Ocala Style April '20

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A Fairy


R in


Tale Romance

Eat t a

APR ‘20

Water Woes

The Health Issue


as Healing



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Scenes From A


Duck Derby

Your Wedding Barn Estate, Where Rustic Meets Elegance This 10+-acre estate offers a modern farmhouse, pool and hot tub, gazebo with firepit, woodworking shop, feed barn, six paddocks plus an income producing wedding area. The 4-bedroom, 3-bath custom home includes a country kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances, double oven, center island, granite counters, and cast-iron sinks. The floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the family room with wood-beam ceilings, hardwood floors and French doors leading to a screen-enclosed lanai. The barn was built with Cypress tongue and groove wood and is currently used as a wedding venue with dance floor, bar area and air-conditioned bridal suites, which could be converted to stalls. $925,000

Equestrian Enthusiasts - 42 +/- Acres Private gated community. Built in 2019, this home is serene, modern, and contemporary. It’s Spacious, open and bright floor plan is conducive to both grand entertaining and fun filled family gatherings. Spectacular features include a modern granite built center island in kitchen with counter seating. Separate dining area and living room with a beautiful fireplace, sliding glass doors all open and overlook the spacious lanais, pool and green pastures. Sitting high on its own private knoll is a horseman’s dream of a stable featuring 9 stalls, A/C office, tack room, and half bath. The property also features a stately irrigated arena, paddocks, maintenance building with hay storage plus additional A/C multi-purpose building. Close to Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Horse Park and Florida Greenways & Trails. $2,300,000

Just Reduced

Bridle Run -7.54 +/- Acres

Bridle Run - 9.75 +/- Acres

As you drive thru the gated entrance of this 4-bedroom, 3-bath turn-key home you will notice the stunning views from this hilltop location. Property has been recently updated. Equine friendly neighborhood with bridle trails. Plus, just a short drive to the Florida Horse Park and Trails. $599,900

Equestrian Estate with breathtaking views! Recently modernized kitchen, new master wing with walk-in closet, office, and laundry room. Superior finishes throughout. Open floor plan is ideal for entertaining. 4-Stall stable with tack/feed room, arena, and lush green paddocks. Additional building for tool and equipment storage. This is a must see! $1,139,000

Secluded Home on 3.90 +/- Acres

Location Plus Exceptional Offering!

This gated home has it all! A Country feel yet only 5 minutes to Hwy 200 and I-75. Showcasing 10’ vaulted ceilings, slate tile floors, and arched doorways. A Chef’s kitchen with custom cabinets and granite countertops. Bonus room currently being used as a media/game room. Outdoor entertainment area with lanai, fire pit, and mature landscaping. $425,000

For those who desire an elegant country house with exquisite equine facilities on 5.25+/- acres with additional 5 +/- acres available. Spacious 3 Bedrooms, 2 bath home. Lighted rubber surfaced stadium tennis court, 4 stall show stable with apartment, covered horse trailer & RV parking, professionally designed dressage cushion arena, pool, and large workshop. $799,500

If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call today! List your property with Joan Pletcher... Our results speak for themselves.

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

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Hunt Murty Publisher | Jennifer jennifer@magnoliamediaco.com

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Art Editorial

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Simon Mendoza simon@magnoliamediaco.com Brooke Pace brooke@magnoliamediaco.com

PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Ackerman Amy Davidson Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Lyn Larson Philip Marcel Dave Miller Rigoberto Perdomo Isabelle Ramirez Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATORS David Vallejo Maggie Perez Weakley


ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson evelyn@magnoliamediaco.com Sheila Gaspers sheila@magnoliamediaco.com Clif “Skip” Linderman skip@magnoliamediaco.com CLIENT SERVICES GURU Brittany Duval brittany@magnoliamediaco.com

Distribution Dave Adams Rick Shaw



EDITOR IN CHIEF Nick Steele nick@magnoliamediaco.com MANAGING EDITOR Belea T. Keeney belea@magnoliamediaco.com PRODUCTION EDITOR Susan Smiley-Height susan@magnoliamediaco.com SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR Lisa McGinnes lisa@magnoliamediaco.com FREELANCE FASHION STYLIST Karlie Loland CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sherri Cruz Amy Davidson Jim Gibson JoAnn Guidry Cynthia McFarland Jill Paglia Alyssa Ramos Marian Rizzo Dave Schlenker Patricia Tomlinson


MARKETING MANAGER Kylie Swope kylie@magnoliamediaco.com MARKETING COORDINATOR Sabrina Fissell sabrina@magnoliamediaco.com


Florida Bicycle Accidents: Don’t Be a Statistic IF YOU’RE INJURED, AN ATTORNEY WITH PERSONAL INJURY AND TRIAL EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST CHOICE. Florida has a dubious claim to fame when it comes to bicycle accidents. The fact is, the Sunshine State ranks first in the country in bicycle fatalities. Obviously, no one plans to be involved in an accident—either as a vehicle driver or as the rider of a bicycle, but knowing the legal basics can protect you should the unfortunate situation arise. For starters, many people don’t realize that bicycles are considered vehicles, so when riding a bike you are subject to the same traffic signals and laws as if you were operating a motor vehicle. For example, this means



your bike must be equipped with a lamp/light if operated between sunset and sunrise. “I think few drivers or cyclists know, understand or obey the rules of the road when it comes to interaction between motor vehicles and bicycles,” says Greg King, Managing Shareholder of King Law Firm in Ocala. “Bicycles are defined as vehicles by Florida law and must obey all traffic laws just like the operators of motor vehicles.” If you are involved in an accident between a bicycle and motor vehicle, no matter which you are operating, there are

specific things you should do immedately. In many ways, an accident involving a cyclist is no different from one involving another car. You should: • Stop and render aid • Notify the police • Notify EMS • Take photographs • Get the names and contact information of witnesses • Do not admit fault • Notify your insurance company • Seek medical treatment (even if no injury appears obvious) It’s not unusual for someone to think they aren’t injured following an accident and not seek medical help until much later. This is a mistake. If you end up having to file an insurance claim or lawsuit, your case will be strengthened by promptly seeking medical assistance. “You should always seek medical assistance right after an accident, because you could be injured and not know it. This is also important to protect your automobile insurance

benefits, because if you do not see a doctor within 14 days, you forfeit your PIP coverage,” explains King. King relates the case of a client who was struck from behind by a vehicle while riding his bike, resulting in injuries to his head, back and ankle. “There was only $25,000.00 of insurance coverage available from the party that hit him, and $100,000.00 of underinsured motorist coverage from our client’s own insurance company,” notes King. “Both insurance companies paid their policy limits.” Just as with an auto accident, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases applies in the event of a bicycle accident. You have a maximum of four years from the date of the collision/accident to file a lawsuit. King Law Firm › 2156 E. Silver Springs Blvd Ocala, FL 34470 › (352) 261-6648 › www.kinglawfirm.org



ALYSSA RAMOS WRITER For this health-themed issue, Alyssa Ramos writes about stroke care, battling opioid addiction and the connection between patients and therapy dogs. Alyssa approaches life with a big city perspective, yet she’s a small town girl at heart. As an Ocala native and a graduate of the University of Florida, she is an advocate for local journalism. She hopes to elevate underrepresented voices with her appetite for finding the wonder in everyday life.

DAVE SCHLENKER COLUMNIST Dave Schlenker has a unique view on life, as shared in his inaugural column for the magazine, in this issue. Dave was a reporter, editor and columnist with the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun for more than 28 years. He likely will be remembered as the journalist who broke the two-butted chicken story. He now works for Duke Energy. He and his wife, Amy, have two daughters, Katie and Caroline. He enjoys photography, collecting Hot Wheels and writing about himself in the third person. DAVID VALLEJO ILLUSTRATOR For Dave Schlenker’s debut column for the magazine, David Vallejo created a spirited illustration to highlight Dave’s beloved grandfather and his prized possession, “The Stingray.” David enjoys spending time with family, venturing to local farmers markets and drinking fresh ground coffee. In addition to being a creative artist and illustrator, he enjoys running and playing guitar. His two dogs, Ruby and Gibson, are his studio mates during the workday.




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April ‘20


Publisher’s Note y first act as magazine publisher in 2018 was to reach out to my favorite local writer, Dave Schlenker. Although I didn’t know him very well personally, I admired his ability to consistently elicit an emotional response through his Ocala Star-Banner column. He accepted my invitation to meet over tacos and, with all the excitement you can imagine a new publisher would exhibit, talking to her favorite local writer, I asked him to consider coming to work for us. He then “schooled” me on the lack of journalistic integrity he found in many lifestyle magazines and flatly—but politely—let me know I couldn’t afford him. But if I needed advice, he’d be happy to help. A little note about Dave’s joviality—don’t let it distract you from how seriously he takes lots of subjects, such as writing, photography, his family and serving those less fortunate. Since I share a similar intensity for certain subjects, I wasn’t put off by Dave’s response. Instead, I left thinking—challenge accepted! A year and a half later, following an immense amount of leadership, long hours and lots of hard work by our Editor in Chief Nick Steele to evolve the magazine to its current level—we proudly present Dave Schlenker’s monthly column. My first year and a half in publishing has felt like a decade, so humor us while I revel in this milestone of adding Dave’s name to our masthead. For you fellow Dave Schlenker fans, excited to have him back writing for our community, we’ll happily accept fan mail on his behalf. On a more serious note, this issue is full of valuable information about how we can maintain or regain our health. I’m proud of our editors for taking on some difficult subjects and want to thank all the medical professionals who spoke to us about topics that can be hard to discuss, like mental health, women’s pelvic exams, and medical marijuana. Something that really hit home with me, especially with the COVID-19 threat on all our minds, is the correlation between the amount of time we spend outside and connected to each other to good health. Its brings new meaning to why we chose Ocala as our home. With its high concentration of beautiful outdoor environments and kind people—Ocala living offers many opportunities for healthful living. We also need to consider ways to offset the unhealthy aspects of isolating to protect ourselves from exposure. So join us in making a pact to overcompensate with positivity and goodness where we can. Let’s step up our regular telephone calls, particularly with those who live on the their own or are especially affected by these unique circumstances. Let’s smile a little wider and offer a more enthusiastic wave to our neighbors. Use the extra time to reflect on how you will actively contribute to making our community a stronger place during and after this global pandemic. Sometimes it takes a crisis like this to remind us just how connected our well-being is to that of others.

Jennifer Hunt Murty Publisher 10


April ‘20



f e a tu r e s






Joe O’Farrell’s son Mike and grandsons Joe and David are continuing the Ocala Stud legacy started here in 1956.

de pa r tme n ts

insid e r


15 22


Cattle, ducks, rescue animals, and even gnomes and fairies were celebrated at recent gatherings.










Our guide to some great local upcoming events.





An antique handmade go-kart prompts a flood of fond memories— and a project to benefit local charities.

ta b l e


Local science and history writer John Dunn has authored a book about Florida’s water crisis.





Get a glimpse into the most special days of local brides and grooms. From a cross-country romance, including a cheering crowd at an airport, this fairy tale courtship ends with a multicultural wedding.



Eating fresh and colorful foods can help enhance your health.






The Ocala Youth Symphony is in its 21st year under the direction of Cindy Warringer. A behind-the-scenes look at how workers are preparing for the upcoming elections.

Check out the “modern country” style of this young Ocalan.

The latest on stroke care, medical marijuana, depression and opioid addiction treatment. Learn about the SimplerPsych telehealth program, storytelling as healing, alcohol awareness, outside therapy and a Medicare fraud scam. Is your drinking water safe to drink and produced in an environmentally friendly way? New rules in Florida may help people understand the quality of the CBD products they are buying.

o n th e c o ver Dave Schlenker photographed by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery

Clockwise from top left: photo by Maven Photo + Film; photo by Bruce Ackerman; photo by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery



April ‘20


Dentistry by Dr. Tina Chandra Restoratiions by Williams Dental Lab Girlroy, CA

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Social Fun for kids, a cattle drive and a duck race derby at Tuscawilla Park all helped benefit the Discovery Center. Photo by Dave Miller

April ‘20



Cattle Drive & Cowboy Round-up DOWNTOWN OCALA Photography by Dave Miller


Mathias Ivanovskiy

Sawyer Finley



he eighth annual Cattle Drive & Cowboy Round-Up was held Saturday, February 8th in downtown Ocala. Cowboys, cows, Florida cracker horses and dogs paraded from downtown Ocala to Tuscawilla Park, where games, food, demonstrations and live music showcased the cattle industry’s culture. It was hosted by the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department with additional support from Insight Credit Union and other sponsors. All proceeds beneďŹ ted the Discovery Center, a hands-on, interactive educational facility.

Colt Holley

Real People. Real S tories. Real O cala.

Trista Mudd, Amy Casaletto, Christine Thibodeau, Maxine Moore, Karen Hatch

Duck Derby TUSCAWILLA PARK Photography by Dave Miller


arion County Rotary Clubs held the firstever Duck Derby on Saturday, February 8th at Tuscawilla Park. A water “raceway” was set up, and Ocala Fire Rescue staff started the competition by using fire hoses to get the ducks moving. The winners were 1st place, $2,020 to Bea Cowart; 2nd place, $1,020 to Anne Parker; and 3rd place, $520 to the employees of HDG Hotels. Organizers estimated at least $18,000 was raised for the Discovery Center.

Christine Thibodeau

Tim Dean

April ‘20



Beginning of Bolted Art (BOBA) TUSCAWILLA PARK Photography by Dave Miller


rt lovers gathered at Tuscawilla Park on February 21st for BOBA: Beginning of Bolted Art, on the ďŹ rst day of the biennial Ocala Outdoor Sculpture Competition. Ten new sculptures made their debut and will be exhibited through 2021. The VIP preview celebration was hosted by the City of Ocala Cultural Arts.



Real People. Real S tories. Real O cala.

Alyssa Basbano

Rob Carney with Baxter

VOCAL Furball Marcy Henderson and Kylie Brown

Jill Paglia

Katrina and Bret Edwards

Lenore Nichols with Bo

GOLDEN OCALA Photography by Meagan Gumpert On February 8th, Voices of Change Animal League held its annual fundraising event. The festive affair raised $135,000 to fund their work to end pet homelessness in Marion County through their Food Bank, TNR Program and Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic. VOCAL provides 5 million animal meals throughout our community annually and distributes food to over 100 area shelters and rescues. Dr. Maggie Bell and Mr. Darcy Bird, VOCAL’s first donors, returned as presenting sponsors for a third year.

Randy Rando

Wyatt Stephens, Mason Jordan, Brice Carpenter, Lauren Carpenter, Sydney Carpenter, Kindel Stephens, Ann Stephenson, Kate Rengel

April ‘20



Deb’s Party Ponies

Gnome and Fairy Fest SHOLOM PARK Photography by Amy Davidson


he perennially lovely Sholom Park was transformed into an enchanted garden for the Fun at the Park: Gnome and Fairy Festival on February 23rd. Kids in fairy wings and gnome hats searched with their families for magical fairy doors throughout the gardens and enjoyed fairy tale readings and rock painting.

Robert Mathews

Ian Whiteford



Sophia Solomon

Austin Levack and Vivien Worster


Marion County’s One Stop Medical Home

providing comprehensive, quality healthcare for our community! www.myhfhc.org • 2553 E. Silver Springs Ocala, FL 34480 • 352.732.6599

Family, Internal, Pediatric Medicine • Adult & Pediatric Dentistry • Maternity • Behavioral Health • Case Management • Pharmacy Services

On the Scene A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events

Please note, because of many schedule changes related to COVID-19, we recommend checking ahead of time before attending events.

