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Great News!

The Real Estate market is finally turning around and Sellers are gaining more power than they’ve had in the past five years. We have experienced continued increase in the sales prices, compared to previous years; inventory is low and buyers are paying well over asking price, in many cases.

Broker Tip:

Irma G. Yapor, Broker

Your Neighborhood Expert

Real Estate websites, such as Trulia, Zillow and other similar search engines, seldom provide the most up-to-date property data. Make sure to use one that is directly linked to the MLS to obtain the most accurate information, such as ours at:

The first quarter of 2013 shows increase in value by 18.5% compared to the same time last year. To receive the latest Local Market Analysis or a free, no-obligation, valuation of your home, contact Irma at 407-909-8000 or

Luxury, Green & REO Homes 625 Main Street, Suite 103 • Windermere, FL 34786 • Irma G. Yapor, Broker-Owner • 407-909-8000 •

Mention this ad and receive 25% CASH BACK Rebate* on the selling or purchase of your home.* *The Rebate is based on our co-op commission at closing. Valid for contracts executed between 4/1 and 6/30/2013. Some restrictions apply. Please contact Irma at 407-909-8000 for more details.

Town of Windermere

Table of Contents

614 Main Street, Windermere, FL 34786 (407) 876-2563 • Administration Offices Gary Bruhn, Town Mayor Robert Smith, Town Manager Dorothy Burkhalter, Town Clerk David Grimm, Public Works Director Linda Bouton, Finance Supervisor Amanda Click, Finance Clerk II Police Department Business Hours Non-Emergency: 407-876-3757 After Hours Non-Emergency: 321-299-2414 David Ogden, Police Chief Maria Carrasquillo, Police Clerk Sandra Regot, School Resource Officer Council Members Mayor Gary Bruhn: John Armstrong: Richard Gonzalez: Jim O’Brien: Mike Pirozzolo: Molly Rose: Boards and Committees Special Magistrate • Development Review Board Downtown Business Committee • Elder Affairs Committee Historical Board • Long Range Planning Committee Parks and Recreation Committee • Tree Board The Windermere Gazette is published quarterly and is designed by Yapor Communications. For more information visit: www.Windermere To submit news or obtain advertising information, contact Robert Smith: COPYRIGHT © Town of Windermere, FL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


From the Desk of the Mayor


Farmer’s Market


Family Food Truck Night


5K Run/Walk Among the Lakes


Windermere Spring Yard Clean-Up


Rededication of Basketball Courts


Elders Luncheon


Women’s Self Defense Seminar


A Message from Jim O’Brien


Prevent Stormwater Runoff Pollution


Pruning Crepe Myrtles


Chief Receives Commendation


Lights On Officer Bonk


“Still a Small Town” by John Nabers


The Town of Windermere accepts MasterCard, VISA and Discover as methods of payment.

LET’S PLAY WINDERMERE TRIVIAL PURSUIT… My Fellow Neighbors…. As always, I hope this newsletter finds all of you well and here we are getting ready to start Spring 2013. I was recently asked by the Florida League of Cities to provide an article for their magazine describing our Town and our items of interest. As I was writing it, I realized that there is a lot of information that most Town residents would like to know. So for this newsletter, I call this: “Everything you ever wanted to know about Windermere”… or, let’s play Windermere Trivial Pursuit. HOW BIG IS WINDERMERE? The population of the Town of Windermere as of this newsletter, and recognized by the state of Florida, is 2855. And the total number of homes and businesses is right around 1100. But, there are over 8000 homes which share the 34786 ZIP code, and as such, they have a Windermere address. The Town, the state and even our federal legislators have no control over the Post Office and they group people by the Post Office that serves them. But this has led to a lot of confusion about the residents of Windermere. To put things in perspective, 7 out of 8 homes that have a Windermere address are not in the Town of Windermere. They receive no service from the Town and they pay no taxes to the Town. And when they call 911, the Orange County Sheriff ’s Department shows up, not Windermere Police. What are some of the major communities that fall into this category? Keene’s Pointe, Summerport and Isleworth are some of the largest areas. SO WHERE ARE OUR TOWN BOUNDARIES? To the South it is close to the Chase Road and Main Street intersection. To the East it is the Post Office and Windermere Reserve, but the community of Isleworth is not within the Town limits. The new construction is just outside of our boundaries. So when you see the new drugstore going up, we receive no taxes from it. As you can imagine, the County receives all of the taxes for that area. To the West our boundaries are dictated by Lake Butler and goes as far to the North as the Willows, which is in Town. The South side of Wonder Lane is in Town. The North side is not. And the vacant property on the West side of Maguire, up to Belmere Reserve, is in Town and is our most Northern border. HOW MANY LAKES ARE ON THE BUTLER CHAIN? There are 11 lakes on the Butler Chain. For EXTRA CREDIT, Name the lakes on the Butler Chain: they are Down, Butler, Chase, Blanche, Louise, Sheen, Fish,


