Ocala Magazine October 2021 issue

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Ocala’s City Magazine Since 1980 Serving the Horse Capital of the World® $5.95


OCT 2021

A River Runs Through It Where we stand after a half-century debate over the Ocklawaha River’s restoration

Escaping Cuba: a harrowing 9-hour swim

Gilbert Gottfried is crossing the line

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October 2021


SEPTEMBER • 2021 FEATURES 16 The Free the Ocklawaha Movement 26 One’s man’s death-defying swim to freedom 34 Comedian Gilbert Godfrey coming to Ocala DEPARTMENTS 10 From the Publisher 12 From the Editor 14 From the Mayor 40 OM Pulse 42 American Family Medical puts ‘family’ in health care 48 Hawthorne Estates: Great independent living

p. 16 photo by Mark Emery

ON THE COVER: The Ocklawaha River Photograph by Ralph Demilio

Ocala’s City Magazine Since 1980 Serving the Horse Capital of the World® $5.95


OCT 2021

A River Runs Through It Where we stand after a half-century debate over the Ocklawaha River’s restoration

Escaping Cuba: a harrowing 9-hour swim

Gilbert Gottfried is crossing the line



51 52 54

EAT Chef Albert Barrett: dinner and drinks Dining Out

57 58 60 62 64 66 68 71

PLAY Comic Con returns Kiwanis Sportsmen’s Dinner Alzheimer’s Walk Warm-up Hometown Heroes Happenings Cornerstone Chili Cook-off Anthology: Poetry in motion

73 EQUINE 74 Halloween and Horses Downtown 79 80 82 86 88 90 92

ETC Charity Spotlight: Wear Gloves Health Journal: Selecting a sunscreen State of the City: Fighting Cybercrime State of the County: Litter Task Force Kiwanis Korner Rotary Circle


Best Overall: Design Bronze Award

Best Overall: Magazine Bronze Award


Best Advertorial “Nirvana” | Bronze Award WRITING EXCELLENCE

Best Writing Dept. “Looking Back” | Bronze Award DESIGN EXCELLENCE

Best Photo Illustration

“Oct 2020 Cover: Spirits in the Material World” | Silver Award Sage words from local culinary experts in barbecue, confection and libation

Consumer magazine. Circulation: 20,000 and under

Call to advertise with us today! Ocalamagazine.com



Volume 41, Issue 4



Ocklawaha river photo by Mark Emery


CELEBRATING OUR 41ST YEAR! Philip Glassman, CCIM | Publisher philip@ocalamagazine.com

Penny Miller | VP/Corporate Development penny@ocalamagazine.com

EDITORIAL Brad Rogers | Editor brad@ocalamagazine.com

ART Jessi Miller | Creative Director jessi@ocalamagazine.com

Duane Schor | Multimedia Director duane@ocalamagazine.com

Carlton Reese | Senior Writer carlton@ocalamagazine.com Sharon Raye | Copy Editor Leighton Okus | Social Correspondant

PHOTOGRAPHY Ralph Demilio | Chief Photographer ralph@ocalamagazine.com

CONTRIBUTORS Louisa Barton | Equine Columnist Stacie Causey/Marion County | Writer Ashley Dobbs/City of Ocala | Writer Mark Emery | Photographer Mayor Kent Guinn | Columnist OPERATIONS Randy Woodruff, CPA | CFO randy@ocalamagazine.com

Ocala Magazine Wins Five 2021 Florida Magazine Association Awards! EDITORIAL OR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES 352.622.2995

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 2021 International Women's Day Celebration EXCLUSIVE MEDIA SPONSOR FOR George Albright Annual Golf Tournament OFFICIAL MEDIA SPONSOR FOR FINE ARTS FOR OCALA


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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 © 2021 by Ocala Magazine Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertising content in any manner without written permission is strictly prohibited. Horse Capital of the World® is a registered trademark of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ & Owners’ Association.




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ocalaelectric.org | 352-629-2489




from the publisher

Ending the cycle of dependency I THINK MOST PEOPLE ARE LIKE ME when they see a homeless person asking for help. Like you, I want to give this person some money to help alleviate some suffering even if in a small way. It is fair to wonder, though, is there a better way to help these people who are down on their luck? The answer comes in this month’s Charity Spotlight, where the focus is on Wear Gloves, an organization that provides help that is more than just a hand-out; it is a pathway to a productive life. These are local citizens helping their local brethren by doing more than just dropping some change in a bucket – they are giving them opportunities to prove their worth in a work environment and feel what it’s like to be a contributor to society while living a life of dignity. The many initiatives of Wear Gloves seek to end the cycle of dependency in which many are trapped. Those of us with a charitable heart often unintentionally perpetuate this cycle through what we feel are the good deeds of giving. By giving someone a meal in that moment or shelter for a night, we have provided some momentary comfort, but in the long run may not actually be helping to turn a person’s life around. Wear Gloves tackles this conundrum of charitable giving by going beyond the momentary needs, attempting to add to the roles of productive citizens in our community by helping them to understand the value of work and the value of themselves. Besides just preparing people for a life in the work force, Wear Gloves sends them off with references and even tracks their progress. Among the initiatives now in place and not mentioned in this month’s article is the new Dignity House, in which mental health and addiction coaching takes place. In most cases, people aren’t homeless simply because they are lazy, but because they struggle with mental illness or addiction and as such the answers are not so simple. A clinical social worker is on hand at Dignity House and beyond the coaching, there will be heart and music therapy, and evening gardening classes. Another factor being addressed here is the management of money as the clients coming through Wear Gloves may be ready for the work force but have little or no experience managing finances or saving money. This is another valuable tool in making sure the cycle of dependency comes to an end. I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO A MORE NORMAL OCTOBER, and that means taking my kids trick-or-treating in the historic district. Of course, last year the trick-or-treating was at a minimum, so we decided to take a trip to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. Not a bad alternative, but this year we are anxious to have a traditional Halloween in which the kids will have a blast. October also means the Fine Arts Festival conducted by FAFO. Just as we missed out on a conventional Halloween in 2020, we missed out on the arts show as well. I have travelled to art shows all over the country and I must say I am impressed more and more each year with what the Ocala festival has to offer. This year, downtown should be teeming with artists and patrons to make this one the best yet. Finally, October means a ‘Happy Birthday!’ shout to my wonderful father. It’s your month, dad – enjoy it!




Wear Gloves: Client Carol Boyer working at Dignity Roasters


from the editor

Big dollars flood into city election campaign


s economic drivers go, it probably didn’t move the needle much on Ocala’s $9 billion economy. As city elections go, however, the fund-raising by candidates on the Sept. 21 city ballot set a new standard for municipal campaign spending. The 14 candidates running for four of the five City Council seats and the two mayoral candidates on the ballot raised a collective $538,811.88 – that, for jobs that pay $200 a month and $550 month, respectively. According to campaign spending reports posted by the Marion County elections office, the mayoral candidates raised an astounding $228,471 — $131,501 for Manal Fakhoury and $96,970 for Mayor Kent Guinn, who was handily returned to office for a sixth two-year term. And all this does not even count tens of thousands of dollars pumped into various campaigns by political actions committees, or PACs, that were working behind the scenes to “educate” voters about the issues. “The amount of money raised in this Ocala City Council election, as it relates to municipal elections, is unprecedented,” said Wesley Wilcox, Marion County’s longtime elections chief. Wilcox’s records show just how unprecedented. In 2015, $50,000 was raised in the mayoral contest. In 2019, it was $57,000. And this year, $228,000. “It was shocking as we moved closer and closer to the election,” Wilcox said. That there were 14 candidates for City Council contributed to the size of the campaign donation haul. Nonetheless, there were some eye-popping individual campaign chests – let’s remember, this is an Ocala City Council election – among the candidates, beyond the mayor’s race. Contractor Barry Mansfield



raised $52,000, Greg Steen hauled in $60,000 and Ty Schlicter took in $46,000. All three were running with the backing of PACs. Jim Hilty, who narrowly beat Steen for the District 5 council seat, and who previously served on the council from 2013 to 2017, raised one-third the amount his opponent did. Did he find the amount raised for this election surprising? “Absolutely! It was insane,” he said. “Not only the money but the sources where it came from. Manal especially. She got money from all over the United States.” Wilcox echoed Hilty’s remarks, noting that more donations from outsiders showed up during this city election. “We saw a lot of people who have interests in Ocala but don’t live in Ocala have an interest in the voting,” he said. Local political consultant and former School Board member Sue Mosley, who represented a number of candidates in the election, said she believes there were two key factors that drove the high-dollar campaign.


The first was Fakhoury, a Muslim who opponents viciously portrayed as everything from a terrorist sympathizer to un-American. Her detractors also harped on her support for liberal national candidates and her backing from outside Ocala. The second factor, Mosely said, was displeasure with City Manager Sandra Wilson’s performance running the city, specifically the permitting process and management of Ocala Electric Utility. When Wilson fired former Fire Chief Shane Alexander for allegedly working with her political opponents, something he denied, it inflamed those opponents even more. “The most heated issue on the table is Sandra,” Mosely said. So, is 2021 Ocala city election a glimpse of the future of all city elections? Jay Thompson, associate professor of political at the College of Central Florida, thinks it’s might be. “I wish I had great wisdom in this regard, but the reality is we’ve seen more and more money in politics,” he said. There is more wealth, Thompson said, and candidates are utilizing more expensive means of spreading their message, everything from mailers to online campaigns to political consultants. Gone are the days of town square political rallies and knocking on doors. “The way we campaign for office today has changed, it really has,” Thompson said. And costs a lot more.


from the

October means Ocala Arts Festival BY MAYOR KENT GUINN


t’s hard not to love October in Ocala. The brisk, fall weather is reason enough to love this time of year, but it’s also when one of our community’s signature events takes place: The Ocala Arts Festival, now in its 55th year. In 1966, the first Ocala Arts Festival began at the behest of a small group of citizens and that later led to the formation of the Fine Arts For Ocala organization, which has flourished in the decades since and helped make Ocala the arts destination it has grown into today. In my estimation, this may be the most anticipated festival we’ve had. With the 2020 Ocala Arts Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, it’s been two years since the festival appeared in downtown Ocala and the pent up demand for this event is high. Something new this year is the hotel, which should make for an extra element adding to the already-strong vibe for this event. All the artists from around the state and country will be here, able to take up lodging right next to their exhibits. I think about what a great experience it will be for any of the 25,000 visitors to spend some time on the second-floor terrace, looking down at the festival, certainly adding a new element. When I think of this festival and organizations like FAFO or the Marion Cultural Alliance, I think about how important this art vibe is to Ocala, not just because it is a good time for everybody but also because it is part of what makes Ocala attractive for businesses who may want to relocate here. At different event as part of my mayoral duties I’ve heard three different components that concern companies. The first concern normally has to do with a city’s downtown – companies desire a city with a vibrant, flourishing downtown because it reflects on the rest of the city. The second concern is a quality education system and the third concern is that a weak arts community reflects poorly on that town. On these points, I know we can check off all three: Our downtown is doing amazing as is the rest of the community, our education system is doing great with a wonderful new superintendent that is helping to move us in the right direction, and our arts community has never been more vibrant, creative and prolific. Ocala has never been more attractive for businesses than at this very moment and this year’s Ocala Arts Festival will provide some of the reasons why. The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 23-24 at the downtown square. Over 150 artists from all over the country will be there to display and sell their art as well as compete for some of the $22,000 in award money. There will be live entertainment on two stages: Citizens Circle and the Downtown Gazebo. While enjoying and purchasing art, visitors will also be able to take advantage of all the downtown restaurants and pubs as well as other food vendors and food trucks that will be parked at Citizens Circle. It was 41 years ago that I went to this festival on a first date with the woman who would be my wife, creating fond memories and a special place in my heart for this event. Today, the event continues to get better and bigger, just like the great town in which we live.



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A River For a half-century a war of words has been waged over restoring the fabled Ocklawaha River. Now, the river’s advocates have united and ramped up the conversation. BY BRAD ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK EMERY



he Ocklawaha River has long fascinated those who have travailed its tea-colored waters. Its cool, winding currents and lush tree canopies make it beautiful and tranquil, a spectacular slice of real Florida. The steamboats that first introduced the outside world to the Ocklawaha – en route to Silver Springs – in the 19th century lured a president (Ulysses S Grant), a president’s widows(Mary Todd Lincoln) and writers from across the land, including Harriet Beecher Stowe. Once railroads and highways were built, however, the Ocklawaha’s days as a tourist byway were gone, and it became just another remote river in rural North Florida. Then came the Cross Florida Barge Canal, and in 1968 the construction of the Rodman Dam and the 9,500-acre Rodman Reservoir, also called Lake Ocklawaha. The reservoir was intended to be a staging area for ships and barges waiting to go through the canal locks to the St. Johns River. The dam immediately became an environmental flashpoint, the seed for Florida’s modern environmental movement and the source of a debate that has gone back and forth for more than 50 years between those advocating restoring the river to its natural state and those who want to keep the reservoir as it is. From the outset, restoration advocates contended the dam should be breached because it disrupts the flow of fresh water springs, blocks large numbers of key species of fish and manatee from migrating in and out of the Ocklawaha and Silver Springs and destroys forests and wetlands along the reservoir’s shores and the flooded river’s banks. Rodman Reservoir supporters, meanwhile, say the dam and reservoir have created an entirely new ecosystem over the years that produce their own environmental benefits, including a potential future drinking water source and economic benefits for Putnam County as one of the nation’s most popular bass fishing holes. For most of the five decades of debate, the argument for restoration centered largely on the Rodman Dam, the reservoir and the Ocklawaha. Marjorie Harris Carr, who founded Florida Defenders of the Environment in the late 1960’s, led the initial charge to restore the Ocklawaha to its natural state. She sued in



federal court to achieve that objective and won, ultimately leading President Richard Nixon to defund the Cross Florida Barge Canal Project in 1971, declaring it “potentially environmentally damaging.” Work on the canal stopped almost instantly, never to resume. But the Rodman Dam and reservoir remained … and remain. And so, does the pitched debate over restoration of the river. CHANGING THE CONVERSATION From the start, the argument has largely centered on Carr’s initial key point: the dam damaged nature by flooding the river and its wetlands and forests, causing harm to water resources, fish and wildlife and the river itself. The Ocklawaha should be returned to its natural state. Over the years that argument won its share of support. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection backed restoration early on. So did Govs. Askew, Graham, Martinez, Bush and Crist. The St. Johns River Water Management District has weighed in, mostly in support of restoration. And the U.S. Forest Service has supported restoration.



