Ocala Style August '19

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AUG ‘19

l a c o L Stay


Just-Listed Properties

Golden Ocala Club side Village - 3 Bedroom, 3.5 bath home features Chef’s kitchen opening to family room. Spacious master suite on main level. Large covered lanai. Convenient location close to WEC. $625,000

Ocala Waterway Located on a cul-de-sac is this beautiful 3 bedroom/3 bath home. Grand column entry, impressive foyer opens to great room. Spacious Chef’s $315,000 kitchen opens to a family room. Split bedroom plan.

Lake Weir - Condo Looking for a weekend getaway? Enjoy the beautiful sunrises and sunsets from this cute 2 bedroom condo with open floor plan. Community features: clubhouse, pool, tennis court, beach & boat parking. $139,900

Location! Location! Location! 34 Acres - Hwy 27 frontage with easy access to The World Equestrian Center and HITS. 28-Stall center aisle CB barn, covered round pen RV hook-up, equipment building and paddocks. $1,500,000

Lake Kerr Exquisite views from this 3 bedroom estate featuring family room with cathedral ceilings and marble fireplace. Home offers expansive porches making this a great home for entertaining. $499,000

Meadow Oaks Brand New! Conveniently located close to amenities including the New World Equestrian Center and easy access to I-75. Delightful 3 bedroom/ $149,000 2 bath home with split bedroom plan.

Wingspread Farm

Equestrian Estate on 10 Acres. Immaculate! Attention to details are the first things you notice as you enter this unique property featuring a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath residence, 2 bedroom guest home, private chapel, 4 stall stable with tack and feed room, arena, 4-bay equipment building with 20’ x 40’ stall which could be divided, round pen and luxurious expansive run-ins provide shade for horses in lush paddocks with automatic waterers. Main residence is very inviting, perfect for entertaining with an open floor plan and split bedroom layout for privacy. Chef’s kitchen with gas range, island bar, and an abundance of custom cabinetry overlook family gathering room with fireplace. Generator which will operate house and barn. Enjoy the tranquil setting of this beautiful pool-perfect for swimming laps or just enjoying the water. Summer kitchen and lanai complete this perfect outdoor setting.

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

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

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Our Ocala Supercenter, which opened in December 2018, has over 600 RVs in stock and a friendly staff ready to assist you. From parts and service to sales and financing, we can help with every step of your ownership experience. Conveniently located off I-75, this store is just a short drive away from numerous resorts, theme parks, golf courses, beaches, and more.




8:56 AM

RAO and CVH Gain

Dr. Ray Sutkowski RAO’s Center of Vascular Health meets growing demand with the addition of Dr. Ray Sutkowski to its interventional radiology team. Dr. Sutkowski received his medical degree at American University of the Caribbean in Pembroke Pines, Florida and completed his internship in internal medicine at Ohio’s Kettering Medical Center. Dr. Sutkowski served his residency in diagnostic radiology at University of Florida’s Health Shands Hospital, where he went on to earn a Fellowship in vascular and interventional radiology in 2018.

“I am excited and honored to join RAO’s respected Center for Vascular Health,” says Dr. Sutkowski. “It is my goal to improve the lives of patients and continue CVH’s commitment to outstanding vascular and interventional care.” – Ray Sutkowski, MD

Intersecting the time earning his Fellowship, Dr. Sutkowski worked as both a diagnostic and an ultrasound radiologist at South Georgia VA Hospital and then as an interventional and diagnostic radiologist at Radiology Associates of Dothan in Alabama. His medical articles have been published in various industry periodicals, including the Florida Radiology Society and the Journal for Vascular Access.

Publisher Jennifer Murty


Magnolia Media Company, LLC 352-732-0073 1007 E Fort King Street, Ocala, FL 34471 Home of Ocala Style Magazine


CREATIVE DIRECTOR Maureen Fannon maureen@magnoliamediaco.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kristy Taylor kristy@magnoliamediaco.com STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER Barbara Dawson barbara@magnoliamediaco.com ASSISTANT FASHION EDITOR Elizabeth Martinez elizabeth@magnoliamediaco.com PHOTOGRAPHERS Amy Davidson Esther Diehl Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Dave Miller Isabelle Ramirez Carlos Ramos ILLUSTRATOR Maggie Perez Weakley


MARKETING MANAGER Kylie Swope kylie@magnoliamediaco.com SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST & SOCIAL SCENE EDITOR Vianca L. Torres vianca@magnoliamediaco.com

www.RAOcala.com • 352-671-4300 6


Distribution Dave Adams Rick Shaw


SENIOR EDITOR Nick Steele nick@magnoliamediaco.com MANAGING EDITOR Lisa McGinnes lisamcginnes@magnoliamediaco.com COPY EDITOR Belea T. Keeney CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kevin Christian Amy Davidson Angela Durrell Jim Gibson JoAnn Guidry Jesse James Cynthia McFarland Katie McPherson Prince Quamina Judge Steven Rogers Patricia Tomlinson


ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson evelyn@magnoliamediaco.com Kyle Bernhard kyle@magnoliamediaco.com Skip Linderman skip@magnoliamediaco.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/SALES Sharon Morgan sharon@magnoliamediaco.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Joe Altizer-Waters joe@magnoliamediaco.com

CONTRIBUTORS AMY DAVIDSON WRITER Amy is a music and arts journalist and photographer. She is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh’s journalism program. In her spare time, she hangs out with her kids: Dorian, Eden, Braeden and Alex. Amy is currently pitching her TV dramedy pilot Stringer.


ANGEL A DURRELL WRITER Angela has worked as a freelance writer for 15 years and has been published in magazines and newspapers across the Southwest and New England. She is a keen student of history and archaeology, with a particular interest in ancient food and culinary practices, and will try any new food at least once.


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In addition to driving and sharing his adventures behind the wheel and his lifestyle venture TheCultureCurators.com, Jesse is passionate about creativity and style, with broad interests in music and fashion, especially sneakers. Follow Jesse on Instagram at @Thee_JesseJames

DAVE MILLER PHOTOGRAPHER Dave uses photography to capture the moment and convey a strong sense of story to share with others through his images. Living abroad as a child and his time in the U.S. Army instilled in him a passion for adventure, creating a desire to meet new people and interact with his community.


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






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PRINCE QUAMINA WRITER Prince studies literature at New College of Florida. He writes short fiction and poems and previously served as an editor for Imprints, CF’s literary and art magazine. He’s currently completing a series of experimental short stories for his undergraduate thesis.

Dr. Andrew Franklin, DPM, PHD

Dr. Sheila Noroozi, FACFAS

Dr. Kathleen Telusma, AACFAS

352.867.0024 2825 SE 3rd Ct. | Ocala

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Apply today at campuscu.com Call 237-9060 and press 5 Visit any CAMPUS Service Center Visit campuscu.com for a complete list of our convenient locations! MEMBERSHIP IS OPEN TO ANYONE IN ALACHUA, MARION, LAKE AND SUMTER COUNTIES! 2 There are costs associated with the use of this card. Credit approval required. For specific information call 800-367-6440 or write us at P.O. Box 147029, Gainesville, FL 32614. The annual percentage rate may vary with the market based on the Prime Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal “Money Rates” table on the last day of each calendar month. The APR is determined by adding together the index and the margin applicable to the card type and the consumer’s credit. The APR could change without notice. APR not to exceed 17.99%. APR = Annual Percentage Rate. 1. Bonus CURewards points are eligible for Lodging, Travel, Dining, and Entertainment purchases from June 1, 2019 through August 31, 2019. Points on all other purchases and balance transfers will continue to accrue at one point for every dollar spent. CAMPUS shall determine which purchases qualify and will not be responsible for merchant misclassifications. Points will be posted to your account at the close of each billing cycle. Cash advances and finance charges do not earn points. 2. Credit approval and initial deposit of $5 required. Federally insured by the NCUA.


Publisher’s Note arlier this year, the Ocala Style team collectively penned our mission statement, which includes the manifestation of our beliefs and aspirations as a community magazine: We want to create a close-knit, diverse community where there is a generosity of spirit and richness to life, where people feel neighborly and where they are willing to join with others to build the community. With this intention at heart, our idea for a Stay Local-themed issue was born. No matter our individual socioeconomic status, we each impact our economy daily with our buying decisions, whether it’s as small as buying a cup of coffee or a larger decision such as where we bank or buy a car. In this issue, we discuss the impact that locally owned businesses and corporately owned chains have on our local economy. It’s an economic consideration important to all of us, because the money returned to our local economy can bring good returns when it flows back to the businesses that supply our respective livelihoods or supports the causes we hold dear.

You’d probably agree that most of us are especially fond of Ocala’s independently owned businesses because they give our community its distinct personality. One of the reasons I personally love local businesses is because they make development and service choices that help shape the community they want to live in. For example, my local bank president who makes time to answer my questions also rolls up his shirt sleeves to teach local kids in the 4-H program and grant microloans to them so they can participate. My favorite local restaurant owners step up time and again with their talents to support charities that serve the needs of our community. The local developer building a residential community is thinking about the community as much as making the project aesthetically pleasing, because they live here too. My favorite local shop for gifts will open early or stay late, if they know I’m in need and dealing with a time crunch. My next vehicle will come from a locally owned dealer who has supported our local YMCA so much that Ocala can claim we have one of the strongest in the state—if not the entire Southeast. These local businesses not only provide quality products and service to their neighbors, they position themselves as champions and facilitators of our community’s ideal way of life. Before becoming a publisher, I worked for two decades as a paralegal in the Ft. Lauderdale, Gainesville and Ocala markets, and I have to say Marion County is home to an impressive caliber of legal expertise. For that reason, we continued the local theme with our legal section this month by including local lawyers. With the breadth of knowledge and trial advocacy in our community, it is downright silly to go out of market for representation in most cases. The lawyers who know the community and those making the decisions are going to deliver the best results for their clients, contrary to whatever claims you might read on those billboards. I’d like to close this month’s letter by thanking all the businesses that support our community magazine through advertising and by making space in their establishments for our racks. It is because of your support that we are able to chronicle all the wonderful aspects—of our area and our people—that make our neck of the woods so special. It’s our honor to support you in return.

Jennifer Hunt-Murty Publisher

C O N T To wn





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People and events from around town.

A guide to our favorite happenings and can’t-miss events.

Co u ntr y





THOUGHTS OF A MILLENNIAL Entreprenurial and socially conscious, millennials are committed to buying local.



Enjoy your yard more under a cool canopy of shade trees.

Composting is the perfect way to turn things we can’t eat or use into environmentally friendly fertilizer.

Tab le




THE BUSINESS OF BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOR Local distillery Fish Hawk Spirits is handcrafting award-winning farm-to-table spirits with locally sourced ingredients.

HAMMERS & HAMBURGERS For more than 30 years, Gilbert’s Hardware has been a gathering place in rural Northwest Marion County.

School news from Marion County Public Schools.

ON THE COVER: Photography by Carlos Ramos Model Ocala Style’s own Assistant Fashion Editor Elizabeth Martinez on location at Johnson’s Beach

Sarah Aschilman is raising kids who eat “real” food and teaching them about sourcing and sustainability.





Cedar Key’s Ricky Cooke has made providing fresh ocean-to-table seafood a way of life.

Your guide to some of our area’s best eateries.

E N T S Arts





Our local music scene is hotter than ever. Meet Becky Sinn, the gifted songstress who’s fanning the flames with her new solo album.

Two books by local authors will give you the escape you’re looking for in a summer read.

64 65

Ro ad





When’s the last time you experienced Marion County as a tourist? Check out some of our favorite hidden gems.

Jesse tests out Cadillac’s spacious, high-tech XT5.

Leg al











SKIN DEEP Artist Stephanie Brown’s exhibit at the Appleton showcases the beauty of brown skin of every shade.

Guardian Ad Litem volunteers advocate for children in the court system.

Ocala attorney Renée E. Thompson seeks a leading role in The Florida Bar.

Real estate is the biggest purchase many of us will make. Be sure to pay attention to every detail.

Spousal support still has a place in divorce proceedings.

CURATOR’S CORNER Have you opened your mind to contemporary art? Tips for appreciating the work of modern artists.

How are trusts different from wills, who needs one and why.

F E A T U R E S 36






Buying local has a compelling impact on our community’s economic development and the distinctiveness of our local marketplace.

Meet the power player who has launched the careers of some of the world’s most successful models, even one discovered right here in Ocala.

From vintage neon to hand-painted buildings, we’re taking in the sights.



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Extra Help for Your Immune System


ancer can deliver a one-two punch against your immune system. First, certain types of cancer, like leukemia and other blood-related cancers, suppress the immune system more than solid tumors do, leaving one open to additional diseases. Second, certain cancer treatments suppress the

immune system. Chemotherapy is often accompanied by shots to boost the immunity that chemo has knocked down. Bone marrow transplants and prolonged steroid use also lower immunity. Being immunocompromised means taking extra precautions. These can include frequent hand washing and carrying hand sanitizer at all times, wearing a respirator mask, avoiding crowds, and avoiding certain activities like manicures or dental procedures. It can even mean spending less time with your pets.

Did You Know?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends certain vaccines for cancer patients. Vaccines offer protection against disease, but some vaccines are not recommended for people with suppressed immunity. Vaccines containing a live virus pose too much of a risk, so the CDC instead recommends inactivated vaccines for cancer patients. For example, the nasal spray flu mist contains the live flu virus and should not be given to cancer patients. Instead, the CDC recommends getting a flu shot, which contains the inactive virus. A patient should ideally be vaccinated against flu at least two weeks before starting treatment. Alternatively, a flu shot might be given between chemo cycles if the oncologist approves. Talk to your doctor about which vaccines are right for you.

The TDaP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis [whooping cough]) vaccine is recommended for cancer survivors. The pneumonia vaccine (given in two shots, PCV13 and PPSV23) is recommended for anyone with a weakened immune system. However, the pneumonia vaccine should be given before cancer treatment starts or three months after treatment ends.

A New, Safer Shingles Vaccine

Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles because both come from the varicella zoster virus. Until recently, the shingles vaccine posed a problem for cancer patients. Cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to shingles, but had access only to a live vaccine. In some cases, that vaccine was not recommended even for people whose immune systems had recovered after treatment. Now an inactivated shingles vaccine is available, called Shingrix. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is still reviewing the data on Shingrix and does not yet recommend it for immunocompromised patients. But the vaccine is approved for people who have not yet received treatment that will suppress their immune systems, and for those whose immunity has recovered. Shingrix is given in two doses and some supplies are limited, so check with your doctor. SOURCE: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/hcp/shingrix/faqs.html

by the numbers


Estimated reduction in flu risk in vaccinated people during the 2018-2019 flu season.


YEARS Recommended time between doses of the TDaP vaccine for adults.

The Risks from HPV Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a major risk factor for multiple cancers. Two HPV types in particular, HPV16 and HPV18, are responsible for most HPV-related cancers. Those include cancers of the anus, cervix, oropharynx (the part of the throat at the back of the mouth, including the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils), penis, rectum, vagina, and vulva. A vaccine is available to guard against HPV infection. Your doctor can provide more information.

68.9% Percent of adults aged 65 and over who had ever received a pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccination.

Perspective "Not only should those with weakened immune systems get flu shots, their families and caregivers should too." -- Mary Engel, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

33,700 Cancer cases per year caused by HPV

Patient-centered radiation oncology close to home The Villages 352.259.2200 Ocala 352.732.0277 Timber Ridge 352.861.2400 Inverness 352.726.3400 Lecanto 352.527.0106 RBOI.com

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Recreation & Parks Live. Play. Prosper.

Come See Our Furnished Model Home located at 16397 SE 83rd Ave, Summerfield

CALL US: (352) 509-5729

Visit us online: www.frehomesllc.com We look forward to meeting new friends and making you a part of the FRE Homes family! 16397 SE 83rd Ave., Summerfield | Licensed (# CGC034704) and Insured


Ocala Recreation and Parks has a variety of programs and services to meet your leisure service needs - Programs for the young and the young-at-heart; for those who enjoy being active or just want some down-time; programs for all ages! We have indoor and outdoor programs where we can guide you or you can guide yourself. This is your time - and you are the star! Make it meaningful. We invite you, Ocala, to Come Out & Play. AFTER SCHOOL FUN!


Begins Aug. 12

Friday, Aug. 9


Jurassic Park: Fallen World

E.D. Croskey Recreation Center

OPEN SWIM Ends Sept. 2!

Come live in Marion County’s premier apartment community. CARLTON ARMS OF OCALA offers our residents country club-style living with outstanding services and value. Visit us today to select your apartment as your next home in which to live, work and play.

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FREE Water Utility FREE Wi-Fi at 2 Sparkling Pools FREE Valet Trash Removal FREE Pest Control Large Private Patios/Balconies Rapid Response Maintenance 2 Private Party Clubhouses Fitness Center w/ Steam Showers Lighted Tennis & Basketball

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Jervey Gantt Aquatic FUN Center 2390 SE 36th Ave.

Returns Sept. 6!

Hampton Aquatic FUN Center

Dowtown Ocala 6 to 9 p.m.

255 NW MLK Jr. Blvd.

Freshwater Fishing Children’s Playground Pet Friendly / Dog Park Car Care Center

5001 SW 20th St. Suite100 Ocala, FL 33474


CarltonArmsofOcala.com 16

Webb Field 8:30 p.m.



