Ocala Style | April 2022

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APRAPR ‘22 ‘22

thethe

Travel Travel issue issue

LOCAL LOCAL GUY; GUY; GLOBAL GLOBAL LENS LENS

SUNRISE, SUNRISE, SUNSET SUNSET

JOURNEY JOURNEY TO TO WELLNESS WELLNESS


Gated Equine Estate – 14 +/- Acres

Privacy and Tranquility on 23.21 +/- Acres

Granddaddy Oaks provide gorgeous views on this farm located close to the Florida Horse Park plus access to the Florida Greenways & Trails. 4 Bed/3.5 Bath home plus screen enclosed pool, covered lanai, and summer kitchen. 4-Stall center aisle barn $2,175,000 with storage. Additonal acreage available.

Recently updated 4,000 SF estate with 4 bed/3.5 baths. Open floor plan with spacious great room plus stone fireplace. Pool. Zoned for horses or cattle. 9-Stall barn with tack/feed room, office, and 2 bed/2 bath guest apartment. Arena. Covered $1,795,000 storage building.

13.75 +/- Acre Equestrian Estate

29 Acre Equestrian Farm – Across from HITS

State-of-the-art equestrian sporting horse facility that has it all. 13+ Acres, main home with 3 bed/3.5 baths, gourmet kitchen, split floor plan, and 3-car garage. 24-Stall show stable, lush paddocks, plus apartment makes this farm perfect $1,800,000 for any breed.

Beautiful equestrian farm with scattered Live Oaks, lush green pastures, 4 bed/3 bath home, 22-stall barn, storage equipment, plus 2 bed/2 bath living quarters. Located across from HITS. $1,897,000 Just minutes to World Equestrian Center.

Our results speak for themselves. List with Joan today! For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and photos. 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.


Just Listed

Just Listed

Custom-Built Palatial Chateau on 82 +/- Acres

136 +/- Acre State-of-the-Art Estate

Absolutely rare and hard to find custom-built Palatial Chateau on 82+/- beautiful acres. 4 Bed/4.5 baths, gourmet kitchen, formal dining, and spacious family room. 4-Car garage. 1/1 Guest quarters. Grand show stable with 18 stalls and 1/1 apartment. $9,105,000 Great NW location.

136+/- Acre estate, incredible features, State-of-the Art Equine facilities. Professionally sculpted and architecturally designed main residence with 5 bed/ 4 bath overlooking your own private lake. The Inn offers 8 En suite bedrooms. 27-Stall stable, 5/8 +/- mile $12,100,000 synthetic cushion training track.

Purchase 40 , 42 or Your Choic8e2 +/- Acres

40 +/- Acres just minutes from WEC

42 +/- Acres just minutes from WEC

Located just minutes to World Equestrian Center – Frontage on Hwy 27 – Great Location! Opportunity to purchase 40 +/acres with 3/3 pool home plus 1/1 cabana. 18-Stall barn with office, full bath and tack room. Zoned A-1 with RL and MR $5,088,000 Land use.

Located just minutes to World Equestrian Center – Highway 27 frontage 42 +/- Acres includes pond, gated entrance, 20-stall barn, round pen plus open storage. Land is zoned A-1 with land use of Rural land and Rural Activity Center. Adjoin$4,231,000 ing acreage is also available.

If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call at 352-266-9100 today!


Publisher’s Note

W

hile I enjoy the perks that come with a luxury beach cabana as much as the next girl, the travel memories that continue to feed my soul even decades later did not come with many comforts. In my 20s, most trips were inspired by the surf documentary The Endless Summer. Twenty years later, I laugh at the thought of how we would throw our clothes in surf bags and go off-road to the most remote surf breaks or dive sites we could get to. That old version of myself didn’t care about her makeup, hair smoother or which shoes went with the right outfit. The mud, the bugs, the heat and rain are still fuzzy parts of those travel recollections, but they are eclipsed by the memories of what music we were playing and the frequent stops to assess whether we should try to drive through a particular spot or attempt to try to get past a menacing surf break. This issue is full of both kinds of travel stories—those that set hearts racing and the kind that can help someone feel a little more rested. In the Local Guy; Global Lens feature, Ocala’s own Mark Emery, a renowned globe-trotting photographer, talks about some of the stunning images he has shot in his travels to more than 35 countries on assignment for entities such as National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. And speaking of great photos, four of our longtime photographers show you some of their favorite places to visit in Picturesque Destinations. In the Sunrise, Sunset piece, ride along on a road trip that goes from Ocala to Cocoa Beach and ends on Longboat Key, in pursuit of seeing the sun rise on Florida’s East Coast and set on our West Coast on the same day. The Journey To Wellness article gives three great options to help you slow down and relax as you take some time for self-care—and who doesn’t need more of that these days? Whether your travel plans call for relaxing in a serene setting or taking a walk on the wild side, a balanced life should include both—don’t you think?

Jennifer Hunt Murty Publisher


Just a short drive east is another side of Florida. Where unique local art inspires you, exciting outdoor adventures thrill you, and visitors really let loose on our pet-friendly beaches. Spend a day—or three— in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches and experience what the other side of Florida has to offer.


of Speed

he Festivals of Speed celebration on Friday and Saturday, May 6th and 7th, at the World Equestrian Center Ocala, will offer opportunities to see some of the world’s premiere vehicles in one of the most incredible venues on the planet. And, new this year, will be access to The Equestrian Hotel, a paragon of luxury accommodations and deluxe service, as well as activities in the World Equestrian Expo Center. The Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party luxury lifestyle cocktail reception at the expo center on Friday evening will feature


Sponsored the Festivals of Speed Samba Team, boutique spirits tastings, rare bourbon and aged scotch, chef-attended culinary stations and a Kentucky Derby Hat Parade. The hat contest is open to all ages, so bring out your finest finery, best bowler and chicest chapeau and get ready to stroll. On Saturday, expect to see dream machines from makers such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls-Royce, and powerful American muscle cars like Corvettes, Mustangs and Chargers. And everything in between, such as the 1970 TVR Vixen, a classic British sports car hand-built in Blackpool, owned by Gary Godek of Ocala, which received the Ocala Style Award of Excellence at the prestigious auto show last year. Festivals of Speed was founded in 2004 by Joe Sabatini as the ultimate luxury showcase for discerning enthusiasts with a passion for all forms of transportation and has grown to be known as a premier exhibitor in the industry. The 2021 Festivals of Speed was the first car show to take place at World Equestrian Center (WEC) Ocala. “We are pleased to be back again to this fabulous venue,” Sabatini says, “and we welcome car and motorcycle enthusiasts from all over to show their vehicles with us.” In addition to all the horsepower on display this year, there also will be plenty of equine action on the WEC campus as well. The venue, which draws exhibitors and patrons from around the world, is the largest equestrian complex in the United States, with worldclass indoor and outdoor arenas offering state-of-theart amenities to accommodate numerous disciplines. Sabatini says there will be Arabian horses competing throughout the property during the luxury car show and celebration and that attendees can avail themselves of all WEC has to offer, including fine wines and festive cocktails as well as exciting culinary offerings from noteworthy eateries such as Viola & Dot’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, Filo’s Mexican Cantina and Ralph’s Burger & Sandwich Shop, along with sweets in abundance at Miss Tilly’s Lollipops, which boasts artisan treats and one-ofa-kind confections, specialty toys at Mr. Pickles & Sailor Bear Toy Shoppe and even some amazing “bling” at Lugano Diamonds. The festivities kick off Friday, May 6th, with the

Derby-themed cocktail event from 8-10:30pm. The motorsports gathering will commence at 10am on Saturday, May 7th, at the exhibition ring on the Grand Plaza, directly in front of the hotel. Sabatini says attendees will have a rare opportunity to appreciate automotive masterpieces of design and engineering in a setting that is festive and elegant. Guests also may tour the sprawling facility at their leisure and dine al fresco as they enjoy live entertainment on the Grand Plaza during the evening. “This Four Diamond venue truly makes for an exquisite place to showcase these incredible automobiles,” Sabatini offers. “We encourage everyone to come out and join us!” General admission is $20; tickets for the cocktail party are $150 per person; VIP tickets for Saturday are $125 per person, available in advance only, and include an exciting culinary display, open bar, VIP credentials, VIP gift and more. For more information and tickets, visit www.festivalsofspeed.com


SAME-DAY APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE POSSIBLE SAME-DAY APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE

ADVANCED COMPREHENSIVE CARE FOR YOUR FEET AND ANKLES Treatment of Common Ailments such as Bunions, Hammertoes, Heel Pain, Sprains, Fractures, Athlete’s Foot, Ingrown Nails, Fungal Nails Sports Injuries Children’s Foot Care Custom Orthotics Diabetic Foot Care Warts Neuromas Ankle Pain Ulcers

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Publisher | Jennifer Hunt Murty

jennifer@magnoliamediaco.com

Magnolia Media Company, LLC (352) 732-0073

1515 NE 22nd Avenue, Ocala, FL 34470

Art Editorial

Dr. Andrew Franklin, DPM, PHD PHD

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RACE HORSE SUPPLIES FARRIER EQUIPMENT The largest combined selection of race supplies, farrier equipment, general equine supplies, western tack and saddlery in the Southeast.

GRAPHIC DESIGNER/ PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Lisa Maliff lisa.maliff@magnoliamediaco.com

PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Ackerman Tom Clifford Becky Collazo Eighteenth Hour Photography Mark Emery Oksana Fendenko Photography Meagan Gumpert Susan Humphreys John Jernigan Kenny Madison MAVEN Photo + Film Dave Miller Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATOR David Vallejo

Marketing

DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Andrew Hinkle andrew@magnoliamediaco.com CLIENT SERVICES GURU Cheryl Specht cheryl@magnoliamediaco.com

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EDITOR IN CHIEF Susan Smiley-Height susan@magnoliamediaco.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR Greg Hamilton greg@magnoliamediaco.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Julie Garisto JoAnn Guidry Belea Keeney Scott Mitchell Jill Paglia Max Russell Dave Schlenker Nick Steele Leah Taylor Beth Whitehead

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deposit 1 mobile S E h E it F w O G App UMS, N BANKIN ontrol MINIM OBILE Card C M S U D NO P N CAM INE A ith the E ONL ARD w FRE C R U AGE YO CARDS MAN DEBIT E U S TANT-IS INS

“CAMPUS is part of my winning game plan. Make it part of yours, too!” Steve Spurrier Head Ball Coach, CAMPUS Member

READY, SET, GO! Open an account at campuscu.com/star-powered Call 352-237-9060 and press 5 Curbside Service available at your local CAMPUS Service Center. Visit campuscu.com to find a CAMPUS Service Center in your community.

Membership is open to anyone in Alachua, Marion, Lake, and Sumter counties.2 1. Credit approval and initial $50 opening deposit required. Member must elect to receive eDocuments. 2. Credit approval and initial $5 deposit required. Insured by the NCUA.


SAVE

WATER, SAVE MONEY

For Ocala water customers, conservation of this precious resource is all about dollars— and sense.

