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Ocala’s City Magazine Since 1980 | $5.95

Better than ever:



Medicine with


Ocala Family Medical Center’s Cardiologists, Dr. James London and Dr. Yasmin Amin

All you need is


Romance abounds with gift ideas, recipes, tales of dates and of wedded bliss.

Considering Ocala? t Days! s u J n I Pending

NW HISTORIC EQUESTRIAN & DOG BREEDING FARM 80 Acres, 2 Barns with a total of 30 stalls, spacious office, covered round pen plus equipment building for $1,500,000 or 50 Acres with all improvements for $900,000.


Entire 69+/- Acres and all improvements for $3,900,000. 44+/- Acres – Main residence, 6-Stall show stable with apt., 6-stall barn, paddocks, fields and shaded riding trails for $2,400,000. 25+/- Acres with show stable, cottages, paddocks and equipment building for $1,500,000

Photo by Kent Weakley

Via Paradisus

DESIRABLE BUILDING SITES—have your own bridle trails on 1,000 acres plus direct access to Florida Horse Park, Greenways & Trails for riding, hiking, biking. PHASE I offers lots ranging from 10 – 22 acres. PHASE II 155 acres is available for purchase as a farm or for development. PHASE III offers lots ranging from 3 to 30 acres.

If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call today!

For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos, and more choices. 352.347.1777 | Cell: 352.266.9100 | Cell: 352.804.8989 | joan@joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates, and land available that are not advertised.

Lake Weir Lake Weir PROPERTY Shown By Appointment Only

Custom-Built Brick Home with Impressive Floor Plan and Luxury Upgrades • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

6,000 Square Feet Under Roof White Sandy Beach with 300-foot Beachfront 3 Bedroom/4 Bath Large Front Entry and Foyer Custom Eat-in Kitchen/Large Center Island/Large Pantry/and Butler’s Pantry Laundry Room off Kitchen area Formal Living and Dining Rooms Office and Library Room Family Room with Gas Fireplace overlooking lake/ French Doors leading to Back Deck Master Bedroom w/ Bay window overlooking lake Master Bath w/ Garden Tub & Huge Walk-In Closet Game Room Upstairs with Brunswick Pool Table and Walk-In Attic Access Large Back Deck with Cookhouse and 1/2 Bath Incline Car to Lake Large Outdoor Workshop and Storage 40x60 with Electric and Septic 1/2 Bath with Hookup for RV Majestic Oaks Lining Driveway Lush Landscaping Rustic Beach House with over 500-Foot Dock Large Screened-In Back Porch with Custom Built-In Gas Cooker which leads to Back Deck


Philip Glassman, CCIM 813-727-7657 A Licensed Real Estate Broker

Clay Albright (352) 804-7777 Justin Albright (352) 427-5301 Registered Real Estate Brokers and Agents

This information is from sources deemed to be reliable. We are not responsible for misstatements of facts, errors or omissions, prior sale, change of price, and/or terms or withdrawal from the market without notice. Buyer should verify all information with its own representatives as well as state and local agencies. Brokers please note that a variable rate commission may exist on this offering that might result in a lower commission cost to the Seller if a Buyer’s broker is not involved in the transaction. ©2019 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2019 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. (09/19)

Gail was told there was no hope for her failing heart. At UF Health, she found a problem-solver who was up to the challenge.

Dr. Thomas Beaver and Dr. Juan Aranda knew that Gail’s heart was weak and she wasn’t a candidate for a transplant. While others offered no hope, they devised a solution. Dr. Beaver gave Gail an LVAD, a device that helps a weakened heart regain function and gives patients something priceless: time. That’s the kind of problem-solving care that moves medicine forward.

Learn more at ProblemSolvingCare.org.

24410 Gail Ocala Magazine 9 x 10.875.indd 1

2/22/2018 1:41:20 PM



18 24 30 34 39 46 60

HITS is Back and Better Than Ever Marion County: Developmental Footprints    Valentine's Gift Inspo A Match Made in Stella's Just Married A Bridge Over Troubled Water Isn't It Romantic?


p. 96 — At the Appleton Museum of Art: María Benítez and Vicente Romero, Tesuque, New Mexico, c. 1970. Photograph courtesy of Lili del Castillo and Luís Campos.


Ocala’s City Magazine Since 1980 | $5.95

Better than ever:

OFMC's Dr. James London and Dr. Yasmin Amin OCALA MAGAZINE FEB 2020


Photographer: Ralph Demilio Medicine with


Ocala Family Medical Center’s Cardiologists, Dr. James London and Dr. Yasmin Amin

All you need is


Publisher’s Letter From the Mayor

69 70 74 76

LIVE Charity Spotlight: The Marion Therapeutic Riding Association State of the City State of the County

79 80 82

EAT On The Menu: Latin American Cafe Dining Out

87 PLAY 88 Local Music Scene: Shine and the Shakers 92 Socially Speaking 101 102 106 108 110 112

ETCETERA Health Journal Prose and Cons Kiwanis Korner Rotary Circle Looking Back



Romance abounds with gift ideas, recipes, tales of dates and of wedded bliss.


12 14


Ocala Family Medical Center




ocalaelectric.org | 352-629-2489


Volume 39, Issue 8


OCALA’S #1 MOST AWARD-WINNING CITY MAGAZINE CELEBRATING OUR 40TH YEAR! Philip Glassman, CCIM | Publisher & Owner, Radio Host philip@ocalamagazine.com Penny Miller | VP/Corporate Development/Principal penny@ocalamagazine.com

EDITORIAL Benjamin Baugh | Managing Editor, Radio Host ben@ocalamagazine.com Ronald W. Wetherington | Social Editor ron@ocalamagazine.com Robin Fannon | Food/Lifestyle Editor Laura Wampler | Copy Editor

ART Jessi Miller | Creative Director jessi@ocalamagazine.com

Joshua Jacobs | Senior Graphic Designer joshua@ocalamagazine.com PHOTOGRAPHY Ralph Demilio | Chief Photographer The Creative Pretzel | Photographer


Sarah Jacobs | Writer Kaitlyn Butler | Writer Carey David | Writer Ashley Dobbs/City of Ocala | Writer Brandon Kaloo/Marion County | Writer Mayor Kent Guinn | Columnist Judge Steven G. Rogers | Writer


OPERATIONS Randy Woodruff, CPA | CFO randy@ocalamagazine.com Doug Hummel | Director of I.T.

Linda Marks | Founder & Advisor

Laura Wampler | Production Assistant

Sharon Raye | Copy Editor


to Listen Magazine a l Oca on WOCA Radio / 1370amm 96.3fms at 10:30a Friday

Ross Anthony | Director of Distribution


www.ocalamagazine.com OFFICIAL MEDIA PARTNER HOPS — Historic Ocala Preservation Society MEDIA PARTNER & PRESENTING SPONSOR of the Tailgating Competition at Live Oak International OFFICIAL MEDIA SPONSOR FOR 2019 International Women's Day EXCLUSIVE MEDIA SPONSOR FOR George Albright Annual Golf Tournament OFFICIAL MEDIA SPONSOR FOR FINE ARTS FOR OCALA


TEDxOcala · HITS · Equiventure


OFFICE 743 E. Fort King St. Ocala, FL 34471 MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 4649, Ocala, FL 34478 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR by mail or email: editor@ocalamagazine.com SUBSCRIPTION One year - $49, Two years - $95, Single Issue - $5.95. COPYRIGHT ALL contents copyrighted © 2019 by Ocala Magazine Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertising content in any manner without written permission is strictly prohibited.



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from the publisher

Love, Sweet Love THIS MONTH WE CELEBRATE LOVE. And while you may think of a romantic love, I am reminded to turn my attention to a more universal kind of love, the love for my neighbor. I believe wholeheartedly that the Marion Therapeutic Riding Association represents that love to our community. The way they combine horseback riding with physical therapy is magical, to say the least. Whether it’s a military vet or a child with mental disabilities, they cater to all. My team and I were blessed to catch one of these sessions and seeing the faces of these kids light up is nothing short of inspiring. Pam Morrison and the MTRA staff are truly making a difference in this community.

Philip Glassman with Daughter Madison, Son Brax, and Pam Morrison at the MTRA facility

In keeping with brotherly love, I'm honored to have my cousin Jimmy London grace this month's cover for his work with my family's medical facility, Ocala Family Medical Center. He does very fine work with the staff at OFMC and with his colleague Dr. Yasmin Amin, and I can guarantee they handle each patient as if they were family. Speaking of family, I do have to get a little perMadison, Brax, and an sonal. My son, Brax, celebrated his third birthday this past month Unidentified Monkey at Universal Studios and I have to say he makes me proud to be called “Dad.” He and my daughter, Madison, are what keep me going through my day to day. It is in this season of love that they constantly remind me how much I truly love them and would do anything for them. So, I encourage you to seek out those in your life that you love, whether it be a significant other, your children, or even your friends, and hold them close. As those famous Hal David lyrics go, “What the world needs now/ Is love, sweet love.” Madison and Brax enjoying Legoland






from the

Honoring History and Growing Today BY MAYOR KENT GUINN


cala remains in the forefront of the equine industry and has become the global epicenter for all things equestrian. The city recognized African American history with a proclamation at our council meeting. The meeting was also an opportunity to recognize one of the local sororities who will be celebrating their 100th anniversary. There are so many components that go into the city’s makeup that showcase the area’s diversity. The Ocala Horse Alliance is making its presence felt, generating additional exposure for an industry that has become synonymous globally with the city of Ocala and Marion County. The World Equestrian Center continues to progress and will leave an indelible imprint on the area for future generations to enjoy. The hotel that is being built on the property is beginning to take shape. They have two new arenas that they’ve added to the mix. The arenas will have concrete floors and will be twice the size of the ones that are already there. The cohesiveness between the horseman from all different breeds and disciplines demonstrates and suggests a common objective, which is to grow the industry and generate exposure for the equine industry and equestrian sport. We’ve yet to see the full impact of the World Equestrian Center itself, and the affect the facility will have not only on equestrian-based businesses but those ancillary companies that will benefit from the venue’s presence. Property values adjacent to the facility and in the surrounding environs have increased and there has been talk of building another golf course. The community possesses a broad base of people who are highly skilled and extremely talented and have come from other parts of the country and from other nations, and they recognize that Ocala is the best place in the world to live. Corporations also see the benefit of doing business in Marion County, establishing a deeper footprint. The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership recently announced the building of a 1.7 million square foot building for Dollar Tree near Marion Oaks, which will help transform that particular community and generate additional employment opportunities, inspire people to build new homes, purchase existing properties, and help spur additional growth.

Mayor Kent Guinn 14


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$329,999 Call for information 813-727-7657 | Philip Glassman, CCIM This information is from sources deemed to be reliable. We are not responsible for misstatements of facts, errors or omissions, prior sale, change of price, and/or terms or withdrawal from the market without notice. Buyer should verify all information with its own representatives as well as state and local agencies. Brokers please note that a variable rate commission may exist on this offering that might result in a lower commission cost to the Seller if a Buyer’s broker is not involved in the transaction. ©2019 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.


Heart Matters Maintaining cardiovascular fitness with Ocala Family Medical Center.



he heart has come to symbolize so many things in our lives. Love, romance, and passion all come to mind when addressing affairs of the heart. It’s about living life with an attitude of gratitude. However, the circulatory system plays a critical role in each of our lives, and a healthy heart means a better quality of life. Cardiologists play an integral role in making sure we’re maintaining our health, doing what’s best for one of the body’s most important organs and providing us with the resources to make sure we’re making the most of the framework we were born with, as February is American Heart Month. Ocala Family Medical Center boasts two outstanding board-certified cardiologists on their roster, James London and Yasmin Amin. Dr. London is a cardiologist who’s been practicing for more than 20 years. He relocated to Ocala in November 2008 and has been based at OFMC since moving to Marion County. And for London, he seemed destined to become a doctor. He comes from a family with a long history in medicine, as his father was a cardiologist and his grandfather a primary care doctor. There are a number of variables that can lead to the onset of cardiovascular disease, said London. “There are lifestyle factors and hereditary factors and some bad luck as well,” said London. “When you meet with a doctor, you do a full history and physical. You go into all of the risk factors for heart disease and the symp-



toms associated with it.” But there are ways to preclude developing cardiovascular disease, and what we put into our bodies goes a long way in determining our health. “The studies have shown probably the best diet that people could stick with is a Mediterranean diet,” said London. “It’s more of what people in the Mediterranean were eating in the 1800s and early 1900s, not what people are eating in the Mediterranean now. That’s a diet more plant based, using meat for flavoring and not really as a main course, grains, fruits, and vegetables.” However, one lifestyle change can truly transform a person’s life, but that’s just one of several decisions a person can make to improve their quality of life and cardiovascular health, said London. “The best thing to do for people who smoke is to quit smoking, exercise regularly, avoid becoming overweight, and if you’re overweight, to lose weight,” said London. The amount of salt intake is also critically important, especially in patients that have high blood pressure, said London. “It’s not only avoiding adding salt but looking at the labels and seeing how much salt is in the food that you buy,” said London.

Dr. James London and Dr. Yasmin Amin

The importance of visiting your doctor on a routine basis can’t be understated, said London. “You don’t want your first symptom to be something severe like a heart attack,” said London. “It’s really important to try to prevent these problems before they become a real problem.” Yasmin Amin is a non-invasive cardiologist, with seeing patients in the office as the emphasis of her practice. Her role is to talk to the patients, where she sees both men and women, target their

lifestyle changes and talk to them about the risks of cardiovascular disease. “That’s why preventative medicine is very important, because I get a chance to target that in patients, so when they come to see me, I can risk-stratify them, do the appropriate testing such as nuclear stress tests, echocardiograms, holter monitors, and based on the results, advise them how they can improve their health.” Amin has been practicing for two decades. She attended medical school in New York and received her cardiology training in New Jersey. OFMC is her fourth stop in Florida, having worked previously in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Largo. However, many of Amin’s patients are women, and those with cardiovascular disease present differently from men, she said. “The treatment is the same, with maybe some modifications, lowering the dose or the frequency since the BMI [Body Mass Index] differs from men,” said Amin. Women have a tendency to feel more comfortable being treated by a female cardiologist because they feel that they are being heard, said Amin. “Women with heart disease were placed in the same category as men,” said Amin, who is somewhat of a pioneer in her field, having seen the evolution and growing number of female cardiologists increase over the

last two decades. At one time she would be the only female cardiologist at cardiology conferences. “For instance, a male would come in with the typical angina presentation. When you see female patients, you have to "Probably the best diet that people could be able to know that stick with is a Mediterranean diet.” the presentation is going to be different. The diagnostic test is the same, the evaluation is the same, but don’t gain weight, control diabetes and blood sometimes the therapy is going to be a litpressure, you will save yourself from a heart tle bit different because of the way women attack,” said Amin. “I think what has hapmetabolize. Women respond to medications pened over the years is people are more cogmuch differently than men.” nizant of their health. People are more aware Amin kind of self-specializes in women that they can do something to prevent a heart with cardiovascular disease, she said. attack. They’re more inclined to listen.” “That’s one of the things that I look Patients have become more open-minded, back on in my career; I really appreciate the said Amin. They’re more flexible to ideas about fact that I was there, at a time when little was diet modification and lowering risk factors. known of treatment for women with cardio“The perception of good heart health is vascular disease,” said Amin, who focuses on much better now than before because people preventative medicine. are more open toward alternative therapy,” Cardiovascular-disease-risk modificasaid Amin. tions are the same despite all of the advances FOR MORE INFORMATION visit in technology, said Amin. OFMC at www.ocalafmc.com or “Healthy diet, exercise on a regular basis, contact them at (352) 327-4133.



