Ocala Style September '20

Page 1

SEPT ‘20





22 +/- Acre Estate - Great Location!

Fine details abound in this exquisite estate, designed to take your breath away. 22+/- Rolling acres is the setting for this 5 BR, 5.5 BA home. Woodwork by The Matthew Fortin Collection whose renowned creations were often the source of numerous articles showcasing his talent. Fine adornments are evident from the tray ceilings to the custom crown molding to the intricate chandeliers. Earth-toned Travertine and wood flooring. Chef ’s kitchen featuring state-of-the-art appliances and custom mahogany cabinets. After dinner, adjourn to the music room. Main floor master bedroom with French doors that offer lovely views. An intricately decorated staircase leads to the second floor where the remaining bedrooms, gorgeous loft and office/ library are located. Screen enclosed pool, summer kitchen plus room for horses or cattle complete the setting for this hilltop home. $2,599,000

Just Listed

Shady Road Ranches

Shady Road Ranches

Attention Car Enthusiast! - 4 BR, 3.5 BA home on 4.69 with screen enclosed solar-heated pool. 4-car detached garage, workshop and a/c office. Conservatory music room, formal living, formal dining. This home is perfect for entertaining with its open floor plan. $935,000

Unique 4.73 +/- gated estate in equine friendly neighborhood. Property offers absolute privacy and relaxation, Main residence is a 5 BR 5 BA home plus the media room. Guest home, or if you choose, it’s easily converted to your own schoolhouse. Pool and workshop. $799,000

Wingspread Farm – Irrigated Arena

Spacious executive home!

Gorgeous Home and Equestrian Estate being sold fully furnished. Great Location! 4BR /3.5BA home, 2 BR /1BA Guest home, Chapel, 4-Stall Stable, Generator, Pool, and additional workshop/barn. Lush green paddocks. 10 Minutes to WEC. $1,499,000

Spacious executive home! Including fine finishes and handcrafted details, exemplary solitude in a great location. Kitchen open to family room. Formal living room and dining room. Game room, large pool, covered lanai and private gardens. $596,000

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

For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | 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.

Sarah Elyaman, Esq. Get Educated, Get Organized, Get Clarity, Get Started. Free Live Events For Our Community.

September 3 | 5pm

September 10 | 2pm

Estate Planning for Frontline Workers: what you should know.

Planning during a time of uncertainty: strategies and advice.

We can craft the best possible estate planning prescription that will protect you today, tomorrow, and well into the future.

September 17 | 5pm

Don’t let Alzheimer’s or Dementia devastate your family or finances What is Alzheimer’s/Dementia? Answers to top questions about legal, tax, financial, and care concerns. Action steps you need to take now!

We will cover well-developed legal strategies, all of which are flexible enough to weather eventual life changes.

September 24 | 2pm

Help! I don’t want my assets to go to Probate Court!

What is probate and why should you avoid it? Learn legal strategies to avoid the probate process.

REGISTER TODAY for one of our free live workshops. Sarah K. Elyaman, Esq. is excited to see you LIVE and answer your questions in real time! Workshop spaces are LIMITED! REGISTER NOW by calling 352-205-4455! Knowledge is Power! We are so excited to connect with you! Each workshop registered attendee will receive a FREE GIFT from our office, complimentary consultation ($450 VALUE) and 20% of their customized package. 3 convenient locations: Marion, Citrus and The Villages (352) 205-4455 • www.absolutelawgroup.com Marion County Office • 6035 SW 54th Street, Suite 200, Ocala, FL 34474

Hunt Murty Publisher | Jennifer jennifer@magnoliamediaco.com


Market of


Sat-Sun - 8am-4pm 12888 SE US HWY 441, Belleview, FL 34420



Magnolia Media Company, LLC (352) 732-0073

1515 NE 22nd Avenue, Ocala, FL 34470

Art Editorial

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

The largest produce market in North Central Florida

IN-HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER Lyn Larson Mahal Imagery


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

PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Ackerman Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Philip Marcel Dave Miller Rigoberto Perdomo Isabelle Ramirez Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATOR David Vallejo


DIRETOR OF SALES AND PROMOTIONS Lee Kerr lee@magnoliamediaco.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson evelyn@magnoliamediaco.com Sarah Belyeu sarah@magnoliamediaco.com Clif “Skip” Linderman skip@magnoliamediaco.com Tammy Slay-Erker tammy@magnoliamediaco.com