Yet, the dam and reservoir remain because their supporters have maintained powerful friends in the Legislature. The dam was officially renamed the George Kirkpatrick Dam after the state senator who was an avid fisherman and the reservoir’s biggest proponent in the Florida Senate. How big? When he died in 2003, there was a “Save the Rodman” bumper sticker placed on his coffin. Through the years of lawsuits, environmental studies and agency reviews, the argument remained largely unchanged. In 2019, it changed. Led by Ocalan Margaret Spontak, some 60 environmental, community and business groups came together to form the Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition for Everyone, aka FORCE, with the intent of showing the public and politicians that, after all these years, the argument is really about more than just a river and a dam. “We didn’t want this to be an us-andthem thing,” said Spontak, whose brother, John Hankinson, was a noted environmental lawyer and advocate who, before he died

in 2017, asked her to keep the fight for the Ocklawaha alive. “I’ve tried to change the conversation – let’s all work together to end up with a brighter future for everyone. We’ve really tried to change the narrative.” That meant looking at the ripple effects of restricting the Ocklawaha’s flow beyond the river’s basin and to see if the river had more economic potential than that claimed by the Save the Rodman contingent. “I’ve learned that this is a greater issue than the dam and the reservoir,” said Chris Farrell, Northeast Florida policy associate for Audubon Florida. “It’s much more than a local issue and it’s much more than an environmental issue.” FORCE has built its advocacy on four things: the positive environmental impact of restoring the Ocklawaha; its potential positive economic impacts; multiple state reports showing the dam is past its lifespan and unsafe; and the effects keeping the Ocklawaha dammed has on other waterways, including the Silver River and Silver Springs, the St. Johns River, the 100-mile-long St. Johns Es-

“We didn’t want this to be an us-and-them thing. I’ve tried to change the conversation – let’s all work together to end up with a brighter future for everyone. We’ve really tried to change the narrative.” —Margaret Spontak, Free the Ocklawaha Coalition for Everyone

tuary and 20 springs that are submerged and choked off by the flooding caused by the dam. Moreover, Spontak points out that much of what FORCE and other Ocklawaha restoration supporters seek falls perfectly in line with the priorities of the Florida Legislature. Specifically, she notes that legislative priorities that would be served by restoration include: Water resource improvement: Removing the dam, FORCE says, would augment freshwater flow and improve the oxygen and nutrient levels in the waters of the Ocklawaha and the St. Johns. Flood resiliency: The Rodman Dam is in need of major repairs, and if it should break, there would be tens of millions of dollars in property damage. Managed breaching of the dam would prevent this. Florida Wildlife Corridor: Removal of the dam would restore 7,500 acres of forested wetlands that would open a link to the Florida Wildlife Corridor and create new habitat and migratory pathways for everything from bears to panthers to wild turkeys.

Springs restoration: Twenty “lost springs” would be uncovered if the river was restored and the dam breached. Allowing them to flow freely again, FORCE writes, “would be the most significant springs restoration project currently available.” Restoration would also be a huge benefit to helping ailing Silver Springs. Manatee habitat: While some manatees have managed to get through the dam and into the reservoir in recent years, restoration advocates say opening the river would bring hundreds of manatees into the Ocklawaha and Silver Springs at a time when the state is seeing a record number of manatee deaths. “The benefits of this project, the myriad environmental benefits plus the economic potential of it are huge,” said Jim Gross, executive director of the Florida Defenders of the Environment in Gainesville. “I don’t know of another project that has this bang for the buck that’s ready to go.” THE ECONOMIC POSSIBILITIES For years, those opposing taking down Rod-

man Dam have argued that the reservoir has become a major economic driver for rural, economically depressed Putnam County. Ranked among the nation’s best bass fishing spots, the Rodman attracts major fishing tournaments and flotillas of anglers. But the river restoration advocates say Putnam County is shortchanging itself. That, if the dam were breached and the river restored, the potential for ecotourism dollars flowing into both Putnam and Marion County would grow exponentially. A 2017 study by University of Florida faculty found that restoration and the opening of the river to more than fishing – to camping, canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding, for example – would lead to a 28 percent increase in visitors the first year, without any additional infrastructure like picnic areas, boardwalks, restrooms and swimming areas. “It’ll be way more than that because they did not factor in new recreational infrastructure,” Spontak said. “This is going to be a kayaking wonderland.” In addition to the 7,500 acres of wood-



lands that would be uncovered, the 20 springs and 16 miles of new riverbank fishing that restoration would open up, scientists working with FORCE say removal of the dam would bring large numbers of manatees upstream from the St. Johns in search of food and, importantly, warm water areas during the winter. Gross of the Florida Defenders of the Environment sees the potential for manatee viewing as a major draw for tourists. He cited Volusia County’s “Volusia Blue Spring,” located near Orange City, as an example of the popularity of manatees. “People are turned away from Volusia Blue because it’s too crowded,” he said. “And people would rather see the manatees in a natural environment than at any power plant.” There seems little doubt among scientists who study them that removing the Rodman Dam would be a boon for manatees in the Ocklawaha and Silver Rivers, and especially Silver Springs. “We would have hundreds and hundreds of manatees in there if the dam wasn’t there,” said Bob Knight, director of the Florida Springs Institute and an expert on Silver Springs ecology. “They’re starving out there.” Spontak, Knight and others agree that Marion County would likely benefit as much or maybe more from have the dam being removed because of the detrimental impact it has had on fish and plants since it was erected in 1968. More than 90 percent of the fish population Silver Springs once had are gone. Manatees rarely make it to Silver Springs. The absence of mullet and other algae eaters have worsened the impact of algae on underwater grasses in Silver Springs and the Silver River. Dr. Stephen Holland, professor emeritus for the UF Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sports Management who helped conduct the tourism study, believes restoring the river would not only increase visitor headcounts by more than one-quarter but also generate some $3 million a year to the local economy — and that’s just to start. That, he added, would grow year after year as more people learned about the area and its offerings and more recreational opportunities emerged. “It’s going to take time to ramp up,” Holland said. “But in five or 10 years, it will ramp up.” Holland said what is surprising is not



‘The benefits of this project, the myriad environmental benefits plus the economic potential of it are huge. I don’t know of another project that has this bang for the buck that’s ready to go.’ Jim Gross, executive director of the Florida Defenders of the Environment

the economic potential of the river and its environs, but the fact that nobody has sought to capitalize on them to date. Moreover, Holland said if the state were to invest in infrastructure for the new recreation areas -- again, things like picnic shelters, campgrounds, manatee viewing areas, woodland boardwalks, restrooms and possibly overnight cabins — the growth of

tourism to the area would be even more. Besides the manatees, restoration advocates also believe fishing would be as big or bigger. With the dam gone and native fish able to easily move into the Ocklawaha, there would be an explosion of fish species that once inhabited its waters, including striped bass, American shad, sturgeon, striped mullet and channel catfish.

Photo by Ralph Demilio

‘I’m not willing to let our ecosystem and way of life be destroyed because they don’t like it. In my opinion, they’re not environmentalists.’ Larry Harvey, executive director of Save Rodman Reservoir

Lisa Rinaman of Jacksonville, the St. Johns Riverkeeper and a FORCE member, said removing the dam and restoring the river will present many more recreational opportunities for many more people, and that’s the objective of restoration proponents. And it’s not just about Putnam and Marion counties. “As this part of the state continues to grow, the Ocklawaha will create a wonderful destination celebrating everything a natural flowing system can be,” she said. “… I think it’s really exciting what this means to North Central and Northeast Florida.” And the cost of this restoration, that is, the investment required to get the river restored so it can be what FORCE members say it can be? An estimated $25 million. Now, that does not include building any park facilities, any boat ramps, any hiking trails. Some think that over time the Ocklawaha could become a destination for outdoors lovers from across the country. Ed Lowe is among them. “Historically, the Ocklawaha had riverboats going up and down the river and

people were coming from all over the United States,” said Lowe, former director of environmental science for the St. Johns River Water Management District. “And I think that would return. “A good case can be made that a lot of the downturn of Silver Springs can be attributed to the severing of the Ocklawaha.” It’s a point not lost on Spontak, the Ocala resident. “Silver Springs has been seriously damaged by the dam,” she said. “We need Marion County residents to understand that this could possibly benefit Marion County even more than Putnam County.” “This is not a Putnam-only issue,” she added. “In fact, there is more Marion County land in the impoundment area than in Putnam.” IT’S NOT JUST A RIVER, IT’S A SYSTEM A key part of FORCE’s argument for removing the dam and restoring the Ocklawaha is that the damage done by the Rodman affects more than the 74-mile Ocklawaha. It has led to them dubbing the initiative “The

Great Florida Riverway.” The lack of recognition that the Ocklawaha being harmed is detrimental to far more than the Ocklawaha frustrates Lowe. “Here we are, decades after this project was deemed environmentally unacceptable,” he said. “So, why can’t we get this done?” “I see this like an amputation. We cut off one of the main arteries of the river system, and here we are, we can’t get this done.” One of the main arteries of the river system. FORCE and its bevy of scientists like Lowe argue that by cutting off the natural flow of the Ocklawaha, it’s the water bodies that feed into the Ocklawaha and those the Ocklawaha feeds into are diminished measurably. They say because of the damming of the Ocklawaha, Silver Springs has lost the vast majority of its fish, which are vital to keeping the springs healthy. The say the St. Johns Estuary, which runs 100 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the mouth of the Ocklawaha, is harmed because restricting the flow of the freshwater river alters the salinity of the St. Johns and the South Atlantic Bight at the mouth of the St. Johns, which is a major fishery for the country. Then there are the 20 springs that are drowned, with their estimated to 200 million gallons of freshwater a day and recreational potential. Lowe said the Ocklawaha is “intimately connected” to the St. Johns and the Bight because its waterflow is important to maintaining a healthy salinity in the estuary. “You have to view this from at least the Southeast United States,” he said. “I think people have limited the focus to the reservoir. “You know, the Everglades is a big deal for the state of Florida. Everybody gets it. But the Ocklawaha River always seems to come down to Putnam County.” The Ocklawaha’s headwaters start in the Green Swamp and Lake Apopka west of Orlando and winds their way through the Harris Chain of Lakes in Lake County and into Marion County, past the Silver River to the Rodman Reservoir. “It’s just a total gain for Marion County,” Spontak said. “Because this is a state issue. This is some of the best water resources in the state.” The St. Johns water district acknowledged as much in the early 2000’s when they



sought a possible “alternative” water source for growing Orlando. They identified the Ocklawaha River because its water was the cleanest in the region. “We know what to do and how to do it,” Lowe said. He cited Lake Apopka, which was once deemed “a dead lake.” The water district created a 20,000-acre wetland habitat and over time the lake healed, and birds and fish are plentiful there now. WHAT’S IN THE REPORTS? The lack of real restoration is not for lack of public discourse. Over the years, there have been plenty of scientific assessments, environmental impact studies and white papers about the feasibility of restoring the Ocklawaha. FORCE points to them repeatedly as evidence a free-flowing Ocklawaha is best for the environment and now the economy. In 1995, then-Gov. Lawton Chiles ordered the restoration process to proceed. Two years later the Florida Department of Environmental Protection would submit a permit request to the St. John water district for review and approval. Others were submitted over the years until 2016, when the last one was submitted to SJRWMD, where it has remained without action. A 2001 U.S. Department of Agriculture environmental impact statement recommended what it called “partial restoration.” It called for returning the river to its natural and historical flow, but not removing the unfinished Eureka Lock and breaching, not removing, the Rodman Dam. It seemed like a good compromise, even to ardent restoration backers. Casey Fitzgerald, a FORCE member and the former director of the springs initiative for the St. Johns district, has been following the Ocklawaha controversy since his days as a student at UF, when he volunteered in Marjorie Carr’s office stuffing envelopes. He sees partial restoration and its estimated $25 million and its $25 million pricetag as a practical solution. Under partial restoration, water quality will improve as the uncovered springs start flowing. Some 7,500 acres of forested watershed will be created. Fish and manatees will return to the Ocklawaha and Silver Rivers in numbers. The reservoir’s massive water weed problem will be



To restore or not?