Cheers to 39 Years!



he HITS Ocala Winter Circuit is HITS’ longest-running horse show series, having started in Gainesville in 1982. Now celebrating its 39th year, the annual show jumping circuit returns to HITS Post Time Farm, a former Thoroughbred training track on US Highway 27 in Ocala, for what may prove to be its biggest season yet in terms of horses, participants, prize money, and economic impact on the surrounding community. “We have always felt welcomed here,” said Tom Struzzieri, President and Chief Executive Officer, HITS, Inc. “The support of the Ocala and Marion County commu-



nity continues to grow and that really contributes to the prosperity of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.” For nearly four decades, HITS has been at the forefront of equestrian sport. Getting there, and staying there, is no small feat. To keep up with increased competition, HITS makes continuous upgrades and improvements at all of its horse show facilities each year, and 2020 is no different. HITS has nearly doubled the prize money offered at HITS Ocala this year, attracting top riders from around the country and the world, including Olympians Will Simpson of California; Jill Henselwood, Beth Underhill, and

Hugh Graham of Canada; Kirk Webby and Sharn Wordley of New Zealand, and Scott Keach of Australia. Returning favorites include Aaron Vale of Williston, Tracey Fenney of Texas, and Lisa Goldman of Illinois. HITS has also has invested heavily in permanent grounds improvements at Post Time Farm this year, cementing their dedication to horse sport in Ocala now and for years to come.

HITS Commitment to Ocala and Economic Growth

HITS prides itself on a strong commitment to the communities it thrives in, especial-

“The City of Ocala and Marion County are the Horse Capital of the World for a reason, and we love being part of it.”

ly the city of Ocala and Marion County, known as the “Horse Capital of the World.” “We want to give back to our communities,” said Struzzieri. “We bring so many people to the area and it translates into jobs, spending, real estate purchases, heads in beds – it’s all part of creating a symbiotic relationship that is good for HITS and for the communities where we run our events.” The economic impact of the HITS Oc-

ala Winter Circuit is unmistakable – $94 million annually according to an independent study by the Sport Management Research Institute (SMRI) conducted in 2014. Adjusting for inflation, that impact calculates to over $101 million today, and the County and State have noticed: HITS Ocala was named Best Event of the Year–Small Market by the Florida Sports Foundation in 2015, and the Medium Business of the Year

Award of Excellence by the Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) in 2016. Unmatched venue amenities and firstclass operations, coupled with the strength and value of HITS’ relationship with Marion County speaks volumes for the 39th annual HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. With an average of 500 more stalls sold each week of the 10-week circuit, HITS is on pace to grow by nearly 20% in 2020, surpassing all previous entry records. “The City of Ocala and Marion County are the Horse Capital of the World for a reason, and we love being part of it,” Struzzieri



continued. “Those who have joined us since the beginning, or who may join us this year for the first time, are all part of the reason Ocala continues its Horse Capital status, and HITS continues to provide one of the largest and most popular show circuits in the country.”

A Staple Winter Circuit Returns

For 39 years the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit has been a staple for national and international riders drawing high profile competitors, including Olympic medalists, from across the country and around the world. By all accounts, HITS Post Time Farm is one of the largest and most horse-friendly venues in the nation. Purchased in 2001, in time for the 2002 show season, Post Time Farm wasn’t for sale when Struzzieri first found it, but the moment it was, he jumped on it. “There is such a great feel to this property. It’s a great place for horses to be. I remember how I felt the first time I stepped onto this property – and I still feel that way today.” HITS continues to increase its investment in the long beloved Post Time Farm, and that commitment continues to translate into success. Just in the first week of the 2020 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit there has been



Along with adding over $2 million in prize money, several changes and updates have been made to the HITS Post Time Farm. an increase of 500 stalls for a total of 2,200 stalls rented. The show grounds are bustling with activity and exhibitors are eager to start competing. All this and more makes for a successful Winter Circuit. “Our relationship with the City of Ocala and Marion County has gone to another level in the past few years and the success projected for the 2020 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will take that through the roof,” Struzzieri commented. Along with adding over $2 million in prize money, several changes and updates have been made to the HITS Post Time Farm. To begin, HITS has expanded the selection of on-site restaurant options and redesigned the VIP hospitality plan. The existing restaurant has been remodeled and

exhibitors can now enjoy Jane’s Café and the Mexican Cantina in partnership with Sayulita Taqueria on the infield, as well as a snack bar near the Stadium. Weekly parties return in the Vendor Courtyard with a new vibe, Eat and Boutique, where a different local restaurant and special offers from on-site vendors will be featured each week. VIP memberships can now be purchased on an individual basis which allows guests unlimited access to two VIP Clubs— located ringside at the Stadium and Grand Prix Ring. Each membership includes complimentary continental breakfast, with full lunch, including beer and wine, available for purchase each day. Additional lunch guests may be added at a per-person cost, all while enjoying the best views in the house and comfortable ring-side seating.

Watch the Best in Show Jumping Competition

While riders rave about the high level of competition and superb event management, spectators enjoy the excitement of worldclass equestrian sport. The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit has it all, from young firsttime exhibitors making their debut in leadline to Olympic medalists competing for

the top prize in the Grand Prix. HITS is known for offering a wide variety of classes, including special events like the Seventh Annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on Sunday, March 22, making your visit to HITS Post Time Farm an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a first-time spectator or are familiar with the excitement of show jumping, brief yourself on the three different types of competition offered during the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.


In Jumper classes, the horse and rider team are scored on their speed and agility. Their objective is to complete the course with no faults (penalties) within the time allowed. Faults are accumulated when the horse knocks down a fence, steps on the edge of a water jump, refuses to jump a fence or exceeds the time allowed to complete the course. Horse and rider combinations who complete the first round without any faults proceed to the jump-off, a shortened course, where the fastest time and fewest faults wins. The Grand Prix is the highest level of jumper competition and is showcased at the Olympics and the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.


Hunters are judged on their style of jumping, conformation (how pretty they are), pace, and good manners. These horses ideally demonstrate graceful, athletic, and mannerly qualities. These are essential in a mount as they challenge obstacles that represent those which you would find while out fox hunting. The riders display a firm but supple seat with their position inclined a bit forward so as to not interfere with the horse’s natural movement. The highest level of hunter competition at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit are the USHJA International Hunter Derbies, Weeks V and X.


Similar to the Hunter Discipline, Equitation is subjective, however, Equitation focuses on the rider and their style rather than the horse. Riders are judged on their position and form either over a course of fences or on the flat. In Equitation classes, riders may also be asked to perform a series of “tests” that challenge their riding ability. Tests include asking the rider to drop their stirrups (what the rider puts their feet in), trotting a fence, or to stop and back the horse up. These riders must be able to effectively navigate their horse while maintaining their form in the saddle.

Admission Information and Grand Prix Events

Grand Prix take place every Friday and Sunday throughout the 10 weeks of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Sunday Grand Prix start at approximately 2 p.m. Don’t miss out on special events including the $200,000 Ocala Electric Utility Grand Prix on Sunday, February 16 and the $200,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday, March 15. The season wraps up with the crown jewel of the circuit, the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on Sunday, March 22—a day you don’t want to miss! HITS Post Time Farm is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., from January 15 to March 22. Admission is free every day except Sunday, which is $10 per adult admission ticket for the Grand Prix. HITS Season Passes are also available for $20 and grant access to all 10 Sunday Grand Prix. Children 12 and under are free and parking is free. Snack Bar and grandstand seating available. For more information, tickets and Day VIP opportunities for the Great American Million, please contact the show office at 352.620.2275 or visit HITSShows. com. We look forward to seeing you at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit!



Cala Hills White Oak Village Phase II

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Marion County:

Developmental Footprints 170 years of Ocala, part two—much more than meets the eye. BY BEN BAUGH


ohn Francis Pelot Sr., a South Carolinian by birth, relocated to Marion County in 1854, establishing a farm about three miles from where Belleview City Hall now sits. Pelot, one of the original settlers, held the distinction of being one of the area’s largest landowners, and it was once believed that he named the future municipality after one of his daughters, Belle. A lot has changed over the years, with the southern part of the county establishing its own distinctive footprint. Belleview grew from a small one-horse town, with a preponderance of people from the upper northeast, spending their winters in the southern part of Marion County, with some relocating to the area permanently, said Roy Abshier, former Marion County commission chairman. In past conversations with his relatives, Abshier cites that Belleview boasted a fairly dynamic community, making for a colorful historical period, said Abshier. Those who were year-round residents and those who lived in Belleview part time interacted with one another, staging a threehole golf tournament around Lake Lillian, with both men and women participating. It was also an opportunity for enterprising young men to make some spare change, by



diving into Lake Lillian and retrieving the golf balls, where they would receive five cents for each one they retrieved, said Abshier. Ocala, Belleview, and the county as a whole stands alone, said Abshier. What happens in one area and time period, affects the current situation and what will happen in the future. “We respond to people coming in here in basically the same way, the county does and the City of Ocala does,” said Abshier. “We share a commonality that we are growing, and we are being impacted by the influx of new people. And the challenges for the county, Ocala, and Belleview are the same. We try to make sure we’re not playing catchup to accommodate and mitigate the surge of people in the community.” The citrus industry, which used to be a major component in the county, particularly

in south Marion, was severely impacted by citrus freezes in 1983, 1985, and 1989. “We had thousands of acres of citrus that were wiped out by freezes,” said Abshier. “That dramatically changed our culture. And now instead of growing orange trees, we’re growing houses. Orange groves provided an income and a place to go to work. They were involved. They were hands on.” The transformation found people relocating, who were looking for opportunities for their families, after the freezes, said Abshier. “They were working people, those individuals coming in after the freeze. A good many of those [individuals] are here because the groves were froze out, and someone turned it into a subdivision,” said Abshier. “The preponderance of the groves were around the Weirsdale area. Pretty much all of the groves were east of 1-75 and most of them were probably east of 301.” Marion County’s central location makes it an ideal place to serve from when you’re one of Florida’s 40 senators, said State Senator Dennis Baxley, who also represents Lake and Sumter Counties. “It’s 40 people trying to serve 21 million Floridians and about 123 million guests,” said Baxley. “It’s very exciting and people are here from all over. I’m a fifth-generation Florida Cracker. My wife is a first-genera-

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“We share a commonality that we are growing, and we are being impacted by the influx of new people.” -Roy Abshier

tion French Canadian, who came here as a child on a work visa with her family to make a life here. That’s what Florida is. They come from everywhere.” North Central Florida (but particularly Marion, Lake, and Sumter Counties) possesses many of the attributes that give the area a hometown-America feel, said Baxley. “There are about 20 communities in my senate district,” said Baxley. “They’re all flourishing right now. The potential is tremendous. We’ve learned a lot from the growth management that’s gone on over the last 50 years and how to better prepare for those transitions.” A substantial increase in population, expansion, and intensive infrastructure of development, economic growth, and investment have made Marion County one of the



nation’s preferred destinations. “I’ve always told people, I’m not a nogrowth guy,” said Baxley. “If you think growth can be very hard to manage properly, you should try managing no growth. We have some very rural counties. One mill may raise $200,000. They just don’t have the resources to work with to meet the things that they can do to improve the environment. There’s a win-win here if we have the proper amount of growth and economic activity. There’s opportunity for everybody that’s here.” The area’s vast retirement population is a powerful resource, one featuring a wealth of talent, knowledge, and experience, said Baxley. “They [the retirees] play golf a couple of months, but they’re used to running the world,” said Baxley. “They ran companies

and agencies and they’re ready to serve. They love America. A lot of them are veterans. They love the country. They see the opportunity that’s here that the whole world is trying to experience.” The area boasts strong economic opportunities, including ample clean industry, redistribution, and plentiful inland port activity, encompassing moving from the external ports to the inland corridor, allowing for a number of things to be assembled, said Baxley. “This can actually be a destination to come for healthcare for many people. We have the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida sitting right in the middle of that triangle of three state universities. We have a tremendous jewel of a research tank here, the Institute for Human Machine Cognition, right in Ocala. The sister beginning was in Pensacola,” said Baxley. The third time was the charm for former Marion County Commission Chairman Parnell Townley, who made three trips to the area from West Virginia before he made the decision to stay in 1963. He worked at Morrison’s Cafeteria, drove a RC Cola truck, and worked in the Coca-Cola plant. He made the decision to do something different than work for his father in the plastics industry, running for county commissioner, where he would serve three terms. “I really enjoyed the public service work tremendously,” said Townley. “I didn’t necessarily like the politics of it. I did enjoy it all. I know for a fact, Marion County has been a wonderful place to be, with Silver Springs being what

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“I did enjoy it all. I know for a fact, Marion County has been a wonderful place to be, with Silver Springs being what it has been.” -Parnell Townley

it has been. My mom worked at Silver Springs, my first wife worked at Silver Springs. My first wife and I were married 40 years and raised three children. I’ve just had a fantastic time living my life here in Marion County.” Townley represented South Marion County, living initially in East Lake Weir, and then later on in Lake Weir. He watched his father’s business grow and played a role in helping it evolve. Many of the people who were employed by the company came from the Weirsdale and Ocklawaha areas, with the preponderance being from the African American community. Townley has seen the area grow markedly during his more than a half-century as a resident of Marion County, with a deep volume of residents now inhabiting Silver Springs Shores and Marion Oaks. He’s also seen the expansion of the population in the Ocala National Forest and was serving at the Marion County Commission Chairman when The Villages expanded into Marion County. “I’m not sure my father would have been as successful if it wasn’t for the black folks of south Marion County,” said Townley. “My first wife did all her storing in Belleview at the Thriftway at first and then Publix. I wasn’t but four miles away from the City of Belleview and Candler. I remember the old post office being moved and a new post office being built. I remember the two-lane road from Ocala to Ocklawaha before it became a four-lane. I watched the stop light go in at Candler, which was unusual to me, but it happened.”



Developer Danny Gaekwad has seen the change in the area over the past 20 years. Ocala’s downtown is more than ready to embrace becoming a more vibrant and thriving destination. Gaekwad applauded the efforts of the city, who worked diligently to revive the downtown area and made the correct effort but were unlucky in finding the person to make their vision become a reality. He waited patiently on the sidelines and, after two or three tries by the city, decided to make a go of it. “I noticed that Ocala only had two buildings built: the courthouse, which is government, and then the parking lot … there wasn’t one individual willing to put up $30 million, $20 million or $10 million … the downtown is more than ready,” said Gaekwad, who’s lived in Ocala for nearly 30 years. “If you look at the last three years since I started developing this plan, it’s [downtown] totally revived. I thought, ‘Let me give it a shot.’ I have a precise plan … I thought this town needed to see a new group not buying all the buildings and not keep remodeling them.” “I told myself, ‘The developers, if you look at big cities like Atlanta, Orlando, and New York, they buy old buildings, demolish them, and build something new, where everybody can use it and it enhances the value of the town.’” The city of Ocala has put all the necessary infrastructure in place to create an inviting atmosphere and is working toward a vision that will be embraced not only by

area residents but those from surrounding communities and elsewhere, said Gaekwad. The Villages and their three town squares served as an example of how a community can thrive with the right environment. Changing traffic patterns, putting in large walkways, beautifying downtown, and the aesthetic modifications have transformed the area, making it pedestrian friendly. Security is also important to making families feel safe when walking downtown, said Gaekwad. “What we are missing now is only one component and I’ve been saying this like a broken record for the last two years, but the city is right, they’re working on it and have hired new people,” said Gaekwad. “They’re putting in new entertainment. We need entertainment on the square, music on the square. Music has no language barriers, it doesn’t require much attention, and once you hear nice music, you automatically feel good.” Food and places to dine will play a key role in the downtown revival, said Gaekwad. That’s why the developer decided to go with a food hall on the first floor, below the Hilton Garden Inn, because studies suggest that families will travel 20 to 25 miles to eat a meal. Gaekwad is also looking for someone to come up with a name for the food hall and brewery that will help further enhance and brand Ocala and Marion County’s image. “When families come to eat a meal downtown, you need 25 to 30 restaurants,” said Gaekwad. “In that light, I decided to do the food hall, rather than renting two restaurants to some guys and waiting for the other people to build. We changed our plan and started doing the food hall, with a high-end food hall and brewery.”

