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ON TRACK FOR TOKYO
12+ Acres – Close to the Florida Greenways
Your Private Paradise is Awaiting!
Ride, bike or hike to the Florida Greenways and Trails. Upgraded and well-appointed 3/2 home with open floor plans. Chef ’s kitchen, family room with fireplace plus a sunroom. Paddocks, round pen, and one stall barn. 3 RV hook-ups. $687,500
FOR SALE OR LEASE. This 5 bedroom, 5.5 bath home overlooks a private stocked pond. Kitchen is open to breakfast nook. Family room with fireplace. Located on a gated 10 acres close to town. Home is perfect $675,000 for entertaining with open floor plan.
Golden Ocala Estate
Ride to The Florida Greenways and trails! 10 Acre equestrian estate in gated community. 3 Bedroom/3 bath home with open floor plan. 4-stall barn with room for 10 stalls. Elegant office, RV hook up and lush green paddocks. $1,450,000
FOR SALE OR LEASE. Presiding over the 15th green sits this 5 bedroom, 5.5 bath home. 5,912 +/- SF of living area with chef ’s kitchen, formal living room, formal dining room, and office. Elegant pool and lanai area is perfect for entertaining. $2,157,000
Let Joan Pletcher, Realtor list and/or sell your property Sold in 2020 - $36,612,498 Sold in 2021 - $40,646,700 Pending Sales - $45,800,425
For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | email@example.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.
14 +/- Acres – No Deed Restrictions!
100+/- Acres – Between Ocala and The Villages
Centrally located between Ocala and The Villages. Zoned A-1. Perfect location to build your home or dream farm. Minutes to Florida Horse Park and the Greenways and trails. $331,650
Gorgeous land. Recreational opportunities include horseback riding, hiking, camping and the property is loaded with wild game. Amazing views! $1,500,000
Crosswind Farm Airport - 35 +/- Acres
Golden Ocala – Lakeside
This is your opportunity to own your own grass FAA-approved airstrip. Runway is 3,900 in length and 75’ wide. Two hangers each measuring 34’ x 1500’ and 5,1000 SF of space. $1,050,000
Best Homesite in Lakeside at Golden Ocala. Looking to build a home close to the World Equestrian Center? Ride your golf cart to WEC. 1.09 +/- Acres overlooking the lake and golf course. $850,000
If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call today! List your property with Joan Pletcher... Our results speak for themselves.
For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 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.
There is a difference. Service matters!
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Actual screen shot of Google rating on 05/17/21
Our knowledgeable and compassionate advisors at our downtown chapel are available for in-person, over the phone or virtual appointments.
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Hunt Murty Publisher | Jennifer email@example.com
Magnolia Media Company, LLC (352) 732-0073
1515 NE 22nd Avenue, Ocala, FL 34470
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Brooke Pace firstname.lastname@example.org PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Ackerman Becky Collazo Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Lyn Larson Maven Photo + Film Dave Miller Charles Palmer R. Weber Photo Crisandra Richardson Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATOR David Vallejo
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson email@example.com Sarah Belyeu firstname.lastname@example.org Ralph Grandizio email@example.com Lee Kerr firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR IN CHIEF Nick Steele email@example.com SENIOR EDITOR Susan Smiley-Height firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Lisa McGinnes email@example.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Richard Anguiano JoAnn Guidry Scott Mitchell David Moore Jill Paglia Emily Papa Marian Rizzo Dave Schlenker Leah Taylor Beth Whitehead
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ne of my favorite parts of telling our community’s stories is learning of the struggles people have had to overcome. Not because I enjoy commiserating over misfortune, but because I love rooting for the underdog. And when the underdog wins, we all feel the win and the hope it stirs in our hearts—especially those of us who have also identiﬁed as an underdog. This month we share the inspiring journey of athlete Marshall Zackery, who never let his disability slow him down. He grew up in Northwest Ocala, playing sports with the neighborhood kids, never believing there was anything he couldn’t do. Now he is headed to the Paralympic trials, hoping to join Team USA for the games coming up in Tokyo. We’ll be watching to see how far this rising star will go, because right now the sky’s the limit! It is also easy to look at people like our esteemed new police chief, Mike Balken, as an example, and think that maybe their path to success started with a foundation that somehow made it easier for them to rise through the ranks than others. And then you learn—wait a second—that there is much more to the story. His upbringing might feel familiar to some of you who also grew up in broken homes and for those who met with great struggle while setting out too early in life to make their own way. We look forward to the legacy Balken will create as our city’s police chief. Recognizing that our own humble or diﬃcult start in life does not have to be a forecast of our future is the epitome of living a life with courage. For those of you who are wondering if a life of service and courage is for you, the chief is looking for a few more good men and women and assures us that “Ocala is a good place to be a cop.”
Jennifer Hunt Murty Publisher
Nancy Iafrate and grandson Dylan, Gainesville
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Visit Heart.UFHealth.org to learn more about Nancy’s story and sign up for a free Heart-Healthy Kit.
insid e r
Dave’s body aches or “audibles,” as he calls them, mysteriously generate related subject matter in his inbox.
Get a glimpse into the most special days of our local brides and grooms.
featu re s
26 34 40 44
Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken reﬂects on his lifelong goal of being a cop and his ﬁrst six months as chief.
RUNNIN’ DOWN A DREAM
Ocala sprinter Marshall Zackery hopes to represent Team USA in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
IN THE KITCHEN WITH MAX RUSSELL
This home cook has made lots of friends in Ocala over the past 15 years and loves showering them with gifts of delicious goodies.
GUYS’ DAY OUT
Dave Miller comes from behind the camera to spotlight some interesting places to have a drink, shoot some pool, pull a few punches and knock around some golf balls.
Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of the Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership, reﬂects on his parenting style and how he takes an approach that is sensitive to each of his children’s needs.
ta b l e
BEST IN SHOW
Marcelo Veras parlayed his love of dogs into becoming a professional dog show handler.
Bobby Goldsboro, entertainer, producer, artist, philanthropist and ’60s icon, and his wife Dianne, have a natural talent for sharing the love.
Change up your summer menu by adding some wild game.
d a y i n th e li f e
Photographer Becky Collazo captures the determination and excitement of the children’s Fun Run at the ninth annual Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection 5K race.
o n th e c o ve r Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken. Photo by Dave Miller. Clockwise from top: Photo by Dave Miller; Photo by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery; Photo by Dave Miller; Photo by Meagan Gumpert
There’s no hitting the brakes for businessman and racing champion Josh Hart. Photography by John Jernigan
‘Before’ photo by Charlie Brown Photography
osh Hart knew early in life that he wanted to be his own boss. So, at 16, he started his own business in his native Indiana. Over the next 19 years, he married the love of his life and they moved to Ocala and started a new business that grew from detailing vehicles into a sales and service operation that spans an entire city block. He also progressed from drag racing his personal pickup truck to competing in the sport’s elite Top Fuel dragster category. The self-made entrepreneur has always relied on his keen intuition and a strong work ethic. Couple that with the personal motto for him and his wife and business partner Brittanie, that “anything’s possible,” and you have a true American success story. Burnyzz LLC, located on Aspen Road in southeast Ocala, is a “hot rod heaven” kind of location where afficionados can find cars for sale ranging from an elegant 1941 Lincoln Zephyr to a sporty 1967 Pontiac GTO to a compact 1972 VW Super Beetle
to a sleek and powerful 2014 Chevy Corvette. The operation features an extensive service and repair department that offers performance engineering, a wide range of maintenance services, dyno tuning, window tinting, upholstery, custom fabrication work and more. The name of the business and blazing logo came to Josh one night while he was sitting by the fireplace, to spin off of the word “burnout,” as in drag racing, with the two “z”s at the end to represent the black marks left by “lighting up the tires.” And speaking of lighting up things, Josh did just that in March, when he became only the fourth driver in National Hot Rod Association history to win his first professional appearance in a class when he won the coveted Top Fuel trophy at the Gatornationals in Gainesville in his Burnyzz Speed Shop/Technet dragster. Cheering him on was Brittanie and their daughter Helen. “When Josh sets his mind to something, whether it be a goal or
Burnyzz LLC 1 Aspen Road Ocala, FL (352) 307-1968 www.burnyzz.com dream, he will do whatever it takes to accomplish it,” Brittanie offers. “He truly is one of the most driven, hardworking men I know. He is proof that everything is possible if you want it bad enough.” Josh and Brittanie, who met in Indiana, moved to Ocala in 2010. They branded Burnyzz that year and have since worked hard to create a family atmosphere for employees and customers alike. “It’s all about hard work, dedication, endless hours, never giving up and always pushing forward,” Josh says. “We want our employees and customers to feel valued. We wouldn’t be where we are without them.”
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Social FAFO’s Symphony Under the Stars, one of Ocala’s best-loved traditions, was back this year, to the delight of a huge crowd. Photo by Dave Miller
Dawn Carrier, Kristen Dreyer Ocala Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Matthew Wardell
Symphony Under the Stars OCALA GOLF CLUB Photography by Dave Miller
undreds of guests, from babes in arms to young at heart seniors, enjoyed the revival of this beloved Fine Arts For Ocala event on May 9th, with music by Left On Broadway and the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestro Matt Wardell, and a fantastic display of ﬁreworks.
Belleview High School AFJROTC
Fletcher Gumpert visits Kona Ice truck
Festivals of Speed WORLD EQUESTRIAN CENTER Photography by Dave Miller
housands of people turned out to see hundreds of exotic, classic and muscle vehicles and a wide range of horse competitions during the May 1st event, which also celebrated the running of the Kentucky Derby. Joe Rotho, Sonny Mitchell, James Colyer
Taylor Michel, Jessica McCallum and Nathan
Tex Reese Batman Tumbler Replica
1964 Aston Martin DB5
his 1970 TVR Vixen, a classic British sports car hand-built in Blackpool, is owned by Gary Godek of Ocala. It was selected to receive the Ocala Style Award of Excellence at the prestigious auto show.