A

s more people move into our region, the demands on the Floridan Aquifer, which supplies the fresh water flowing into our homes and businesses, continues to rise. There are many steps we all can take to help ensure there is enough water available for everyone today and tomorrow. And—bonus!—these easy actions can lower your bill. The City of Ocala’s Water Resources Conservation Coordinator Rachel Fautsch explains that city water customers use a total of about 13 million gallons of water a day. Even small changes in our routines can have a big impact. Do you leave the water running while you brush your teeth? You might be wasting 9 gallons of water every day and not realize it. Do you water your lawn during the heat of the day? More than half of that water is probably evaporating and not even reaching the roots. “If you reduce your daily shower by one minute, you’re saving almost 1,000 gallons of water a year,” she explains. “Shut the water off while you’re washing your face. That’s 4 gallons of water a day if you wash your face twice.” Saving water also means saving money. Customers’ bills stem from a multilevel tier system based on the amount of water they use. Even modest conservation efforts can save the average customer hundreds of dollars a year. Since half the water used in Ocala is for irrigation, that means people are using 6 million gallons of water every day in the pursuit of a greener lawn. Fautsch urges customers to consider whether irrigation is necessary, to be mindful of automatic irrigation systems that often sprinkle your lawn even when it rains and to consider using Florida-friendly landscaping. Fautsch partnered with Amanda Marek, the UF/IFAS Marion County Florida-friendly Landscaping Coordinator, to create a demonstration garden at the Water Treatment Plant, showcasing more than two dozen plant varieties, including crowngrass, pentas, holly, anise, liriope, juniper, firegrass


Sponsored

Photo by Dave Miller

and magnolias. All of them are f lourishing despite not being intentionally watered after establishment more than four years ago. To see the garden and tour the Water Treatment Plant, call (352) 351-6772. April is Water Conservation Month in Florida. Here are some commonsense ways you can reduce your use. 1. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. You can save 3,212 gallons per year. 2. Shorten your daily shower by just one minute to save more than 900 gallons a year. 3. Choose showers over baths. Taking a five-minute shower rather than a bath can save more than 16,000 “Even modest conservation gallons per year. 4. Use your efforts can save the average dishwasher. This can save 50 gallons over customer hundreds of dollars a year.” handwashing every time you do dishes. 5. Fix leaky toilets. A leaky flapper can waste up to 200 gallons per day. 6. Fix leaky faucets. A slow but steady drip can waste more than 24,000 gallons in a month. 7. Use your outdoor hose only when needed. Turn it off while washing your car and use a broom to clean walkways rather than your hose—it uses 17 gallons per minute. 8. Consider replacing older appliances. A new, efficient washing machine uses about a third as much water as older models. Replacing an older toilet can save 900 gallons of water per person, per year and installing a more efficient showerhead can save nearly 3,300 gallons per year. 9. Water your lawn only when needed and follow the irrigation ordinance, watering no more than twice per week according to your address number. Don’t irrigate between 10am-4pm or on hot days. 10. Waiting for the water to get hot? Collect that water in a bucket to water plants and pets. 11. Drink tap water instead of bottled water. Keep a pitcher in the refrigerator for a cold, refreshing drink—every 20-ounce bottle of water takes 1.5 gallons to produce. To schedule a water education presentation, call Rachel Fautsch at (352) 351-6774.

For more information about the City of Ocala Water Resources, visit ocalafl.org/government/city-departments/water-resources. For more information about Florida-friendly landscaping, visit sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/lawn-and-garden/florida-friendly-landscaping.


in this issue

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40

ins ide r

vo w s

22

WATER WOES

The next IHMC lecturer, John Dunn, fears Florida is running out of water but feels all is not lost.

25

DOING GOOD

This adoptive family’s experiences led to the creation of a nonprofit, The Pearl Project, to help others.

26

DAY TRIPS FOR HISTORY BUFFS

Within a short drive from Ocala you can find Spanish forts, historic towns and prehistoric Native American mounds.

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SCHLENKERISMS

Dave is thinking forward but looking back now that his youngest daughter is college-bound.

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50 50

PICTURESQUE DESTINATIONS

VOWS

Join us in celebrating local brides and grooms.

Four of our adventurous photographers share favorite images from some of their travels.

f e a tu r e s

living

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LOCAL GUY; GLOBAL LENS

The career of Ocala photographer, composer and cinematographer Mark Emery has taken him to more than 35 countries.

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SUNRISE, SUNSET

This road trip will take you coast to coast in one day.

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JOURNEY TO WELLNESS

Self-care inspired getaways are more popular than ever.

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IN THE KITCHEN WITH PAULA KING

Making buttery and mouthwatering Tiropitas is a Greek heritage passed down through generations.

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TENDER LOVING CARE

Rosie Gutierrez of Sweet Water Rescue and Rehab takes in and rehomes animals that others might turn away.

ON THE COVER: SUNRISE AT COCOA BEACH Photo by TOM CLIFFORD This page: left photo courtesy of MARK EMERY, center PHOTO BY TOM CLIFFORD and right PHOTO by JOHN JERNIGAN


WOMEN’S EXPO SAVE THE DATE

Saturday, June 25, 2022 • 10am - 3pm College of Central Florida, Klein Center

Enjoy a fun day listening to inspiring guest speakers, watching hands-on demonstrations, shopping at unique booths, meeting wonderful people, eating delicous food and possibily winning a giveaway! Tickets $5 at OcalaStyle.com/WomensExpo or $10 at the door For vendor space call 352-732-0073 or email Cheryl@magnoliamediaco.com

All ticket proceeds will benefit

PACE

Center for Girls


“ Peaceful, prestigious, & private treatment for those suffering from trauma and underlying self-defeating behaviors.

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In network with most insurance providers. Conveniently located on Ft. King.

352-815-3911 | TheGuestHouseOcala.com ocalastyle.com


INSIDER

Social Scene Barrett Phillips, Peyton Hunt and Alex Doyle relished sunshine, camaraderie and good food and wine during the Florida Steeplechase at the Florida Horse Park on March 5th. Photo by Meagan Gumpert


INSIDER

Live Oak International LIVE OAK STUD Photos by Susan Humphreys

T

he largest combined driving and show jumping competition in the United States, held March 3rd-6th, featured top competitors and horses from Europe and North America. The event featured equine action, ringside hospitality and world-class entertainment.

Florida Steeplechase FLORIDA HORSE PARK Photos by Meagan Gumpert

T

he return of the sport of steeplechase to Florida on March 5th was a grand mixture of fast-paced action on the course, the fun of bringing out fine foods and beverages for tailgating and the chic Odette Fashions on the Field showcase.

Fashion show finalists

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ocalastyle.com

Dr. Dana Gordan

Jessica Berry and Archie Macauley



INSIDER

Maharajah Flamenco Trio

APPLETON MUSEUM OF ART Photos by Dave Miller

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uests enjoyed the powerful cross-cultural musical stylings of the world-famous Flamenco Nuevo trio of Silviu Ciulei, David Cobb and Ramin Yazdanpanah on February 5th. The three are known for their unique blend of influences from Spain, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

Silviu Ciulei, David Cobb, Ramin Yazdanpanah

Ramin Yazdanpanah

Flamenco Trio with Appleton Staff, Patricia Tomlinson, David Reutter, Victoria Billig

Bourbon in the Barn CF VINTAGE FARM Photos by Bruce Ackerman

T Kendall and Peyton Drake

he elegant signature fundraiser on February 25th for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County included bourbon tastings by Fish Hawk Spirits and James Two Brothers Distillers, live and silent auctions, food by La Casella Catering and music by Ecliff Farrar.

Derek Hill, Lauren Hill, Don Gulling, Michelle Gulling and April Savarese

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ocalastyle.com

Ecliff Farrar

Emily and Dustin Keuntjes


INSIDER

Cattle Drive and Cowboy Round-Up DOWNTOWN OCALA Photos by Bruce Ackerman

T Kenley Reeves

he City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department event on February 12th saw cowboys herding cows through downtown on the way to Tuscawilla Park for a day of mechanical bull rides, a kids’ corral and other activities.

Members of the Marion County Cattlemen’s Association

Arabella Hyatte

Brody Valera

Duck Derby TUSCAWILLA PARK Photos by Bruce Ackerman

T Tim Dean

Kaitlyn Ferson and children, Michael, Emma and Avery and their dog, Ruby

he Marion Rotary Club’s annual fundraiser on February 12th featured thousands of bright yellow rubber ducks being swept toward the finish line, with cash prizes for the first three finishers. Overall event proceeds will benefit the Discovery Center.

Kay Kelly, Al Formella and Tim Dean

Jonine Dale and Noelle

Elora Pfriender and Kendrie Smith

April ‘22

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INSIDER

Black History Month Banquet MAGNOLIA EVENT & CONFERENCE CENTER Photos by Kenny Madison

T Durone and Chattorria Glymph

Lason Kirkland and Sandra Weaver

he Psi Chi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity honored Dr. Nathaniel Hawthorne Jones, for whom Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary School is named, during the February 26th banquet, which included entertainment, dinner and a silent auction.

Whitfield Jenkins, Jordan Woods and Loretta Jenkins

Sheila Gillium and Reginald Landers

Sharon Richardson and Kelvin Richardson

Strawberry Festival MCPHERSON COMPLEX Photos by Becky Collazo

T

he eighth annual event on March 5th featured fresh strawberries for purchase along with a wide variety of vendors and entertainment offerings. Proceeds will help build an affordable home through Habitat for Humanity of Marion County.

Elyssa and Ellianna Hickman

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ocalastyle.com

Rose Barns and Ryan Williams


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

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Butterfly and Blueberry Festival Timberline Farm

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McIntosh Garden Show and Plant Sale McIntosh Civic Center, Van Ness Park

Each Saturday and Sunday in April, through the 24th, enjoy the wispy flutter of butterflies up close in the butterfly tent, take a hayride, pet some farm animals or shop at the country store at Timberline Farm in Belleview. Listen to live music while you browse the booths and sample local honey, peanuts, cotton candy, blueberry desserts and other tasty foods. Visit timberlinefarm.net

Get your garden on with the McIntosh Seedlings and Garden Club’s annual plant sale. This is the perfect time of year to shop for new plants, seeds, veggies and more. Choose from perennials, annuals, vegetables, houseplants and herbs, along with garden décor for inside and outside your home. Proceeds help sponsor scholarships to the Wekiva Youth Camp. Visit mcintoshseedling.com

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“You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” College of Central Florida Dassance Fine Arts Center

Photo courtesy of Reilly Arts Center

The beloved characters from the “Peanuts” comic strip will come to life when 12 CF Visual and Performing Arts students present the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” from April 7th-10th. Performances are 7:30pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 7-9, and 3pm Sunday, April 10. Tickets are $6-$12 and can be purchased at CF.edu/Musical or by calling (352) 873-5810. For more information about CF events, visit CF.edu

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King of the Wing Citizens’ Circle, Downtown Ocala

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Fundraising Dinner Southeastern Livestock Pavilion

From 5 to 8pm learn who makes the best wings while enjoying entertainment, prizes and more, all to benefit ARC of Marion County. Hosted by Marion County Building Industry Association. Tickets $10-$30. To learn more, call (352) 266-2701.