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Stumped? Here's some creative inspiration to surprise your special someone with a sweet something. February is for lovers. This decade, elevate your Valentine’s Day plans and get her what she really wants. Whether it’s a designer bag or an afternoon exploring downtown, Ocala has you covered.

Wine Making Class

The Corkscrew Winery now offers wine-making classes, which turns the casual wine lover into a chemist. Book a private class and craft your favorite style or join a group of other wine connoisseurs by booking on Groupon.com.

Dance Together

Become the dancers you always wanted to be. Move in sync during a dance class with Ocala’s Arthur Murray Dance Centers, which specializes in teaching couples how to dance. Located in downtown Ocala, your first dance lesson is free.

Designer Taste

All it takes is to step into one of these elegant boutiques and any shopper will land on the perfect, fashionable gift. Shannon Roth Collection features Julie Vos and Theia jewelry, Current Air and Mod Ref clothing and home goods designed by the talented Jan Barboglio. Steps away, Agapanthus boasts Pandora jewelry gift sets, Longchamp handbags and sought-after candles like Voluspa and the Capri Blue Volcano.



Food Tour

Uncover a vast spectrum of cooking styles in Ocala’s historic downtown. Each Brick City Food Tour visits five local tasting locations in the downtown neighborhood. Between samples, your informative guides will share their experiences of local customs, historic stories, and specialty shops. This walking tour is ideal for lovers eager to discover the culinary secrets and traditions that compose the horse capital of the world—book on Airbnb Experiences.

Sentimental Selection

Gallery on Magnolia is home to hand-crafted “spirit tiles.” Each tile begins with wood and is wrapped with copper and a glass infusion then fired to create a work of art. Each displays a glistening scene paired with a synonymous quote, and the E.E. Cummings “I carry your heart with me” tile is perfect for a special woman.

Commemorate Your Wedding Art Aficionado

Ocala’s art scene is booming, and art enthusiasts are sure to love hand-selected pieces. Check out the First Friday Art Walk on February 7 to explore Ocala’s native art scene. Art devotees will love the innovative work of Ocala’s local artists.

The creative team at Marley Mae Market & Paperie is known for thinking outside of the box. They’re bringing their A game for Valentine’s Day with custom pieces to commemorate your wedding day. Choose from a custom print of your wedding vows or first dance song lyrics and remind your lady of the first day of the rest of your lives.

A Night at the Theater

What’s more romantic than a night at the ballet? The Reilly Arts Center hosts Dance Alive National Ballet on February 21 as they present “Loveland.” This ballet is inspired by the pull of the moon, a love story that blends love, romance, and passion.

Be Inspired

Ocala is host to an award-winning museum, home to approximately 18,000 objects in its permanent collection and features temporary traveling exhibits. At the Appleton Museum of Art, take in artwork from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and more as you cozy up to your partner.

Horse Capital of the World

Savor The Cook

Give the gift of zest and bring home the cooking of chef Albert Barrett. The woman who savors flavors will love anything from Stella’s Modern Pantry—hand crafted chocolates, Caymus wine, specialty cheese, caviar spread and more.

Water Adventure

Silver Springs State Park is a natural wonder right here in Ocala. Spend the day on the water taking in the springs by paddleboard, canoe, kayak, or glass-bottom boat. It’s perfect for the couple who loves to get outdoors, and as an added bonus: finish the day sharing an ice cream cone at Paradise Treats.

What could be more fitting for a romantic day out than horseback riding in the horse capital of the world? Book a private ride or join a group and tap into your adventurous side with Cactus Jack’s Trail Rides. We hear some of the best bonding experiences come from experiences that test your comfort zone. Ocala is home to a wide variety of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day whether your partner prefers gifts or quality time. Regardless of how you celebrate, what matters most is who you share it with.




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A Match Made

in Stella’s Larry and Carmen Shroads are on their 96th date at Stella's and their romance is anything but routine.


hey say that love is sweeter the second time around. And for Larry and Carmen Shroads, that’s definitely the case. For both, it’s their second marriage. However, it’s the value they place on their relationship, on the importance of communication and listening,



BY BEN BAUGH and on a tradition started on their first date that holds their marriage together as strongly as their vows. The couple had agreed to meet at a place that would become an integral part of their lives, so much so, it has been part of their monthly routine. Carmen had been divorced

for three years and Larry for much longer, prior to the initial encounter. “We met online,” said Carmen. “It was a blind date. We had seen pictures. I had gone to Stella’s [Modern Pantry] before with my daughter, and I knew some people at Stella’s. We used to go in the afternoon, every once in a while,

Photos by Ralph Demilio

and have some dessert or a glass of wine.” The two agreed to meet on the afternoon of January 14, 2012, beginning a sojourn that evolved from its nascent stages, flourished into love and understanding and an even deeper commitment, all from that very first meeting where the stars aligned. “Jeremy, one of the people who worked there, he said, ‘I haven’t seen you in a while, how are you?’” said Carmen. “I said, ‘I’m do-

ing well.’ He complimented me; I was all dressed up. And I said, ‘I have a date.’ And he was like, ‘Oh, great.’ He said, ‘Well, if it doesn’t turn out to be what you think, we’ll have the back door open for you.’” The Shroads first face-to-face meeting became the start of a journey and a bonding process that has become stronger with each step taken. The two would eventually exchange wedding vows on June 29, 2015. But

that first time at Stella’s continues to resonate in the very fiber of the Shroads’ marriage, interwoven into a relationship that is as beautiful as the most elegant of tapestries. They became lost in the moment during that first meeting. “We were certainly happy to see each other,” said Larry, regarding the couple’s first date. “We were talking and were there for quite a while. I guess we met about 5:30 p.m.



“Through thick and thin, we’ve had lots of laughter and tears. We’ve lost pets that we adore, family members that have passed, but we always make sure that we go to Stella’s. It doesn’t matter.” - Carmen Shroads or somewhere roughly around there. So, we were looking around, we had been in there a long time, and we noticed we were the only people there. We noticed even a few chairs had been put up on the table.” “Jeremy was mopping the floor a little bit, and I looked down at my watch, and it was almost 10 o’clock, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh! Carmen, I think they’ve closed the place. We’re the only people here.’ So, I went back and paid for dinner, and I sheepishly asked Jeremy, ‘My gosh, when did you guys close? I think we’re the only ones here.’ He said, ‘Well, we closed at 7.’ It was 10 o’clock. ‘We weren’t going to break you guys up and make you guys leave.’” The Shroads have been embraced by the staff at Stella’s, who have shared their stories with the Shroads, and it’s the staff ’s warmth and consideration that keeps the Shroads coming back month after month to celebrate something



far greater than themselves as individuals. “It was incredibly special; they didn’t want to interrupt us,” said Larry. “We were talking and enjoying, getting to know one another. We’ve been to Stella’s every month since then, since 2012. In January, it will be 96 months in a row.” It’s Stella’s ambiance and its staff ’s personal touch that creates a cozy atmosphere, where you feel you’re among a close-knit group, and there’s a real connection, said Carmen. “Stella’s was meant to be a pantry, they added a few tables, and it became what it is now,” said Carmen. “They have great dessert and great food. It’s just the fact that it’s a small venue. The people that go to Stella’s aren’t in a hurry. No one is there demanding something this way or that way. The customers are known by the people who work there. We have seen so many servers come and go. They all have

wonderful personalities. It’s a special place for us because we’ve met so many people.” But there’s one person’s presence who has made a significant difference during their monthly return engagements. Albert, who co-owns Stella’s Modern Pantry and is also the chef, is family, said Larry. “He comes to our house, and I’m flattered because the chef loves our food,” said Carmen, who is a school teacher. “I’m Puerto Rican, so I know a lot of Puerto Rican recipes. I grew up with the best people that taught me so much. He loves the food.” The couple has thousands of photos from having had nearly 100 dates at the restaurant, progressively capturing the memories and romance that have played a critical role in their connection. Carmen and Larry get dressed up for each date at Stella’s in matching colors, wearing their very best, with Carmen getting her hair done and Larry his beard. But one thing has remained constant throughout their eight-year relationship. “Through thick and thin, we’ve had lots of laughter and tears,” said Carmen. “We’ve lost pets that we adore, family members that have passed, but we always make sure that we go to Stella’s. It doesn’t matter. We have a part-time home in North Carolina and we make sure to come to Stella’s during the summer. I say ‘It’s time to go to Stella’s.’” However, the streak appeared to be in jeopardy in 2018, when Carmen became ill. In spite of adversity creating what would seem to be an insurmountable obstacle, Car-

The Shroads with Albert Barrett

men rallied, recovering in time to make their monthly engagement. “The photo shows a very frail me,” said Carmen. “My husband held me, and we took the picture.” The couple never envisioned their first date would lead to a life of love, listening, and lifting one another’s spirits. “I didn’t know it was going to be this way but after talking with him, looking into his eyes, our conversation and how much we had in common... Although we’re different in so many ways, but in so many ways, we’re alike,” said Carmen. Those commonalities and similarities provided a foundation during that initial encounter. “It took us about two seconds to decide what we were going to eat,” said Larry. “We agreed immediately on what we were going to share, what kind of flatbread pizza we were going to have. It was a special evening, and it hasn’t changed since then. It was a wonderful evening. That’s one of the wonderful things about it. We get to celebrate it every month, to relive it, and get to experience it each time.”

“It was a wonderful evening. That’s one of the wonderful things about it. We get to celebrate it every month, to relive it, and get to experience it each time.” - Larry Shroads

And to this day, the romance, commonalities, and their irrepressible love for one another keeps the relationship healthy and flourishing, making each other a priority, finding time for one another. “We have a candlelight dinner every night, even if we’re having leftovers. ... We dim the lights, light the candles, put on some soft music and talk,” said Carmen. “He’s my best friend. He’s my best fan. He always listens and has the best advice. When he doesn’t have advice, he always offers support, and holds my hand,” she said, giggling. The tradition of having a date night resonates powerfully with the couple, said Larry. “It’s very important for us to do that,” said Larry. “I was in a bicycle accident, shattered my clavicle, and that didn’t stop us from going to Stella’s that month. It’s important to have those things, and we look forward to it, where we have it on the calendar with the day that we’re going to be at Stella’s. It’s something that we think about as the day’s approaching.” Carmen is the couple’s planner and always

makes sure there is time in their schedules to go to Stella’s. They try not to let more than five weeks go by before they return, she said. The couple has served as an inspiration to others through their loyalty and commitment, according to Albert, Stella’s co-owner and chef, said Larry. Albert will sit with the couple, acknowledging that Carmen and Larry’s love symbolizes the importance of taking the time to be with one another and how the Shroads’ relationship motivates others to start their own tradition of having a date night, said Carmen. “They need to be each other’s best friend. … You have to be able to tell that person everything, no matter what,” said Carmen. “And also become a good listener. My husband is a good listener. He’s the best listener ever. He listens attentively.” The deep mutual respect the couple has for one another is palpable, with Carmen referring to Larry as a gentleman and Larry to Carmen as a lady. But one thing is for certain, the Shroads will be a presence at Stella’s for years to come.



Respond to the 2020 Census online. The 2020 Census marks the first time you can respond online—even on your mobile device. You can respond by phone or mail—they’re secure, too—but going online is a great option, because it is: Convenient You can respond from anywhere, at any time, using a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. You just need to be connected to the internet. Easy When you respond online, the website will guide you through each question on the 2020 Census and provide more information if you need it. The census form will be available in English and 12 additional languages. Videos and guides to the form will be available in 59 languages. Secure All responses submitted online are encrypted to protect personal privacy. Once responses are received, they are no longer online. How to respond online: as easy as 1-2-3 1.

In March 2020, your household will receive an invitation in the mail to respond online.

2. Visit 2020census.gov to access and complete the census questionnaire. 3. You’re done!

For more information, visit:





Just Married








n celebration of their love for each other, newlyweds "Lil Art" Nussel and Harley White Nussel shared their hearts with family and friends on January 4th, 2020. The ceremony was held at the Quail Branch Lodge in Lake Park, GA. As all gathered together in awe of the beauty of both the location and the bride and groom, God placed his blessing upon them as he joined them together in holy matrimony, now to be as one and begin their new season of life together. Their special gift of sharing their love for a lifetime as part of this beautiful day and event will be a memory that will never be forgotten and a vivid keepsake in the minds of all in attendance. May their union always be filled with a lifetime of God's grace of never-ending love, health, and happiness.



Just Married





Our Wedding



ur story began three years ago when I produced a narrated video for my church in Franklin, Tennessee. Little did I know, a very special artist from Belleview named Lisa would watch it the next year. After hearing the sound of my voice, she said to herself, “I’m going to marry that man someday.” The very next day while driving 600 miles to Ocala, I called my Aunt Kathy who curiously said my “friend” was there. Knowing she’d been trying to set me up with someone I’d never met, I jokingly replied, “Oh, you mean my future bride?” without realizing Lisa heard me on speakerphone! The following night, matchmaker Aunt Kathy chaperoned us on a movie date to see “The Greatest Showman” and made us sit together. We hit it off right away. Despite the long distance, plenty of bumps in the road, and stormy times, we’ve loved each other ever since, all the way to our wedding on January 4th, exactly two years since that first date. Whether kayaking at Silver Springs, riding bikes or flying kites, walking along the beaches in Florida or holding hands on the trails of Tennessee, Lisa and I have loved being outdoors as part of our courtship. So it only made sense that we’d plan a simple outdoor wedding where we first met at Aunt Kathy’s, something Mark Twain would’ve enjoyed. Well, it rained a lot that day and didn’t stop until a couple hours before the wedding started. Not much time to set up! But just as God has come through for us in so many ways during our relationship, nourishing us with his gentle rain, helping us heal and grow, teaching us to trust, forgive, persevere, and look for the silver linings in life, the clouds parted and the sun came shining through, blessing us all with beautiful weather to enjoy. It was a wonderful way to begin the rest of our lives.



Unspoiled. Unmatched. Unforgettable.

Weddings at the Plantation on Crystal River

From exquisite and extravagant to casual and relaxed, let the Plantation on Crystal River make your wedding memories unforgettable. The Plantation on Crystal River provides the Perfect Setting for your Perfect Day. Pamper yourself and your guests before and after your special day. Enjoy tastefully appointed sleeping accommodations, championship golf, water activities, and our fullservice AVEDA spa. Let our event specialists at the Plantation on Crystal River create the wedding of a lifetime!