1975 Bricklin SV1 Owners Michael and Brooke Grinder
Carol Savage, Jim Hagans
Taylor James, Paul James
Bourbon in the Barn
Celebrating the Faces of Pace NOMA GALLERY Photography by Crisandra Richardson
WORLD EQUESTRIAN CENTER Photography by Bruce Ackerman
he March 26th gala to beneﬁt the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County included locally crafted libations by Fish Hawk Spirits and James Two Brothers Distillers, the Ocala Palms Pickers, live and silent auctions, and equine entertainment.
Diane Cahal, Lisa Midgett
he soiree to beneﬁt the Pace Center for Girls, held March 26th, featured music by Giselle & Erik, refreshing drinks by the Marion Mobile Bar & Bubbles and chances to have a portrait painted by a Pace student.
Alex Moy, Rebecka Carlisle, Danielle Moy, Nick Moy
Devon and Mark Chestnut Karah Stanfill, Jim Tierney
Matthew Bagdanovich, Joe Faino
Tom Dobbins, John Thorman
For 30 Years of Hometown Banking! To see more, visit us at
Superman Awards This inaugural event honored men who have had a positive impact in the lives of others. By Susan Smiley-Height | Photography by Emery Shepherd
omen of Purpose & Destiny Incorporated was founded in 2010 by Chrissy Vickers to help, encourage and empower women and teenage girls through educational support and life coaching. During the organization’s 2020 Superwoman Awards event, retired Marion County Sheriﬀ ’s Oﬃce Major Mike Rolls, now with the Williston Police Department, suggested to Vickers that there be a Superman Awards. Not only did Vickers organize an awards event, which was held March 27th at the College of Central Florida (CF), she also helped create the Men of Purpose & Destiny arm of the organization. During the recent ceremony, 43 awards were presented to men who have had a positive impact on the community. The top award was presented posthumously to the widow of the late Greg Graham, Ocala’s longtime chief of police, who died last October in a plane crash. Vickers was the emcee for the program. The opening speaker was CF President James Henningsen, who was also presented with an award for outstanding leadership. The keynote speaker was Ernest Wiggins II, a former Olympic sprinter and founder/CEO of Atlas Speed Training LLC, who also recieved an award. Wiggins is president of Men of Purpose & Destiny. Among the honorees was Frederic Washington, a native of Marion County who is bringing several new commercial projects to Ocala. Special recognition was given to Rolls for his idea to institute the Superman Awards. He also now serves as vice president for Men of Purpose & Destiny. The event included entertainment by Moises Tovar and his band. This summer, Women of Purpose & Destiny will launch its inaugural Superkids Awards, for ages 8 to 17, with plans to honor 15 girls and 15 boys. The third annual Superwoman Awards will take place in October. Nominations for the Superwoman, Superman and Superkids Awards may be made by calling (352) 304-3908 or emailing email@example.com To learn more, go to womenofpurposeanddestinyinc.com
Mike Rolls presents a posthumous award to Greg Graham’s widow, Amy
From left, Ernest Wiggins II, Chrissy Vickers, Cindy Brown and James Henningsen
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On the Scene A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events
Summer BreakSpot Grab & Go
Million Dollar Quartet
Ten Warning Signs of Dementia
Art in Bloom
Levitt AMP Ocala Concert Series
Marion County Public Libraries June 1-August 6 The USDA summer program provides free meals four days a week at four public library locations for ages 18 and under. Visit library.marionﬂ.org for details.
Ocala Civic Theatre June 3-27 | 2 & 7:30pm Experience the magic of the legendary 1956 jam session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins in this smash-hit musical. Visit ocalacivictheatre.com for show times and tickets.
Summer in the Sun
Summer Horse Show Series
NOMA Gallery June 5-August 27 | Noon-5pm ThursdaySaturday For this juried exhibition, artists were invited to submit works based on the theme “What does summer in the sun mean to you?” Visit nomaocala.com for more information.
World Equestrian Center June 9-August 15 | Wednesday-Sunday, times vary This series features hunter/jumper competition at all levels with weekly prize money. Free parking and admission. Leashed dogs welcome. Visit wec.net for more information.
Ocala Public Library 10:30am Guest speaker Kathy Lockhart of the Alzheimer’s Association will present tips on how to begin a conversation about memory concerns. Visit library.marionﬂ.org for more information.
Brick City Center for the Arts June 4-30 | 10am-5pm Tuesday-Friday, 11am4pm Saturdays This new exhibition features artworks by Marion Cultural Alliance members that evoke the wonder of ﬂora, ﬂowers and plants. The opening reception will be June 4th from 5-7pm. Visit mcaocala.org for more information.
Webb Field June 4-25 | 7pm Fridays The free concert series continues at the MLK Recreation Complex with live music, public art, cultural arts intermissions and food trucks. Visit ocalaﬂ.org for the performance schedule.
JP Soars with Anne Harris
Entertainment Calendar Date Time
13 Meet the Author: Libby Copeland
Ocala Public Library 3pm The award-winning author of The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are will discuss genetic testing and its impact on our familial perceptions. Visit library.marionﬂ.org for more information.
19 Marion Saddle Club Show
Florida Horse Park June 19-20 | 8am Spectators are welcome at Marion County’s oldest running hunter/jumper horse show. Visit mschorseshows.net for more information.
26 Pack Booster Club Golf Tournament
Candler Hills Golf Club 9am This inaugural four-person, 18-hole scramble will beneﬁt the West Port High School Wolf Pack Football Club student athletes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register or receive more information.
World Equestrian Center
The Big Bad
Ocala Downtown Square
La Cuisine French Restaurant
JP Soars’ Gypsy Blue Revue
World Equestrian Center
Rocky and the Rollers
Circle Square Cultural Center
The Music of Randy Travis and Travis Tritt
Orange Blossom Opry
War Horse Harley-Davidson
Gilly & the Girl
La Cuisine French Restaurant
Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics
Orange Blossom Opry
Bank Street Patio Bar
Gilly & the Girl
Bank Street Patio Bar
Eaton’s Beach Florisiana Cuisine
Roosevelt Collier Trio
Orange Blossom Opry
Thomas McClary’s Commodore Experience
Circle Square Cultural Center
Orange Blossom Opry
Sunshine State Open Pleasure Show
Florida Horse Park May 15-16 | 9am Spectators are invited to watch a variety of equines and adult and youth equestrian athletes compete. Visit sunshinestatepleasureshowseries. com for more information.
The Spam Diet By Dave Schlenker | Illustration by David Vallejo
ruth is, I rarely worried about getting old. For 45 of my 53 years, I looked like a just-post-puberty teen— uncombed hair, dirty Converse sneakers, crumbled Van Halen shirt dripping oﬀ my scarecrow torso. Sure, there were snaps, creaks and some early ear hair, but I looked young and savored it every time a store clerk carded me. These days, I think about age constantly. I am a pretty healthy schlub, yet I am always on the lookout for the next bodily surprise to urp up and frighten small children. The biggest reminders that I should immediately check myself into a nursing home are emails. I routinely get a ton of alarming health emails and they mysteriously mirror that week’s aches and audibles; it’s as if the snake oil salesmen are generating content after observing me earlier that morning. The following are actual subject lines from emails clogging my inbox (Warning: These are not for the squeamish or the hungry or the breathing.): • Dental Implants. Killer Bacteria in Your Gums. Doctors Were Shocked When They Saw This • Endoscope Camera. Secure your Smartsnake HD now • uSmile. The toothbrush of the future is here • Why You Should Put Garlic in Your Ear Before Going to Sleep • Listerine For Your Feet? • Deteriorating Brain. • Can’t Empty Your Bowels Easily? Check Your Bowel Type. (NOTE: This is one of several emails I got about my bowel health. Another email reads: Your Gut Has 17lbs of Rotting Food Bloating It.)
• Spray on Your Head and Never Go Bald • Going Blind: Purple Fruit Restores 20/20 Vision • Normal Farts. Everybody farts but do you know if yours are normal? Is the smell of yours a sign of deadly disease? • Hack Your Brain (This email includes a “quote” from Bill Gates, proclaiming he never leaves home without this Brain Hacking miracle.) • Memory Theft Bacteria • Bacteria Causes Memory Fog • Sheesh! Your Back Went Out … AGAIN? • Ear-cleaning Endoscope Tool for Cleaning Earwax Away • Your Butt. Best Butt Exercise All of these emails are verbatim, and all arrived within a two-week span. This is just a sample of my cyber traﬃc, and the older I get, the grosser they get. Every year or so, I have an internet-savvy friend work some voodoo to reduce my volume of spam. It sticks for several months and then the trolls monitoring my earwax and cranial toothpaste ﬁgure a way around the cybersecurity doodads. Speaking of cybersecurity, I oﬀer a serious note on junk emails: Do not engage with them. Do not reply. Do not open links inside junk emails. And teach your more vulnerable friends and family to recognize scams and spam. That said, my apologies for ruining any meal you had planned to eat within the next 48 hours. But when you return to a normal diet, be sure to include purple fruits and ear garlic to avoid Smartsnakes. June ‘21
Pottery Men of Old Florida By Scott Mitchell
decorative pots with swirls of diﬀerent color clays, mainly reds, greens and whites. Some of his Florida pieces even included orange blossom scent added to the clay as an extra touch. Graack produced untold numbers of art/ tourist pottery pieces that were sold as souvenirs. His small vases and ﬂower urns can still be found in antique shops and, while collectable, are quite aﬀordable. There are a few Gracck pieces in the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center. These two books are great sources to consult for more information: Old Florida Pottery, Potters in Paradise: The Collector’s Guide to History, Makers and Marks 18591966 by Alfred R. Frankel M.D. and Raised in Clay: The Southern Pottery Tradition by Nancy Sweezy. Silver River Museum is closed to the public currently. For information on reopening dates and the collections, visit silverrivermuseum.com or call (352) 236-5401. Scott Mitchell is the director of the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center. He has worked as a ﬁeld archaeologist, scientiﬁc illustrator and museum professional for the last 25 years.