The Social Scene The hard-charging Hooligans rocked the crowd during the Villages Balloon Festival. Catch them when they perform at Live on the Brownwood Paddock Square at The Villages on August 22. View more events coverage at www.ocalastyle.com. Photo by Dave Miller

Michelle Stone


Rick Rademacher, John Scott, Sonny Baker

Bill Marhoun

The Villages Balloon Festival THE VILL AGES POLO CLUB Photos By DAVE MILLER

Mallory Crane, Tori Hilding


Ron Hoffman, Doug Cant, Linda Reddem, Russell Grant, Nancy Grant, Marilyn Lance, David Lance

rom May 31 to June 2, it was up, up and away for the 10,000 spectators that turned out for the annual Villages Balloon Festival. Participants even had the opportunity to enjoy a tethered ride and a bird’s eye view of the festivities. This year was the biggest celebration yet, and the skies were awash in a beautiful display of 30 different hot air balloons over the course of the weekend.

Martina Balboa

Dan Stukas,, Balloon Meister

Reilly Cooper



Bryan Gilliland and Grace

Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala

Kristy Genna, Jamie Zimbleman

Travis Arenburg

Brunch, Bourbon, And Beer Festival THE PADDOCK MALL Photos By DAVE MILLER

A Becky Sinn, Krystal Berry, Megan Whittaker

t Marion County’s first Brunch, Bourbon, and Beer Fest on June 15, guests enjoyed brunch bites and beer and bourbon sampling along with live music, games, raffles, and prizes. The Paddock Mall partnered with Hop Stop and donated event proceeds to Transitions Life Center.

Ashley Gerd, Mall Manager with lucky prize winner

Aug ust ‘19



Christy Jergens, James Mathis

BHRS Season 4 Kickoff THE PADDOCK MALL Photos By DAVE MILLER Bradley Rutledge (1st Place)


Daniel and Lennon Peterson

une 5 celebrated Season 3 of the Big Hammock Race Series (BHRS) and the launch of Season 4. The nonprofit group gives runners the opportunity to grant their race entry fees for each event to local charities. Registration for the upcoming season is now open. Log on to our website to view more coverage of the BHRS Season 3 races and the charitable causes they benefited.

Holly Marheine

Coach Pezz and Santos.



Andy Schoup, Don Umpleby, Tara Celebre

Speedy Turtle Johnson.

Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala



n June 20, the Marion County Literacy Council hosted its annual Kiss the Horse Celebration. A group of about 100 individuals and teams raised funds and awareness for adult literacy and Ken Ausley was the lucky winner who got to kiss Earth, the Clydesdale.

Aug ust ‘19



Editors’ Picks A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events. Written & Compiled By PRINCE QUAMINA

WindFM Rocks the Reilly: Allman Brothers Tribute

Levitt AMP Concert Series: Kaleta & Super Yamba Band Webb Field Aug 2 | 7:30pm

Reilly Arts Center Aug 24 | 7:30pm

The Marion Cultural Alliance presents the Kaleta & Super Yamba Band as part of the free Levitt AMP Concert Series. This bombastic and vivacious band offers up Afro funkinspired dance rhythms sure to get the crowd up on their feet and moving. The Brooklynbased group sings in French and English, as well as Yoruba and Ewe, and Pidgin English. For more information, visit www.concerts.levittamp.org

The Allman Brothers Band was a rock band with an electrifying sound, due largely to the blues, country and jazz influences they incorporated into their music. Tribute, a powerful eight-piece band, brings that hybrid of genres together. The band has earned a stellar reputation for emulating and capturing the genuine sound of The Allman Brothers Band and performs using vintage equipment to bring back the excitement of one of rock’s most beloved groups. For more information, visit www.reillyartscenter.com

Dance Party: Rocky and The Rollers Circle Square Cultural Center Aug 10 | 7pm Rocky and the Rollers have been playing together for over 30 years, so they know what it takes to get an audience moving! Playing music primarily from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, they pay tribute to three decades of chart toppers. This show is sure to have you out of your seat, dancing and singing along to many of your all-time favorites, including some great doo-wop and rock ’n roll hits. Doors open at 6pm, and the show begins at 7pm. For tickets and more information, visit www.csculturalcenter.com



Art 101: Upcycle Art Journal Appleton Museum of Art Aug 13 | 10am-2:30pm Art 101 is a series of one-day art workshops that allows you to express your creative side and de-stress. Upcycling is a recycling process that incorporates unused items, items that have outlived their initial purpose and even waste products. These items are then creatively repurposed and given new life. It’s a fun way to be environmentally conscious and flex your creativity. Contact Hollis Mutch at mutchh@cf.edu to register or call (352) 191-4455, ext. 1613. To register online, visit www.appletonmuseum.org

Classic Albums Live: Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours Reilly Arts Center Aug 17 | 7:30pm Do you remember the first time you heard the opening notes to “Dreams” and that husky-yet-velvety voice of Stevie Nicks a few seconds later? Come relive that moment note for note, cut for cut. Classic Albums Live faithfully recreates Fleetwood Mac’s best-loved album without any cheesy impersonations or gimmicks. This show will take you back to the glory days of one of the most iconic bands of all time. For tickets and more info, visit www.reillyartscenter.com

Gallery Talk with Leslie Peebles Appleton Museum of Art Aug 29 | 2pm Leslie Peebles currently has a solo exhibition on display at the Appleton until January 12th. After viewing her work you have the opportunity to hear Peebles speak with Curator Patricia Tomlinson about this exhibition entitled Florida Impressions: Relief Prints by Leslie Peebles. Please visit www.appletonmuseum.org for more information.


Matilda: The New Musical Ocala Civic Theatre Aug 29-Sept 22 Come see the musical inspired by Roald Dahl’s famed novel Matilda as well as the iconic ’90s film of the same name. This delightful musical is sure to keep you captivated with all those catchy songs and high-energy dance numbers. Adults and children alike will enjoy this fun family outing. For tickets and more information, please visit www.ocalacivictheatre.com

Fortunate Son-CCR Experience Circle Square Cultural Center Aug 31 | 7pm Experience the incredible music of Creedence Clearwater Revival with one of the best tribute bands in the business. Brad Ford and Fortunate Son cover some of CCR’s music with pleasure and fidelity, delivering the gritty sound of John Fogerty and the iconic rockers. This concert will take you down to the swampy blues of “Born on the Bayou” and “Green River,” down a country lane with such songs as “Bad Moon Rising,” “Lodi” and “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” and deliver you to the rock-n-roll heartland with anthems like “Proud Mary,” “Centerfield,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” For tickets and more info, please visit www.csculturalcenter.com #12457 - 9/19

Aug ust ‘19


New name Same commitment HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Ocala has been committed to a higher level of rehabilitative care for our patients. Under our new name, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Ocala, we continue to provide the same inpatient rehabilitation services you have come to expect, while also extending our care to include home health in your area.

2275 S.W. 22nd Lane Ocala, FL 34471 352.282.4000 encompasshealth.com/ocalarehab Š2019:Encompass Health Corporation:1371893-02





Buying And Selling Local By KATIE MCPHERSON Illustration by MAGGIE PEREZ WEAKLEY


ccording to Forbes, millennials are on track to be the most entrepreneurial generation yet. They’re selling local. And one of their core values as consumers? Buying local. The magazine cites a study which found that millennials are starting businesses much earlier than baby boomers, beginning at around age 27 rather than age 35, on average. They’re managing larger staffs, usually around 122 people versus boomers’ 30, because the industries they’re involved in require large teams, like retail, tech, and e-commerce. They’re also more concerned than past generations about their businesses’ environmental and social impact. Rather than waiting for their businesses to become profitable and then consider philanthropy, millennial business owners tend to think about social impact early on, building it into their missions. With all that business starting and social impacting, Forbes adds that millennials tend to prefer to buy local more than past generations, perhaps because small business owners know the value of supporting one another. More than 50 percent also choose brands to buy from based on the causes those companies support.

I started my own business in September 2018. I’ve always enjoyed freelance writing, but decided to take the plunge, quit my 9-to-5 and offer marketing and public relations services, too. Not only was there the appeal of working from home and making my own schedule, but I’m a true millennial who grew up thinking she could be anything she wanted. And I always wanted to be a writer. I’m not the only one in my life who feels this way. My husband wants to get involved in real estate. My best friend is in the process of opening a rock-climbing gym. Another invented his own software to help hospital nurses respond to their patients faster when they need something. Everywhere I look, the millennials in my life are trying to go their own way. It just makes sense that, with so many people trying to make their own endeavors successful, that we would want other owners to thrive, too. Owning a business will teach you a lot—and quickly—and it has made me more passionate than ever about shopping local. When someone pays for my services, I do a happy dance. If I can buy a candle from a local craftsperson rather than the mall, or produce at the farmer’s market rather than the grocery store, I know how those business owners do a little dance, too. But buying local doesn’t have to be just a millennial trait. Anytime you can support a neighbor, why not? Aug ust ‘19



Class Acts

School news from Marion County Public Schools By KEVIN CHRISTIAN, APR , CPRC

The first day of school always brings excitement back to classrooms. Excitement in students attending a new school, a new school level or even school for the very first time. While this excitement builds, thousands of people, including 3,000 teachers, are preparing textbooks, student desks, art supplies, computer keyboards, wall calendars, lesson plans and countless other things to start off the new school year smoothly. Here are some things to remember for the 2019-2020 school year in Marion County Public Schools.

Communication Providing a safe and secure environment is the top priority of the school system. The district takes measures to ensure students and staff are prepared in the event of a crisis situation. The district has a comprehensive crisis management plan that includes locked classroom doors at all times, ALICE Protocol for active shooters, fire drills, tornado drills, code red and code yellow lockdowns, and other safety measures. CODE YELLOW—All school doors are locked and regular classroom instruction continues.

CODE RED—All doors are locked and all students and staff move away from doors and windows. All campus movement and classroom instruction stops.

Families should consider the following for CODE YELLOW and CODE RED situations:

Orientation These special events offer students, parents and families a valuable opportunity to visit their school campus before the year begins. Students can obtain class schedules, bus route and stop details, breakfast/lunch menus and other valuable information. They also meet teachers face to face, interact with school administrators and learn the school layout and where important areas are— restrooms, cafeteria, gymnasium, etc.—before the first bell rings. Most orientations take place August 8-10, and times vary. Contact your child’s school for specific details or visit www.marionschools.net for the latest listing. 26


-DO expect to be notified in a timely manner with a special advisory sent from the school and/or a telephone message from our Skylert system. This will NOT happen instantly. When the school is able to provide accurate information and/or the incident is resolved, this notification will take place. -DO cooperate with school and/or district directives. -DO consult local media and Twitter for regular updates about the incident. You may be directed to an off-campus reunification site to retrieve your child. -DO NOT call the school because phone lines are needed for emergency use and may not be answered. -DO NOT go to the school. Roads are closed, doors are locked and campuses are locked down to anyone except law enforcement, first responders and authorized personnel.

The latest safety measures include fencing campuses to a single point of entry. High school campuses are now complete and this safety process moves to middle and elementary school campuses. Additional security cameras are also being installed throughout the district, and a new police department designation puts more trained security personnel on duty, in addition to School Resource Officers (SROs) already on site every single student day. Communication channels you can use: -Skylert notification system -www.marionschools.net -Twitter (@MarionCountyK12) -School Twitter accounts -Family Access (via Skyward) -School websites -YouTube: MCPSmedia -Peachjar (e-flyer service) -FortifyFL mobile app -Txt-A-Tip Hotline 352.877.2838


School Grades Most importantly, Marion County has no failing schools. The district improved its overall grade by 26 points and continues as a “B” school district. School grades improved dramatically. Twenty-one schools increased their grades, including three schools that jumped two letter grades (Belleview-Santos, Fessenden and Reddick-Collier Elementary Schools). Another 29 schools maintained their current grade. This year, Marion schools earned: 4 “A” grades (3 last year) 15 “B” grades (9) 30 “C” grades (26) 2 “D” grades (11), and 0 “F” grades (3) Schools receive additional funding from the state for maintaining an “A” grade or improving from year to year.

Community Reads! The district’s “Community Reads!” initiative offers parents and families additional resources to help their elementary students after the regular school day ends. Simply visit www.marionschools.net and “Look for the Book” to connect to this treasure trove of fun ideas, activities, conversation starters and much more. This award-winning initiative provides new valuable literacy resources every month with custom videos, activity sheets, family fun calendar events and much more.

Dates to Remember August 12 First Day of School August 25 Early Release October 14-15 No School October 24 Safe Halloween Event October 30 Early Release November 25-29 No School December 11 Early Release December 20 – Jan. 6 No School January 7 Classes Resume January 20 No School

Immunization Requirements The State of Florida requires immunizations for all students attending public schools. Exemptions are available for medical and religious reasons; however, for the safety of all students, our district encourages all students to obtain all required immunizations. Entry requirements are available from the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. Incoming seventh graders must also receive a booster immunization before they can attend the first day of class. State law requires any student without proof of immunization be prohibited from attending, and while last year’s number of 178 students was lower than previous years, the goal is to have all students attending on the first day of school.

January 22 Early Release February 17 No School February 26 Early Release March 16-23 No School March 24 Classes Resume April 15 Early Release

Aug ust ‘19



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f not for shade trees, there wouldn’t be any summer backyard barbecues. No relaxing in a hammock with a good book, enjoying a cold glass of lemonade under a cool, leafy canopy.


deciduous tree. “The problem with live oaks is that they are generally too large for residential properties,” Holmes explains. “They can grow to 60 feet tall and 60 feet wide and their large root system can create issues for power lines, drain fields, driveways, foundations and sidewalks. Live oaks need lots of room, so they’re best for large lots only.” Even if a live oak won’t work for your yard, there are other good options. “The swamp chestnut oak is a good alternative for an average residential lot. In time, these trees do grow up to 70 feet tall, but have a canopy spread of only 40 feet,” says Holmes. “I planted one from a seedling 15 years ago and it’s about 20 feet tall now. They have a lifespan of 130-150 years.” Holmes also recommends the Shumard oak and the nuttal oak for large residential lots. For a smaller lot, Holmes notes that “the medium-sized trees like the dahoon holly or overcup oak might be good ones to consider.”

“On a hot summer day, there can be at least a 10-degree difference from sun to shade,” says David Holmes, the county director for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension Marion County. “And shade trees can also reduce home cooling costs.” According to the U.S. Department of Energy, trees can shade the ground and pavement around a home, reducing heat



radiation and cooling the air before it reaches your home’s walls and windows. A single shade tree can save a homeowner up to 20 percent on energy costs. Additionally, shade trees improve air quality, reduce storm runoff, contribute to a smaller carbon footprint and beautify our neighborhoods.

What To Plant

The go-to shade trees are deciduous trees, which shed all or most of their leaves each year and include oaks, birches, elms and sweetgums. In Ocala/Marion County, the iconic live oak is the most recognizable

When, Where And How To Plant “Trees can be planted any time, but spring is preferable because trees are coming out of dormancy and you have better control of the watering schedule,” says Holmes. “By the time summer temperatures arrive in late May, trees should be well on their way to being established. And about the time


you are getting really tired of watering the tree, the summer rains arrive.” As with all things, location is important for tree planting.

The swamp chestnut oak is a good alternative for an average residential lot. In time, these trees do grow up to 70 feet tall, but have a canopy spread of only 40 feet.

important thing is watering. “At planting, form a shallow moat about 3 feet out from the trunk in all directions, about 8 inches deep,” says Holmes. “Using a garden hose, fill the moat with water until it reaches the brim. Repeat every day for two weeks. At the beginning of the third week, water every other day for the next three weeks, then two times a week three and four days apart for an additional six weeks. Then once a week until the tree is established.” After our summer rains end, Holmes recommends “watering a new tree once a week during the dry months of October and November while trees are still

entering dormancy.” As the tree grows, UF/IFAS recommends that all young oaks be pruned routinely for the first 15-20 years. This will develop a healthy branch structure and maintain one dominant trunk for strength and stability. Ready to plant your own shade trees? The sooner you do, the sooner you can hang up that hammock. Learn More › David Holmes, UF/ IFAS Extension Marion County Director › dholmes@uf l.edu

- David Holmes

“Choose the location for planting a tree carefully. You want to plant keeping in mind how big the mature tree will be. Plant away from drain fields, sidewalks, driveways, foundations and roofs,” Holmes cautions. “It’s not a bad idea to call your local utility company before planting to avoid overhead and underground power lines.” When it comes to the biggest shade tree problems he addresses, Holmes doesn’t hesitate. “Trees are often planted too deep,” he says. “Planting a tree too deep robs it of oxygen. UF/IFAS recommends planting trees in a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and slightly shallower, about an inch above the surrounding soil.” And then there’s the root ball. “People don’t break apart the root ball before planting,” he explains. “Roots of trees raised in round pots tend to circle. If the root ball isn’t broken apart, this circling will continue in the ground.” Holmes notes that making these planting mistakes will lead to “a tree that grows for maybe four or five years then doesn’t seem to get any bigger. Finally the top branches begin to thin out for lack of oxygen. Roots need oxygen to thrive and 70 percent of all roots are in the top 18-24 inches of soil.”