Isleworth, Tibet-Butler and Pocket. Then we have one lake that has been called two names: Wauseon or Little Lake Down. NAME THE ONE LAKE IN TOWN THAT IS NOT ON THE BUTLER CHAIN: Lake Bessie.

enforcement. We do pay taxes to Orange County just like all other residents, but we do not pay the MSTU (Municipal Service Tax Unit) that residents outside the cities pay for fire service and the Sheriff ’s Department. Our property tax includes these services.

HOW MANY “OFFICIAL” HISTORIC BUILDINGS ARE IN WINDERMERE? There are many old structures in Town, which in Florida, is rare. But our Historically Registered buildings are: Town Hall (registered in 1994); the Cal Palmer Building (registered in 1995); and our 1890 Schoolhouse (registered in 2003), which may prove to be our 1887 Schoolhouse. The Cal Palmer building was the Town founder’s office and sits North of Town Hall. Hurricane Charlie dropped a huge oak through the building in 2004, but a complete historic renovation was completed to keep its historic designation. The 1890 Schoolhouse was completely restored in 2011 and will soon be rededicated through the efforts of our Historical Preservation Board.

WHAT UTILITIES DOES WINDERMERE PROVIDE? Unlike most municipalities, Windermere does not supply utility services. Approximately 30% of our residents are on public water which is provided by Orange County. No sewer service is available so everyone is on septic tanks. A WINDERMERE URBAN LEGEND... DOES WINDERMERE MAKE A LOT OF MONEY BY WRITING SPEEDING TICKETS? Nothing could be further from the truth. We receive pennies on the dollar for every citation we write and the State and County take almost all of it. We enforce our speed limits for the safety of our residents and the safety of the thousands of people who travel through our Town and our children.

BONUS POINTS: Where did our Town Hall originally sit and who owned it? Our Town Hall was built in 1922 and it was the Women’s Club. It sat on the shores of Lake Butler at Seventh Avenue and Butler Street. It was moved in 1938 with the support of the WPA (Works Progress Administration) and was slowly pulled by truck over logs used as rollers. It was renamed the Community Club in 1939 and in 1945, it was given to the Town.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE TRAVEL THROUGH TOWN? AREN’T THERE ONLY 3000 RESIDENTS? Yes, there are 2855 residents, but according to the last traffic count, every work day, over 15,000 vehicles travel on Conroy-Windermere Road and our Sixth Avenue. Traffic on South Main Street and recorded at 8th Avenue is 13,500 vehicles and the traffic count going over the bridge at the canal on North Main is 12,500. No matter how you look at it, that’s a LOT of traffic for less than 3000 residents.

WHAT IS THE PROPERTY VALUE FOR ALL OF WINDERMERE FOR 2013? If you said about a half billion dollars, you’d be close. The assessed value for our town according to the Orange County property Appraiser is just over $533,000,000.