7715 W. Highway 40, Ocala | TTDistributors.com



CLIENT SERVICES GURU Brittany Duval brittany@magnoliamediaco.com

EDITOR IN CHIEF Nick Steele nick@magnoliamediaco.com SENIOR EDITOR Susan Smiley-Height susan@magnoliamediaco.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Belea T. Keeney belea@magnoliamediaco.com Lisa McGinnes lisa@magnoliamediaco.com FREELANCE FASHION STYLIST Karlie Loland CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Richard Anguiano Sherri Cruz Andy Fillmore JoAnn Guidry David Moore Jill Paglia Marian Rizzo Dave Schlenker Leah Taylor Patricia Tomlinson


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

Distribution Dave Adams Rick Shaw

p to u t Ge


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Apply online at campuscu.com Call 237-9060 and press 4 Now offering Curbside Service – Visit any CAMPUS Service Center Visit campuscu.com for a complete list of convenient locations. Membership is open to anyone in Alachua, Marion, Lake, and Sumter counties.5 OFFER NOT AVAILABLE ON EXISTING CAMPUS LOANS. OFFER IS FOR NEW LOANS ONLY. MAY NOT BE COMBINED WITH ANY OTHER OFFER. OFFER SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE. 1. Cash bonus is 1.25% of amount financed up to a maximum of $300. Limit one per household. Must present offer at time of loan closing. 2. Interest will accrue from date of purchase. Choosing this option will increase the total amount of interest you pay. Credit approval required. Your APR may vary based on creditworthiness, loan amount and term of loan and vehicle. A $35,100.00 loan with no money down at 2.79% for 60 months would require 59 monthly payments of $628.19 and a final payment of $627.59, finance charge of $2,690.80, for a total of payments of $37,690.80. The amount financed is $35,000.00, the APR is 2.91%. APR = Annual Percentage Rate. 3. Offer not available on existing CAMPUS Checking Accounts. Within the first 90 days member must elect to receive eDocuments and establish Direct Deposit of at least $200 per month. If the requirements are met and the account remains open after 90 days, the $300 reward will be made available to the member. $300 is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. 4. Credit approval and initial $50 opening deposit required. Member must elect to receive eDocuments. 5. Credit approval and initial $5 deposit required. Federally insured by the NCUA.

Publisher’s Note

very month I am awed by what the Ocala Style team creates with a lot of hard work and creativity despite a very small budget. It reflects what is in their heart towards their work and the community, and I love them for it! This month’s cover and the stunning feature on page 24, lensed by the talented Meagan Gumpert, was conceived more than a year ago, but it took time to bring all the elements together to make it a reality. So, on one of the hottest days of the summer, a group of our talented local musicians—Naida Rasbury, Godiva, Kaitlin Teresa and Left on Broadway members Olivia Ortiz, Mike Wall, Karim Martin and Greg Snider—graciously agreed to gather at the historic Cracker Village inside Silver Springs State Park to bring our vision to life. It was a great day filled with camaraderie and fun that even the blistering sun could not diminish. Our photo shoots are inevitably an adventure and we love sharing the stories (sometimes hilarious/always memorable) of what went on behind the scenes. These shoots always include areas for hair and makeup, as well as styling and wardrobe changes. The difference with this shoot, from our usual circumstances, is that none of the buildings in the village had air conditioning and only one had lighting—making these challenging environments to say the least! Makeup artist and groomer Caitlynn Brown set up shop inside the authentic one-room schoolhouse that was moved to the village some years ago, which was originally on Northeast 35th Street and served as the area’s Black school from 1930 to about 1965. Editor in Chief Nick Steele artdirected the shoot and managed the fashion styling inside one of the authentic cracker homes. And our fantastic Senior Editor Susan SmileyHeight, who handles all the production aspects for our shoots, was on hand to offer a smile and every kind of imaginable assistance on set, even taking on the role of photographer’s assistant—wielding a reflector to cast more light on our subjects. Staff Photographer Bruce Ackerman documented the behind the scenes action with stills and video. We’ll be releasing that video footage through the web and on social media, including one sweetly poignant moment, near the end of the shoot, when the youngest, Kaitlin Teresa, and eldest, Naida, joined voices in a touching a cappella rendition of Over the Rainbow. If there is a common through line in the articles that fill this issue, beyond all the creativity, it is the strong love for our community that courses through each story. It is particularly heartening in these challenging times.

Jennifer Hunt Murty Publisher




Since 1919














Dave takes a humorous look at a concrete sailfish and a curbside Magic Spot. We highlight some of our favorite local musicians. Meet local art restorer Karine Nigro Queiroz de Aquino. Artist Maggie Kotuk imbues her work with the spirit of animals. Our guide to Ocala’s new public art projects for socially distanced exploration.

behind the





Our area abounds with talented authors creating great reads.

the marriage of function and beauty in art.