For more information, contact: Wedding Sales Department





Bridge Ov e


v er Troubled Water Marion County's Bridges Project is breaking barriers between racial and social groups and individuals. BY CAREY DAVID


eaching out to touch a life, forming a connection and bringing people together, and being a bridge to diversity and racial equality can transform the world. Men and women have worked diligently to create a better world, often with great sacrifice. They have organized and led efforts to create a better society, one with an emphasis on justice and economic prosperity for all, and accepted the challenges to end discrimination. It has been a struggle to overcome the pitfalls and adversity that has been a divisive instrument in separating our community and nation. However, there are people that are working toward a common objective, to create a society and build a bridge toward nationwide harmony. The Bridges Project is a coalition of concerned citizens addressing race relations in Ocala-Marion County. The mission of Bridges Project Ocala-Marion County is to break through barriers among racial and social groups and individuals in Marion County and to build pathways to understanding for the reduction and elimination of conflict. The Bridges Project began in January 2015. The Project became most visible when taking the lead in organizing and giving voice for the removal of the Confederate flag

from McPherson Government Complex. Bridges’ activists contributed to the extensive public comments at County Commis-

sion meetings throughout the summer and fall of 2015. As a result, the flag was changed to a different Confederate flag, and its display was moved from outside the County Museum of History to inside McPherson Government Complex. The unfolding of this story got its fair share of media coverage, and while there was passion on each side of the flag issue, it is clearly an example that we can agree to disagree while still coming to a place of seeing and appreciating issues through a set of eyes other than our own. Passion is a good thing



as long as it is driven by kindness and moves us forward. Like most organizations, we are rarely aware of all the programs that are going on unless we are actively involved and that is true of the Bridges Project as well. Their Working Groups are the lifeblood of the Project and are based on education and open communication. The groups are: ChainBreakers address the personal and relational level at which people struggle, by providing safe, accessible ways for people to explore, listen, and come to understand each other in hopes of transforming lives and relationships. Engaging Law Enforcement confronts the issues faced by law enforcement officers in dealing with difficult situations, and by people of color who have seen examples of mistreatment and unfair practices by law enforcement. There are two sides to be heard and understood in every situation. Monument Working Group aims to bring to light the horrific untold story in our community of lynching in the U.S. and Marion County, as described in the Equal Justice Initiative’s (EJI) study. Outreach and Mobilization seeks to broaden engagement of the community and to grow its base of supporters by attending community events, communicating with local officials, and keeping grassroots stakeholders involved while embracing cultural differences as they seek a cohesive union. Public Education Working Group tirelessly works to increase parental involvement in all facets of their child’s education. This includes parents and teachers meeting, knowledge of school procedures, knowledge of rules and regulations, and attendance at school board meetings, just to name a few. All of these groups are chaired by community leaders who are experienced in looking at and discussing issues from all perspectives, in hopes of solutions that will benefit all. Results are not always immediate but we continue to see progress as a result of patience and persistence.



Take a Civil Rights Trip to Montgomery, Alabama This spring, The Bridges Project embarks on a civil rightsthemed journey. Join the group as they visit The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, situated on a site where enslaved people were once warehoused. The museum is steps away from an Alabama dock and rail station where people were trafficked during the 19th century. The trip also includes the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice with narrative panels and art pieces along its path, Civil Rights Memorial Center, Freedom Rides Museum and Rosa Parks Museum. A highlight will be visiting the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. For more information, contact The Bridges Project www.marionbridges.net/contact.html

Addressing conflict or a history of conflict is never easy. Think about a rift that you may have had in the past with a close friend or a family member. Resolution to those situations only comes with humility, kindness, open dialogue, and a willingness to forgive and move forward. These are the

elements to heal relational wounds. Attack the problem but not the person. The process is no different (or should be no different) with race relations. Hopefully a future exists where there will no longer be a need for organizations like the Bridges Project, but for now, they are

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Marion County 1877-1950


It is crucial to increase awareness and understanding about horrific racial lynchings that happened in our own community, and to begin an important conversation that hopefully promotes reconciliation. The Bridges Project has compiled this list, giving names and stories to the numbers. Calzar Carooth, aka Caesar Carooth July 3, 1885 George Green, aka John Green Dec. 11, 1887 Robert Larkin July 12, 1893 Charles Willis Jan. 14, 1894 Nim Young, aka Nero Young May 15, 1894

Wash Melton March 5, 1897

John Richards Feb. 17, 1915

Otea Smith March 5, 1897

Joseph Nimrod Dec. 29, 1915

James Gilmore March 15, 1897

Richard Anderson Jan. 28, 1916

James Miley March 15, 1897

Elijah Jones Feb. 12, 1921

Otis Millier March 15, 1897

Homer Williams May 29, 1924

Ed Holmes March 15, 1897

Chandler Colding, aka Nick Williams Jan. 11, 1926

William Jackson Dec. 4, 1894

Robert Alexander June 10, 1899

William Jones Dec. 15, 1894

Norman McKinney, aka Roman McKinney Jan. 1901

Henry Edward March 5, 1897 Jack Green March 5, 1897 Sam Jones March 5, 1897

Preech Nellis, aka Priest Niles Nov. 14, 1912 John Archer Nov. 19, 1912

taking a lead in reconciliation for all through understanding and education. The rapids of our communities, whether local or global, can become swift, turbulent, and uncertain at times. May we always strive to have respect and act with dignity as we build bridges to cross those troubled waters.



William McKinley (White) May 17, 1926 Edward Williams July 1937

Source: Bridges Project

In the words of Isaac Newton, “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” FOR MORE INFORMATION or if you want to find out how to become involved, you can find the Bridges Project of Ocala-Marion County Florida at www.marionbridges.net.

Education and information are resources whose value can’t be understated. They are critical components and play a role in helping shape policy, programs, and in some cases, the very foundation of communities. The Bridges Education Group has worked diligently to create a dialogue with a number of entities, to improve communication, create outreach programs, and provide resources to raise education standards within the school system. An active and powerful presence at community events, the Bridges Education Group has met with school administrators, teachers, parents, and concerned individuals within the community to determine ways to improve the standards at under-performing schools. It was through BEG’s proactive effort that they became aware of individuals who have gone out of their way to advance and enhance the education of students who are under their care. The depth of resources and talent available from people who are willing to share their passion has made a significant difference in addressing the challenges associated with improving education and communication.

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fashionable faves ABOUT THE FIT: I bought this dress from Amazon in a quick pinch, and I hated it when I tried it on for the first time. However, I always attempt to see the potential in fashion if it’s there to be had. I modified the neckline by adding a few stitches in the plunge, then adjusted and stitched the shoulder straps. I love how it turned out to be one of my favorite bargain-priced, fits-like-a-glove, dance-thenight-away dresses. Accessorized with silver and black, I’m wearing my stainless steel Fossil watch and Ross heels.

Matt Fischer: PROFESSION: Sales Manager at TJM Promos and radio personality at The G.O.A.T. FM. MARRIED TO: Lauren Fischer, two years. FUR-PARENT TO: Three wonderful cats: Frisky Dingo, Rye Toast, and Pootie Tang. MOTTO: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” - Mark Twain. FAVORITE THING ABOUT FASHION: It’s interpretive and can be a direct reflection of how I am feeling that day. The clothes are interpreted by others differently as well, and depending on how I want to be perceived, clothes are a tool for me to express that.

Lauren Fischer: PROFESSION: Marion County’s Tobacco Prevention Specialist at the QuitDoc Foundation. INTERESTS: Mother of three fabulous felines who lovingly return my adoration, avid gardener specializing in herbs, and longtime lover of performance theatre. MOTTO: “She was loving herself and isn't that what fashion's all about?” - Michael Kors

ABOUT THE FIT: My favorite thing about a tailored suit is its flexibility. You can dress it up or down depending on the occasion. I am partial to gray and charcoal suits because of the versatility of the color. I truly believe that gray is the new navy when it comes to suits. My favorite suit accessory is the stainless steel Burberry watch Lauren gifted me years ago. It has a sentimental value like no other.

Matt and Lauren Fischer


FAVORITE THING ABOUT FASHION: Admittedly, Project Runway is one of my favorite shows, and the series demonstrates my favorite concepts and perceptions of fashion. It is a personal perspective art that speaks to an individual’s flare, modesty, glamour, flirtation, sorrow, enthusiasm, confidence, etc. For women especially, fashion is a tool for communicating to people encountered throughout the day or the situation. I love finding pieces at bargain prices that need some TLC or a face lift. Adding that bit of personal detail makes a garment even more enjoyable to display. Even better, finding the ones that fit like a glove. Fashion doesn’t have to be expensive to be stylish, but having a few high-quality standout pieces is also a must for every wardrobe.

ABOUT THE FIT: This outfit is quintessentially me. I love denim and boots and I am the most comfortable and confident in my Levi’s and Clarks. My acid-washed jean jacket is a fun and expressive piece that is great for layering, and these are the best jackets for Florida weather. Anchoring this outfit are my Clarks Originals Desert Boots in Beeswax. These shoes are my absolute favorite piece of footwear and are a classic design I can pair with anything. Just like my desert boots, my Timex Weekender is a wardrobe staple for me. I think a lot of that is due to their simplistic design.

Weekend Vibes ABOUT THE FIT: I love live performances and any setting with the “cool” vibe. This pink and yellow neon Diesel halter top and skinny jeans is exactly what I would, and have worn, to a concert or festival, especially if black lights are involved. This top was my mother’s when she was my age, and I love that it’s still a wearable, stylish, and eye grabbing part of my eccentric assortment, accessorized with my bronze Fossil watch.



Simple &Sleek

ABOUT THE FIT: This long sleeve Henley is another new favorite piece, comfortable like a t-shirt, but with design elements like the front placket and slimmer fit, it’s way more exciting. I love blacks and dark grays, as they are flattering and can go with about anything.

ABOUT THE FIT: I love going to downtown Ocala with my eye-candy man or my fun-loving girlfriends, and this outfit makes me want to have fun out all night. Jumpers are so easy and appealing if you can find the right style. Pairing it with my tall black boots gives me the confidence and ease that any girl would want on a Saturday night out. I’ve also added my favorite short chain, a simple rose gold Kendra Scott gifted to me by my dad and momma J.

ABOUT THE FIT: Leather and boots, need I say more? Giving the man of my dreams hour-long hugs with the wind in my hair, and the beautiful Ocala scenery all around me, is one of my favorite things to do with him. A leather jacket and cowboy boots are perfect for our rides. This jacket was gifted to me by my mom and her late husband when we took our first family trip together in Las Vegas; I was 12. I love my Ariat cowboy boots. I bought them because I purchased a Groupon for a local boot store, and I have never regretting spending too much on them. They are great to wear when it’s cold or rainy, when I’m out for a night of line dancing, and on those sunny days when my man takes me for a ride on his other woman.



ABOUT THE FIT: We’ve always loved riding together and it’s an activity we can enjoy year round with Florida’s great weather. I think leather jackets will always be cool and are an iconic piece of clothing. My Fox Creek leather jacket is more of a utilitarian piece but it does channel the style of Marlon Brando in The Wild One. I bought this Gap flannel soon after Lauren and I started dating nine years ago; it still fits great and is my favorite flannel. This outfit for me is about durability and quality, two things needed when out in the elements with not much between you and the road.

ABOUT THE FIT: This Old Navy dress is fashion that I feel comfortable in for almost any occasion. I love wearing high-neck, fitted, and knee-length dresses. My baby blue Macy’s heels are one of my favorite pairs of shoes and make a fun compliment to every outfit I pair them with. A simple polka dot dress calls for simple accessories, and I’m wearing one of my favorite necklaces, a simple and beautiful Helzberg white sapphire and silver chain.

ABOUT THE FIT: I have a soft spot for colorful patterned shirts and this tailored floral Tommy Hilfiger is a new favorite of mine. For those cool spring date nights in Florida, I like pairing a lightweight button-up with a pair of slim khakis and canvas shoes for a sleek, comfortable look that doesn’t take itself too seriously.



Historic House For Sale Real Estate Only



Z.C. Chambliss, National Historic Registry Commercial/Residential Home

This commercial/single-family home is located at 743 E Fort King St., Ocala, FL. The house has 4 bedrooms, 2 full, 2 half bathrooms with approximately 3,335 sq. ft. of floor space. This property has a lot size of 10,454 sq. ft. and was built in 1891, fully renovated in 2003. Adjoining lot at 42 S. Wynona has an approved building plan of 4,000 sq. ft. Also has an existing 2/1 apartment and one-car garage with rental income, currently at $750/month.

Philip Glassman, CCIM 813-727-7657

This information is from sources deemed to be reliable. We are not responsible for misstatements of facts, errors or omissions, prior sale, change of price, and/or terms or withdrawal from the market without notice. Buyer should verify all information with its own representatives as well as state and local agencies. Brokers please note that a variable rate commission may exist on this offering that might result in a lower commission cost to the Seller if a Buyer’s broker is not involved in the transaction. ©2019 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.



Isn’t it Romantic? What is romance to you? To spark ideas, we offer loving recipes and a few of Ocala's happily-partnered folks share their views on this eternal question. STORY + PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBIN FANNON OF RSVP ROBIN


t should come as no surprise that when I think of romance, my thoughts immediately turn to food. Food and beverages (especially champagne!) are sexy and romantic. Oysters on the half shell, lobster, slowly braised meats, tons of chocolate and fresh whipped cream are just a few items that would be on my romantic dinner list. Cook these delicacies together, enjoy the meal next to a roaring fire, while listening to anything by Mendelssohn, and that’s my idea of romantic nirvana. I posed this romance question to several friends in the community and there was a common theme present in most people’s idea of romance. It has nothing to do with revealing lingerie or sexy time in le boudoir. Their responses told a story of relationships and how love weaves a way into our daily routines. So while snuggling together on the sofa and watching Casablanca on a rainy afternoon can evoke a romantic vibe, it would appear that romance actually starts in the brain and then travels to the heart where it lives. So raise your bubbles and toast to romance this Valentine’s Day!

“For me, something romantic doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or a long planned event. It’s the small unexpected things that really hit home: coffee in bed, a hidden Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, a note in the car. Sometimes just sitting on the couch together, listening and talking about music and artists—in those moments there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than with my wife.”

“I love the little things most—the intangible gifts, the sweet favors. Mike has always been my helper and my protector. His handmade birthday cards are my favorite along with his creative gift wraps for his well-thought-out packages. The best was when I came home from a long day at the store the week after Thanksgiving, this past holiday, and found he had set up the Christmas tree and decorated it for me. Fabulous! He really does it all and without being asked. I love unexpected little outings that are not planned, coffee and breakfast in bed every morning, random sweet or funny texts, and just knowing he’s always there. That’s romance to me.” —SHANNON ROTH




RASP BERRY SHORT CAKE » Start to finish: 1 hour » Makes 1 (8-inch) cake

Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make individual heart-shaped cakes.

Ginger Syrup

» 1/2 cup water » 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar » 1/4 cup sliced fresh ginger

Cake » » » » » » » » » »

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar 1 large egg 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) self-rising flour 2/3 cup whole milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest 3 1/2 cups sweetened whipped cream, divided 2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, divided 1/4 cup (28 grams) toasted almonds


“To me, romance is found in the everyday gestures of love. The fresh white hydrangeas Mike brings home to me every week. Cocktail hour on our frontporch rocking chairs. Dancing in the kitchen to John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Getting lost together for a few hours in the bookstore. Long walks in our neighborhood. There’s really nothing better.” —AMY MANGAN



• For ginger syrup: In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water, sugar, and ginger to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour mixture into a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with baking spray and then flour the pan. • For cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add egg and beat well. • Gradually add flour to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour, beating just until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla and zest. Pour batter into prepared pan. • Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. • Using a serrated knife, cut cake into 2 layers. Remove ginger from syrup and discard. Brush cut sides of cake with syrup. Place 1 cake layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread 2 cups whipped cream over cake; top with 1 1/2 cups raspberries. Place remaining cake layer, cut side down, over raspberries. Spread remaining 1 1/2 cups whipped cream over cake. Top with remaining 1 cup raspberries. Drizzle with any remaining ginger syrup. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

BRAISED LAMB SHANKS » Start to finish: 4 1/2 hours » Servings: 4

» » » » » » » » » » » » » » »

3 tablespoons olive oil (divided) 1 tablespoon butter 1 large onion (coarsely chopped) 1 rib of celery (coarsely chopped) 1 medium carrot (coarsely chopped) 4 cloves garlic (sliced) 4 lamb shanks Dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup dry red wine 1 whole chopped tomato  2 cups chicken broth 1 cup beef broth 1/4 cup cider vinegar 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary 1 bay leaf


• Preheat the oven to 325 F.

 • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring until onion is softened.

 Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes more. Remove vegetables to a large baking pan, roasting pan, or Dutch oven. • Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Sprinkle the lamb shanks with salt and pepper; saute over medium heat for about 8 minutes, turning to sear all sides. Add to the Dutch oven or pan with the chopped vegetables. • In the same skillet, deglaze with the red wine. Simmer for 2 minutes.

 • Add the tomato, chicken broth, beef broth, and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over the lamb shanks and add the fresh rosemary and bay leaf. 