Champions For Champions will stroll back to the 1950s on Friday, April 8th at 6pm. The event includes a silent auction and dinner. It is sponsored by Adam Hanson Better Communities Fund and the NFL Caring for Kids Foundation. $50 per person. Call (866) 996-2182 or go to championsforchampions.org

22 Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn Reilly Arts Center

Béla Fleck is a 15-time Grammy Award winner who has taken the banjo across multiple genres. Abigail Washburn is a singer-songwriter and clawhammer banjo player. The two met at a square dance, began collaborating musically and eventually fell in love. Their deep bond, combined with the way their distinct musical personalities and banjo styles interact, makes theirs a picking partnership unlike any other. Show time is 7:30pm. Visit reillyartscenter.com

Schooling Show 9 3-Phase Majestic Oaks Farm, Reddick

April is a great time of year to get out and about and you can see dressage, cross-country and show jumping trials in the beautiful setting of Majestic Oaks Farm. Among the grandfather oaks and rolling hills, enjoy the day while watching competitors ride, jump and take on challenging cross-country courses. Visit majesticoaksocala.com

annual 5K Race Against Child Abuse 9 10th Calesa Township

For this 10th anniversary 5K race/walk, Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection has teamed up with Calesa Township. Participants will help support efforts against child abuse while seeing the newly built Calesa Township neighborhood. Teams can sign up and walkers are welcome. Prizes and awards will be given. Visit kimberlyscenter.org April ‘22

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International Horse Trials 14 Ocala Florida Horse Park

Eventing is a three-day test of horse and rider, consisting of an arena dressage test, a cross-country course and a final show jumping competition in the ring on day three. It’s a challenge to excel at all three disciplines and each has its own standard of excellence. The Florida Horse Park hosts this event April 14th-17th. It includes food trucks, vendor booths and several days of spirited competition in spring weather. Visit flhorsepark.com

City Beer and Wine Festival 16 Brick Citizens’ Circle, Downtown Ocala

The eighth annual celebration is back on this year with a promising lineup of beer and wine to sample and purchase, live music, activities and food trucks including Country Boys BBQ, Curry Coma, McFood Land and MexiRican. There’s even a root beer sampling bar for the kids. Radio station Wind FM is sponsoring the Battle of the Bands with Second Chance, SidePiece and Saltmine Zombies vying for the crown. Sponsored by Ocala-Silver Springs and Ocala-Sunset Rotary clubs. Proceeds will benefit Interfaith Emergency Services, Marion County Literacy Council and Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection. Visit brickcitybeerfest.com

VISIT WITH

MARCH 25TH – APRIL 16TH

Tournament 16 Cornhole Brick City Adventure Park

Find a partner for this cornhole tournament and bring your best aim. For ages 16 and older, test your skills at putting that little bag into the goal. This deceptively easy sport promises fun and challenges for all. From 11am to 4pm, you can also check out food trucks and hear live music. To register, visit https://bit.ly/3HKpdrF or call (352) 671-8560.

Cars & Cool Cats Car & 16 Hot Motorcycle Show 2250 NE 70th St, Ocala

Located in front of Belk

The annual event, 10am to 3pm, will support the Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS). Meet the tiger Maximus and have some family fun. Free to spectators. $10 to register a vehicle. To learn more, call (352) 266-2859.

For reservations, visit paddockmall.com

Comedy” 22 “Black Vanguard High School

PADDOCKMALL .COM

|

(352) 237-1223

3100 SW COLLEGE RD., OCAL A , FLORIDA

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ocalastyle.com

Vanguard High School’s VHS Players present Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy, on Friday, April 22nd and Saturday, April 23rd in Vanguard High School’s Black Box Theatre at 7 NW 28th Street, Ocala. Doors open at 5:30pm, the performance begins at 6pm. For more information, visit vhsplayers.com


AMP Concerts 22 Levitt Webb Field

Walkers and rollers (wheelchairs) welcome for a donation. Learn more at tlcocala.org

The Marion Cultural Alliance, in partnership with the City of Ocala, will host the 2022 Levitt AMP Ocala Music Series at Webb Field at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex at 1510 NW Fourth St., 7 to 9pm Fridays, April 22nd through July 1st (excluding May 27). Sponsored in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation. Visit ocalafl.org/levittamp

Historic Home & Art Tour 23 HOPS Various homes and gardens

The Historic Ocala Preservation Society’s spring tour will include six historic homes in two of Ocala’s downtown Historic Districts. You can start the tour at 712 E. Fort King St. or 120 NE Sanchez Ave. Local artists will have works on display at multiple homes. Food and drinks will be available from food trucks and mobile bars. Tickets are available at SpringHomeTour.eventbrite.com and at Your Hearts Desire at 915 E. Silver Springs Blvd. Visit facebook.com/events/628319804950278

Is On The Horizon Sunset 5K 23 Hope Classic Mile Park

This 5K run will benefit Transitions Life Center. It begins at 5:30pm. The cost is $35 per runner; or $10 per person for a fun run after the main event.

of Florida: Centuries of Stories” 28 “Jews Appleton Museum of Art

Scholar and oral historian Marcia Jo Zerivitz will give a special presentation highlighting the first comprehensive history of the Jews of Florida, from colonial times to the present. Admission is free for the lecture. Visit appletonmuseum.org

Living: The Musical” 29 “Assisted Reilly Arts Center

Gently having fun with the idea of assisted living homes, this unique show began in Florida and features the shenanigans at Pelican Roost, a fictional active senior living community where 70 is the new 20. Tickets available from reillyartscenter.com

Jazz Day 30 International Marion Theatre

Going beyond jazz, embracing funk and the start of American rock and roll, this evening will have you dancing in the aisles as the theater celebrates International Jazz Day with the Keith Caton Blues Band and the SeanTMusic Ocala Funktet. Funk out with “Superstition,” “Mr. Clean,” “What’s Going On?” and more. Tickets available from reillyartscenter.com

Disney's Magical Musical

May 12 - June 5

Tickets on sale April 11 $30 for adults · $15 for 18 and younger

SPONSORED BY K-Country • Ocala Gazette • Tallen Builders

4337 E. Silver Springs BLVD Ocala Fl, 34470 • (352) 236-2274 • Ocalacivictheatre.com


INSIDER

An Updated Look at Florida’s Water Woes IHMC speaker fears our state is running out of water, but feels all is not lost. By Susan Smiley-Height Photography by Susan Dunn

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Florida’s environmental ohn Dunn is a problems will escalate Sunshine State dramatically.” native who grew up But, he says, “All is not exploring the natural arlost.” eas of Miami and South Over the past couple Florida. He hailed from of years, Dunn has given a family of farmers but numerous presentations charted his career path through in-person and as a writer and teacher of virtual talks for book history, law studies, sofairs and libraries, and ciology and philosophy. for conservation and civic He has written more organizations around the than 400 articles for a state. variety of publications, Of note to those who such as Florida Trend, recall the history of Marti Europe, Overseas Life and City as a once-thriving Sierra and authored 16 part of Ocala’s cigar nonfiction young adult industry, Dunn wrote José books. In February 2020, Martí: Cuba’s Greatest Dunn’s nonfiction Drying Hero. He is currently unUp: The Fresh Water der contract to write the Crisis in Florida earned tentatively titled Justice the Florida Historical Soat the Crossroads: The ciety’s Stetson Kennedy South’s Reckoning with Award for writing about Climate Change. our natural environment If this keeps up, many His IHMC lecture will and in 2019 the Bronze scientists fear there won’t be focus on restoration efforts, Medal in the Florida Book enough water for humans including those using green Awards, Florida Nonficinfrastructure to mimic tion category. and the natural world. natural hydrology, the new On April 21st, he will - John Dunn economics of virtual water be the guest speaker for and the rethinking of water the popular Institute for as a precious life source, not a commodity. Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) evening “Finally, I’ll offer tips on what audience memlecture series, with “an updated look at Florida’s bers can do to protect our freshwater supplies,” water woes.” he says. “Sewage spills, pollution, runaway sprawl, urbanization, failing infrastructure, toxic algal The lecture takes place at IHMC’s Ocala campus blooms, sea level rise and unsustainable groundat 15 SE Osceola Ave. and begins with a reception water pumping still keep taking a toll,” he says. at 5:30p.m. Seating will be limited to accommodate “If this keeps up, many scientists fear there won’t social distancing. To learn more, go to www.ihmc. be enough water for humans and the natural us/lectures world. With millions of new residents on the way,

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DOING GOOD

Valuing Vulnerable Children This adoptive family’s experiences led to the creation of a nonprofit that offers education and support to others.

By Beth Whitehead | Photography by Meagan Gumpert | Pictured the Zedler family

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oy Zedler didn’t realize her adopted children felt abandoned when she sent them to timeout, nor did she understand why their behavior wasn’t correcting until her family discovered TrustBased Relational Intervention (TBRI) in 2014. Four years later, Zedler and her husband, Stephen, started a nonprofit, The Pearl Project, to support and equip other foster and adoptive families, teachers, caseworkers, church volunteers and others. Through The Pearl Project, so named because “many children’s stories begin in hard places,” the Zedlers offer a parenting method that’s different from the traditional lens and that sees trauma-exposed kids acting out as, oftentimes, a mere response to their turbulent history. “Our mission is to help vulnerable children know their value,” Zedler explains, “And we do this through education. We educate, empower and equip anyone who works with children.” TBRI is a trauma-informed method that is a holistic approach to relating and raising children with a history of abuse or neglect, Zedler offers. There are three principles: connecting, empowering and correcting. Connecting is understanding what you as the parent are bringing to the table, empowering is creating an environment to make your child feel

safe, and correcting is trying trauma-informed disciplines to help kids overcome certain behaviors. After discovering TBRI, Zedler started taking her kids to a quiet place and sitting with them when they acted out, rather than putting them in time-out. This behavior started positive changes, she shares. The Pearl Project offers multiple resources, such as support groups, training, a Kid-2-Kid Closet and a Hope Fund dedicated to making more resources affordable for families. There are more than 500 children in the foster care system in Marion County. “A lot of children we serve are the youngest victims of the opioid crisis,” Zedler notes. “They’re kids who are born substance-exposed, they’re kids who are removed from their home; if we don’t step in, statistically, these kids are going to end up in jail.” The Pearl Project welcomes support through Pearl Partners, who commit to donate each month, volunteers to be trained in TBRI and play with the children while the adults are in sessions and in fulfillment of prayer requests listed in their online newsletter. For more information about The Pearl Project, visit thepearlproject.org