The St. Johns River Water Management District is seeking comments from the public regarding the proposed restoration of the Ocklawaha River. To comment, going online to the water district website at https://floridaswater.formstack.com/forms/rodman eliminated, thereby doing away with the need for heavy spraying of herbicides. Silver Springs will be healthier. New economic opportunities will be created for the community. In short, most of the objectives of restoration advocates would be met. “It really would be something special,” Fitzgerald said. And it would be a bargain, he added. Fitzgerald worked on the Kissimmee River Restoration project. That was a much more complicated restoration because the river had been straightened, nonetheless the total cost was $800 million … for half the river. Of the proposed partial restoration of the Ocklawaha, he said, “You get 95 percent of the benefits under partial restoration.” THE OTHER SIDE Ask Larry Harvey what he thinks about FORCE’s new narrative or conciliatory approach and he scoffs. Harvey is executive director of Save Rodman Reservoir, a Palatka-based group whose goal is “to educate the public on the merits of the reservoir and its wetlands as an aquatic wildlife habitat.” Harvey is also a

Putnam County commissioner. “I’m not willing to let our ecosystem and way of life be destroyed because they don’t like it,” he said. “In my opinion, they’re not environmentalists.” Like the restoration advocates, Harvey agrees the issue is bigger than the dam and the reservoir. “It’s a lot bigger than Lake Ocklawaha,” he said. “Truly, at the end of the day its 21 billion gallons of fresh water, 19 feet above sea level. Like it or not, it’s its own ecosystem.” Harvey said there are streams, wetlands and lakes in western Putnam County that are now linked to the Rodman and draining it would be devastating to them. Moreover, he is steadfast that the reservoir could serve drinking water needs for a growing Florida, even though water management officials have never deemed it as such in their long-term water supply plans. “Our system is working and there’s no reason to change it,” Harvey said. Beyond being a source for drinking water, Harvey believes it is time to consider engineering the dam so it can produce hydroelectric power.

Besides, he said, draining the reservoir will cause more problems than it will solve. “To think you can pull the plug on the dam and everything is hunky dory is not going to happen. It’s all interconnected.” Harvey believes that FORCE is seeking common ground and “changing the narrative” because so many such groups have failed to win on the issue in the courts. “If they’d won the lawsuits, they wouldn’t be seeking common ground,” he said. “I think their conversation changed because they lost the lawsuits.” “At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to 21 billion gallons of water.” Harvey said the Rodman Reservoir has been in place for 53 years, and in that time, it has changed the ecology of the Ocklawaha River, and he does not believe it can be brought back to the way it was. “I only know the environment I know,” he said. “I cannot go back and return Florida to the way it was. “Besides, our data shows that we’re filtering the water before it goes over the dam and down to the St. Johns.” WHERE DO THINGS STAND For now, Spontak and her fellow FORCE

members have been lobbying lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis hoping to get their endorsement for restoration and funding from the state. In a letter to DeSantis earlier this year, Spontak wrote: “The defining moment is here. The dam is past its life expectancy, safety is a concern, and repairs would cost millions. Rodman Reservoir use has gone down by an average of 3,627 visitor parties per year since 2010. Invasive aquatic plants, herbicides and muck are building up. Status quo is not a viable, responsible option. Breaching the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam paired with transformational recreation infrastructure is the optimum solution. “Where else can you restore 15,000 acres of wetland forests, generate 156-276 million gallons a day of natural water flow, uncover 20 springs, reclaim a wildlife corridor and migratory route for fish, shellfish, and manatees, and help restore three rivers and one of the largest artesian springs in the world with one project?” She is waiting on a response and hopes it will come in the upcoming legislative session. But FORCE members are encouraged. “I am more hopeful,” Lowe said. “I think the increasing emphasis on economic impact is important. And I think the science is stronger than ever.” “There is economic sense in it and environmental sense in it,” said Gross of the Florida Defenders of the Environment. Finally, the St. Johns River Water Management District last week opened a portal to

Ocklawaha BY ROBIN F. GRAY

From Jan. 1, 1912 edition of the Ocala Evening Star

I know a river very fair, Where blended into one Are topaz, emerald – all it seems, And Heaven’s reflected sapphire gleams Flings answer to the sun And gazing down its pensive, winding route An almost fairyland it seems to me As from a ripple leaps a trout In opalescent jewelry. I know a river fair to see, ‘Neath murmuring shades of pines, Midst most entrancing panopy Of verdant clinging vines Speaks to me in a voice so sweet Toward its shaded brink I fain would turn my weary steps And resting there, its beauty drink.

receive comments from the public regarding the proposed restoration of the Ocklawaha River by going online to the water district website at https://floridaswater.formstack. com/forms/rodman




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Swimming to Freedom Al Dominguez withstood nine hours in the waters of Guantanamo Bay enroute to escaping Castro's Cuba





s young Al Dominguez swam Guantanamo Bay in the dark of night, his mind began to play tricks on him. Every ripple of a wave appeared as a shark fin and every nudge on his leg was surely to be followed by the clamping down of a predator’s jaws. His fears nearly overcame him, and likely would have, were it not for his insatiable thirst for freedom. The year was 1965 and Dominguez, who is now enjoying retirement in Ocala after a successful career as a landscape architect, had decided life under Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was no life at all. At age 15, Dominguez made the extraordinary decision to swim the bay and reach the American military base where he could escape the communist regime that had taken power in Cuba just five years earlier. The story of Dominguez’ journey is told in Terry L. Clark’s book, “Swim to the Light: One Man’s Journey to Freedom,” and recounts idyllic days in Cuba before Castro’s takeover, the horrors of the Cuban Revolution, his family’s unsuc-

cessful attempts at earlier escape and, most dramatically, the swim across the dark bay. He would spend nine hours in the water, at times bumping into jelly fish and constantly under the real threat of shark attack. Cuban patrol boats and eventually the strafe of bullets around him meant threats to his life existed below and above the water. “I think the most harrowing part was when the (patrol) boat came over,” Dominguez says of his watery escape in which search lights from the boats were nearing him and his companion Rafael, making the swim together. “We had to dive in that darkness and be under water trying to hold your breath and you hear the engine go over. You hold your breath until you feel you can’t anymore, then you come up for air.” Coming up for air meant the risk of being spotted by the patrol boats, which certainly would have meant getting shot and left for dead in the water. When he did come up for air, the boat had passed and Rafael was nowhere in sight. He would be alone for the rest of the swim. Before his daring escape, Dominguez

"You hold your breath until you feel you can’t anymore, then you come up for air.”



had experienced a wonderful childhood in which he traveled the entire island with his family. He visited his grandparents’ farm where they would swim in the lakes, go camping and do most of the things children do for fun in the outdoors. “It was a beautiful paradise to me,” said Dominguez, who claims all his memories of Cuba are as vivid today as they were then. “We understood that (Fulgencio) Batista was a dictator, but we had a wonderful life until the last year and a half before Castro took over when things really got ugly.” The final year and a half of the Batista regime meant war on the home front and tight control of the citizenry. Gunfire would often ravage the city and one day Dominguez and his sister were caught in the middle of it all while walking home from school. Amid the gunfire, he and his sister were able to crawl to a nearby house that offered protection. At that moment, Dominguez’ mother decided it was time to leave the city of Guantanamo and head for their grandparents’ farm where there was no fighting. This meant sneaking out of the city in the middle of the night and making the trek by foot, which would take over a week. “The farm was absolutely heaven. To me, that was absolutely beautiful, and that was taken away. “It was not immediately taken away – the first year of Castro, he never declared himself communist. It was after the (1961) invasion of the Bay of Pigs that he tightened up and made life impossible.” At one point after Castro had garnered power, the family moved to the city of Moron, in Camaguey, located in the north central part of Cuba. There, his mother was informed of a nearby port where Cubans could flee by boat to the Bahamas. This became Dominguez’ first attempt at escaping the island and turned into another disappointment. Word of his family’s attempt to flee by boat had been heard by the authorities. Instead of a boat coming to pick them up, the family was greeted by Castro’s military personnel. The family hid in a small shack which the soldiers surrounded and demanded their exit. With arms over their heads, the family walked out of the shack like prisoners of war. For several days, each member of the family was interrogated by soldiers at a near-



Guantanamo Bay Photo: Shutterstock

by house. Al and his sister were eventually released, but the mother was sent to jail where she stayed for two months until the authorities figured she was of no threat. Before his swim to freedom, Dominguez trained and practiced in the water for weeks. During his training he befriended Rafael, who was five years older and planned on swimming to the U.S. base on Guantanamo Island – they decided they would make the trip together. During the swim, Dominguez had been told to swim in the direction of the channel then head toward the light on the other side of the bay. After escaping the patrol boat and navigating the jelly fish, the shoreline was near but with more danger awaiting. Dominguez would hear the cracking of guns from Cuban patrol towers on the shore. Soon, he would hear the bullets splashing into the water around him. “We knew of people that had been killed. The Cubans wouldn’t pick you up – they would shoot you and the sharks would take care of the rest.”

Al Dominguez, age 9 in military uniform Photo courtesy: Al Dominguez

Thankfully, the Americans could also hear the gunshots. “Once they started shooting, the American side knew they were trying to kill the people that were trying to escape,” Dominguez recalls. “That’s when the American side would turn on this huge floodlight and blind the Cubans so they could not aim directly at the people – they were randomly shooting.”

“We understood that (Fulgencio) Batista was a dictator, but we had a wonderful life until the last year and a half before Castro took over when things really got ugly.”



He increased the intensity of swimming and eventually made it beyond the range of the bullets. Exhausted and cold, there seemed to not be enough strength in him to carry on. Then, he heard those beautiful words: “Tama el salbavida!” (Take the life saver). It was an American standing on a pier, throwing a flotation device to him. Dominguez made it safely to shore and once there saw dozens of others who had made the same swim. Among them, to Al’s great relief, was Rafael. He’s not sure how many were killed that night making the attempt and U.S. army personnel exclaimed there were more in the water that needed to be saved. To go through such a traumatic experience, Dominguez says was worth every second. “I had no choice; I definitely did not want to live in that completely depressing environment,” he said. “I knew what freedom was, as my mom had been in the U.S. and came back, and she explained what it’s like.” Once safely on shore, American servicemen attended to Dominguez, who was suffering from hypothermia – he had been in the water nearly nine hours during the month of October. He would be treated in a clinic then flown to Miami where he telephoned his aunt who was living in Orlando. She hurried to Miami and picked up the young Dominguez and brought him back to central Florida with her. All the while, Dominguez’ mother had finally secured papers to leave Cuba and return to the United States through Mexico. She had no idea where her son was and knew she would eventually make the trip without him. At this point, the aunt arranged a phone call to inform Dominguez’ mother that he was safe in the U.S. “My aunt told me not to say, ‘Hi, mommy!’ or anything,” Dominguez remembers of the phone call. “That’s when my aunt said, ‘I have a dear friend here with me that wants to say ‘Hi.’’ I said, ‘Hi, Olga!’ and my mom immediately recognized my voice. We heard her drop the phone and she fell on the floor screaming because she couldn’t believe it. “She was leaving Cuba with a broken heart, thinking I was staying behind and that she might never see me.” He would soon see his mother, but by this time Dominguez’ father was completely out of the picture, having divorced his moth-



Al Dominguez at home with his wife, Beth

er when he was age 7. His father was a supporter of Castro and even before the collapse of the Batista regime had been very distant with his family. Estranged from his father, once Dominguez reached the United States, he knew he would never be able to make peace with him. “During the wonderful times I had with my family, my father was never there,” Dominguez said. “Once we left, he said we might as well be dead. “The thing that hurts so much is that the communists believe in the breakdown of the family and our family became divided.” Dominguez said he was never able to make peace with his father, but that he has done so in his heart. “That was very painful

– I did some therapy in trying to heal from that pain.” Dominguez parlayed his love for the outdoors and strong work ethic into a degree from the University of Florida and that led to his career in ornamental horticulture. He remembers the drive from Gainesville to Orlando and how the country in between especially intrigued him. “I always took the off-roads traveling the central part of Florida and I fell in love with this area. It’s more rolling, more country; the horse farms and the lakes are beautiful. I said, ‘This is it! I don’t want to go back to Orlando or south Florida.” Answering the rural siren call of Marion County, Dominguez went to work for

“Every single day, I praise the Lord. My life is incredible – what I’ve experienced, I’ve been so blessed.”