I hope you found this bit of trivia interesting and informative. LET’S MAKE 2013 A SAFE YEAR! It’s not too early to begin making your home safe and ready for the summer storm season and being hurricane ready.

HOW DOES WINDERMERE’S PROPERTY TAXES COMPARE TO OTHER CITIES IN ORANGE COUNTY? At our millage rate of 3.7896 we are the second lowest among the municipalities. Only Apopka is lower, but then, they supply utilities which provide additional revenue and we do not. And what does that tax pay for? It pays for our 24-hour a day, 7-day a week Police force. It pays for our road maintenance and capital improvements. It pays for our fire service, our administration and code

Don’t forget that you can read all of the latest news by visiting my website: Gary Bruhn Your Mayor


Stop by and pick up your fresh produce, local honey, fresh bread, pasta, organic tea, nuts, gourmet cheeses, roasted coffee, healthy snacks, flowers, fresh kettlecorn, and so much more! Visit our Facebook page at

Every Friday 9 am – 2 pm Main Street

Every 4th Friday 5 – 9:30 pm Main Street Every 4th Friday of the month, the Town of Windermere’s Downtown Business Committee hosts the Family Food Truck Night. The event is held on brick Main Street, in front of Town Hall, located in the heart of Downtown Windermere. Trucks are open for business from 5 to 9:30 pm. Bring friends, family, chairs, blankets and an appetite. For the current month list of participating trucks please visit our website at 4

Saturday, April 13 8:00 am Windermere’s Parks and Recreation Committee is proud to present the 12th Annual UMC 5K Run/ Walk Among the Lakes. The three-mile route will take you through Windermere’s beautiful lakefronts of Butler, Down and Bessie. You will run, or walk, under the canopy of old oak trees and down our beloved Florida sand roads. We anticipate more than 1,000 runners and walkers and extend an invitation to all of our residents to join in the fun. Everyone participating will receive a Collector’s Edition T-Shirt featuring a custom design by former Windermere resident artist Gregory T. Smith. The event will feature: chip timing, kid’s fun run, photo finish, Chick-fil-A, Panera bagels and Livie water. If you or your business is interested in being a sponsor, volunteer or vendor, for this or other Parks and Recreation events, please contact Donna Steele at (407) 876-8393, or visit the Town Offices at 614 Main Street, Windermere, FL 34786. You can also visit for more information and to register.


A History of Real Estate Excellence • Serving Windermere since 1976 • Butler Chain Experts • Top Producers of Estate & Luxury Properties • We have buyers for Windermere • Search MLS from our website 527 Main Street • 407-876-3688

Chris Sapp Residential Sales Property Management • Windermere Resident

JOHN ASHLEY INTERIORS “Custom finishes at a reasonable price” To make an appointment, please call either John Thurman (407 403 4490) or Suzanne Cottrell (321 525 0989).

502 Main Street, Windermere, FL 34786

• Downtown Business Committee Member • Multi-Million Dollar Producer

Chris Sapp, REPM 407.574.1002 527 Main Street, Windermere

Yard clean-ups are underway in Windermere. Here’s a reminder about bundling requirements: P 32 gallon containers may be used, yard waste no heavier than 50 lbs. P Bagged leaves and brush, no more than 10-12 bags per week, again no heavier than 50 lbs. P Limbs must be bundled in 4ft. lengths, no heavier than 50 lbs. P Large logs or trunks may require an extra pick up with additional charge. Call Waste Pro at 407-774-0800 to schedule an estimate. P Piles of leaves or branches/limbs not permitted and will not be picked up. You may be charged by the Town if a Claw Truck is required and you will be subject to code enforcement. Visit our website, under Residents / Garbage, for additional information or to request services, log complaints, or compliments. Any missed garbage or recycling is dispatched to the driver and to the Town immediately. As always, you can call the Town, Linda Bouton at 407-876-2563 ext. 22, or Waste Pro at 407-774-0800. Also, remember that TREE REMOVALS REQUIRE A PERMIT. You may visit our website under Departments / Development Services/Building Department / Tree Ordinance and Permit Application, for further requirements.