Reilly Digital Series

Farmers Markets

Area farmers markets offer the enjoyable experience of shopping for the freshest produce and unique products from local vendors. Circle Square Commons Thursdays, April 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 | 9am-1pm At the central hub of On Top of the World, vendors gather under tents on the square with a variety of fresh, seasonal local produce and products. McPherson Government Complex Fridays, April 3, 10, 17 and 24 | 9am-2:30pm “Health happens” at this market on the lawn offering fresh produce, seafood, honey, baked goods and lunch items. Ocala Downtown Market Saturdays, April 4, 11, 18 and 25 | 9am-2pm Rain or shine, a diverse array of farmers, artisans and craftspeople, along with a number of food trucks, gather in the open-air pavilion, all accompanied by live music. 22


Left on Broadway photo by Meagan Gumpert. Ocala Downtown Market photo by Destiny Villafane.

Missing live local performances while social distancing? Ocala’s Reilly Arts Center is broadcasting popular local artists including Left on Broadway and The Greg Snider Group as well as regional artists for you to enjoy online. Visit www.reillyartscenter.com/live to see the lineup, watch events live and view archived events.

Real People. Real S tories. Real O cala.


16 To Kill a Mockingbird

Ocala Civic Theatre April 16-26, times vary Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and made famous through the Oscar-winning film of the same name, this beloved drama centered on race and justice, is told from a child’s perspective as her lawyer father defends a black man against false rape charges and his children against prejudice in the Depression-era South. It is presented in memory of former OCT executive director Mary Britt. www.ocalacivictheatre.com

of the Ocala Public 25 Friends Library Read-a-Thon

Ed Harris, Kyle Scatliffe of To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway, photo by Julieta Cervantes

Marion County Public Library Headquarters 8am-8pm This 12-hour reading marathon will feature 48 library supporters reading out loud from their favorite books for 15 minutes each. Readers will raise funds for the library through their online donation pages. Want to participate as a virtual reader? Commit to reading at home or wherever you are on April 25th and share photos or videos online. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/friendsoftheocalalibrary

April ‘20




25 Walk Like A Pharoah

McKathan Brothers Training Center, Citra 8am-12pm Take advantage of this rare opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who was trained right here in Marion County. This event will raise funds for the nonprofit Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses, which takes tiny, sweet horses all over the country to comfort trauma victims, from Sandy Hook Elementary to survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting to hospice patients and hospitalized children. Bring your own horse and ride on the track, or walk the track with Gentle Carousel’s adorable miniature horses. Bring the whole family to enjoy carriage rides, games and refreshments and get a behind-the-scenes look at American Pharoah’s stall, which is not usually open to the public. If social distancing is still recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you can still enjoy watching the team of miniature horses race around the track! Visit www.gentlecarouseltherapyhorses.com for more information and follow Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses on Facebook for the latest event details.

5/ YPO Leaders Series: Rise-N-Grind 1

5/ 1

First Friday Art Walk

Downtown Ocala 6-9pm This fun, free and family-friendly event, scheduled monthly from September through May, features artist displays and art activities, including those for children. Pick up a map at the square and take a self-guided tour of local artists displaying their works for sale in front of downtown businesses. A variety of entertainers are stationed around the downtown area and the restaurants and shops offer extended shopping hours. www.ocalafl.org

Educational Websites While schools remain closed and families are sheltering in place, these educational websites offer a great service and are a way to combat cabin fever.


Free. Grades PreK-8. Teaches reading, language arts, sciences and history. www.classroommagazines. scholastic.com/support/learnathome

ABC Mouse

Free 30 day trial. For ages 2-8. www.abcmouse.com

Adventure Academy

Free one month trial. For ages 8-13. www.adventureacademy.com

Math Games

Free. Grades PreK–8. www.mathgames.com


Free. Grades K-12. Language arts and reading. www.readwritethink.org


5/ 2

Basic Wild Caving Experience

Brick City Adventure Park, Ocala 9am-2pm Beginner program for those ages 8 to adult, who would like to explore an unimproved wild cave. Requires climbing and crawling. Gear provided. $35 per person. (352) 671-8560.



Free. Grades K-12. Language arts and math. www.learnzillion.com

National Geographic

Free. www.kids.nationalgeographic.com

Fun Brain

Free. Grades PreK-8. Math and reading. www.funbrain.com

Photo courtesy of Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses

Ocala Police Department 7:30-9:30am Young Professionals Ocala, a program of the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership, will offer an “OPD vs Opioid” presentation with Police Chief Greg Graham. The event begins with networking and includes a Q&A. www.ocalacep.com

Real People. Real S tories. Real O cala.


5/ Fun at the Park 3

Sholom Park, Ocala 1-4pm The beautiful Sholom Park in southwest Ocala will be the setting for the third annual incarnation of this popular music and art event. Slated to appear are Gypsy Sparrow, in the formal garden, with a violin and cello performance in the labyrinth. Many local artists and artisans will showcase original and unique works of art and handmade creations. There will be an interactive kids art station. Free to attend; bring lawn chairs or blankets. No pets allowed. www.facebook.com/sholom-park/events

5/ Ocala Cars & Coffee 3

War Horse Harley-Davidson 8-11am On the first Sunday of every month, War Horse’s parking lot fills up with sweet rides on four wheels and droves of automotive enthusiasts. You never know what you’ll see—high-dollar exotic cars, restored muscle cars and flawless classics often show up for this family-friendly event. Watch their Facebook page for regular event updates. www.facebook.com/carsandcoffeeocala

Sholom Park photo courtesy of Sholom Park


352.236.2274 • OcalaCivicTheatre.com April ‘20



Coming Soon... 6



www.TheVillagesEntertainment.com |

TheVillagesEntertainment 1545 N Buena Vista Blvd, The Villages, Fl | 352-753-3229



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Real People. Real S tories. Real O cala.



7pm Ultimate Robin Williams Experience Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


7:30pm Good Friday Variety Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


2:30pm and 7:30pm Let’s Hang On Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


5pm and 8pm The Modern Gentlemen Savannah Center, The Villages


7pm Classical Concert by The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra The Sharon, The Villages


5pm and 8pm The Greatest Piano Men Savannah Center, The Villages


7pm Dusty Slay Comedy Night Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


7pm Orange Blossom Opry Showcase Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

7:30pm Ronnie McDowell Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


7:30pm Dailey & Vincent Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

5pm and 8pm Rich Little Savannah Center, The Villages


5pm and 8pm Absolute Queen Savannah Center, The Villages

7:30pm Ocala Symphony Orchestra The Meaning of Life Reilly Arts Center


7:30pm Doug Stone Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


2:30pm and 7:30pm Bill Anderson Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


2:30pm TG Sheppard Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


2:30pm Neil Diamond Tribute Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


5pm and 8pm Smokey Joe’s Café Savannah Center, The Villages


16 &

23 17

17 &


7pm Kick The Bucket List Comedy Night Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

Photo courtesy of The Greatest Piano Men



7:30pm Friday Night Live Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


7pm That ‘60s Show Savannah Center, The Villages


7:30pm River City Boys-Music of Statler Brothers Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale


7:30pm Don’t Tell Nonnie The Sharon, The Villages

April ‘20





Real People. Real S tories. Real O cala.

de Mayo Cooking 5/ Cinco Demonstration 5

Olive Obsession, Ocala 6-8pm Owners Jay and Brenda Breitenbach will welcome Chef Evan Komyati of Kor Farms of Ocala, who will prepare tasty and fun Cinco de Mayo recipes, such as tequila marinated chicken tacos, carne asada, homemade refried beans, fresh pico de gallo and other treats. Chef Evan says he incorporates fresh vegetables from his farm with oils and vinegars from the store in creating the evening’s unique offerings. Attendees also will be treated to beverages, including “Brenda’s famous balsamic cocktails” and wine, and can sample the entire Olive Obsession selection of balsamic vinegars and extra virgin olive oils. Jay describes the event as “cooking demo and dining experience.” Up to 30 people can fill tables and be treated to fresh breads and various oils as they watch the chef and await the moment they can dig in and relish the tasty dishes. “It is quite fun,” says Chef Evan. $25; adults only. Check EventBrite for details and to RSVP or call Olive Obsession at (352) 237-2566.

Big Shows!


Intimate Setting!

MAR. 6




MAR. 14














JUN. 13




SEPT. 12




JUN. 26




SEPT. 26






OCT. 30







AUG. 1




OCT. 2








GeorgeCasey.com & ScottNovotny.com



DEC. 10


MAY 24








OCT. 24




APR. 10

APR. 3


DEC. 13

NOV. 13



ORLEANS OrleansOnline.com




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 are for residents of On Top of the World Communities and Stone Creek. (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. *FREE TICKETS NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE. TICKETS MUST BE PICKED UP AT THE CIRCLE SQUARE CULTURAL CENTER BOX OFFICE DURING NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS. **Online tickets subject to a convenience fee. ALL TICKET SALES FINAL.

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April ‘20



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Firt and the Stingray By Dave Schlenker | Illustration by David Vallejo


ome called him Doc. Some called him Red. A few called him Firt. I called him Granddad. Everybody called him brilliant. A little goofy at times, but always brilliant. Ferber A. Finley was a WWII veteran, a celebrated dentist who grew orchids and made artificial eyes. But his greatest masterwork—to his scrawny-bag-of-noise grandson, anyway—was the Stingray. Named for the testosterone-fueled Corvette of the 1970s, my Stingray was a pedal go-kart framed from scrap metal and various chunks of junkyard trash. Granddad, one of the most respected dentists in the state, frequented junkyards (and Don Knotts movies, but no matter). Grandad presented it to me when I was 5, and I spent hundreds of hours weaving tight figure-eights around his parked Buick and Grandma’s mile-long Chevrolet. It was my most treasured possession. No question. But this column is not about the Stingray. This column is about gut-punch decisions either to hang on to rotting elements of your past or discard tangled and true clumps of uselessness. Bittersweet sentimentality versus bitter common sense. Call it the Crud Correlation Theory (CCT): Sentimentality decreases in correlation to the increase of junk falling on your head from sagging closet shelves. You see, the Stingray—now 47 years old—lives in our garage. It was passed on to my nephews in the 1980s. One nephew, Danny, credits the Stingray for his “need for speed.” Nearly 18 years ago, my brother

Russ tuned it up, painted it pink and gave it new life for our oldest daughter, Katie. Toes tickling the pedals, Katie gave it several spins around the driveway before discovering Hannah Montana. These days, the Stingray remains in a dusty corner of the garage, teetering on three wheels and suffering from my savage attempts to restore it. Every year, I stand over it, staring and thinking and staring and thinking. The Stingray gets closer and closer to the side of the road. In February, it actually made it there amid a fast-and-furious frenzy of spring cleaning. I was at peace with it, really. Forty-seven years is a good run. Then I looked back. Ugh. So here’s the deal: Ocala Style hereby announces its Save the Stingray initiative. We are partnering with “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and the team at his Museum of Drag Racing, south of Ocala. They will restore the Stingray, from straightening bent parts to updating the paint job, and we will document the progress along the way. When the restoration is complete, we will auction off the Stingray to benefit one or more Marion County nonprofit organizations. In the meantime, as you get the itch for spring cleaning, be sure to scrape deeper into the dust and linger longer. Purging certified crud generates many endorphins, to be sure. But listen to those memories, too. Sometimes the difference between trash and treasure is a smile and a set of wheels. April ‘20



Water Woes Meet Ocala’s own John Dunn, an author and teacher who will be speaking later this year at the Evening Lecture Series sponsored for the community by the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC). By Susan Smiley-Height



forests and some bear habitats. The area also provides water recharge for Silver Springs, north of the Ocklawaha River bridge on State Road 40. Today, those lands are the Indian Lake State Forest. Along the way, Dunn has authored more than 350 articles for periodicals, scripts for audiovisual productions, a children’s play and 16 nonfiction books for young adults. He wrote José Martí: Cuba’s Greatest Hero (Marti City was once a thriving part of Ocala, related to the Cuban cigar industry) and recently authored Drying Up: The Fresh Water Crisis

Photo by Susan Dunn


ohn Dunn was born in Miami in 1949. As a youngster, he plied the lands and waterways around Miami and South Florida. His grandfather, father and other family members were farmers in Homestead. After seeing his father go bankrupt from ruined seasons and suffer physically from the demands of farming, Dunn chose a different path. He pursued degrees from Miami-Dade Junior College and the University of South Florida, and embarked on a career as a freelance writer and teacher. He and his wife Susan taught in Georgia, North Carolina and here in Marion County. They also worked as U.S. Department of Defense teachers in West Germany, during the Cold War, and traveled across Europe. John’s environmental interest was sparked when the couple lived in rural Paulding County, Georgia, in the early 1970s. The county only had 26,000 people and one stop light, making it an easy target for the City of Atlanta, which proposed traveling 40 miles beyond its city limits and using eminent domain to condemn land to build the world’s biggest airport—without the consent of the local residents. “We were only in our 20s, but we thought this idea was horrible and gravitated towards local people who were opposed, such as a barber, a railroad worker, teachers and realtors,” he explains. “Our opponents were Delta Air Lines, the City of Atlanta, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Regional Commission.” A small regional airport was built, Dunn says, but not the proposed massive facility. “So, that gave us a taste that a roused citizenry sometimes wins,” he notes. “Usually you don’t.” Dunn also engaged in other “battles” over the years, including the successful halt of a development project that would have harmed Marion County hardwood

in Florida, which earned this year’s Florida Historical Society’s Stetson Kennedy award for environmental writing and the Bronze Medal in the 2019 Florida Book Awards, Florida Nonfiction category. Drawing on more than 100 interviews and years of research, Dunn’s book offers a comprehensive and compelling overview of Florida’s water woes. “In Florida, we have lost half our wetlands. We have water quality and water quantity problems,” Dunn states. “Scientists calculate that 55 trillion gallons of rain fall every year. We use about 1 trillion and the rest is squandered. People say we’ve got water everywhere, but we have more and more wells being put in the ground, we have troubles with wastewater and stormwater and pollution, algae and red tide, and sea level rise. But the biggest damage to our fresh water supply is the destruction of the natural hydrology. Nature’s plumbing.” Dunn also focuses on restoration efforts, including those using green infrastructure to mimic natural hydrology, the new economics of virtual water and the rethinking of water as a precious life-source, not just a commodity. “This is our children’s world, our grandchildren’s world,” he urges. “This is not a partisan issue, it’s a

human issue. It is an urgent issue. And it’s not just a Florida issue, it’s an international issue.”

The IHMC Lecture Series is a free community event. Check www.ihmc.us or call (352) 387-3050 for information on Dunn’s lecture.

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April ‘20


An abstract art show will put the spotlight on local artists while also introducing Ocala to a New York City (NYC) inspired movement that has been sweeping the nation.


he 8th Ave. Gallery is bringing a taste of NYC’s abstract art shows to Ocala in a collaborative effort that will feature six local artists. Seth Benzel, founder of the 8th Ave. Gallery, and Eliezer Jose “E.J.” Nieves, of Art House Ocala, are planning to have an opening of Views on Abstraction 2020 in April (though the exact date may be subject to change). The art will be available for viewing through June 4th, by appointment. The event will introduce Ocala to a NYC-style art movement that has swept across the nation to communities like tiny Marfa, Texas—population 1,900—where residents support the work of local artists, largely due to the legacy of the late New York minimalist Donald Judd. People from all over the world visit Marfa because of the town’s art scene, says Benzel. The same thing can happen in Ocala, he insists. Though the area already has the Appleton Museum of Art, the Webber Center Gallery and the Marion Cultural Alliance, Benzel says this is something different. “I’m in support of all those things,” he says. “They are all examples of how Ocala is supporting the arts, but there’s a movement starting now that begins with 8th Ave. [Gallery] and Art House Ocala coming together. It’s artist driven—no censorship, free expression. The

Seth Benzel and E.J. Nieves



tipping point of this movement is that more artists are coming forward to be part of something new.” The spark for the show ignited when Benzel connected with Nieves a few months ago. “I had been to E.J.’s Neon Dreams show at Infinite Ale Works,” Benzel recalls. “It was very clear that he and I shared what I would call an artistic view of what Ocala could be when it came to an art movement backed and supported by artists. We feel it’s the start of something very unique in Ocala. We’re not looking outside of Ocala. We can create something really special here.” Each artist will do three paintings, for a total of 18 in the show. “Not only is this show representative of a movement, but it’s an opportunity for each artist to tackle the expression of art and its history in each one’s own individual way and style,” Benzel explains. “It’s an uncensored opportunity for them to express themselves.” Abstract art was born in the late 19th century and took off with flying colors in the 20th century through the contributions of such notables as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and a host of other talented artists. According to an article posted on the Tate Museum’s website, “The word, abstract, suggests something vague, difficult, not easily grasped. But abstract art doesn’t have to be any of those things. On the contrary, an artist working in an abstract way might want to make something striking and beautiful, whisking us away from the humdrum realities of the everyday.” Nieves couldn’t agree more. A commercial artist by trade, Nieves said he recently began painting for his personal enjoyment. After moving here from Orlando, he plunged into abstract art. Following a monthlong guerilla marketing effort with volunteers wearing psychedelic T-shirts and Nieves and artist Teddy Sykes donning ski masks—“for shock value,” Nieves says— more than 500 art lovers showed up at their Neon Dreams show in December. For Nieves, that was only the beginning. “Now, I’m allowing myself to paint in the moment,” he says. “Within the past six months, my time in Ocala has really helped me blossom. This is really a testament to what’s happening here.” For Views on Abstraction 2020, Benzel and Nieves invited several artists who also show their work at Art House Ocala.

