kindred spirit. Already the mother of one, she had room for one more in her house, as well as in her heart. She decided to adopt a son, then 17 months old and living in a foster home.
Describing the adoption process reveals the depths of a mother’s devotion.
For 10 consecutive Mondays, Melanie gave up profitable dinner hours as a server and enrolled in foster parenting classes. She collected references from neighbors and fellow employees, provided fingerprints, and invited inspectors into her home. “They asked me about my childhood, like if I was ever spanked as a kid. Everything comes out,” Melanie explains. “They checked my house, tested my drinking water, and checked the temperature in the refrigerator, and I had to pay for the tests. Since I’d have to be there, I’d miss work and that also cost me income. I had an above ground pool, too, so I had to go to Wildwood for a water safety class.” Nineteen months later — the same month that her son turned three — the process was complete. In the decade since, she has accepted that medication is a necessity to steady her son’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and borderline autism. However, even when things get rough, Melanie shares a perspective familiar to most mothers. “I always tell my kids, ‘Even when I’m mad at you, I still love you.’ No matter how old they are, what they’ve done, or where they are, you’re always their mom.” So, for moms everywhere, here’s my hug for you.
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