Windermere Rededicates Basketball Courts At the February Windermere Food Truck Night, Mayor Gary Bruhn and members of the Windermere Town Council took time to rededicate the basketball courts on Town Square. The basketball courts have been resurfaced and new plexi-glass backboards installed, all through the generous donation from Chris and Craig Young. “We grew up on these basketball courts and saw that they could use some updating, so we wanted to give back,” said Chris Young, who flew in for the event from Washington D.C. where he now lives. A plaque on the south side of the basketball court was also unveiled recognizing the Young’s contribution. During the ribbon cutting the Mayor thanked the Youngs and noted that their contribution will benefit many of the area’s youth for many years to come.


If you are over the age of 60 join us at Town Hall for Mexican Food and chat on Antiques & Appraisals. Please RSVP to Karen Fay at 407-876-2218. If you are in need of a ride, please call Mayor Bruhn at 407-876-1732.

Chief Dave Ogden and the Windermere Police Department will be hosting a Women’s Self Defense Seminar for the first 50 town residents ages 14 and older. Chief Ogden has spent 28 years in the martial arts arena and also helped developed the Swat Defensive Tactics, Ground Fighting, New Recruits and Female Officer Survival curriculum for his previous agency. This program is being offered free to our residents as a community outreach and educational program.

Amy DuBois

The course will be 3-4 hours in length, cover topics such as the mental, physical, and physiological aspects of critical encounters and how to develop a planned response to those situations. The course will combine a lecture format with actual physical skills practiced. You will have fun and learn valuable information that can be transposed in a number of crisis situations.

CALL AMY TODAY 407-325-2311

What to Bring: Comfortable sports clothing (long pants preferred), water, snack and a big smile. 8

A Message from Jim O’Brien It has been a pleasure to represent the residents of the Town of Windermere as a member of your Town Council. Though not the easiest of times, your Town Council has worked tirelessly over the past two years to build a foundation that will serve all of us for years to come. We have worked with volunteer committees, comprised of you and your neighbors, in a concerted effort to increase the professionalism of our Town Staff. To this end, we have a hired a new Town Manager, Police Chief and Director of Public Works. Each of these individuals were selected with the utmost of care and an uncompromising commitment to integrity and professionalism. I encourage you to support all of our staff in their service to our Town, to look for continued strides in innovation and efficiency, while we all work diligently at preserving what makes our Town a great place to live! In an effort to be good stewards of your tax dollars, Town staff have collaborated and consolidated services such as building permitting, code enforcement, and engineering and land use planning services in order to increase efficiency. Procurement of goods and services utilize a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to ensure that our residents receive the best balance of quality and price and that all qualified vendors have an opportunity to provide Town services. Our Windermere Police Department has made critical infrastructure, safety and training upgrades in order to facilitate improved service and eventual professional accreditation. Storm water management and capital improvements, needed to maintain the safety of our streets and roads, are being reviewed with a long-range outlook. Recently the Town of Windermere launched a new interactive website that includes individualized email notifications, as well as meeting agendas and packets; the Windermere Gazette has been redesigned and is being mailed to every home. Town committees are full of talented and dedicated volunteers and their input is vital to the decisions that are made by Town Staff and Town Council. Our downtown community and volunteer committees are hosting family friendly events: Food Truck Nights, Farmer’s Market, Fall Festival, Family Movie Nights, Treebute and the Windermere Auto Show. I am incredibly proud to raise my family in Windermere and serve with such a dedicated group of Town Staff, Committee Volunteers and fellow Town Council members. Thank you for the opportunity to serve and I look forward to continuing my efforts to ensure that the Town of Windermere continues to operate our Town Government in a professional and transparent manner.