Our cover was shot on location at the Silver Springs State Park Cracker Village, a replica of a historic settlement. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, it was used as an educational environment for school-age children and available for public tours on weekends. It will reopen when officials deem it safe to host groups again. Wardrobe featured on the cover was provided by the musicians, as well as select fashions from Dillard’s at Market Street at Heath Brook. Dillard’s items from left: Mike in a Calvin Klein jacket and Perry Ellis shirt; Karim wears a Baird McNutt for Murano jacket, Murano shirt, Cremieux pants and Cole Haan shoes; Olivia in Gianni Bini shoes; Greg in a Tommy Bahama shirt and Johnston & Murphy shoes. For more information on the Silver River Museum’s Cracker Village, call (352) 236-7148 or visit www.silversprings.com/cracker-village


ta b l e


CORNER 62 CURATOR’S Patricia Tomlinson muses on



i n th i s i s s u e

Jill Paglia shares a trio of dessert recipes that double as breakfast treats. Local fire department captain Tony Ortiz is on fire in the kitchen.




At some time in your life there’s a very real possibility you will be called on to be someone’s caregiver.

Clockwise from top left: Photo by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery; photo by Meagan Gumpert; photos by Bruce Ackerman; Left on Broadway: Meagan Gumpert




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Visit OrlandoHealth.com/WeightLoss to register for a virtual information session.

September ‘20


Naturally reducing and removing pollutants from stormwater.

The Ocala Wetland Recharge Park incorporates treated wastewater and storm water from the Old City Yard a drainage retention area (DRA), that is located near the park, and has historically flooded during heavy rain events. Stormwater can contain many contaminants like: nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants from fertilizers and pet and yard waste, oil, grease, heavy metals, vehicle coolants, bacteria, and litter. These stormwater contaminants are the leading cause of water pollution. The park captures this polluted water, therefore reducing regional flooding. By sending this water to the Ocala Wetland Recharge Park, the total nitrogen can be reduced to nearly undetectable levels, and the total phosphorus will be greatly reduced. This freshly cleaned water will improve water quality and boost regional groundwater supplies.

2105 NW 21st Street Ocala, FL | 352-351-6772

Follow us on Facebook & Instagram @ocalawetlandrechargepark

Social Pascual Santos, riding Bachata de Colores, was among the blue ribbon winners when the Ocala Paso Fino Horse Association held its Last Chance Show. Photo by Bruce Ackerman

September ‘20



Yamil Nunez and La Abeja Reina

Luis, Alondro, Coral and Liza Gonzalez

Paso Fino Horse Show SOUTHEASTERN LIVESTOCK PAVILION Photography by Bruce Ackerman

W DoĂąa Lola

Jose Rodriguez



ith a small number of socially distanced people watching from the stands, the world’s smoothest riding horses took the ring at the Ocala Paso Fino Association Last Chance Show on August 8th. The event gave riders the chance to practice before the grand national championship coming up later this year.

Ramon Cintron and Comandante IA

Richard Grullon

Bridget Kiefer, Suzy Heinbockel, Jaye Baillie and Trish Kilgore

Exhibit Opening BRICK CITY CENTER FOR THE ARTS Photography by Simon Mendoza

Koi Pond with Driftwood by Cookie Serletic


pplied arts, which integrate design and decoration into every day and practical objects in order to make them aesthetically pleasing, were celebrated at the artists’ reception and exhibit opening for Marion Cultural Alliance’s The Art of Purpose on August 7th.

Cat Paus

Bridget Kiefer

September ‘20


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



MTRA 5K Gallop

Virtual Support the Marion Therapeutic Riding Association (MTRA) by running, cycling, walking, swimming, paddling or galloping your own 5K—anytime between the Kentucky Derby (September 5th) and the Preakness (October 3rd) to help MTRA provide the experience of therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted learning activities to children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges. Contact Jenna Rovira at (352) 7327300 or development@mtraocala.org for more information. www.mtraocala.org

Virtual 10am Learn how over watering harms your lawn and landscape plants with IFAS Marion County Master Gardeners. Registration is required for this free Florida-Friendly Landscaping online workshop. https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/marion/

22 Fertilizing Responsibly

Virtual 10am Learn how to appropriately fertilize your lawn and landscape plants with IFAS Marion County Master Gardeners. Registration is required for this free Florida-Friendly Landscaping online workshop. https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/marion/

Rockin the Ocala Drive-In

Ocala Drive-In 12-11:30pm This live music festival offers all-day tailgating and socially distanced fun by the carload with a lineup of favorite local musical acts including Amusia, Arctic Red, Adam Rountree, Chris Ryals band, Ecliff Farrar, Life in Water, Left on Broadway and Friends, Peaches and Karim, Heather Lynne and Jeff and the Jarretts. Details and tickets available at www.eventbrite.com