 • Cover the pan tightly with foil or lid and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the foil or lid and continue baking for 2 to 2 1/2 hours longer, turning the shanks occasionally. The lamb should be very tender.

“When I think of romance, I think about what the word originally meant in the Middle Ages when it was used to describe the vernacular—common, everyday speech. To me, that’s still what it means—the common, everyday ways that we say ‘You’re special to me.’ It’s a shared snort over an inside joke, a pitcher with two cold mugs after a long day at work, a call in the middle of the day for no reason. It’s a way of living everyday life that takes seriously the idea that someone else matters to you.” —R.J. JENKINS



CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES » Start to finish: 40 minutes

(Recipe from January 2019 article from delish.com)



» 1 pint strawberries » 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips » 2 tablespoons coconut oil • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse strawberries and pat dry with paper towels. • In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted. • Dip strawberries in chocolate and place on prepared baking sheet. • Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

HOPS Set amid the ambience of the city’s oldest historic district and through the generosity of the homeowners, H.O.P.S. is pleased to showcase some of Ocala’s distinctive architecture, history, and culture. Since 1992, these home tours have provided a rare opportunity for guests to go inside some of our community’s most beautiful private residences.

2019 Historic Ocala Preservation Society Board Members

Purchase David Cook’s book,

The Way It Was: A Trek Through Marion County’s Past for $25. Available at Shannon Roth Collection downtown and Your Heart’s Desire in Ocala.

Pamela Stafford — President Richard Perry — Vice President Dennis Phillips — Treasurer Brian Stoothoff — Secretary Linda Anker Ryan Batchelor Leon Geller Jarl Hagood Peg Harding R.J. Jenkins Lela Kerley Caryl Lucas Penny Miller Suzanne Thomas Rhoda Walkup Diana Williams Link Wilson

712 S.E. Fort King St. Ocala, FL 34471 | (352) 351-1861 | www.HistoricOcala.org


VOLUNTEER CONNECT is the easiest way to find meaningful volunteer opportunities in Florida. It’s free, it’s easy, but it might just change someone’s life. And, it will certainly make Florida a better place to live. Visit volunteerflorida.org today.

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Next Next Available Available Treatment Treatment Times Times 5:00 5:00 am am Today Today


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Life is unpredictable. When a non-life-threatening emergency happens, you can reserve an ER treatment time online for care at an AdventHealth ER near you. Schedule online at GetInQuickER.com and wait in the comfort of your home. In case of a life-threatening medical emergency, call 911.

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invites you to

Saturday, March 7, 2020 | 6:30-9 p.m. College of Central Florida Vintage Farm Campus 4020 S.E. Third Ave., Ocala

Country Chic attire • $125 per person • $200 per couple

Call 352-873-5808 or visit NightAtTheFarm.org to purchase tickets.


Gracious Central Florida Living Photo by Ralph Demilio

Everything Equine p76 | Charity: NAMI p78 | State of the City p82 | State of the County p83





An Indescribable Kind of Magic There’s a sense of freedom while riding. BY BEN BAUGH


verything needs a purpose. Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement and some understanding to change the world for someone. The Marion Therapeutic Riding Association has been making a difference in people’s lives for the past 35 years. The premier, accredited, mission-driven center is nestled on more than 34 acres in the southeastern part of Marion County, and the 501(c)(3) notfor-profit organization has access to another seven acre plot, providing a fenced-in, safe environment for their clients to ride in, said Pam Morrison, Marion Therapeutic Riding Association’s executive director. The organization has evolved over the past 3 1/2 decades transforming from its nascent stages to its current state, one where the MTRA boasts a roster with the right people in the right place, said Morrison. “We’re not a show barn; if our riders want to come and participate in the Special Olympics and if they want to go do something, we’ll help them do that,” said Morrison. “Our mission is to provide therapeutic services. I think once we got our head wrapped around that, worked together, and got the board of directors we have in place now, this place has really come alive.” As the facility has evolved and transformed over time, it’s become stable, and there’s been a greater effort made to generate



more exposure to reach a far broader audience, providing a platform for those who would benefit from the equine-assisted therapy and those people who would like to volunteer. The MTRA has long-term objectives in place and is poised for the future. “There were a lot of people, when I started working here, that didn’t know about the MTRA, and they had been here for a long time,” said Morrison. “I feel that we’re entering a whole new phase in the life of the MTRA, and I’m very excited about it. We’re going to be able to continue to do what we do. We’re going to add an educational program to it, so we can continue to mentor people from all over the world and get them certified and credentialed.” One of the things that Morrison finds humbling is that the parents, caregivers, and friends of the individuals who come to ride at the facility trust the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship-certified instructors. These parents, caregivers, and friends find the instructors worthy enough to put their beloved soul on the back of a 1,000-pound animal full of raw power, so the rider can improve their quality of life by par-

ticipating in equine-assisted therapies and develop horsemanship skills while having fun, said Morrison. “If you think about it, most of the people who come here have no horse experience,” said Morrison. “They’re bringing their autistic child or they’re bringing their mother who had a stroke and because the doctor said, ‘This is very viable, try it.’ They’re entrusting us with this. I feel like we’ve been given a very special thing that we have to take care of and nurture.” “I love to watch the instructors and watch these ladies work because of what happens; there’s not only growth for the rider and the horse, but the families, caregivers, and individuals who bring their people here. It’s so good for them.” It gives those participating in the program a sense of belonging, said Morrison. There are parents bringing children to the MTRA who aren’t accepted by their peers, they’re not able to speak, they make loud noises, move awkwardly, or they’re in a wheelchair, and a lot of the outside world doesn’t understand. “This is home; they come here, they have other parents and caregivers that are sharing the same life that they have, and it just

Photos by Joshua Jacobs

User-controlled lift to give the handicapped a better sense of control and pride when mounting one of the horses

changes the world for them, and we get to be a part of it,” said Morrison. “I consider that a huge privilege. It’s amazing. We see things every day, children that speak for the first time, and then they don’t stop talking. Their parents are like ‘They don’t speak,’ and then they start speaking, and they’re like, ‘Can you make them stop?’ and we’re like ‘No we can’t.’ They learn and they get so excited. They find ways to communicate and express themselves.” However, it’s not only children who derive benefits from the equine-assisted therapy; other groups have improved their quality of life by being around the horses. Veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and depression have made significant progress after participating in the program, said Morrison. “That’s kind of a neat thing to watch, our veterans group,” said Morrison. “One of the veteran’s doctors wrote to me and said, ‘For the first time, this young man feels he can go home and safely play with his children in the backyard,’ because he had been so worried about his reaction previously. Now he feels that he can do that, because he said he can come here and because of the time he spends with his horse, it gives him the release he needs.” But it’s the horse that’s the rallying point, helping people transform and achieve and embrace a visceral connection that’s life-altering. The MTRA is an accredited organization, setting them apart from other therapeutic riding centers. MTRA is held

Skylie with Leader Brooke Whiting

to the highest standards and monitored extremely closely, said Morrison. Those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s have also benefited from the program and re-enter their life momentarily through the equine-assisted therapy. The connection between horse and rider impacts not only every human participating but those horses that have become part of their lives. The bond is visceral and powerful and resonates in a way that’s life-transforming. One critical component helping MTRA meet their objectives is their volunteer team, and the organization welcomes those willing to give of their time and who can serve in a variety of capacities. It doesn’t mean that a particular individual has to work with horses, said Morrison. The equine-assisted therapeutic riding organization serves more than 120 clients. “We have plenty of things to do, and if you want to learn, we’ll teach you everything you want to know,” said Morrison. “This is a very rewarding opportunity for anybody and everybody, for anybody who wants to learn about people with challenges or wants to learn about horses. We’re here, we need you, and basically we’ll take whatever you can give us.” Volunteers are a variable that makes an overwhelming difference in the program. Every person gets something different out of giving their time and services, said Shelly Morrell, MTRA’s volunteer coordinator. The

volunteers sense of commitment and compassion is palpable. More often than not, the experience is life-transforming for those who volunteer at the facility. “Some love working with the animals, some love working with the kids, some love working with the veterans, and some love working with all of them,” said Morrell. “I would say that the passion that they bring here when they come through the gates, they’re under the impression that they’re coming here to help the riders. I’ve heard more times when they leave here, it’s like a release. It’s just so peaceful. The volunteers get so much joy. It almost sometimes gives them goose bumps because it changes their lives.” Those who participate in the program are an inspiration to others, including those who work at the MTRA and are volunteers. One young woman who actively participates in the program and is paraplegic, went out of state to compete and won a championship, said Morrell, who often shares that story to those interested in volunteering. “I see her posts on Facebook every day, and I think to myself, there’s no reason why I should ever be down or unhappy,” said Morrell. “Because if she could get up every day, and live the life she lives, I have no complaints.” MTRA’s idyllic setting and serene atmosphere provides a calming and tranquil environment, one that’s conducive to success and producing positive experiences. “It’s very peaceful, everyone here is relaxed, and I think that the horses feel that,” said Morrell. “The riders feel that and the volunteers feel that.” However, the riders and the horses are far from the only ones who derive benefits from the program, said Morrell. “We have people come in who are looking to volunteer, but we don’t know it right away,” said Morrell. “They’re looking to heal themselves, and that’s one of their reasons for coming in, aside from the animals and the people. I know I’ve grown so much from just being here. That’s why I love it here, and my volunteers are the same way.” Jenna Rovira is one of MTRA’s certified PATH instructors and has always been around horses. She’s a social worker by education and training, having galloped racehorses through college, something she still does at Stonestreet Farm, having relocated to Marion County.



Rovira has always had an interest in repurposing retired racehorses and combining that discipline with therapeutic riding, having volunteered at a similar program while in high school. “I became involved with the MTRA because I was working with a residential foster care program, and I volunteered here and eventually we brought our kids from the program here to ride as part of the experience.” Those experiences as a volunteer served as the impetus for Rovira to become an instructor, and she found the staff at the MTRA extremely supportive and encouraging in helping her achieve those goals. “I did my mentoring under Miss Catherine [Sears Koch] and Miss Pam [Morrison], and I got certified at one of the workshops actually [at MTRA in January 2019],” said Rovira. “I was fortunate enough to come on this summer as more than just an instructor, working on fundraising and development. I got involved with them because of the foster care program. The veterans’ program is probably one of my favorites. It exposed me to a whole different population.” The emotional connection between the horse and rider has been profound, not only resonating with those particular parties, but with the instructors and volunteers who have been part of the experience, said Rovira. “There’s a couple that stand out [clients whose stories are compelling and powerful],” said Rovira. “We had a guy that you couldn’t even approach from behind. He was so reactive. We didn’t think he was going to come back a second time. He’s probably going on his second year here now. He actually wants to volunteer. He reaches out on Facebook and comments.” However, his is not the only story, said Rovira. Other veterans have been able to transform their lives through their connections with a particular horse. Rovira depicted what she’s seen in terms of the clients’ progress as an indescribable kind of magic. “I didn’t get to see the initial phase [of this one client], but I had heard about it,” said Rovira. “He was frustrated because he couldn’t connect with the horse. I saw him later, after he had the connection with the horse. [The horse] is an Arabian and when he sees the client coming, he starts nickering. The client will get over to him, and to see that bond, [the client] literally wraps [the horse] up in a big hug.”



Skylie showing love to Mocha

Rider Josh with Leader Linda Bolack Side Walker Summer Ritchie

The client has been able to improve the relationship with his daughter, and the equine-assisted therapy has helped him to realize how he’s perceived by other people, said Rovira. It’s because of the emotional connection that he’s made with the horse, one that’s made him aware of how other people see him, and the symbiotic relationship that he has with his equine partner at MTRA that has made all the difference. Catherine Sears Koch was born into the equine industry. Her father is a professional trainer and farrier, so horses have always been a part of her life. The PATH-certified instructor has been with MTRA for 12 years. As the organization’s program director, Sears Koch is well-suited for the career path she’s undertaking, having been with the program for more than a decade. In addition, Sears Koch is the program director, barn manager, oversees the horses, and instructs. “There are so many different avenues in the horse industry, but you could also make a difference in the horses’ lives,” said Sears Koch, who like her father is also a farrier and works with him throughout the week, both father and daughter helping to maintain the horses’ hooves at the MTRA facility. “You take a horse that someone didn’t need anymore, now that horse is making a difference in children’s lives. The horse has a purpose. Everything needs a purpose. The way I look at it, the horses understand truly what they

do. They’re so humble. They really work hard. It’s great to be able to wake up in the morning and make a difference in the world.” The opportunity to teach and guide the clients and watch the progress and end results that are part of the therapy process is extremely satisfying, said Sears Koch. “When you see them [the clients] achieve the things that they achieve, it’s amazing,” said Sears Koch. “What they achieve is phenomenal. It changes their whole attitude, everything in their life. They have freedom up on horseback.” For Morrison, her transition from the corporate world, one where she was constantly working at a frenetic pace as a businesswoman, to working at the MTRA, where she has been a cornerstone of the program for more than 15 years, a second career where she was mentored and became an instructor and eventually executive director, has been a welcomed change that she readily embraced. “My husband drove by this farm and said, ‘I don’t know what they do there but you should go find out’ because I grew up on a farm with horses,” said Morrison. “It’s really a good thing that I didn’t know about it way back when because I probably would’ve done this a long time ago. It’s so incredibly rewarding. It’s just great…it beats pounding the pavement and taking a subway to work and doing deals and other stuff. This is just fantastic. I love every minute of it.”

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state of the city

Artful Anticipations T he new year is upon us and with it comes the promise of new and exciting events on the horizon. Although the first official day of spring won’t happen until March, springtime in Florida begins a little earlier than most states. The mild weather almost begs for us to be outside enjoying the fresh air and new activities happening around town. The Ocala Cultural Arts department is in full bloom with the return of the Tuscawilla Spring Art Park series. In fact, you could say that spring is the catalyst for artistic endeavors popping up all over our city. The First Friday Art Walks have become a monthly staple within the community and have grown in popularity over the years. The downtown comes alive with artists showcasing their pieces or creating an original painting on the spot. Live music fills the air and children are encouraged to participate in one of the free art activities sponsored by local businesses. Designed to expose the public to different forms of artistic expression, the



First Friday Art Walk allows artists and visitors to come together in one place and admire the labor of love known as art. Happening the first Friday of each month, it’s a great opportunity to explore our downtown and support the art community. The Beginning of Bolted Art (BOBA) will celebrate the installation of 10 new art sculptures throughout Ocala’s art park on February 21. This special event will feature sculpture tours, hors d’oeuvres, unique art experiences and a musical performance by classical crossover artists Cello Fury and the West Port High School choir and orchestra. Visitors to the event will have a sneak peek of the new art installations that will be on display in Tuscawilla Art Park for the next two years. Tickets are available for $25 per person and can be purchased at www.ocalafl. org/performingarts. The public will have the chance to see these larger than life sculptures during the Tuscawilla Sculpture Stroll happening Saturday, February 22. Family members of all

ages will enjoy the new sculpture exhibits and will be treated to a tour of each new sculpture, free family art activities, live entertainment, and food vendors. Everyone is encouraged to attend and participate in the public voting contest where one sculpture will be awarded the People’s Choice Award. Art is all around the city and incorporated into public spaces for everyone to enjoy. The bottom floor of City Hall serves as a revolving art gallery and an opportunity for artists to feature their original pieces. Artists are encouraged to apply through the “Art in City Spaces” program for the opportunity to display their art in one of our city buildings. For more information about this program visit www.ocalafl.org. The Ocala Cultural Arts department continues to enrich the color palate of the city with the addition of new murals and sculptures in the upcoming year. Just like spring adds splashes of color to the world, Ocala Cultural Arts is primed and ready to “paint the town” with events that will bring the community together.