Best Practice for Health and Disease Resistance

By Theresa Schretzmann-Myers –

Windermere Tree Board and International Society of Arboriculture Member

Crepe Myrtles are beautiful flowering trees that add colorful ruffled flowers to your yard every summer. We value them for their textured and peeling bark, fall colors and naturally graceful form. Keep your Crepe Myrtles blooming and thriving from year to year by pruning at the right time and correctly.

branches crossing or rubbing against each other and shoots growing into the center of the canopy. Make your cuts to a side branch or close to the trunk. Head back wayward and unbranched limbs. As it grows taller, remove lower branches as needed.

Crepe Myrtles should be low-maintenance trees and the best way to ensure this is to plant the right tree in the right place that best suits your landscape needs. They prefer full sun and are a good tree choice near power lines because they are not large trees. There are many new Crepe Myrtle cultivars in small and medium sizes and colors. Before planting, visualize in your minds eye how large the tree will be in 20 years. Choose a planting location with plenty of space to grow if it’s near a house, sidewalk or driveway.

Remove any future growth from the ground to retain the desired tree shape. The exception to this rule is if your Crepe’s lower trunks have been badly girdled by mowers or string trimmers. If this happens, mulch the tree to protect it from future mower and trimmer damage. Allow 3-5 of the healthiest shoots to grow from the outside of the trunk until they are large and remove the girdled and diseased interior trunk in the future. (You see this technique for the girdled Crepe’s along Maguire Road in Windermere.)

The best pruning time is winter or early spring when your Crepe Myrtle is dormant. As deciduous trees drop their leaves you see bare trunk, branches and bark. Pruning at this time promotes less disease and exposure to pests and allows you to see the graceful structure of the tree. Walk 360° degrees around the tree and visualize the form of the tree before you start to prune. Pruning cuts should be done right above the “branch collar,” the wrinkled section where the branches fork into each other. This allows for good healing of wound wood, disease prevention and discourages boring beetles.

You may feel the need to improve the appearance by removing the seed heads in late winter or early spring before growth begins. Remove seed heads only after seed eating birds finish their winter migration because they depend on this food. Crepe Myrtles don’t require heavy pruning to promote bloom. Flowers are produced on new growth. It will produce flowers without any pruning, although it will produce larger flowers and bloom more profusely if lightly pruned. Pruning in late winter or early spring stimulates tree hormones for vigorous new growth in the spring. Encourage a second bloom in summer by pruning flowers immediately after they fade.

As the tree matures, remove lower, lateral branches (“limbing up”) one-third to halfway up the height of the plant. Remove


Windermere Chief Receives Commendation On February 22, 2013, Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden was a guest presenter for the 4th Annual Intelligence Liaison Officer Conference held at the Valencia Criminal Justice Institute. Chief Ogden spoke about the critical need for information sharing and collaboration amongst federal, state, local, fire, health, emergency services and private sector partnerships, to enhance our homeland security efforts. Chief Ogden received a Commendation from the Department of Homeland Security for serving as the Director for the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange and his work in enhancing the overall capabilities of the fusion center and developing valuable partnerships to help protect our homeland security efforts. Deputy Under Secretary Scott McAllister, Office of Intelligence and Analysis presented the award to Chief Ogden.

Pictured from Left to Right: DHS Liaison Peter Van Deusen, Windermere Town Manager Robert Smith, Special Agent in Charge Joyce Dawley FDLE, Chief Dave Ogden and DHS Deputy Under Secretary Scott McAllister