Watering And Beyond

Once a shade tree has been planted properly in the right location, the next most

Aug ust ‘19



What you need to know before you begin composting: • If you use lawn clippings, make sure they haven’t been treated with chemicals or pesticides. Some chemicals can cycle out of the soil quickly, but others do not. • You cannot compost meats or oils. Cooked food may also attract rodents to your garden. • It’s important that the compost temperature reaches 122-130 degrees to kill off bad bacteria and weed seeds. If it does not reach this temperature, then weed seeds may be reintroduced into the garden when the compost is used. • Turn your compost regularly to mix the materials.


Been thinking about composting? We’ve got the dirt on this time-tested practice.


case could be made that our forebearers were the original environmental warriors and green advocates, using and reusing every resource available—from bacon fat and manure right down to their clothing. Recycling was a necessity—every resource and material was hard-won and valuable, and therefore very little was wasted or thrown away. Our ancestors couldn’t just run to their local superstore and buy something new. They learned to make what they needed, value what they had, and find other purposes for things that had outlived their original use. The history of composting goes back centuries, possibly millennia. The Romans and Greeks used some form of mixing organic materials for topsoil and mulch. Centuries after that, Shakespeare and Sir Walter Raleigh extolled the virtues of composting. Native American tribes used every bit of what they hunted or harvested, right down to sinew and bone. They



were expert composters who taught some of the European settlers. Early American composting proponents include Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington Carver. Composting takes the things we can’t eat or use, like vegetable peels, eggshells, coffee grounds and lawn clippings, and creates a medium that helps new things grow. It’s environmentally friendly, reduces solid waste in a natural way, and provides huge benefits for yards, gardens and crops. Microorganisms break down the organic materials and produce a dark, rich, crumbly material that can be used as fertilizer, mulch, topsoil and potting soil. “It creates a really nice bacterial organic breakdown—nutrient rich soil that’s beneficial for your garden,” offers Maxine Hunter, resident horticultural agent at the University of Florida and International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborist. “It’s really important that it reduces our carbon footprint.”

• Using manure in home composting can be risky. Raw animal manure can contain disease-causing organisms like E. coli and salmonella that can lead to illness when produce contaminated with those organisms is consumed. Make sure you study up on the proper process if you plan to use manure. • Be sure to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables grown with compost before eating them. • Use “green and brown” organics that are rich in nitrogen and carbon, such as: • Fallen leaves • Twigs/chipped branches • Shredded newspaper/cardboard • Grass clippings • Paper towels/plates/napkins • Young green weeds/herbaceous plants • Kitchen scraps: vegetables, eggshells, fruit, tea bags, coffee grounds For more information on composting, visit https://on.nrdc.org/30L3TN0 or visit The University of Florida tutorial on backyard composting at https://bit.ly/2M3nrIx


For 33 years, Gilbert’s Hardware & General Store has been a gathering place in Northwest Marion County.




Hammers & Hamburgers By JOANN GUIDRY


ure, everyone’s heard of a bar and grill. But how about a hardware and grill? Welcome to Gilbert’s Hardware & General Store. Or simply Gilbert’s as it’s known by longtime regular customers. Sitting right smack in the middle of horse farm country in northwest Ocala on the corner of County Roads 225A and 326, Gilbert’s has been part of the rural community for more than three decades. And, yes, tucked away just beyond the bins of bolts and screws, tools, and lawn and garden supplies is a full-service deli/grill. “My father likes to say that we’re a place where you can get a hammer and a hamburger,” says Tommy Gilbert, who runs the day-to-day operations of the business his father Tom established in 1986. “Having a deli and grill wasn’t planned. But when we expanded in 1996, we tripled our size to more than 12,000 square feet. Then I noticed that one side of the building wasn’t getting much foot traffic. So I thought maybe adding a convenience store element would help with that. And that led to the deli and grill in 2004.” As word of mouth spread of the eatery addition, Gilbert’s became a one-stop shopping and dining location. You could indeed buy a new garden hose then have breakfast or lunch. There are eight picnic tables, four inside and four outside. There’s also a bar counter with five stools. The deli/grill is open six days a week: 7am-2pm Monday through Friday and 8am-1pm on Saturday. “When we decided to do this, the most important thing for me was to have fresh, quality ingredients. We wanted to serve


and sell good food,” says Gilbert, who began working in the hardware store while a sophomore at North Marion High School. “And, of course, you have to have a good staff. Delories Mitchell, or Miss Delories as everyone calls her, is in charge of our deli and grill. Sometimes I even pull kitchen duty.” Gilbert points out that “there’s a lot of early morning prepping so that by lunchtime the hot and cold deli cases are full. If you don’t have time to sit down, you can just grab something and go.” And for those who enjoy getting started with the most important meal of the day, Gilbert’s can take care of that, too. “Breakfast sandwiches are very popular. Homemade biscuits and gravy is our top seller. Of course, a lot of people like to come by for coffee and visit with friends,” says Gilbert. “My dad, who officially retired last year, still comes by every morning to do just that and keep an eye on things. He’s still very much involved. We made a deal that we do everything 50-50 and he holds me to that.” The lunch specials are posted every day and are usually sold out by 1pm. “Probably our most popular lunch items are fried chicken, Philly cheese subs and hamburgers,” says Gilbert. “Customers love our hamburgers. We use 100 percent Angus beef and we’ll cook it to order. Around lunchtime every day, you can walk in and smell a hamburger cooking. I suspect that helps us sell a hamburger or two.” Of course, a hamburger needs french fries or maybe beer-battered onion rings. And if you’re looking for something lighter, there are salads—tuna, chef or chicken.

Gilbert’s even has a liquor license; beer and wine are available in the market. And if you have a party coming up, Gilbert’s offers specialty hot wings. Now 15 years in, Gilbert sees the success of the deli/grill as just part of the philosophy the hardware store was founded on. “When my father started this business, there was absolutely nothing out here but a few farms. For entertainment, we’d sit outside and look at each other,” he says with a chuckle. “But my father paid attention and listened to what people needed; he built his inventory on customer requests. We have continued to follow a customer service-first business model.” As Gilbert’s has grown over the decades, there have been changes in the surrounding area. Nearby stalwart thoroughbred operations such as Bridlewood Farm, Jacks or Better Farm and Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds remain. But they’ve been joined by the Equine Medical Center, right across the road from Gilbert’s on property that used to be a thoroughbred farm. All are customers of Gilbert’s. To the south, the World Equestrian Center is being built. “We have been part of this community for a long time and we’ve thrived because we pay attention to the needs of our customers. When you live in a rural area, convenience is a big thing,” says Gilbert. “Whether it’s a longtime customer or a new one, we want to be able to provide what they want and need, from the hardware store to the deli/grill.” And that includes an order of french fries with nails to go.

Aug ust ‘19




Written and compiled by the OCAL A STYLE EDITORIAL STAFF

Over the last few decades, as big box and one-stop shopping has outpaced the desire we once felt to shop local, we have lost sight of the compelling impact that buying local has on our community’s economic development and the distinctiveness of our local marketplace.




ith Buy Local campaign messages being touted from the rooftop of nearly every community economic development organization in our country, most of us are looking for a way to play a more civicminded part in our local economy yet maintain a certain lifestyle within a budget. So let’s talk about how we can do that. First, let’s start by agreeing that it has been a very, very long time since any community could claim itself a closed economy. Instead, our way of life depends on imported goods, ranging from food and fashion to electronics and vehicles from all over the world. We demand flowers, fruits and vegetables when we crave them, no matter the season. We want the hottest electronics at the lowest cost. Let’s face it, our need for immediate delivery of what we want when we want it has become insatiable and if we’re honest with ourselves, going on a diet from consumerism is unlikely. That being acknowledged, is there some happy medium that could allow us to feel good about how our purchasing power impacts our local economy without costing us an arm and a leg or becoming too much of an inconvenience?

Second, let’s agree that there are plenty of charming ideas we love about Buy Local campaigns. Given the times we live in, everyone is hungry for a common cause where we can, with very little dissention, come together to improve the lives of our neighbors. Not to mention the town pride that wells up when we describe to outsiders all the independently owned businesses that give our community its individual character. But all fuzzy feelings aside, is the Buy Local philosophy merely a drop in the bucket when you consider what contributes to a sound local economy? Just how important is it?

Show Me the Money

Buy local efforts can definitely impact a local economy for the good.

• Research shows that locally owned businesses generate two to three times more local economic activity than outside corporately owned stores. If each shopper in a moderately sized community would simply purchase one out of 10 comparably priced items that they normally purchase from big box chain stores from an independent

Returns to the Independent Businesses

local business instead, tens or possibly hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue would be infused into the local economy annually.

• A study performed by the independent research group Civic Economics proves that this type of investment pays off big. Their research shows that for every dollar you spend in a locally owned, independent business, on average, 48 cents is recirculated locally. That’s almost 50 percent of every single dollar spent on every item you purchase, and that’s quite a return on any investment. These numbers are similar for all lines of goods, including electronics; entertainment; sporting goods and toys; apparel and accessories; home furnishings and décor; and consumables and commodities. “There’s no doubt about it; money that you spend at an independent, locally owned business helps produce a stronger local economy,” says Dave Lanzilla, associate professor of business and technology at the College of Central Florida. He adds that the money “is returned in many different ways.”

Local Economy Chain Retailers

13.6% Total Returns Labor

25.2% Profit and Labor

Source: www.amiba.net/resources/multiplier-effect/

5.7% Procurement for Internal Use 14.3% Procurement for Resale 3% Charitable Giving

Aug ust ‘19


Business Owners

Local vs. Outside Corporation Both impact local economy directly by employing people, paying taxes & utilities

Ocala Business Owner


Corporate Business Owner

Marion County

Profit is spent locally to buy a home, pay tuition or property taxes, buy movie tickets or coffee and celebrate special occasions.

Profit goes somewhere else

For every dollar you spend in a locally owned, independent business, on average, cents is recirculated locally. That’s almost of every single dollar spent on every item you purchase.



Five ways money is recirculated into the local economy when you make a purchase:

• Profits paid to business owners and • • • •

investors Wages paid to local employees Goods procured from other local businesses, both for resale and for internal use Services procured from local providers such as attorneys and accountants Charitable donations to local nonprofits

The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) states that buying local affects the area’s economy through direct economic impact in the form of inventory, utilities, equipment and wages; indirect impact when profits earned are spent at other local businesses; and induced impact when employees, business owners and others who receive money from the local business spend their money locally. The alliance states that if local residents want to have access to a strong, thriving local business community, then it is imperative that they provide economic support by shopping locally.

Businesses Helping Businesses When you buy a product locally, it not only helps the business you’re buying from at the time, it also helps all the local businesses that provide goods and services to that

business. Many towns form Independent Business Alliances (IBAs) in an effort to bring local businesses together for the mutual benefit of all involved…including the shopper. Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of the Ocala/Marion Chamber and Economic Partnership, says that the CEP “encourages local businesses to do business with other local businesses, so they can all grow together.” For example, if a local restaurant buys its produce and other sundry items from local sources, everyone involved benefits and it’s doubly positive for the entire community’s economy. For the restaurant, shipping costs and the time that food spends in transit can be reduced, and money is saved. For the restaurant’s patrons, it means that products such as produce come to the table fresh out of the field and many times are cheaper. “Through our business retention program, we help, on average, 60 new businesses per year establish successful local business-to-business relationships,” Sheilley says. “When local businesses contact us and ask us to help find a local vendor that will meet their needs, we’re ready and able to do so. Just the fact that 60 new businesses each year ask us to find local vendors to provide their needed goods goes to show that this type of cooperation is definitely cost effective and it works.” These symbiotic business relationships

Why Shop ?


° A single purchase can benefit multiple businesses

° It creates jobs ° You help create new businesses and expand existing ones

° Local businesses return three times more money per dollar to the local economy than chain stores

° It makes for a more stable local

economy in adverse economic times

° Returns and refunds are simple ° Local merchants focus on the specific needs of the community

not only help small local businesses compete against larger chain stores, they also help push down product prices for the consumer.

The Dark Side of Chains and Online Shopping

Researchers say that not only does it help the local economy when you buy from local independent businesses, it actually hurts the local economy when you buy from area chain stores or from online sources.

Aug ust ‘19


to charge customers sales tax and remit it to the state. However, third-party companies selling through businesses such as Amazon (companies that don’t have a physical presence in the state) aren’t required to do so. Economists calculate that the state could be losing as much as $500 million per year in lost sales tax. When you consider the fact that sales tax makes up almost 60 percent of the state’s general revenue fund, it’s easy to see how failing to pay sales tax hurts both local and state economies. Most Floridians are unaware that all state residents are subject to what is called a “use tax.” This law states that each of us should file a Form DR-15MO and remit 6 percent sales tax to the state for any item we purchase online from a seller who doesn’t collect tax or who collects tax at a rate less than the state rate during a sale. Retail advocates point out that if every Floridian went through the process of filing the form and remitting the sales tax payment to the state every time they made an online purchase, then online sales might not be quite as popular. How profoundly do online sales hurt local economies? Research by Civic Economics shows that in 2018, Amazon and its third-party sellers displaced 62,000 shops and 900,000 retail jobs nationwide

while costing states between $5.5 and $7 billion in lost sales tax.

The Bottom Line in Shopping Local

Research proves that buying from locally owned businesses as much as practical is the wise thing to do. Instead of suggesting a radical lifestyle change that might feel contrived and inconvenient, if each of us could shift 10 percent of our shopping habits towards locally owned businesses, then with very little effort we’d make an invaluable investment in our community. The obvious benefit to each of us individually adopting this mindset is that money kept locally has an opportunity to flow back to us in various ways through commerce. But, most importantly, it’s the civic thing to do. Even if a product costs a few cents more when bought from a locally owned retailer, we should consider every purchase an investment in our community, neighbors, friends and our future. Buy local, buy smart and give back where it really counts. Shopping local is easier than you think. Follow along on the Ocala Style Facebook and Instagram as we give love all month long to locally owned shops throughout Ocala.

Prime Numbers

Amazon & American Communities 900,000

$5.5-7.0 Billion

Shops Displaced

Retail Jobs Displaced

Sales Taxes Unpaid

IN 2018:




(State & Local)

Sources: www.civiceconomics.com: The Multiplier Effect of Local Independent Businesses; www.amiba.net/resources/multiplier-effect/: Prime Numbers; www.civiceconomics.com/primenumbers.html: Thinking Outside the Box; http://nebula.wsimg.com/ (February 2019)

Studies show that chain stores recirculate on average only 16 cents of each dollar in revenue into the local economy and that is almost exclusively through wages paid to local workers. That’s one-third of what local independent retailers contribute. Chain store profits go back to the company’s headquarters in another state or country; they rarely, if ever, buy goods from local sources; service providers are almost always found near the corporate headquarters; and chains rarely donate to local charities. Money spent at chain stores is literally money being sucked out of the local economy. “Retail supercenters like Walmart and Target and online retail sales definitely take away business from smaller local stores,” Lanzilla explains. “Money that would have been spent here in Ocala and Marion County is going to other states and countries.” The American Independent Business Alliance agrees, stating that online sales grossly undermine local economies. Shoppers, looking to purchase goods at lower prices have been turning to the internet in an effort to save money. Many times, the reason those goods are selling for lower prices is because many online companies don’t pay sales tax to the State of Florida. If an online company, such as Amazon, has a physical presence in Florida, then they are required

Since 191 9

“As a third generation Koontz in the furniture business, I feel honored helping families of Marion & surrounding counties to make their homes a little more special.� -Mak Koontz



k o Lo ho’ W l a c o L w o N By NICK STEELE Meet the power player who has launched the careers of some of the world’s most successful models, even one she discovered right here in Ocala.