Photos courtesy of the City of Ocala


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state of the county

Live and let Live BY BRANDON KALLOO


arion County Animal Services (MCAS) made a complete 180-degree transformation in 2019, making it their best year ever! The MCAS animal shelter has officially earned its no-kill status, meaning the organization successfully rehabilitates and rehomes more than 90% of its animals. It takes 12 consecutive months to earn this designation and their director, Jim Sweet, is optimistic about the future. “This was a cooperative effort between our dedicated staff, community partners, and residents,” said Sweet. “You need buy-in from all three to get something like this accomplished because of the sheer volume of animals we care for annually. I’m incredibly proud of my team for their hard work and we are determined to keep this momentum going.” Sweet and his team successfully adopted out nearly 2,500 pets and reunited another 500plus with their rightful owners last year alone, including livestock. “Pets are like family for a lot of people, so it’s always rewarding when we reunite them,” said Julie Stinson, Senior Animal Care Technician with MCAS. “We spend hours caring for every single animal that comes into our shelter, and you can tell they go through a mourning period without their families. Dogs perk up the moment they see their owners, and those are always special moments.” Sweet attributes these success stories to their updated programs and services, including the Spay, Neuter, Return (SNR) program. The goal of this program is to humanely stifle



overpopulation issues in local community cat colonies without overwhelming shelter resources. The process also includes immunizations to prevent the spread of diseases like rabies. Over the last year, MCAS successfully spayed or neutered more than 1,000 cats through SNR. Some stray cats are ineligible for SNR but are also too feral to live indoors. These felines often end up in the Working Whiskers program, pairing them with local businesses, ranches, and agricultural properties, where they can thrive as rodent control specialists. Adopters are required to provide food, clean water, and shelter from the elements, making the program mutually beneficial. “We can only house so many animals in the shelter at one time,” said Sweet. “Programs like SNR, Working Whiskers, and the Neuter Commuter help us meet our long-term goal of reducing stray populations while simultaneously allowing us to meet our short-term goal of adopting out pets already in our care.” Sweet’s team has taken their mission on the road with the Neuter Commuter, a bus dedicated to providing low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for animals of Marion County residents. The service has been offered since 1999 and functions as a convenient option for many. Each visit includes surgical sterilization, rabies vaccination, a county license, and microchip. This medical package is $75, and some house-

“The MCAS animal shelter has officially earned its no-kill status” holds may qualify for the reduced price of $20. A new initiative launched in 2019 is the Youth Foster Program, which offers high school students community service hours for fostering kittens. With parental approval, students can earn 10 community service hours per week to use toward graduation requirements and scholarships. Coaching from staff is provided, along with educational material and supplies. Students are expected to feed and socialize kittens, thus preparing them for adoption. Kittens are returned to MCAS when they are eight weeks old. “Fosters and volunteers are indispensable,” said Sweet. “Socialization is directly tied to adoptability and that’s what these good folks help with the most. I encourage residents to reach out if they’re interested in helping in any way. We have tasks for every skill level and it’s a great way to give back to the community.” INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE about any of these programs or services? Contact Marion County Animal Services at www.marioncountyfl.org/animalservices.

50,000 sq. ft. Facility Thrive Group Training Gold’s Studio Gold’s Cycle GGX Group Activity Room Boxing & Kickboxing Classes Dry Sauna Lap Pool Extensive Plate Loaded Equipment Over 75 Pieces of Cardio Equipment with 21” Personal Screens Recovery Room • HydroMassage Chairs • Training Rooms • Hyper-Ice Massage Devices • Red Light Therapy

Huge Children’s Playroom Smoothie Bar Separate Core Area Circuit Area Personal Training Luxury Locker Rooms

4421 NW Blitchton Road, Ocala, Florida 34482

(352) 414-4848 Goldsocala.com

Ocala Jockey Club The Ocala Jockey Club was developed in the 1980s as a family-oriented thoroughbred horse farm with the Ocala Jockey Clubhouse as the centerpiece. Ocala Jockey Club Farm is known for its stunning sunsets and tranquil views over the entire land and farm. Owners Pavla and Erik Nygaard are building on that same tradition and creating a world-class eventing center for international competitions, training, and teaching. Concept planning is underway for distinguished real estate development, a boutique, hotel, retail village and renewal and restoration of the clubhouse, of which will become a vibrant special events venue, spa, academy, restaurant, meeting center and a beautiful place for weddings.

A vision for an acclaimed international destination resort and club, especially for those having passionate souls for horses. 8720 West Highway 318 | Reddick, FL 32686 | 352-591-1212 www.ocalajc.com | Follow Us On Facebook


Old Fashioned Shrimp Cocktail — recipe on ocalamagazine.com Photo and recipe by RSVP Robin

On the Menu: Milano Ristorante p86 | Dining Out p88




on the menu

Hecho con Amor Y Pasión





ood sustains us. Through cooking we are given the ability to care for one another in one of the most comforting of ways. Every culture has their own unique way of gathering around the table to feed the ones they love. Manny Camps’ family grew up with a mom who knew the importance of feeding her family. His mother was well known for her Cuban cooking, and with her authentic recipes, hard work, and resourcefulness, she was able to bring her family to America. Through cooking Cuban food, the Camps family has been able to find success. Manny and his wife, Isabel Grisales Camps, have been in the restaurant industry for most of their lives. After selling The Charlie Horse in Dunnellon, Florida, Manny suffered a stroke. The couple was ready to slow down, but with

health expenses piling up, they knew they needed to do something. Isabel was confident that if she could find a place to cook all the recipes Manny’s mother had taught her, the family would be able to make things work. They went all in on The Latin American Cafe 10 years ago and were able to bring a little piece of Cuban magic to Ocala. The aim was to keep things simple: authentic Cuban food, great customer service, and a comfortable atmosphere. After years of hard work, the Camps were able to curate a cafe that fills a hole in Ocala’s culinary offerings. They opened in their new location three months ago and their claim of being “The house of the Cuban sandwich and the king of the Cuban steak sandwich!” remains as true as ever. Isabel’s recipes transform an average meal into a quick trip to Cuba. “Food

Photos by Joshua Jacobs

Serving up food as colorful as the rich culture it hails from, The Latin American cafe is sure to impress with its Cuban fair.

Mia Camps, Johannie Torres, Zenia, Gerson Arias, Shawn, and Isabel Camps

is not a secret. We can all take the same ingredients and come up with something different. It takes a special touch to bring it together,” Manny said of his wife’s cooking. Every dish is prepared with the customer in mind and made with fresh, organic ingredients. The fresh Cuban bread is made inhouse and is light and fluffy: the perfect start to any meal you order. The menu boasts a colorful array of dishes including ropa vieja, a shredded beef dish. It is served in a robust tomato sauce that will leave your taste buds wanting more. On Fridays, spicy Cuban oxtail is offered as a special and is worth a try for anyone desiring something a bit bolder. For breakfast, the Machito is a popular choice. The egg sandwich is packed with flavor and provides plenty of fuel to start your day off right. If energy is what you are after, you will want to take a look at the beverages that are offered. Cuban espresso, cortadito, and cafe con leche are all on the menu and prepared perfectly. With their rich smell and bold flavor, any of the cafe’s coffee offerings could easily find their way into your morning routine. Dessert is made from scratch, for those with a sweet tooth. You will not want to miss the tres leches or flan. Both options are a mouthwatering way to end

the meal. No matter what you decide to try, one thing is clear: the spirit of Manny’s mother is very much alive in Isabel’s cooking. If you allow the Camps to feed you at their restaurant, you will be getting more than a meal. Everytime the door opens, customers are greeted like family and often by name. Isabel pays close attention to each patron and knows them well enough to have their food started before they place their order. The moment you step inside, it is evident that you are appreciated as more than a customer. There is a sense of community that has been built, and dining at The Latin American Cafe is truly an experience. Conversation and laughter can be heard throughout the meal. As customers come and go, picking up their orders or pausing to chat while they wait for their food, the overall feeling is that you are invited to stay awhile. The new location makes great use of its space and allows diners to choose between sitting around a table or grabbing a seat at the bar. A mural pays homage to Cuba, while a few bright paintings round out the straightforward atmosphere. The overall effect is welcoming and relaxed. Manny and Isabel believe in doing things with integrity and consistency, and it is apparent in the quality of their restaurant.

They are excited to announce some upcoming changes that you will want to be on the lookout for. Beer and wine will soon be added to the menu, and an outdoor patio is in the works to provide more seating options. The cafe will also be opening its doors a bit later for customers to enjoy all it has to offer. The next time you want to eat out and try something new, stop by and visit the Camps. You will have a meal you are sure to enjoy and it will be delivered with heart and passion. TO KEEP UP WITH ANNOUNCEMENTS about these exciting changes, you can follow The Latin American Cafe on Facebook and Instagram or visit their website at www.latinamericancafeocala.com.






Katya Vineyards Katya Vineyards Tasting Room is owned by Drs. David and Patricia Sokol and Kat and Tony Deras. Katya is a Boutique Winery and Fine Eatery on the Square that pairs local wines with locally-sourced, fresh cuisine in a quaint, upscale atmosphere.

Follow them on Facebook for more information. Private event space available by appointment.

Award-winning Chef Tony Deras changes the menu each week, carefully selecting ingredients to balance taste, texture, and beauty.

Tues-Sat 4-10pm 101 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Suite 102, Ocala, FL 34470 (352) 528-CORK (2675) | www.katyavineyards.com




dining out


Tony’s Sushi Sushi Me! At Tony’s Sushi you can select your favorite sushi to include made-to-order specialty rolls by creating your own! Enjoy being entertained at the grill, watching your food being prepared while having some fun. For a more intimate setting, Tony’s offers private tables – perfect for special moments. Tony’s full bar includes sakes, imported draft beer, and more. Like Tony’s on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TonySushiOcala

Ask about our daily, not on the menu items! We offer gift cards, catering and entertaining.

Mon–Thur 11am–10pm, Fri & Sat 11am–11pm, Sun 12pm–10pm 3405 SW College Rd. #103 Ocala, FL 34474 | (352) 237-3151 www.tonyssushi.com

Ivy On The Square Whether gathering with friends or family for lunch or a night out, you’ll enjoy fresh salads, mouthwatering comfort food, late-night tapas and drinks. Specials include our Pecan Salmon, Southern Fried Lobster and famous baked Krispy Chicken. Save room for our delicious homemade White Chocolate Crème Brûlée, served with fresh berries and whipped cream. This Valentine’s Day be wined, dined, and dazzled by inspired cocktails, like the “Bee Knees,” paired with the culinary artistry you’d expect—all delivered with attentive care and Southern charm, surrounded by a romantic ambiance to create one special night out.

Stop by our new speakeasy bar and enjoy our specialty drinks! Gift certificates available.

Make your Valentine’s Day reservations now!

53 S. Magnolia Ave., Ocala | (352) 622-5550 Closed Mon, Tues 11am-2pm, Wed 11am-9pm, Thurs 11am-9pm 106 NW Main St., Williston | (352) 528-5410 Sun-Wed 11am-2pm, Thurs-Sat 11am-8pm | ivyhousefl.com

West 82° Bar and Grill Enjoy an evening under the stars at the Plantation on Crystal River. A short drive to enjoy dinner overlooking Kings Bay and Crystal River featuring the finest natural local ingredients. Start your evening with a cocktail at our Tiki Bar and you might just see some special guests swim by (manatees) or just relax and watch the sunset. Come inside to West 82° and enjoy dining with your friends and family—you don’t need to be a Plantation member to dine with us!

Make your Valentine’s Day reservations today. In addition to our regular menu, we have special Valentine’s Day menu items including a tenderloin and lobster duet and lovers chocolate pot for two.

Breakfast Daily 6am-10:30am | Lunch Mon –Sat: 11:30am-2:00pm Dinner Daily 5pm-9pm | Sunday Brunch 11:30am-2pm 9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429 | (352) 795-4211 www.plantationoncrystalriver.com OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | FEB 2020 |



dining out

Sky Fine Dining Sky Fine Dining is located on the 6th floor of the Holiday Inn Suites. The eclectic gourmet cuisine and steak house concept is inspired from current trends and classic dishes like fresh cut steaks, live Maine lobster, rack of lamb and fresh seafood such as sea bass, salmon and shrimp. Golden Spoon Award Winner 9 consecutive years–2010 to 2018. Sky is the place to be for a unique fine dining experience.

Golden Spoon Award Winner 9 consecutive years! 2010 to 2018

Special menu Wednesday through Saturday.


Mon-Thurs 5pm-10pm, Fri & Sat 5p-11p 3600 SW 38th Ave., Ocala, FL 34474 | (352)291-0000 www.skyfinedining.com

Fine Dining

The Lodge Craft Pub & Eatery The Lodge Craft Pub and Eatery is Downtown’s new gastropub for cocktails, food, and fun! Follow The Lodge Ocala on Facebook for announcements about menu items and specials. We have more than 200 craft brews, a large wine selection and specialty food menus. This casual pub and eatery is located just off the downtown square, so you can take advantage of free valet service. We’ll see you soon at The Lodge! Sun-Thurs 11:30a-11p, Fri-Sat 11:30a-2a 36 SE Magnolia, Ocala, FL 34471 www.facebook.com/thelodgeocala

Cafe Crisp Faith. Fitness. Food. Conveniently located in the Frank DeLuca YMCA, Cafe Crisp makes clean eating easy with fresh, healthy meals—to enjoy at the cafe or to take home—and they offer weekly meal prep packages that make it easy to stay on track with meals and snacks. Cafe Crisp also caters events large or small! Stop in for a smoothie before your workout and come back for delicious sandwiches, soups, and salad bar.

Mon-Fri 7am–6pm 3200 SE 17th St (in the YMCA), Ocala, FL 34471 | 352-694-3100 www.facebook.com/cafecrispocala



Ask about our weekly meal prep specials!

dining out


Ipanema Brazilian Steakhouse Say I love you with a Valentine’s Day Dinner at Ipanema! Friday, February 14th Valentines Day Dinner 4:30pm10:00pm. There will be a chocolate fountain at our 50+ item salad bar. Guests receive a complementary picture and rose per couple. Featuring 11 types of meat: Top Sirloin, Bottom Sirloin, Garlic Sirloin, Filet Mignon, Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon, Chicken wrapped in bacon, Parmesan Chicken legs, Pork Parmesan, Brazilian Sausage, Lamb Chops, and Grilled Pineapple. Book your private party and catering today! Our Sunday Brunch from 11am to 3pm includes the 50 item salad bar plus crepe, waffle, and omelet station. For $32.95, you’ll receive all of the above plus a free mimosa or bloody Mary and five different cuts of meat and our grilled pineapple.

Our keto, paleo, gluten friendly buffet menu will allow you to stick to your dietary new year resolutions. Our NEW 3’s Catering Company brought to you buy our family of restaurants Ipanema, Latinos Y Mas and Craft Cuisine. 3sCateringCompany.com

2023 S Pine Avenue, Ocala | (352) 622-1741 | ipanemaocala.com Lunch Friday 11am-2:30pm › Brunch Sunday 11am-3pm Dinner Tue-Thu 5pm-9pm › Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm › Sun 4pm-8pm

Craft Cuisine Craft Cuisine World-Inspired Culinary Creations invites you to join us for our weekly specials or book your in-house gatherings, private parties, weddings, or off-premise catering today! •Mouthwatering Monday: Build your own 4-course menu, selections from $17 and $20. •Tuesday Tapas: Complementary glass of well drink or glass of wine with any Tapa or dinner entree. $3 Margaritas and 2-4-1 Martinis •Wine Down Wednesday: From 4-7pm order a charcuterie board paired with house wine for $10. Complementary glass of wine with any dinner entree. •Friday: Prime Rib Happy Hour Monday to Thursday: 3-6pm $4 wine, $5 single well drinks, $6 Martinis, and $5 tapas selection.

Join us for our Special Valentine’s Day Menu! For All Catering Needs: 3’s Catering Company and Craft Cuisine Is Your Event Venue. *We will close to the public for special parties and events. Golden Spoon Award Winner!