INSIDER

Easy Day Trips for History Buffs By Scott Mitchell

Photo courtesy of Florida Memory Archives, Fort Mose

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• Fort Mose Historic f you have the travel State Park (pronounced bug, Marion County Mo-say) is a somewhat is a great stepping-off obscure but incredibly point for exploring Florida. important place. The park Our backyard is both scelies just north of historic nic and centrally located. St. Augustine (a mustIn fact, we’re so nicely situsee destination in itself) ated that in 1900 there was along the Atlantic Coast in an effort to move the state St. Johns County. It was capital to Ocala. Jacksonbuilt in 1738 to guard the ville and St. Augustine northern flank of the town were also contenders but, against French intrusions. in the end, Tallahassee was The fort is long gone, but as voted to remain the seat of the first free African AmerFlorida’s government. ican settlement in what is Florida is an incredibly now the United States, it long state and a drive from is hallowed ground. There Pensacola to Key West is an interpretive center, a will add 822 miles to your picnic pavilion and a canoe odometer. Marion County is and kayak launch. pretty much in the middle, • The Bulow Plantation with Ocala being 376 miles Ruins Historic State Park from Pensacola and 303 lies near the Tomoka and miles from Miami. You Halifax rivers and Ormond need not rack up hundreds These two free Black millitia members include an Beach in Flagler County. of miles, however, to visit officer from Veracruz (left) and a soldier from The site includes the ruins some truly historic places. Havana (right), ca. 1770-1776 (Joseph Hefter, 1968). of a large 19th century There are plenty nearby. plantation built in 1821 Choose any point of and burned by Seminole warriors in 1836. The ruins a compass and within about an hour and a half are impressive and a stark reminder of our turbulent you can find Spanish colonial forts, historic and sometimes violent history. The plantation tells towns and battlefields from past conflicts, and the story of Florida becoming a territory, the injusprehistoric mounds built centuries ago by Native tices of slavery and of the Seminole Wars. The ruins Americans for purposes such as burials or temple are fascinating and offer superb photo ops. platforms. These destinations are diverse and represent thousands of years of our collective Check out the Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage past. Presented from earliest to most recent, here website (trailoffloridasindianheritage.org) for a are a few examples: great list of historic sites in all parts of the state, • The Crystal River Archaeological State Park along with maps and overviews. is a group of prehistoric earthworks along the When the travel bug bites you, pack a cooler Gulf Coast in Citrus County and includes a 61with drinks and lunch and take advantage of our acre park with mounds built by Native Americans superb location to get off the beaten path and do about 1,600 years ago (A.D. 400), a small museum, some exploring. walking trails and a great view of Crystal River itself. Visitors can climb 51 steps to the top of the Scott Mitchell is a field archaeologist, scientific flat-top Temple Mound and take in a view largely illustrator and director of the Silver River Museum unchanged from when the ancient people created & Environmental Education Center. the ceremonial site.


Thinking Forward: Looking Back By Dave Schlenker | Illustration by David Vallejo

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write these words at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. There is a patch of grass nearby where, in 1989, my artist roommate painted on a canvas with his head. That is to say, we strung Scott up by his feet, lowered his head into paint and held on as his paint-soaked hair created a colorful work that sold for a good amount. The process, Scott told a TV news reporter, let his “ideas flow directly onto the canvas,” bypassing those cumbersome fingers and opposable thumbs. The process also, we agreed later, successfully attracted the TV news reporter who subscribed to the brain-to-canvas theory. Scott also drew a comic strip for the campus newspaper starring Flemmo the Squirrel. We worked at The Central Florida Future in a singlewide trailer with drooping floors and boxy Macintosh computers choked with floppy discs. Newsroom procedures required hacky sack and pranks, the best being a letter on Orlando Sentinel stationary offering me a job. I was over the moon. I even called my mother. Then I called the number on the letter and heard a gruff bouncer answer, “Booby Trap. May I help you?” Scott was the culprit. I made him buy me lunch at El Pollo Loco. That rickety UCF newsroom also is where a colleague bellowed: “Hey, Dave. Your date called. She wants to know if she can bring a date tonight.” And she did. He bought us ice cream. But in 1989, I was walking to class at UCF and

bumped into a former high school classmate from Ocala. “Hi David!” Amy Rowan said. My heart jumped. At Forest High School, she was a Lady Cat Dancer. I played the saxophone in the band, but my primary job was staring at Amy the Lady Cat Dancer. Amy Rowan was adorable in the 1980s. Amy Rowan Schlenker remains adorable in 2022. So, yes, UCF means a lot to us. And in the fall of 2022, there will be another UCF Knight in the family: our youngest daughter, Caroline. On the morning she declared her choice, I grabbed the big UCF flag from our yard and waved it in the living room as if I were on the 50yard line before a bowl game. It will be a big year for college-age Schlenkers. Our oldest daughter, Katie, graduates from the University of Florida in the spring. Talk about proud. For the record, we have a UF yard flag, too. We bleed black, gold, orange and blue. So, I sit here writing this column at my beloved alma mater. In a few minutes, I will visit Caroline’s future apartment complex, scratch my gray beard and wonder where the time went. But first, I am going to order another coffee, sit by the window and linger a little longer. I’ll think about Flemmo, hacky sack, illegally wading in the reflecting pond and the Great Seminole Bottle Rocket “Incident” (that’s all I can say, per legal counsel). Good times. Treasured times. Here’s to future memories created by smarter Schlenkers on Florida’s greatest campuses. April ‘22

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VOWS

Celebrate... You are cordially invited to celebrate Ocala’s newest brides and grooms, get a glimpse into their most special of days and hear firsthand about the memories that will always hold a place in their hearts. Pictured: Kristine Malnasi | Photographed by Oksana Fedenko Photography


VOWS

KRISTINE & PAUL MALNASI January 8th, 2022 Venue: World Equestrian Center Photographer: Oksana Fedenko Photography Florist: Linens and Flowers Design Hair & Makeup: Jenny Magnuson & Jennifer Chiulli Their favorite memory: “We were truly wonderstruck with our entire ceremony. When the afternoon sun came through the windows, the chapel flooded with sparkling, rainbow rays of light. It was as if God was smiling down on us on our special day. After exchanging vows, we exited with a traditional military saber arch. It was very endearing to us both.”


ANNE & WALLY WAGONER October 30th, 2021 Venue: CF Vintage Farm Photographer: Eighteenth Hour Photography Professional Wedding Planner & Florist: Blessed Magnolia Hair: Tiffany Ritter Makeup: Guadalupe Gaspar Her favorite memory: “Every moment of our day was perfection: Walking down the aisle to the man I love, my two sons by my side under the beautiful oak tree with the wind blowing. True magic.” His favorite memory: “It was a beautiful day—at a fabulous venue with the people we love the most—topped off by marrying the most beautiful person I know.”


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LOCAL GUY;

GLOBAL LENS

The stunning career of Ocala photographer, cinematographer and composer Mark Emery has taken him to more than 35 countries. By MAX RUSSELL | Photography courtesy of MARK EMERY | Pictured: Bear catching salmon in Alaska

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ark Emery is a globetrotting composer, wildlife photographer and Emmy Award-winning cinematographer. His passion and talent for capturing animals in the wild on film have carried him on far-flung adventures worldwide. His work has appeared in and on National Geographic, PBS, the Discovery Channel, ESPN, the Smithsonian Channel, The (London) Times, Newsweek, the BBC and more. He has composed music and scored soundtracks for dozens of TV shows, films and commercials in the United States and internationally. He has filmed—up close and personal—the world’s most aggressive crocodile, in Cuba, ferocious grizzly bears weighing in at nearly a ton in Alaska, tiger fish in Africa and untold other species of reptiles, fish, fowl and four-footed mammals in more


than 35 countries in North and South America, Europe and Africa. Still, his heart and soul remain firmly rooted in the forests, fields and waterways of Ocala and Marion County. It’s here that his interest in creatures great and small took hold. Here he learned the skills he would put to masterful use in his future career, first from his parents and later from local experts, almost all legends in their own fields. As employers, mentors and lifelong friends, they imparted their knowledge and wisdom to him and then sent him off into the wet, wild and wondrous world that would become both his workplace and his sanctuary.

Memorable Mentors

Emery arrived in Ocala in 1959 as a toddler when his parents moved here from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Far removed from the urban atmosphere, his fascination with animals in their natural habitat evidenced itself early on. “We were always out catching critters, snakes, birds, all kinds of things and bringing them home to our mother, who grew up in Washington, D.C.,” he says. “It was a real dichotomy for her. But we were totally having a big time and she didn’t complain all that much.” Emery’s musical talents emerged early on as well. He remembers composing tunes at the piano as his parents, both classically trained musicians, sat across the room, transcribing and scoring what he played. As a youth, he exercised his musical muscle in local bands while developing his physical stamina on the kickboxing circuit. Both activities helped prepare him for what life had in store just around the corner. Soon, Emery landed an entirely different kind of gig—keeping an eye out for poachers at what’s known as the old Drake ranch in Marion County— that would lay the foundation for his future career. He lived in the woods alone for nine months with one road in and out. “I was there day and night, so I got to watch animals at a whole different level,” he shares. “I was literally living six miles down a dirt road with no neighbors and no electricity. I went swimming in the morning with alligators and did all kinds of other things.” That experience, he says, set him up for his later

work at the Ross Allen Reptile Institute in Ocala and on the glass-bottom boats at Silver Springs. “Ross was the croc hunter of the world and a huge mentor of mine,” Emery recalls. “We were doing shows and talks for the tourists and I was learning amazing things.” Allen and his team of world-class herpetologists weren’t the only Ocala-based influences on his early life. Bill Ray, whose family at one time owned the Silver Springs attraction, also played a role in Emery’s development when he worked there as a fishing guide during the winter months for a couple of years. In the summers, Emery ventured to the far north to do the same sort of thing in Alaska. Those early trips north would be the start an ongoing story line extending throughout his life. Jordan Klein Sr., another local luminary whose innovations in underwater cinematography earned him two Academy Awards, inspired Emery as well. “I had really good coaching,” Emery says. “Jordan was using color underwater video cameras, probably five to eight years before anybody else. At first, I was just setting up the cameras and learning how to use them. Later on, they would just give me a camera to go shoot whatever. It was amazing to work with them every day. If you couldn’t learn from that, your ears weren’t open.”

North to Alaska

Although Emery’s affinity for Alaska began when he was a fishing guide, his connection grew even stronger in 1994, when he not only served as associate producer but also co-wrote the soundtrack and did underwater camera work for Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a National Geographic Channel special. Shot in and around Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Preserve, the film chronicles the long aftermath of the June 1912 Novarupta, one in a long horseshoe-shaped string of volcanoes and earthquake epicenters dubbed the Ring of Fire that spans the Pacific Ocean from Alaska along the west coast of North America to Japan, the PhilipAbove left: Mark holding an alligator. Right clockwise: Katmai Pacific Coast in Alaska, bamboo raft in Jamaica, Mark and his wife Mary on horseback in Montana and the Gulf Coast of Florida.