Al Dominguez enjoying his garden

Richard Kesselring at Green Tree Nursery in Ocala. That marked the first step in a great career in landscape architecture, from which he only recently retired. “Every single day, I praise the Lord,” Dominguez says. “My life is incredible – what I’ve experienced, I’ve been so blessed.” In July, Cuban people took to the streets in defiance of the government. Demonstrators chanting “Down with the dictatorship!” spurred some hope among people in the U.S., especially those of Cuban descent. But Dominguez does not share that optimism – he knows where the Cuban government’s priority rests, in maintaining its stranglehold on the people. “They squashed it so hard,” Dominguez assesses the current situation in Cuba, where hundreds have been detained, police are staking out homes of activists and fear is gripping the population as the crackdown seems far from over. “I have friends that go

(to Cuba) because they still have children and grandchildren there, and they come back with nightmare stories. With COVID, they are in complete lockdown. The entire week you are allowed one day out to go shopping. If they catch you outside, they beat you up and fine you a huge amount of money, and if you can’t pay, they throw you in jail. “(The government) Has total control of the island – you cannot move anywhere. There are no firearms or anything that the people have that can help them.” These days, Dominguez often finds himself perusing Google Earth, looking at the current images of all the places he used to visit as a boy. The memories return in vivid fashion and the emotions quickly swell as he hearkens back to grand times as a child. The images he sees break his heart. “It’s so painful. I see how destroyed, how ugly everything is.” Dominguez has promised himself that

he will only continue to look forward and not dwell on the past. He is an American and has no desire to ever return to Cuba, at least as long as the communists maintain control there. “I don’t want to go back, never.” Dominguez says he tasted enough of what life is like under communism during his time under Castro and even during visits to Eastern Europe before the collapse of the Soviet Union. “When I was in Europe, especially Romania and Bulgaria, it brought back memories of Cuba, how horrible and destroyed it was,” Dominguez said. “I cried. I told my wife: ‘This just breaks my heart; I feel like I’m walking in Cuba.’ “I know when I arrived in this country, here in Florida, I swore right there I would never look back. Unless that nation becomes free again, I don’t ever want to step in there.” For the man who swam Guantanamo Bay to freedom, life has turned out pretty well. “I’m so blessed. The thing that always helped me through these tough times was my belief in Christ. He never left me and saved me from the bondage of communism.”




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n every street corner, there seems to be lurking a nosy Karen searching for something to offend her, and all over the internet virtue-signaling millennials trolling for their next prey to be burned at the stake of political correctness. In the crosshairs, you find the most vulnerable in this current era of insufferable outward piety and self-aggrandizement: the comic. The comic, whose job has forever been to make people laugh at human foibles and cast a cynical eye toward people and institutions of power, is fast becoming an endangered species … at least the funny ones, that is. To tell a good joke is to risk offending, and today, offending someone can be a capital offense. Enter Gilbert Gottfried – appearing at The Reilly Arts Center for a standup performance on Nov. 6 – who takes the ultimate risk every time he speaks into the microphone with his trademark voice that is at the same time shrill, gravelly and grating, yet rhythmic in its delivery. His act goes into the realm of blue, and long ago he quit trying

to tame it for the sake of insecure audiences. “George Carlin once said, ‘it’s the duty of every comedian to find out where the line is crossed and deliberately cross over it,’” said Gottfried, whose prolific career has taken him from stand-up stages to Saturday Night Live, to Comedy Central Celebrity Roast star, to voice actor perhaps known best for his roles as Iago in the movie “Aladdin” and as the Aflac duck of commercial fame. He once poked fun at Pam Anderson’s southerly private region during a roast of David Hasselhoff, saying that it “moved around like those inflatable men at the car lots,” but the only repercussion to that was Anderson whispering in his ear, “I hate you.” Other times, his “deliberate crossing of the line” cost him his job, and that doesn’t even include his firing at the hands of Donald Trump on “Celebrity Apprentice.” His jokes following the 2011 tsunami in Japan started a Twitter firestorm that eventually led to his firing from Aflac. “I didn’t know it at the time that Aflac did about 80 percent of their business in Japan,” said Gottfried, who claims he read

e n i L e h t

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d e i r f t t o G rt e b l i G n a i Comed fearless comedy brings his cala show to O N REESE


Photo courtesy of Dara Gottfried



e k i l s ’ t i , w “No y before I sa I anything, . e c i w t k n i h t d Then I win t i g n i y a s up anyway.” about his firing on the internet. “I’ve gotten in trouble and lost so many jobs over the years.” Such is the life of a comedian who eschews the PC zeitgeist and barrels ahead full steam. A good comic can’t resist a good line, no matter the ill-timing, such as his famous remark during a celebrity roast just several weeks after the 9/11 attacks: “I had to catch a flight to California. I couldn’t get a direct flight – they said they had to stop at the Empire State Building first.” “Now, it’s like before I say anything, I think twice,” Gottfried explains. “Then I wind up saying it anyway. “It’s a very peculiar time period.” Gottfried recalls an appearance on the Stephen Colbert show where he was filmed in a blonde wig and people took offense. “Comics have been dressing up as women since before Shakespeare. I got a couple of angry tweets saying this was a vicious attack on the transgender community. Didn’t they see “Tootsie” or “Some Like it Hot?” On “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, Gottfried once dressed as Yoda but so far no word on whether the Tridactyls community on Dagobah has pushed for Gottfried’s cancellation. Gottfried admits he “crosses the line” from time to time, but that it’s part of the job. “You don’t want to go on a roller coaster where they advertise, ‘well, it moves very slowly, and there aren’t any sudden drops or turns.’ You want to feel like you’re going to die on a roller coaster. And when you watch a scary movie, you want to watch someone’s head get chopped off, jump up and scream and then laugh when you realize it’s okay.” Gottfried’s brand of humor will be at



Gottfried's blonde wig appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

full throttle when he comes to Ocala. His comedy ventures into the topical, the blue, the poignant, and, naturally, the vulgar. It’s all part of his quest to challenge boundaries and provide shock value that is increasingly in short supply, even for audiences who still crave it. And he promises it will be timely. “There’s original material and there’s plenty of old stuff,” Gottfried said. “Sometimes I’m up there and I’ll realize it’s time to write something new, like when I ask the audience, ‘Hey, how many of you watch ‘Bonanza’?” For Gottfried, who has been flayed and fired in the past for jokes deemed insensitive, there is no other way to be a real comedian than to provide shock value. For him, the line that shouldn’t be crossed is a line that simply does not exist. “I’m sure there will be (blue material) – I can’t avoid it after a while. Do I cross the line? I’ll find out when I realize there’s some lawsuit or I lose my job, but I feel like there are no more jobs to lose.” He says at an early age he knew he wanted to be in show business, thus began his comedic career as a teenager growing up in Brooklyn. His sister took the 15-year-old Gottfried to a Manhattan club on an openmic night … and he’s never stopped. “I may have bombed and not known it – I’m too stupid to know,” Gottfried says. “I think I must have done okay because I wasn’t traumatized the first time.” A rising star of the nightclubs of the 1970s, Gottfried landed a spot on the SNL cast in 1980 and since has logged 60 movie credits, hundreds of television credits, nu-

merous commercial gigs and has been a fixture of video game voice-overs. In 2014, he added to his repertoire “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast” that can be heard on Sirius XM Channel 94 or at gilbertpodcast.com. Gottfried is even selling personal messages online at cameo.com/gilbertgottfried. There, one can solicit Gottfried to send a personal happy birthday shout, wedding greeting, or a chops-busting message to a friend. Such work is in stark contrast to some of the earlier moments in his career. He keeps as a reminder of the oft-humbling world that is show business, a frame of a royalty check he once received for one cent. “It was for the movie ‘Mom and Dad Save the World,’ and I don’t even think they used me in the picture,” Gottfried recalled. “I put (the residual check) in a frame with a fortune from a Chinese restaurant that said,

Who: Gilbert Gottfried What: Comedy Show Where: The Reilly Arts Center When: 7:30 p.m. November 6 Iago from Aladdin

‘Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.’ Absolutely true. “A few months later, I get a notice from them that they don’t have it in their records that that check was cashed. So they had to re-issue another penny check.” Now in his 60’s and still at the top of his game, Gottfried says the anxieties that haunt most comedians and live performers

“I could have been o w in Ocala t – days ago I could be t h g i r e r e h t now.”

Tickets: reillyartscenter.com remain. The fear of bombing on stage has never subsided. “Whenever I’m backstage and about to go on, I always have this fantasy that the club owner will say, ‘Hey, we had a fire or a flood; the show’s canceled, here’s your check, go home.’” It’s all part of the comic’s insecurity and need to take in the laughter, as essential as the air one breathes. “Certain things you do, if it’s a success, then your God’s gift to mankind,” Gottfried said. “Then, if the next thing you do is not a success, you feel like ‘OK, I’ve fooled them long enough – I have no talent.’ “I always feel like if one person in the audience isn’t laughing, that’s the person they seat up front. You always think everybody is laughing, then there’s this one guy with his arms crossed, staring angrily at you.” Gottfried lists his comic heroes growing up as Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis and the Marx Brothers. But today, who makes him laugh? “As a comic, I have a hard time laughing at other comics,” Gottfried says. “I’ll hear a joke and at best I’ll nod my head and go, ‘Oh, that was clever.’ “I remember once doing some movie or TV show and everyone met at this bar and there was some crappy cop movie on and there was a car chase. It looked like any other car chase, but the stunt men were sitting around going, ‘Oh, you see what he did there, you see that cut? You see that move?’ They knew all the tricks to how it was put together. When you’re a comic, that happens – you listen and you acknowledge it as being funny more so than laughing at it.” Gottfried’s appearance at The Reilly purports to be his first trip to the Horse Capital, but even that seems a bit hazy to

him. He says he knows “absolutely nothing” about Ocala, but that “out of all the big Ocala conversations I’ve had, I’ve never heard anything bad.” Says Gottfried: “Sometimes I don’t know where I am when I work in a place. There have been entire states where I swear I’ve never been to, and then I show up there at the club and see that I’ve signed the wall. “I could have been in Ocala two days ago – I could be there right now.” And what of that trademark voice and squinty eyes? Is it a bit, or part of his real persona? Some fans may be surprised or even disappointed to know that when not performing, Gottfried’s voice sounds more like a quirky grandfather, certainly more subdued and at a lower volume. Still, he says it comes naturally and is not a product of endless rehearsal. “People ask, ‘Is it based on relatives you’ve had?’ but I don’t spend time working on it,” Gottfried says of his distinctive delivery. “Your regular personality in real life, you don’t really have any way of knowing where it came from and that’s the way I feel with my delivery. One day I wake up and go, ‘Oh, this is my delivery.’ “I think it’s gotten to the point where it’s kind of a Jekyll and Hyde thing where both (voices) are real.” Gottfried continues to survive, even in the murky waters of today’s PC and cancel culture. Still afloat, still offending and still hearing the laughter around him, Gilbert Gottfried won’t be caving in any time soon – his voice will be heard loud and clear, whether you like it or not. To comment on this article or ask a question, please send an email to carlton@ocalamagazine.com.

Photo: Shutterstock



Dr. Poonam Warman, M.D. Pulmonary and Internal Medicine

NOW ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS Over the last 20 years, Dr. Poonam Warman, M.D. has served the Ocala community by providing the highest quality medical care in Pulmonary and Internal Medicine. Dr. Warman obtained her medical education and training from well-respected physicians in her field of medicine at distinguished institutions. Dr. Poonam Warman has a B.A. from Case Western Reserve University and was on the Dean’s List. She received her M.D. from The Ohio State University School of Medicine with High Honors in gross anatomy, embryology, and clinical radiology. Following medical school, she completed her residency in categorical internal medicine, at the Northeast Ohio College of Medicine. Dr Warman did a Fellowship in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Oklahoma during which time she published a chapter in a Medical Textbook. While Dr. Warman has extensive medical education and training, she still continues to refine her expertise and skills with advanced medical education courses and training for current, stateof-the- art medical care. Dr. Warman has been invited to lecture by her peers at primary care physician and hospital meetings on issues in pulmonary medicine, including diagnosis and management. Additionally, she served as a subinvestigator for studies and trials for complex matters such as special medical diagnosis of antithrombin, patients with severe sepsis, thromboembolism, and pneumonia. Furthermore, she is published in the medical publication of Journal of Radiology, with Dr. Bova R. Bennett for her expertise in the use of MRI and CT in the early diagnosis of recurring colon cancer.

Dr. Poonam Warman, M.D. For more information, please call our office at


1500 SE Magnolia Extension, Suite 202, Ocala, FL 34471

Dr. Warman is a highly rated Pulmonologist and Internal Medicine physician, not only from within the medical community and her peers, but more importantly with her patients. When Dr. Warman opened her private practice in Ocala in 2000, she invested all her education, training and heart in her community with the sole purpose of giving high quality medical care. She has always had a passion for helping others to heal and it is reflected in her reviews from patients. One such review states, “My 86 year old mother, my 66 year old sister, (with advanced stage early onset Alzheimers), and I saw Dr. Warman. She is Amazing! She went out of her way to see my mom every time she was in the hospital. She treated all of us with great dignity and respect.”

OM PULSE Each month, Ocala Magazine will showcase the tastes, opinions and desires of its readers through its online survey. For October, we discovered these tendancies:








OF OM RESPONDENTS SAID THEY WILL DRESS UP AS SOMETHING SCARY FOR HALLOWEEN. 12.2% will dress up as a superhero, 10.2% as someone famous, 8.2% as an inanimate object and 49% as something else.

Believe in Ghosts?






17.6% prefer gummies, 5.9% hard candy and 3.9% lollipops. 19.6% of OM respondents prefer something else as a Halloween treat.