2237 SW 19th Avenue Rd., # 102, Ocala | (352) 237-7300 craftcuisineocala.com Lunch: Mon-Sat 11am-4pm | Dinner: Mon-Thur 4-9pm | Fri-Sat 4-10pm

Latinos Y Mas Our restaurant is the perfect atmosphere for business lunches, family lunches or romantic dinners. Since 1991, Latinos y Mas restaurant has been serving our valued customers in Ocala and surroundings. Try the exquisite fusion of Latin food, such as one of our entrées, including Pargo Rojo, Paella, Ceviches, homemade Tres Leches and our amazing passion fruit Mojitos. Enjoy in-house or order from the takeaway menu. Our friendly staff is more than happy to help plan an extraordinary dining experience.

Our NEW 3’s Catering Company brought to you buy our family of restaurants Ipanema, Latinos Y Mas and Craft Cuisine. 3sCateringCompany.com Try out NEW Curbside Pick Up and Online Gift Cards

Join us for romantic Valentine’s Day dinner! Our keto, paleo, gluten friendly menu options will allow you to stick to your dietary new year resolutions. Happy Hour Mon-Thur 3-7pm. Kids Eat Free Mondays

2030 South Pine Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471 | (352) 622-4777 www.latinosymas.com Mon-Thurs 11am - 9pm | Fri-Sat 11am-10pm | Sun closed OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | FEB 2020 |



dining out

Milano Ristorante Italiano NOW OPEN! Featuring authentic cuisine. Dishes enjoyed for generations in villages throughout Italy inspire our menu. We strive to use the finest ingredients to create dishes in line with our family tradition. All of our food, including our pizza dough, is made fresh daily. We offer seven distinct seating areas that will take you to different cities in Italy. Passion for good food and wine runs deep in our family, and we are thrilled to bring our authentic Italian recipes to the Ocala area! NEW ENTERTAINMENT. Sunday Free Chicken Parmesan with purchase of Chicken Parmesan and two beverages, Monday Free Bottle of Wine with purchase of 2 Entrees, and Tuesday is $5 Calamari all day. Not valid with any other offers. Open Daily 11am-9pm

Suleiman Family Establishment. NEW Italian Restaurant. Ingredients Made Fresh Daily. Authentic Italian Family Recipes. Express Takeout & Delivery

5400 SW College Road, Unit 106 | Ocala, FL 34474 | (352) 304-8549 www.milanofamilyrestaurant.com

Legacy Restaurant At The Nancy Lopez Country Club Join us at The Villages‘ Best Country Club for lunch and dinner. Serving steaks and seafood with various wine selections. Weekly Specials: Monday - VIP membership Monday (Discount for all VIP members) Wednesday - Lobster night (Twin tails for $27.99) Friday - Fresh Catch of the Day and Chef’s Cut of the Day Sunday - USDA Prime Rib NEW entertainment Thurs. to Sat. from 5 to 8pm A Suleiman Family Restaurant.

New Tuesday and Thursday 3-course meals starting at $19.99. Includes salad, entree with 2 sides, and dessert. Join us for Happy Hour 11-5 Daily

17135 Buena Vista Blvd | The Villages, FL 32162 | (352) 753-1475 SuleimanLegacyInc@gmail.com | Follow us on Facebook www.legacyrestaurant.com Open Every Day 11 am-9pm

Havana Country Club We offer an extensive variety of cuisines—these include superior hand-cut steaks, freshly caught seafood, and authentic Italian fare. A Suleiman Family Restaurant. Weekly specials: Monday - Lobster night Tuesday - Italian night Thursday - Prime rib night Friday - Seafood night Saturday - Catch of the day

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Jacket for Traje de luces (Suit of Lights), Madrid, Spain ca. 1960s Photograph courtesy Joshua Jacobs.

On display as part of the “Flamenco: From Spain to the U.S.,” exhibit — Jan. 25-May 24, 2020 at the Appleton Museum of Art

Experience Ocala p94 | Local Music Scene—Carrabelle p96 | Socially Speaking p98 | FAFO 2019 Emerging Artist p110




music scene

e k a h S Shine + BY JOSHUA JACOBS

When you ask around town about Shema Shine and her band, Shine and the Shakers, two words come up more often than not: vibe and groove. And let me tell you, she does not disappoint. Her vibe shines brighter than any known star and her band's groove is sure to shake the deepest of foundations.

WHEN DID MUSIC FIND YOU? My mother bought me a mini piano when I was three. It was modeled after an upright piano with real hammers and tines. According to her, I was always musical but the piano upped the ante in my fledgling journey. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE OCALA MUSIC SCENE? I have been playing in Ocala for 13 years. There was always word of jams around town. One day, I made it over to one. Then from there, word caught that I was around and I’ve been gigging here ever since. WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN MUSIC? Music started taking a hold of me when I performed for my church. I would see the way the music moved people. It caused a healing. I’ve wanted to be a part of that healing ever since. WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCES WITHIN YOUR MUSIC? It’s quintessential for a budding musician to pass through the doors of certain players. On guitar my biggest influence would have to be Jimi Hendrix, John Scofield, and Peter Green. On piano, the players that inspired me were Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Bill Evans, and Bach. Vocally I would say I’m most in-



spired by Ella Fitzgerald, Chaka Khan, and Nina Simone. WHAT IS MUSIC TO YOU? Music is so deeply ingrained in my world; it’s comparable to the air I breathe. I can’t imagine a day without music or access to instruments. It heals the wounds no one can see. It revitalizes and rejuvenates me. When I’m stomping on some gnarly pedal, the guitar is wailing, and people are screaming and cheering, my soul comes alive. Music is the greatest gift I could’ve ever received. HOW HARD IS IT TO BE A CAREER MUSICIAN? Music is incredibly difficult. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. It requires sacrifice, constant adaptation, a large dose of humility, and unyielding persistence. It is also incredibly rewarding. When you have the opportunity to bring people together, when you’re watching people smile and feel what you feel for a moment, you forget about those steps you just lugged that 50-pound speaker up.

Photography by Joshua Jacobs

TAKE US THROUGH THE SONGWRITING PROCESS WHEN IN COMES TO THE BAND. WHAT APPROACH DO YOU USE? Songs happen to me. I don’t write them. They just come. I’ll be driving home at night when the world is quiet, dark, and beautiful. Then out of nowhere, a rhythm will start in my head. Next thing you know, words are following it. I’m scrambling at this point to get to my voice recorder to catch it. When I’m trying to make a song happen, it usually doesn’t come out. But when I live life and experience things, the heart becomes full and spills out in the form of music. I think songs are born from that. BEING IN THE MUSIC SCENE HERE IN OCALA, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BEST THING ABOUT IT? I think the best thing about the Ocala music scene is it’s always growing and changing in an unexpected way. The scene isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago. Before, there were only a handful of people playing, with only a few places to play. Now, there are more venues. There are more musicians forming alliances. It’s a cool thing to see.

"Music is so deeply ingrained in my world it’s comparable to the air I breathe. I can’t imagine a day without music or access to instruments. It heals the wounds no one can see. It revitalizes and rejuvenates me." WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST STANDOUT PERFORMANCE TO DATE? This question is hard because I have a bunch of wonderful memories. But, the one that comes to mind as a monument in my career was the second year we played the Rocking Robinson Festival in Orlando. When we got on stage and started playing, from the stage perspective, people were literally pouring into the venue. First just a handful, then what looked like a giant mob filling up the room. Soon it was shoulder to shoulder, with people stretching back all the way to the entrance. The energy in the room was so thick it felt like you could slice it with a knife. I only had the stage perspective but post playing the show we kept hearing about how there was, as Jason Earle put it, “a mass exodus” from the main stage. It confirmed to me how powerful music can be. It showed me that people want to hear what I have to say. It was crazy, overriding my nerves, overriding fear, and taking charge of the moment. That’s my favorite memory. WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU WISH TO CONVEY WITH YOUR MUSIC?

I hope people see me as an example that you don’t have to let anything stop you from being who you desire to be. Challenges arise and it’s easy to get swept up in them. It’s easy to feel like giving up. I hope my music inspires people to keep going no matter what they face. WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOURSELF AND THE BAND FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? I would like to see more expansion in the next five years. We haven’t released an album yet. I would love to give the people something that encapsulates where we were and where we are. Shine & The Shakers has been in operation for three years. It started out of necessity and now it’s become a thing, a little fire that I’ve watched slowly grow. I know big things are on the horizon for us. I can’t wait to see them! TO LISTEN to Shine and the Shakers, be sure to follow them on social media @shineandtheshakers.



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socially speaking




n a lovely Florida evening, “Feast Under the Stars” transported nearly 100 guests back to the 1890s and the era of the Impressionists during a formal, fundraiser dinner at the Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida. Drawing inspiration from the exhibition “Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism Through the French Lens,” the event featured a champagne hour among the ornately decorated trees from the collection of Drs. Paul and Joyce Urban. Dancing to the era-inspired sounds of Marina Tucker, Imperial String Quartet were waltzers from the College of Central Florida theater department. The tailored décor was curated to mimic the refined, classical ambience that was fitting of formal dining during the 1890s. The Appleton Museum of Art Direc-

Dr. Patrick and Mary Watson, Victoria Billig and Joel Downing

tor, Jason Steuber, remarks, “Since 1987, the Appleton Museum of Art has dynamically engaged Ocala and Marion County and dovetailed its educational and cultural resource efforts with the College of Central Florida. The kind generosity of our guests, members, and sponsors highlights the Appleton’s key community leadership role. It is therefore with humble and heartfelt thanks that we welcome everyone in celebration of art and community.” Following champagne hour, guests were invited to the Appleton’s airy café that overlooks the beautifully landscaped and lit courtyard which was transformed into an elegant dining room under a trellis of greenery and twinkling lights. Long, banquet-style tables were adorned with candelabras, red grapes, and roses on top of crimson damask. Guests were treated to a three-course meal prepared by La Casella Catering with wine pairings by Dave Lewis, Republic National Distributing Company. Using the New York Public Library Digital Collections for reference, the menu was based upon actual menus from the turnof-the-century and included delicacies of the time, such as chicken consommé, semi-boneless Cornish hens with fruit conserve, and brandied figs with créme anglaise. Patricia Tomlinson, the Appleton’s Curator of Exhibitions, conceptualized the event and says, “It was so gratifying to see how beautifully the event turned out and how delighted our guests were. This singular vision was a real labor of love and the Appleton team, Chef

Honey and Bob Hilzen Dr. James and Jeanne Henningsen, Amy and Keith Perry

Tom Burgess, Jeanne Crotty, Carol and Gus Bruno

Judge James and Jessica McCune

Taylor Granbrel, Amy Green, Angel Hammond, and Shelly Nelson

Vanessa and Ken Scott

Rolando and Sara Sosa, Jeanne and Jim Henningsen

Jiyoung Koo and Jillian Ramsamay

Patti, Dave Lewis, and Dawn Lovell really conjured a formal dinner party from the 1890s right down to the food and décor. I am thrilled to have been part of this.” The Appleton Museum of Art serves Central Florida and beyond with a permanent collection of over 18,000 objects, studio art classes and workshops for adults and children, lectures by visiting artists and scholars, as well as special events. The permanent collection includes European, American, Asian, African, Contemporary, and pre-Columbian art and artifacts, as well as work by Florida artists. Proceeds from ticket sales and table sponsorships benefitted the Appleton’s exhibitions and programs. Each year, the museum serves more than 40,000 visitors of all ages, which doesn’t include outreach efforts that impact thousands of K-12 children in Marion County each year. Through donations, ad-

missions, and memberships, the museum can continue to serve the community with exhibitions, artist talks, musical performances, and studio art classes and workshops. “Across the Atlantic” and its affiliated events like “Feast Under the Stars” have been sponsored in part by Marion Cultural Alliance, Fine Arts for Ocala, Art Bridges and CAMPUS USA Credit Union. Table sponsors included The David & Lisa Midgett Foundation, Linda Potter, and Polly Carter. “Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism Through the French Lens” is organized by the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania. TO BE INVOLVED with the Appleton Museum of Art, whether as a volunteer, member, or to make a donation, please contact: AppletonMuseum@cf.edu.




socially speaking

Equine Initiative at Kimberden Farm PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH DEMILIO


he staff at Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership were delighted to have the opportunity to hold the monthly Equine Initiative meeting at Kimberden Farm this past December. It is such a beautiful place to gather, provide the latest horse world updates, and shop in their boutique for horse ornaments for the fundraising Christmas tree, which was the sales topper for Alzheimer's again this year. As always, Kimie Carp gave us a lovely warm welcome and a tour of this incredible facility. We hope to have many future horse events there and we all love her farm tours and downtown Christmas carriage rides. Kimberden is such an excellent venue and Horse Country Carriage and Tours belongs at such a facility. Kim and Kimie are wonderful and it was one of the best meetings ever.




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Generations of Passion at

the Appleton Museum of Art PHOTOS BY JOSHUA JACOBS


assionate, fiery, sensual, intense. “Flamenco: From Spain to the U.S.” provides an in-depth and multi-dimensional examination of the history and culture of Flamenco dance and music. Exhibition curator Nicolasa Chávez from the Museum of International Folk Art writes, “Flamenco developed as a folkloric tradition in southern Spain, beginning nearly 500 years ago. Flamenco was learned within the family and passed down through generations. By the end of the 19th century, it had become an art form presented on stage at new venues called cafés cantantes, which first showcased Flamenco in small nightclubs in Spain. The audience was comprised of tourists looking for an exotic experience and local aficionados, seasoned appreciators of the art form.” The exhibition traces these origins to its arrival in the U.S. and its rise as an international art form. In 2010, UNESCO declared Flamenco a Masterpiece of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.



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How To Handle Market Volatility

Looking back at the past few weeks, the market has made some investors nervous. Market volatility can lead to some serious stress but what are the best ways to respond to this uneasy feeling? When dealing with market volatility, it's important to keep several things in mind to avoid making major mistakes.


It's frequently said that those who fail to plan are planning to fail. When investing, it's important to have a plan. If your plan is to put aside $1,000 or $5,000 a month stick to it. Slow and steady wins the race. Sticking with your plan will allow you to take advantage of the periods when the stock market is down.


Dividends and interest tend to keep coming whether the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 500 points or it's up 300 on a given day. It's true that there are situations that will lead some companies to cut or suspend their dividends. However, most companies will keep paying out dividends as long as possible because a cut is a sure-fire way to lose investors and see the price of your company's stock drop like a rock. Dividends from stocks and interest from bonds are two of the best ways to deal with volatility. You should keep reinvesting the capital your investments throw off. When the market is down, you'll be able to buy more shares, and this will add to your flow of dividends and interest. By reinvesting during periods of volatility, you'll be able to increase the power of compounding greatly.


Many financial professionals will tell you to avoid selling your investments at the worst possible time is a part of sticking with your plan. Often times, this is an ideal strategy. It can be tempting to sell when the market is down 10% so that you can avoid the next 20% loss. This is generally a bad idea. Time in the market will usually beat attempts to time the market. Although, one exception would be drawing down some money strategically during your golden years. You'll probably want to make quarterly or annual withdrawals regardless of what

the market is doing in that case so that you can fund your living expenses.


Another important step to take when the market is showing extreme volatility is remembering to rebalance your portfolio periodically. You may have a strategy of rebalancing quarterly, semiannually or yearly. If you have a target allocation of 75% of your portfolio in stocks and 25% in bonds, a major drop in stocks could leave you with 65% in stocks and 35% in bonds. In this instance, you'd sell a chunk of your bonds and move the money into stocks. If you're still in the accumulation phase, you could stop contributing to bonds and put all of your money in stocks until you reach your targeted balance. This will keep you from becoming too overweight in one area and allow you to maintain the proper level of diversification. One big piece of advice that's important to remember during market volatility is to stay the course. If you have a plan, stick to it. This includes making periodic investments as you would if the market were at record highs. Real money is made during market downturns. If your portfolio gets out of balance, it's a good idea to rebalance it in the event of a major market downturn to take advantage of the sale price on stocks. If you have cash sitting on the sidelines, volatility to the down side can be a great time to put that money to work. Planning your retirement means diversifying to reduce the risk to your overall retirement plan. We are here to help guide you to and through a successful retirement.