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pines, Indonesia and other points south and east “The Novarupta caused total destruction— salmon, bears, everything disappeared,” Emery explains. “Seven-hundred feet of ash fell over 40 square miles and lowered the mean temperature in Chicago by two degrees for two years. And then, in the years after that was all over, things started coming back, and it came back dramatically. Just this year, we had the largest salmon runs in the world.” Today, Emery and his wife, Mary, spend four to five months of the year in Alaska, living in a converted church they took over after the pastor and his wife left because a bear broke through the kitchen window. “So, we’ve got a wonderful place to live now,” he says. “It’s got two pianos upstairs and I can go up 36

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there and play and practice.” That solitude is in marked contrast to what can be a frantic, hectic pace on some of Emery’s assignments. “I’ve worked on international projects where you have hundreds of people yelling at each other,” he offers. “And it’s conflicts all day long. I’m always happy to get back in the woods right away. For me, it’s simply a better way.”

Blown Away

Sometimes the tranquility Emery values so highly can throw a curveball. On a flight for a few days of camping at a remote lake in Alaska, the small aircraft on which he and Mary were passengers was hit by a violent wind gust that slammed the plane


into the shoreline of the lake and flipped it over. Remarkably, no one was hurt. But after he, Mary and the pilot extracted themselves from the wreckage, one of Emery’s first thoughts was, “What if there’s a bear living near here?” He scouted the perimeter of the site while the other two unloaded gear and provisions from the wreckage. Suddenly, a gigantic bear rose up just yards away. “I yelled to Mary and the pilot to come over to form a group,” he says. “Together, we screamed and eventually the bear took off.” Unfortunately, the bear was only the first of the challenges. The pilot had filed a flight plan to retrieve some hunters at another site miles away but had not included the couple’s drop-off point as part of the plan, making finding the stranded trio even more difficult. “We turned on the electronic location tracking device. Evidently some Russians picked up our signal off a satellite,” Emery recalls, “and called the Kodiak Coast Guard to tell them where to find us. “Mary and I didn’t want to go back,” he explains. “So, we climbed up a mountain and watched as the rescue plane came in, picked up the pilot and flew out. We stayed for several more days and had a great time. After all, it was our summer vacation.”

Animal Storytellers

“If you’re going to be a filmmaker for an organization like National Geographic, you’ve got Above left: Mark photographing on location with his wife Mary. Below: Mark photographing a moose in Alaska with Jeff Morales, a multiple Emmy-winning producer/director for National Geographic.

to be a storyteller,” Emery says. “I see stories being told all the time—all kinds of characters with their own little worlds. The animals can tell their own story. If you listen well enough, they do.” Some of their stories are not suitable for children’s bedtime, like the time he was on location in Cuba filming a particularly aggressive and vicious species of crocodile that can literally leap 6 feet straight up into the air and grab prey out of the trees. Or, when on another assignment, he found himself in an open field filming a 1,200-pound grizzly bear. “There were no trees nearby and you couldn’t outrun a grizzly anyway. I don’t underestimate them. They’re among the largest land predators in the world and the males will even kill the cubs to bring the females back into estrus. They don’t have a Judeo-Christian ethic,” he says wryly. “We have a few tricks of the trade that usually keep us out of trouble and have been very successful for a long time.”

From the Heart

Sometimes, it’s the place that tells the story. In Emery’s heartfelt homage to Ocala’s fabled local waterway, the film Out of the Mist: A Silver River Story, he not only captures the legacy of Silver Springs as a tourist attraction and the setting for major movies and television shows, such as Tarzan, Sea Hunt and Moonraker, but also includes breathtaking close-ups of indigenous wildlife and memorable interviews with four longtime captains of the iconic glass-bottom boats. The film also addresses the environmental threats to the future of the once pristine waterway, something of great concern to Emery. A special screening of the film at Ocala’s his-

In my work, I want people to love what they’re seeing. If I put love in the show, people can translate what they see into, ‘I want to take care of that.’ – Mark Emery

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toric Marion Theatre in 2019, where it premiered, was followed in 2021 by the unveiling of a bronze plaque commemorating Emery’s place in the Ocala Film Foundation’s Walk of Fame in front the theater. The walk also includes plaques dedicated to Silver Springs photographer Bruce Mozert, underwater cinematographer Jordan Klein Sr. and musical producer Bruce Swedien, all local talents who inspired or mentored Emery. “It’s extremely humbling because they are stunning human beings,” Emery says of the honor. “I never thought I would ever be in the same group with them.” Although Emery says the next places he’d love to visit are the Pacific Rim nations and Asia, one of his most recent projects kept him here in Marion County for almost two full months of filming: a soon-to-be-released six-part National Geographic TV series, America the Beautiful. It will air on Disney Plus and, according to the producers, will explore, “America’s breathtaking landscapes and wildlife” and how its “unique geography drives the forces of nature to extremes, shaping and reshaping the land and throwing down new challenges for life.” A trailer is available for watching online.

Love and Persistence

Emery says he grew up in a Christian home and is still active in his church. According to him, “The most important notion in the Bible is that God is love.” “In my work, I want people to love what they’re seeing,” he offers. “If I put love in the show, people can translate what they see into, ‘I want to take care of that.’” In that way, he says, he can deliver a message “without hitting them over the head with a hammer.” “You have to lay it out as an honest story, which is harder to do,” he stresses. “But if you do it that way, you have a chance of affecting people in a really strong way.” As to the secret to his own successful career, Emery says it’s all about persistence and being surrounded by great people. “Ocala is a spectacular place,” he says. “I’m so stunned that we recently had three Winter Olympic medalists from one little town, and we have no ice. That’s amazing.” And so is Mark Emery—a homegrown boy whose life’s work has put the world of wildlife within everyone’s reach. Top left: A manatee says hello to Mark while he is photographing other manatees in Florida. Center and bottom left: Mark with a moose and bear, in Alaska. Top right: Bears in Alaska. Bottom right: Mary and Mark with an elephant in Florida. 38

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Sunrise,

Sunset This road trip will take you from Florida’s East Coast to West Coast in one day.

By Susan Smiley-Height | Photography by Tom Clifford

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he secret to seeing the best sunrise on Florida’s East Coast is to begin scanning the skyline an hour beforehand. I find that out by accident during a recent excursion to catch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean and the sunset on the Gulf Coast all in one day. My husband is to blame. Alan and I strike out on February 26th, taking a leisurely route east on State Road 40 out of Ocala then traveling in a southeasterly direction through the quaint cities of DeLand and New Smyrna Beach, then south into the heart of the Space Coast. From our sixth-floor room at the Doubletree by Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront hotel, the balcony provides a commanding view of the Atlantic Ocean, complete with the roar of the surf and a mist of salty spray on our faces. The boutique hotel, which is rebranding to a Hilton Garden Inn this month, is a terrific place from which to check out the area’s attractions, which range from space launch sites to surfing meccas to quirky museums. After enjoying some delicious seafood (Try the rock shrimp at restaurants that offer them!), we nestle in for an early evening, with our alarms set for 6am for the 6:49am sunrise. At 5am, the splattering sound of the shower rouses me from sleep. “Huh? Why are you up so early?” I grouse to my hubby. “I had a hunch,” he whispers, followed by, “Skip your shower; you have to see this!” He pulls aside the drapes to reveal a striking ribbon of bright red, orange and yellow, with tinges of green and blue, snaking along the horizon as far as can be seen. And there is a bonus —Venus is sparkling just over the top of the cream-colored crescent moon. The mesmerizing view pulls us in as we watch the Right: Sunrise in Cocoa Beach

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hues fade and brighten in tone and color. After I have that shower after all, we go down to the hotel’s boardwalk, which extends from the pool area into the rolling sand dunes near the shore. Executive Chef Kati Marosites has prepared an exquisite breakfast table under a covered corner of the wooden expanse. This is an option that is available to guests with an upgrade or for an additional fee. Fresh flowers, chilled champagne and orange and cranberry juices accent the plates of Chorizo Eggs Benedict with Cilantro Hollandaise and Brioche French Toast with Caramel Sea Salt Topping and Vanilla Whipped Cream. Oh. My. Taste. Buds! Pairing such luscious flavors with the view of the cresting yellow-gold Below: Breakfast on the boardwalk at the Doubletree by Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront hotel. Right: Beach at Casa del Mar,

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Photos of Casa del Mar at top and subsequent page, courtesy of Longboat Key Chamber of Com-

sun is an absolutely delicious and fine way to begin a fresh new day. All too soon, we must bid adieu as we embark for Florida’s west coast. With a resolve to stay off the superhighways as much as possible, I drive south on A1A through several small beach towns before switching over to US 1. In Fort Pierce, I point the car west on State Road 70. This mostly two-lane ribbon of blacktop takes us on a 150-mile trek past massive cattle ranch operations, low and flat sod farms, dairy farms with black and white cows dotting the pastures and, happily, citrus groves. Lots of rows of small trees indicate the farmers are working to recover from the citrus greening disease that devastated so many groves over the past few years. As we emerge from this agricultural avenue into the suburbs of Sarasota, traffic thickens to a near gridlock—even on a Sunday afternoon—as we wend our way onto State Road 789. Bird Key, Coon Key and Otter Key fall away in the rearview mirror as I exclaim loudly and at length about the stunning colors of the Gulf Coast waters. The aqua and cerulean hues are breathtaking, and the sand is so much brighter and whiter here. The chic St. Armands Circle area is abustle with pedestrians and hungry diners-to-be waiting in line at the iconic Columbia Restaurant spill off the sidewalk and nearly onto the street. Within a few miles and minutes, we reach the Casa del Mar Beach Resort on Longboat Key. The name, which in Spanish translates to “house by the sea,” is most appropriate. All of the two-bedroom, two-bath vacation rental condominiums have full kitchens and comfy living areas, and we immediately feel at home. With just a few steps, our feet are leaving tracks in the wet sand as we hit the beach. On this coast as well, timing is the key to catching the “magic.” With the sun setting at 6:30pm, we embark at 4pm-ish on a journey to find an early dinner. Two large waterfront restaurants are jampacked with long wait times for seating and some other eateries won’t open until 5pm. Well, here’s a dilemma… April ‘22

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A box of crisply fried chicken and a tasty pre-made salad from Publix, which we enjoy at our condo dining table, ensures we won’t miss the very thing that drew us here. Back on the beach at 6pm, we join others who scatter along the shore. Some guests watch from floats in the swimming pool while others chatter and nosh and sip libations inside the screened porches of their condo units. All eyes lock on the horizon. “There, it’s starting,” I murmur as the blazing orange orb slips partially behind a sliver of silver cloud. Ever so slowly, the sinking sun drops below the horizon, taking the day with it and easing us into the velvety softness of night. The loveliness of Florida is abundant; from the forested hills of the Panhandle to the rolling green knolls of our own Horse Capital of the World to the attraction-rich central region to the tropical and exotic southern areas. But I venture there is nothing more lovely or soul-soothing than basking in the glow of Old Sol in the wee hours on our East Coast and in the waning minutes on our West Coast. Ahhhh, yes, mission accomplished…


Journey to Wellness With a desire to seek serenity, boost health and practice some serious self-care, wellness-inspired getaways are more popular than ever. By NICK STEELE

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fter several years of uncertainty and unease, people seem to be craving the serenity and healthy boost a wellness trip can provide. According to a recent survey from American Express, 68 percent of travelers are likely to plan their next trip around improving their well-being. “It was a great escape and, to this day, I still use the practices I learned then to help me reduce stress and anxiety,” offers Xochitl Jacques-Smith, an Ocala resident who experienced a stay at a wellness resort. “It's an instant increase in vitality and brings perspective back into your life.” Self-care, in its many forms, is now increasingly seen as something that is necessary, rather than as an indulgence. And wellness means a host of different things to different people. So, with that in mind, we investigated a few destinations with diversely different options to help you choose your lane and get on the road to recovery.