Photos courtesy of Silver River Museum
ottery has been produced for centuries and usually falls into several categories, such as practical containers for everyday use, decorative art pieces, or a mix of the two. Practical pottery was most popular before refrigeration. Food had to be preserved and stored. Plain ﬁred clay jars, churns and crocks were the norm. Over time, glassware and mass-produced containers (think Mason jars and Tupperware) replaced handmade pottery. To stay in business, potters started making more decorative pieces to sell. Many of these artists still ﬁnd inspiration in the old-time pottery used by pioneers. This tradition is still evident in the famous Southern folk pottery of the Carolinas and Georgia. The ﬁrst “modern” commercial pottery in Florida was made at Knox Hill, near DeFuniak Springs in the Panhandle. A potter named M.M. Odum started the Knox Hill operation in 1859. Odum made practical pottery for everyday use, but his timing was bad. He only lasted a few years before the Civil War consumed his business and production ceased. Only a few examples of his work are known today and command high prices from collectors. Henry Graack, who lived years later, was Odum’s opposite. Graack became a famous Florida potter the easy way—he purchased an existing operation, then relocated it to a major tourist mecca. In fact, he made and sold pottery to tourists at several popular destinations including Silver Springs in Florida and Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain in New York. His story is an interesting one. In 1921, Danish potters Henry Graack Sr. and Henry Graack Jr. moved to Florida and bought Manatee River Pottery in Bradenton (founded by Mary Ward in 1914). They changed the name to Graack Pottery and went to work. In 1924, Henry Sr. returned to Denmark and Henry Jr. moved his pottery business to Fort Ticonderoga. Years later, in 1935, William Ray, one of the owners of Silver Springs, lured him back to Florida to set up shop at his booming tourist attraction. Graack, assisted by his daughter Madelyn, would remain at Silver Springs for 31 years, until his death in 1966. Graack specialized in unglazed, small, colorful
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Body Shaping Workout without Working Out Photography by John Jernigan
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equal to 12-16 weeks of high intensity interval training. The procedure is simple and easy and requires no preparation. You simply lie down while the applicators are applied over the treatment area. During the treatment, a patient may feel intense yet tolerable muscle contractions, along with a heating sensation that is comparable to hot stone massage. There is no recovery period, so once the procedure is completed, the patient can immediately get back to his or her daily routine. “I noticed two things after the second and third treatments. The first was more strength when I was doing my core workouts. The second was more definition in my abs, which is something I was working towards in my regular
workouts,” explains 40 year-old ultramarathon runner Mitch Miller. “I can’t wait to see what happens after the full three months.” But the treatment is not just for those patients who have slim or athletic builds and only a small to moderate amount of fat they want to target, it can be equally effective with patients who have a body mass index up to 35. “I’m often torn between wanting to work out to maintain a fit healthy body, and actually having the energy to do so,” explains Dr. Ashley Cauthen. “EMSCULPT NEO has provided a perfect solution. I like to meditate through the treatment and I must admit, I have never felt this relaxed leaving the actual gym. While this will not take the place of the gym, I certainly won’t have to beat myself up as much for missing a day.” MidState Skin Institute has three locations in Ocala and the team would be happy to schedule a consult to see if EMSCULPT NEO could be a great fit for you.
Luminous Worlds: Paintings by Kristin Herzog On View Through June 27 Appleton Museum and Store COLLEGE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | 352-291-4455 | AppletonMuseum.org
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By Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux
May 27 – June 27 Elvis Presley. Johnny Cash. Jerry Lee Lewis. Carl Perkins. Great balls of fire, it’s a whole lot of fun!
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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: Kristal & Clinton Smith with their children, Harrison and Sawyer. Photographed by R. Weber Photo
KRISTAL & CLINTON SMITH January 30th, 2021 Photography by R. Weber Photo Venue: The Smith backyard Their favorite memory: Our favorite memory was waking up together the morning of our wedding, knowing that by sundown we’d each be married to our best friend.
OLANA & LOGAN MCDONALD November 14th, 2020 Photography by Maven Photo + Film Venue: CF Vintage Farm Her favorite memory: Between a global pandemic and a hurricane forecasted for the weekend of our wedding, just being able to have that special day go oﬀ without a hitch was a blessing. However, our favorite wedding memory would be right at the beginning of the ceremony, when I got out of Logan’s grandfather’s vintage Chevy and we saw each other for the ﬁrst time. My mom was walking me down the aisle and my dad oﬃciated my wedding, so having our new family unit experience that moment together will be imprinted on our hearts forever.
The Calling Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken is ﬁnding his way in guiding an agency shaken by the death of its former leader amid a national fracture in the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. By Susan Smiley-Height Photography by Dave Miller
ike Balken always wanted to be a cop—he wanted it when he was a student in middle school, when he was working with his dad during summer breaks and even as a scrappy teenager living on his own at 15, after telling his father he would rather support himself by washing dishes than leave Ocala. And now, he is Ocala’s top cop—the chief of police. Balken’s journey meant he’d have to quit high school so he could work more hours to pay his bills and later earn his GED before he’d be able to enroll in the police academy. But even after he graduated second in his class from the academy, he says he couldn’t “buy a job.” So, he took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, an aptitude test developed by the Department of Defense, thinking he would join the Army. Then, at 19, he got a call from the Marion County Sheriff ’s Office. While serving as an officer at the jail, he heard that the Ocala Police Department (OPD) was hiring. In April, he celebrated his 27th year with OPD and his career path has included earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and service as patrol oﬃcer, ﬁeld training oﬃcer, detective and supervisor. He rose in rank to sergeant, lieutenant, watch commander, captain, major and, in 2018, deputy chief. On October 25th, 2020, his commander, mentor and friend, Chief Greg Graham, died tragically in a plane crash near Dunnellon. Just over a week later, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, who has oversight of the police department, named Balken interim chief. The Ocala City Council, on November 17th, unanimously appointed Balken as the new chief. With six months on the job, which has put him in the spotlight during a time of deep grief within the agency and the community at
Graham’s passing and compounded by increased scrutiny and criticism towards America’s law enforcement agencies, based on incidents such as the death of George Floyd, as well as the ongoing pandemic, Balken admits he is still ﬁnding his feet. “I’ve been pulled in a lot of diﬀerent directions,” he shares. “This came at a time when we were dealing with a lot of issues, but I feel like we’re moving forward.” Balken says his challenges include the future of law enforcement as it relates to “our ability to recruit and retain the level of oﬃcer that I’m going to demand.” He explains that as Ocala/Marion County is growing at a tremendous rate, “We have had oﬃcers retire early or resign to seek employment in the private sector because it’s lucrative.”
I’m feeling more and more confident every day with the way the agency is moving and the folks we have on staff. - Mike Balken He also acknowledges that another factor is causing oﬃcers to leave the ﬁeld: We are “in a time when the law enforcement profession is not as highly regarded as in the past.” He believes that law enforcement oﬃcers around the nation and in Ocala “put their uniform on every day with the idea that they are going to go out and help people.” “I think we’re moving forward in the right direction,” he says of the staﬀ at OPD. “We want to continue to lower the crime rate, have a bigger impact on the opioid epidemic and work to improve relationships within our community.
I’m feeling more and more conﬁdent every day with the way the agency is moving and the folks we have on staﬀ. I couldn’t be more proud of the job they’re doing.” Mayor Guinn reveals that Balken was always on track to assume his current role. “The plan was, when Chief Graham retired, to make him chief. That’s why Greg made him deputy chief a couple of years ago, so things are working out well,” Guinn oﬀers. “I think Mike’s doing a wonderful job.”
Tenacious Teenager Balken’s parents were a housepainter and stay-at-home mom. He spent his ﬁrst 10 years living in the Ocala National Forest. If he wasn’t in school, he was ﬁshing or playing outside. When his parents divorced, he and his three brothers stayed with their father. “My dad kind of bounced us around. We went from Ocala to Palm Beach to Palatka to Crystal River, Homosassa, Hendersonville, North Carolina,” he recalls. “Diﬀerent schools, diﬀerent communities. We always ended up back in Ocala for short stints. When I was 12, we lived in Lake County, way out in the country. We were on government assistance and we ate government cheese.” On the road to school one day, he met his future wife, Dawn. “It was really sweet. She was in high school; I was in middle school,” he recalls. “We started to go steady. We lived out there about a year and half, and then the moves started again.” His older brother moved back to North Carolina and his younger brothers went to live with their mom in Flagler Beach. Balken and his father were living in Ocala and, during the teen’s breaks at Vanguard High School, he worked with his dad remodeling houses. When that work slowed down, Balken applied for a job at Quincy’s restaurant.
“I had to lie on my application because you had to be 16 and I was only 15, so I made the ﬁve almost look like a six. They hired me as a dishwasher and I began dating a waitress,” he recalls. “My dad came to me one day saying, ‘Hey, we’re moving again; we’re going back to North Carolina.’ I said, ‘Listen Pop, I’m done. I don’t want to keep doing this.’ He said, ‘No, you’ve got to go with me,’ and I said ‘I’m not going.’” Balken found some roommates and started paying bills. “I made it to 16 before I dropped out of high school to increase my work hours,” he says. “Ultimately, I went back to the work I knew growing up and started framing houses down in The Villages.” One day a couple of years later, a nail gun “double bounced” and shot a U-shaped nail through his thumb. He told his buddy Mike Driggers, who took him to have the nail removed, “I’ve had enough of this. I want to be a cop.” Around this time, Balken heard that Dawn’s sister might have been in a bad car crash. He called the family home and Dawn’s father said she had been trying to reach him for a couple of years. “We reconnected and I moved to DeLand,” he says with a grin. “And I got my GED so I could start recruit school at the police academy. Her mom, Judy, wanted to be a corrections oﬃcer, so we carpooled.”