Photo by Billy Preston

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One recent afternoon, two women shift ever so casually in their seats, trying to get a better look at the effortlessly stylish woman seated across the cafe from them. They nonchalantly stab at their lunches, as they try to make out what is being said by this striking beauty “of a certain age” as she holds sway over a spirited conversation with her lunch companions—a conversation peppered with such bold-faced names as Charlize Theron and Catherine Zeta-Jones. There is something familiar about this woman they think. It’s a scene that wouldn’t be out of decided to place in a city like New York, Paris or even pursue modeling Miami—but in Ocala, Michele Pommier is seriously, something of an anomaly. Greene took her A pioneering model in the ’70s and ’80s, Pommier graced countless magazine covers, first test shots in New York. from Town & Country and Harper’s Bazaar She was drawn to McCall’s and became one of the most to the idea of recognizable faces in the world when she becoming a starred in the iconic “You’ve Come a Long model, but her Way, Baby” ad campaign for Virginia Slims. parents wanted She had come a long way indeed, from her to get an her admittedly pampered upbringing in education first. Connecticut society to being recognized However, it everywhere she went for decades to come, wasn’t long after as the “Virginia Slims Girl,” the “Clairol she arrived at Model” or that familiar face from many top college that she international beauty campaigns. was discovered It all started when a friend of the family and set upon a path that would deliver her and famed American fashion and celebrity to a life in fashion. photographer Milton Greene, best known for “Glamour was working on their his iconic photo shoots best-dressed college students with Marilyn issue and they selected me to be Monroe, asked I was always one in the issue,” Pommier recalls. to photograph of those people “Eileen Ford of Ford Models Pommier when that if you tell saw me in that magazine and she was just 14 g in go I’m , signed me. Needless to say, I years old. no me quit college after a year and “He was to go and do moved to New York to live in sitting at it. I never ever a $200-a-month apartment in brunch with us e er th ed Greenwich Village. That was in ev at our home in li be the late ’60s.” at Westport,” she was an ything th And although her mother recalls. “And he I couldn’t do. had been a model of some asked my mother acclaim before her, her father was strongly if I could do a opposed to his daughter abandoning her shot with him, in a burlap bag on one of the studies for a career in front of the lens. hills, and my mom said, ‘Yes, go ahead.’” “My father, who had introduced Ebel The photo ran in Life, and once she



watches to the United States and was a very famous jewelry designer for Harry Winston, being European, he didn’t approve of my modeling,” Pommier reveals. “So he cut me off financially. That was their mentality in the ’60s. He said, ‘You can’t do that.’ But I was always one of those people that if you tell me no, I’m going to go and do it. I never ever believed there was anything that I couldn’t do. “I did a lot of work for Town and Country,” she shares. “And I loved shooting with Harper’s Bazaar. In my first year, I made $75,000. It was 1968. I was 19 at the time and that was quite a lot of money, in those days, for a model.” Suddenly she was modeling alongside Lauren Hutton in exotic locations where actual lions and panthers were used like accessories, strolling in and out of the photographer’s frame. “Lauren and I were the only two models in New York City who would do it,” she recalls. “Can you imagine? I loved it!” Her big breakthrough was appearing in

a worldwide beauty campaign for L’Oréal Cosmetics and that set her up for success. “It was huge,” she recalls. “That campaign really put me on the map.” Her success catapulted her into the upper echelon of the modeling industry. She was constantly in demand and on a fast track that had her partying at Studio 54 between flying out for her various assignments. “I traveled the world and got paid for it,” she offers, in a voice still full of enthusiasm. At the height of her modeling career, however, she decided that her high-flying life was one she would happily trade for a chance to settle down with her new fiancé and start a family.

“I had been a model for 10 years,” she recalls. “It was the most incredible journey of my life, but jumping on and off of planes and never being home, it was getting old. So I followed my future husband Peter Diel down to Coral Gables and I started commuting back and forth. I would leave Sunday night from Miami and then work

in New York Monday through Thursday. I told Eileen Ford that on Friday, I was out. But ultimately, I wanted to stop with all the traveling,” she continues. “I left while I had three magazine covers out: Town & Country, Harper’s Bazaar and McCall’s. Eileen was not happy, because I was a big earner for her.” But Pommier was under contract with

Clairol and she decided to see what opportunities Florida could offer her. “In 1978, I had joined a small agency in Miami and they didn’t know what to do with me,” she reveals. “They had never seen a model with a portfolio like mine. And other models were seeking me out for advice all the time. So I said to myself, I think I’m going to open a little agency here. I called Eileen and I asked her, ‘What

do you think? Should I use my name or not?’” she continues. “At first, I called it The Agency South. We were located in the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The next thing I knew, Eileen gave me access to all her girls in her agency. She said, ‘Take whoever you want.’ That gave me a chance to book big New York models while discovering girls of my own.’” Pommier parlayed that into an entrepreneurial venture that drew on her experiences and talent for spotting natural beauties. “I have always had an eye for talent,” she offers. “So the idea of scouting and developing models really appealed to me. And there was no one doing that seriously in Miami Beach at the time.” In fact, Pommier was one of several pioneering entrepreneurs who helped influence the economic growth of Miami Beach as a fashion capital. She did so through her visionary business acumen and ability to launch a whole new generation of models that have gone on to become some of the top-earning models and actresses in the world. Such was the case for Christy Turlington, who is perhaps best known for her fragrance ads for Calvin Klein’s Eternity and has held the title of supermodel for decades. “When I found Christy Turlington in 1983, she was just 13 years old,” she recalls. “I took one look at her and thought, Oh my gosh! This is the next Audrey Hepburn. Christy really put me on the map as far as discoveries. Famous modeling agencies from Paris, London, Milan and New York called me to see if I would let them represent her. She, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi Campbell were the top three girls in the world at the time and went on to become iconic supermodels.” Another prolific career that she helped launch is that of Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Charlize Theron, who continues to appear in one of the most lucrative modeling contracts in the world for Christian Dior. Aug ust ‘19


During her time representing the statuesque beauty, Pommier secured an incredibly lucrative deal for her to represent luxury watch designer Raymond Weil in an exclusive ad campaign, worth millions of dollars for a one-day shoot. She worked that same magic for Catherine Zeta-Jones, securing her yet another multimillion dollar contract with the Italian luxury jewelry brand Di Modolo. “Charlize found me through an agency friend in Milan, after working briefly in Milan and Cape Town as a model,” Pommier shares. “My friend said, ‘I have this girl that I’m working with here and I don’t know what to do with her.’ She was 17 years old. After she arrived at my agency, I could see what I needed to do, so we worked to develop her and get her in great shape,” she continues. “Then, when I felt she was ready, I sent her down the road to Versace. Gianni started using her and that was it! That’s how she got her start. After working for awhile in Miami, she flew to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career. 46


“I like to discover and put a model on the map,” she confides about her continued focus, “if they have what it takes and listen to my guidance. That is what I continue to do.” Pommier’s most recent discovery was made right here in Ocala. She and her husband, former professional golfer, stockbroker and model Peter Diel, who is currently the head golf instructor at Ocala National Golf Course at Golden Hills Country Club, followed a friend to the area. They now spend about half their time in Ocala. “We bought a house here about three years ago and I started commuting back and forth between here and Miami,” Pommier explains.

“I was driving and it was a little crazy. In December of 2018, I decided to really focus on my ‘special girls’ like Alex Hansen, who I discovered right here in town. She was living in Tampa and visiting Ocala for the day. It has taken me several years to develop her and a lot of hard work on both our parts, but she recently starred in a worldwide campaign for GUESS. I know how to develop models, because I have been there. I’m going to make her a star,” she says with determination. “I’m always scouting for talent and I want to find some of it in Central Florida, because I know it’s out there...Ocala, Gainesville, Tampa, Orlando,” she continues. “These girls and boys do not need to spend the money or drive to Miami to have a career in modeling. They can meet with me to see if they have what it takes. I guess I’ll be discovering talent until I’m no longer here!” she says with a laugh. Her wit, wisdom and zest for life make her a thoroughly enjoyable lunch companion— yes, we’re back at that lunch—but it is her candor and humility that make her disarmingly down to earth. “Oh my gosh,” she offers, upon noticing that she has attracted the attention of several fellow diners, as she flips through a glossy portfolio of images. “What must they think?” What Pommier thinks about our community is perhaps more compelling. There are so many wonderfully interesting people here in Ocala,” she offers enthusiastically. “You would be surprised how many of them have these really great stories and talents. With the World Equestrian Center coming,” she continues, “things are just going to blow up here. It’s going to be something to reckon with very soon.” Family remains at the center of Pommier’s life. She has two children that she adores. “My son, David Diel, is involved in golf at a very exclusive golf club in Miami and my daughter, Jacqueline Pommier Diel, is helping me scout Ocala for the next big supermodel.”

her wing and I am so very grateful to her. She was the person who believed in me, even before I believed in myself. She gave me that confidence. It certainly didn’t come overnight. I didn’t know how to pose or anything. That was what was so great about working with Michele. We’d do shoots and she’d show me something I was doing with my hands or what angles were my best. A lot of people think it’s easy, but there’s a lot to learn. A lot of models don’t have an agent like Michele to look out for them.

Was there a moment when you realized, I’m really going to be a model? It was my first job. Michele booked me a national Colgate commercial. My very first paycheck was $60,000 for one day’s work. It opened my eyes. I was like, I could make this my lifestyle.

What was it like to shoot the GUESS campaign?

l l e h s b m Bo R i si n g Alex Hanson has a life that many dream about. In five short years, she has become an internationally recognized model with an impressive body of work. It might surprise you to learn that Hanson was discovered while on a day trip to Ocala. She was visiting from Clearwater, where she was working in a restaurant, living paycheck to paycheck and trying to find herself. Michele Pommier only needed one look at Hanson to know what a bright future she could have as a model. Since her discovery, Hanson has graced the pages of international magazines, appeared in television commercials for top brands and starred in advertising campaigns for the likes of GUESS, Bare Necessities and Linea Roma. We caught up with the globetrotting beauty to get a firsthand account of her journey since being discovered.

What was it like being discovered? I had no idea what was really going on. Modeling was something I had thought about, but it was a daydream situation until I met Michele. I trusted her immediately and I don’t trust people that often. Michele took me under

The GUESS campaign was a high for sure. The GUESS woman is always such a bombshell—that’s a woman right there. It was a campaign I really wanted to do, so I let them know. Everything I’d done up to that point had prepared me for that moment and the reason I got the campaign was that I was ready for it.

What was it like when the campaign came out? It was something I will never forget. I was traveling a lot and suddenly I was seeing myself on billboards and in stores in LA, Tokyo and Cape Town. It was the coolest thing.

Have you had any “pinch me” moments since you began modeling? You meet a lot of interesting people and have a lot of “pinch me” moments. I met Mick Jagger in LA and he said, ‘Come to my show.’ So I got to be a part of that whole rock star lifestyle with the Rolling Stones and go backstage with the band. It’s definitely cool to be able to say that Mick Jagger is a friend.

Any advice for young people interested in modeling? It’s not a hobby. It’s a career. You have to be committed. There’s a lot of rejection. You can work really hard, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. You have to take it as a lesson instead of throwing yourself a pity party. I’m grateful for all the rejection I had, because now I know what I’m worth. I don’t really care if a client thinks I’m too big or too small. In a business like this I’m the talent and not everyone is going to like what I have to offer. All you can do is be nice to everyone and really give your all. Aug ust ‘19


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In The Kitchen With Sarah Aschliman By ANGEL A DURRELL Photography by ISABELLE RAMIREZ

For this Ocala native and her family, catching, growing and sourcing food locally is a way of life.


arah Aschliman learned very early in life about the importance of sourcing food locally. Knowing where her dinner came from and what was in it, as well as being included in the preparation and cooking of family meals, made for invaluable lessons during her childhood. Today, she wants to pass on those same lessons to her own children.

TA B L E to catch enough to fill their freezer. Lobster fishing is done mostly at night and into the wee hours; they have a tradition of eating dinner early, gearing up, and heading out on the boat as the sun sets. “We’re out till midnight or 1am, lobstering,” she says with a grin. “It’s super fun.” Their children love being on the boat and having the opportunity to see the marine life—squid, manatee, octopus and sharks—and learn about the natural environment. It’s simple, uncomplicated food, but it’s teaching her kids a lot about sustainability and sourcing, as well as expanding their ever-maturing palates. They both like to help her in the kitchen and be involved in the cooking process, especially anything that has to do with grinding or chopping things. “A lot of the stuff that I make, like salad dressings and marinades, use the food processor,” she laughs. “That’s the fun part for them, that and breaking eggs.”

After a 10-year absence from their native Ocala, Aschliman and her husband moved back to the area to help her parents build the family winery—Island Grove Wine Company—where she now works as general manager. Her growing knowledge of wine has only enhanced her already discerning and adventurous taste in food, which has, in turn, influenced her children’s tastes. “We actually cook a lot,” Aschliman explains, noting her kids’ love of chicken piccata, capers, olives, fresh vegetables and sushi. “We try to have them eat real food, not ‘kid’ food. They order real food at restaurants, too. They’re just so funny; they’re like little grown-ups. My son will order pasta with mussels and clams, and he’s a shrimp freak!”

A key element of their food experiences has been catching and harvesting it themselves—something of a lost art amid our increasing reliance on convenience and commercial food sources. “We’re farmers,” she offers. “So we know the hard work that goes into growing and cultivating food.” Aschliman wants her kids to retain that knowledge going forward. “We’re not health nuts, but we try not to eat too much from the center of the grocery store,” she asserts. “We try to make the protein and vegetables as fresh as we can.” Seafood is a big staple in their home, and they take annual trips to the Florida Keys

Her flank steak recipe is another example of an easy, fresh and simple dish that is also satisfying and quick to prepare. It’s been a favorite in her home for over a decade. She usually serves it with a chimichurri sauce and some roasted red or sweet potatoes to round out the meal and add a bit of color to the plate. “It has a nice, citrusy taste that isn’t too spicy,” she offers. “We cook it a bunch of different ways. We’ll serve it on rice, potatoes, or even in salads. It’s super fast [to make] and feeds all four of us with enough for leftovers.”


Flank Steak 1 flank steak 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons Adobo seasoning In a small bowl, mix extra virgin olive oil with Adobo seasoning. › Brush over your steak, covering all sides. › Let sit for about 10 minutes. › With your oven on high broil, place the steak on a baking sheet and place in oven for 5 minutes. › Take out, flip, and cook the other side for 5 minutes. › Remove pan from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. › Cut the steak across the grain into long strips and serve with chimichurri sauce.

Chimichurri Sauce: (Makes enough to fill one small Mason jar) 1 bunch of finely cut parsley 4 cloves garlic 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon lime juice Prepare the sauce one hour before serving. Chop 4 cloves of garlic in a food processor. › Add parsley. › Add black pepper, salt and lime juice. › Now for the tricky part. Measure 1 1/2 cups of extra virgin olive oil. › Put about 1/2 cup in a pot on low heat. › Take the parsley-garlic mixture out of the food processor and put into a glass jar. (I take a bit of the parsley and throw it into the pot on the stove. If it singes the leaves, it is too hot; if it just bubbles around it, but does not burn it, then it is the right temperature.) › Pour that hot oil into the glass jar and let the parsley mixture infuse into the oil for about 5 minutes. › Pour the remaining 1 cup of oil into the jar. › Shake well and sample. If it needs more bite, add more lemon and salt to taste.


The Business Of Being A Good Neighbor By KATIE MCPHERSON Photography by DAVE MILLER

Fish Hawk Distillery opened in 2011, and from the moment they began, they’ve put their farm-to-bottle philosophy first.


have worked in 28 countries and spent a lot he distillery was born after of time abroad, but my mom went to Ocala years of travelling the world and High School. Also, we needed outstanding learning about the craft, says chief source water, and where we are right now, operating officer and master distiller we draw water out of the aquifer that feeds Matthew Bagdanovich. Rainbow Springs.” “From 1993 to 2005, I lived and Today, the eight-person operation focuses worked abroad,” he explains. “Almost on its philosophy of putting quality first and my entire adult life I had made wine at being a good neighbor. That means buying home as a hobby. While living in Mexico, local whenever possible. To date, Fish I encountered a family that had a tequila Hawk Distillery is the only distiller certified distillery, so for seven years I distilled by the Florida Department of Agriculture tequila in Mexico, where it’s legal.” When he returned to the United States in as “Fresh From Florida,” meaning that at least 51 percent of their raw materials 2005, Bagdanovich became aware that craft originate from Florida farms—a percentage breweries and distilleries were booming, Bagdanovich says they far exceed. and set out to create one of his own. The “All of our rums are made from sugar name comes from a beloved family memory. cane molasses grown “The name Fish in Palm Beach County. Hawk came from my Fish Hawk Distillery Everything in our grandma. She was a lemon vodka was Florida cracker and is the only distiller grown, distilled and our built-in babysitter. certified by the packaged within a 30For the first five or six Florida Department of mile radius. The Silver years of my life, we’d Queen whiskey is made be out by the beach or Agriculture as “Fresh from corn we grow the river. Whenever an From Florida. on our own land,” he osprey would swoop explains. “I grow a lot of down, she’d say, ‘Look botanicals here for various infusions. We get at that fish hawk!’ It’s a very Central blueberries and blackberries from Island Florida thing to say.” Grove, and from that we make vodka. Most For Bagdanovich, there was no question of the citrus for our citrus-based vodkas are his distillery belonged in Marion County— not only did it have the necessary resources, from Peace River down in South Florida. We use muscadine grapes from Micanopy.” it meant something to him. He adds that whenever a product he “The reason we’re here in western needs is not available in Marion County or Marion County is because this is home. I



Florida, he opts for ingredients grown by U.S. farmers over international products. “If someone has a globally optimized supply chain in their business, we wish them well. We choose to do business with our neighbors because we will not use an artificial color, flavor or preservative, nor do we source any precursor material, like malt alcohol. We are a true farm-to-bottle distillery.” Fish Hawk Distillery chooses to buy local not only to support neighbors but to guarantee the quality of the ingredients they use to create their own products. “Know what you’re buying,” Bagdanovich urges. “Where it came from, who made it, and how they made it.” When purchasing spirits, he says knowing exactly what’s in them is important. “If you stay hydrated but overindulge in our product, you cannot get a hangover. The alcohol that would give you the pain in the head, we remove, and we sell it to other distilleries who make vodka out of our waste—even though I wouldn’t touch it.” Fish Hawk Distillery produces about


30,000 cases of spirits annually. Their bestseller is the Conquistador 1513, a whiskey with a smoked oat flavor. Bagdanovich suggests trying it neat, with a little ice water, or in an Old-Fashioned. One of his personal favorites is the Siren Song whiskey. “For a number of years, I went all over Scotland and developed a taste for Scotch whiskey—the bold, smoky, peaty ones. I wanted to make a whiskey that reminded me of that. Siren Song is a very bold, very smoky whiskey, and it’s what I typically drink. For a teeny-tiny, outin-the-woods Florida distillery, we were

very proud to win medals for a smoky whiskey.” In 2018 alone, Fish Hawk Distillery won 19 medals from the American Craft Distilling Institute. When considering a local distillery to purchase from, Bagdanovich recommends getting to know their processes and supporting those who are truly distilling.