Photo by Larry Maxwell

By Marian Rizzo

From left, artists E.J. Nieves, Jordan Shapot, Seth Benzel, David D’Alessandris and Teddy Sykes

“We wanted to build a platform for the artists,” Nieves says. “It’s very important for us going forward that the artists know they’re appreciated, know that they have a voice— audible of course, but also a visual voice.”

THINGS TO KNOW WHAT: Views on Abstraction 2020 Art Show WHEN: April 11th, 6 to 9pm, but due to COVID-19, check the 8th Ave. Gallery Facebook page for updates.

Photo by Ryan Holland

WHERE: 8th Ave. Gallery, 1531 NE 8th Ave. PRICE: Free admission or call for an appointment, (518) 681-9347. For more information, visit www.8thavegallery.com

THE ARTISTS Seth Benzel — “My work is about infinite possibilities and is rooted in deconstructionist principles. There are two major elements, one being architecture and the other being expressive lines that represent the natural energy around us.” E.J. Nieves — “My particular style is abstract expressionism. It’s created by a splatter-and-drip technique. I’m really working on nonrepresentational black-and-white, grayscale, a lot of monochromatic tones.” John Caputo — “My approach, at its best, is a partnership with nature, I believe abstraction is an undercurrent that structures the universe.” David D’Alessandris — “My work is derived from nature in very colorful patterns creating new shapes and images in a free-flowing manner. Every piece was started with one single line.” Jordan Shapot — “I will have a little bit of representationalism in my work—things that you’ll recognize—but overall the pieces will be conceptually abstract.” Teddy Sykes — “My natural style is surreal portraiture—almost photo realistic of a person—and I add elements of nature and fuse it into a painting. I will do a mixture of that with pure 100 percent abstraction.” April ‘20


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to celebrate Ocala’s newest brides and grooms, get a glimpse into their most special of days and hear ďŹ rsthand about the memories that will always hold a place in their hearts. Pictured: Mike and Lisa Dinkins Photographed by Barbara Smith


LISA & MIKE DINKINS January 4th, 2020 Photography by Barbara Smith Photography Venue: Golden Ocala Her favorite memory: “Mike’s vows—he just spoke from his heart without anything prepared. It was both surprising and wonderful.” His favorite memory: “The remarkable speech my best man gave for the toast. My nephew, Jeffrey Celia, a high school English teacher, was my best man. His sincerity and profound use of the English language as he expressed what Lisa and I meant to him brought tears, inspiration, and laughter to all who were blessed to hear… especially me.”

PAIGE & DYLAN FERGUS December 14th, 2019 Photography by Brittany Bishop Venue: Hilton Ocala Their favorite memory: “We had waited for this day for so long. With a few bumps along the way and a couple changes of dates, our wedding day was finally happening. We’ll never forget having our first dance in each other’s arms and then having my mom bring our 9-month-old son up to finish the dance with us.” 38


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April ‘20


True Romance A made for the movies love story, along with a mix of cultures and traditions, culminates in a picture perfect wedding. By Marian Rizzo Photography by Meagan Gumpert and Dave Miller of Maven Photo + Film


t was like a Hallmark Channel romantic comedy, complete with a love triangle, a longdistance relationship and several mishaps, including a lost cellphone, a missed flight and a series of humorous misadventures. To complicate things even more, the bride and groom came from completely different ethnic backgrounds. Antonio “Tony” Deras moved here 12 years ago from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, when he was just 19. He dreamed of being a boxer or a soccer player. But a job as a dishwasher at a local eatery led him to working as a line cook at several restaurants and, ultimately, to becoming executive chef at Tavern on the Square. The culinary world soon eclipsed his youthful sporting interests and is where he discovered one of his great passions. The discovery of another great passion was soon to follow, in the form of one Katherine “Kat” Alexandra Sokol. Kat is the daughter of David and Patricia Sokol, owners of Katya Vineyards in Ocala. The word “Katya” comes from her father’s pet name for Kat, whose heritage is Polish, Czech and Irish. A graduate of Forest High School, she pursued a career in professional ballet in Florida, Kentucky and New York, and went to China as an instructor with the Royal Academy of Dance.



When the two met, Kat was living in California and was already in a relationship. She was visiting her family in Ocala when her folks invited her to have lunch at Tavern on the Square. “My parents kept telling me about this really talented young chef and maybe we could do some catering events with him,” says Kat. “I came there with low expectations. I’m very picky how I like my steaks, and he didn’t even ask how I wanted it. It was perfect.” After that initial meeting, Kat and Tony kept bumping into each other. One evening, they ended up talking all night and through to the following day. Over the next year, their casual encounters blossomed into a friendship. They talked every night and texted every morning. “We were friends first,” Kat is quick to point out. “I had been thinking about moving back to my hometown. I flew 61,000 miles in six months, back and forth every two weeks. Then, I started spending more time in Ocala. There came a point when I didn’t buy a ticket back to California.” Though Tony had never thought about getting married, he found himself looking forward to seeing Kat. What he did next surprised even him. “She comes in one day and I grabbed her hand,”

Tony recalls. “I looked at her and I said, ‘When you leave, I miss you.’ And she said, ‘Me too.’ I said, ‘You go back today and you tell that guy he’s in trouble. I’m gonna fight for you.’ She replied, ‘If you want me, come and get me.’” Days later, with a plane ticket in his hand and Kat’s promise to have her car packed and ready to go, Tony raced to the Orlando airport. But, like most made-for-TV movies, his trip to California had many obstacles. A traffic jam on I-75 caused him to miss his flight. The last plane out had already shut the door. In his mad dash to the gate, he got on the wrong tram. Finally, after hearing his story, a compassionate agent called ahead and sent Tony flying down the correct concourse past cheering airline employees. He boarded the plane to rousing applause from the waiting passengers. The whirlwind excursion ended with Kat and Tony crammed inside her compact Chevy Cruze with all her worldly belongings, “and no breathing room,” says Kat. They made the trip to Ocala after a three-day stop in Las Vegas, followed by 37 hours on the road. Tony and Kat became engaged Christmas morning 2018, when he presented her with a beautiful champagne sapphire, custom designed by Ocala’s Lady Jeweler. Tony soon left Tavern on the Square and became executive chef at Katya Vineyards. They married a year later, on December 27th, 2019. They were both 31 years old. “As soon as I got in the car, it hits me, I’m about to get married,” Tony recalls. “I said, ‘I don’t feel good. What is wrong with me?’ My stomach was feeling weird and I started to throw up.” An hour later, he was standing at the altar at Grace Episcopal Church, an ornate chapel with stained-glass windows and muted lighting that cast an ethereal glow on a multilingual audience and a teary-eyed groom. Tony recalls with fresh tears the moment Kat entered the church on her father’s arm to a Ukrainian Christmas Carol, “Bel Canto Choir” (“Carol of the Bells”). Her gown, an elegant layered tulle skirt with a beaded, hand-embroidered bodice came from Dalis’ Bridal Couture. “When I saw her walking in, I thought, I’ve been hearing about this dress for a whole year,” says Tony. “Then we made eye contact and I thought, Yes! That’s my wife.” Officiating were the Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, presiding bishop from Oviedo, and

Kat with her father David Sokol

April ‘20


the bride’s father, David Sokol, an ordained Anglican priest. Bicultural traditions prevailed throughout the ceremony, beginning with El Lazo, a Spanish ritual in which a long string of rosary beads is placed around the shoulders of the couple in the shape of a figure eight, symbolically binding them together in marriage. During the recitation of vows, David Sokol held a broadsword between the bride and groom. They placed their hands on it and repeated the vow, “until death do us part.” The Anglican tradition of handfasting was also performed, with the priest wrapping a white cloth around the couple’s hands while reciting, “Those whom God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Two hundred people attended the wedding, including 50 from Tony’s family. Most of his relatives, including his mother, Norma Deras, live in Ocala and several drove up from Miami. Kat’s best friend, Dr. Anastasia Bohsali, and her husband, Dr. Kareem Bohsali, were maid of honor and best man. Her sister, Lauren Ebbecke, was matron of honor. Also in the wedding party were Tony’s three sisters, Yuri Guardado, Stefanie Pagado and Monica Soroa. Kat’s brothers, Kyle and Shane, were ushers, and their children, Nikolai Douglass Sokol and Piper Reily Sokol, also participated as ring bearer and flower girl, along with Tony’s little niece, Ruby Marisol Munoz. In accordance with Slavic/Polish traditions, rosemary was used to signify remembrance, and olive branches to signify love and fidelity. The greenery came from the Sokols’ farm in Morriston. Everyone in the wedding party had some of those sprigs in their bouquets and in their headpieces. Kat wore a similar crown of silver, and her bouquet was a mix of olive leaves 42


and rosemary, plus one gardenia in remembrance of her late grandmother. Then there was the traditional unity candle, which created an unforgettable moment for Kat. “There was this point with the unity candles and we were kneeling there and Tony’s candle was near the air conditioner, and it [the candle] was like a torch,” Kat says, laughing. “My maid of honor crawled on all fours to blow it out before it lit the church on fire.” The reception took place at the Hilton Ocala ballroom, which was decked out with lots of greenery and tables bearing gold lanterns with candles inside, a special touch by Taylor Grace, owner of The Graceful Gardener. “We used all local vendors,” offers Kat. The Hilton’s chef, Luiggie Alvarez, created a delicious choice of salmon or chicken. For Tony, the reception wouldn’t have been complete without the stunning black-and-gold wedding cake, created by pastry chef Albert Barrett of Stella’s Modern Pantry. A highlight, according to Kat, was D.J. Rocket’s bilingual music and music videos that were livestreamed on TV screens. Kat and her mother Patricia Sokol

“The most touching thing I remember was when Tony danced with his mother to ‘First Love,’” reveals Kat. “Then, I danced with my father to ‘I Loved Her First.’ We were all crying; it was very special. My dad cried during the toast too. And he cried when we walked into the church. He blamed it on me digging my nails in his arm, but I know it was his emotions.” Kat and Tony had their own special moment on the dance floor. They chose Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect,” a song they had played several times during their crosscountry drive to Ocala. “We had to stay awake for hours,” she recalls. “We played love songs, and this one talks about the past, about the present, and about the future and having children. The song was completely us. It was perfect.” Their perfect day and the events surrounding their wedding were expertly chronicled by two of Ocala Style’s favorite local photographers, Meagan Gumpert and Dave Miller. The two talented creatives actually first crossed paths while working on assignment for the magazine and recently joined forces to create Maven Photo + Film. Their collaborative efforts and

From left, Stefanie Pagoada, Jesse James Merrill, Yury Guardado, Michael Derakshan, Anastasia Bohsali, Katherine and Antonio Deras, Lauren Ebbecke, Kareem Bohsali, Anajane Merrill, Camilo Munoz, Monica Banegas and Andrew Conti.



singular vision allowed them to capture so many unforgettable moments for Kat and Tony that will be a tremendous source of joy for the couple for many years to come. On their honeymoon, Tony and Kat traveled to Honduras to visit Tony’s grandfather, who had raised him, and other relatives who were unable to come to Florida for the wedding. Then they went to Roatán, an island in the Caribbean. “We spent seven days there, snorkeling, horseback riding and four-wheeling,” Kat offers. “It was beautiful—the water—I didn’t know those colors of blue existed in nature.” The Derases’ “happily ever after” will continue in downtown Ocala, the place they have chosen to call home. “Downtown is in our hearts and that’s where we want to raise our family,” says Kat. “It’s where everything started and it’s very special to us.”


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April ‘20




By Nick Steele Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery



We discovered Ocala native Daniel Easterday while visiting the shops of downtown Ocala and quickly started a conversation that led to lots of laughter. This charming guy has a great sense of humor and strong sense of self that makes him a standout in any crowd. When we caught up with him, he was moving into his new barn-loft, which is situated between Ocala and Belleview, and starting a new job as a server and bartender at Wolfgang Puck Kitchen + Bar at Brownwood Hotel & Spa in The Villages.

Three words that describe you? Personable, inquisitive and caring.

Favorite place to get coffee? #Starbucks.

TV obsession? Schitt’s Creek.

Your personal style? Modern country.

Comfort food? My mother’s egg rolls.

Word you overuse? Yass!

Go-to local clothing store? Buckle…Buckle…Buckle! Hands down always has something for me to buy. It’s my go-to when I need retail therapy.

Favorite restaurant? Sushi Bistro. No matter if I come in or call they always remember me and are so nice! Love them!

Where you get your nature on? Rainbow Springs. You’ll catch me there almost all summer long.

Last, best purchase for yourself ? My paisley cowboy boots that I wear for line dancing. Most regrettable hairstyle you rocked? The “emo band” haircut—jet black hair spiked in the back with long straightened bangs.


Sweet fix? Cake with whipped icing. Where you indulge your sweet tooth? Cold Stone Creamery: Half Cheesecake Fantasy ice cream, half chocolate, in a graham cracker pie crust with M&M’s.

Favorite place for hair products? Hair Cuttery.

What’s the one thing you never have enough of ? Plants. It’s my new hobby.

Favorite adult beverage? Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Ivory Label Cabernet Sauvignon. My favorite cocktail is an Orchid.

Favorite motto? If you can’t love yourself, how are you supposed to love somebody else? It’s a modification of the famous RuPaul quote.


Favorite day trip? Florida Cactus. A succulent and cactus nursery in Apopka. Most surprising thing that you learned about Ocala or the Marion County area? That the area where Target is used to be an airport. Best moment of your life? Meeting my best friend Shay. She is my sidekick and Jeep buddy. Chair dancer? Car singer? Latenight snacker? I’m a big car singer! Sometimes, I take the doors off my Jeep just so I can sing to the world.