14% like Frankenstein’s monster, 10% the Headless Horseman, 8% Jason, 8% Jigsaw, 8% Werewolf, 6% Mike Meyers, 4% the Creature from the Black Lagoon and 4% Freddie Krueger. 12% of OM respondents prefer another monster/villain.



Pumpkin Spice? Visiting a haunted house


IS THE FAVORITE HALLOWEEN ACTIVITY AMONG 29.4% OF OM RESPONDENTS. Dressing in costume and trick-or-treating is the favorite among 17.6% each. 15.7% like carving pumpkins most and 2% enjoy bobbing for apples.

OF OM RESPONDENTS SAY THEY LOVE IT 17.6% say they hate it and 31.4% say they are ambivalent.




Dr. Charles Overturf, D.O.



American Family Medical:



oing to the doctor too often is an impersonal and frustrating experience where you are treated more like a number than a patient. At American Family Medical in Ocala, the medical staff strives to make their patients not only feel like valued clients but like family. Led by Dr. David Oliver, D.O., who came to Ocala in 2005, American Family Medical is a full-service family practice with a diverse staff that aims to not only treat its patients but to get to know them, too. “We make it our goal to learn something special about each of our patients, so they know they’re more than a number,” said Oliver, who has two other physicians and a nurse practitioner in the practice he started in 2008. “So hopefully when our patients come here, they feel like they’re talking to family.” In addition to Oliver, other American Family Medical staff members include Dr. Rafael Rosa, M.D., Sabrina Graham, APRN, and the newest member of the team, Dr. Charlie Overturf, D.O. Oliver moved his practice to it’s current location, at 1750 SE 28th Loop in Ocala, in 2012, and recently opened a second location, at 4600 SW 46th Court, Suite 380 to serve the greater Ocala area. Overturf brings the latest medical specialty to American Family Medical – actu-

Dr. Rafael Rosa-Algarin, M.D. ; Sabrina Graham, APRN; Dr David Oliver, DO; Dr. Charles Overturf, D.O.

ally, two specialties. The 31-year-old Palatka native is both a pediatrician and an internal medicine specialist. It expands the already lengthy list of medical services that the practice provides.

“I chose a specialty in Internal Medicine combined with Pediatrics because it allows me to provide expert medical care to all ages of patients I enjoy treating.” Overturf, who did his residency at USF,



“We make it our goal to learn something special about each of our patients, so they know they’re more than a number.” also trained at multiple hospitals which include Tampa General, Moffitt Cancer Center, and John’s Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He learned the most currently advanced treatments at these respected institutions and his dual specialties allow him to provide health to any age group. “Charlie brings a level of care and expertise to Ocala that is excellent,” Oliver said. “I saw something special in him.” Rosa, who hails from Puerto Rico and has been part of the American Family Medical physicians’ team for six years, is a Spanish-speaking general practitioner. He is a former emergency room doctor and also worked in the state prison



system as a physician. When asked about his philosophy regarding physician-patient relationships, Rosa also talked about family. “I get to know the patients very well,” he said. “As a family practitioner, you need to know the family.” He went on to explain that ailments and diseases often are hereditary, and the more a doctor knows about his patient’s family, the better he can diagnose or simply be aware of potential problems. That approach to patient care is in keeping with Oliver’s professional philosophy, which is: “We are committed to a thorough evaluation of our patients, which includes a hands-on approach to healthcare. With a complete understanding of a patient, we can apply cutting edge technology with friendly advice to make your experience at our prac-

Sabrina Graham, APRN,;Dr. Rafael Rosa-Algarin, M.D.; Dr. Charles Overturf, D.O.; Dr. David Oliver, D.O.

tice one that is pleasant and helpful.” Graham, a mother of two who has been with the practice for 4½ years, said she sees the results of the American Family Medical ‘s philosophy every day in the patients she treats. “My entire family switched over to here because they wanted care, not just a doctor but care,” said the Army veteran-turned-nurse practitioner. “And we have a lot of families, entire families that come here – three or four generations. So, we get to know people.” Oliver said his goal is not only to provide quality, personal health care, but to do so “with compassion, love and integrity.” That American Family Medical has such a demographically diverse staff is no accident. “Our focus is to meet the needs of the community based on a wider demographic as well as ethnic backgrounds,” he said. “We’ve

Dr David Oliver, D.O.

Sabrina Graham, APRN

Dr. Rafael Rosa-Algarin, M.D.

Dr. Charles Overturf, D.O.

“We are committed to a thorough evaluation of our patients, which includes a hands-on approach to healthcare.“

hired people who fit the practice well and the community’s needs. Having a staff with varied backgrounds brings a well-rounded experience for the patient.” Among the services American Family Medical provides, according to office manager Constance Wilkins, LPN: • Health exams for all ages. • Chronic care management. • Ultrasound diagnostic testing. • Spirometry. • Sports medicine.

• • • •

Lab tests and services. Urgent express care services. Women’s health services. Dermatology screening and management. • In-office injections. • Televisits. • Clinical trials. “It’s really about managing a patient’s well-being from head to toe,” Wilkins said. American Family Medical remained open and treating patients throughout the

COVID_19 pandemic, rather than resort to remote telemedicine care. They even had a high-tech air filtration system installed to ensure greater staff and patient safety. Beyond treating Ocala patients, Oliver and his team also participate annually in the Mission Para Cristo to Nicaragua, where they provide health care to the people there. “I see our work as an extension of my Christian faith, and my patients are part of God’s creation, and it’s my job to treat them as such,” he said. So, if you want a family practice doctor who emphasizes “family,” check out America Family Medical. They are accepting new patients and can meet your complete health care needs. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT 352/351-4634, or go to their website at ocalafamilydoctor.com




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Annette Powell, Ocala

The heart. It’s a symbol of caring and strength. It represents compassion and understanding. At UF Health, we put our hearts and expertise into everything we do. From developing new lifesaving procedures to providing routine health services, there is no heart condition too simple or complex for our dedicated doctors and staff. At UF Health, our teams of caring professionals work together to provide personalized treatment plans in one world-class medical center. We care for your heart with all of ours.

Visit Heart.UFHealth.org to watch Annette’s story and sign up for a free Heart Healthy Kit.

26402 H&V_Ocala Mag_Annette_9x10.875.indd 1

4/15/2021 1:40:13 PM


Hawthorne Estates:

Independent Living

in an affordable, resort-style setting


or Saul Posner, living in Hawthorne Estates is in a lot of ways nicer than living in his own home. The management at the independent living facility in southwest Ocala provides his daily meals, cleans his apartment regularly and he doesn’t have to worry about household repairs or yard work. “I feel like I’m living in a hotel,” the 87-year-old Posner said. “I have my room, and they clean it. They feed me. And I don’t have to do any weeding or any of that.” Hawthorne Estates, located at 3211 SW 42nd St., Ocala, provides independent living in an affordable, resort-style setting. It’s 93 spacious units provide residents with their own residence with an array of services from meals and utilities to recreation and social activities. “The owners specialize in providing quality living options for seniors,” said Susie Carey, Hawthorne Estates’ Chief Operations Officer. Retired insurance investigator Dick Powell moved to Hawthorne Estates this year and said it is a perfect situation for a single senior like him. “I was going to buy a house, but I don’t cook anyway,” the 86-year-old widower said. “So, my kids said, ‘Dad, why don’t you move into independent living.’ So, I did. This is a nice place. It’s good for somebody who is by themself. It’s clean and they have good management, and that means an awful lot.” Diane Jones, 71, was born and spent much of her life up the road in Gainesville. The retired medical group administrator has lived in Hawthorne Estates for the past year and said she loves it, especially her one-bedroom apartment. “I love my apartment here,” she said. “I’m on the second floor on the front of



the building. It’s large and has a good-sized kitchen, which is important to me because I love to cook.” Jones said what makes Hawthorne Estates different from other independent living facilities is it is dog-friendly – her dog, Lily, lives with her – and the apartment, in addition to being spacious, has lots of windows and plenty of natural light. “The best part of living here is the apartment — and it’s all-inclusive,” she said. “The only thing they don’t provide is your telephone. “It’s clean, it’s pretty, and I chose it because they have skilled nursing and rehab in the building next door.” One aspect of Hawthorne Estates living that all the residents praised are its activities. There is always something happening, from cards to games to bingo to the weekly Friday night Happy Hour. There are also occasional educational programs to help enrich residents’ lives. And the common areas are wide open and available for use at all times. If you can’t find something to do on the property, it is conveniently located near the Paddock Mall and State Road 200 areas. Jones said the activities have gotten even better since new ownership, Infinite Care, took over this past April.

Dick Powell Posner and his girlfriend, Laura Seidel, who lives across the hall from him, agreed with Jones’ assessment. For Posner, poker is one of his favorite hobbies, and Seidel, who plays cards every day, there are ample opportunities to engage in their fun-time pursuits. “I love it,” Seidel said. “The people are helpful and friendly, and they have plenty of activities going on.” “And we like to dance,” added Posner, who is from Ocala. “The weekly Friday night Happy Hour provides us an opportunity to do that.” For residents of Hawthorne Estates, its all-inclusive living is a major selling point. Included in their monthly rent are all meals – buffet-style lunches and dinners in a spacious dining room, and light breakfast

Diane Jones

Laura Seidel and Saul Posner offerings and beverages in the facility’s bistro off of the lobby. “The food’s good,” Powell said. “I’ve got no complaints about the food. They’re good meals, not junk meals.” All utilities — again, except for your personal phone — are also part of the package. That means electric, water and sewer, cable TV, wireless internet and trash removal. Hawthorne residents can schedule transportation on the facility’s van through the front desk, or they are welcome to have their own vehicle, with free parking on the property.

For those who want to see a doctor without having to leave the facility, Carey said Hawthorne Estates has an outside concierge physician service that will come and treat residents in their homes. “You don’t even have to leave your apartment and go sit in a doctor’s office,” she said. As for the apartments at Hawthorne Estates, residents have a number of options. They can choose between studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. The apartments have a modern kitchen, individual heating and cooling units, plush wall-towall carpeting, a large bathroom with safety features, spacious closets, blinds, screened porches and smoke alarms and a sprinkler system. Hawthorne Estates is a smoke-free facility, too. In addition to all that, residents are provided weekly apartment cleaning as well as weekly linen service. Laundry facilities are located in convenient areas throughout the facility, although personal laundry service is also available for an extra fee. Carey summed Hawthorne Estates living by saying, “It’s not what you’re giving up in a private residence, it’s about what you’re gaining.” And her residents agree. “The management and the people who

work here really care about the residents,” said Jones, the retired medical group administrator. “The management is super,” added Posner, who said he would not hesitate to recommend Hawthorne Estates to his friends. “Like I said, it’s almost like living in a hotel.” Anyone interested in checking Hawthorne Estates out is invited to attend any of the Friday night Happy Hours, must simply call to RSVP first.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Hawthorne Village of Ocala 3211 SW 42nd St., Ocala hawthornevillageofocala.com (352) 237-7776, ext. 255



More than a whole new view.

It’s a whole new you.

HIGHPOINT AT STONECREST — where you can fulfill your own vision of a more connected, secure, purpose-focused retirement. Our modern, elegant independent living blends cutting-edge technology and forward-thinking amenities. And onsite assisted living and memory care provides for a more seamless, reassuring care experience. See your possibilities from a whole new view.

Enjoy your


retirement with prices starting at: $3,995 for Independent Living $4,100 for Assisted Living $5,995 for Memory Care

Come in to see available floor plans by calling us at 352-587-0939 or visit HighpointStonecrest.com to learn more.

17201 SE 109th Terrace Road • Summerfield, FL 34491 • HighpointStonecrest.com


Treat yourself to an Orange and Lemon Curd pie at Stella’s Modern Pantry Photograph by Ralph Demilio

Dinner and Drinks p52 | Dining Out p56




Dinner and drinks As the weather slowly begins the cooldown towards fall, we sought out seasonal flavors for the dinner table. Chef Albert Barrett of Stella’s Modern Pantry worked his magic to inspire your culinary creativity. PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH DEMILIO



Ginger apple bourbon cocktail with apple chips and cinnamon stick

Steamed milk spooned over fresh espresso

Whole mustard rub roasted pork tenderloin, roasted butternut squash cubes, black pepper egg noodles, and pork Ajou

Caramel cream cheese pumpkin roll OCALAMAGAZINE.COM | OCT 2021 |


dining out


Ocala is going out again!

Advertise with us to connect with our hungry readers. Call 352.622.2995 and reserve your space.

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. After dining enjoy a stroll in our boutique where we offer a variety of gifts, jewelry, home decor and clothing. Looking to host a special event or dinner? Call and talk to one of our staff members on the options we have available.

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

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 Looking for a flavor party in your mouth with the best view in Citrus County to tantalize your eyes? The West 82 Bar and Grill offers fun innovative dining options with niche regional and eclectic southern charm. We use the freshest ingredients to include locally caught fresh seafood, Florida beef, as well as locally harvested fruits and vegetables. We invite you to catch your own in season fish and scallops which we can prepare in a variety of ways, served family style. Overlooking the beautiful Kings Bay and Crystal River, the West 82 satisfies all of your senses in one place.