“Nine out of 10 craft distillers in Florida do not distill, but buy from big commercial outlets, repackage and resell,” he explains. “If you visit the few of us who actually distill from local products, you’re going to find some wonderful products that the big boys just can’t make.”

Fish Hawk Spirits › 16350 SW 20th Lane, Ocala, FL 34481 › (352) 445-1292 › www. fishhawkspirits.com Aug ust ‘19




Photography by ERIC ZAMORA

When you think of seafood, the first adjective to come to mind is probably “fresh,” and there’s no fresher around here than Cooke’s Oysters & Seafood.


wner Ricky Cooke has been harvesting seafood of all types for decades off the shores of Cedar Key in the Gulf of Mexico, providing ocean-to-table fish, shellfish and mollusks long before ”slow food” was a trendy buzzword. “It’s local food that isn’t shipped thousands of miles,” he explains. “Everything is regulated and checked. It’s safe. It’s clean. It’s renewable.” Cooke grew up in Cedar Key surrounded by seafood. He was always eating oyster, crab and fish out of the Gulf. His family had an oyster house where he learned to shuck, so it



was a natural transition for him to start fishing for a living. “When I was growing up, it was a commercial fishing town,” Cooke explains. “I wanted to make money when I was little, so I sorted crab. I was 11 when I got my first crab trap and a little boat. This old crabber I knew, I sorted crabs for him and baited traps. He showed me how to crab. My elders and older people who had lived there a long time showed me stuff and I started doing it.” Cooke’s Oysters & Seafood opened in 1987, when Cooke was just 21 and decided he wanted to start “his own little oyster house.”


oysters and live in them. All of that stuff “An opportunity came up for this little is connected together.” oyster shack building on the edge of the While business main road coming is going well today, into Cedar Key. I had Cooke says there was a little money so I Usually two years a slow period after the bought it and redid it,” after a hurricane Gulf oil spill in 2010. he recalls. “My future comes in, we’ll have “The oil never came wife at the time and within 175 miles of us, I would shuck, and four to five years of but the psychological then we hired on a good oystering, and impact was there,” he few more people. We the crabs will be good explains. “We couldn’t moved down to where sell an oyster after the fish house used to too because they eat the spill. People were be in 1991, because we the oysters and live scared to death of the got into aquaculture. in them. Gulf Coast oyster.” We started farming as During the summer much as we could right - Ricky Cooke when the oysters are off the bat.” out of season, Cooke travels to Alaska to Today the business is situated on run a commercial salmon fishing boat in Whiddon Avenue in Cedar Key. Cooke and his team sell freshly caught seafood mainly to local restaurants, other seafood stores and distributors. They specialize in harvesting clams, oysters, blue crab, stone crab and mullet. Oyster season begins around the second or third week of September, which is when Cooke and his team start their oystering routine, ramping up to the big winter oyster harvest. “We oyster from Ozello, Florida, just south of Crystal River, to Horseshoe Beach to the North,” he explains. “We’ll get up before daybreak, drive down there and put in at the ramp. We’ll do that from November all the way until April. We get up just a little before daybreak, oyster all day long, and come in after dark.” After years of oystering in this area, Cooke has learned all the places oysters like to live and exactly the right time to bring them in. “Over time you just know where to look—they want to be where the water flows well, and they can’t grow on mud. One thing about oysters, when you go out oystering and you search for where they are that season, they don’t move, so you can look at them and throw them back down if they’re small so they can keep growing,” he offers. “Usually two years after a hurricane comes in, we’ll have four to five years of good oystering, and the crabs will be good too because they eat the

Bristol Bay. This year, he arrived on May 22nd to begin preparing the boat. Some of that salmon is sold elsewhere, but some does make it back to Cedar Key to sell locally. Cooke says he first fished in Alaska about 10 years ago, visiting a friend who had a boat there. While he was there, he met another fishing boat owner who asked him to run his operation “After I ran it that season, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I bought it [the boat],” he recalls. And Cooke knows a good captain always has his boat and equipment ready, because “the fish wait on no one.” Cooke’s Oysters & Seafood › (352) 543-5334 › 1133 Whiddon Ave., Cedar Key, FL 32625

Aug ust ‘19



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

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

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

El Toreo

3790 E Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala

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


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

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



Book your party at Tony’s today.

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

(352) 237-3151 › tonysushi.com Mon-Thu 11a-10p › Fri & Sat 11a-11p › Sun Noon-10p With abundant menu choices and over 100 off-menu rolls, you certainly won’t run out of options at Tony’s Sushi. If you can’t decide, the waitstaff is excellent at suggesting items you’re sure to enjoy. Every roll and sushi dish is made to order from the freshest ingredients. In the steakhouse area, highly trained chefs prepare a memorable meal as they cook on the tableside grills, preparing chicken, steak or seafood just the way you like it. Entrées include soup or salad and rice. Tony’s Sushi has a family-friendly, casual atmosphere, along with a full bar, including imported Japanese sake and beer selections.

Now serving Sunday brunch! 25 cent beer on Mondays. All you can eat wings every Tuesday. 50% off wine bottles on Wednesdays. All-day happy hour on Thursdays.

NOW SERVING WINE & BEER! Dine-in, take-out and delivery available.

The Lodge

36 S Magnolia Ave., Ocala

(352) 289-1390 › thelodgeocala.com Mon-Fri Open at 3pm › Sat 11am-2am › Sun Open at 10am The Lodge is historic downtown Ocala’s gastropub, with a full liquor bar and wine menu; more than 200 domestic, imported and craft beers; and fresh, expertly crafted tavern fare that pairs perfectly with your favorite libation. Enjoy tapas, lunch, dinner, late night bites and a Sunday brunch menu. With live entertainment Wednesday through Saturday, The Lodge is your comfortable, casual, comeas-you-are hangout for college football, NFL Sundays and new events like the dueling piano show every second Friday. Follow @TheLodgeOcala on Facebook for food and drink specials, event info and tickets.

Louie’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant

422 South Pine Avenue, Ocala, FL (352) 304-5199 Mon-Sat 11a-9p

This family-owned and-operated restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients and everything on the menu is made to order. To get your meal going, try the mozzarella caprese, garlic knots or fried calamari. The antipasto and Greek salads are two more favorites! Entrées include a huge variety of chicken, seafood, pasta and veal options. If you crave it, chances are they make it. The pizza, though. You have to try the hand-tossed pizza. Pile it high with your favorite toppings, or try the Sicilian with its one-of-a-kind meat sauce. No matter what you order, you’ll be satisfied and ready to call Louie’s a new family favorite.


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

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

Feta Mediterranean Cuisine 306 SW Broadway St., Ocala

(352) 433-4328 › fetaocala.com Mon-Thu 11:30a-9p › Fri-Sat 11:30a-10p

Home of the BOGO Take Out Pizza! Come see our new menu and Chef’s Specials. Full-service catering & drop-offs. Call for catering (352) 260-5807. Taste of Ocala Winner 2018

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

Feta in downtown Ocala is the only place for authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. The guiding philosophy for the Pomakis family is that all recipes must start with the freshest, healthiest ingredients available, locally sourced when possible. Chef Dimitri interprets your favorite Mediterranean dishes with an artistic flair that ensures the flavor, texture and aroma will excite your senses: from the perfect Greek salad and succulent grass-fed lamb chops to wild-caught branzino and flaky, melt-in-your mouth baklava.


Six locations in Ocala and Wildwood zaxbys.com

Try the absolutely craveable chicken, Zalads and Zappetizers, or enjoy any one of the many Party Platterz catered for your next game, party or event. Always fresh and made to order, Zaxby’s offers family-friendly, fast service featuring daringly zesty chicken fingers, wings and more. Open seven days a week with six locations to serve you throughout Ocala and Wildwood, you can drive thru on the go or dine in with family and friends. ZAXBY’s: Always so Zatisfying!



Locations: 3351 W Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala; (352) 789-6001 › 3400 N Pine Ave., Ocala; (352) 877-7900 › 2900 SW 27th Ave., Ocala; (352) 861-9234 › 6033 SW Hwy 200, Ocala; (352) 351-1541 › 13451 SW 17th Ct., Ocala; (352) 347-5775 › 868 E SR 44, Wildwood; (352) 748-0221


The Perfect Mix by AMY DAVIDSON Photography by ISABELLE RAMIREZ

Our local music scene is hotter than ever. Meet the gifted songstress who is fanning the flames with her new solo album.



s a 12-year-old budding musician, Becky Sinn, whose real name is Rebecca Dee Hudson, didn’t have to look to the local music scene for inspiration. Instead, she took her cues from her guitarist father Robert Douglas Hudson. “What made me want to be a musician was my dad. He played guitar, but he played old country songs and I wanted nothing to do with those,” Sinn recalls. “But he showed me my first chords.” Once she learned those basic chords, Sinn, who was born and raised in Marion County, taught herself by reading guitar magazines and learning Nirvana songs. “Kurt Cobain—I was in love with him,” says Sinn. “I started playing in my bedroom and my little brother, who’s only a year younger, was my biggest fan. He would tell me, ‘Becky, your voice is awesome’ and my daddy always said, ‘Girl, if you knew what you were doing, you’d be dangerous.’’’ Sinn scored some gigs in the early days, when she was just 15 years old, which laid the foundation for where she is now in her career. In fact, she essentially helped create the local music scene during the late 1990s and early 2000s through performances at Ocalapalooza, O’Malley’s Alley and K&K Rehearsal Studios & Concert Hall. She has been engaged to sing the national anthem at several Ocala Cannibals roller derby events and has even performed at a Harley Davidson dealership.

In 2012, Sinn released her first album, Myne Owne. “Man, I remember when we got to play Ocalapalooza, I thought I had hit the big time there,” Sinn offers with a laugh. Sinn’s sound is something that even she has some difficulty describing. The songstress 60


performs as a solo artist, sings with the seven-piece band Swing Theory and leads Dr. Sinn’s Freak Island Musical Sideshow. Her voice is lush, velvety and soulful, with the power to engage the audience through her deep emotional connection to each song. Her originals have influences from swing, rockabilly and even punk rock. She’s drawn to minor chords and 3/4 timing. Swing Theory performs swing and Latin dance favorites and jazz standards. In June, Swing Theory opened for the Levitt AMP Ocala show with headliner Remember Jones. “Levitt AMP was huge and it was in my sight since it started,” Sinn says. “I also want to provide the soundtrack for weddings and bigger events through Swing Theory.” According to the Dr. Sinn’s Freak Island Musical Sideshow Facebook page, the five-member ensemble is “an escaped group of bawdy lasses with a passion for

all things sideshow.” “Dr. Sinn’s is original songs, some covers, with funny skits, fire performing, tap dancing, kazoo playing, pointe ballet and fiddle extravaganzas,” she explains. “It’s like if theater, burlesque and some clowns had a love child.” Sinn attributes her evolution and success to many local promoters, musicians and supporters of live shows, and says she is keenly indebted to close friend Jenny Castle who helped her establish the Dr. Sinn’s Freak Island project. In fact, there is a special thanks to Castle on Sinn’s newest solo album, Lamb & Lioness, which reads, “To Jenny Castle, with love, for making so many of my dreams, including this album, come true.” Sinn wrote each of the nine songs on the album and she also plays an assortment of instruments including guitar, banjo uke, washboard and ukulele. Sinn even designed

ARTS the sultry original art for the album cover. “The significance of the album is that I wrote almost every damn song on there for and about a man I’m no longer with,” she reveals. “It is a huge love letter to the love of my life. It’s about the love, passion, hilarity and tragedy that can come out of it. “It’s a love letter to Jenny Castle, too,” she continues, “and all the musicians that are listed on the album. It was so cool that people came together to make it sound exactly how I wanted it to sound. There are elements of folk, jazz and blues. There are so many influences.” Castle, who is the president of the Gainesville Circus Center, is also a clown, fire and burlesque performer as well as a show producer. “It’s quite difficult to describe Becky in a way that does her justice,” Castle says. “I may tell people how incredible she is, but no matter the preparation they are always blown away when they see her perform. When I watch her on stage and hear her sing, I feel like I am in a different place and a different era. “Becky is the reason she is where she is today,” she continues. “I just gave her some little nudges and talking-tos to hold her accountable when she veered off course.” Megan Whittaker, a lifelong Marion County resident and co-owner of The Keep (formerly Ocala Wine Experience) has witnessed the growth of the local music scene. Whittaker and her partner Mark Sykuta book talent and feature a variety of acts each month for The Keep’s upstairs lounge. “She brings an element of femininity, alternative culture and style to the music scene,” Whittaker explains. “She has this uniqueness to her that is sexy, smart and super talented. That to me sums up her direct influence on the music scene locally. Plus, she is super sweet. She is this pure being.” “I just feel so honored that people recognize me,” Sinn confesses. “It’s really wild and it humbles me so much. People come over and say, ‘You made us so happy tonight.’ I look out on the audience sometimes and hear the music surrounding me and I think, ‘How did I get to be this lucky that this gets to be my life?’” Lamb & Lioness is available on Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music. You can purchase the CD at www.cdbaby.com or by contacting Becky directly on her Facebook page. For bookings, visit www.facebook.com/ pg/Beckysinnmusic.

SCENE STEALERS Any given weekend—and often on weekdays—our local music scene offers a mosaic of talent and a wealth of live music experiences. And while this list is in no way a definitive catalog of the many talented artists in our area, here’s a roundup of a few performers who keep us coming back for more.

Ecliff Farrar Telford

Miranda MADison

Ecliff ’s musical appeal lies in his sultry yet energetic vocals, and his selection of cover songs connects him to a wide range of audiences. That combination also made him an excellent choice for last summer’s Levitt AMP Ocala concert, where he opened for retro-funk and soul artists Latasha Lee and the Blackties. He had previously opened for Solomon Jaye during the inaugural Levitt AMP concert series in 2017. Ecliff ’s performance roster includes recurring gigs at The Keep, Cup O’ The Irish, The Corkscrew and other Ocala venues. He is currently at work on some new original material.

MADison, a self-described “vintage songstress,” revels in jazz songs and timeless vocals. Her repertoire includes captivating classics by Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald as well as contemporary covers of artists like Norah Jones and Etta James. She performs at the Hilton Ocala brunch every Sunday. In July, MADison opened for Tonina during the Levitt AMP Ocala concert series and has been increasingly sought after by live music venues outside our region.

Left On Broadway Olivia Mercado-Ortiz and Mike Wall recreate covers and also perform their original material (some dating back to the late ’90s when they were known as Eight Penny). Mercado-Ortiz brings a robust vocal sophistication and a diverse range. Wall brings a dynamic acoustic sound. They often invite other guest musicians to join them for their performances. They have garnered a dedicated fan base that gather at local performance spaces and are sought after for private events. They also helped create the Couch Sessions series and brought down the house at the 2018 finale event.

Voltron Collective Adam Volpe’s eclectic musical cooperative presents a rotating band lineup for a variety of gigs. Earlier this year, Voltron Collective collaborated with Ocala Symphony Orchestra (OSO) conductor Matthew Wardell for the Bowie & Glass: A Symphonic Tribute show. During that performance, OSO accompanied Voltron Collective on their set. In July, they also opened for The Alex Harris Band at The Reilly Arts Center. The set featured KellyAnn ErgleGarno and Jordan Garno and highlighted some soulful funk and R&B classics. Part of Voltron Collective’s charm lies in their elusive nature and performance schedule, so catch them when the opportunity comes up.

Aug ust ‘19


We Are Expecting You.

Downton Abbey Movie Screening WUFT is proud to bring together all who love the Downton Abbey series to watch the upcoming Downton Abbey movie!

Sunday, September 22, 2019 Regal Celebration Pointe in Gainesville, FL & Regal Hollywood & IMAX in Ocala, FL Tickets are available for purchase now through WUFT for a Downton Abbey movie experience! Spend time with friends, see a great movie, and support WUFT. Details on activities, special treats and eats at the WUFT Downton Abbey movie experience will be revealed as this exciting event draws near.


in partnership with

All proceeds go to supporting WUFT’s quality public television programming.


Fantastic Worlds And Where To Find Them By DANIELLE LIENEMAN

If you aren’t able to take a trip this month, these two books by local authors might be just the escape you need.

Pacificus by James Donbar

Readers looking for an escape from everyday life won’t be disappointed in Pacificus, a fast-paced political thriller that is bound to keep the pages turning and your heart pumping. The island of Pacificus is a haven for the world’s wealthiest individuals looking to build a community on a set of clearly defined principles: parity, peace, progress, prosperity and prudence. It’s easy to get lost in the details of the island. For instance, how does this island keep afloat? How do the residents get food and fuel? What is the daily routine? How is the government set up? Utilizing a diverse cast of characters—including, but

not limited to, a travel reporter and her editor determined that something sinister is occurring; Gaspar Delgado Navarro, the island’s administrator; and some mayhem-causing visitors to the island—the author is able to create a realistic portrayal of life both on and off this floating utopia. As the island struggles to be recognized by the international community, the seemingly idyllic paradise becomes embroiled in conflict of its own. As the secrets and lies started floating to the surface, I couldn’t wait to find out just what was up on this mysterious island off the coast of Ecuador and what dark truth was lurking underneath. Pacificus is the first novel by Florida author James Donbar.