April ‘20


the O’Farrells


Much like the thoroughbreds they raise, train, sell and race, familial bloodlines often play a key role in the people who make a living in the industry. This exclusive Ocala Style series takes an up close and personal look into the multigenerational families involved in the Ocala-based Florida thoroughbred industry. Members of the O’Farrell family, from left, top row, Annie, Maggie, Michael and John; bottom row, David, Allison, Mike, Judy, Alicia and Joe. By JoAnn Guidry | Photography by Bruce Ackerman


ike O’Farrell Jr. was 8 when his father Joe O’Farrell moved the family from Maryland to Ocala. The elder O’Farrell was the co-owner and general manager of the newly established Ocala Stud, a thoroughbred operation located on Shady Road. It was 1956 and there were only four thoroughbred farms in the area, dirt roads leading to them. Two years later, there were 28 farms; a path through the woods connected Ocala Stud to new neighbor Bonnie Heath Farm. “My sisters and I used to ride our ponies through that path in the woods to go play with the Heath kids,” recalls Mike. “Once we got through the woods, we could ride through the open countryside. And we could ride on the dirt roads to the other farms. Of course, over the decades all that changed.” Dirt roads became asphalt highways and Interstate 75 long ago destroyed that path through the woods. The Paddock Mall, College of Central Florida, car dealerships, restaurants, hotels, apartments, housing developments,



shopping centers and a high school have overtaken the area that was once the epicenter of the Florida thoroughbred industry. And yet, Ocala Stud, under O’Farrell family management, has endured to become the oldest active thoroughbred operation in Florida. For more than six decades, Ocala Stud’s forest green and white barns have stood as sentinels to one of the area’s most scenic roads. Still called Shady Road by locals, the road is also now known as Southwest 27th Avenue/County Road 475A. According to Mike O’Farrell, a ship’s bell on the property bears witness to its interesting history. “Ocala Stud was founded in March of 1956. In May that year, Needles won the Kentucky Derby and nearly the Triple Crown. In 1957, My Dear Girl was born. She was from Ocala Stud’s first crop. She became Champion 2-year-old filly in 1959,” he explains. “With that to go along with Needles’ tremendous success, my father, being the promoter he was, started a friendly

rivalry with some of his friends that were Kentucky breeders.” Louis Wolfson, breeder and owner of Triple Crown winner Affirmed, who built Harbor View Farm in Ocala, bought a horse from Ocala Stud named Roman Brother. He became Florida’s first Horse of the Year. The rivalry with Kentucky continued. “One of Mr. Wolfson’s primary businesses was scrap metal. He was dismantling government equipment from WWII and was working on a battleship with a huge bell with USS Kentucky inscribed on it. He called my father and asked if he wanted it. Of course my father said yes,” Mike continues. “He placed the From left, Mike O’Farrell and his sons David and Joe bell in front of our office and for years, anytime a Florida bred won a major race, he rang the bell. You could hear it from miles away.” Historical Serendipity And, over the years, the metal Ocala Stud sign, just On January 16th, 1956, Maryland horseman Joe off the road, also has become an iconic marker. It is a O’Farrell was part of a nine-person syndicate that paid favorite photo op location, particularly for men, both $700,000 for 800 acres of what had been Ocala-based tourists and locals. Dickey Stables. That May, Needles, bred by William “When we built a new stone entrance to our farm Leach who had owned Dickey Stables, became the first driveway about 10 years ago, we took down the old Florida-bred to win the Kentucky Derby. When Needles metal sign,” says Mike, 72, who has now served as was also named the 1956 North American champion president and general manager of Ocala Stud for more 3-year-old male, the spotlight shone brightly on Ocala than four decades. “I got plenty of calls about that as a viable thoroughbred industry center. sign being gone. I had to tell people not to worry, that O’Farrell quickly built up a broodmare band, a the sign would be back after it was repainted. That’s training operation and brought stallion Rough’n Tumble when I realized how much the Ocala Stud sign had from Maryland to stand at Ocala Stud. Rough’n Tumble become part of the area. It’s nice to know that it means became the first foundation stallion of the Florida something to the community.” thoroughbred industry. On February 25th, 1957, O’Farrell staged the first-ever 2-year-olds in training sale at Miami-based Hialeah Park racetrack. He followed that with becoming one of the founding members of the Florida Breeders’ Sales Company (1958) and later the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company (1974). Success as a breeder came quickly for Ocala Stud. After the success of My Dear Girl, by 1960, Ocala Stud had bred and/ or sold winners of more than $1 million in earnings, finishing 10th that year on the list of leading breeders in North America. In 1982, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services honored Joe O’Farrell with the External Distinguished Service Award. In 1991, he was inducted posthumously into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Taking the Lead Clockwise from top center, Elaine Martin,

Following his father’s heart attack and the farm’s financial reorganization in 1971, April ‘20


Newton “Newt” Perry and Nancy Tribble

Adagio statue at Weeki Wachi Springs State Park

Maggie and Annie O’Farrell From left, Judy, Alicia, Annie, Maggie and Allison O’Farrell

John O’Farrell

us pay him back over time. The whole experience taught Mike took over the day-to-day operations of Ocala Stud. me that things don’t stay good forever and things don’t He was 22, leaving the University of Florida a semester stay bad forever. I’ve never forgotten that lesson.” away from an agricultural business degree. Ocala Stud expanded its operation in 1980 with the “I had to step in a little sooner than anticipated. But addition of the 240-acre Ocala Stud Annex. Twelve I never had any intentions or desire to do anything else miles northeast of the main farm, it’s the weanling/ but be in the thoroughbred business,” says Mike, whose yearling division. It’s also father died in 1982. “I where Mike and his wife was grateful that my Judy relocated to and raised father and I got to work their sons, Joe and David. together to rebuild Ocala The Ocala Stud holdings Stud. And with the help grew again in 1981 with the of a lot of good people, acquisition of the 120-acre perseverance and luck, Shady Lane broodmare we’ve managed to still be division, a half-mile south of here today.” the main farm. According to O’Farrell, Today, Mike O’Farrell the toughest time was - Mike O’Farrell shares Ocala Stud ownership 1971 and its aftermath. with sisters Susan Greiner and Anna O’Farrell, “Following my father’s heart attack, the farm’s syndicate brother-in-law James Lewis and nieces Claire partnership disolved and the farm was foreclosed on by and Meghan Lewis, the husband and daughters of the bank. All the horses were sold,” recalls Mike, a lanky O’Farrell’s late sister Margaret. 6-foot-5 with a Jimmy Stewart demeanor. “We weren’t “We still operate on the business model my father sure how we were going to move forward.” established,” says Mike. “We are a commercial breeding But Ocala Stud, albeit a scaled-down version, did and training operation; we stand stallions; and we sell move forward. our annual crop of 2-year-olds in training at OBS.” “Roy Kennedy, who was a banker and a horseman, And Ocala Stud continues to be successful. The helped us buy back the main 185 acres of the farm,” says Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Mike. “Herbert Allen, who had been one of our longtime Association (FTBOA) named Ocala Stud the Florida clients, sold us a package of 10 broodmares, seven Breeder of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2018. yearlings and sent a stallion to stand at the farm. He let

I was grateful that my father and I got to work together to rebuild Ocala Stud. And with the help of a lot of good people, perseverance and luck, we’ve managed to still be here today.

Newton “Newt” Perry and Nancy Tribble

Mike O’Farrell with a yearling at Ocala Stud

Generation Next

It wasn’t etched in stone that Mike and Judy’s sons would automatically become involved in Ocala Stud. Even if their names were Joseph Michael O’Farrell III and John David O’Farrell. “Judy and I didn’t want to force Joe and David to become involved in the thoroughbred business. We decided it was best to allow our sons to know there were other opportunities out there,” says Mike. “Growing up, Joe and David spent more time playing sports than being around the horses. They were allowed to pursue whatever other interests they wanted to.” The no-pressure approach allowed the O’Farrell boys to eventually find their own way to the farm. Today, Joe, 42, is the operation’s financial manager and David, 39, serves as the farm manager. “When Dad went to the farm, he was going to work like any other father,” offers Joe. “And when Dad left the farm at the end of the day, he left the thoroughbred business at the farm. With our father, family time was family time. The conversation at the dinner table was not about the farm business.” To which David adds, “My brother and I were both into sports from a very early age, so our parents stayed busy taking us to practices and games. Sure, we had horses around us and we went to the farm, but Dad never pushed us to become involved in the farm business.” Joe and David attended Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina, each earning business degrees. After graduating in 1999, Joe became an accountant with a bank in South Carolina. David graduated in May 2003 and by that July was working at Ocala Stud. “While I was in college, I started to keep track of Ocala Stud-bred horses at the races,” says David, a 6-foot-3 extrovert. “And I found myself becoming more and more interested in thoroughbred racing. I told my Dad that as soon as I graduated, I wanted to come back and work on the farm.” 52


For Joe, it was a 2003 O’Farrell family vacation at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York, that would lead him to join his father and brother in running Ocala Stud. “During that summer vacation at Saratoga, there was a horse that Ocala Stud bred and sold, named Chapel Royal, who was running then. He won a major race and I got really excited about it,” recalls Joe, who carefully considers every word before speaking. “I started thinking that working for the farm might be more fulfilling than working at a bank. So, I quit my bank job and went to work at the farm in 2004.” But there would be no nepotism for David and Joe. “From day one, I told both David and Joe that there would be no free rides for them at Ocala Stud,” says Mike, who has served multiple terms on the FTBOA and OBS boards of directors. “Just because their last name was O’Farrell didn’t mean they weren’t going to have to work. But they didn’t shy away from that and gradually became very involved in every aspect of the farm.” There was definitely a learning curve for Joe in transitioning from the banking business to the thoroughbred business. “When I started at the farm, I really had no idea how many moving parts there are in an operation like Ocala Stud,” admits Joe, who has followed his father as a director on the FTBOA board. “We have about 60 to 70 employees during peak breeding, training and sales seasons. There’s about 90 broodmares between ours and clients. There are 50 to 60 foals born on the farm every year. We consistently have 150 sales and training horses. It’s a big operation.” David took a more hands-on approach, working his way through the broodmare, stallion, training and sales division on his way to becoming assistant farm manager in 2014. “I love being involved in all aspects of the farm,” says David. “Working with and learning from all the great longtime employees of the farm has been an ongoing education. And I’m very fortunate to be able to work

with my family. I’ve grown to appreciate what my grandfather and my father managed to accomplish in a very tough business.” Joe, who is the president of the Marion County Farm Bureau and treasurer of the Florida Horse Park, adds, “I have no regrets about making a career change when I did. I love getting to work with my family. And I enjoy being involved in the Florida thoroughbred industry, being an advocate for it to the wider Ocala community.” Joe and wife Alicia have an 11-year-old son, aptly named Joseph Michael O’Farrell IV. The latter goes by Michael and, Joe notes, “While he likes watching horse racing and rooting for Ocala Stud horses, right now his favorite things are baseball and fishing.” David and wife Allison, who have a home at the Ocala Stud Annex, have three children: Maggie (11), Annie (9) and John David Jr. (7). “Maggie really likes getting up early on Saturdays and coming with me to the farm,” says David. “Both Maggie and Annie have horses and are taking riding lessons. Right now, John David is more into sports, but he likes coming to the farm too.”

Adapting to Change

For Mike, who still arrives at the farm at 6:30am six days a week, Joe and David becoming involved in Ocala Stud’s operation has been a success. “Just like when I stepped in to work with my father, Joe and David brought a new energy into our

operation,” says Mike. “They both have worked and continue to work very hard to keep Ocala Stud moving forward. I am very proud of them and the team we have become.” Indeed, most mornings the O’Farrell team can be found at the racetrack, only a short walk from the office, watching the horses train. And, Mike says, “It’s always gratifying to watch our foals grow up and develop into racehorses. Spending mornings watching horses train never gets old.” The O’Farrells have also watched the relentless business and residential development close in around the farm, prompting a new chapter to Ocala Stud’s history. In 2011, the O’Farrell family sold the 185-acre original main site of the farm for $9 million to developer and thoroughbred horseman John Brunetti. The latter, who died in 2018, founded nearby Red Oak Farm, which is now operated by his son Steve Brunetti. Ocala Stud continues to operate on the property under a lease agreement. “It was a financial decision made by the family to sell the property. But we didn’t sell the Ocala Stud name,” says Mike. “When the time comes that renewing our lease is not an option, we’ll just move the operation to our other properties. The plan is to continue to operate as we have for 64 years and counting—as a family operation.” And that is sure to include the Ocala Stud sign. For more information, visit www.ocalastud.com

Riders work out horses at Ocala Stud

April ‘20



Art and Culture at Paddock Ridge Unique artworks and opportunities to create art enrich the lives of assisted living and memory care residents. By Lisa McGinnes | Photography by Bruce Ackerman


curated art collection is just one of the many thoughtful touches that make Paddock Ridge feel like home. From the imaginative paintings on the walls to a life-size horse commissioned from a local artist, the assisted living and memory care neighborhoods in this senior community were designed to inspire and engage residents and make them feel like family. “The colors and being in such a bright and happy environment has helped nurture them,” says Operations Coordinator Cody Mansfield of the residents, many of whom are around the same age as his grandparents. “We’re trying to create a different kind of lifestyle, like a home.” And who better to create art for your home than a family member who is also a local artist? Currently, the largest artwork in the building is the life-size horse painted by Mansfield’s great-aunt Elsie Ruiz, a lifelong Ocalan who incorporated iconic local architecture Elsie Ruiz with the horse she painted for Paddock Ridge

and native foliage into the project. It is actually the second life-size horse she’s painted. The first was Horse O’Plenty, part of Ocala’s Horse Fever exhibit, now on permanent display at Ocala Civic Theatre. She’s working on an even bigger project: a pastoral horse farm mural with grand oak trees and horses, which will span an entire wall in the activities room. That really feels like home for the Mansfields, who have enjoyed Aunt Elsie’s personalized murals in their homes for two generations. Because they designed this community to be good enough for their own families, it was only natural that the local owners would include a thoughtful art collection. They were very intentional about including elements of art throughout the neighborhoods, Mansfield says. “Art is in our homes,” he explains. “It’s part of our family and who we are. I think it shows our personalities a little bit; we’re colorful people.” Family friends Scott and Paula Ryan partnered with

the Mansfields to create Paddock Ridge; they share the same vision to make the community feel like home. “Art does bring a calming to the soul,” Paula Ryan says. “When we were decorating our theme was to have it warm and welcoming, like home.” Walking into Paddock Ridge, the first impression for visitors is usually the bright, airy feeling in the main lobby. That was a key element, says Rita Williams, the interior designer who, Mansfield says, shared their vision for a community where art tells stories that engage and inspire residents. She included several whimsical prints by Jacksonville artist Michelle McDowell Smith, who was the featured artist at last year’s Fine Arts for Ocala Festival. “I believe that art has to have imagination,” Williams says. “It tells you a whole story; it’s like reading a novel.” She enjoys making spaces beautiful but says her work “doesn’t matter if the care isn’t wonderful.” Paddock Ridge is different, she says – it “feels like family.” The community is a family for the owners and the staff who bond with residents in the neighborhood environment, as well as volunteers like Ruiz who spend time with the residents helping them create art projects of their own. “I feel really privileged to do this, because it’s kind of a family thing,” she says. “I believe art is really important. It lifts their spirits a bit and that’s what I hope I can do.” She also takes suggestions from the residents for the new mural, and they can watch as this piece comes to life, where they often enjoy seasonal and holiday arts and crafts that are always fun and

I think it shows our personalities a little bit; we’re colorful people. allow them to be creative, which sometimes includes an occupational therapy component. Paddock Ridge resident Julia Sineo, for example, won a hat-decorating contest for the two creations that allowed her to exercise the hand she is working to strengthen through therapy. She decorated the mask she wore to the residents’ Mardi Gras party and is now looking forward to the derby party, where ladies will wear their own custom, personalized hats and residents will enjoy an authentic celebration complete with mint juleps. Some residents are in the process of creating paintings on canvas with the help of students from Trinity Catholic High School National Art Honor Society, and residents also enjoy craft projects they complete with fifth grade students from Grace Christian

Ocala’s historic district is featured on Ruiz’s life-size horse. Resident Julia Sineo shows off her prize-winning hat.

School. Ryan, whose daughters attended both schools, says the residents love spending time with the children, painting birdhouses, decorating cookies and spanning the generational gap. These ongoing art activities help Paddock Ridge residents share their rich life stories. That’s an important goal for the care staff, who weave residents’ personal narratives into the fabric of their vibrant lives every day. When you or a loved one are ready to tour this incredible community and meet the folks who consider it their privilege to care for assisted living and memory care residents, you’re invited to come home to Paddock Ridge.