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L  L C M W R

In the category of luxurious indulgence paired with innovative wellness, this landmark four-star destination is more than just a well-appointed resort on a pristine private beach. Carillon is the largest spa and wellness facility with the most comprehensive program on the East Coast, located in the heart of Miami Beach. It boasts a 70,000-square-foot spa offering a wide variety of services including state-of-the-art Ayurvedic treatments, cryoskin toning, detox wraps, herbal medicine and acupuncture, as well as chakra balancing, salt baths and float therapy. The spa's European-inspired thermal hydrotherapy circuit includes multisensory rain showers, a Finnish sauna, purifying herbal laconium, crystal steam room, foot spa and the area’s only igloo, where you will move between hot and cold

Photos courtesy Carillon Miami Wellness Resort

Left: Carillon’s hydrobath for relaxation. Below: The Fitness Center at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort.

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therapy suites to stimulate circulation, bring relief from pain, decrease stress and rejuvenate your body. They also offer traditional massage therapies and beauty treatments. The property also is home to the biostation, a leader in anti-aging and functional medicine. The all-encompassing preventive health center offers guests extensive diagnostic testing and personalized wellness plans with a range of medically focused therapies and services, from hormone replacement to IV therapy. It is a “fitness-forward” environment, with an expansive fitness center, cardio and strength training sessions on state-of-the-art Technogym equipment and 250 fitness classes per week, including boxing, rock climbing, yoga, dance and spinning. The philosophy is to nourish the body and soul by aligning your physical and mental health through a luxe wellness experience utilizing leading-edge treatments and personalized care. Guests stay in airy, modern one- and two-bedroom hotel-style accommodations that are more like apartment living, featuring a living room, fully equipped kitchen and spa-like bathrooms. With indoor and outdoor dining options, vibrantly fresh, organic cuisine using seasonal local ingredients takes center stage for healthy, beautifully presented dishes. The Carillon Cleanse (available in a three- or six-day program) combines healthy, flavorful food with healing herbs to jump-start your health and reboot your metabolism, while the Your Ideal Weight plan helps balance hormones and body chemistry, assess inflammation and evaluate any behaviors that may be responsible for your inability to shed those last 15 pounds. The resort also offers two ongoing retreat options: Jump Start Your Health & Wellness for individuals and Get Healthy Together for two. These four-night getaways feature a tailored itinerary based on your goals. A concierge will work with each guest to ensure a trip to Carillon is designed to deliver the results you are seeking.

Photos courtesy Hippocrates Wellness

For more information, visit carillonhotel.com

N H H W

The iconic Hippocrates Wellness helped pioneer the wellness space and has been offering an evolving health and fitness program for 60 years through a nourishing, whole-body retreat. Nestled on 50 acres in West Palm Beach, the facility has more of a “wellness campus” than luxury spa vibe. The center operates on the belief that, “Given the proper tools and environment, our bodies

Above: Fitness class at Hippocrates Wellness and a delicious and healthy snack.

are self-healing and self-rejuvenating. That was a philosophy practiced by Hippocrates himself and passed down to us today from this father of modern medicine.” It is probably apt to say this program is not for sissies but those determined to make a meaningful change in their physical health and well-being. Described as “an immersive experience in optimal lifestyle habits and practices,” in which the staff guides guests through the process that will “assist you in taking full responsibility for your health,” the approach relies on the guest stepping up while they provide “optimal nourishment and education.” The signature Life Transformation Program is a 21-day regime designed to help guests address any current health challenges, replenish nutritionApril ‘22

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al deficiencies that may lead to rapid aging and optimize their health and immunity. It involves a raw, vegan diet, paired with custom workouts and holistic therapies. “We cover all aspects of lifestyle, from the foods you eat to the products you use on your body, the ways you exercise and even the mattress you sleep on,” staffers explain, stressing that guests will inevitably encounter some challenging moments. “The Hippocrates experience is described as one of complete health actualization. All of our guests go through a detox process during their first week of the program. Every day isn’t always green juice and rainbows.” The detoxification process is achieved through high quality, organic, enzyme-rich, plant-based nutrition, quality food-based supplements, alkaline elixirs, such as fresh-pressed organic wheatgrass and blue-green algae, as well as protein-rich, blood-building green juices. Staff also will design a routine, including personal training, to help you achieve an increased level of fitness and shed pounds. The program includes targeted psychotherapy to overcome trauma, anxiety and stress. Therapists trained in regression therapy also can work with guests to release past negative experiences and clear emotional blockage. “People come to us from all over the globe,” explains Co-Director Brian Clement. “They're trying to improve, trying to change. Athletes come here and movie stars, to get healthier so they can be better at their craft. We have some of the top CEOs who come on an ongoing basis and some have said to me, ‘I come here to clean out and to get deep rest so I make better decisions.’” The goal at the end of the 21 days is that you will see and feel the results of eliminating bad habits and adopting new healthy practices that will become habitual once you return home. If you check out the reviews, you will see that most guests are thrilled with the results, weight loss and how they felt at the completion of the program. However, there are those who point out some red flags, so do your homework before you go and remember, this is no place for sissies! For more information, visit hippocrateswellness.org

R R E R C

The Elohee Retreat Center in North Georgia falls into another wellness bucket altogether. This unique property is not a resort or a stand-alone accommodation where one can book an individual stay, but a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit experiential learning center and healing environment that hosts retreats directed by healers, teachers, facilitators and counselors, and offers a diverse range of personal development programs. 48

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To participate, you simply need to review the upcoming retreats and book as part of the group that aligns with your goals. A journey of personal development is at the roots of Elohee’s creation. While healing from a health crisis, Eve Cook and her husband, Michael, dreamed of creating a place they describe as “a container where people can retreat and find community in a nurturing and safe way—a place where the land becomes a partner with facilitators, guests and staff for personal growth and healing. Elohee’s mission is to provide a place for self-discovery and healing rooted in nature.” “We are also conscious of operating in partnership with nature and respectfully draw upon nature’s inherently transformative power,” Eve Cook explains. “We honor the ways in which nature can help us awaken as individuals, helping us become the basis for further transformation in the world.” Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains about 90 miles north of Atlanta and set on 216 wooded acres near the magnificent Chattahoochee River and famed Appalachian Trail, the center is set on a secluded 30 acres they call Landsong. Elohee is loosely translated as “sacred earth place” in Cherokee, which pays homage to the fact that the area was once inhabited by the Cherokee Indian tribe and is appropriate since the learning center is situated on top of a mountain that offers 360-degree panoramic views over the expansive North Georgia mountain range. Elohee typically hosts groups ranging from 10 to 50 participants, with a kind of village of seven cottages and a charming house, all of which offer private rooms and double rooms. The house has two community rooms with fireplaces, a kitchen and dining room, as well as a meditation/yoga room. The outdoor patio has its own fireplace and overlooks a 100-foot waterfall. Guests have access to three miles of hiking trails, the waterfall, reflection pond, spa, gift shop and a communal tea house. The chefs are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions with a menu of healthy, seasonal and locally sourced foods. Guests can partake in a weekend or a weeklong retreat, depending upon the upcoming offerings. This month, from April 8th through the 10th, the Cooks and other retreat leaders are offering a Rest & Relaxation Weekend as part of an ongoing series. They invite participants to choose to do as little or as much as they would like with no schedule…no demands, just the opportunity to “be” on your own terms. They will have a variety of optional activities, including yoga, meditation, a guided nature hike and the ability to add massage therapy or reiki appointments. Other upcoming retreats include a Recharge Retreat from April 29th through May 1st, offering “nourishing introspective classes” to support your


Above: Becoming one with nature while sitting outside in the serene outdoors at Elohee Retreat Center. Right: Meditating at Elohee Retreat.

nervous system through yoga, meditation and experiences with nature and the Reset, Re-align, Restart: Mind, Body, Soul women’s retreat, from May 6th through the 8th, offering a blend of body-based approaches and mind-focused interventions to bring alignment to body, mind and soul for women craving better health and who are tired of quick fixes. There is a wide selection of other retreats to consider, including ones that offer ways to find your bliss, get in touch with your authentic self, practice self-care and ring in the new year during four days of meditative healing sessions, dancing and laughter and spiritual ceremonies.

Photos by Thu Tran

For more information, visit elohee.org Whether you are seeking transformative and fitness treatments, a long weekend away for some much-needed rest and relaxation or an extended getaway to seriously focus on your wellness goals, what matters most is that you take the time to focus on yourself and your path to true well-being.


Picturesque D Photography and descriptions by MEAGAN GUMPERT JOHN JERNIGAN DAVE MILLER & ALAN YOUNGBLOOD

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ur talented photographers always fill these pages with incredible images to highlight and showcase the articles we present. For this travel-themed issue, we asked four of them to share a favorite image from someplace special. As you can see, these professionals are true adventurers. Through their lenses, we are given a glimpse into some lovely, rugged, historic and fantastic places near and far.


SCUBA SANCTUARY BY ALAN YOUNGBLOOD

Since 1996, Jardines de la Reina (The Gardens of the Queen), the 150 miles of coral reef and mangrove swamp 50 miles south of Cuba, has been a sanctuary. The reefs are as

pristine as they were when Christopher Columbus discovered them in the 1400s. Cuba has protected the area from fishing; the distance protects it from pollution. A live-aboard dive boat

is the only way to get there. Every scuba dive is a journey into untouched amazement. This image depicts a Caribbean reef shark. At 60 feet and deeper, you are likely to be greeted by

large reef sharks, a school of silky sharks and the occasional Goliath grouper. The reefs are healthy and fish abundant. I think this archipelago is the best diving site in the Caribbean. April ‘22

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WALKING ON GLASS BY JOHN JERNIGAN Part of our business is working for publishing companies that create tour books for different state and national parks as well as attractions such as the Kennedy Space Center and the Empire State Building. This image is from Grand Canyon West Arizona. The Hualapai Reservation owns Grand Canyon West and the Grand Canyon Skywalk. It is an amazing view when you are the only person standing over a glass walkway with a view out and straight down. This was one of the most amaz-ing sunrises I have


HARDY HIKING BY MEAGAN GUMPERT There is a hike at Zion National Park in southwest Utah that should be on the bucket list of every outdoor adventurer. Angel’s Landing is a 5.4-mile in-and-out-hike that begins wide and gradual and then transitions to a series of switchbacks before ramping up the difficulty and excitement at the end. The last half-mile is a narrow, chain-assisted path that leads to the most stunning views in the park. The ridge on the left of the photo is where we were headed. If you look carefully, you can see that some of those tiny silhouettes are people and not trees. The hike was difficult and scary. The views were breathtaking and unforgettable. But what I will remember most is watching our boys gain the confidence that can only come from doing hard things.