Worm Fiddling Nocturne in the Key of a Broken Heart by Kimberly Lojewski

The opening lines of Worm Fiddling Nocturne in the Key of a Broken Heart could have been written about Kimberly Lojewski herself: “It isn’t just a pastime. It’s an art.” While these lines might have been about worm fiddling, a method of collecting earthworms, Lojewski’s writing has truly achieved art form status through her collection of short stories. She has the uncanny ability to transport the reader from a hot, muggy Florida summer afternoon—I could almost hear the cicadas singing and feel the mosquitos swarming—to a small English village reminiscent of an “antiquated Peter Pan set.” Despite the somewhat mystical, not-quite-real feeling of this fictional world—one familiar and yet different from our own—it’s easy to relate to the whimsical cast of characters. From a camp counselor haunted by her best friend to a teenage prisoner of a reform camp run by the elderly, Lojewski’s characters are all looking for something: acceptance, escape, community. The stories take familiar tropes, such as a small-town girl struggling to accept her family’s legacy and longing for love, and gives them a uniquely Floridian spin. Can you say alligator wresting champion, anyone? Droll in its humor, the book is sure to delight. The short story collection was first published in 2018 by Burrow Press and is the winner of the Florida Book Award Gold Medal for Fiction. Aug ust ‘19



Skin Deep Written & Photographed by AMY DAVIDSON

A trailblazing artist addresses the beauty of brown skin of every shade.


n Stephanie Brown’s interactive, mixed media installation exhibit Do Not Bleach, which opened June 8th and will run through October 20th at the Appleton Museum, the photographer and interdisciplinary artist examines and encourages melanin positivity by using soaps, pictures in frames, vinyl photos, textiles, T-shirts, paper dolls and mannequin torsos. The collection is one of two thoughtprovoking exhibits that examine issues of race and diversity. Brown’s Do Not Bleach opened at the same time as Urban Chatter by Sharon Kerry-Harlan, a collection of works achieved with thread on sunbaked textiles that draws inspiration from historic and contemporary African-inspired figures and faces. The two see. I like to say that I’m a photographer collections each examine the territory of in my bones, but I definitely feel that I’ve identity and perception. grown from just the photographer role to an Brown is a graduate of the Savannah interdisciplinary artist.” College of Art and Design, where Through Do Not Bleach, Brown provides she received a bachelor’s degree in people of color a public photography. She platform and affirming went on to earn a experience to embrace master’s in fine arts So much of my their skin. As an Africanat the University work refl ects the American artist, Brown of Michigan. She is able to express her own importance of black attributes her success experiences and present as both a student and representation. How I them in a global context. a professional artist look at the concept of “It’s a combination to the community that of feeling visible but black representation cultivated her love of invisible,” she offers. arts and her pursuit is so much bigger than ”My brown skin is very of an art education just the United States. visible. But what I have while she was a high to say, my abilities and school student and Stephanie Brown what someone perceives the experiences she before they talk to me… had at The Creative I’m already perceived to be this one thing Arts School, located within The Old or they’re already giving me limits. So School Square in Delray Beach, Florida. much of my work refl ects the importance “Photography is really what shaped my of black representation. How I look at the eye,” she explains. ”I feel like that’s how I



concept of black representation is so much bigger than just the United States. My work is bigger than me and bigger than the borders of the United States.” “Historically, female artists, AfricanAmerican artists, and other people of color have been highly underrepresented in art museums, which have overlooked an enormous amount of talent and expertise,” explains Appleton Museum Curator Patricia Tomlinson. “I was eager to share Ms. Brown’s message of melanin positivity and encouragement to embrace one’s body, skin tone, and ultimately, culture. This is a moving message that relates both to the past and to people today.” To learn more about Brown, visit www.stephaniebphotos.com or follow her on her Instagram @createdbrown. For more information on all the Appleton’s current exhibits, visit www.appletonmuseum. org/exhibits/current. The Do Not Bleach exhibition was funded, in part, by the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design.

Photo courtesy of The Appleton Musuem of Art


me? Or show me? Let’s put this into context. A really interesting artwork at the Appleton Museum is a painting by Cuban artist Sandro de la Rosa entitled Shortcut. The painting shows a young girl in a red skirt drawing Unlike some genres on a wall. When of art where a tree you see that she looks like a tree or is drawing a door, questions a house looks like a arise. Is this house, contemporary the simple act art doesn’t always just of childhood chalk drawings hand you the answers; or is something you have to think about deeper going what you’re looking on here? The drawn door is at and figure out the right next to a artist’s intent. real door that is padlocked shut—perhaps the girl is creating another way to get through? Notice that the artist is from Cuba. Maybe this has the political meaning of trying to escape an oppressive regime? The understanding of the art is left to the viewer to interpret, and that is what is great about contemporary art; you bring your own world experiences and knowledge into your understanding of what you are seeing, much like how artists work. Art is never made in a vacuum. It is influenced by the times in which it is made, and artists’ biases and experiences inevitably make their way into the artworks they create. In short, your interpretations of art have meaning, and how cool is that? So, I invite you to linger, put on your “patience cap” and spend time looking, really looking, at art that may be outside your comfort zone. You might be surprised by what you see.




ne thing I often hear people say is, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.” I usually counter with, “Have you considered that perhaps it’s more that you like what you know?” I have found this the case with a lot of modern and contemporary art—when something looks “weird” or is challenging to figure out, some people throw up their hands and walk away. Unlike some genres of art where a tree looks like a tree or a house looks like a house, contemporary art doesn’t always just hand you the answers; you have to think about what you’re looking at and figure out the artist’s intent. Are they trying to teach you? Create an emotional response? Possibly even shock you? In my mind, that’s half the fun of art—engaging your brain to figure out the puzzle of what the artist is trying to say. After all, art is about communication, so ask yourself: What is the artist trying to tell

Learn more › Appleton Museum of Art › 4333 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala › www.appletonmuseum.org › (352) 291-4455

Photo by Ralph Demilio

Shortcut, Sandro de la Rosa

A former professional archaeologist, Patricia Tomlinson joined the Appleton Museum of Art as Curator of Exhibitions in 2016 after having served as curatorial staff in the New World Department at the Denver Art Museum for eight years.

Aug ust ‘19



FASTER, GREATER 3D MAMMOGRAPHY RAO’s Women’s Imaging Center offers only FDA-approved 3D mammography for earlier, more accurate breast cancer detection in women of every age and breast tissue density. It is capable of finding 20-65% more invasive breast cancers than standard 2D mammography.

2D or not 2D? We elected to be among the first providers in the region to replace outdated 2D modalities with 3D mammography. Why? 3D sees through even dense breast tissue for superior accuracy. It identifies harmless artifacts for less chance of a false positive. And it scans faster, so there’s less stress on your body and your mind. Anything less is out of the question.

www.RAOcala.com • (352) 671-4300 3D Mammography available at Women’s Imaging Center and TimberRidge Imaging Center

We are proudly contracted with a variety of insurances and file all claims with the exception of non-contracted HMOs. Visit our website for a detailed list of contracted insurances. Contracted insurances are subject to change.





of T H E


By Nick Steele

They’ve survived hurricanes and tornadoes, constant exposure to the blistering Florida sun and the ravages of time. Some harken back to a golden age of tourism and some have cropped up more recently—a vibrant part of our shared culture that call out, Look at me! Notice me! They speak to the uniqueness of Florida’s eccentric roadside history and the creativity behind our small businesses. They stand out proudly against the sea of sameness that has invaded communities around the world with identical retail signage and uniform corporate graphics. They represent our local owners and have a distinctiveness that distinguishes us from the next town down the road.

Aug ust ‘19



ou may not be familiar with the Dixie Highway or its significance to our region, but over one-hundred years ago it was one of the nation’s first interstate highway systems with almost 50 of its 6,000 miles running right through Marion County. Most of that route is now known as U.S. Route 441, however there are still some remaining portions of the old road. The purpose of the route was to deliver potential new residents, businesses and travelers to the county. While not every town that the route passed through experienced that sort of growth, Ocala, Belleview and many other local towns did. “It began as an experiment by the auto industry pioneers and their Progressive Era allies in the Good Roads Movement, a loose confederation of individuals and organizations committed to improving the nation’s roadways.” explained author Tammy Ingram, in her book Dixie Highway, Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930. “It was made up of hundreds of short, rough, local roads, put together in a continuous route that looped nearly 6,000 miles from Lake Michigan to Miami Beach and back again.” The route not only encouraged communities to build better roads, it made them part of a network that opened up the state of Florida up for tourism. By the mid-1900s, mentions of the route through Marion County were published in many popular travel guides. By 1915, the Marion County section of the Dixie Highway began at Evinston and ran through many local towns, including McIntosh, Orange Lake, Ocala, Belleview, Ocklawaha, and Weirsdale, before it made its way into Lake County. During the decades that followed, as we barreled headlong into the golden age of automobiles and people took to the open roads in search of adventure, the impact on the growth of roadside business growth was immense. By the 1950s, Americans were obsessed with modernism and the space age. With no ordinances or restrictions to stop them, local business owners dreamed up futuristic, unabashedly optimistic signs that were like beacons to weary travelers and exciting new hotspots for locals. The most exciting among them were those punctuated with luminous glowing neon writing, lighting up the night sky in a brilliant show of color. The Vin Mar Motel in Belleview was one of those area motels that drew tourists like moths to a flame. “I can’t tell you how many people used to stop to ask about the sign,” Tevis Fitzpatrick, who owned and operated the motel for 30 years with her husband Peter recalls. “People just love that sign.” The name is also a source of curiosity for visitors. “It was named for the previous owners, Vince and Mary,” Fitzpatrick reveals. “They used part of his name and part of hers.” Romantic, yes...but the sign lasted much longer than their marriage. Many famed actors, including Lloyd Bridges who filmed the television show SeaHunt in the area, stayed at the Sun Plaza Motel in Silver Springs. Divers and enthusiasts still flock there when visiting the springs. We have many more stories to share about the intriguing businesses, featured here, on our website, so log on to read more at www.ocalastyle.com. 68


Aug ust ‘19


We couldn’t cover the town and not give a nod to the country spirit and artistry of the hand-painted sign. We love a great farm stand sign and is there anything better than the promise of farm fresh eggs? One of the most vibrant and instantly instagrammable signs around is the CocaCola advertisement painted on the side of the Thrasher Warehouse Building No. 1 in the charming town of Micanopy. The mural was painted freehand, using only a string guideline, in the early 1930s, by a Mr. Burke from Jacksonville. When it had faded into what enthusiasts commonly call a “ghost sign” a decision was made to have it restored. In 2011, local artist and restoration expert Tom Thomas of Fine Line Architectural Detailing brought the sign back to its former glory. The warehouse 70


is now the home of the Micanopy Historical Society Museum. At the Farmhouse Restaurant in Belleview, Sun Hollett has been packing in patrons hungry for her homemade biscuits and gravy since it opened in 1996. “She’s here every morning at 3:30am cooking.” says Hollett’s boyfriend Jack Stephan, who painted the tongue-in-cheek “Country Cooking, Lousy Service” signs that decorate the front porch. He also created the tractor sign which hangs below the restaurant’s original handpainted sign that promises a taste of home. “What makes the restaurant so popular?” he continues. “Good food. Lots of good food.” Owners Kenneth and Sharon Wilkerson adorned the exterior wall of K&S Seafood in Ocala with a group of quirky cartoon characters when they opened in 1995. “We

had this idea for these funny little animationstyle fish that would attract people to the restaurant and market,” Sharon recalls. “It just made sense since our business is seafood.” K&S is both a fresh fish market and a restaurant where you can choose your meal from the market and then have it cooked to order. They’re also famous for their homebaked pies and cakes. Annie’s Full Moon Saloon in Belleview has a sign that boasts the coldest beer in town and although we haven’t done any official tests, we get a chuckle every time we pass it. Want more? Check out our exclusive extra content at www.ocalastyle.com. We’d love to see your favorite signs. Just tag us with the hashtag #ocalastylesignsoflife on Instagram @ocalastylemagazine, Facebook and Twitter @ocalastyle.


HURRICANE SEASON JUNE 1 - NOV. 30 • Make sure all contact information is current on your account. Providing OEU with an up-to-date phone number will allow you to report your power outage easier and faster. • To view a real-time map of current outages, visit severeweather.ocalafl.org • To report a power outage in your area, visit myusage.com, use the myusage mobile app or call 352-351-6666. • Please do not report an outage more than once. • For real-time updates and outage information during a storm, please follow Ocala Electric Utility on Facebook. • If your power is restored while crews are still working in the area, please leave a porch light or externally visible light on so they can see that you have power. • Generators should not be plugged directly into a home’s main electrical system. This could potentially send an electrical charge back to the power grid, which could create an electrocution hazard for utility workers. • Generators should be set up outside the home in a well-ventilated area. Individual appliances can be plugged directly into the generator. • Visit severeweather.ocalafl.org to learn more about storm preparation and how to keep your family safe.

@OEUinfo /OcalaElectricUtility www.ocalaelectric.org

352.629.2489 Aug ust ‘19


f o g n i n e E An Ev N I L C PATSY Sat, Oct 5, 2019 7 pm

Cindy Moody recreates Patsy’s greatest hits with a live band and The Jordanaries. Fri - 8am-3pm Sat-Sun - 8am-4pm 12888 SE US HWY 441, Belleview, FL 34420 THEMARKETOFMARION.COM 352.245.6766

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of Marion County Feel better. Live better.


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Circle Square Cultural Center 8395 SW 80th St, Ocala, 34481 Tickets start at $28 www.csculturalcenter.com Info at (352) 291-5143 72





calans know that Florida isn’t only theme parks and beaches—it’s full of hidden gems. In fact, you might say that Marion County itself is a shining example, resting between Florida’s two coasts and at a comfortable distance from the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities.

Photo by Carlos Ramos

The Marion Theatre

We’ve all entertained out-of-town friends and played tour guide in order to give them a great experience. But have you ever had a staycation, where you took advantage of all the great things our area has to offer? Whether it’s the art scene, our rising downtown nightlife, protected natural areas or fun excursions, our region has so many unique options to explore. So, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite can’t-miss staycation outings and insider recommendations. Whether you have an evening or a whole day, treat yourself to experiencing some of our local treasures. Downtown Ocala is, in many ways, the center of Marion County, with its vibrant scene and pleasingly walkable access to some of the town’s best shops and eateries. If you haven’t visited in a while, there are some great newcomers that should definitely pique your interest. First up are some of the interesting bars and breweries. The Keep, formerly Ocala Wine Experience, is a cozy and quirky wine shop and lounge. Co-owners Megan Whittaker and Mark Sykuta had their own vision in mind for the historic bar, including a new name and a penchant for pop culture. The name refers to the last stronghold in medieval castles and place where valuables 74


are kept—and the goods are in The Keep. Though small, its bright red exterior and décor choices like clocks on the ceiling make it unforgettable. They also exclusively sell boutique wines, Whittaker says. “We work with Murielle’s Winery, which is our bestselling wine off the Ma Barker House walls,” she explains. “They do wines for us exclusively!” The Keep’s upstairs lounge is a great place to hear live music by local artists on Friday and Saturday nights. The upstairs bar and lounge has that speakeasy vibe and is an off-the-beatenpath hangout among locals interested in good wine and hot musical acts. (The Couch Series actually started there). The outside patio, where you can enjoy a meal, some mead on tap (yup, mead...that’s right), and hookah smoking has a combination you won’t find elsewhere. Whittaker and Sykuta shared, that among

their favorite things to do, when they play tourist, is to spend a day at Rainbow Springs. “I love going out to Rainbow River. It’s my favorite thing,” Whittaker shares. “It’s so beautiful and not too far of a drive. We love going out to walk the trails, hiking and going swimming in the springs. It’s such a great package. We like to also hit The Blue Gator in Dunnellon. That would be a great day out.” They also love to visit The Appleton Museum, check out the new exhibitions and revisit the permanent collection. “We are members of the Appleton, so we will plan to check out a new restaurant for lunch and then head over to the museum for a few hours, especially if they have a special event during the weekend,” Whittaker explains. “It’s something we don’t necessarily have time to do unless we have a few days off. But it is always such a great experience.” A few blocks down from The Keep, on Broadway, the recently opened Big Hammock Brewery has a rotating list of craft beers and wines and a menu ranging from bar bites to rice bowls. Big Hammock has an open kitchen to give diners a glimpse at who is making their dinner and how, as well as some great Floridacentered décor, like an upside-down canoe suspended over the booth seating. A few blocks north of the downtown square is Muddy Lotus Tea, where the air is “still” in the best way possible. Kibbie Fulton, the alchemist, is the owner of Ocala’s very own kava bar. With the burgeoning sober curious lifestyle, this is a good place for those 18 and older to socialize in an alcohol-free setting. The positive stillness of the air emanates from Fulton herself, who takes pride in the diversity that the place attracts and says that her main goal is “human acceptance.” It’s well known that kava bars tend to attract those of all ages, races, genders and creeds, and this diversity is also reflected in the décor. Filled with local art, the calming space Photo courtesy of Marion County Parks & Recreation