Charting a Career Balken says he graduated from the police academy “right after the Rodney King incident in California and the L.A. riots.” On March 3rd, 1991, after a high-speed chase, Los Angeles police oﬃcers pulled King out of a car and beat him. The assault was captured on videotape. Four oﬃcers were indicted on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force. In April 1992, after a three-month trial, a predominantly white jury acquitted the oﬃcers, which sparked violent riots. “I had graduated second in my police academy class and started applying for jobs,” Balken remembers. “I was told by chiefs and sheriﬀs around the state that, based on what was going on, they were making an eﬀort to better match the demographics of the populations they served and I didn’t ﬁt that mold. I had gone from Tallahassee to Treasure Island, and Jacksonville to Palm Beach and everywhere between, and I couldn’t buy a job—to the extent I didn’t think I was going to become a police oﬃcer.” That was when he took the military placement exam. He told a recruiter he loved to surf and 28
would welcome a post near the ocean. The recruiter explained that, based on his exam score, he was rated to do certain jobs. “The recruiter said, ‘Now, you can pick any of those jobs and we get to tell you where to go. Or, you can tell us where you want to go and you’re going to do the job we tell you to do. How about Hawaii and the infantry?’ And I said, ‘Sold! Let me talk to the family and I’ll be back.’” But then he got a call from the Marion County Sheriﬀ ’s Oﬃce and soon was sitting in front of Sheriﬀ Don Moreland. “I remember him looking me up and down and one of his questions was about the L.A. riots and Rodney King,” Balken notes. “He said, ‘Son, you’re 140 pounds soaking wet. You’re 19 years old and I’m uncomfortable putting you out on the road with a gun and a badge. How about we start you in the jail and, if you do well, I’ll give you a shot at patrol deputy in a year or two.’ I said, ‘I’ll take it.’” Balken began as a corrections assistant and attended school to become certiﬁed as a corrections oﬃcer. He liked working at the jail but still wanted to be a cop. In April 1994, he got that chance, at the OPD. “I started where every new cop starts, in patrol, and started having a blast,” he shares. “I tell people that being a cop, a patrol oﬃcer speciﬁcally, is like having a front row seat to the greatest show on earth. You’re seeing the absolute best and the worst that mankind has to oﬀer.” By his third year with OPD, Balken had become a ﬁeld training oﬃcer. A sergeant suggested he apply for detective. Although he wasn’t sure he had the “skill set,” he soon was working in the investigative bureau. “I was working everything from auto burglaries, commercial burglaries to grand thefts. And I was really good at it,” he states. “I think I learned some skills working in the jail where I could relate to a lot of the people I was investigating and was eﬀective in getting confessions.” Balken wanted to grow in his work and sought a position in major crimes. He started working sex crimes and child molestation cases, then homicides and death investigations, interacting with oﬃcials at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and federal and local agencies. “You begin working very closely on everything from investigations to evidence recovery and testing and DNA work,” he explains. “I began to develop relationships with prosecutors at the State Attorney’s Oﬃce. I worked with Brad King, Ric Ridgway, Amy Berndt, Robin Arnold, June ‘21
I had attained the job I had dreamed about, being a police officer, then detective and major crimes detective, and I was damned good at it. - Mike Balken
Janine Nixon, some of the best. Judge Tatti was a prosecutor back then. I realized just how brilliant some of them were at keeping our community safe.” Balken also had to learn to navigate the stress of handling such cases, including working with the families of victims to get them counseling and advocacy. “The victim of a homicide is gone, so you try to serve as a voice for that victim,” he shares. “You’re also dealing with the family and trying to help them through one of the worst days of their entire life. I’ve got a lot of dear friends that are family members of homicide victims and I like to think both sides are better for that relationship.” After serving as a major crimes detective for several years, it was suggested that Balken put in for sergeant, with an eye toward being a supervisor. “I had attained the job I had dreamed about, being a police oﬃcer, then detective and major crimes detective, and I was damned good at it,” he says. “But it was put to me this way, you’re really good at what you do and we need you to pass that along to others coming behind you. And you realize, OK, this is bigger than what I want. So I applied and got promoted.” He says supervisors often are exposed to multiple units or bureaus within an agency to better equip them to handle a variety of situations. His leadership role found him with the SWAT team, in special operations, in internal aﬀairs and back in patrol and investigations. “Being an administrator is a diﬃcult job, a demanding job and you’re relying on a lot of people,” he explains. “You’re not succeeding on your own; you’re a whole agency of over 300 people. And they all come in with a drive to forge on and do right for the citizens they serve. It would be easy for some of them to ﬁnd another profession, but they don’t. They love this community. June ‘21
They don’t do it for the money. They do it because of that servant heart they have. They amaze me every day. And I often tell people that these sensationalized news reports you see are not indicative of the support that we see here. Ocala is a great place to be a police oﬃcer.”
The Graham Connection Balken and Graham had similar backgrounds. “His father was a contractor, so Greg grew up banging nails as I did,” Balken says. “We were both scuba divers, found ourselves on the lake often. I remember going barefoot skiing with Greg a few times; I think he was trying to drown me,” he continues playfully. “We had a lot of hobbies in common and both started at a young age in police work.” Balken says Graham was a sergeant in the investigations bureau when they ﬁrst met. “I was a new cop and had an issue with one of his detectives. I walk in and see this young guy sitting there in a tie,” Balken remembers. “Greg was tall, had great hair, boyish good looks, a great tan. Enter Mike Balken, the short baldheaded guy. We became pretty close before he left for Cedar Rapids to become chief up there. When he came back, our friendship grew and our families got to know each other. We had some shared visions and philosophies about police work and how we can be more eﬀective in utilizing resources and allocating manpower. We were just likeminded in that respect.” It was while Balken was a captain in internal aﬀairs that he became disillusioned with the job. By then, Graham was police chief. “I kind of lost the vision. I had 32
lost my purpose,” Balken reveals. “I remember walking into Greg’s oﬃce and I said, ‘Chief, I’m going to quit.’ He had this shocked look on his face and said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I said, ‘Chief, you know what kind of background I have, very similar to yours. When we got done at the end of the day, we could see what we had made with our hands. I had that as a cop, and as a detective, where you
could see a violent oﬀender going to prison and the community safe. I’m in a position here where I just don’t see it and I need that. I need to see what I’m building. I’m going to be leaving.’” Balken says Graham “corrected” him, saying, “Mike, you’re not going anywhere. You’re going to be my deputy chief.” “And I kind of chuckled and said, ‘Yeah, that’s a long way oﬀ and there’s a few other people,’” Balken
remembers. “Greg said, ‘You’re not building a house anymore; you’re building people. That’s your job and that is going to be your job as deputy chief.’ He put everything into perspective and I changed my approach and forged on.” Balken says Graham was a “great leader” and is sorely missed on many levels. He says cops are used to seeing tragedy, but it doesn’t often happen internally. “Our folks here are some of the best you could ever meet,” he asserts. “They understand human nature so they are quick to identify if you are having trouble with something like this and I think that played a big part, not that we’re through it, because we’re still dealing with the loss of a great leader, mentor, friend, but we were able to lean on each other and we brought in some critical incident stress folks that played a role in allowing some of us to move in the right direction. “It’s been a tremendous transition period,” he adds. “We had a chief who was much loved by the department, by the community, and we had to appoint a new chief. And with a new chief coming in, especially on the heels of such a tragic event, that poses some unique challenges and the potential for problems with everything from morale to vision and philosophies. That also created the need for a new deputy chief and new majors, all the way down to sergeants and new hires. And this came on the heels of two of our female majors retiring, so there was a big need to make some really important decisions really quickly.
And I got COVID and was trying to get through some of this stuck at home. I’m proud of these people, sworn and non-sworn, who have done an incredible job of picking up the football and moving it down the ﬁeld in the face of some really signiﬁcant adversity and challenges.”
Family photo courtesy of Mike Balken
The Long Game As a family man, with a deep devotion to Dawn and their children, Jacob and Riley, Balken says Graham taught him one invaluable lesson, that you have to have an eﬀective work/life balance. “I love my wife to death; I love my kids beyond imagination. Ensuring that they understood that with the demands of the job has been a challenge over the years,” he reﬂects. “As a cop, you miss a lot of birthday parties and Christmas doesn’t always fall on December 25th. But hard work pays oﬀ in the end and that’s probably why I’m sitting in this oﬃce today.” As an avid outdoorsman, he is at his happiest when he is out on a boat, ﬂy ﬁshing in a rushing river or camping with his family. He will often invite some of his oﬃcers, colleagues and friends along on those trips, as he gets great satisfaction out of sharing these sorts of experiences. It is atop a surfboard, though, that he is truly in his zone. Dawn even gifted him a black-and-white photo of a group of surfers out on the water, which dominates one side of his oﬃce and oﬀers a daily reminder of his personal passions. “I do, I love to surf still,” he offers. “The older you get, you find that you need a longer and longer board. So, my board is almost 10 feet long now. My son and I and a couple of officers and detectives surf and we try to get out there as much as we can. I send a text to the mayor and let him know I’m going to be out of touch for a little bit and it’s just a time I can focus on me and relieve some stress. I love surfing because you can’t take a cellphone with you, right! It’s a great way, the only time, I can really disconnect.”