Paddock Ridge › 4001 SW 33rd Court, Ocala FL 34474 › (352) 512-9191 › www.paddockridge.com

April ‘20



We explore some recent health news and breakthroughs that are making headlines and impacting people’s lives.


etting patients off opioids, diminishing their pain and helping them sleep are just some of the aims of doctors. Since medical marijuana became legal in Florida, physicians have become increasingly interested in learning how cannabis might improve the lives of their patients. “My patients come in because they want the alleviation of suffering,” says John Crump, M.D., a medical marijuana doctor in Jacksonville. Insomnia, anxiety and pain are his patients’ top three concerns. He tries to find his patients a dosage that is just below the high. “Finding that sweet spot is what the practice of being a medical marijuana doctor is all about to me.” About 50 healthcare professionals gathered at the India Association Cultural and Education Center in Ocala in February for “Research & Medical Cannabinoids,” a continuing education course, to learn about medical cannabis from speakers prominent in the medical marijuana field. The forum was put on by the Medical Business Leaders Network. Here is the bottom line: Cannabis may have medicinal potential and many people swear by it, but conclusive evidence of short- and long-term effects of cannabis— both beneficial and adverse—is elusive. Barriers to research include establishing and measuring a patient dose, says Yan Wang, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Florida (UF). One person’s inhalation of smokable marijuana is another person’s deep inhalation, so one person might be getting more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than someone else. Another hurdle for researchers is the inability to do studies using real-world marijuana products, such as oils and tinctures that are sold in dispensaries. “There are hundreds of different components in a marijuana product, and then all different dispensaries have their own way of making their product, so that makes it less standard across the board,” Wang says. Since patients can get products from different dispensaries, she adds, “It’s really hard to measure what they get from each dispensary.” It’s also difficult for researchers to validate what the patient says they’re are getting from the dispensary. “Legally, we can’t transport products to a research facility just to test it, so there are a lot of barriers for us

to validate what people are taking,” Wang says. Individuals also respond differently to cannabis, says Robert Cook, professor of epidemiology at UF. “We can give people the exact same strain (of marijuana) and see 10 different effects,” he explains. “Prescribing” medical marijuana also brings up legal considerations. Doctors who become certified with the state can’t prescribe medical marijuana. Instead, they “recommend,” says Dustin Robinson, an attorney who specializes in hemp and marijuana consulting. Certifying marijuana patients for a state-approved condition must be done face to face, not online, Robinson says. He also offers a warning to patients who use medical marijuana: Companies that tie employment to drug testing are still firing workers, even if marijuana is being used for medical reasons.

THINGS TO KNOW 33 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized medical marijuana. 11 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. A Florida medical marijuana card costs $75 annually. Florida doesn’t recognize medical marijuana cards from other states. Medical marijuana doctors typically charge $150$450 for a consultation and recommendation. The following health conditions are some of the most common that can qualify a patient for medical marijuana under Florida law: multiple sclerosis, cancer, epilepsy, sleep disorders and chronic pain. To learn more, doctors and patients can visit www.knowthefactsmmj.com

April ‘20




niversity of Florida Health researchers are reporting a new ally in the effort to help people living with depression: gut bacteria. People with depression have distinct intestinal microbes that differ from those without the disorder, the researchers found. The discovery has the potential to lead to new methods of diagnosing and treating depression using genetic profiling of gut bacteria, according to lead researcher Bruce R. Stevens, Ph.D., a professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of physiology and functional genomics, and the department of medicine’s division of gastroenterology. He notes that researchers had an idea that depression is an inflammation-based disorder involving certain regions of the brain. The hypothesis was that gut bacteria can affect whole-body inflammation, brain inflammation and brain neurotransmitters—all of which can play a role in depression. They identified people living with depression and compared their gut bacteria with those in a healthy mental state. They found they could identify and predict accurately if an individual is living with depression or had a healthy mental state based on their gut microbes. Microbial DNA was obtained from participants



with a median age of 34. Half of them met the criteria for major depressive disorder and half were mentally healthy people who served as control subjects for the research. To analyze and sort the data, researchers invented a machine-learning computer algorithm, a form of artificial intelligence. The research determined there is a three-way communication between gut bacteria, the body’s organ physiology and mood centers in the brain and adds that the researchers’ findings could be used for diagnosis, but could also be used in the future for prevention or treatment. They know, for example, that certain bacteria are responsive to particular antibiotics. That raises the possibility that antibiotics could be developed to target the gut microbiome of people living with depression. Certain antidepressants also have antibiotic properties, so there is the potential for them to be repurposed to target depression-related gut bacteria. Diet modification has therapeutic potential because types of food influence whether the gut harbors “good” or “bad” microbes. Also, a probiotic mix of select “antidepressant bacteria” is being further explored. For more information, visit www.ufhealth.org

Scott Nadenik, DO, PA Ocala Sinus Solutions


r. Scott Nadenik understands the pain and frustration of chronic sinus symptoms. For patients who suffer with recurrent sinus infections, chronic sinus pressure, headache and poor breathing, Dr. Nadenik has solutions to relieve your symptoms. Although Dr. Nadenik offers a full range of options for the sinus sufferer, one option that many patients prefer is the in-office Balloon Sinus Dilation procedure. With Balloon Sinus Dilation, Dr. Nadenik inserts a small balloon device over the natural sinus passageway. “The balloon is then inflated to gently and permanently open blocked sinus passageways,” says Dr. Nadenik. “Because the procedure is done in the office, patients are able to get back to their normal routines much more quickly.” Dr. Nadenik has been helping patients in Ocala with sinus problems since 1998, and he has done thousands of sinus procedures. He has been performing balloon sinus dilation since 2010 when this technology was invented. “Having patients tell me they no longer experience sinus headaches, pressure and infections is one of the most rewarding parts of my practice,” says Dr. Nadenik. Dr. Scott Nadenik, DO › Ocala Sinus Solutions › 2120 SW 22nd Place, Ocala › (352) 512-0033 › ocalasinussolutions.com

Announcing A New Service For All Of Our Patients

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Ocala Location - 3130 SW 32nd Avenue April ‘20




rom door to needle (the recommended time from patient arrival at a hospital to treatment), every minute counts at a hospital. Now Ocala Health’s ORMC has become a front-runner in the race against the clock for stroke patient care. In early January, the hospital became a certified stroke center. The designation, which was received from Det Norske Veritas Healthcare, Inc. (DNV GL), is based on comprehensive treatment, diagnosis, rehabilitation and education. DNV GL works with healthcare providers, national and regional health authorities and key stakeholders around the world to improve healthcare quality and facilitate the provision of safe, patient-centered care. It provides quality driven accreditation and clinical excellence certifications to America’s hospitals. “By earning this national accreditation from GNV DL, it really shows the commitment that we place on quality, improvement and patient care,” states Lauren Debick, director of public relations and communications



for Ocala Health. A comprehensive center distinguishes itself from a primary stroke center in the services it offers, Debick says. It boils down to the hospital’s resources, accessibility and quick actions to reduce the effects of a stroke. ORMC boasts access to expert neurosurgeons, its investment in high-quality imaging equipment and continued education for nursing staff. Staff members also ensure that patients can recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke before it happens. The acronym FAST is often used to encapsulate stroke symptoms, which stands for facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties and time to call for emergency medical service. The hospital serves patients in Marion, Sumter, Citrus and Lake Counties. Now, people suffering from brain clots and hemorrhages can receive immediate care closer to home. For more information, visit www.ocalahealthsystem.com


t’s easy to hide substance abuse. Overdoses tend to go unreported. Addicts may not know where to turn. For many, death could find them before they find help. Opioid addiction has been an alarming issue in Marion County for some time, but now the Heart of Florida Health Center is taking strides to treat those at the center of the crisis. “The truth of the matter is we all probably know someone with some sort of substance abuse problem and may not be aware,” offers Chief Medical Officer Tabatha Downey, MD. “It can affect all of us.” HFHC offers extensive primary care services from dental to maternal to behavioral health care for patients from maternity to adult. Services are accessible for all patients regardless of their ability to pay. In December, HFHC received the green light to roll out a formal opioid treatment program. It’s a two-pronged approach with a foundation in behavioral health. Certified providers can administer medication to treat symptoms of withdrawal. Medical treatment is also paired with integrated behavioral health therapy, giving patients the emotional assistance to live their daily lives. Some patients come in with at least 90 days of abstinence. It’s a small victory for a large problem. Dr. Downey reports that she has seen an overwhelmingly positive response. “The patients who are truly committed to making these changes express a lot of gratitude,” Dr. Downey offers. “Patients have told me they look forward to coming to visit because they’re excited about another milestone.” The goal is to create a safe place to treat substance abuse. Licensed clinicians and caseworkers help patients make lifestyle changes on a case-by-case basis. Patients can learn coping strategies such as how to handle conflict or reach out for help. Dr. Downey explains that evidence shows how integrating therapy has reduced the likelihood of relapse during recovery. “It means these patients are dealing with other issues that led to the opioid abuse or use,” she

asserts. “Getting to the bottom of those issues is very important and critical in the patient’s success.” In the past, pain was placed on a pedestal. Healthcare providers were encouraged to prescribe opioids when pain control was the crux of patient treatment. Now, the pendulum has swung in a different direction, putting doctors in a dilemma. “I do feel that the healthcare system has a responsibility to come up with solutions for our patients,” Dr. Downey says. “If people are not aware that it’s even a problem, they may not think to refer somebody to the resources we have available.” HFHC sees community collaboration as the key to making strides against opioid addiction and is offering Medication-Assisted Treatment training to help primary care providers administer medication. Other programs in place to tackle this issue are the Heroin/Opioid Task Force of Marion County and the Ocala Police Department’s Heroin/Opioid Amnesty Program. Dr. Downey believes this is just a first step for HFHC in response to the opioid crisis and looks forward to a time when they will be able to offer additional services. For more information, visit www.myhfhc.org

April ‘20



dventHealth deployed their best task force on February 7th to spread awareness for heart disease. Therapy dogs Murphy, Wolfy and Piper sported red bandanas and joined 40 to 50 employees in wearing red to amplify support for heart health month. 62


These adorable pups are part of AdventHealth’s therapy dog program. The canines make their rounds at hospitals and comfort patients in designated pet areas. Judy Perdue, the manager of volunteer services at AdventHealth, sees the rewards of having these

Photos by AdventHealth Foundation


furry friends come around. She explained that the patients’ eyes light up when the dogs visit and that they serve as a reminder of their own pets who are waiting for them to come home. “Who doesn’t love to have a dog come with unconditional love to greet them?” Perdue offers. “It definitely makes a difference and enhances our patients’ and family members’ experience.” Murphy, Wolfy and Piper are in high demand and represent the 18 canines and the 14 volunteers who are a part of the pet therapy program, which hospital officials say brings comfort and a much-needed distraction to patients and plays an instrumental role in the care offered at the hospital. To learn more, visit www.adventhealth.com/hospital/ adventhealth-ocala

Changing lives... One patient at a time! Our certified Hand Therapists offer a wide range of treatment options with over 75+ combined years experience: • Custom static, static progressive and dynamic orthotics • State of the art modalities • DME Orthotic Certification

• Saebo certified, MyoPro orthosis trained hand therapists • Managing post-operative wound care

352-433-0091 | www.innovativetherapiesgroup.com Physical, Speech and Massage Therapy services are also available. Dr. Kim Lancaster OTD, OTR/L, CHT, CLT and Innovative Therapies Group Certified Hand Therapists provide specialized hand and upper extremity services at 4 locations in the Tri-county area.

Ocala Summerfield Lady Lake Wildwood 2801 SW College Rd 14031 Del Webb Blvd 929 US-27/441 #301 805 S Main St Ocala, FL 34474 Summerfield, FL 34491 Lady Lake, FL 32159 Wildwood, FL 34785 MM 30672 Dr. Kim Lancaster OTD, OTR/L, CHT, CLT April ‘20



Prescriptions for outside therapy, storytelling that heals, genetic testing fraud and telehealth options are all part of new insights into your health.



Virtual Visits for Better Mental Health No stress virtual visits allow patients to connect with providers on their screens. By Lisa McGinnes


f you suffer with anxiety, depression or addiction, you probably know the benefits that talking with a licensed therapist or mental health professional can bring. You probably also know that, even with insurance, mental health visits can come with long waits and high co-pays. It’s easy to put off getting help from a professional. According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, almost half of Americans see cost and poor insurance coverage as the top barriers to accessing mental health care. In Marion County, even people with health insurance say it takes some time to find an in-network provider, hopefully in a convenient location, who is accepting new patients. Then, many have to wait weeks for an appointment. Over the past year, an increasing number of insurance plans have added a telehealth option and a growing number of people are finding it a quicker and more convenient way to connect to medical care while staying out of the waiting room. Ocala-based SimplerPsych offers mental health care to patients across Central Florida and beyond. CEO Dr. Donald J. Baracskay explains that talking with a clinician via a video call on your phone, tablet or computer gives you the same face-to-face experience you’d get in the office. “As the patient, you are sitting in front of our provider talking about what you need,” he asserts. “And you and the provider are coming up with a treatment solution.” Baracskay explains that a virtual visit eliminates the drive time and waiting time of an in-person visit. “Being able to see the doctor from my smartphone at home makes things so much more convenient,” says one patient, who lives 45 minutes away from the doctor’s office. “It would otherwise be two to three hours out of my day.” Many SimplerPsych patients, Baracskay explains, access the service during a break at work so they don’t have to leave the office, especially if they just need a medication refill, a 10- or 15-minute mini therapy session or a 20-minute follow-up visit. “You get your normal appointment, but instead of driving there it’s from the comfort of your home or wherever you are,” he continues. “You just go into an area where you can have the appointment using your phone. You talk to the provider and 20 minutes later no one’s the wiser. That’s the hidden value that I don’t think many people truly appreciate at this point.” The affordable costs are the first thing many patients will notice, especially if they don’t have insurance or are

self-insured with a high-deductible plan. SimplerPsych’s rates for individual therapy and follow-up psychiatrist appointments are lower than most insurance co-pays and are detailed on their website. That eliminates another source of stress for many people trying to figure out how to afford the mental health services they need. “We price it in such a way that it works for a customer,” Baracskay asserts, “even if a person’s insurance doesn’t cover telehealth services.” He says if a patient has insurance, his team can help them figure out whether telehealth services are covered and can file insurance claims just as they would for an in-office visit. Eliminating some of the stress that surrounds a therapy visit is helping some patients who wouldn’t otherwise seek treatment. “I have anxiety, so much that I can’t even come to appointments in the office,” one patient admits. “The telehealth has allowed me to get the therapy I need from home.” The purpose of SimplerPsych, Baracskay says, is to make mental health treatment more accessible to people who need it. We spoke with a local woman whose husband has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and she was excited to learn about this option for him. “We live way outside of town and he spends a lot of time alone. There are certain ‘triggers’ that can launch him into a place where he needs to be able to reach out for help,” she explains. “Even as a patient who has been under care for some time, it is very rare that he can call the doctor’s office and get an emergency appointment while he is in a state of crisis, or, sometimes, even a call back the same day. The telehealth option gives me hope that he might receive a quicker response following an episode that just comes, seemingly, out of nowhere.” “Our world is a very chaotic and a very hectic world,” Baracskay states. “To the extent that you can find something that solves the convenience problem, that’s a good thing. It’s a simple way to remove every barrier to care for the client.” He explains you “don’t need any special equipment— or an IT guy” to use their service. You either access the SimplerPsych website on your computer or download the app to your iPhone, Android or tablet, and you can get started with just a few clicks. Most times, patients are able to request and receive an appointment the same day or the next day. “At this point in time, I would not expect people to be waiting with a telehealth service for very long,” Baracskay says. He explains the process like this: “If somebody uses a smartphone, computer or tablet they can enter the waiting area, our staff interact with the person, and then we can rather rapidly provide them with an appointment time.” Virtual visits are confidential and HIPAA-compliant, just like in-person healthcare services, and SimplerPsych’s software is encrypted for security. For more information, visit www.simplerpsych.com April ‘20