Florida-Friendly Landscaping

Virtual 10am Learn the first principle of Florida-Friendly Landscaping—Right Plant, Right Place—with IFAS Marion County Master Gardeners. Registration is required for this free online workshop. https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/marion/

12 Marion County Heart Walk Festival

Virtual 9am This year you can heart walk wherever you are to support the American Heart Association. Register online and get more information at www.marionheartwalk.org


15 Watering Efficiently




First Friday Art Walk

Downtown Ocala 6-9pm First Friday Art Walk is back! Stroll Ocala’s historic district to view and shop local art and enjoy live music on the square. For details visit www.ocalafl.org

MTRA photo courtesy of MTRA. Art Walk photo by Dave Miller.



@PaddockMall PaddockMall.com

September ‘20




Date Time Event

Date Time Event



8:00 pm

Dueling Pianos

The Lodge

3, 10 7:00 17, 24 pm

Orange Blossom Opry Showcase

Virtual www.obopry.com


7:30 pm

Dion Pride

Virtual www.obopry.com

Jeff Jarrett

Terry’s Place


8:00 pm

Side Piece

Bank Street Patio Bar

Friday Night Live

Virtual www.obopry.com


7:00 pm

Mike Oregano

Infinite Ale Works


7:00 pm

4, 11 7:00 18, 25 pm 5

7:30 pm

Mel Tillis Jr.

Virtual www.obopry.com


7:30 pm

Michael Twitty

Virtual www.obopry.com


5:00 pm

The Big Bad

Bank Street Patio Bar


9:00 pm

Side Piece

Pi on Broadway


5:00 pm

Gilly & the Girl

Bank Street Patio Bar


6:30 pm

Gilly & the Girl

La Cuisine


7:00 pm

The Big Bad

The Crazy Cucumber


6:00 pm

The Mudds

Hiatus Brewing Company

Look. Be Inspired. Create.

APPLETON MUSEUM OF ART Museum, Artspace and Appleton Store 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. AppletonMuseum.org | 352-291-4455




Real People. Real S tories. Real O cala.



Pleasures 2.0

Brick City Center for the Arts 5pm | Opening reception: Sept. 4, on display through Sept. 26 Marion Cultural Alliance’s annual art competition and exhibit is back by popular demand. Artists were invited to create works inspired by the simple pleasures we all enjoy. Opening reception is Friday, September 4th, from 5 to 6pm; exhibit continues through September 26th. Masks will be required and social distancing guidelines will be followed. Call (352) 369-1500 or email ashley. justiniano@mcaocala.com for more information. www.mcaocala.org

Labor Day Pops Concert

The Sharon, The Villages 3pm & 7pm Get tickets for The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra’s season opener before they sell out. www.thesharon.com

18 The Rocket Man Show

Savannah Center, The Villages 5pm & 8pm This performer recreates the spectacular 1970s and ‘80s Elton John concerts with spot-on vocals and piano as well as boots, glasses, jumpsuits and a tuxedo all worn by Elton John himself. www.thevillagesentertainment.com

18 The Who: Who’s Next

Reilly Arts Center 7:30pm This Classic Albums concert recreates an entire classic The Who album live on stage, note for note, cut for cut. www.reillyartscenter.com


Hotel California

Savannah Center, The Villages 5pm & 8pm The only group ever authorized to perform the Eagles’ catalog of music has been giving audiences the live Eagles experience for more than three decades. www.thevillagesentertainment.com

22 Spike Heels

The Sharon, The Villages 7pm Preview September 22nd-24th; performances September 25th-Oct. 24th. The Studio Theatre Tierra del Sol opens its fifth season with this hilarious play examining the power dynamic between men and women set in 1990s Boston. www.thesharon.com

24 Pump Boys and Dinettes

Ocala Civic Theatre 7:30pm This upbeat country musical offers a rollicking good time with the down-home folks at North Carolina’s Double Cupp Diner. Performances continue Thursdays-Sundays through October 25th. www.ocalacivictheatre.com

25 Deborah

The Sharon (Virtual) 7pm A staged play reading of the real story of Deborah Sampson, who dressed as a man and fought in the Revolutionary War. www.thesharon.com

26 Hollywood Nights

Savannah Center, The Villages 5pm & 8pm This 10-piece tribute band re-creates the live Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band experience. www.thevillagesentertainment.com

COMMUNITY Farmers Markets

Area farmers markets offer the enjoyable experience of shopping for the freshest produce and unique products from local vendors.