Balken family photo with son Jacob
Runnin’ Down a Dream
An Ocala sprinter hopes to represent Team USA in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this August. By Lisa McGinnes Photography by Dave Miller
ports have always been a big part of Marshall Zackery’s life. The 27-year-old has fond memories of growing in up in northwest Ocala: running around the neighborhood, playing basketball games at the end of the street and football games in the ﬁeld next to the church. Although Zackery suﬀered a traumatic brain injury at just two months old, the resulting partial vision loss and cerebral palsy never slowed him down. “When I was little, I used to run through the neighborhood. They never played me like I had a disability,” he says of the other kids. “I always had to play like them if I wanted to play with everybody. I’ve always been fast, but I never took it seriously until I got to high school and played organized sports.”
In high school, Zackery’s path separated from his neighborhood friends. His mother, Marsha Carpenter, made a diﬃcult but important choice for her middle child: She enrolled him in the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) in St. Augustine. “It was hard for me, and every Sunday I had to pack him up and let him go oﬀ on the bus,” Carpenter recalls. “But I realized that it was more important for him to get what he needed in terms of the resources available to make it an even playing ﬁeld for him. And I think that made him more well-rounded, more independent and certainly to be able to problem solve and be able to adapt.” Zackery quickly and easily made friends at FSDB, joining the basketball team his ﬁrst year.
“My mom says I’m a social butterﬂy, but really I’m not,” he says with a smile. “I played basketball and it got me exposure to everybody. I would get on the basketball court; that’s where everybody could ﬁnd me.” Besides his natural speed and agility, Zackery stood out on FSDB’s basketball team for a surprising reason. “I played basketball with all deaf kids,” he says. “The deaf side of the school was bigger than the blind side of the school, and that’s where all the sports were. So, I learned sign language.” When that ﬁrst basketball season ended, Zackery’s coach encouraged the players to ﬁnd a way to stay in shape during the oﬀ season. A lot of his friends ran track, so Zackery tried out for the team. “I didn’t make the track team my freshman year,” he admits. “I didn’t really run as hard as I could have. But I’m competitive—when they said I’m not good enough to make the track team, it was more of a personal thing then. So, my sophomore year I made it, my junior I made it and then my senior year I made it. I went to regionals my senior year for track. But I always hated track in high school.”
After graduating from FSDB with his high school diploma in 2011, Zackery returned home to Ocala and attended the College of Central Florida (CF). Just a year later, he decided to take a break from school to help his family care for his sick grandmother. “Before she passed away, she was telling me she wanted me to go back and get my degree,” he shares.
“My biggest promise to her was, I told her I’m going to go back to school and get my degree.” And he did. By 2017, Zackery was back in college at CF, often working out at a gym near campus. That’s where he met the two men who would ignite his Paralympic dreams. Regas Woods, a Paralympian and world championship bronze medalist in the long jump, and his coach, Tony McCall, just happened to be working out at that same gym at the same time. They noticed Zackery and struck up a conversation, which ended with an invitation to the ﬁeld where they trained. “That was pretty much it,” McCall remembers. “He was excited and really interested. I sat down with his mom and we talked about the possibilities.” So, at age 23, the college student who hated track in high school suddenly found himself training for the Desert Challenge Games in Arizona. “It was my ﬁrst Paralympic event and my ﬁrst track meet since 2011,” Zackery remembers. “My coach was like, go out there, focus on what I taught you but just have fun. I lined up in the blocks and from there I just focused on the race. At the ﬁnish line, I looked up and I saw Regas and everybody hopping and jumping. They were like, ‘Man you did it!’ It felt great. It just took oﬀ from there.”
In 2017, Zackery ran in his ﬁrst World Para Athletic Championships in London, as a national team member. In 2019, he ran in the World Para Athletic Championships in Dubai. He set his sights on the 2020 Paralympic Games, which are held right after the Summer Olympics. Then COVID-19 hit and the Tokyo Games were postponed to 2021. Luckily for Zackery, he was already used to training independently most days, following Coach McCall’s workout guidelines, sending videos for feedback and checking in by phone regularly. “I trust him to do what I ask of him,” McCall says, “because I know how bad he wants it. He’s ﬁgured out his own way to modify his workout to get what I want out of the workout with the tools and resources he has available to him. And I know he trusts the process that we created. He never missed the beat as far as being ready to run fast.” On June 20th, Zackery will ﬁnd out if he has a spot on Team USA for the Tokyo Games. That’s the last day of the Paralympic trials, held in Minneapolis from June 17th-20th. His coach has no doubt he will run fast enough to be a contender for a coveted spot on the national team to represent the U.S. in the 100-meter and 200-meter races.
Even when people say, ‘You can’t,’ he says ‘Yes, I can.’ That’s what I’m most proud of—that positive attitude. - Marsha Carpenter
“I know for a fact that he will be the fastest American coming out of the trials,” McCall declares. “I believe he has a realistic shot at getting a medal.”
A Bright Future
In 2019, Zackery graduated from CF with his associate’s degree. He plans to return, earn his bachelor’s degree in psychology and pursue a career as a counselor. But ﬁrst, he wants to see how far his legs can carry him. “I’m just going to run until I can’t run anymore and then get my degree and get a job,” he says. His mom and his coach have no doubt he’ll accomplish anything he decides to do. “I believe Marshall will go on to use this platform to do great things in the community, being better oﬀ for having competed at the highest level,” McCall says. “I feel like his mom did a great job of raising him and not shielding him but basically giving him the conﬁdence that he can do whatever he wants to do.” “He’s always had an attitude that he can do anything,” Carpenter says. “There are several things I’m proud of as a mom. I’m proud that he is a well-rounded human being that has empathy for others, that he is a caring human being, that he thinks of others rather than being selﬁsh. I’m proud that he has not allowed abilities to limit him, that he’s taken on every challenge and tried to make the best of that situation. I’m proud of him for not giving up—for always persevering and being able to come out on top. Even when people say, ‘You can’t,’ he says ‘Yes, I can.’ That’s what I’m most proud of—that positive attitude.” Zackery says that, with the help of McCall, he’s learning to “live in the moment” more, enjoying the opportunities that running oﬀers. “I always wanted to be a professional athlete,” Zackery reveals. “When I was in high school, I thought I would go to college for basketball. Every kid dreams of making it to the NBA. But it didn’t happen that way. If I can go and do it in track and I can be at the highest level of a professional athlete, if I can reach the highest level somebody who has a disability can reach, let me go ahead and get it.” For news about Zackery, Woods and the U.S. Paralympic Track & Field team, visit teamusa.org/usparatrackandﬁeld Follow Zackery’s athletic pursuits on Instagram at @mr_zackery21 June ‘21
Best in Show
Marcelo Veras parlayed his love of dogs into becoming a professional dog show handler. By JoAnn Guidry Photography by Charles Palmer
rowing up in northeast Brazil, Marcelo Veras was 14 when he secretly saved up $600 to buy a purebred Doberman pinscher puppy. “I grew up on a farm with horses, goats, chickens, cows and dogs. But our dogs were small dogs and I liked big dogs, especially Dobermans,” says Veras, 46, a soft-spoken man with a subtle Brazilian accent. “One of our neighbors bred Dobermans, so I started saving up my school lunch allowance money to buy myself a puppy. I had $600 saved when I found out they had a litter ready to sell. I walked right on over and bought myself an eight-week-old red Doberman female puppy. I was so excited.” But once he got home with the puppy, his mother did not share his excitement. “My mother did not like big dogs at all and told me to take that puppy right back,” recalls Veras. “When I got to my neighbors, they were leaving for a dog show and asked me if I wanted to go with them. I jumped in their truck right away and oﬀ we went to my very ﬁrst dog show.” Veras described the experience akin to going to the circus, mesmerized by all that was going on in the show rings and on the grounds. He shares that he “spent hours in a trance-like state at that ﬁrst dog show and
came out of it knowing being involved with showing dogs was what I wanted do with my life.” Indeed, Veras spent the rest of his high school years hanging out at another neighbor’s Siberian husky kennel and going with them to shows on the weekends. All his hard work paid oﬀ in 1995 when he became an assistant to Marcelo Chagas, the top dog show handler in Brazil. While Chagas’ Comfort Kennel was based in São Paulo at that time, the team regularly traveled to the United States to show dogs for clients. “As I progressed in the show dog business, I began to have my own clients and show my own dogs. My ﬁrst champion was a wired fox terrier named UFO,” says Veras. “The more I visited the U.S., the more I wanted to live here. So, in 2002, I moved to Ocala and became partners with Larry Cornelius, a very successful dog show handler.” The duo operated Bannerdown Kennel, logging 150 to 170 shows a year internationally while adding champion after champion to their roster. In 2007, Cornelius showed Araki Fabulous Willy, a Tibetan terrier, to the Best in Show title at the prestigious United Kingdom-based Crufts dog show, which is the largest show of its kind in the world and is organized and hosted by the Kennel Club.
dog that gave him that opportunity. “When Willy won Best in Show at Crufts, our client gave us a very nice bonus,” explains Veras. “I thought this was my chance to buy a purebred horse. I ended up paying $10,000 for a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding named Zach. I loved him so much that I knew immediately that I had to buy another Oldenburg right away, but I didn’t have the money. So, I called American Express and told them I wanted to buy a horse with my credit card, but it was going to cost $17,000. They sent me an American Express check and I bought Snitch, a 5-year-old A New Chapter Oldenburg gelding.” Veras bought an 11-acre farm While Zach and Snitch have in nearby Morriston, where - Karen Sullivan since moved on to new homes, he established MVS Sport. Veras currently owns ﬁve He describes the latter as Oldenburgs, including two broodmares. “providing canine and equine concierge services, A German warmblood, Oldenburgs are considered including professional presentation of quality show sport horses, excelling as hunters and jumpers, as well dogs, grooming, boarding, transport, sales, training, pet as eventing and dressage. sitting and rehabilitation.” “I raise Dobermans and Oldenburgs, always The equine aspect of MVS Sport also traces back to stressing quality over quantity,” says Veras. Veras’ childhood as a self-taught rider. He always hoped Of the nine canine champions that Veras has shown to be able to aﬀord a purebred horse and it was a show Then there was the Skye terrier Cragsmoor Good Time Charlie. Charlie was shown by Cornelius at the 2014 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship and 2015 National Dog Show, winning Best in Show titles at both. “Charlie most certainly brought us lots of attention. We were showing so many dogs that we had to start turning dogs away,” admits Veras. “Then, in 2017, Larry got a great career opportunity to become an American Kennel Club executive ﬁeld representative. But that meant he had to move to southern California and I decided I didn’t want to leave Ocala.”