Call for reservations and weekly specials. Breakfast: Monday-Sunday 6-10:30am Lunch: 11:30am-2pm, Dinner: Daily: 5-9pm 9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429 | (352) 795-4211 www.plantationoncrystalriver.com



9301 West Fort Island Trail Crystal River, FL 34429 (352) 795-4211 plantationoncrystalriver.com


Saturday, Oct. 2.......... 5:00 PM Thursday, Oct. 7.......... 8:00 PM Saturday, Oct. 9.......... 2:00 PM Thursday, Oct. 14........ 8:00 PM Saturday, Oct. 16......... 5:00 PM

Thursday, Oct. 21........ 8:00 PM Saturday, Oct. 23........ 2:00 PM Thursday, Oct. 28....... 8:00 PM Saturday, Oct. 30........ 5:00 PM

SPECIALTY COCKTAIL: "Norma(n)’s Sour" — This cocktail has a split personality. Hard bourbon whiskey dressed up pretty with lemon and simple syrup presented elegantly just like mother, with a float of dry red wine. You have to try one this month…it’s killer!

For our complete lineup of films and events visit mariontheatre.org

Classic Albums Live have shows: Nov. 11 – AC/DC's Back in Black Dec. 23 – Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed Jan. 14 – The Who - Who’s Next Feb. 10 – The Beatles' Let it Be March 17 – Fleetwood Mac's Rumours April 1 – Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon May 20 – Tom Petty's Damn The Torpedoes

Receive 20% off when you purchase tickets to 4 or more Classic Albums LIVE shows! Use the code: CAL20 at checkout. For our complete lineup visit ReillyArtsCenter.com

ReillyArtsCenter.com | 352-351-1606 | 500 NE 9th Street MarionTheatre.org | 352-820-3049 | 50 S Magnolia Ave

Media Sponsor




Detail of “The Smoke of the Gods” by Aug Element mixed media | augelement412@gmail.com | ig: @augelement | See more of his work at Magnolia Art Xchange

Socially Speaking p58 | Cornerstone Chili Cookoff p68 | Anthology—Poetry in Motion p71







n September 11, I ventured out to the World Equestrian Center for Ocala’s Comic Con. I convinced my son to come with me for our very first Comic Con experience and it did not disappoint! We were greeted at the entry by some pretty outstanding custom cars and colorful characters to match. We made our way inside to find a fantastic array of costumes and displays. It was fascinating to hear the stories behind the costumes. For instance, a rather frightening scarecrow character spent an entire month hand sewing his costume and an Optimus Prime character created his costume at home and traveled from Orlando just to experience our Comic Con. We enjoyed the local artists who depicted comic book characters — some were even live painting. The highlight, for us, was the 501st Legion of Star Wars characters — their costumes and displays were film quality; some of the helmets were actually worn in the movies! This authentic collection of characters also spend their time visiting children in hospitals and will even show up at birthday parties! All in all, I would say Ocala’s Comic Con was an excellent experience! People of all ages were dressed to the nines and were thrilled to share their stories with us.

Leighton Okus



Douglas, Jessica and Leon Klein

Keonte Patterson, Tyreak Hudson, The Scarecrow

Shane Morris in Reaper the Impala

Luis Serrano

The Florida Garrison 501st Legion

Mike Balaram

Paul Valenti and Emily Guertler

Richard Rivera and Matt Knowles




socially speaking

Kiwanis of Ocala Benefitting Marion County's Children PHOTOS BY RALPH DEMILIO


he 10th Annual Sportsman’s Dinner was held on August 26th at the Oak Run Palmgrove Ballroom. The dress was casual with a wonderful BBQ dinner. Live and silent auctions were held with a variety of Hunting and fishing gear plus many nice items for the ladies. Many door prizes were won and raffle tickets were sold. The largest raffle ticket winner chose between $1,000 cash or a Sig Saur M3365 9MM. It was a fun night had for over 350 people in attendance. Approximately $20,000 was raised from the event. Many thanks and accolades go to Roseann Fricks and Tammy Hoff for their leadership and hard work along with all of the Kiwanis members that volunteered many hours and a special thank you to the sponsors that ensured the the event was a huge success. All proceeds go to benefit our precious children of Marion County through the Kiwanis Camp for the Kids, The Young Children Priority One or YCPO and Youth Services.

Cheyanne Quale, Joe Voge and Dakotah Webb



Erica Olstein and Joe Borge

Annie Dosa

Meg and Vince Nocera

Natalie and Ryan Dickert

Andy Spahn, Roseann Fricks , Dawne Dobbins , Jolynn Rathal and Merry Gray

Azim Saju , Masal Fakhoury and Brad Rogers

Sandra windischmann, Zach Conomos and Emily Lettelier

Paul Stentiford and Jenny Mcleod Conley

Billy Woods, Kent Quin and David Shashy

Gerardo Lopez, Marsha lopez , Veronica Lopez and Kevin Lopez





Alzheimer’s Association


n event was held on September 17th in the City of Ocala Downtown Market Place to share of the upcoming Annual Alzheimer's Walk Event. The hosts were Chair, Susie Carter and Co and Past Chair, Nick Navetta. All in attendance enjoyed the evening and learned more about the walk and cause and the continued effort to help in ending Alzheimers.



Chairs of the 2021 Alzheimer's Walk Event: Nick Navetta and Susie Carter





Hometown Heroes Breakfast


he 4th annual event honoring the service of First Responders was held September 17th. The breakfast and awards ceremony was organized by Hiers-Baxley Community Cares and non-Profit Partner NAMI Marion County. All event attendees had the opportunity to experience the beautiful and moving National September 11th Wall at the Ocala Marion-County Veteran’s Memorial Park.

Our Hometown Heroes By Alina Aloma Stoothoff (Sept 2021) Alarms will ring, dispatchers call, we know they have to go. They run with eager energy, to what others consider foe. I admire all this passion, these selfless acts so bold, And then I wonder, it’s 90 degrees, why do I feel so cold? A real life hero is what they are, they protect and serve us all, No passing thought to their own wellbeing, even when they fall. They’ve always been courageous, our heroes from the start, We need to stop and notice, show gratitude from the heart. We’ve lost some of the greatest, it seems like every day, A hero lost to save another… the price they often pay. So, take great pride in children, who want to be like them, There is no greater honor, for our young women and young men. Applaud and praise, show your support, for all the good they do, They are OUR Hometown Heroes, who give their all for you. DEDICATED TO ALL THE FIRST RESPONDERS AND OTHER EMERGENCY SERVICE PERSONNEL IN OCALA AND MARION COUNTY ALL GAVE SOME, SOME GAVE ALL



HONORED HOMETOWN HEROES Marion County Sheriff’s Department.........................................Corporal Samantha Horne Ocala Fire Rescue....................................................................................Firefighter John Villella Belleview Police Department.................................School Resource Officer Juan Ortega Dunnellon Police Department................................................................. Officer Stephen Ray Citrus County Sheriff’s Office................................................ Patrol Deputy Donald Hunter Lake County Sheriff’s Department................................Master Deputy Donald Roenbeck Alachua County Fire Rescue................................... Rescue Lieutenant Jonathan Ferrante Putnam County Sheriff’s Office....................................................... Lieutenant Randy Hayes Hospice of Marion County....................................................................Nurse Brandy Williams

K9 HEROES Marion County Sheriff’s Office............................................................. K9 Scout and handler Deputy Brandon Donahue Ocala Police Department.................................... K9 Cheney and Officer Alexander Roos From the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office..............K9 Deputy Rudy Danner and K9 Riggs Putnam County Sheriff’s Office................................................................................. K-9 Jaeger

ACT OF VALOR AWARD RECIPIENTS Marion County Fire Rescue................................................................Paramedic Lori Maxwell Ocala Police Department......................................................................Officer Jordan Decker Citrus County Fire Rescue...............................................................Lieutenant Ryan Maloney and Driver Engineer Amanda Richmond Levy County Sheriff’s Department...................................................Sergeant Tiffany Lesher, and Detention Officers Kristan Ritter, Devin Smith and Michael Johnson From the Sumter County Fire Rescue.................................................Lieutenant Scott Hess From the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department.......... Deputy Sheriff Jacob McCarthy The leadership and team from The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office

SPECIAL RECOGNITION Florida USAR Task Force 8, made up of more than 40 officers from Marion and surrounding counties, who deployed to the Surfside Condominium Collapse on 27 June 2021 to assist in the rescue and recovery of residents trapped within the rubble. The grueling work that these men were tasked with had never been seen before. Their duty day started at 0930 with team briefings and an 1130 operational briefing. They were on the pile removing rubble from 12 noon to midnight. Crews utilized their extensive training and multiple different tools to remove the massive concrete slabs and rubble.



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TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Order tickets at CSCulturalCenter.com | 8395 SW 80th Street, Ocala, FL 34481 | (352) 854-3670 ALL SHOWS BEGIN AT 7 PM & DOORS OPEN AT 6 PM (EXCEPT AS NOTED) | GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE Schedule and prices subject to change without notice. Reduced ticket prices for residents of On Top of the World Communities and Stone Creek apply to Circle Square Cultural Center produced shows only. (Resident ID required when purchasing at box office.) Ticket prices do not include sales tax. Refreshments available for purchase at events. To arrange for handicap seats, call or visit the ticket office. According to CDC guidelines, wearing a mask indoors is recommended. *Free tickets not available online. Tickets must be picked up at the Circle Square Cultural Center box office during normal business hours. Limit two per household. **Online tickets subject to a convenience fee. All ticket sales final.

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ables: an Exhibition of Figurative Art” by Grace Netanya, 2019 Copic International Award-winning illustrator. The show opens to NOMA subscribers on Nov. 4th and to the public on Nov. 6th, with an open house from 12 -5 p.m.



4 Venom, James Bond and some family fun and more ... see you at the movies! 66



ammit, Janet! Halloween would not be as thrilling if we did not include the iconic cult movie classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in shadowcast. See the movie and watch the story unfold live on stage with those ghoulish characters you know so well as they come together for a fun, interactive, musical experience. Jump to the left, step to the right, and find your way down to the theater for a hot patootie of a time! Adults: $15-$25, Students: $10. Friday, Oct. 29 – 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 30 – 7:30 p.m.


OWL-O-WEEN. Come join us for a fun night with our Goldens. You are welcome to dress up yourself and your dog as there will be fun costume contest and prizes will be awarded. At WEC Wed., Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.




EXHIBIT AT 8TH AVE. GALLERY NOV. 6, 4:30 P.M.-12:30 A.M.


he universe is thread together by the unknown, a tapestry woven of seemingly endless possibilities. Your place in this spectrum of colors is a miracle and riddled with continual questioning.



Saturday, Oct. 30 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.


ocal businesses will decorate their car trunks and hand out treats at Silver Springs Stte Park. Many will have canopy tents with games and other fun for the kids. Enjoy music, fog machine, kids games, Junior Ranger activities, and hay rides. Food trucks will be available. If your local business would like to set up for the night, contact Ruth Fletcher at Ruth.Fletcher@FloridaDEP.gov or at 352-456-8676



a Cuisine is delicious. Add art from Gallery 118 to the mix and stir constantly and, voilà! The pièce de résistance. As they say in Gay Paris, magnifique.Check it out: Oct. 4 from 5-7 p.m. meet artist Irene Salley. Live music and more.


hoose your favorite bar, find our candy bar post on Facebook and vote it up — and we’ll pick someone at random to give a bar of your choosing. If we get enough responses we'll do another one next month.



Chili Cook-Off The Chili Cook-Off is back, and in person BY SHARON RAYE




ne of Ocala’s most beloved events, the Marion County Chili Cook-Off, is celebrating its milestone, its 40th year! The event has become an annual staple in the community while being organized by and raising money for The Cornerstone School. “It is very special to the school’s history, but also has become a ‘cornerstone’ event in Marion County for the Ocala community,” said Bonnie Farr, The Cornerstone School’s board president. “We are very proud of this event and the way in which it brings together our school with a greater community.” From the event’s inaugural location at the former Ramada Inn at US 27 and I-75 to its present location at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, there has been considerable growth. Over 5,000 patrons attended the 2019 Chili Cook-Off, maintaining the same momentum that had been built the previous 37 years. Fast forward to 2020 when, like many other events shaken by the recent pandemic, the Chili Cook-Off had to get creative. The 39th version of the Marion County Chili Cook-Off took on a whole new look. Building upon the school’s philosophies of building strong community participation with their students, the event was held quarantine style with Big Lee’s Barbecue emerging the winner. Rashad Jones, owner of Big Lee’s, said, “It was super fun to participate in this because the Chili Cook-Off is a wholesome event. It’s family friendly and it’s great seeing our community come together for a great cause.” Beyond the atmosphere and the cause, it’s also great to be victorious. “Winning in 2019 meant a lot to me,” Jones said. “I was grateful that so many people enjoyed our chili enough for us to earn their votes! My team and I worked super hard to create the best chili and the best experience that we knew how to for our awesome guests.” The competition best beware: Jones said he plans on entering again this year. For this year’s event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Livestock Pavilion, there will be a children’s section with games and inflatables, a bake sale and a car show in addition to all the great varieties of chili cooked up by the contestants.