Thursdays, September 3, 10, 17, 24

Circle Square Commons 9am-1pm At the central hub of On Top of the World, vendors gather under tents on the square with a variety of fresh, seasonal local produce and products.

Fridays, September 4, 11, 18, 25

McPherson Government Complex 9am-2:30pm “Health happens” at this market on the lawn offering fresh produce, seafood, honey, baked goods and lunch items.

Saturdays, September 5, 12, 19, 26

Ocala Downtown Market 9am-2pm Rain or shine, a diverse array of farmers, artisans and craftspeople, along with a number of food trucks, gather in the open-air pavilion, all accompanied by live music.

Saturdays, September 5, 12, 19, 26

Brownwood Farmers Market, The Villages 9am-1pm More than 70 vendors offering fresh produce and crafts. September ‘20



Joining the Fight Home Equity Line of Credit





$5,000 min & $200,000 max


flcu.org/HELOC | (352) 237–8222

Member owned. Community proud.® Since 1954

*Subject to credit approval. Your rate may be higher based on your credit worthiness and property valuation. No closing costs with $10,000 minimum loan amount. APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate quoted is as of 8/1/2020 and based on a HELOC with a 10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period. The HELOC rate is a variable rate and is based on Wall Street Journal Prime plus .50. Minimum APR 3.750% - Maximum APR 12.000%. Minimum loan amount $5,000 - Maximum loan amount $200,000. For example, a $25,000 10-year Home Equity Line of Credit with a 3.750% rate and an 80% Loan-toValue (LTV) will have an APR of 3.750%, 120 payments of $250.15; total finance charges of $5,018.37, for a total payment of $30,018.37. Your rate may be higher based on your credit worthiness and property valuation. Rates will be no less than Florida Credit Union’s minimum interest rate. This discount promotion cannot be combined with other Florida Credit Union promotions. Offer good for a limited time. Country Oaks 9680 SW 114th Street | Ocala 2424 SW 17th Road Maricamp 10 Bahia Avenue Ln. | Silver Springs 3504 E. Silver Springs Blvd. FCUMKVS0099-0820



Insured by NCUA

Radiology Associates of Ocala welcomes a new breast imaging specialist to the Women’s Imaging Center. By Beth Whitehead


itnessing her cousin’s small children undergo the loss of their mother to breast cancer rubbed a raw spot in Dr. Ridgely Meyers. Stung by the tragedy, Meyers determined to channel her ambition into the early discovery and the defeat of breast cancer. The board-certified breast imaging specialist now brings her drive and vision to the Radiology Associates of Ocala’s (RAO) Women’s Imaging Center (WIC). “I’m excited to see how we can advance the field of breast imaging together,” Meyers shares. “For the woman anxiously awaiting the results of her mammogram, I want to provide a timely and accurate interpretation, with helpful and appropriate recommendations for follow-up.” After receiving her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, Meyers proceeded to earn her M.D. from Texas A&M Health and Science Center College of Medicine, interning there as well. Upon completing her residency in diagnostic radiology at Baylor Scott & White Health, Meyers earned a fellowship in breast imaging from the University of California, Irvine Medical Center. “I continue to strive for excellence as an expert diagnostic consultant for physicians, as well as a skilled interventionist who can provide compassionate procedural expertise for patients,” explains Meyers. WIC Director Dr. Amanda Aulls considers bringing Meyers’ experience to bear in Ocala’s fight against breast cancer extremely valuable. “Our practice’s capacity for outstanding care is enhanced by her extensive training, acumen and empathy,” offers Aulls. For more information regarding the Women’s Imaging Center, visit www.raocala.com/womens-imaging


Fish Tales & Magic Spots By Dave Schlenker | Illustration by David Vallejo


o say the sailfish statue was ugly is to say 2020 has had a few quirks. Frankly, I am not sure it was a sailfish. The face of the beast was chipped and mangled. It might be an eel or a tortured soul from an Edvard Munch painting. I use the past tense in describing this monstrosity for a good reason: It is out of our garage. It is dead to us. I am certain it still exists, as something this solid may be the only thing to survive 2020. But it no longer haunts my family. Oddly, this frightening chunk of evil was hastily delivered to our house by a youth Christian group playing a game called Bigger or Better. Our teen daughter, Caroline, was part of the Young Life team that breathlessly landed in our garage with the sailfish; they exchanged it for a plastic skeleton from a heap of Halloween decorations I failed to put away in the attic. Karma has the last laugh. The sailfish, however, prompted me to make good on another long-abandoned promise: clean the garage. So, on a day when temperatures were not conducive for hauling waist-high chunks of concrete, I put on my big boy cargo shorts and lugged the beast to the sacred Magic Spot. This is the universal spot for free stuff... that open invitation for someone to take unwanted goods and give them new life. Our Magic Spot is next to the mailbox, and it has never let me down. Although, I have never seen anyone actually take the