He has a special talent for connecting with a dog and bringing out the best in them.
since going solo, three have been his own Dobermans. Other breeds he has shown to championship titles are two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, a soft-coated Wheaton terrier, an American Eskimo dog, a Cirneco dell’Etna and a French bulldog. “A good show dog, regardless of breed, has to have presence, something that sets them apart from the other dogs in the ring. You have just three minutes to impress the judges,” points out Veras. “And what has been so exciting for me is that these champion dogs that I have handled are mostly owned by new people to the sport. It’s very important that we keep bringing new owners to the sport and encourage junior handlers.” Included in Veras’ recent group of champions is Elysium’s Brave New World, aka Huxley, a French bulldog owned by Karen Sullivan. “I’ve been showing my dogs, both my French bulldogs and Norwich terriers, with Marcelo for 15 years,” says Sullivan. “Marcelo is an awesome dog handler and a very special person. I trust him with my dogs and my dogs love him. He has a special talent for connecting with a dog and bringing out the best in them. Sometimes I think Huxley loves him more than me.” Veras has been participating in the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show since 1996. He is scheduled to show several dogs at the 2021 Westminster show, which will take place on June 12th and 13th at the historic Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York. And, going forward, Veras is making some changes to his show schedule. “I love my farm and being home with my dogs and horses,” says Veras. “So, while keeping my clients happy, I will also be going only to shows that I enjoy, including Westminster—quality over quantity.” June ‘21
Guys’ Day Out We invited one of our favorite gents, photographer Dave Miller, to step in front of the camera as his Maven Photo + Film creative partner documented him at some of the best spots in Ocala for a guys’ day out. By Emily Papa | Photography by Meagan Gumpert
rom a laid-back night on the square to a bit of friendly competition on the golf course, we’ve compiled some of the best opportunities for some serious male bonding. Our Mr. Miller went all in at a few noteworthy spots around town and shares some of his personal favorites to help you plan your perfect itinerary.
Knock a Few Back
First up, Miller and his pal Anthony Ortiz, a captain with Ocala Fire Rescue, checked out the oﬀerings at Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar located on the square in the heart of downtown Ocala. It’s the perfect spot to grab a drink and a bite to eat with the fellas. Featuring a selection of more than 250 whiskeys, inventive craft cocktails and a menu full of great Southern dishes including, barbecue smoked in-house, this hotspot has a stylish vibe and all the right ingredients to satisfy your many cravings. Downtown Ocala also boasts some other exceptional watering holes, from the chic scene at Bank Street Patio Bar & Grill and The Courtyard on Broadway to the tried-and-true and newcomers on the scene: Pi on Broadway, The Tipsy Skipper, The Keep Downtown, The Lodge and The Black Sheep on Broadway. Looking to tap into Ocala’s own craft beer scene? There are plenty of great options, including Inﬁnite Ale Works, Big Hammock Brewery & Bites and Hiatus Brewing Company. If you want a secretive speakeasy
lounge experience that will transport you back to the Roaring ‘20s, there are two cool downtown contenders. The AntiMonopoly Drug Store (located behind the bookcase inside The Lodge) is open Thursday through Saturday from 8pm to close. The Thirsty Cobbler (accessed through a side door of Ivy on the Square marked Shhh…) is open 7:30pm to close. Both hideaways require a password to get your Prohibition-style drink, so check their Facebook pages. Other more offbeat spots that rank high with locals and visitors alike are MAE Beer & Tapas, oﬀering delicious bar food and a wide selection of beer, and The Crazy Cucumber, featuring live music, game nights and karaoke. Another popular spot for gettin’ your drink on is The Depot Restaurant & Speakeasy between Micanopy and McIntosh. Located in a historic train station built in 1881, the environment is fun and good vibes abound. The menu features unique custom-blended cocktails, microbrews and tasty bar fare, including hand-tossed pizzas, calzones and wings. There is an outside deck and the venue oﬀers live music on weekends.
Play a Round
With more than 15 public and semi-private golf courses located in Marion County, golf is an ideal activity for a guys’ day out. We let Miller practice his swing at Ocala Golf Club, a well-known municipal course that is part of the Florida Historic Golf Trail and one of the best in Ocala. It features an 18-hole, par-72 golf course along with a clubhouse, golf shop and restaurant, the 19th Hole Grill Room. Other popular courses in the area include the Candler Hills Golf Club, Ocala Palms Golf & Country Club and Del Webb Stone Creek Golf Club, which all oﬀer spectacular courses and lots of amenities.
Armani Exchange Grid Pattern Short-Sleeve Polo Shirt. Available at Dillard’s.
Cue the Action
After visiting Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar, Miller climbed the stairs to Downtown Billiards. This roomy and relaxed pool hall has a friendly vibe and features 14 regulationsize pool tables, a private pool room, dart boards and a full bar. Along with hosting the American Poolplayers Association league on Tuesdays and amateur handicapped 9-ball tournaments on Wednesdays, Downtown Billiards is also a great hangout for mixed martial arts and boxing watch parties. Boulevard Billiards on East Silver Springs Boulevard is another great option, featuring 18 pool tables, weekly tournaments, bar fare and nightly drink specials. Cornhole is played on Wednesday, making for a fun midweek night out. June ‘21
Take a Jab
You can get a serious workout at the 12 Rounds Boxing gym. The spacious training facility oﬀers daily boxing, jiujitsu and kickboxing classes, and hosts sanctioned and unsanctioned ﬁghts. 12 Rounds Boxing has produced several nationally ranked boxers, but all classes are beginner-friendly. The Ocala Boxing Academy is another cool option, oﬀering a variety of classes that incorporate traditional aspects of boxing, ﬁtness and mixed martial arts, all open to beginners.
For Miller, an ideal day always includes getting outdoors. Whether taking a motorcycle ride or oﬀ-roading on dirt bikes and four-wheelers, one of his favorite spots is the Ocala National Forest. He also highly recommends longboarding at the Cross Florida Greenway. Follow Dave’s adventures on Instagram at @dmiller1023 We’d love to get your ideas for a great guys’ day out, so post a picture and tag us on social or leave a comment on our Facebook page with your suggestions.
Artful Living Bobby Goldsboro, entertainer, producer, artist, philanthropist and ’60s icon, and his wife Dianne, have a natural talent for sharing the love. By Marian Rizzo Photography courtesy of Bobby Goldsboro
hen people hear the name Bobby Goldsboro, diﬀerent images come to mind. Those who grew up in the 1960s and ’70s might start humming one of his hit songs, maybe Little Green Apples or Honey. People who were youngsters in the late 1990s might remember him for his The Swamp Critters of Lost Lagoon TV episodes. In more recent years, art lovers may have viewed his lifelike wildlife paintings in art galleries and other venues across the nation. But there exists another group of people who view Bobby in a whole diﬀerent light. They’re the organizers of numerous fundraisers, such as Easterseals, the March of Dimes, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and multiple other charities. To them, he is a regular guy who believes a visit to a children’s ward at UF Health Shands Hospital can be as thrilling as a performance before a crowd of thousands in a concert hall. About 13 years ago, Bobby picked up a paintbrush and tried his hand at oil painting. Like his concerts, his self-
taught artwork quickly opened doors to charitable giving. “Every time I do an art show I try to tie it in with some charity,” he shares. “If it’s a gallery, I ask them what is their favorite charity and I try to give back some of the proceeds to that charity. Sometimes all I do is show up and raise them money. If I can help people, that’s what it’s all about. “It’s the thing about giving back,” he insists. “I just turned 80 and I cannot think of anybody on earth who’s had a better life than I have. I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do and the things I love, which is playing music and painting. I would think there’s something wrong with me if I didn’t help.” Bobby and Dianne, who have been married for 36 years, have become familiar visitors at galleries and charitable events across the nation. It wasn’t long after they were married that the Goldsboros started making donations to the March of Dimes, an organization dear to Dianne, who was born in 1960 with a birth defect
Photo courtesy of Bobby Goldsboro
of the spinal column. The March of Dimes helped her family with medical expenses and transportation to the hospital. It’s no wonder the Goldsboros often visit the neonatal intensive care unit at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville. Not only do the helpless infants touch Dianne’s heart, so do their siblings. “All these babies were in the NICU and here were all the sisters and brothers twiddling their thumbs and their mother has this baby and they don’t know if it will live or die,” Dianne softly relates. “We came home and got a whole bunch of toys and Swamp Critters merchandise and ﬁlled up the car with them. We put them on big wagons and went down there and handed them out to the kids.” Such interactions remind Dianne of her own struggle early in life. “I was crippled and temporarily blind with spina biﬁda, but it just goes to show I’m here for a purpose. We all have purposes and I can truly look back on my life and see the great plan that God had for me and for Bobby. Me and him, we swear we have ESP or something,” Dianne admits with a laugh. “If Bobby doesn’t think of it, I do.” Several years ago, shortly after Bobby started painting, the Goldsboros created quite a stir when they stopped by a Boys & Girls Club in St. Augustine. “I donated 200 Swamp Critters products to the kids,” he oﬀers. “I had all these dolls on the table and all these kids lined up to come and get one.” Then there are the planned events, like the charity auctions as far away as Tucson, Arizona, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. At a Celebrity Martini Glass Auction in Naples, Florida, Bobby donated a painting titled Reborn, depicting f lower petals turning into butterflies. The auction raised money to benefit U.S. military veterans. One of the benefactors was PAWS with a Cause, which provided service dogs for military amputees at the event. “It was really a neat experience to do that,” he recalls. “There was a guy who lost his leg and was a comic at the event. I presented him with the ﬁrst dog. The dog ran right over to him and put his head on his lap. Talk about an immediate bond. It makes it worthwhile when something like that happens.”