Photo by Carlos Ramos


and a great collection of eccentric Americana on display. The kind and accommodating wait staff easily develop a rapport with the customers, who return again and again. This is a memorable place that will find its way into your heart, whether for your regular coffee run or a delicious meal with friends. Just behind B. D. Beans is the All About Art Gallery, owned and operated by Donna Damato, featuring great local art available for purchase. Damato opened the gallery in 2000, to “promote local artists, because back then there weren’t a lot of places that did.” In the 19 years they’ve been open, she says they’ve successfully worked with hundreds of artists from the region. “What I hope to do is to find an artist that isn’t well-known, promote them and give them the confidence to take their art to other places,” Damato explains. In addition

to selling art, they also offer classes where local artists instruct students in a variety of mediums, and are open to artsy types of all ages. The works available for purchase range from great knickknacks, jewelry, and delightful kitsch pieces to visually arresting paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works of art. Heading a few more miles east are the bucolic neighborhoods of Ocklawaha and Weirsdale. Perhaps the best-known attraction in this area is the large and beautiful Lake Weir and the park that gives you a front row seat to it: Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area. Carney Island is a gorgeous park with lush wooded areas that are a sight for sore eyes. It’s a place that truly offers fun for the whole family including a playground, beach area, and boat ramps. While there is a parking fee, it’s quite Photo by Carlos Ramos

includes icons from Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. Featured kava and kratom drinks are a popular choice. The root tea (kava) is a long-used alcohol alternative, while kratom (leaf ) is used to reduce stress and anxiety. A full lineup of events, from live music and karaoke, to hands-on art nights and drum circles provide an interesting alternative to the bar scene and a way to meet some new friends. If it’s a culinary experience you’re craving, downtown has a wealth of choices from Feta Mediterranean Cuisine, which sources local seafood and vegetables for their delectable dishes; Katya Vineyards Restaurant, where the attention to detail is impeccable and the menu changes every week...did we mention the wine?; Ivy on the Square with its charming staff, stylish decor and scrumptious Southern comfort food; Brick City Southern Kitchen, which offers finger-lickin’ barbecue and smoked meats, scratch-made sides, and one of Florida’s largest curated whiskey collections; Mark’s Prime Steakhouse for its romantic setting and great steaks; and the delightful Stella’s Modern Pantry for their heavenly gourmet desserts, intimate wine and cheese board service with a frontrow view of the bustling downtown scene, and great sandwiches. Stella’s is also great shopping destination, whether you’re a serious foodie or just looking for a special treat for a loved one or yourself...Yes, yourself. You’re on a staycation after all! A little farther away from the square, nearer to the S-curve, you’ll discover Ocala’s Downtown Diner, which is a classic breakfast and lunch spot with lots of vegan and gluten free options, in addition to the typical diner favorites. The Downtown Diner, like The Marion Theatre, Reilly Arts Center, and Ivy on the Square, adds to the vintage charm present in so many of our local establishments. The Diner transports one back to the 1950s with its classic diner décor. In the afternoon, the place buzzes as patrons interact with the sweet and friendly wait staff. While there is plenty to do in Ocala, other treasures lie just beyond the city limits. Just 10 miles south, is Belleview, home of the hidden gem B.D. Beans Café and Coffee Company. The café is just off U.S. 441, and is a fun, kitschy eatery that is open for breakfast and lunch. Expect a visual feast as well, as this cafe has a wealth of local art

Stella’s Modern Pantry

Aug ust ‘19



Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Grill



Interestingly connected to the Ma Barker story is Gator Joe’s Beach Bar & Grill. The restaurant’s namesake was a locally famous and elusive gator that lived in Lake Weir at the same time the Barker gang resided in Ocklawaha. The local institution is an experience all on its own. The rustic feel of the restaurant is modeled after a beachside shack and there’s nothing more beautiful than dining out on the back dock that looks out over the lake. With its location and famous fried gator tail, Gator Joe’s is surely one of Marion County’s most unique eateries. Cassandra Hines, who is a frequent visitor, spends lots of time on the lake.

Photo by John Jernigan

literally a small price to pay for all the potential fun to be had there. Recently, the historic Ma Barker House was relocated to the area and now sits in the lush woods of Carney Island. The fascinating home-turned-museum offers an opportunity to learn some local history and maybe get a little spooked. The house has been preserved in a state as close as possible to the day of the famed shootout with the FBI, bullet holes and all. Many tour-goers even claim to have encountered the spirit of long-deceased crime queenpin Ma Barker, while touring the house. Currently, tours are available by appointment only.

“After a day on the scenic Lake Weir, Gator Joe’s is a perfect spot for the whole family to wind down,” she says. Hines also recommends another lakeside restaurant, Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Grill. “It features a Florida-Louisiana fusion and that’s something you don’t want to miss,” she raves. “And the beachfront steam shack, downstairs, is a must-try!” For a true adrenaline rush, the only place to head is north. North Marion is an area that is known for its wide open spaces, acres of farmland, and horse pastures. In addition to all that natural beauty, there are a few hidden gems waiting to be discovered here too. For starters, there is Canyon Zip Lines and Adventure Park, for those with an adventurous nature. How does a zip line park work in Florida with its typically f lat terrain? The site is actually built on an abandoned limestone mine where the canyons are concealed by woods. In addition to the exhilaration of zip lining, the park also offers horseback riding, which gives visitors another great experience if you prefer something a little more down to earth. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to the Yum Yum Kitchen food truck where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch fare like rice bowls, burgers, sandwiches and burritos. “My family and I have been going for as long as I can remember,” recalls local resident Delaney VanNest. “I definitely think more people should know about it and go try it out because it’s one of my favorite places to eat!” So after reading about a few of our hidden gems, have we inspired you to take your own staycation and enjoy all our area has to offer? Or maybe we jogged your memory about some of the places you have been wanting to get back to or are eager to check out. We know there are so many more great places to visit and activities in our area to discover, so we’d love to hear about your favorite spots. Check out our exclusive online content at www.ocalastyle.com and let’s get social about it as well! Follow us on Facebook @ocalastyle, Instagram @ocalastylemagazine and Twitter @ ocalastyle and share your own hidden gems, and tag us on your posts—we may just feature your recommendations in a future story.



Luxury Crossover By JESSE JAMES Photography by DAVE MILLER


or automobile fans such as myself, Cadillac is and has always been held in high regard. Cadillac has a reputation for crafting quality, luxury-based vehicles that are a showcase of comfort and style, quality and detail. With a legacy of luxury and class, Cadillac’s modern fleet of vehicles offer an edgy aesthetic and contemporary technology, seamlessly blending its past with the future. I recently had the opportunity to give the 2019 Cadillac XT5 a spin, and it’s everything I thought it would be. The XT5 is Cadillac’s version of the luxury crossover, offering ample space, a sharp yet understated design, and all the comfortable, luxurious details Cadillac has become known for. First impressions mean everything, and the 2019 Cadillac

XT5 starts off on a high note. The exterior style is sleek and edgy, modern and eye-catching, with details that continue to the interior. The cabin boasts deluxe accommodations and plenty of passenger space for everyone. The upscale materials used throughout are a nice touch, providing a comfortable and detailed interior. The XT5 is outfitted with an array of modern tech features including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 8.0inch infotainment touchscreen comes standard, while an onboard 4G LTE WiFi hotspot allows you to stay connected anywhere and everywhere. There are four USB ports located throughout the cabin and even a wireless inductive phone-charging pad situated between the two front seats. The eight-speaker stereo from Bose pumps out crystal clear audio, and can be upgraded to a 14-speaker system. In terms of cargo space, the 2019 Cadillac XT5 is impressive. There is plenty of space for everything one could possibly need, from your gear to kid stuff, groceries, outdoor equipment and much more. While I don’t think the XT5 was built with outdoor adventures in mind, it’s certainly capable. The split-folding rear seat is easy, expanding cargo space even more. Cadillac has also outfitted the XT5 with a bevy of safety and driverassistance features. This includes available automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. The 2019 Cadillac XT5 is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that provides enough power to get where you need to be—though don’t expect to get there quickly. It’s not the most powerful crossover SUV on the road, but it does provide decent gas mileage for its size. The EPA fuel-economy estimate is 26 mpg, which drops by 1 mpg in the allwheel-drive iteration. The 2019 Cadillac XT5 was designed for anyone looking for ample space and outstanding comfort with a dose of luxury. Their attention to detail is found from bumper to bumper, offering enough room for an adventure or a trip to the store, while also coming with the luxurious accommodations that Cadillac is known for. Aug ust ‘19




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Wishing Coach Mullen and his lovely Wife Megan a wonderful second season

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as Gators! Coach Mullen is the Heart and

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Nation is lucky to have such a wonderful family as its leaders.

Ashley Wheeler Gerds



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So proud to call the University of Florida my school and Ocala my town! Go

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John Brantley


PUT PATRICIA FIRST. Ocala Health has always been here for Patricia. Patricia, a grandmother to seven spends the summer in New York and travels to Marion County with her husband during the winter months. She enjoys swimming, water aerobics, and water Zumba. Because of a recent gastric bypass surgery, Patricia enjoys participating in activities like these even more. Patricia had gotten heavier over the years and considered bariatric surgery when a family member had a successful procedure done. Patricia says, “The team at Ocala Health is fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for better care. I am very impressed with Ocala Health.” In addition to water activities, Patricia was able to walk for three hours around the botanical gardens during a recent trip to Canada. “Three years ago, I would not have been able to do that. I feel great, physically, and have more self-confidence.”

See how we’ve always been here for you too at PuttingOcalaFirst.com.




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Yes we Seminoles were disappointed when we lost our bowl streak last season.


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However, we remain confident in Coach Taggart as the right man for the job. He can & will once again turn Florida State

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back into a perennial power. We ask our fellow Florida State Seminoles to remain steadfast in their support of FSU and its



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players! We need to continue showing

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for opposing teams. That said, Go Noles!

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It’s tough being a Florida State fan in Ocala! You can liken it to being a

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have it any other way. We love our town and We love our team. Go Noles!

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VS AL ABA M A S TAT E Jose and Kelly Juarez

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LSU, Smell-S-U. We are over the bowl game




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loss and ready to embark on a winning-er winning streak. Charge on.

Dave Schlenker

Aug ust ‘19


Photo by Esther Diehl




veryone’s story starts before treatment. The deep emotional injuries we receive often go unwitnessed and unacknowledged. The hurt and the shock embedded by these painful memories can cause a sense of disconnection from our bodies and impair our ability to process our true feelings. At The Guest House, they strive to create an environment of emotional intimacy, connection and trust that allows us to experience real forgiveness and reconciliation. They believe sharing our darkness in a sanctuary of love and compassion is a birthplace of transformation. Located on a tranquil, privately owned 52-acre estate in Silver Springs, this secluded, comfortable center of healing is designed to be your safe space. The world-class treatment facility is equipped to provide for your every need—medical, therapeutic, nutritional or wellness—until you are ready to face the outside world again. They are uniquely equipped to help guests heal from trauma-induced substance abuse and to process addiction, anxiety or depression in a safe, comfortable and confidential setting. Thomas Pecca, The Guest House’s senior



Judy Crane and John West

clinical advisor, shared more information about this unparalleled treatment center nestled between the City of Ocala and the Ocala National Forest. What is the focus of The Guest House? Opened almost three years ago, The Guest House was founded by Judy Crane, a licensed mental health counselor and world-renowned expert in the fields of trauma and addiction; and John West, a world-class interventionist, businessman

and innovator with extensive experience in the addiction industry. Together they have more than 30 years of experience helping adults from all over the United States who are suffering from trauma and addiction. The Guest House follows the Judy Crane Model of treatment, which puts emphasis on dyadic attachment, which focuses on the connection between therapist and client, and experiential therapy with an individualized approach to work on the core issues that created

Photo by Ale Cretul

the addiction or mental health issue. Our model emphasizes working on the core issues that created the addiction as a coping mechanism for dealing with traumatic history.

Photo by Ale Cretul

How is The Guest House responding to the mental health needs in today’s society? While The Guest House residential program has served clients from around the world, we saw a need in our own community, and we believe the Ocala area deserves the best treatment options available. With the opioid epidemic in our country and our community as well as the unresolved trauma that exists in our culture, a need exists for quality treatment options. To meet this need, The Guest House has opened our Intensive Outpatient Program, which will provide premier treatment to our community. We will provide individual therapy, Intensive Outpatient, which is 3 days a week, and Day/ Night treatment, which is 5 days a week. Our approach is a holistic approach. It is our belief that to truly heal and progress as individuals we must look at the core issues that formed our belief systems and coping mechanisms. We treat addictions, including process addiction, and trauma, as well as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Photo by Ale Cretul

What makes your approach to treatment and wellness unique? Our approach is unique in that we treat the symptoms, the addiction or depression or whatever the presenting problem is, but also treat the reason the symptoms exist. We look at the core issues that make the individual susceptible to the symptoms in the first place. We use experiential therapies and modalities that are cutting edge in our industry, and we are the premiere trauma and addiction providers. In fact, other treatment facilities in the United States hire Judy to train their staffs, because Judy is internationally known for training and presenting to clinicians all over the world. We are truly bringing the best treatment in the world to Ocala. The Guest House Outpatient Services› 2233 E Fort King Street, Ste A, Ocala › (855) 483-7800 ext. 300 › www.theguesthouseocala.com

Aug ust ‘19


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“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” That’s how the sign on the wall in Marcia Hilty’s office reads. And that’s what hundreds of Guardian Ad Litem volunteers do every day on behalf of abused and neglected children in Marion County.



t is a volunteer opportunity like no other,” explains Hilty, the circuit director for the Fifth Circuit Guardian Ad Litem program. “Our primary focus is to advocate for the child.” If it takes a village to raise a child, the Guardian Ad Litem team is the village looking out for children who have been removed from the custody of their parents—kids who could so easily fall through the cracks without caring, dedicated adults on their side. Here’s how the process usually works: A concerned adult places a call to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to request the agency check on the welfare of a child. DCF investigates the situation and determines whether the child needs to be removed from the home. If so, a hearing must be held within 24 hours, and a Guardian Ad Litem team member attends that hearing. If the judge agrees with the request to remove the child from the home, Hilty and her team seek out a volunteer to work on the case. The volunteer guardian immediately begins to work on the child’s behalf—talking to the child, parents, neighbors, school personnel, medical professionals and anyone who can help the advocates understand the situation and work toward resolution. Diana Gisonni, director of recruitment and training, explains what is asked of the volunteer guardian. “The volunteer visits the child every month,” she says. “We oversee and make sure their needs are being met as they go through the process. We’re basically speaking up in court for what’s in the child’s best interest.” Hilty and Gisonni have both seen hundreds of cases that resulted in families being reunited and children flourishing with the help of Guardian Ad Litem volunteers. Hilty relates a particularly touching story from when she herself was a volunteer. “I was assigned to a 12-year-old and he had not been attending school,” she begins. “He’d missed 100 days and had been placed with his grandparents. I found out he was still in the first grade because he had been missing so much school. Both his parents had died of HIV and he had HIV. His grandparents were alcoholics and were not communicating with the school. When he went to school he’d be teased and taunted.” It’s an unthinkably sad story, and unfortunately, not altogether uncommon. This one, however, had a happy ending. “When we got involved, we got additional help for him,” Hilty says. “With tutors and the



Marcia Hilty and Diana Gisonni

right medical care, he prospered. It was just circumstances that had so negatively affected him.” And in each case the benefit is broader than just one child. “You benefit not only that family, but if you think about it in terms of generations, by helping a 14-year-old to trust again and by modeling positive social behaviors then hopefully that 14-yearBy helping a 14-year-old to old will eventually trust again and by modeling pick the right person positive social behaviors for his mate and his children will grow then hopefully that 14-yearup differently,” Hilty old will eventually pick the explains. “We’re right person for his mate giving something to the community that’s and his children will grow really significant.” up differently. Gisonni is currently - Marcia Hilty seeking volunteers to assist the more than 500 children in Marion County waiting for a guardian. She urges anyone with the desire to help change a child’s life to consider volunteering. The training process takes about 30 hours in total, and an average court case can take around a year to resolve. The guardian is the constant in the child’s life throughout that process. For more information, visit www.guardianadlitem.org.


So, why doesn’t everyone have UIM and UM coverage? For many, they don’t understand the importance of the coverage before their insurance agent offers to remove it to lower their monthly bill. “We need to be aware of uninsured and underinsured motorists on the road because there are a lot of them,” King cautions. “That’s why this coverage is so important if you want to be fully covered while operating a motor vehicle on the roadways. In my 27 years of experience, the people that have UIM/UM coverage are the minority.”

“ Greg King, Jarrod King, Chris Polak



nderinsured motorist insurance (UIM) pays for injuries, such as medical expenses, that result from an accident caused by a driver who has too little insurance to cover all of the injuries they inflict. In some states, UIM is part of UM, or uninsured motorist coverage. Covered UIM expenses for you and your passengers include medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. In Florida, the minimum insurance coverage requirement is $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL). Of course, some motorists are uninsured altogether, but underinsured motorists—those who only have the state’s minimum insurance

requirement—may not be able to cover all the damages they cause in an accident. Greg King, founding member and personal injury attorney at King Law Firm, says having UM/UIM insurance coverage can be the difference between having your medical costs, lost wages and more covered, or a court fight for a judgment against the at-fault party’s assets that probably won’t be sufficient to pay the claim. “It’s really the only way you can be sure there is going to be coverage for you in an automobile accident,” King explains. “There are a great percentage of drivers on the road who have no insurance whatsoever, and there are a lot of drivers who have just the state minimum.”