unwanted goods. I just duck into the house briefly and then—poof—the item is gone. I do not question the phenomenon. It is an essential part of the food chain. But the sailfish had little use for the ways of the universe. It was a Saturday with a few garage sales in the neighborhood, which meant traffic was thick with lost souls searching for stuff. There the sailfish sat in our Magic Spot. Nothing. I went into the house often to allow the universe to consume it. I sprang back into the yard like a kid on Christmas morning only to find it still staring down the neighborhood. The hours rolled by, and I considered the unthinkable. Men do not like to mess with the natural order of things, but failure loomed. It was unsettling. For the first time in my adult life, I interfered with the mysterious mojo of the Magic Spot. My cardboard sign read “PLEASE steal me!!” The statue disappeared within two hours. So, what’s the point of this lame story? I could dig deep and proclaim the virtues of breaking the rules now and then. Sometimes nature needs a boost. But, frankly, I just want to thank the new and baffling owner of Satan’s Sailfish. The Magic Spot works in mysterious ways. If only it could finish cleaning the garage. September ‘20



A Park with a Purpose How the City of Ocala is making strides to replenish one of our most essential resources through the creation of a monument to the natural world. Photography by Dave Miller


ater is the driving force of all nature. It is vital to the survival of every single human, animal and plant on the earth. On our most elemental level, water makes up 70 percent of the human body. It covers 71 percent of our planet’s surface and is an essential element of both our natural ecosystem and our social system. It regulates our climate, allowing some ecosystems to flourish, and is a major limiting factor for others. Water is the key to our food supply and creates essential habitats for wildlife. We rely on fresh water for our most basic needs of drinking, cooking, bathing, and sanitation. We also delight in its more ethereal benefits, such as recreation, healing and relaxation. Water is a magical, moving, living part of the earth and a resource that we depend upon in ways we seldom think about. But think about it, we must. “All the water that will ever be is, right now.” National Geographic magazine proclaimed this in their 1993 “Water” themed issue. Their point in making such a stark statement is that the earth’s supply of water is limited. Our population continues to grow and, as it does, the demand for water increases, as does the quantity of waste water we produce. Therefore, at some time, we will reach a point where the demand will exceed the available fresh water supply. And this is not centuries into the future. We are closer to that point than most of us might imagine. However, the quote is also often used to express that although water is a finite resource, it is a renewable one.

The Local Picture

Florida is surrounded on three sides by water and has a multitude of surface

streams, lakes, wetlands and coastline. This creates a perception of abundant and seemingly infinite water supplies. In reality, there is a critical need for us to conserve those supplies and plan for how we will meet our future needs. According to the Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research, over the next 20 years the statewide demand for water is projected to be 7.5 billion gallons a day as the population increases to a projected 25.2 million people. The City of Ocala currently consumes on average 12 million gallons of water a day and 6 million of that is used for irrigation, which contributes to water pollution through runoff. As our local population rises, so too does the usage and pollution. Throughout the state, communities like ours have been grappling with crafting solutions to the impending issue. Dee Ann Miller, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, explained that expanding supplies in the future will require a combination of approaches, including “the use of existing water supplies, water conservation and the development of additional alternative water supplies as well as projects that recharge our aquifers.” The City of Ocala has been working proactively on several projects to not only meet the future demand, but also protect our wildlife and natural resources. City leaders have demonstrated their forward-thinking strategy with a project that addresses both of those issues by creating a system that improves water quality while increasing groundwater supplies. The Ocala Wetland Recharge Park located near Lillian Bryant Park, at 2105 Northwest 21st Street, is a September ‘20


60-acre refuge with 2 1/2 miles of paved walking trails, boardwalks, three ponds, wildlife overlooks, hands-on educational exhibits and educational kiosks. But this is no traditional park. It is a manmade wetland created with this purpose: recharging the underground Upper Floridan aquifer with an average of 3 million gallons of naturally filtered stormwater and treated wastewater every day.