Examining the Exams A first visit to the gynecologist doesn’t have to be a traumatic event. It should be the first step in establishing a relationship with a medical professional you can trust. By Marian Rizzo


or decades, young women under the age of 21 were subjected to annual gynecological exams, whether they needed one or not. According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, an estimated 2.6 million American women, ages 15 to 20, received a pelvic examination between 2011 and 2017, sometimes with harmful consequences. Now, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has recommended that pelvic exams not be done before the age of 21, unless for medical necessity. There are multiple reasons why a young girl would benefit from seeing a gynecologist, from physiological problems to the need for birth control. These days, it’s not unusual for girls as young as 10, 11 or 12 to start menstruating, says Ocala gynecologist Dr. Douglas Murphy. He has worked in the field for nearly 40 years and currently is in partnership with Dr. Richard Mann at Ocala Gynecology Associates. “A lot of times, these issues are dealt with by pediatricians, and they’re very good at making recommendations to see a gynecologist,” explains Murphy. “But if a young woman has not had her period by the time she is 14 to 16, at the latest, she should have an examination. There could be a hormonal problem or an anatomical problem.” The initial meeting between doctor and patient can make all the difference in the world, says Murphy. “The first time, I always meet the patient with her clothes on,” he says. “If they’re under age 18, I encourage them to come in with a family member or a friend. I tell them what the examination will be like. I set them at ease. I talk to them and engage them at their level, try to discuss things they like, their interests or school, and I show them I care about them as a person. I explain what I’m going to do, before I do an examination, so they become very, very comfortable with what to expect.” Before and during the exam, the patient has the opportunity to discuss any personal concerns such as cramps, bleeding problems, weight, sexually transmitted infections and birth control. In any case, there is always a chaperone present— either a parent or a nurse, or both, Murphy says. For small children with a physiological problem Murphy generally does a non-invasive pelvic ultrasound and, if a



manual exam is needed, he offers to use anesthesia, with the parents’ permission. “The worst thing you can do is force the child to participate in an exam,” Murphy says. “There’s always another way of doing something. The emotional trauma from that sort of thing could have lasting effects.” Such was the case for Michell Burgess, who had a bad experience at a gynecologist’s office when she was 13. “My parents took me when I started my period,” says Burgess. “It was embarrassing, and I didn’t understand why I had to be there.” Now 48, Michell hesitates to take her 15-year-old daughter Brandee to a gynecologist, though a family doctor recommended it. Michell explains that Brandee has no problems with her monthly cycle and there is no reason for her to have an exam. “If Brandee has any concerns about herself she knows she can come to me, and she has an older sister she can talk to, as well,” offers Burgess. “Of course, I’d be the first one to have her at the gynecologist if I thought there was a problem, or if she came and told me she was sexually active. Then, I’d say yes, because they could take all the precautions, and if there was a medical reason to be there, we could get it fixed. I just believe that, at such a young age, they don’t need to have it done. It can be traumatic. It CVH-Women_OcalaStyle_HalfPage.pdf 1 2/16/20 7:36 PM can make them not want to go back. ”

RECOMMENDED AGES FOR PELVIC EXAMS Ages 13-20 – No pelvic exam unless a problem exists. Infectious disease labs only if sexually active. Ages 21-39 – Pelvic exam and breast exam, infectious disease labs if sexually active. Cervical cytology every two years at age 30 and older. Ages 40-64 – Pelvic exam and breast exam, cervical cytology every three years. High risk, annually. Colorectal cancer screening at age 50 and older, every 10 years. Mammography, age 40 and older, one to two years; age 50 and older, annually. Age 65 and older – Pelvic exam and breast exam. Cervical cytology can be discontinued if no abnormal results in 10 years and no history of cervical cancer. Colorectal cancer screening, every 10 years. Mammography, annually. Source: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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April ‘20



A Story of Healing An Ocala storyteller and health professional relates how she uses stories to help people who are struggling. By Susan Smiley-Height


eing in good health can include achieving mental balance after encountering loss, grief and great challenge. And, sometimes, a good story well told can help someone move forward in a positive way. Jessica McCune, director of bereavement at Hospice of Marion County, also is a professional storyteller. She is a registered nurse and licensed mental health counselor, who, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in nursing has master’s degrees in counseling education and in storytelling. “I have led workshops for grief and storytelling; the local HeART Steps program, using story to identify emotions and work for peace and conflict resolution; as well as what I call ‘finding your soul’ stories,” McCune offers. “I have performed at storytelling festivals and serve on the Florida Storytelling Board of the Florida Story Association.” McCune says she often is asked, “How do stories heal?” “I suppress a laugh, knowing I could fill half of this magazine with thoughts answering that question,” she offers, adding that she often turns to stories to support those on the journey of grief, noting in particular: • • • • • • •


Stories connect us one to another and the emotional connection offers support. It “feels good.” Stories render meaning from chaos and connect us to the larger universe. Stories expand imagination and creativity that helps solve problems. Stories offer hope and restore the future. Stories enable growth and transforms pain. Knowing our stories helps us see that we are so much stronger than we ever imagined. It is important to remember that healing occurs even in the absence of a cure. Stories heal.


“A story I often tell was given to me by a very brave and loving person,” McCune explains. That story appears below. The Dragonfly Story By Walter Dudley Cavert In the bottom of an old pond lived some grubs who could not understand why none of their group ever came back after crawling up the lily stems to the top of the water. They promised each other that the next one who was called to make the upward climb would return and tell what had happened to him. Soon, one of them felt an urgent impulse to seek the surface. He rested himself on the top of a lily pad and went through a glorious transformation which made him a dragonfly with beautiful wings. In vain, he tried to keep his promise. Flying back and forth over the pond, he peered down at his friends below. Then he realized that even if they could see him, they would not recognize such a radiant creature as one of their number. The fact that we cannot see our friends or communicate with them after the transformation which we call death is no proof that they cease to exist. “I hope the author does not mind that I add a few words of my own,” McCune continues. “I usually end the story saying, Just because we cannot see or hear the one we love does not mean they aren’t f lying back and forth, back and forth, trying to keep their promise to us.” Learn more about McCune, at www.jessicastoryteller.com and visit www.hospiceofmarion.com for more information on their programs and services.


Cancer Innovators

ancer is currently the second leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease, but death rates have been steadily declining. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), U.S. cancer death rates have declined by 29 percent from 1991 to 2017, which includes a 2.2 percent drop from 2016 to 2017— the largest single-year drop ever recorded and reported through ACS statistics. A decline in lung cancer deaths was the biggest driver for the record drop, though lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths. Over the past 26 years, the decline in death rates has been steady. The ACS notes that overall cancer death rates dropped by an average of 1.5 percent each year between 2008 and 2017—which translates to more than 2.9 million deaths avoided since 1991. That is when cancer death rates were at their highest point. However, they project that a total of 1,806,590 new cancer cases and 606,520 deaths are expected in the U.S. in 2020, which is about 4,950 new cases and more than 1,600 deaths each day. In our May issue, we will introduce you to some of the dedicated physicians in our community who are playing a vital role in bringing innovations in cancer to the patients who need them right here in Marion County. You’ll learn about cutting-edge treatments that have led to higher survival rates; the state-of-the-art equipment being used every day to benefit patients; new radiation approaches that are producing remarkable results; successful immunotherapy protocols and vital studies being hosted locally; all from leading doctors with Florida Cancer Affiliates, Florida Cancer Specialists and the Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute.

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The Great Outdoors Prescription Incorporating nature as therapy for illness and wellness is gaining momentum. By Susan Smiley-Height


ou know those towering, moss-laden, ages-old oak trees near the Reilly Arts Center in Tuscawilla Park? Spending your lunch hour underneath them might soon be just what your doctor scribbles on a prescription form. Nature therapy is increasingly becoming an integrative part of medicine as a way to treat such physical conditions as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and heart disease; mental challenges including depression and anxiety; and to combat social isolation due to factors such as age. 70


One of the outcomes from the 2019 Global Wellness Summit was that “there is enough science about the health benefits of nature to get the attention of the medical profession.” That means, for example, programs such as a pilot initiative in Britain in which family doctors are offering six-month prescriptions to a bike rental service so patients can make unlimited free rides of up to 30 minutes at a time. Or, as a New York Times article headline states, “Take Two Bike Rides and Call Me in the Morning.”

According to the Nature Connection Guide, doctors in 34 states in the U.S. are prescribing nature as therapy. Vermont, which rates as one of our nation’s healthiest states, has a Park Prescription Program through which doctors prescribe time outdoors to help prevent chronic health issues and promote a healthier lifestyle. There is even a national ParkRx movement, which will has slated a ParkRx Day for April 25th. The Japanese therapeutic practice of shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” according to an abstract on the National Institutes of Health website, was proven to “promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure and lower sympathetic nerve activity than city environments.” The advent of the digital age has, of course, opened new horizons for humanity. You can find reams of information about any subject, locate former schoolmates or long-lost relatives and get breaking news, all within seconds. But it also has spawned generations of people who stare at their communications devices for hours, risking a stiff neck and strained eyes, along with social isolation in terms of personal contact, which can lead to loneliness and depression. By far, the majority of US citizens—more than 80 percent—live in urban areas. That can make it difficult to access nature, but not impossible. So, if you live in downtown Ocala and can’t get out to the Ocala National Forest, you still can embrace “ecotherapy” by walking around the square and pausing to discover just how many different kinds of flora so beautifully fill all those giant concrete planters all around downtown, or stroll down Fort King Street and relish the Spanish moss dripping from overhanging branches. Those in the southwest area of the county could visit the very lovely Sholom Park, which was designed to be meditative and serene. The winding pathways are level and even, perfect for those in wheelchairs or using walkers, and for those who just want to amble. Visitors can be as quiet as they like, or engage others with a nod or an extended conversation. Ways to incorporate nature into daily life can include gardening or bringing the outside in with living plants inside your home, and diverting children from gaming and television to going outside for fresh air and sunshine— and maybe discovering caterpillars and butterflies. In addition to the medical world paying attention to nature therapy, business and travel industries also are weighing in, with amenities such as walking trails at corporate headquarters, destination resorts based on nature, and ecotourism. Coming back to that wellness summit, “The evidence is overwhelming: It’s time to do more than just put down your phone, tablet or laptop; it’s time to pick up your walking shoes. Head outdoors, find the balance that exists in nature, and let it offer you its intrinsic gifts.” Perhaps the Greek philosopher, Socrates was right all along, when he said, “Nature itself is the best physician.”

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Alcohol Awareness Month Drinking in moderation may have health benefits, but medical professionals agree that over-indulging has negative effects on health. By Myra Sherman, APRN


n 1987, according to the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, National Alcohol Awareness month was founded with the focus of helping to reduce and end the stigma associated with alcoholism and alcohol addiction. Overconsumption of alcohol is not just in America’s backyard, but is worldwide and leads to 3 million deaths annually. It affects all age groups. One specific police report showed that a mother was charged after her 3-month-old daughter was found to have a blood alcohol of 0.359. (Most states consider people impaired at 0.2 percent or less.) In addition, the abuse of alcohol is not limited to a certain socioeconomic status, race or sex. Our children are exposed to its effects as the number of underage drinkers is increasing. This has contributed to an increase in DUIs and deaths by 3.5 percent since 2015. The World Health Organization has associated more than 200 diseases with the overconsumption of alcohol. This burden has taken a toll on society as its early use has been documented in China as early as 7,000 BC. Alcohol, if overconsumed, can lead to multiple health issues, including high blood pressure, liver disease, heart disease, anemia, blackouts, hallucinations, pancreatitis and sexual dysfunction, just to name a few, and it can systematically affect the entire body. Unfortunately, some of these diseases can linger even after the user has stopped all alcohol intake. In contrast, according to the American Heart Association, there can be health benefits to moderate drinking. One should always remember that moderation is the key to healthy living. The dietary guidelines recommend one drink for women and two drinks for men daily. This can potentially help reduce the risk of developing and dying of heart disease and may further reduce the risk of strokes. One drink is considered a 12-ounce beer or five ounces of wine. When it comes to whiskey, no more than two and one-half ounces should be consumed daily and it is recommended that a two-day break from alcohol weekly should be considered. Biblically, a passage in 1 Timothy 5:23 suggests drinking a little wine for “the stomach’s sake,” for digestive health. In summary, alcohol intake can be detrimental to health and its overconsumption affects the world as a whole. On the other hand, if used in moderation, the benefits can actually be healthy to certain bodily organs.



To Swab or Not to Swab A seemingly legitimate free offer to see if a Medicare beneficiary or their children might have a genetic disposition to cancer is most likely a scam. By Susan Smiley-Height


ello, senior citizens. Remember that free cheek swab for genetic testing or cancer screening you were offered at a community event, your pharmacy or big-box store? It most likely was a scam targeted at stealing your Medicare number. According to special agents with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, and representatives of Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders (SHINE), the tests are marketed as a free cheek swab to screen for hereditary cancer, DNA, Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart disease, gene mutations and genetic markers. They may also be promoted as a form of cancer genomic tests (CGx) and pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing. However, the offer most often is a scam to access someone’s Medicare identity. Those who participate might never receive any results and could find themselves on the hook for the costs. The fraud occurs when Medicare is billed for a test or screening (from that free cheek swab) that was not medically necessary and/or was not ordered by the beneficiary’s primary care physician. Special Agents Derek Maloney and Jason Lanfersiek, and Kristina Young, the SHINE Outreach and Education Specialist with Elder Options, said during a recent presentation in The Villages that they are receiving increasingly high reports of this scam and expect the numbers to grow. They said people might run into the “free” offer at senior centers, chain stores, farmers markets, festivals, expos or even retail business parking lots. “Nurses and doctors may be on site and promise results,” Young notes. “They can’t complete the scam without your Medicare number, but if they get that number they can submit for testing.” SHINE materials explain that if Medicare denies the genetic test claims, the beneficiary could be responsible for the cost of the test, which

averages between $9,000 and $11,000. Anyone who has received a cheek swab or a screening that was not medically necessary can report it by contacting SHINE’s Senior Medicare Patrol program at (800) 963-5337 or by going to www.floridashine.org. SHINE is a free program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and our Area Agency on Aging, known as Elder Options. Assistance is offered monthly in various locations in Marion County. To learn more, call 1-800-96-ELDER or visit www.floridashine.org/Counseling-Sites/Marion.aspx.

April ‘20


On Tap Floridians live surrounded by and atop some of the world’s most prolific springs. So what is the safest, yet still environmentally friendly source of drinking water? By Jim Gibson | Illustrations by Maggie Weakley


hen it comes to a long, cool drink of water (and no…I’m not talking about Liam Hemsworth) it pays to be discriminating. Whether your drinking water comes straight from the tap or you purchase it from a vendor, is it safe to drink and is the source environmentally friendly? Many health-conscious Americans are searching for alternatives to unfiltered tap water. For some, it may simply be a taste preference and, for others, it may be a concern for exactly what extraneous materials might be ending up in their glass. The water that flows from your tap almost exclusively comes from one of two sources: municipal water systems or private wells. Both of these sources are supplied by surface water (springs, lakes or rivers) or groundwater (the Floridan Aquifer), and each is susceptible to contamination.