Apart from charitable events, Bobby’s paintings also hang in galleries, businesses and the homes of art lovers all over America. Among the many local galleries and commercial buildings that have displayed his paintings are Brick City Center for the Arts, Circle Square Cultural Center, Artful Gifts Gallery and CenterState (previously Gateway) Bank branches in Ocala and Gainesville. Bobby’s paintings, which have sold for as much as $25,000, reveal a self-taught artist with a keen eye for detail and an ability to bring wild animals to life—so realistic, in fact, that tigers, lions and bison look as though they’re about to jump right oﬀ the canvas. Birds and butterﬂies look as if they’re getting ready to ﬂy away. The realistic essence of Bobby’s art testiﬁes to his love of the natural setting surrounding his home on 123 acres in the Ocala National Forest. In 2020, Bobby’s artwork took center stage at the ﬁfth annual Pawoscars Furball hosted by the Voices of Change Animal League (VOCAL). The Ocala charity assists low-income pet families and strives to reduce the homeless animal situation through pet adoptions and the treatment and medical care of community cats. For the event’s silent auction, Bobby donated a giclée print of his painting Tundra, which depicts a lifelike wolf, his intense eyes staring directly at the viewer. It was valued at $850 but it brought in $5,000, explains Linda Norman, cofounder of VOCAL and president of the board. “It was the most we have ever raised on a single silent auction item, and we’ve had some pretty cool items,” Norman attests. “I think Bobby’s a pretty extraordinary human being. He’s a person that cares about people and he cares about animals. He didn’t just hand me a print. He framed it. He was there. He even bought a table and brought his own friends, and he interacted with the guests.” “That’s the whole idea,” Bobby insists. “We went there to have dinner and to meet everybody. I never understood anybody who stayed backstage when they should be talking to the people. It’s hard to shut me up about my artwork. They ask questions and I enjoy that. I’m as much into the painting now as I was into the music all those years.” Not long ago, the Goldsboros learned about families
who are living in poverty not far from their own backyard. In a quest to oﬀer help they discovered SoZo Kids, an outreach of the Help Agency of the Forest, and met with the organization’s CEO, the Rev. David Houck of Salt Life Church in Salt Springs. “When we went out and looked over their facilities and the work he does, we said, ‘What can we do?’” Bobby recalls. “We came up with the idea to do a concert and art show. Then COVID-19 hit, so maybe we’ll do it down the road. It’s a worthy cause.” Houck was looking forward to the fundraiser, for which tickets had been sold. “Just by them lending their name to the event the presales were probably about $30,000,” Houck declares. “When COVID knocked it out, I thought, ‘We’re gonna have to give this money back.’ I called everyone so I could return the money and they turned around and sent $21,000 back to us. People said, ‘No, we gave it for a reason, not for an event.’ So, $21,000 came in for an event that never happened.” Houck and his wife, Tammy, are parents of 12 children, eight of them adopted. Nevertheless, their hearts are big enough to hold the more than 6,000 children, plus numerous adults, who live in poverty in the forest. “There are really some desperate needs,” maintains Houck. “Sometimes we have to ﬁx a roof or ﬂoor, drill wells, all kinds of stuﬀ. The middle of last year we had a widow who was taking bucket showers. Sometimes seniors will not say anything because they’re worried someone will come along and put them in a home.” The word “sozo,” Houck explains, comes from the Greek word to heal or make whole. It’s about providing food, shoes and clothes. It’s about hosting Little League 52
games and summer camps and mentoring programs. For many of the kids, it means getting them through school and into higher education, Houck oﬀers. “When we first started, a lot of them didn’t get past the eighth grade,” he notes. “I’ve been raising some of these kids in the center for 15 years. I take them to their first restaurants, do their weddings, walk them through college. Some of them don’t have parents. I’m counseling a lot of kids whose parents are in prison.” He pauses, swallows hard, and says, “I get a lot of Father’s Day cards.” Through the Goldsboros’ involvement with SoZo Kids, Dianne was introduced to a family of seven who were living in abject poverty in an abandoned house outﬁtted with appliances they’d found in a junk pile, no beds for the children, no towels, not even a roll of toilet paper. She immediately went out and purchased beds and other household items, and made several phone calls to Ocala businesses. A local pest control service treated the house for roaches at no cost and Ford of Ocala donated a minivan to the family. “Dianne is the real angel in our household,” claims Bobby. But Dianne shrugs oﬀ the compliment. “When I walked in that house there wasn’t a question—roll up your sleeves and get the mop,” she contends. “There’s a lot of personal stuﬀ we don’t talk about, things we do quietly nobody knows about. When a door opens for you to do something you have to just go and do it.” View Bobby Goldsboro’s artwork at bobbygoldsboro.com. To learn more about VOCAL’s low-cost veterinary care, pet food bank, dog and cat adoptions and other programs, visit vocalforpets.org or call (352) 289-0800. For information about SoZo Kids, visit sozokids.org or call (352) 299-5830.
On Fatherhood Kevin Sheilley, the president and CEO of the Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership, reﬂects on parenting by taking an approach that is sensitive to each child’s individual needs. By Kevin Sheilley | Photography by Kristy Rowland
David, Trae and Rachel Sheilley
very child is diﬀerent. They each have their unique abilities. As a twin, I am so appreciative that my parents recognized us as individuals. I am one of four children and we were four very diﬀerent personalities. We were raised four diﬀerent ways to reﬂect who we were as people. Being a father is really fun and we laugh often. I’ve really tried to focus on each of my three children and what they need to help them be successful. One of the things my wife Lisa and I committed to early on was that, from the time they came into our home, we wanted to prepare our children for independence. Every step of the way, it’s been about how we can help them become independent adults. Each of our kids, and what they’re going to
need, is diﬀerent. How I father Trae is diﬀerent than how I father David than how I father Rachel. Nothing in my mind diﬀerentiates Trae, who came into our family at age 4 through fostering then adoption, versus David and Rachel, who were born into our family. I can’t ﬁgure out how to separate that—they’re all my kids. I’ve loved them at every age—as babies, as preschoolers, as school age. But I really love them as adult children. Trae is 28, David is 20 and in college and Rachel is 17 and just ﬁnished her junior year at Forest High School. One of the things I’m proud of is they’ve each been willing to do their thing and to take responsibility for their choices and who they are—to recognize that, at the end of the day, they’re responsible for their decisions
and for making things happen. We talked a lot about leadership around the dining room table, and that was a carryover from my dad, who was a great CEO. “Don’t get upset about the little stuﬀ,” he’d say. “Let’s talk about the big things—the things you can impact, the things you can inﬂuence.” Now Trae is a father to 3-yearold Remy. This pop’s advice: Recognize that he’s an individual and you’re going to have to father him as he is. You’re going to have to change your style to meet him; don’t expect him to change to meet you. Fatherhood really makes you think long-term, about how each decision is going to impact your kids not just today but for the future. Each of my kids is pretty cool. They’re diﬀerent. They’re unique. And I am very proud of who each of them is—and who they’re becoming. June ‘21
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In The Kitchen With Max Russell He’s made lots of friends living in Ocala for the past 15 years, and this home cook loves showering them with gifts of goodies. Biscotti displayed on aa ceramic plate by potter Merrill Kramer atop an original art table painted by David D’Alessandris. By Lisa McGinnes | Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery
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he dishes Max Russell enjoys preparing, eating and sharing with friends are diverse, reﬂecting his many varied inﬂuences: two Kentucky grandmothers who prepared the perfect Southern recipes such as fried chicken and biscuits; an Italian mother-in-law who went all out to serve traditional feasts; and the exotic locations he has visited across Europe and Asia. However, his go-to source for recipes for more than four decades has been Julia Child. “I love her,” he says simply of the star of the 1960s and ’70s hit cooking show The French Chef and author of the well-worn, now-yellowed The French Chef Cookbook that started Russell on his culinary journey. “She doesn’t just give you the recipes; she gives you all the little tips and techniques that make it turn out right. They’re complicated recipes sometimes, but if you follow everything she says, it’s going to taste good.” Even if you’re forced to substitute some ingredients, he adds with a laugh, relaying the story of the very ﬁrst recipe he attempted with his college roommate. “We made coq au vin,” he remembers. “We saw her do it on TV and I said, I’ve got the book! We went to our local grocery store. We lived in Murray, Kentucky, a town that was dry; they didn’t have any wine. So we had to buy that awful cooking wine. They didn’t have mushrooms so we had to buy canned mushrooms— ingredients that Julia Child would never use. But we made that recipe anyway, and it was the best thing either of us had ever eaten to that point in our lives. And that’s still one of my favorite things to make.” Russell, a freelance writer, has kept a journal of the
parties he’s given for more than 20 years. He and his spouse, artist David D’Alessandris, love entertaining at their home and creating menus themed to the occasion. For Derby Day, Russell always makes fried chicken and he created a mocktail he calls a Mint Tulip, which uses fresh mint he grows in his herb garden. Though their Oscar parties were on pause during the pandemic, past standout dishes have included Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Pie, Catherine Ziti Jones and Pigs in a Blanchett. “I didn’t realize a lot of our lives revolve around food,” Russell shares. “We plan our vacations to make sure we have authentic food experiences in the places we go. I have a lot of food memories.” One of his favorite traditions is baking biscotti and gifting them to friends and family at the holidays. “We always ﬁnd some unique way to package them and send to friends,” he says. Though he makes several varieties of the crunchy Italian almond cookies, one of the most special is his orange pecan, which includes his homemade candied orange peel, Georgia pecans, Vietnamese cinnamon and Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. Russell perfected this recipe after trying to re-create the “tiny, very crispy, incredibly ﬂavored cookies” he ate in Florence, Italy. It’s no surprise that his twice-baked cookie recipe originated with a certain chef who—just like Russell—believed “careful cooking is love.” “It was inspired by Julia Child; it’s based on her recipe that I’ve adapted over the years. When I make anything, I always go first to see if she has a recipe for it.”