Chili Samples

Live Entertainment

Presented by The Cornerstone School

Saturday, November 6

Children’s Area

10am-5pm $5 admission

Car Show

Presenting Sponsor

For more information please call (352) 351- 8840 or visit www.marioncountychilicookoff.com


anthology — poetry in motion

Put yourself in my shoes and I will put myself in your shoes I will help you in whatever you do Friends got each others’ back ... and that’s a fact!



I am you You are me Can’t you see? We are one We are all on this trip Yes, one with other people Yes, one with nature Yes, one with the Universe After all, we are rotating in space together By the way, if you happen to take a space flight Don’t forget to look back at the Earth rotating. It’s quite a sight. We are all one ... I hope you have a wonderful trip!





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everything equine

It’s Back

Horse-O-Ween at the Ocala Downtown Market BY LOUISA BARTON



Photos courtesy of White Barn Press – Suzanne M. Suor



ith the smell of pumpkin at every coffee shop and restaurant around, those of us who live in Florida, feel a sense of relief that the cooler temperatures are on their way. This time of year brings enjoyable mornings and evenings and even some light breezes during the day. It’s the time of year that signals the holidays are just around the corner and the long summer days are turning into lovely evenings on the front porch. It’s my favourite time of year. Just the thought of being able to wear a light jacket in the evenings is a delight for Floridians. With the scents of Fall comes all those wonderful events we enjoy so much and the Ocala, Marion County area hosts some of the best. In the true spirit of the horse capital, it just makes sense for the chamber here to host an awareness event for the equine industry. In the spirit of the horse, Horse-O-Ween,

presented by Miller and Sons Plumbing, is back to bring you the best in edutainment. No admission charge and lots of horsing around fun for all ages is included. You can’t beat seeing horses in costumes and that’s all part of the fun at the Ocala Downtown Market on October 29 from 5-9pm. You will enjoy the horses and the dogs and kids and adults in creative costumes also, plus vendors and costume competitions for fourlegged and two-legged family members. With prizes, candy and fun giveaways, plus carriage rides with Rudy from Big Horse Ranch, sponsored by Larsen Farms, fun will be had by all. The Ocala Metro Chamber’s Equine Initiative, presented by Pyranha, is the only one at a chamber that I know of anywhere in the world. The equine committee meets monthly and works year round to advocate, connect, educate and innovate for the equine

industry in this area and to bring the horse world and the non-horse world together in creative ways. This is just one of those events that really makes horses non intimidating to non-horse people and allows horse people a chance to celebrate their horses in some of the most entertaining and imaginative costumes. Come on down and join the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership and their Equine Initiative presented by Pyranha for the Miller and Sons Plumbing Horse-O-Ween, now an annual event for all ages to enjoy. Happy Horsing around until we see you at Horse-O-Ween. Louisa Barton is the Equine Initiative Director at the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership, Showcase Properties of Central Florida Farm Realtor and host of the Horse Talk Show on the Sky 97.3, Audacy.com and Equus Television



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Charity: Wear Gloves p80 | Health Journal p82 | State of the City p86 State of the County p88 | Kiwanis Korner p90 | Rotary Circle p92 | OM Marketplace p94 | Looking Back p96









welve years ago, Ken Kebrdle and his wife Wendy embarked on a search for answers to puzzling questions about the nature of homeless people. Always one to give when a person in need had a hand out, Kebrdle believed there must be more to helping homeless people than simply tossing them your loose change and bills. Their four-year journey, accompanied by their 12-year-old daughter, gave them the answers they were looking for and it inspired them to start Wear Gloves, a charity focused on providing homeless people with the opportunity to prove their value in the work force and progress into lives as productive citizens. One of the organization’s mottos



states that it is “dedicated to helping those in need earn what they need.” On his trek around the country, Kebrdle learned first-hand the results of well-intentioned, but pitfall-ridden solutions that are the norm in charitable society. “A lot of the stuff we were doing to help folks was more damaging than helpful,” Kebrdle said. “We learned a lot about the unintended consequences of our giving.” Ken and his family abandoned their old, orthodox lifestyle by quitting their jobs, leaving their house and moving into a van to travel around the country. Along the way, they befriended many homeless people and saw first-hand the lives of those in need. What they discovered completely changed

their perspective on giving. “We were immersed in poverty and learned a lot about it,” Kebrdle said. “We learned about panhandling, we spent time in homeless camps, worked with human trafficking victims, prostitution ministries and just learned the other side of it.” What they learned was that panhandlers shared information and tips on how to make the most money in the least amount of time. “They talk about the benefits of certain types of signs in certain areas: ‘Homeless Veteran, Hungry, Please Help,’” Kebrdle explained. “The thing is, in Ocala there are no homeless veterans and there’re no hungry homeless people in Ocala. They can earn all they need panhandling four hours a week… to take care of their immediate needs.” Kebrdle said that between the numerous homeless shelters and food banks located in the city, there is no reason to go without a meal or sleep under the stars; yet, panhandling abounds. “Right now in Ocala, there are a multitude of jobs and multitude of opportunities, but many of them that are able to work


are choosing not to because of the ease of panhandling,” Kebrdle said. “We really want to try to stop that. We don’t want to make it easy for someone to stay in a tent on the street; we want them to move forward, and they often do once we allow them to start earning it and they feel their value again.” Wear Gloves helps these people in need re-gain whatever work ethic had been lost by providing jobs that require punctuality and effort. After showing they can be reliable in the work force, they are sent off with job references and newfound confidence. Some of the initiatives provided by Wear Gloves include contracts with Clos-

etMaid, Trinity Tile and the City of Ocala. The companies drop off product for Wear Gloves clients who engage in parts-assembly and the like, and they are paid for their services. With the city, Wear Gloves clients participate in litter pick-up. One of the latest initiatives that is having a tremendous impact is Dignity Roasters Coffee, in which clients are trained in the skill of coffee roasting. Clients grind, roast, bag and even ship coffee to customers. Kebrdle says that over 350 customers exist nationwide that receive one bag per week or month. Locally, he claims 20 churches and 18 businesses purchase coffee from Dignity

Roasters for their break rooms. It’s all part of getting people accustomed to seeing value in themselves, that they can actually earn their keep in society. At Wear Gloves, traits that employers demand are what become drilled into clients. “So often, clients that are going through (substance addictions), might be going in the right direction and then they will fail,” Kebrdle said. “If they were working for someone else, they would be terminated and not go back. We deal with it and work them back in the program and there’s often several times they will fail before they are able to move forward. “Once we are clear in our mind that somebody has got a handle on that, we provide a reference for other employers.” Therein lies one of the greatest hurdles, according to Kebrdle, who says that most employers simply do not want to take a chance on hiring a ex-felons or people who live in tents. He says that his organization takes these people who are unemployable and helps them become employable. It’s all part of trying to change a way of charitable thinking that seems to perpetuate the existing problem by merely subsidizing it. “Most towns we worked in, every time a church or a business or a person wanted to help homeless folks, they would start a feeding line,” Kebrdle explained. “Right now, in Ocala there’s seven meals a day available for homeless folks. It’s difficult to get someone to work when they can stay some place for free, get meals for free, get free phone, get free medical care and can earn all they need by panhandling four hours a week.” Wear Gloves has just over 100 clients, all making the effort to get off the street and into a productive job. Kebrdle estimates that at least 70 percent of people who have gone through the Wear Gloves initiatives have made a dignified transition from the street to the workforce. “If somebody’s willing to work to get the help they need, we’re going to invest in them,” Kebrdle said. As a 501c3 non-profit, Wear Gloves relies on the volunteers and monetary donations from the community to help sustain their noble efforts. By visiting weargloves.org, one is able to make a donation and learn more details about the organization’s initiatives.




health journal

4 things to know about sunscreen this fall BRANDPOINT


hile it may be easier to remember to protect skin from potentially harmful UVA and UVB rays by regularly applying sunscreen during the hot, sundrenched days of summer, a recent poll conducted by CeraVe and OnePoll reveals that 96% of U.S. adults still fail to apply their SPF every day. As summer draws to a close and fall edges near, less than half of Americans (42%) understand that sunscreen application is an important process all year long, regardless of the season. While daily beach trips and pool days



may come to an end when fall begins, using a 100% mineral broad-spectrum sunscreen is still a daily essential to help protect your skin and minimize damage. The right products can not only help prevent sunburn but also protect from UVA and UVB rays that can lead to sun damage, dry skin, premature signs of aging and skin cancer. Dr. DiAnne Davis, a board-certified dermatologist and laser and cosmetic surgeon based in Dallas, Texas, refers to sunscreen as “one of the holy grails in skincare.” The best sunscreens available, she notes, actively improve skin by replacing natural lip-

ids called ceramides. “Ceramides are one of the building blocks found naturally in skin, and as we get older, we start to lose the ceramides that help us maintain a healthy skin barrier,” she explains. “That’s why I recommend products that contain essential ceramides, which lock in moisture to help prevent dryness, irritation and environmental damage.” When establishing a skincare routine, ceramides should be incorporated in everything from your moisturizer to sunscreen. In fact, according to new insights from a peer-reviewed publication featured in the

Make it a habit: Use sunscreen each day regardless of weather - even when indoors.

Journal of Drugs in Dermatology titled, “Efficacy of Ceramide-Containing Formulations on UV-Induced Skin Surface Barrier Alterations,” a skincare regimen that includes a moisturizer and sunscreen formulated with ceramides can help protect against UV-induced skin barrier damage and improve skin barrier health overall against chronic sun exposure. With a focus on health and beauty, Davis shares the following tips to keep in mind as you establish a sunscreen routine to carry you through autumn and into the colder months of the year. Understand sunscreen is necessary for all skin types. People of all skin types and tones need broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays for optimal skin health. Fortunately, CeraVe offers a wide range of products that are formulated to suit different skin types and concerns. If your skin is sensitive or easily irritated, you might opt for a mineral sunscreen containing ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Mineral sunscreens create a barrier on the skin’s surface to effectively protect from the sun’s harmful rays. Choose a sunscreen developed by dermatologists. Not all sunscreens are created equal, so you’ll want to find one formulated

with ingredients that not only protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays but also provide additional skincare benefits. A surprising number of survey respondents are unaware that sunscreen can provide extra beauty benefits; 51% don’t realize it can hydrate the skin and 94% have never sought barrier-restoring ingredients like ceramides. When it comes to SPF protection, CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Sheer Tint optimizes three essential ceramides to restore the skin barrier, plus hyaluronic acid to maintain moisture and niacinamide to soothe irritation. The tinted, 100% mineral sunscreen offers a sheer, natural finish that blends seamlessly into skin while providing all-day hydration and a healthy glow. Make it a habit: Use sunscreen each day regardless of weather - even when indoors. Twenty-eight percent of U.S. adults believe they only need sunscreen protection in sunny weather, according to the survey. However, since UVA and UVB rays can still penetrate through clouds and UVA rays can also penetrate through windows, Davis advises applying a high-quality hydrating sunscreen as part of your daily routine - all day, every day, year-round. “Sunscreen isn’t just for pool days, but for fall activities too, like attending a football game or picking your favorite pumpkin from the patch,” she notes. “And, even if you are staying indoors as the temperature drops, you are still exposed to the sun through your windows.”

Not all sunscreens are created equal, so you’ll want to find one formulated with ingredients that not only protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays but also provide additional skincare benefits. Reapply sunscreen generously and frequently. In the survey, 58% of respondents report that they only apply sunscreen when spending multiple hours outside. However, the FDA recommends generously reapplying a broad-spectrum SPF at least every two hours, starting 15 minutes before you leave. In general, an average-sized adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen (enough to fill a shot glass) to evenly cover the body. The good news is that many Americans are becoming more proactive about their sunscreen habits, as 57% report practicing better sun care habits now than when they were younger, and 26% say that sunscreen is one of three products they’re likely to apply daily. Knowing the facts about sun care and skincare can help you keep your skin protected and healthy. Make sure that sunscreen is on your list of daily must-haves, no matter the season!



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state of the city

Ocala’s cyber-crime fighters

October is National Cyber Security Awareness month. With cybercrime on the rise throughout America and in the digital age, it is hard to remain vigilant about what is happening on the web. BY ASHLEY DOBBS


With a department of 25 people, who specialize in areas such as infrastructure, security, applications and service, the IT department is a huge part of keeping the organization safe against unknown outside cyber-attacks. Providing employees with the tools and resources to understand cyber safety and the crimes that offenders commit is a priority for the city. Employees are trained year-round in a variety of cyber topics, most notably how to spot a possible threat, whether it’s through electronic devices or physical security. In addition to ensuring that staff is aware of possible threats, the IT department has engaged with the general public to help provide information that these types of issues can happen to anyone, anytime and are not limited to big business or government agencies. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT The City of Ocala IT Department hosts workshops geared toward young people to senior citizens. Through after-school programs, topics of discussion include cyber bullying, talking to strangers online, social media safety and why it’s important that you don’t share personal information.