The Watery Choices

If you choose to forgo tap water altogether and opt for store-bought or home-delivered bottled water, there are several factors to consider. As was revealed recently when Nestlé Waters North America sought to withdraw more than 1 million gallons of water per day from Ginnie Springs in nearby Gilchrist County, there are many controversial environmental issues that must be addressed when choosing this alternative. Many local residents and environmentalists argue that pumping this much water from the spring will deplete aquifer levels and damage the delicate ecosystem along the Santa Fe River. Others are opposed to the idea because Nestlé will pay nothing for water being pumped locally from Florida’s aquifer and then sell it for profit around the globe. It’s argued that free water packaged for the retail drink market does not lend itself to conservation efforts. “It’s a waste of resources and overly expensive to buy bottled water,” says John Dunn, Ocala resident and author of Drying Up: The Fresh Water Crisis in Florida, “if you’re served by a utility that provides cheap, clean, safe water. But that assumption may not hold true in the

rural parts of Marion County and elsewhere in North Florida, where people have their own wells. They, just like bottling companies, pump water from the aquifer and don’t pay a nickel for it. They only pay a small amount for their permits, which the water management districts pass out freely like library cards. If we all had to pay a true cost of water, we might change our attitudes toward water.” Dunn, who is slated to be a guest speaker in the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) lecture series in the fall, feels that “no-cost” water surely encourages waste on all fronts at a time when conservation is paramount. Environmentalists point out that excessive water pumping could possibly lead to increased sinkhole activity, the loss of spring-fed lakes, loss of habitat for area wildlife and an aquifer so depleted that drinking water will have to be supplied from the coast through desalinated ocean water. In addition to water conservation, when choosing individually packaged store-bought bottles of water, the plastic container has become a distinct environmental concern. - John Dunn According to research statistics, almost 1.1 million plastic bottles are bought worldwide every minute of every day. Only 20 percent of that number ends up in the recycle bin, but even more startling is that more than 300,000 plastic bottles are disposed of outside of a landfill every minute. Many of these bottles are thrown into rivers, lakes, oceans, by roadsides, in the woods… anywhere they can be conveniently “disposed of.” According to a report prepared by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by the year 2050 the world’s oceans will contain, by weight, more wayward plastic than fish. “I loved the convenience of buying individual bottles of water, but after months of throwing countless plastic bottles into the garbage, my conscience got the best of me,” says Anna Miller. “I read an article that said most plastic water bottles aren’t recycled, so I quit buying them. My husband agreed and he put in an under-sink filter. We both have our own personal permanent water bottles for when we’re out.”

If we all had to pay a true cost of water, we might change our attitudes toward water.



April ‘20


Miller says she and her husband have a home in Maryland and travel the country extensively. “Everybody talks about recycling everywhere we go, but the numbers don’t back up what we hear,” Miller notes. “It just doesn’t happen, and even if you buy bottled water and do recycle, just supporting the industry aids all those who don’t. Talk’s cheap, but there’s a cost we’ll all pay one day.”

Most Common Home Filtration Alternatives

If you do choose to pass on vendor-supplied sources, that leaves tap water as your next viable alternative. As Dunn says, municipal systems are excellent sources of fresh water, and private wells can be also. However, either type of system can be contaminated with particulates such as sand or iron, chemicals, microbes or gases. Most of these are usually filtered out in municipal systems, but some people don’t care for the taste of treated water. If, like the Millers, you choose to filter tap water, which filtration system is right for you? And what is the first step in making sure you get clean, pure water to your home? You can start by having your water tested. The Florida Department of Health in Marion County no longer tests water but can put you in contact with several private companies that do so. Testing may help pinpoint the type of filtration system you need, or if tests come back OK but you simply want the peace of mind that comes with filtering your drinking water, search for the filtration system that best fits your needs. Here are a few of the most effective types of point of use filtration systems. No one water

filtration method will remove all contaminants, and you may have to combine methods to attain the level of purity you seek. •Pitchers – The most convenient and inexpensive choice for up to one gallon of filtered water. This is an excellent choice to filter out chemical tastes. •Faucet-mounted – Filters water for drinking, washing dishes and cooking. •On counter – Filters out some particulates, chemical tastes and some odors. •Under sink – Installation may require some plumbing skills but can combine several filtration methods for more extensive filtering. •Whole-house – This is a complete system for filtering not only drinking water but also water used in bathrooms and for laundry. Some systems can be pricey but can be very efficient in filtering out dangerous toxins found in some private wells. Environmentalists and conservationists, such as Dunn, urge everyone to consider the implications of their choices when it comes to choosing their source of fresh drinking water. With the health of the springs and aquifer so close to Marion County in mind, you can choose the purest source and also the one most environmentally friendly. For more information, some local resources are: www.marionsoilandwater.org and www.ocalafl.org/government/city-departments/ water-resources/water-conservation

Consider the Source

Ever wonder where the water in a watervending machine comes from? It almost exclusively comes from your local municipal water system. According to which machine you choose to use, the water entering the machine goes through several different layers of the filtration, usually ending with a blast of ultraviolet light to kill any remaining bacteria that might have survived. But even vending machine filtration systems aren’t foolproof; one California study showed that one-third of all samples taken did not meet state standards for water safety.



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In Focus

New Florida rules have improved the chances of customers getting quality cannabinoid products. By Sherri Cruz 78



hristina Oliva, an advanced nurse practitioner and co-owner, with her husband Mike Oliva, of Your CBD Store, which has locations in Ocala and Gainesville, recently had a customer bring in an expensive bottle of seed oil she bought elsewhere, wondering why it didn’t work. She had paid $300 for it, thinking she was getting CBD, a hemp-extracted cannabinoid that many people use to improve various health conditions. “She could bake a chicken with it, but there is no therapeutic benefit to seed oil,” Oliva explains. “I ended up giving her a bottle for free,” she says of the CBD oil she gifted the confused customer. Buying quality CBD hasn’t been easy, but that’s starting to change now that Florida has established some ground rules. The state began inspecting CBD retailers in January.

“Consumers can feel more reassured if they buy from a facility that we’ve already inspected,” says Holly Bell, director of cannabis for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Inspected stores get no designation, so customers will need to ask about any designations. Your CBD Store in Ocala, which passed inspection, displays a whiteboard that reads: “We Passed!” Those who don’t pass inspection have 30 days to fix any problems. If a store has a hemp permit, a $650 annual fee, it’s likely it has been inspected or will soon be inspected. Inspectors are ensuring products are labeled correctly and have no contaminants. The product must also match the label. Your CBD Store’s SunMed brand label shows all of the state-required information, including the lot number, expiration date, the retailer’s or manufacturer’s website, ingredients, a list of the main cannabinoids, the serving size and the quantity of CBD per serving. Only CBD products that people and pets can ingest are regulated. Excluded are skin care and other cosmetic products. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the major active ingredients of the cannabis plant, which has two species: hemp and marijuana. Hemp-derived CBD has a minute amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in medical marijuana. People use CBD for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, Parkinson’s, autism and relieving the pain and inf lammation associated with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. CBD comes in a variety of forms, including liquid, vapes, tinctures, pills and gummies. Though many people find relief with CBD, there are too few human clinical trials to verify CBD’s therapeutic efficacy, largely because cannabis has been illegal. CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid in cannabis that might have therapeutic value. Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabichromene (CBC) are among about 100 other cannabinoids that need more studies. The 2014 and 2018 federal farm bills set the stage for nationwide CBD sales. Following federal law, Florida redefined hemp and marijuana based on a

0.3 percent THC cutoff. Hemp-derived CBD has less than 0.3 percent THC and is no longer a controlled substance. Marijuana, with higher levels of THC, remains a controlled substance—illegal—despite many states, including Florida, legalizing it for medical use. The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use oversees the medical marijuana program. If consumers find no relief with CBD, they may want to try medical marijuana through the state program. Qualifying conditions include cancer, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. Even though CBD sales are booming, it still occupies a legal gray area because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved CBD as a food additive. The FDA has only approved one CBD drug—Epidiolex. Approved in 2018, it’s used to treat people with rare and severe forms of epilepsy that don’t respond to seizure medications. While regulations will help prevent customers from buying phony and lesser quality products, choosing a CBD product still requires consumers to do their homework, Bell says. To understand the science behind CBD, Bell recommends The Scientist, a YouTube documentary about Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist who has been studying cannabis for more than 50 years. Consumers will need to determine, through their own research, the therapeutic dose for their condition. They will likely need to experiment with

April ‘20


dosages. Some organizations and patient advocates offer guidance online. The Arthritis Foundation, for example, recently released CBD guidance for its audience and urged the FDA to study and regulate CBD. One important thing to note is that CBD may interact with other drugs, supplements and herbs, so it’s best to get a doctor’s advice. Getting asked about CBD is routine for Dr. Rafael Rosa, a family physician in Ocala. He has been educating himself on the therapeutic uses of CBD and marijuana. He says they appear to be beneficial for certain conditions, but he has concerns about determining the proper dosage and which conditions can be effectively treated using these products and therapies. “What it’s telling me is we need to open the doors for more trials to see how it works for the patients,” Dr. Rosa asserts. Until then, some due diligence and careful checking of labels and inspection records by consumers is suggested before shelling out big bucks on products that may not produce the big results you may be seeking. For more information visit the following websites: www.knowthefactsmmj.com and www.fdacs.gov/Cannabis-Hemp

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PROUDLY SERVING THE HEALTHCARE NEEDS OF NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA Ocala Primary Care 3304 SW 34th Circle, Suite 101 Ocala, FL, 34474 (352) 401-7575 Jenny Chen, MD Raul Diaz, MD Joy Maldonado, MD

Interventional Pain Mgmt. 3309 SW 34th Circle, Bldg 200 Ocala, FL 34474 (352) 547-1460 Vance Elshire, MD Quang Nguyen, MD Trudy Simpson, APRN

Addiction Medicine 3305 SW 34th Circle, Suite 101 Ocala, FL 34474 (352) 732-3110 Mark Jackson, MD

Psychology 3305 SW 34th Circle, Suite 101 Ocala, FL, 34474 (352) 224-2275 Bernie Bulcourf, PhD Sarah Osian, PhD Kristy Quackenbush-Orr, PsyD

Allergy & Asthma 3305 SW 34th Circle, Suite 200-1 Ocala, FL, 34474 Rehabilitation Medicine (352) 547-1016 3305 SW 34th Circle, Suite 101 Wendell Colberg, MD Ocala, FL, 34474 (352) 732-3110 Arthritis Center Juan Beyley, MD 3304 SW 34th Circle, Suite 103 Amy Clunn, MD Ocala, FL, 34474 Quang Nguyen, MD (352) 291-0245 William Palmer, MD Stephanie Ingram, MD MaryLee Boyer, APRN Thomas Lafferty, MD Miguel Rodriguez, MD Women’s Health 3305 SW 34th Circle Suite 200-1 Ocala, FL, 34474 (352) 391-6464 Oscar Osorio, MD



Lady Lake/ The Villages Primary Care 929 N. HWY 441, Suite 501 Lady Lake, FL 32159 (352) 259-2894 Seth Perkins, MD Alain Smolarski, MD Arthritis Center 929 N. HWY 441, Suite 502 Lady Lake, FL 32159 (352) 391-6450 Stephanie Ingram, MD Thomas Lafferty, MD Hand Surgery 929 N. HWY 441, Suite 401 Lady Lake, FL 32159 (352) 751-0981 Cynthia Harding, MD Interventional Pain Mgmt. 929 N. HWY 441, Suite 403 Lady Lake, FL 32159 (352) 547-1460 Quang Nguyen, MD

Psychiatry 929 N. HWY 441, Suite 404 Lady Lake, FL 32159 (352) 753-6887 Joyce Smolarski, MD Psychology 929 N. HWY 441, Suite 404 Lady Lake, FL 32159 (352) 224-2275 Cathleen Civiello, PhD Rehabilitation Medicine 929 N. HWY 441, Suite 403 Lady Lake, FL 32159 (352) 732-3110 Amy Clunn, MD Quang Nguyen, MD Women’s Health 929 N. HWY 441, Suite 502 Lady Lake, FL 32159 (352) 391-6464 Oscar Osorio, MD

Additional locations in Gainesville, Chiefland & Lake City.



Color Me Healthy Following an “eat the rainbow” plan can help you achieve optimal health through better food choices. By Jill Paglia Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery

April ‘20



hose who follow me on Instagram and Facebook know I am a huge proponent of preparing healthy meals for myself, my family and guests. I believe healthy eating can help people achieve optimal health. Some of the “superfoods” I love serving include wild-caught salmon, which provides Omega 3 and is an anti-inflammatory; blueberries and strawberries, which contain antioxidants; broccoli, with high levels of vitamin C, calcium and fiber; walnuts, which also contain antioxidants and are a supplier of Omega 3s; olive oil, which is high in healthy monounsaturated fats and helps control blood sugar; and dark chocolate, which can have a positive effect on cholesterol and blood sugar. Your seasonal shopping list for this time of year contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, such as apples, artichokes, asparagus, avocados, bananas, beets, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, citrus, greens, kiwis, leeks, mangos, mushrooms, parsnips, peas, pears, pineapple, potatoes, strawberries and locally grown spring onions as well as Vidalia onions. My healthy recipes in this issue can be quickly put together, provided you do some prep work ahead of time, which is always my recommendation, no matter if it is a large or small meal. Not only are these dishes both

tasty and healthy, they also feature colors that “pop” in any table setting. Having a healthy body begins with what you put into it and I am a huge fan of using organic ingredients. There also are “hacks” to transition into a healthier diet, such as ditching cereal and donuts for Greek yogurt and berries. And throw some oats in, as kids will like that, and maybe even add a touch of coconut sugar or raw sugar. Or, you can switch to a paleo pancake mix. They’re available at retailers like Target now. And start cooking with olive oil and add garlic to everything. It’s going to give you that added flavor you need. I love to entertain and married into a huge Italian family, so serving meals to large crowds can present a challenge. But it’s one that can be met with great success and be very gratifying. Make each meal as much fun as it can be for yourself and your guests, including children, and make it “pretty,” because if you’re eating natural and whole foods in all “the colors of the rainbow,” you know you’re on the road to optimal health. Interact with Jill and follow her lifestyle posts on Instagram @festivelysouthern and under Festively Southern Recipes on Facebook.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Asparagus and Mushrooms

1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 bunch of asparagus with stem end trimmed, quartered lengthwise 3 good-sized baby portobello mushrooms, sliced 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly 1 lemon 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons dry white wine 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes Kosher salt Garlic salt Fresh grated Parmesan cheese Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional) In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil. › Add sliced garlic and asparagus and cook for approximately 4 minutes. › Add shrimp, mushrooms and crushed red pepper flakes (increase the amount of pepper flakes if you like a bit more heat), then season with garlic salt. › Cook, stirring occasionally, until each shrimp is pink and opaque, about 3 minutes per side. › Squeeze lemon juice over all the ingredients and add the white wine. › Season with kosher salt and garnish with Parmesan (and parsley if desired). › The mixture can be served alone or over linguini.

Superfood Salad

Mixed baby lettuce 1 gala apple, chopped 1 avocado, sliced 1/2 cup blueberries 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced 1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli florets 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled 1/4 cup sliced rainbow carrots 1/4 cup chopped cooked beets 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped Salt and pepper to taste In a large bowl or individual bowls, start with greens and layer veggies and fruits on top, ending with the walnuts and cheese. › Garnish with salt and pepper. › For the dressing, use olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice, or this citrus vinaigrette.

Citrus Vinaigrette

1 small shallot, finely chopped 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Combine first six ingredients in a small jar and season to taste with salt and pepper. › Shake to blend. › Cover and chill. › Shake before using. › Note: vinaigrette can be made one week ahead.

Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Pine Nuts

2 heads of broccoli, sliced lengthwise into “tree” stalks 1/3 cup roasted pine nuts 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin first cold pressed olive oil 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning Salt and pepper Shredded Parmesan cheese Preheat the oven to 400°. › Place the broccoli stalks and pine nuts on a sheet pan. › Drizzle the olive oil over the mixture and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. › Roast until the broccoli is slightly browned on the edges, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. › Plate and garnish with Parmesan.