Recharge, Replenish, Restore

By this point, you may be wondering what exactly the term “recharge” means in this instance. Simply stated, groundwater recharge is a process where water moves downward from the surface and drains through the soil to refill the groundwater. Artificial recharge (which is the process being employed at the park) is a process by which stormwater and reclaimed water is purposely directed into the ground by altering natural conditions to increase infiltration. The water has undergone a series of treatment steps during which its composition changes—including removing nitrogen and phosphorus. The goal of the process is to help replenish the aquifer below, which 22


also feeds the Silver Springs system. Artificial recharge is an effective way to store water underground and create a surplus to meet demand when a shortage might be imminent. The water recovered from these recharge projects can then be allocated to non-potable uses such as landscape irrigation and although not as common, to potable use. By developing and operating the park, the City of Ocala has created a way to efficiently use its water resources. “The Ocala Wetland Recharge Park allows the City of Ocala to efficiently use its water resources,” Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn commented at the groundbreaking ceremony. “By developing this park, the city will create a wetland ecosystem, improve water quality, boost regional groundwater supplies and provide numerous recreational opportunities for the community.”

A Natural Habitat

Creating a setting to attract wildlife and improve the natural resources of the area was a key aspect of the project. “One of the purposes is to have a place where the community can enjoy nature,” explains City of Ocala

Water Resources Conservation Coordinator Rachel Slocumb. “It will be a nature oasis—definitely unique to Ocala. There aren’t many wetland parks in Florida.” In fact, in the past, wetlands were largely regarded as wastelands and places to be avoided. Often, they were treated as dumping grounds or were drained and filled in. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a study in 1990 which revealed that more than half of the 221 million acres of wetlands that once existed in the lower 48 states in the late 1700s had been destroyed. These days, we understand the important role that wetlands play in our natural world and that they provide habitats for a wide variety of birds, fish and other wildlife. In fact, the park in Ocala has the potential to become a true bird watching destination with a variety of ducks, woodpeckers, waterfowl, hawks and many other species of birds on display. Among the ancient oaks and ponds as deep marshes, there is an incredible display of Florida plant life, with a plethora of distinct plant species, many of which can only survive in a wet environment.


Understanding Water Pollution


Rachel Slocumb

But the park is more than just a place to connect with nature—it’s a monument to our city’s commitment to our environment. A few other similar wetland parks can be found scattered throughout Florida, each creating an abundance of green space and enhancing the neighborhoods around them. The overall response from the people living near the park has been very positive and the wetlands park has been embraced by community members, according to city officials.

Community advocate, retired educator and former principal at four different Ocala/ Marion County schools, Scott Hackmyer, offered this praise for the project: “The City ought to be complimented for a great vision that will develop into a great asset for our community.” So, whether you crave a relaxing walk and few moments to unwind during this stressful time, want to learn more about this innovative park or are in the mood for a little bird watching, an oasis awaits you at the Ocala Wetland Recharge Park.

For more information, visit www.ocalafl.org or contact City of Ocala Water Resources Conservation Coordinator Rachel Slocumb by email at rslocumb@ocalafl.org or by calling (352) 351-6774. @OcalaWetlandRechargePark

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement C9.994515617 to the city of Ocala through an agreement/contract with the Nonpoint Source Management Program of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The contents of this document do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency, nor does the EPA endorse trade names or recommended the use of commercial productions mentioned in this document.

early everything we do, from generating electricity and engaging in manufacturing to growing food, has the potential to release pollutants into our environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies two broad categories of pollution: point-source and nonpoint-source. According to the EPA, point-source pollution is any contaminant that enters the environment from an easily identified and confined place. This includes such examples as smokestacks, discharge pipes and drainage ditches, which affect both air and water. Although there are many examples of point-source pollution, the defining factor is that it comes from a single identifiable source. Nonpoint-source pollution is the opposite. This type of pollution comes from many sources, all at one time, and is carried by surface runoff to natural water sources. A prime example would be how during a thunderstorm a collection of pollutants is washed off streets, sidewalks, roofs and other surfaces into the sewer system. Common types of nonpoint-source pollution, for example, could be oil leaked from a car, rubber from a blown tire, trash and dog waste. But pollutants can also include bacteria and waste from livestock, sediment from construction sites, and excess fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides from farms and residential areas, to name a few. Surface runoff is the flow of water that occurs on the ground surface when excess rain or storm water cannot rapidly infiltrate the soil. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants and deposits them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters. Non-point stormwater pollution is a huge issue and the leading cause of water pollution in the United States. It has been documented to have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife. As there is no single identifiable culprit, it is hard to regulate.

September ‘20


The abundance of musical talent in our area shines like gold in the midday sun. Here we highlight a few of the incredible performers who light up local stages. Portraits by Meagan Gumpert | Art Direction & Styling by Nick Steele Hair, makeup & grooming by Caitlynn Brown | Production by Susan Smiley-Height

Left On Broadway at the Historic Cracker Village in Silver Springs State Park

ur love of music knows no bounds. The melodies pull us in, thrust us into motion and possess us with an undeniable urge to lift our voices in harmony. These artists represent a wide range of musical genres and influences—amazing us with their talent, drive and passion. In a time when live music performances are limited, we hope you will show some love and appreciation to all our talented local musicians.