Senior citizens often face a different set of challenges, and their courses are geared toward topics such as being aware of scams, identity theft and downloading only trustworthy information. While many of these workshops have been placed on hold due to COVID, the department is exploring options for virtual learning programs offered through the City’s Recreation and Parks Department in the future. HOW TO REMAIN PROTECTED At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you are a small business, large corporation or a local municipality, it’s important to recognize the red flags. Threats come in all forms, both electronically and physically. Keep your software systems up to date, check email addresses and URLs in your correspondence, be suspicious of unsolicited text messages,

and be apprehensive of anyone urging you to take immediate action. If you work for a business that requires electronic or key card access into a building, remain cautious that someone isn’t following closely behind you. The City of Ocala is fortunate to have a dedicated department that supports a safe electronic working environment. The IT staff continuously researches and implements plans to keep our systems running so employees can continue to serve our residents. As we celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness month, we appreciate the measures taken by staff to remain protected not only in our professional lives, but also providing insight to the public to keep them safe in their daily lives. Ashley Dobbs is the Marketing and Communications Manager for the City Of Ocala.

Photos courtesy of The City of Ocala

ut how does cybercrime affect businesses and government agencies, and what techniques can be implemented to mitigate the risks? Remaining aware of the dangers is step number one; but having an entire team protect the important information transmitted every day is also equally important, which is why the Information and Technology (IT) Department within the City of Ocala works diligently to create a safe environment for employees, business owners and citizens who trust us with their information.

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state of the county

Keep Marion County Beautiful BY STACIE CAUSEY


arion County’s scenic roads running over rolling hills and under live oak canopies can be a sight for sore eyes. But litter along the roadside is a prominent and preventable eyesore. Tossing your trash out the window might not seem like a big deal, but the consequences to our county and your wallet far outweigh the convenience. It seems common knowledge that littering has serious impacts on our environment. Roadside litter is just as dangerous to wildlife as it is unattractive. Birds swooping toward a candy wrapper or land animals gathering tossed food are at risk of being hit by traffic --not to mention the risk to wildlife and people from contaminating our drinking water with pollution from chemicals unable to be absorbed before entering our water supply and harmful pieces of litter such as broken glass and soda rings. Litter cleanup is also expensive. Last year, taxpayers footed the bill for nearly $1 million to pick up litter in Marion County after factoring in wages, equipment costs and other expenses. Finally … littering is against the law and can have serious consequences. Punishments for litter violations range from a $50 fine all the way to a $500 fine and 10 days in jail or community service. For commercial dumping or littering of more than 500 pounds, you could earn a $5,000 fine and 5 years in state prison.

advisory members representing municipalities, state agencies, law enforcement and commercial waste haulers. This diverse committee will be preparing a report to recommend strategies to reduce litter and illegal dumping in Marion County. They’ll be considering a wide range of viewpoints, researching what has worked in other communities, and making sure any options considered are fiscally responsible for our residents.

What are we doing?

What can you do?



USE OUR RECYCLING CENTERS Marion County operates 18 locations throughout the county where trash and recyclables can be safely and legally discarded. Residents of unincorporated Marion County pay a solid waste assessment fee to use these facilities, and residents of municipalities can purchase a permit to use these centers as well. For more information and a list of re-

TARP YOUR TRASH A lot of the litter along Marion County’s roadsides starts in the bed of a truck. Florida laws for litter escaping a vehicle apply to every driver and owner hauling anything along any public road or highway open to the public. So, make sure to tie down your cargo. And if you’re hauling loose cargo, cover it securely with a tarp. ADOPT A ROAD You can help us curb litter and keep Marion County beautiful! Join one of our 40 groups of volunteers or start a group of your own and adopt two miles of roadway through our Adopt a Road program. We provide trash bags, protective equipment, safety items, and a commemorative road sign to groups that choose to adopt a roadway. Registering to adopt your stretch of road at marionfl.org/adoptaroad. TAKE OUR SURVEY The Litter Control Task Force is currently conducting a survey to gauge public opinion about litter in our county. Make your voice heard by visiting surveymonkey.com/r/7TM82XB. Stacie Causey is a public information officer for the Marion County government.

Photos courtesy of Marion County

In addition to our community involvement programs, on-campus education appearances and partnerships for local cleanups, Marion County recently established a Litter Control Task Force dedicated to curbing litter in our community. The task force consists of seven voting members appointed by each county commissioner, the sheriff and the School Board superintendent. They are joined by several

cycling centers, visit marionfl.org/solidwaste.



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Changing of the Guard


iwanis of Ocala held their meeting on September 24th at their new location, being at Knights of Columbus. President Joe Voge started the meeting with announcements while Bill Crawford led in song, pledge and prayer. Bruce Howard, long-time member, was gracious in handling the Happy Bucks as Shelley Sizemore announced the Virtual Art Auction taking place. This is being held as a fund raiser on November 12th, for the Satellite Kiwanis of Ocala Club held at Mimi’s restaurant every Monday evening. City Councilman Jay Musleh gave a special donation of happiness for being in the upcoming runoff election. The Highlight of the meeting was the induction presented by Lt. Governor of Kiwanis, Jeff Zuttenber, also Past President of the Club. The gavel was handed over to their new President, Tammy Hoff from Past President Joe Voge. A special plaque was given by Tammy to Joe in recognition of his service during his tenure.

New Officers for 2021-2022: Tammy Hoff, President; Jim McGuire, NC Sizemore, Roseann Fricks, Phil Olstein, Wesley Wilcox and Wes Wheeler

Jeff Ruttenber, Lt. Governor and Tammy Hoff, President

Chris Knife, CF Foundation Director, Guest Speaker

Craig Conrad

Tammy Hoff and Joe Voge

Jay Musleh

Anastasia Skobeleva

Kevin Lopez

Shelley Sizemore, Bruce Howard

Carol Walker, Graham Black


The special guest speaker, Roger Waddell, was introduced by Program Chair, Craig Conrad. Roger is the Director of the Marion County Parks and Recreation and shared updates and current happenings at all of our parks. Craig Conrad introduced our Guest Speaker of Honor, Chris Knife, former member of Kiwanis. Chris is the Director of the College of Central Florida Foundation. Special guests attending were Kevin Lopez, Candidate for District 4 City Council; Anastasia Skobeleva, Director of Marketing at Encompass Health and guest of Nick Navetta, Past President; Carol Walker and Graham Black, Members of the Military Officer’s Association.

Bill Crawford

Roger Waddell, Guest Speaker


Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members, and partners, dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. Today, with more than 550,000 members in 80 Countries, Kiwanis empowers members to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of our children, such as fighting hunger, improving literacy and being a mentor. Kiwanis Clubs host over 150,000 service projects per year.




HONOR THE HEROES Ocala Kiwanis Brick Program Sponsoring Camp Kiwanis for the Kids In Honor of Nick Nikkinen, Nikkenen,Chair Chairof of the Camp Kiwanis Trustee Board and Assistant Property Appraiser of Marion County. Nick recently passed from complications of COVID.

Honoring All Heroes During COVID-19 COVID 19 Caretakers, Nurses, Doctors, Military, Volunteers, or any person meing a difference during the pandemic season. Bricks may be also purchased to honor anyone that has passed during this period of COVID.

Each brick: $250 minimum donation. May include name of honoree, reason for honoring and/or description of honor (3 16-character lines).

Deadline for purchase:

Nov 10, 2021

Dedication Ceremony at Camp Kiwanis on

Nov 20, 2021

For more info and order forms:

NC Sizemore: 352-291-8778 or ncsizemore@gmail.com or Karen Karin Dailey: Dailey: 518-669-3696 ocalakiwanis.org Facebook: Kiwanis Club of Ocala http://bit.ly/Kiwanisbricks

From camping at Camp Kiwanis (since 1948), to projects to improve academics, citizenship, and child safety, the Kiwanis Club of Ocala serves and cares for the children of Ocala and surrounding areas. Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members, and partners, dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time. Today, with more than 550,000 members in 80 Countries, Kiwanis empowers members to pursue creative ways to serve the needs of our children, such as fighting hunger, improving literacy and being a mentor. Kiwanis Clubs host over 150,000 service projects per year.



Travel to Classical Greece with Ocala Rotary Club


ravel back thousands of years to a time of great architects, philosophers and mythical gods on this journey to Greece! Greece is the place for you in 2022! Ocala Rotary Club is promoting this awesome trip to Greece as a club fundraiser. The trip is May 12-20, 2022. There is plenty of time to prepare. Not only do we get to enjoy this great trip but we also raise funds for many worthy causes of Rotary.

www.indus.travel/tour/classical-greece-with-ocala-rotary-club To learn more about joining Rotary, please visit: www.RotaryInternational.com



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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.

2021 Historic Ocala Preservation Society Board Members

Coming Soon: The sequel to David Cook’s book, with new articles and history.

The Way It Was: A Trek Through Marion County’s Past $25.


Watch for details about our upcoming

2021 Christmas Home Tour

Brian Stoothoff — President Rhoda Walkup — Vice President Richard Perry — Secretary Dennis Phillips — Treasurer Pamela Stafford — Past President Linda Anker Daniel Banks Giorgio Berry Bryan Caracciolo Robin Fannon Sean Gallaway Leon Geller Andrew Grunther Stephanie Howard R.J. Jenkins Lela Kerley Trish Kilgore Sarah Kirk Caryl Lucas Leslie McCullough Penny Miller Suzanne Thomas Diana Williams Link Wilson Holly Yocum

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



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DON’T MISS! 2021

Ocali Country Days


Silver River Museum Ocala, Florida


Breaking New Ground





Gemini November 13 – 14 (9 am – 4 pm)

Jason White (352) 816-2074

Cow Hunter, Ft. McCoy, 1890s

Admission $8 per person (children 5 and under free)


www.classichitsocala.com In Crisis? Call (830) 822-2563 www.facebook.com/classichitsocala

New for 2021 – “Dugout Canoes: Paddling Through the Americas.” A Special Exhibit produced by the Florida Museum.

Ocali Country Days is back this fall. The festival runs through the weekend of November 13-14 with live music, historic displays, vendors, great food, unique crafts for sale and more. $8 per person with children 5 and under free.


Visitors experience the Florida of yesteryear with Living History exhibits highlighting life during the 1800s. Tour pioneer cabins, visit with crafters demonstrating old time skills, watch sugar cane syrup being made, take a tram ride though the state park, tour the Silver River Museum and much more.

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etwork’s e movie mission

looking back

Captain Midnight and the jamming of HBO


he rage n HBO t took a


e called himself “Captain Midnight” and for over four minutes he rocked the world of satellite television. The date was April 27, 1986. The time: 12:32 a.m. If you happened to be watching the Home Box Office Network’s broadcast of “The Falcon and the Snowman” then, you saw the message sent out by Captain Midnight. Right after the movie concluded its opening credits, a 25-year-old Ocalan working for a local teleport uplink operator jammed HBO’s transmission with a standard color test pattern that included the following statement:

plinked and all as using te. ews and

rong of ed raise .” fter his adcasts, t HBO

and one


later on on the

that the ass laws municatomatic

Captain Midnight was actually John MacDougall, who in those days operated a satellite television dealership when it was all




the rage for homeowners to place a huge dish in their yard in order to capture direct satellite feeds of premium cable programming. When HBO began scrambling its signal and charging what were then exorbitant fees, the dish craze began to wane and dealers of the product took a major financial hit. With business sour, MacDougall went to work as a part-time operations engineer for Central Florida Teleport, which uplinked services to satellites. It was after one of his shifts on a Saturday evening that he decided it was time to send his message to HBO and all viewing. By simply aiming his dish at the satellite Galaxy I, Transponder 23, and applying more power than the 125 watts HBO was using to transmit its signal, Captain Midnight took control. In essence, Captain Midnight achieved the world’s first hijacking of a satellite. What at the time seemed like a harmless prank and polite protest, suddenly turned very serious as the episode made national news and drew the ire of not only HBO executives but also the Federal Communications Commission.

MacDougall’s hijacking of the satellite had made him a wanted fugitive, but also a minor hero of sorts, especially to the throng of satellite dish owners throughout the country. A group of citizens even formed the group, “Captain Midnight Coalition,” which helped raise money for MacDougall’s legal defense. His escapades were even parodied in the nationally-syndicated comic strip “Bloom County.” After the FCC finally tracked down the origins of the Captain Midnight broadcast, MacDougall gave in to authorities. After his arraignment, MacDougall was interviewed by a myriad of news organizations and was invited to appear on numerous national broadcasts, but he declined all offers until after his sentencing. By that time, publicity and interest had waned in Captain Midnight, exactly what HBO and the FCC had hoped. After a plea bargain, MacDougall received a $5,000 fine and one year of probation, a far cry from the possible $100,000 fine and one year of prison to which he could have been sentenced. In 1987, a satellite hijacker carried on where Captain Midnight left off, this time hacking into a WGN news program and later on a PBS broadcast taking place on WTTW. In this interruption, the hacker donned a Max Headroom mask and would be slapped on the buttocks. Unlike Captain Midnight, the Max Headroom hijacker was never discovered. MacDougall’s original goal had been to shine a light on “uncontrolled monopolies wrecking the free enterprise system” and that the government should involve itself in reversing the trend. The government did step in, not to curb programming monopolies but to pass laws making for harsher penalties to people jamming satellite signals. That year, the United States Congress passed the Electronics Communications Privacy Act, which made satellite hijacking a felony. In addition, the jamming incident helped spur the development of the Automatic Transmitter Identification System which allows satellite operators to identify unauthorized uplink transmissions. When it was all said and done, Captain Midnight’s goal of curbing broadcast monopolies ultimately backfired, leading to more restrictions and more state involvement.

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