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Scene Around Ocala Ka’dajau Archie and Katie Reece Photo by Ralph Demilio

Health Journal p114 | Prose and Cons p116 | TEDxOcala 2019 p118 | Kiwanis Korner p122 | Looking Back p128


10 1

health journal


See The Light Optical treatment transforms eyesight. BY BEN BAUGH


ife can change in an instant. For Steve Robinson, the change in his eyesight was gradual. He didn’t notice he was losing his vision. “One day I was out playing golf and I looked down at the ball; the ground seemed to be moving forward and backward toward me,” said Robinson. “I thought that was weird. I thought I had something in my eye, so I rubbed my left eye. And I noticed when I looked out of my right eye, my vision was smudged.” “I say smudged, because it’s like you took your thumb and ran it through cooking oil across the lens of your glasses. And now, everything is bottomed out or distorted or a grayish color.”



Robinson made an appointment to see his doctor. He went through a series of visual field tests and it was determined that he had glaucoma in both eyes. The reason it had taken so long for Robinson to notice his vision had been compromised was that the peripheral vision in his right eye is good, and with the overlapping of both eyes, he had a complete range of vision. “Your optic nerve is like a coaxial cable,” said Robinson. “It’s a bundle of nerves that travels from the eye to the optic nerve center at the back of the brain, and they transfer what the eye sees to the brain. As they start to get strangled, there’s restricted blood flow. They

actually start to die, and your vision decreases.” When he was told initially that they could try to maintain his eyesight, Robinson felt comfortable with that possibility because he had a good field of vision; it didn’t affect him. But then he began talking to other doctors, and their prognosis was far from optimistic. In fact, in many cases, it was rather bleak. “Some told us, ‘Not only are you not going to get your vision back, you’re probably going to go completely blind at some stage,’ and that was frightening,” said Robinson. “I would imagine how I would negotiate the house if I couldn’t see. Would I have to remember where things are? I was counting off

Steve and his wife, Jenny

steps from how far it was from the door to the chair, things like that, preparing myself for the possibility.” He was now aware of what the problem was, however, he would receive some unsettling news. His eyesight couldn’t be restored, but through treatment, there was hope that he would be able to retain his remaining vision, which would consist of using eye drops to basically control the eye pressure, said Robinson. “My vision’s still pretty good, I could operate normally,” said Robinson. “But my wife, Jenny, wasn’t satisfied with that. As my vision didn’t improve like they said it would, we started looking around on the Internet for some kind of treatment for glaucoma that maybe we hadn’t heard about yet.” And then an alternative appeared, one where the Robinsons would find themselves traveling to Europe. The possibility of improving his vision found The Villages’ residents contacting the SAVIR Center in Magdeburg, Germany. However, their initial attempt to contact the facility didn’t quite go as they had hoped. “My wife clicked on their website, and there was all of this information about how they could restore sight for glaucoma patients,” said Robinson. “She was all excited about it and brought it into me. They had a phone number and email address. We called the phone num-

ber and the phone was out of order. We sent an email to the email address and it came back as undeliverable. We thought that this must be a hoax or a fly-by-night company or that they were out of business or something.” But then they noticed the date on the website said 2014, but it was now 2018. With the Robinsons initial excitement about the possibility of ameliorating Steve’s eyesight having been temporarily placed on hold, a propitious set of circumstances would present themselves, one that would alter the course of their lives, providing Steve with the hope of improving his visual field. A few nights later, Steve and Jenny were watching a documentary on Netflix about the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and how it has progressed and evolved into what it is today. It was Jenny who suggested to Steve that the clinic may know something about glaucoma research. The Mayo Clinic website would prove to be an invaluable resource. “There was a link to the SAVIR Center,” said Robinson. “She clicked on the link, and now it was a different phone number and email address. When we found out about this [SAVIR], I can’t even explain it. It’s like a godsend that we would even find this place.” The Robinsons contacted SAVIR and informed the facility where Steve was in terms of

his diagnosis and what his situation was. Robinson submitted the paperwork and was accepted into the five-days-a-week, two-week program. They made the arrangements to fly over and stayed in a hotel for the entire two weeks, he said. The total cost of the treatment and the trip was around $13,000. The SAVIR Center’s Professor Bernhard Sabel administered the treatment. When Robinson first arrived at the treatment center, the first thing he did was take a series of tests. One of those was a visual field index or VFI test, which is something that he’s been taking on a routine basis with his ophthalmologist. “When I started the program, the visual field index in my right eye was 21, which basically was 21% vision in that eye,” said Robinson. “My left eye, which is my good eye, was 84. After treatment, which was five days a week for two weeks, at the end of the two-week period, they gave you a visual field index again. The VFI in my right eye went from 21 to 40, almost double. My left eye had gone from 84 to 89.” The treatment itself is non-invasive, said Robinson. Electrodes are placed on either side of the patient’s head by their temples, where very minute electrical shocks are administered. “You’re sitting in a dark room with your eyes closed, and these impulses are going through your eyes to your brain, and as you’re sitting there with your eyes closed, you see these white flashes, like lightning flashes on either side of your head,” said Robinson. What Robinson found while having the treatment was that it really reinforced the idea that his optic nerves were working because of the sensation he was getting from his brain, and his brain was recognizing it and seeing the white flashes. Sabel told Robinson not to think about it for six months to a year, that things would improve. This past November, Robinson went to his ophthalmologist for another field index, and his right eye had improved from 40% to 42%, his left eye from 89% to 94 %. “The treatment involves not only the current stimulation, the electrical charges in your head, it also includes a regimen of upper body relaxation, eye massage, eye yoga, and things like that to help improve the circulation in your eyes, get more blood flowing to the capillaries of your eyes,” said Robinson.


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prose and cons


Photo by Ralph Demilio


The answer to this question of who is entitled to the ring is often resolved by asking a simple question: Who ended the engagement?

ove is in the air. Valentine’s day is associated with the roses, chocolates, and lovers pledging their love for each other. It’s also a time when one partner may present the other with a small, felt-covered box and ask the timeless question, “Will you marry me?” But, what happens if the relationship doesn’t end happily ever after? Does one person’s decision to “disengage” from the relationship and/or marriage affect their right to the engagement ring? In dissolution of marriage proceedings, Florida courts have consistently held that engagement rings given prior to the marriage are considered gifts and are non-marital property of the recipient. Like all other pre-marital gifts, the spouse who gave the ring has no claim to this property in a subsequent divorce action. An interesting issue arises when the relationship ends subsequent to the engagement ring being given, but prior to the actual marriage of the parties. The answer to this question of who is entitled to the ring is often resolved by asking a simple question: Who ended the engagement? The leading case giving trial courts guidance on this issue is the 1957 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Pavlicic v. Vogstberger, 136 A.2d 127 (1957). The facts of the Pavlicic opinion begin with the explanation that at the time of George J. Pavlicic’s engagement to Sara Jane Vogstberger, George was 75 years old and Sara Jane was 26. The court made specific mention of the fact that Ms. Vogstberger told Mr. Pavlicic she was no longer interested in “young fellows.” The case continues to describe numerous gifts made by Mr. Pavlicic to Ms. Vogstberger during their course of the al-

most multiyear engagement. One of these gifts being an $800 engagement ring. Ms. Vogstberger ultimately elected not to fulfill her promise to marry Mr. Pavlicic. The opinion also made special mention of the fact that Ms. Vogstberger ended her engagement to George Pavlicic and then married a man 2 years younger than her. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ultimately held that because Ms. Vogstberger—as the recipient of the engagement ring —was the one who ended the relationship prior to marriage, Mr. Pavlicic was entitled to the return of the ring. In somewhat dated language which continues to be cited in more recent published opinions, the court likened a party’s acceptance of an engagement ring as the recipient’s desire to “embark on the sea of matrimony” with the donor. The court then said that if the recipient ultimately “refuses to leave the harbor,” the gift must be restored to the donor. As a parting comment on Ms. Vogstberger’s election to marry a younger man, the court further commented this was similar to that of her “walking up the gangplank of another ship, arm-in-arm with the donor’s rival.” Disputes regarding gifts given during a former relationship are common in the civil justice system. When considering the guidance provided by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s decision in the Pavlicic case, the person who elects not to set sail on the sea of matrimony, should “harbor” no resentment in surrendering their rights to any engagement ring given in contemplation of marriage.

JUDGE ROGERS has been a member of the judiciary since 2005. In addition to being a judge, he is a husband, father, teacher, and lover of all things Gator.




Faith. A powerful element in fighting cancer. Joyce Dean has more energy than most 70-year-olds. She’s full of stories about love, family and her days as the first African American professor at Edison Community College. More than 25 years ago, Joyce went for a routine annual physical. She was diagnosed with advanced multiple myeloma — a cancer with a grim prognosis at the time. She was referred to Florida Cancer Specialists, and she’s been a patient ever since. Living with cancer hasn’t been easy, but with over two decades of compassionate, cutting-edge care, and a little faith, Florida Cancer Specialists has shown Joyce that when hope and science join forces, great outcomes can happen. “Without Florida Cancer Specialists, I wouldn’t be here.”

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Proud to serve patients at our two Marion County locations. Patrick Acevedo, MD Luis Carrascosa, MD

Mohammad K. Kamal, MD Sachin Kamath, MD Shilpa Oberoi, MD

Vipul Patel, MD Craig Reynolds, MD





Is Fundamental Kiwanis of Ocala RIF Program for the children. BY PENNY MILLER


n December 5th of 2019, several members of the Kiwanis of Ocala Club, went to Evergreen Elementary School to present a special Reading Program to and for the children. The interest and interaction was beyond amazing. The joy on their faces tells it all especially when they were given Free Books to actually own



for themselves. There is nothing better than helping and teaching our children. Much appreciation goes to Tammy Roark Hoff, LeAnn Mackey Barnes, Scott Hackmeyer, Roseann Fricks, N.C. and Shelley Sizemore and the many others from Kiwanis Club of Ocala that have given to this beautiful and much needed cause in which to bless our children.



  OCALA FAMILY MEDICAL CENTER 2230 SW 19th Ave Rd Ocala, FL 34471

Office Direct: 352-237-4133



Carlos Rodriguez, MD Internal Medicine

Robert Panzer, DO Family Practice

Mark Monical, DO James London, MD, FACC Robert Williams, MD Family Practice Cardiology Family Practice

Adam Alpers, DO Family Practice

Brian Pecoraro, DO Family Practice

Mimi Balch, MD Family Practice

Allen Winston, DO Yasmin Amin, MD, FACC Todd Panzer, APRN-C Linda Bellows, APRN-C Stacey Graham, APRN-C Laurel Bryant, APRN-C Karen Larsen, APRN-C Brittani Lucin, APRN-C Family Practice Family Practice Family Practice Family Practice Family Practice Family Practice Family Practice Cardiology

Tyler Lindsey, PA-C Family Practice

Corey West, APRN-C Melissa Formella, APRN-C Alexis Nibe, PA-C Family Practice Family Practice Family Practice

Samantha Weston, PA-C Family Practice

Janea Thaler, APRN-C Holly Grisales, APRN-C Family Practice Family Practice

Family Practice Internal Medicine Cardiology Preventive Medicine Geriatrics Auto Accidents Full Service Lab Digital X-Ray Ultrasound 64 Slice CT 1.5 Open Bore MRI Stress Testing COMMUNITY BANK SOAPY’S


Office Direct: 352-368-1350

MRMC Wound Center



BEST DERMATOLOGY Ben Treen, MD Dermatology Mohs’ Surgery

Amber Starling, APRN-C Dermatology

Deb Scott, LPN, LE Aesthetics



2135 SW 19th Ave Rd Ocala, FL 34471

Office Direct: 352-368-1360


Office Direct: 352-368-1340

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Carly Carrion Olmeda, MD Endocrinology

Ana Sanchez Ferreras, MD Internal Medicine

Philip Johnson, MD Women’s Health

Evette Hearn, APRN Women’s Health

www.ocalafmc.com Eduardo Cruz, MD Physical Medicine

Matt Ota, PA-C Deborah Main, DPT Physical Medicine Physical Therapy

Joseph Javier, DPT Kamal Mody, DPT Claudia Guevara, PTA Physical Therapy Physical Therapy Physical Therapy


*Ocala Family Medical Center, Inc. complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.*



1 Annual Duck Derby February 8, 2020 10 am - 2pm st

In conjunction with the Ocala Cattle Drive & Cowboy Roundup Primarily benefiting the Discovery Center plus other Rotary not-for-profits For more information visit: www.MarionDuckDerby.org




looking back

McDuffy's daughter, Caldonia

Impact and Influence


arion County’s African American community demonstrated its strength in tackling adversity from the time of the reconstruction era to the turn of the 20th Century. There were people of influence, whose intrepidity literally and figuratively changed the complexion of Ocala as we know it. Rev. John David McDuffy, or J.D. McDuffy, as he was known, was born in South Carolina during the Civil War but would relocate to Florida sometime before 1896, according to Alonzo Hardy, Unite editor and manager. However, once he decided to make Marion County his home, his impact would resonate within the community for years to come. “It is doubtful if Florida has a more wide-awake and progressive farmer than Mr. McDuffy,” according to an article from the July 29, 1902 edition of the Jacksonville Evening Metropolis. A man renowned for his entrepreneurial spirit, McDuffy would purchase 800 acres, establishing a facility, one where he would markedly improve the property, with the parcel being used for general farming and raising livestock, said Hardy.



He would hold the distinction of being one of the largest farm owners in the state, said Hardy. “He was the largest truck farmer in the state of Florida during the era from the 1880s to the 1890s,” said McDuffy. “He owned more land than anyone in Ocala and Marion County, at the time when he was active. Several times they burned out his businesses.” McDuffy wasn’t only a landowner, farmer, and livery stable owner. He was also extremely civic-minded. McDuffy was also a breeder of blooded draft horses, a number of which he used as part of his livery stable’s drummers van, having conducted business with Washington, PA-based D.K. Jones, who came to Ocala to conduct business with McDuffy, said historical researcher Corey Edwards. He was a stockholder, served as the vice president and sat on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Realty and Investment Co., said Hardy. McDuffy also had the distinction of being a charter member of the local Farmers’ Union and served in the capacity of first vice president of the Florida State Negro Business League. The entrepreneur’s new livery stable in 1899 was also beneficial to the community,

providing high quality rigs, several new vehicles, and a deep volume of saddle horses and street hacks, according to the October 7, 1899 edition of the Ocala Evening Star. He and his brother Jesse were members of the Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church. McDuffy also played an integral role in bringing educator Booker T. Washington to Ocala in 1912. “Although he was a very powerful and successful farmer, most don’t know the connection J.D. McDuffy had, as well as other leaders in Ocala and Marion County, with the Negro leader Booker T. Washington,” said Edwards. “We all know of his connection with fellow businessmen and women helping to found the Metropolitan Investment Company, which had a bank, insurance company, groceries, pharmacy and etc ... here in downtown Ocala.” He was married two or three times and had two children, Henry and Caldonia. McDuffy died on September 10, 1925 in Ocala. IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION or historic photos to share, please contact the Historic Ocala Preservation Society at Hops_admin@historicocala.org.

Photo courtesy of the Historic Ocala Preservation Society


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Ocala Magazine February 2020 Digital Issue  

Ocala Magazine — the ultimate in gracious Central Florida living.

Ocala Magazine February 2020 Digital Issue  

Ocala Magazine — the ultimate in gracious Central Florida living.

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