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HISTORY PRESERVED BY DAVE MILLER Savannah, Georgia, stays at the top of my list as a relatively close family getaway spot. I love the city for its grid-designed layout, which provides gathering places of beauty and history that are easily walkable. Each of these squares is unique and provides opportunities for photography as well as good eats, which are two of my favorite things. The historic buildings are well-preserved, and the coastal landscape is beautiful—two more reasons why I love visiting and photographing this city.

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LIVING

In The Kitchen with Paula King Making buttery and mouth-watering Tiropitas is a Greek heritage passed down through generations. By Susan Smiley-Height | Photography by John Jernigan Pictured: Le Panier dinner plates, Iberian cereal bowls, Amalia wine goblet by Juliska, Woodstock stemless tumbler by Simon Pearce. All available at Agapanthus. April ‘22

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here is love and tradition in every buttery brush stroke as Paula King deftly fills fragile phyllo sheets with a decadent cheese mixture and gently folds them into triangle shaped Tiropitas. “This is just part of growing up Greek,” she says as she places a Tiropita on a cookie sheet and brushes on yet another layer of melted extra creamy butter. “I have a Greek mother, so if you grew up in a Greek household, this is part of the drill.” King is well known for her Agapanthus gift and lifestyle shops in Ocala and Gainesville, and for her longtime civic involvement, including co-founding the very successful Horse Fever public art endeavors. She was born in Maryland after her mother’s parents came to America from Cyprus in 1927. “My Mom was born in Astoria, which is the Greek part of New York, in 1932,” King offers, adding that her family later moved to Orlando. After living in Kentucky and California, King came to Marion County in 1989 when her husband, Dr. Charlie King, left the Air Force and began his medical practice in Ocala. Their family grew to in-

clude a son, daughter and granddaughter. She said she is passing on her Greek heritage and prowess in the kitchen to them—as is tradition. “You learn to make Greek pastry and it becomes a ritual especially over the holidays, when everybody argues about whose recipe is the best,” she shares. “You learn it from your Yiayia and I’m a Yiayia now, so I look forward to teaching my granddaughter.” In addition to mastering the art of making flaky Tiropitas that melt in your mouth, King also cooks up a healthy and very delicious Manhattan Style Fish Chowder with Garlic Toast. “This was a recipe given to me by my ‘Aunt Kitty,’ a nice Greek lady who was a childhood friend of my Mom. She was a naval officer’s wife and did a lot of entertaining all over the world,” King recalls. “She was always giving us recipes and she took this one out of a magazine. Since that time, I’ve found that we like more expanded flavors, with spices and herbs, so I up the game on the seasonings in this. The thing I like about a stew is that anybody can make it and you make it to your own taste.” (Continued on page 58)


You learn it from your Yiayia and I’m a Yiayia now, so I look forward to teaching my granddaughter.

Tiropitas 1 pound of good quality feta cheese 1 pound of ricotta cheese 1 pound of butter, Plugra is preferred 1 pound of phyllo pastry sheets (two boxes), place unopened in fridge overnight 8 ounces of cream cheese 8 ounces of cottage cheese ¾ cup of grated parmesan cheese 5 eggs, beaten until fluffy ½ cup of farina (can substitute Cream of Wheat) Parchment paper Brush for applying melted butter Blend all of the cheeses in a mixer. › Cook the farina in ½ stick of butter over low heat until it begins to bubble. › Beat the eggs. › Add the farina and eggs to the cheese mixture and blend well. › Cut the phyllo sheets in half lengthwise and stack them up (if the sheets are large, cut into thirds). › Keep covered with a tea towel as you work to retain moisture and prevent tearing. › Lift two pieces of phyllo and lay them to one side of the parchment paper. › Gently brush melted butter all over the pastry dough. › Put a healthy teaspoon of the cheese mixture on the bottom of the sheets and make one diagonal fold as if folding a flag. › Brush the top of the fold with butter, then fold again, brush on more butter and repeat until you reach the end of the triangle. › Place each Tiropita on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet. › Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. › Best served warm. Note: Prepared uncooked pieces can be chilled on a cookie sheet and then be frozen, separated by waxed paper, to be popped into the oven later.


She also recalls the time the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra came to perform in Ocala and she and her husband were asked to host a morning meal for some of the choral singers. They were told that the entertainers didn’t care for American breakfast foods, but rather something more hearty. “So, this was the fish chowder I made for them and they were very happy with it,” she offers. “Yes, we served it to them for breakfast!” As King peels and crushes fresh garlic to make a buttery spread for the toast to top the chowder, she explains that her home and kitchen are filled with items she has collected, as well as gifts and works of art made by friends or found at the annual Fine Arts For Ocala art show. “My tables are always a mix of wedding presents and things I’ve acquired over the years, gifts, and I do like to mix and match things and, of course, I do own two shops,” she says softly as she picks up a large silver spoon that she says is similar to a size found in Europe and is perfect for this “chunky” chowder. “This was my mother-in-law’s silver. It is really pretty and every time we use it, I think of her. Everything here and in my shop reflects what I call ‘Ocala life.’” King adds that the slogan at Agapanthus (which means flower of love in Greek), which she started in 2007 in Ocala and expanded to Gainesville in 2013, is “Beauty every day.” “The queen is not coming,” she says with an infectious laugh, “so just go ahead and use the silver and china!”

Manhattan Style Fish Chowder with Garlic Toast 1 pound of fish, such as cod, flounder or halibut, rinsed and cut into bars 1/2 a pound of medium shrimp, shelled and deveined 1 18-ounce bottle of V8 juice 2 16-ounce cans of stewed tomatoes 2 large baking potatoes 2 carrots 1 medium size white onion 1 rib of celery Butter, Plugra extra creamy is preferred Fresh garlic, at least one clove Fresh or dried thyme Fresh or dehydrated parsley Salt and pepper Fresh baguette, cut into ½-inch slices Fresh garden salad, if desired Wine pairing - Picpoul De Pinet, an organic white wine available at Agapanthus 58

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Scrub the potatoes, leaving the skin on, and cut into ½-inch cubes. › Dice the carrots, onion and celery. › Saute the vegetables in a Dutch oven in two tablespoons of butter for about five minutes. › Add the V8 juice, stewed tomatoes and potatoes, along with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon parsley and a dash of pepper. › Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. › In the meantime, mix two tablespoons of butter with one clove of garlic that has been peeled and crushed. › Brush the mixture over slices of bread, place on a broiler pan and set aside. › When ready to serve, add the shrimp to the stew and cook for a few minutes, then add the bars of fish (which will slowly break apart into bite-size chunks as they become tender) and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. › Put the bread under the broiler and toast until golden brown. › Ladle the stew into bowls and top with one slice of toasted garlic bread.


Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille 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 We are open for dine in, carryout and delivery through Doordash and BiteSquad

24 SE 1st Avenue, Ocala

(352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-9p › Fri & Sat 11a-10p › Sun 11a-8p 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, Louisiana Gumbo and Garden District Grouper. 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

Dine-in or take out available

Head to El Toreo for the best Mexican food this side of the border! Enjoy all of your favorite traditional Mexican dishes in a friendly and festive atmosphere. Specials: Mondays and Wednesdays, Margaritas are $2 Saturdays, 2 for 1 Margaritas All Day

REAL PEOPLE | REAL STORIES | REAL OCALA

Subscribe to our digital issue of Ocala Style Magazine to have it delivered monthly to your inbox.

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Tender Loving Care Meet the force of nature behind this lifesaving animal rescue that gives help to the hopeless. By Nick Steele | Photography by Alan Youngblood | Pictured: Shamus McShane and Janey

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here’s a wondrous thing that happens when Rosie Gutierrez crosses the barnyard at Sweet Water Rescue and Rehab in Williston. In fact, the good-natured and self-effacing 57-year-old could easily be mistaken for a modern-day Dr. Doolittle by the way her devoted flock of cats and dogs gather around her and assemble into a quirky procession of proud followers. The first time I visit this rustic farm sanctuary, I am astounded by a literal sea of cats lounging in the open field in front of the main barn. I expect them to scatter and flee as we make our way across the property and while a few dart here and there, the majority are remarkably relaxed and several come over to greet me. As the various residents approach, Gutierrez calls out their names and offers biographical tidbits. “That’s Miss Moneypenny,” she explains. “Roger Moore and Sean Connery are around here somewhere.”

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Then there are the cast of pop culture icons including Ella Fitzgerald, Otis Redding, Thelma and Louise, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Tarzan and Chanel, to name a few. “People ask me, how can you remember all of their names?” says Gutierrez. “I’m the one who names them, so it’s easy. And they all know their names, believe it or not. There are so many that come in, after a while you have to find new themes. For instance, there’s Merlot, Chardonnay and Sangria. We had Elizabeth Taylor Swift. She was a Siamese and she had the bluest eyes, like Elizabeth Taylor, but she was blonde like Taylor Swift, so she ended up with two names.” Her current residents include more than 100 cats, dogs, horses, miniature horses, donkeys, rabbits and pigs. She has also homed goats, ducks and chickens. “She’ll take any animal,” asserts Hank Walker, who learned of Gutierrez’s commitment firsthand when he and a group of likeminded animal advo-


cates were trying to save a medically needy dog from euthanasia. “Most of the animals that come there have been mistreated. I consider it to be a bit like the land of misfit toys and she is completely focused on taking care of them.” Gutierrez also works with community advocates such as the Helping Cats of Central Florida Facebook group run by Terri Allweil White. “She’s always made room for us at her sanctuary,” says White. “We actually asked her to take four Peking ducks and she said yes. That’s what’s so amazing about her. She’s like, ‘Oh, you have a cat that no one is able to take? Send them this way.’” “I would label her as a guardian angel for the lost and confused,” echoes Amanda Thurber, the director of humane education for the Humane Society of Marion County. “Rosie takes the individual time to work with each one, learn their personality and their traits and find out what is going to benefit them and how they’re going to adapt to certain environments. And she always finds the right place for them. It’s almost like she’s an animal whisperer.” “I’ve been rescuing cats, dogs and horses for the last 30 years,” Gutierrez shares. “During Hurricane Katrina we went and rescued horses and took food out to the horses that were in trouble. We moved horses from the Dakotas to Boston and New York. But now, I’m staying here because it’s necessary for me to be present to care for the animals here.” Her focus is to get as many of the animals as she can placed in loving homes. “I never intend to keep them, but I’m aware that if they don’t get a home, they’re going to need to stay somewhere where they feel safe. And this is it,” she asserts. “That’s why I’m not only a rescue, I’m a sanctuary as well.” She estimates that over the years she has had 500 cats come through the rescue and in the few months since beginning dog rescues she has rehabbed and placed 18 dogs in forever homes. Most of the feral cats that have been relocated to Sweet Water have become part of the free-roaming community, coming in to eat twice a day and then heading back out into the surrounding woods. Often you will see several of them sleeping contentedly in the branches or trunks of the ancient live oaks that frame the 12-acres of the sanctuary. Some of the more social cats, deemed “community cats” rather than strictly feral, may be placed on farms or at businesses where these natural hunters can put their skills to good use. “It’s not an easy thing to do, to rehome feral cats. But Rosie is connected with the horse community as well. So, it helps to know who has barns and are willing to accept ferals,” offers Leslie Hinson of