Officer Jayson Bonk has 12 years of law enforcement experience. In his career, he has worked for the Altamonte Springs Police Department, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, as a Special Agent for the Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco Agency, and has worked with the Windermere Police Department (WPD) for nearly four years. Officer Bonk’s career and investigative experience have proved valuable to other officers and the agency. Officer Bonk enjoys Windermere’s small quaint community and the ability to envelop the community policing model of success. Officer Bonk was selected by the WPD Command Staff to become an Intelligence Liaison Officer (ILO). The ILO is a local law enforcement officer or other government employee (fire/rescue, health dept. employee, etc.) who continues to work for his agency, and provides timely and important threat information and intelligence via the agency’s established chain of command. In return the ILO receives valuable and continuing training, critical regional threat related information, and develops an extensive collaboration with other local, state, federal and private sector partners. These partnerships will help keep the Town of Windermere and its residents safer, provide free training to our officers, and keep the Windermere Police Department up to date with best police practices.


by John Nabers

When John Dawe, an Englishman by way of Boston laid out the plat of Windermere and named the town he would have had no idea what the proposed town would become. He did not own much of the land but he did it at the request of the principal owners and as general manager for the Florida Midland Railroad which had obtained land in Windermere to extend their rail line from Ocoee and which eventually reached Kissimmee by 1891. Unfortunately many of the early business ventures involving Dawes and others failed and were foreclosed on. These were primarily timber and sawmill operations. Not much of note occurred until 1910 when J.C. (Cal) Palmer a carpenter and builder and his two friends all from Wauseon, Ohio visited the Area and were charmed by its beauty and great fishing. At that time there were no stores, no post office, no school, and likely only one family living there, that of S. S. Griffin, who obtained the land by purchasing delinquent tax certificates. Palmer was so enthused that he offered to buy the entire town for $10,000 and Griffin accepted. Palmer noticed that Harry Hempel in the Gotha area had prepared a brochure to sell land to northerners. Palmer followed suit by preparing his own adding that in addition to the natural amenities one could become wealthy by growing citrus and vegetables. Cal Palmer and his wife formed the Windermere Improvement Company to market their property. Then after building a house in 1911-1912 he also built a sales office building. Both structures still stand. The office, now known as the Cal Palmer building is on the town square and was for many years an antique shop called “Finders Keepers” run by long time resident Alice Marshall. The town now owns the building and it is listed on the Register of Historic Places along with the Town Hall. The Town Hall was originally the “Women’s Club” built around 1922 and located at what is now Fernwood Park on Lake Butler. It was moved to the center of town in 1938 on land purchased by the town in 1930. Another significant building in the history of Windermere was the Pine Tree Inn, an upscale three story frame structure at the West end of Fifth Avenue on the highest ground on the lakefront. It offered many activities and appealed to visitors from the North looking for good fishing, golf, dining, swimming in the clear waters, or just enjoying the spectacular sunsets over Lake Butler. It burned down in 1938 and the town lost its most famous structure. To be continued on the next issue....


Mark Allen

Broker 321.689.8000 INTERNATIONAL

Matt Allen Broker Associate 321.228.5555


Home Inventory

Now is the PERFECT Time to Sell Your Property . We are LOW on inventory with a BIG Demand for Windermere Property!!

Visit our NEW Historical Office in Downtown Windermere at 102 W. 6th Avenue, Windermere, Florida 34786

In DowntownWindermere

Present this coupon for 1 free DONUT* or Regular Coffee with any purchase EXP 6/30/13….*Excludes Fritters/Coffee Rolls

2013 New Specials:: May 2013 Come Celebrate Our 5 Year Aniversary!!

Sunday Sundae $3.50 each Monday $0.99 child size soft serve ToppingTuesday-1 free topping on any ice cream purchase Wacky Wednesday-Free waffle cone with the purchase of a regular size ice cream Thirsty Thursday- $1.00 off any coffee or coffee specialty drink

523 Main Street Windermere, FL • 407-876-3558

Best Place To Live “Congratulations to the Town of Windermere for being selected as Best Place to Live by Southwest Orlando Bulletin. Additional kudos go to Tim’s Wine for being selected Best Wine Shop/Bar and Spa Affair for Best Hair Salon.”

Image provided by Karla Milena Rivera

Windermere Gazette - Spring 2013  

News and Events in the Town of Windermere, FL

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