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Orange Pecan Biscotti
Makes about 80 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading and rolling) 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 3/4 cups whole pecans 1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel* 4 large eggs, well beaten 3 teaspoons baking powder 3 teaspoons demerara or raw sugar (optional) 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon orange extract 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 3/8 teaspoon salt Preheat oven to 350 degrees. › Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. › In the bowl of a stand mixer ﬁtted with the paddle attachment, stir together the ﬂour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt on low speed. › Stir in the pecans and candied orange peel. › Whisk the eggs and extracts together in a small bowl and, with the mixer running, stir into the dry ingredients to form a cohesive, slightly sticky dough. Add a tablespoon more of ﬂour or a tablespoon of milk or cream if needed to get the right consistency. (You can do all the mixing by hand in a large bowl using a 58
wooden spoon, but it takes some eﬀort.) › Gently turn the dough onto a lightly ﬂoured surface and knead by hand a few times to make sure everything is thoroughly combined. (Add a tiny bit more ﬂour if the dough is too sticky to handle.) › Divide the dough into three equal parts and form each part into a log about 12 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 1 inch high. (Optional: sprinkle the logs with coarse demerara or raw sugar for added crunch.) › Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet at least three inches apart and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly brown. › Place baked logs on a rack to cool. › Once completely cool, using a serrated knife, cut the logs at an angle into 1/4-inch slices. › Arrange the slices cut side down in rows on the baking sheet and return to a 350 degree oven. › Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the biscotti are crispy and golden. › Let the biscotti cool completely on racks, then store in an airtight container for a week or so. They also freeze well for several months. (Tip: If cookies lose their crispness, 4 or 5 minutes in a 350-degree oven will bring them back to life.) *Available at grocery stores or online. I make my own using Alton Brown’s easy online recipe.
Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille 24 SE 1st Avenue, Ocala
(352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-10p › Fri & Sat 11a-11p › Sun 11a-9p Open for dine in, carryout and delivery through Doordash and Bite Squad Located in the heart of downtown Ocala, Harry’s offers traditional
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
Louisiana favorites like Shrimp and Scallop Orleans, Crawfish Etouffée, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, Blackened Red Fish, Louisiana Gumbo and Marinated Salmon Salad. 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.
3790 E Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala
(352) 694-1401 › 7 days 11a-10p SR 200, Ocala › (352) 291-2121 › 7 days 11a-11p New lunch specials include Taco Salad on Mondays, $5.45; Speedy Gonzalez on Tuesdays, $5.45; Quesadillas on Wednesdays, $7.95; Chimichangas on Thursdays, $6.95; and Burrito Supreme on Fridays, $5.95. New dinner options include Fajita Mondays, $10.95; Chimichanga Tuesdays, $8.95; Alambre Wednesdays, $9.95; and Tacos de Bistec Thursdays, $9.95. Plus $1.95 margaritas on Mondays. On Sunday, kids 12 and under can enjoy $1.95 children’s meals (take-out not included). Wednesday is Special Margarita Day, 99¢ all day. Saturday is 2-for-1 margaritas all day. Happy Hour daily, 3-7pm. Everything is 2-4-1 (exceptions may apply).
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Wednesday: 99¢ House Margaritas All Day Thursday: Trivia Night, 7-9pm (Blvd. location) Thursday: Mariachi band at the 200 location, 6-9pm Dine-in now available
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Game On! Change up your summer menu by adding some wild game. By Jill Paglia Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery
y son John is an avid sportsman who loves to hunt and ﬁsh and enjoys cooking and serving up venison, wild turkey and many varieties of ﬁsh for family members and friends. John started cooking some of my basic recipes when he was in college. After he graduated and got married, he discovered the Big Green Egg outdoor cooker, which can work as a grill, smoker, pizza oven or rotisserie. He also began to explore deep frying, such as wild turkey breast nuggets, and the art of sautéing the fresh ﬁsh he would often catch on weekends. Even though John is now the very busy chief executive oﬃcer of our family business, his siblings always joke that he rarely buys any meat because he so loves to hunt and ﬁsh. On a recent excursion to our home in the Florida Keys, John brought venison to share with some boat captains and then came home to Ocala with a cooler ﬁlled with freshly caught ﬁsh. Over the years, my son has taught me the basics of preparing venison, which some cooks shy away from because it can taste “gamey.” An important thing to know in preparing venison is that the sinewy fat causes the gamey taste, so you should remove that. You also don’t want to overcook it. Another option when preparing any kind of game meat is to soak it in buttermilk overnight to lessen the gamey taste. Venison sausage is a favorite in our family and the ﬂavor can be changed up with the addition of various herbs and spices. And John’s applewood smoked bacon venison tenderloin entrée, with a stuﬃng of cream cheese, chives and garlic, has a delicate salty/sweet ﬂavor that is truly delicious. As for smoking versus grilling, smoking is done at a lower temperature and using hickory chips or applewood chips will enhance the ﬂavor of the meat or ﬁsh. Whatever your preference, it can be a fun time to involve family members and guests. There are a million options for side dishes for grilled and smoked entrées, such as creamy mushroom risotto or a brightly colored and healthy kale salad. And when you serve up some iced tea, beer or wine, along with fresh berries and sorbet for dessert, you’ve got a winning summer combination! June ‘21
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Applewood Bacon Smoked Venison Tenderloin
2 venison tenderloins 2 pounds bacon (use regular cut as thick cut will not cook completely) Garlic powder Onion powder Salt and pepper For the stuﬃng: 8 ounces cream cheese 8 ounces portobello mushrooms, finely chopped 1/4 cup cooked bacon, crumbled 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped 2 tablespoons bacon drippings 1 shallot, finely chopped Salt and pepper to taste Prepare smoker on indirect heat. › This recipe used applewood chips, but you can use any wood chips of your choice. › Preheat to 350 degrees. › Put all stuﬃng ingredients into a bowl and blend them well (I like to do this step by hand). › Lay the tenderloins ﬂat on a cutting board and make about a 1 1/2-inch deep slice across the length of the venison, leaving about 1/4 inch uncut on each end. › Stuﬀ the tenderloins with the creamy mixture. › Wrap bacon strips around each tenderloin and secure with toothpicks if needed. › Put the venison on the grill and watch for an internal temperature of 120 degrees; when it reaches 130 degrees, remove the tenderloins from the cooker. › Let 62
them rest for 10 minutes to preserve the juices. › Slice and serve with risotto.
12 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced 3 cups chicken or mushroom broth 1 cup Arborio rice 1/2 cup white wine or broth 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded 1/4 cup shallots, chopped 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon olive oil Fresh herbs as desired Sauté mushrooms in olive oil over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes, then set aside. › Place shallots and butter in a saucepan and cook until onions are tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. › Stir in the rice and cook until it begins to lightly brown, about 5 minutes. › Add 1/2 cup of wine or broth and stir until the liquid evaporates. › Heat the remaining broth in the microwave or on the stovetop and begin to add 1/2 cup at a time into the rice, stirring after each addition until the liquid again evaporates, which will take about 20 minutes. › Stir mushrooms into the rice and add some of the parmesan cheese (reserve a couple of tablespoons for garnish). › Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. › Garnish with parmesan and fresh herbs as desired.
Grilled Kale, Fig, Beet and Ricotta Salad
12 fresh figs, stemmed and halved 4 golden beets, peeled and cut into wedges 1 bunch of young kale leaves (there are many varieties of kale, your choice); you can remove the stems ahead of time, or after the leaves are grilled 1 cup ricotta cheese 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon maple syrup Salt and pepper to taste Preheat oven to 425 degrees. › Toss the beet wedges with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt. › Spread on a baking dish and roast until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. › Whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil,
balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. › Remove the beets and toss them with the dressing and set aside. › Heat the grill. › Coat the kale leaves with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt. › Spread the leaves on the grill. › Flip once when they begin to get charred and crispy. › If you did not remove the stems before grilling, do so now. › Chop the grilled kale coarsely. › To serve, place some kale, a spoonful of ricotta and some beet slices on each salad plate. › Drizzle with dressing from the beets. › Dress each salad with ﬁg halves and serve.
Day in the Life By Becky Collazo
In observing the beauty that exists in the here and now, we can ﬁnd the extraordinary revealed within the ordinary. We invite you to see our community with fresh eyes through the lens of one of our talented photographers.
Becky recently served as the volunteer photographer at the ninth annual Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection 5K race, hosted on May 1st, a cause she would “support again in a heartbeat.” “This fundraiser helps the center provide specialized services to our community’s most vulnerable asset, our children. Having the community come together for such a great cause was amazing to see. The adults had a 5K race and the kids had their very own Fun Run. It was especially fun to photograph the kids racing past the ﬁnish line as the little ones were super excited and eager to participate.”
There are more than 250 joints in the human body.
We’re here to keep them moving smoothly. The human body is truly incredible – especially yours. That’s why your bones and joints require the care of an expert orthopedics team highly experienced in providing innovative, whole-person solutions,
to get you back on your feet, fast and help you feel whole.