Gutierrez with Tyska

Sheltering Hands, a mostly volunteer-run nonprofit agency whose mission is to improve the lives of cats in Marion and Levy counties through humane care, spay/neuter services, adoptions and education. “She’s very good at explaining to them how to properly introduce the feral cats to the new environment,’’ she adds. “She’ll help anybody she can with any issue. She started volunteering with us, then became an employee and left to start her own rescue. She’s well versed with animals and animal care. She just has a loving heart for the animals.” “Rosie really takes the time to interact with owners and let them know, ‘Hey, you can get that animal to come out of their shell and trust you by providing it with shelter and food, but then here are the steps to grow that bond.’” Thurber states. “She really does a lot more than what the bigger organizations are able to do.” Such was the case when I personally needed help finding homes for three feral cats after the woods in which they had been living were being cleared for new homes and following the death of their caretaker, who had been feeding them for many years. I was told by every local animal welfare entity I knew about that they were unable April ‘22

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Gutierrez with Shyanne

to help. It was Thurber who pointed me in the direction of four smaller rescues. Of the four, only Gutierrez replied and eventually accepted the cats. “A lot of people come to me and say, ‘I went to this place, I went to this one and this one. They all say no,’” Gutierrez shares. “I just can’t say no. I have a caring heart. I get it from my mother. She was a big animal lover and a lifelong giver. She taught us all that we should give more than we take. When she died in 2016, to channel some of my energy and my grief, I decided to do this. It gives me purpose. I couldn’t save her, but I can save some of these guys.” She often focuses on the animals who are worst off. “I tell everybody in the rescue community, ‘Make me your last-ditch effort. A lot of big rescues call me and say, ‘We can’t place this one, can you take them?’ They come to me because these are the ones who are difficult to place, who need medical care, that couldn’t get adopted out…the ones nobody wants. And I say yes, if I have room, or even if it means that I have to make room. I find a way because I know that a lot of these animals will not be around if I don’t help.” Thurber explains that this makes Gutierrez something of an anomaly in the rescue community. “Shelters like the Humane Society and Marion County Animal Services, we have limited space and because we are more known, we do have a higher volume that comes through,” Thurber admits. “Let’s say, for instance, that we have eight intake cages and we end up filling all of those cages with cats or dogs that need individual attention 24/7 or we are trying to get them socialized and be able to have them move forward for adoption, then the numbers of how many we’d actually be able to help would drastically decrease because those cages would be held up and no other animals would be able to cir62

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culate through. But Rosie has that time to commit to each one of them. But she’s a one-woman show, and I know personally how much hard work goes into the upkeep of these animals. And she’s basically doing it all by herself. She is just this open door and never asks for anything in return.” And while Gutierrez has become well-known among animal advocates and animal welfare organizations as someone to turn to in a crisis, the public knows little about her efforts. As is often the case, the bigger, more established and well-funded organizations receive the most attention and, in turn, the most financial and volunteer support. “I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a lot of work,” she admits. “There’s no money-making scheme here. You’re never going to get rich off a rescue. And if you’re doing it right, you’re always going to be tired, exhausted, poor and overworked. That’s just the way it goes. It’s basically a 24-hour job, 365 days of the year, because if one of them is sick you still have to be here to care for them, you gotta get up no matter how cold or miserable it is because they have to eat every day and they need your attention every day.” Indeed, it is easy to see not only how healthy and well cared for they are, but more poignantly, how happy and comfortable the animals appear. “No matter where you go on this farm, one of the animals will show you that they are very grateful for being taken care of and loved,” Gutierrez says with pride. “What gives me satisfaction is when someone comes and sees how happy they are and they go, ‘Oh, I love that kitty. Can I adopt it?’ When they’re happy and well taken care of it shows and that that makes it worthwhile.” “Those animals just flock to her, the horses, the pigs and the cats. Just every creature there,” offers one of the only current volunteers at the rescue,


Kathy Clevinger-Magin, who transports animals to the rescue from all over Florida. “The cats are all always climbing on her, the little ones, the big ones, they’re always all over her.” For Clevinger-Magin, who shifted her attention to animal welfare after retiring, it was her own firsthand experience with Gutierrez that moved her to begin to volunteer at the rescue. “I was contacted by someone on Facebook asking if I could help with a momma cat and three kittens that had just been born under their utility trailer. They were afraid they would be killed by coyotes,” she recalls. “I went to get them, but I didn’t know where to take them. I tried Animal Control and the Humane Society. Nobody could take them. So, I called my friend Jaye Perrett, who worked in animal rescue for years, and she said, ‘Call Rosie.’ I’d never met her, but she said, ‘Yeah, bring them on out. I’ll take them.’ These kittens were literally just a few hours old. I drove out there and was just amazed by her and what she was doing. It made me cry, watching how she was with the animals, how hard she works. I said, ‘You’re an amazing person. My husband and I recently retired. What can we do to help you? Because you need help here.’ She got tears in her eyes and she said, ‘Nobody ever asks that.’”

Happy Endings

Since she began volunteering, Clevinger-Magin has witnessed two “miracle dog” cases. The first involved a German Shepherd whose story was posted on the social networking platform Nextdoor by Karin Snitz, a dog advocate and volunteer at Orange County Animal Services. “He had a 7-pound tumor and they weren’t sure if he was going to live,” Clevinger-Magin recalls. “He was 7 years old and his owners had used him as a guard dog. There were places he was totally bald and his neck had no hair from where he’d lived on cement his whole life. When he needed vet care, they dumped him at a shelter. Nobody would take him anywhere in CenPorkie and Petunia tral Florida and it was urgent because he was going to be euthanized.” Snitz explains that Animal Services determined that the dog could only be taken on by a rescue because of the projected expenses involved with his medical care. “I posted his story and said, ‘I have a dog here that is in desperate need, to anybody who wants to pledge,’ until I could find a rescue. That’s how people like Hank [Walker]

and Rosie saw it,” Snitz explains. “Hank had a German Shepherd already. He had two, but he had lost his other German Shepherd a couple years prior. And he was touched by the story.” “There were a lot of people involved trying to save this animal,” Walker remembers. “We got in touch with Karin and said we would pay whatever to help him and get him to where he could be adopted,” Walker says of how he and his wife, Susan Dill, got involved. “We didn’t know if he was going to live or not, but we wanted to give him an opportunity. The money part was a non-issue for us because it was about giving the dog a chance, because of the life he had led.” Gutierrez recalls saying she would be interested in helping and although they didn’t know each other, the group banded together, each playing a vital role in saving the dog’s life. Snitz guided Gutierrez through the steps to complete the rescue process, Clevinger-Magin transported the dog from Orlando to Sweet Water, Walker and Dill provided financial support and Gutierrez took him in, arranged for the surgery to remove his tumor and nursed him back to health. When he and his wife returned home Imogen from the trip they’d been on, Walker visited Sweet Water to check on the dog’s condition. “Rosie, Kathy and I felt that the dog was trying to live,” he recalls. “We wanted to try to give him a chance.” Miraculously, that chance came in the form of a forever

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home with the couple. “If you saw how he looked when they picked him up from the shelter to what he looks like right now, you wouldn’t even recognize him. He’s happy and he’s cancer-free,” Walker says proudly of the dog they now call Kobe. “He’s an entirely different dog.” Of his experience with Gutierrez, he offers: “She’s a very caring person when it comes to any kind of animal. And if no one else is willing to take them, she’ll keep them herself. When we decided to take the dog, she told me that if we ever chose not to take care of him, that she wanted him back. That tells you how she is, right? She’s one of those people who if she had $100 in her pocket and it was between feeding the animals or feeding herself, she would feed the animals. That’s Rosie. She does her thing and never complains, never asks for anything, but she could do so much more if people knew about what she’s trying to do there.” Another dog from Orange County Animal Services that was saved from euthanasia was a pit bull that had been subjected to terrible cruelty. “Someone had poured acid over three-quarters of his body,” Gutierrez explains. “His head was raw, bleeding and cracked. They had poured acid on his rear end and on his genitals, so all that was burned as well. The biggest concern was that he would be blind, because when they poured the acid, it ran into his eyes. He had two major corneal burns. But eyes are amazing. They will slough off the dead tissue and eventually come back to almost normal.” “He only had like three days before he had to be out of the facility because he was in such pain,” Snitz recalls. “They don’t have that level of veterinary care available physically Above left: Slate after he was attacked with acid in 2021.Bottom left, in photo by Melissa Pedersen, a healthy and happy Slate at his new forever home in 2022. 64

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on site. He was an absolute mess. I sent Rosie one picture of him, and she didn’t hesitate. She sent Kathy to come get him.” “He was a young dog that didn’t need to die,” Gutierrez insists. “He needed a lot of medicating, like three or four times a day with the eye drops and the cream. But we got his vision to return 80% in one eye and 100% in the other.” She cared for him for four months and was eventually able to place him with a “wonderful, young family” who named him Slate. Melissa Pedersen says she and her husband, Eric, knew immediately. “There was just something about him,” she recalls. “He’s doing super well. We live on a beach in the Keys, so he gets to go on walks, play in the water and just hang out. We have another pit bull who is about 10 and they’re best friends.”

The Future

“I have a vision for this place, if I can ever get it the way I want it,” Gutierrez shares. “My idea is to eventually turn this into an enrichment center.” She wants to share her knowledge about caring for animals with others and believes animals have important lessons to offer about compassion, patience and our place in the world. “I’m never alone,” Gutierrez says. “They are always with me. It starts when I sit on the porch and have my coffee in the morning with all the kitties around me. It’s such a Zen moment. I’m also never without love or affection here.” And all those creatures once considered “misfit toys” now have a name and perhaps most important of all, a safe and loving place to call home.

Ways to Help Donate: Sweet Water is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and accepts monetary and in-kind donations. The rescue is on the waiting list for the Chewy.com Food Bank through VOCAL (the Voices of Change Animal League) but currently must purchase food so pet food, horse feed, cat litter and hay are needed on a regular basis. Also needed is a high cube shipping container to store feed and supplies, and new fencing. Volunteer: One of the greatest needs is for able-bodied volunteers who can help with regular maintenance and daily chores. There is an immediate need for volunteers to help with roof and fence repairs. For more information, visit Sweet Water Rescue and Rehab on Facebook or contact them by sending an email to sweetwaterrnr@gmail.com or calling (352) 359-5430.



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