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tart with high-quality ingredients—Metro Deli meats and cheese, hand-picked vegetables fresh from the market, and Mom’s heritage recipes. You just know that eating at Scooby’s Subs will be a Wow! Experience. Owner Terry Angelotti asserts, “I don’t take any credit at all. It’s hard to mess things up when you have such good food to begin with.” Sandwiches brim over with delectable toppings: colorful peppers and olives; fresh lettuce and tomatoes; all anchored by the highest quality meats and cheeses available. The Nuclear, a bestseller, is a classic Italian sub. The Torpedo—either chicken or tuna salad— is another crowd favorite. “All of the salads and soups come from my mom’s recipes,” Terry says with pride. Homemade soup options change daily and varieties include New England clam chowder, split pea and tomato bisque made from Mom’s self-canned tomatoes. Scooby’s Subs and its sister shop, Old School Ice Cream, is run by Terry and his wife Beverly. The sub shop has a submarine-themed décor that includes an undersea mural, authentic submarine parts (including a Russian submarine clock) and a clean, bright look that evokes the freshness of its food. A few steps away, Old School Ice Cream has a oneroom schoolhouse theme with desks, school bells, lunch pails, vintage readers and textbooks, all purchased in Marion County. Photos of happy, ice cream-eating customers decorate the space. Beverly proudly serves Blue Bell ice cream in her sundaes, malts, banana splits, waffle cones, hand-spun milkshakes and Dole Whip in two flavors and soft serve. For a stellar sub sandwich meal or a delectable dessert, check out Scooby’s Subs and Old School Ice Cream.

Scooby’s Subs & Old School Ice Cream 8685 SE 58th Ave, Ocala, FL 34472 | Baseline Rd. | (352) 203-2384

Full-service catering & drop-offs. Call for catering (352) 347-3100. Make your reservations for Easter.

Pasta Faire Italian Ristorante 10401 US Hwy 441, Belleview (352) 347-3100 › pastafaire.com Mon-Sat 11a-10p › Sun 11a-9p

Owner Kathy Funk, along with managing partner Brandon Magnuson and Chef Santos Cruz, invite you to experience the culinary delights and warm atmosphere of Pasta Faire in Belleview. For over 26 years, Pasta Faire has served Marion County and surrounding residents with a wide array of Italian specialties, pasta creations, wood fired rotisserie chicken, New York-style pizzas and much more. Pasta Faire would like to thank all of our wonderful patrons who have voted us “Best of the Best” Italian restaurant and 1st place Best of Best caterer.

April ‘20


Tony’s Sushi & Steakhouse 3405 SW College Road, Ocala

(352) 237-3151 › tonysushi.com Mon-Thu 11a-10p › Fri & Sat 11a-11p › Sun Noon-10p

Book your party at Tony’s today.

With abundant menu choices and over 100 off-menu rolls, you certainly won’t run out of options at Tony’s Sushi. If you can’t decide, the waitstaff is excellent at suggesting items you’re sure to enjoy. Every roll and sushi dish is made to order from the freshest ingredients. In the steakhouse area, highly trained chefs prepare a memorable meal as they cook on the tableside grills, preparing chicken, steak or seafood just the way you like it. Entrées include soup or salad and rice. Tony’s Sushi has a family-friendly, casual atmosphere, along with a full bar, including imported Japanese sake and beer selections.

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille

24 SE 1st Avenue, Ocala

(352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-10p › Fri & Sat 11a-11p › Sun 11a-9p Located in the heart of downtown Ocala, Harry’s offers traditional Louisiana favorites like Shrimp and Scallop Orleans, Crawfish Etouffée, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, Blackened Red Fish, Mahi Hoppin’ John, and French Market Pasta (pictured).

Happy Hour Specials: 2-7p every day $3 Draft Beer $4 House Wine & Premium Cocktails $5 Super Premium & $6 Harry’s Signature Cocktails $7 off bottles of wine

Other favorites, like French Baked Scallops and Bourbon Street Salmon, are complemented with grilled steaks, chicken, burgers, po’ boy sandwiches and salads. Their full bar features Harry’s Signature Cocktails, such as the Harry’s Hurricane, Bayou Bloody Mary or the Cool Goose Martini. They also feature wines by the glass and a wide selection of imported, domestic and craft beer.

El Toreo

3790 E Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala

(352) 694-1401 › 7 days 11a-10p SR 200, Ocala › (352) 291-2121 › 7 days 11a-11p New lunch specials include Taco Salad on Mondays, $5.45; Speedy Gonzalez on Tuesdays, $5.45; Quesadillas on Wednesdays, $7.95; Chimichangas on Thursdays, $6.95; and Burrito Supreme on Fridays, $5.95. New dinner options include Fajita Mondays, $10.95; Chimichanga Tuesdays, $8.95; Alambre Wednesdays, $9.95; and Tacos de Bistec Thursdays, $9.95. Plus $1.95 margaritas on Mondays. On Sunday, kids 12 and under can enjoy $1.95 children’s meals (take-out not included). Wednesday is Special Margarita Day, 99¢ all day. Saturday is 2-for-1 margaritas all day. Happy Hour daily, 3-7pm. Everything is 2-4-1 (exceptions may apply).



Wednesday: 99¢ House Margaritas All Day Thursday: Trivia Night, 7-9pm (Blvd. location) Thursday: Mariachi band at the 200 location, 6-9pm



Don’t forget their free doggie sundaes and baby cones, with purchase, for children under 40 inches. Banana Thursdays: Bring your own banana and get 1/2 price on a banana split! Catering available

Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar 10 S Magnolia Ave., Ocala

(352) 512-9458 › brickcitybbq.com Sun-Wed 11a-10p › Thurs 11a-11p › Fri-Sat 11a-12a Located in downtown Ocala’s historic town square, Brick City Southern Kitchen’s aroma is recognized for several blocks around. Once inside, you are met with a wall of over 400 whiskeys from around the world and a collection of custom folk art from Nicklos Richards. To the rear of the restaurant is their scratch kitchen where all the sides, barbecue sauces, dressings and seasonings are prepared. But the heart of this kitchen is the custom-built smoker, where the low, slow heat of burning hickory smokes beef brisket, ribs, pork shoulders, whole chickens and turkey breast.

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream 2707 E Silver Springs Blvd, Ocala (352) 622-2110 › brusters.com Sun-Thur 12p-10p, Fri-Sat 12p-11p You scream ice cream, we scream Bruster’s. More than just any ol’ ice cream parlor, Bruster’s knows how to satisfy the needs of any ice cream lover. Their large variety of premium flavors and desserts is made right in the store where they are served, including crunchy handmade waffle cones, customized sundaes, candyfilled blasts, thick milkshakes, frozen yogurts and no-sugar-added flavors. If you really want to crank up a party, Bruster’s will bring their scrumptious sweets to you. Sweeten your next big day with Bruster’s, and choose from endless flavors such as Creamsicle, Butter Pecan and Sea Salt Caramel.

Formaggio Pizza & Italian Restaurant Happy Hour Specials Monday - Thursday 4-6p

1053 NE 14th Street, Ocala

(352) 509-3661 › Mon-Fri 11a-9p › Saturday 4p-9p › closed Sunday › Dine-In or Take-Out

Nightly dinner and drink specials

Celebrating 6 Years in Business!!!!

Always striving to provide the BEST dining experience in Ocala

Formaggio’s wants to thank all of our Loyal Customers for your continued support. And, for those that haven’t tried us, we want to personally invite you in to have the best pizza and Italian food in Ocala. We will make certain your entire dining experience is the best it can be with our personalized service from our courteous staff and owners who are always onsite.

Follow us on Facebook for Specials @ocalaformaggiopizza

Formaggio’s “Delicious As Always”

April ‘20



Braised Onion

754 NE 25th Ave., Ocala

(352) 620-9255 › braisedonion.com Tue-Thu 11:30a-9p › Fri-Sat 11:30a-10p › Sun 11:30a-8p Braised Onion Restaurant, where you’ll experience “Comfort Food with Attitude” in a fun, warm and colorful but casual atmosphere. Open for lunch and dinner. Our team of experts will be dishing out perfectly seasoned prime rib with creamy horseradish sauce on Friday and Saturday evenings. Don’t forget the decadant dessert menu, which includes the prize-winning bread pudding, coconut cream pie, cheesecake and crème brûlée. Private meeting and banquet rooms available.

Easter Buffet featuring Prime Rib, Ham and Breast of Turkey 11:30am-5:30pm Reservations recommended

Morevino Restaurant and Bar 11 East Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala

(352) 304-5100 › Tues-Thu 4:30p-10p › Fri-Sat 4:30p-midnight Morevino is located on Ocala’s Historic Downtown Square, directly across from the gazebo. Whether you’re celebrating, dining with business clients, or want a quaint evening with loved ones and friends, we have created the perfect ambiance with a menu created by Proprietor, Sommelier and Chef Brian Morey, inspired by family recipes and local ingredients. We have a wide selection of handpicked wines from around the world, including our own label. Our bar is rich with history boasting fun and creative cocktails to include Santos Trail Punch, Ghost of 11 East, and Hilltop Groves Old Fashioned.

Full menu @ morevinowinebar.com Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for specials events Happy Hour Specials 4:30-6:30pm Tues-Sat Monthly Educational Wine Series and Wine Pairings

Need a private space for gatherings? Our party coordinator is at your service.

Feta Mediterranean Cuisine 306 SW Broadway St., Ocala

(352) 433-4328 › fetaocala.com Mon-Thu 11:30a-9p › Fri-Sat 11:30a-10p Feta in downtown Ocala is the only place for authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. The guiding philosophy for the Pomakis family is that all recipes must start with the freshest, healthiest ingredients available, locally sourced when possible. Chef Dimitri interprets your favorite Mediterranean dishes with an artistic flair that ensures the flavor, texture and aroma will excite your senses: from the perfect Greek salad and succulent grass-fed lamb chops to wild-caught branzino and flaky, melt-in-your mouth baklava.



Rated “excellent” on TripAdvisor. Follow @fetacuisine on Facebook for specials. Full menu at fetaocala.com


Note for Note The Ocala Youth Symphony is in its 21st year under the direction of Cindy Warringer. Focusing on the education and professional development of young musicians in the Ocala/Marion County area, it offers free concerts to the public.

By JoAnn Guidry Photography by Meagan Gumpert April ‘20




indy Warringer’s inherent love of music is infectious. Spend five minutes with her and you’ll be seriously considering signing up for piano lessons. “Many generations of my mother’s family were musical, including a couple of opera singers. My mother played the flute,” says Warringer, smiling. “I grew up listening to classical music in a house with a piano. I started taking formal piano lessons when I was 8 and never stopped playing. I love the emotion you can convey through the piano. The piano remains my favorite instrument.” Warringer earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Lindenwood University, which is in her hometown of Saint Charles, Missouri. But marriage and raising a family put her music career on hold. “I worked in the financial services business for 12 years and never really liked it,” offers Warringer, who is certified to teach multiple instruments and vocals. “My late husband Randy Robertson and I moved to Ocala in 1990 when he got a job with Lockheed Martin. I started giving private lessons, including piano and violin. We joined the First Christian Church and I became the church’s music director for the next 21 years. For the past five years, I’ve been the church musician.” And it was at First Christian Church that the Ocala Youth Symphony (OYS) had its beginnings. “The late Ken Blanchard, who was a professional clarinetist, and I began talking one day about how we wanted to do something for young musicians beyond music classes in school,” recalls Warringer. “The idea we came up with was a youth symphony. We presented the project to Rev. Douglas Moore and the First Christian Church board. It was accepted and we sent out audition notices to all the area middle schools and high schools.” The first auditions were held in August 1999, followed by rehearsals that September. The OYS



performed their first concert three months later, on December 12th. Since that initial concert, Warringer has been the OYS director and conductor. Fast forward 21 years and the OYS is still performing free concerts, generally four to six a year. Every December the OYS performs with the Ocala Symphony Orchestra in the Symphony Under the Lights show. Ten auditions a year for middle and high school students are spread out through August, September and January. Musician ages range from 10 to 18, although Warringer has accepted students as young as 8. “At the audition, a student must play at the most advanced level he or she can, must be able to play scales and must be able to sight-read music,” Warringer explains. “Most of the students who audition have taken private lessons or play in a school band. They don’t have to be superstar musicians, but they do have to have some musical literacy. All students must have their own instruments.” The symphony typically has 40 to 50 musicians, which Warringer finds is a manageable number. Rehearsals usually take place on Monday evenings, 6:30 to 8:30pm at First Christian Church’s Memorial Hall. The OYS is available for free public concerts, which generally run 90 minutes. “Besides the music, being in an orchestra teaches great life lessons like teamwork and commitment,” says Warringer. “You have to rehearse and master your instrument. But it’s not about just one person; all the members of the orchestra have to work together for a great performance.” Warringer likes to challenge the OYS members and admits they

challenge her as well. “Technology and YouTube have put a different spin on how students approach music,” she notes. “I’ll have students come who can perfectly mimic a musical piece they saw on YouTube, but they can’t read music. But to be in the OYS, they have to be able to sight-read, so that is a learning curve for some.” The OYS plays all music genres, including classical, contemporary, country, jazz and even movie soundtracks. “As a challenge, I had them play the soundtracks of Wonder Woman and The Greatest Showman. They were a bit intimidated at first, but in the end, they loved it,” says Warringer. “I also let the seniors each pick a piece of music to develop, prepare and conduct. And we have duets and solos as well during a show.” Now 21 years and counting, Warringer’s passion for the OYS hasn’t waned. “It’s amazing to me that we’ve been doing this for more than two decades now,” she affirms. “I still love making music with the kids and sharing it with the public.” To learn more, visit www.ocalayouthsymphony.org or contact Cindy Warringer, (352) 208-8734.

April ‘20



Voting 101 More than a quarter-million Marion County residents are registered to vote this year and election officials and workers are at the ready. By Lisa McGinnes Photography by Meagan Gumpert


he polls are open at Precinct 0001.” That’s what the clerk will say at precisely 7am on November 3rd at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Ocala. At the same time, clerks will declare polls open at all 122 precincts across Marion County. It’s Election Day. There might be a few people lined up at 7am, but there probably won’t be a line the rest of the day. The poll deputy opens the door and electronic pollbook operators are waiting to verify the voters and issue their ballots. Since 2004, Florida law has required that voters provide a photo and signature ID, and that election workers check the information against data the Elections Center receives from voter registrations, the motor vehicles office and the United States Postal Service. Despite rumors about election security, Marion County Supervisor of Elections Wesley Wilcox says voter fraud is extremely rare. The most common reason an election worker can’t verify a voter is because they’re at the wrong precinct. “Florida law requires you to vote in the precinct in which you reside,” Wilcox explains, adding that for certain races, such as State Senator or Representative in Congress, a voter must vote in his or her home district, so ballots are different from one precinct to another. Election workers are trained to check the required identification quickly and accurately and to provide the best possible customer service to allow voters to cast their ballots securely and efficiently. Wilcox says the best way to understand how elections are secured is to engage with your state and local officials or to serve as an election worker and support the election process yourself. With more than 30 years of experience with state and national elections, Wilcox is the only Florida official who serves on the U.S. Elections Security Executive Committee and he sees it as his personal duty to make sure every eligible voter in Marion County has the opportunity to participate in each election and to ensure votes are securely and accurately counted. “The biggest threat to our democracy is misinformation and disinformation,” Wilcox says. “Don’t fall prey to disinformation about your election from untrusted sources.”

To verify your registration, get polling place information and sample ballots, or get details about early voting and vote-by-mail, Wilcox urges Marion County voters to contact his office or visit www.votemarion.gov



Have the Talk, Give the Gift

This is your chance to give your family the best gift.

April is National Healthcare Decisions Month Make your end-of-life decisions known. It's not as hard as you think! Learn how from our experts at various events in April (check our web calendar for a full list of locations and times) April 20: David Elliott, MD-living wills for veterans April 21: Mery Lossada, MD-advance directives

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April ‘20


The All-New 2020 Toyota Highlander

Go beyond what’s expected.

Highlander Highlander's bold new design is hard to ignore. It's chiseled shape and contoured lines display the perfect balance between power and refinement. Get ready to turn heads wherever you go.

DELUCA TOYOTA SR 200 • Ocala, FL 352-732-0770 DELUCATOYOTA.COM A bundle of active safety features standard on every new Highlander at no additional cost ©2019 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.



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