A driver involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver should seek legal counsel immediately— they may find you coverage in unexpected places.

King says the best way to guarantee you have the coverage you need is to work with an insurance agent you trust. A driver involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver should seek legal counsel immediately—they may find you coverage in unexpected places. For example, if a driver is operating someone else’s vehicle, both his insurance and the insurance of the vehicle owner could potentially cover any injuries caused. King says even drivers who haven’t purchased UM/UIM coverage can still get it, and often do. “It may still be available to them if their insurance company did not get them to properly reject uninsured motorist coverage,” King says. “If the company didn’t get a signature on the proper, state-approved form to decline it, the driver still has to be afforded that coverage. You always want to check with a lawyer who knows what questions to ask, who can make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to.” King Law Firm › 2156 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala › (352) 629-8747 › www.kinglawfirm.org

Aug ust ‘19



Raising The Bar by NICK STEELE

One of Ocala’s distinguished attorneys sets her sights on a leading role in The Florida Bar.


arion County has always felt like home. I moved here with my husband after law school,” explains attorney Reneé E. Thompson. “We have some of the best practitioners in the state here—not only are they seasoned lawyers, but a community that knows one another. It makes all the difference in how you develop as an attorney, because people look out for you, they check in on you, and they care about you and treat you well.” Her husband of 20 years, Tommy Thompson, is one of Marion County’s four county judges. The pair met in high school in Clearwater, Florida and wed after they graduated from the University of Florida law school. “Tommy and I have made a life here in Ocala and found a lovely place to practice. I think



Renee and Judge Tommy Thompson

Ocala has a tremendous potential for growth, both for families and for business. It just provides so many opportunities. That’s why I have always loved it. There’s nothing Ocala can’t do!” The same might be said about Ms. Thompson. She is an active force in the Marion County legal and professional community. She has practiced law in Ocala for more than 18 years and focuses on civil work as a solo civil attorney at her firm, Thompson Law Center, PLLC, and also works as a civil mediator with Upchurch, Watson, White & Max Mediation Group, a statewide mediation practice. In addition to being a member of The Florida Bar with the distinction of earning many awards and honors in her field, she is the former president of

the Marion County Bar Association, a Practice Management and Technology professor at the University of Florida College of Law, and is involved with lawrelated education initiatives including mentoring and coaching local high school moot court students. She was most recently named by Fastcase legal research company as a Fastcase 50 honoree, which annually honors the law’s “smartest, most courageous innovators, visionaries and techies” from around the nation. Perhaps most notably, she has been the Florida Bar Board of Governors Fifth Circuit representative, having served on the Board for eight years. “I became involved with the bar as a very young lawyer. I started on The Young Lawyers Division of Governors


Board. I was on that for eight years and eventually became the president of that board in 2010. Then, in 2012, one of the former presidents of the bar, Eugene Pettis, asked me to start the Leadership Academy for the Bar. So we started the first academy of leaders from around the state and I served as the inaugural chair of the Academy. They are going on to their seventh class now, and it has really become a springboard for attorneyleaders across the state to not only become leaders within the bar but within the profession,” she explains. “Some have even gone on to become judges and hold office in their communities, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences to work with our state’s future leaders.” In her position as the governor for the Fifth Circuit, a role that has allowed her to hold numerous chair positions and be a part of the executive committee, she was twice presented with the President’s Award of Merit for her work within the bar. “The Florida Bar Board of Governors is made up of representatives from around the state. The bar is an arm of the Florida Supreme Court and handles the regulation of attorneys in the practice of the law. The Fifth Circuit is represented by five counties (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter), so all the lawyers in that circuit vote to elect a governor to represent them on the board,” explains Thompson. “There are 52 governors on the board. It is based on geography and how many lawyers there are in your circuit. For instance, Miami has six governors and we have one. I fill that seat,” she continues. “The 52-member body meets six times a year around the state to handle all of the policy and discipline matters and anything else that may come before the board for rule changes and policy decisions. We handle issues that are directly relevant to the attorneys in Marion County. We had an issue that came up a few years ago with regard to how trust accounts are set up, including whether or not trust accounts can be set up at a community bank level or only at a national bank level. That has

“It’s a huge focus of mine to make sure an impact locally on both local lawyers that our small firms have the resources and community banks. Everything they need to practice law,” she offers. we do has an impact on how lawyers “When you go to law school, they teach practice law in Florida. All of those you how to interpret the law, how to read board meetings are presided over by the the law and how to write laws, but they president of the bar.” don’t teach you the And while the very ‘business of the law,’ first president of the Sometimes the bar is how to maintain a bar was from Ocala, client, how to maintain there has not been considered to be ‘big a trust account and another attorney from fi rm-focused’ and so how to be a businessOcala elected to that it’s important to me to savvy lawyer, so that position since the bar became integrated give people the ability you can pay your staff and keep the lights on.” in 1950. Thompson, to vote for someone Thompson is also however, is on track to who is from a rural focused on an issue change all that. that is a statewide “I am running community, who is also concern and very for president-elect a small practitioner, relevant here in of The Florida Bar,” Marion County. she asserts. “The “We had interest position of president - Reneé E. Thompson a few years back by is currently held by a group of attorneys for an animal law John M. Stewart out of Vero Beach. I committee. That committee came to us to am running for that position for the then become a section, ” she recalls. “So I 2021/2022 term. The way it works is helped them, as their liaison, to become a that you run two years prior to you section. We now have an animal law section taking office. It is a statewide position, of the bar. The animal law section has an so I would serve as the president over equine committee, so all of the lawyers the 52-member Board of Governors. who are equine attorneys can be part of the You are charged with overseeing Florida animal law section. I serve on their executive attorneys, which is about 107,000 at the council and on the equine committee and moment. It’s a very important job, if you can work with attorneys across the state that are fortunate enough to be elected.” have an interest in equine law.” As the old saying goes, fortune favors Thompson’s passion for the law has grown the brave, and Thompson is not one to shy into a full-grown love affair over the years. away from a challenge. “I love being a lawyer. I love helping “I realized that I can probably do the people,” she enthuses. “And my work most good by running for elected office. with the bar only enhances that for me. I I have a passion to help small and solo don’t know if I would want to practice law practitioners,” she reveals. “Sometimes without it. It has changed my perceptions. the bar is considered to be ‘big firmIt has made me a better lawyer and has focused’ and so it’s important to me to been a positive inf luence in my career.” give people the ability to vote for someone While she has been campaigning for the who is from a rural community, who past year, Thompson will officially be a is also a small practitioner, who has candidate in November and voting for all worked in small and mid-sized firms and 107,000+ Florida attorneys will take place who can help them with their day-toin March 2020. Every eligible member day practice needs. I think I bring that of the Florida Bar will get a ballot to different perspective, which is important vote. Thompson is looking forward to to our members.” the opportunity to lead the attorneys Another one of Thompson’s areas of in Florida. interest is practice management.

Aug ust ‘19



It’s In The Details By JIM GIBSON

Purchasing real estate is most likely the largest and most important purchase you will make in your lifetime. For this reason, it literally pays to give detailed attention to every aspect of the transaction.


he first rule in purchasing real estate is simple—use professionals who do this type of thing day in and day out to make sure every base is covered,” explains Fred Roberts Jr., an attorney with Klein & Klein in Ocala. “Using professional brokers, lenders, home inspectors, surveyors and attorneys ensures the process is completed properly.” Roberts, who specializes in real estate, probate and commercial matters, says that if you’re buying a home, hire a licensed home inspector to inspect the house thoroughly for any physical defects. Inspectors look for electrical, plumbing and structural problems that the ordinary person might easily miss. Also, investigate to see if the property is under the jurisdiction of a Home Owner’s Association. HOA fees can be substantial and their rules can be quite restrictive. A licensed realtor can find out for you, but sometimes the quickest way to find out is to ask others who live in the neighborhood. “To me, a very important part of the purchase is the survey,” Roberts offers. “A survey does several things. Foremost, it physically delineates the boundaries of your property using the legal description, and it shows where any existing improvements lie in relation to those boundaries. It will also show



where any easements might exist and the setback requirements on the property, in case you should choose to build a structure, pool, etc., in the future. A survey also shows if the land lies in a flood zone, which can possibly affect the insurance you will be required to carry on any home you build A title search will there, especially if the property is purchased with a loan. It can also identify the legal uncover some title problems prior to owner of the property, a title search.” along with any liens, Roberts says that a title search is imperative and can be performed mortgages, delinquent by a title company or an attorney. taxes, leases or A title search will identify the legal judgments against owner of the property, along with any liens, mortgages, delinquent the property. taxes, leases or judgments against the property. It will also depict any existing easements or restrictions. “Title insurance is a must,” he stresses. “If there are any unforeseen or hidden problems with a title, title insurance can protect you from losing your investment.”

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CJ Henry



hat happens when the career you’ve worked hard to build is in jeopardy because an illness or disease has stripped away your ability to work? For many, the only thought that brings a sliver of solace—between the doctors’ visits and medical treatments—is the reassurance that you will receive help

from Social Security Disability (SSD), the long-term disability insurance plan you receive as part of a benefits package from your employer, and the disability policy you purchased for yourself as a back-up plan. After decades of service to your company, paying into Social Security and your

disability premiums, you have no reason to believe there will be any problems: Your doctor has determined that you are unable to work, even though you’d give anything to return to your job. So why are the denial letters coming in saying, “you are not disabled under the policy” or “you must appeal within 180 days?” When Janene Manning found herself in this situation, it was hard for her to wrap her head around the next step. She had been denied by three separate sources of disability coverage–SSD, an employee (ERISA) plan and an individual long-term disability policy. Thirty years in the finance industry had not prepared her for the denial of benefits that she’d already earned and paid for. Janene was used to numbers, formulas and equations that made sense—pay into a policy then claim the benefit when it’s needed. After a kidney transplant, years of chronic renal failure, and doctors’ orders to rest, Janene needed those benefits. An attorney recommended that Janene call the CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC. The owner of the firm, Claudeth Henry, is one of the few ERISA and Social Security Disability attorneys in Central Florida with a medical background. She has dedicated her practice to helping sick and suffering patients navigate the complicated disability appeal process. Her passion is digging deep to find the root of the denial, tailoring a solution and fighting to make that solution a reality. In Janene’s case, this dedication led to approvals of all three benefits. Janene was so impressed that she recommend Claudeth for a seat on the Marion County Kidney Foundation Board, which she accepted. Working with Janene inspired Claudeth to put together a database of resources on medical issues and related assistance, including nonprofit organizations and programs. Input from the community is vital to keeping this list updated. If you or anyone you know would like to be a part of this free database, please email info@cjhenrylaw.com for consideration.” CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC › 2303 East Fort King Street, Ocala › (352) 304-5300 › www.cjhenrylaw.com

Aug ust ‘19



· Temporary support may be awarded during the divorce proceeding. · Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded for up to two years for a short-term marriage in which a spouse needs financial assistance to transition from married to single life. · Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded for a specific period of time pursuant to a specific plan designed to assist a spouse in developing the ability to contribute to his or her support, such as assisting with further education or training. · Durational alimony provides support for a set period of time for short, moderate, or longterm marriages when permanent alimony is not appropriate, and it may not exceed the length of the marriage. · Permanent alimony may be awarded in a longterm marriage to a party who lacks the financial ability to meet his or her needs as established during the marriage. It may be awarded only when the judge determines no other form of alimony is fair and reasonable. It may only be awarded for moderate-term marriages based on clear and convincing evidence and may be awarded for short-term marriages only under exceptional circumstances. According to Behnke, there is a rebuttable presumption under Florida law that states:

Another Look At Alimony By JIM GIBSON


limony was long regarded as a form of support that men traditionally paid to their ex-wives. But as many women have become high-earners themselves, there has been a subtle shift in who pays and the more modern phrase “spousal support” has become interchangeable with alimony. Ocala family law attorney Janet Behnke says spousal support can be ordered by the court to be paid by either spouse to the other as part of a final judgment during a divorce. The main purpose is to limit any unfair economic impact on the non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning party. She explains that there are several types of spousal support:



· A short-term marriage has a duration of less than seven years. · A moderate-term marriage has a duration of seven years but less than 17 years. · A long-term marriage has a duration of 17 years or more. “Once the judge determines a spouse needs support and that the other spouse has the ability to pay support, the judge must then consider certain factors according to the law in determining the type, amount and duration of alimony,” Behnke explains. “Those factors include the duration of the marriage, incomes, earning capacities and financial resources, standard of living established during the marriage, age, and physical and emotional condition of the parties, contributions to the marriage (childcare, career-building, education, homemaking), responsibilities to children, tax treatment and any other factor necessary to do equity and justice. Most forms of alimony terminate on the death of either party or the recipient’s remarriage and are modifiable based upon a substantial change in circumstances.”




ivorce. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Parenting Issues. Child support. Alimony. Paternity. These are the kinds of issues a family law attorney deals with every day, and they’re also the most common reasons most of us may find ourselves involved with the court system. “For about the last 30 years I’ve practiced exclusively family law,” says the Gainesville native. “My office has always been here in Marion County,” she continues, adding that the vast majority of her clients are in the Fifth Judicial Circuit, which consists of Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties. Most of Landt’s clients are involved in divorce proceedings. That means they have everything at stake—from their finances and homes to their children. When they come to her, she’s in a unique position to offer them some sage advice. “I really do believe I’m helping people get through a bad situation,” she explains. “I don’t encourage people to get divorced, but by the time people end up in my office, the damage has already been done. I explore with them what it’s going to look like

Mary Catherine Landt

if they get divorced so they can make a rational decision.” According to Landt, family law is much more nuanced than many people realize and there are many common misconceptions, such as: equal time-sharing (custody) is the law; if you have equal time-sharing there is no child support; and there is no more alimony, to name a few. “One of the most important things I do for a client is debunk the legal myths and tell them the truth, as it applies to their case. At the end of the day, that’s what they really need.” Landt is also invested in the community she serves and generously gives of her time to many great organizations, such as Altrusa International. “I’m a past president,” she explains. “We’re very involved in literacy and are recently doing more with veterans. I feel very strongly about the work Altrusa does. I’m also currently on the board of the PACE Center for Girls and a member of the Ocala Women’s Network. I have always wanted to

empower females to succeed. I came from a family who never made me feel that there was anything I couldn’t do. I want that for all people, but especially females,” she continues. “I was the two-term chairman of the foundation board for the College of Central Florida during the time they built the Ewers Center and acquired the Appleton back from FSU.” Lastly, Landt has led her peers as chairman of the Family Law Committee of the Marion County Bar Association. She is married to Marion County Court Judge Robert Landt. They have two grown sons and are active parishioners of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church. “I’ve been so blessed in my personal and professional life that I want to give back to the community and profession that I love.” Mary Catherine Landt, Attorney at Law › 230 NE 25th Avenue, Ocala › (352) 368-2242

Aug ust ‘19




How trusts are different from wills, who needs one and why.


state planning is one of those tons-of-paperwork topics that’s no fun to talk about but is essential to do correctly. Do you know if you need a will or a trust, which one is best, or how to draft one? While a will is only useful after you die, “a revocable trust can help you manage your assets during your lifetime and distribute the remaining assets after your death,” according to The Florida Bar. One of the biggest revocable trust will tell the court, ‘Here’s who I want to be my beneficiary and misconceptions about revocable the person I want to be my representative.’ With a revocable trust, you have to living trusts is that once change the owner before your death. During my life I can amend it, control the established, you lose control over access, take people in or out. It’s a will substitute. When you create a trust, you the assets also get a will, called a pour-over will.” placed in the Whether to choose a will or a trust depends on your trust. Actually, needs, your assets and your family situation. If you have For the most part, a revocable more than one piece of property, every state in which you living trust is a people look into trusts own real estate requires a probate in that state. In the legal agreement event that you want to provide for a minor child or minor to avoid probate and which defines grandchildren, a trust allows you to maintain control over to make sure the how assets those assets and how often they receive money. For the in your trust assets are there for the most part, people look into trusts to avoid probate and will be held, make sure the assets are there for the beneficiary in a beneficiary in a timely to invested and timely manner. manner. distributed It’s recommended that you revisit your estate plan every both during three years. your lifetime “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach,” attorneys and after your death. Richard M. White and Richard C. Mills of White, Crouch & Mills, P.A., “It allows for changes until the Estate Planning Law Firm in Gainesville explain. “Trusts are so f lexible and owner becomes incapacitated, have so many uses that it is a rare estate plan that cannot benefit from the at which time it becomes an use of a trust.” irrevocable trust,” explains Amy Many estate planning attorneys offer a complimentary consultation, and Pittman, owner of Pittman Law most offer packages rather than billing at an hourly rate. Contact The Florida in The Villages. “A last will and Bar Lawyer Referral Service online or by calling (800) 342-8011 to receive testament doesn’t avoid probate. A information on qualified lawyers in your area.




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