LEFT ON BROADWAY Olivia Ortiz, Mike Wall, Karim Martin and Greg Snider Online: www.leftonbroadway.com and on Facebook The sound: Pop fusion multi-genre collaboration of originals and reimagined covers. The genesis: Left On Broadway was founded in 2014 by Olivia Ortiz (lead vocals) and Mike Wall (guitar, vocals). The two have written original songs and new arrangements of popular songs in a style they call acoustic lounge, a fusion of indie-pop, blues, soul, alt-jazz, and folk rock, to name a few. Karim Martin (percussions) joined the band in 2018 and Greg Snider (saxophone) shortly afterward, with regular guest appearances from other local musicians. Recordings: The group is currently working on a recording, which they intend to offer on such digital platforms as Spotify, Pandora and iTunes. Upcoming performances: Rockin the Drive-In on September 6th at the Ocala Drive-In; ZNights on September 25th at The Art Castle; a tentative launch event of the Songwriters Room event in October; and a social-distanced mobile music collaboration. Greg wears a Tommy Bahama shirt from Dillard’s

Olivia Ortiz says she came to the area in 1987, when her dad “picked Ocala because it was in the middle of Florida and there weren’t any sharks to eat his kids, but he forgot about the alligators.” “I like Ocala because it is a small town vibe with room to grow,” she offers. “I worked in the hospitality industry for 12 years and it made me realize that I like anticipating people’s needs and making lasting impressions and memories of art and music through experience creations for our community, whether that be with Left On Broadway, Couch Sessions, Hidden Spaces, ZNights, Songwriters Room or Shoogie (her brand of handmade, natural beauty and personal care products.)” She says the pandemic has been inspiring because it allowed her to slow down and write again. “It has taken me down a totally different musical journey and style because I have been writing musical pieces themed around an art gallery show,” she explains. “Plus, the feelings of isolation, panic and uncertainty that COVID has brought up have shaped the new style I have chosen to write. “I wrote a song for 8th Avenue Gallery’s ‘Covid Chronicles,’ titled ‘Art War.’ After writing it, I was kind of on a roll and have been cranking out about one to two songs a month,” she adds. “I sampled sounds of my artist friends painting and cleaning their brushes and doing other art stuff and integrated it into beats and background instrumentation. I formulated the entire song with what I had at the house, an iPhone, my daughter’s JoJo headset and my son’s gaming PC headset as well. I recorded it all into GarageBand. It is crazy!” When asked where she would direct visitors to Ocala, Ortiz notes she would walk them around downtown to some of her favorite spots. “I do walking tours for Ocala Main Street and I created the interactive walking Google Map for them,” she shares. “Some of the must-see art spots are the downtown murals, the Horse Fever horses, the sculptures in Tuscawilla Park and the Art Park, The Reilly Arts Center, 8th Ave. Gallery and the Appleton Museum of Art. For live music, she points people to The Keep Downtown, Pi on Broadway, La Cuisine, Black Sheep on Broadway, The Courtyard on Broadway, The Corkscrew, The Lodge, O’Malley’s Alley, Molly Maguire’s, Infinite Ale Works and Bank Street Patio Bar. Greg Snider is an adjunct professor for the College of Central Florida, a producer at Snider Productions and says he performs any music that involves the saxophone. “It is my hope to stay openminded to all forms of music and get involved in as many styles as I possibly can,” he offers. “That said, my bread and butter is jazz. For me, it is the real time presentation of artistic melody through personal and group improvisation using harmony and groove. I perform regularly with

Left On Broadway, Showtime, Ramblin Mutts, O’Chancey, Swing Theory, the Ocala Symphony for Schools program, my own jazz duos and trios, as well as the Greg Snider Group.” The Greg Snider Group is preparing for a full album recording that will feature all original music in a traditional jazz quartet/quintet style. Greg Snider Productions is working in tandem with Creative Community to produce ZNights, a guided, character driven, immersive experience that looks at jazz through the eyes of its creators. The premiere is September 25th. Snider moved to Ocala in 2017 after earning master’s degrees in music performance and education at University of Florida, because he saw “a niche for not only jazz music, but music in general, being cultivated and encouraged throughout the city.” Now he’s hoping to be accepted as one of four new saxophonists accepted into the Regional United States Army Bands. “I was successful in the audition in July and now am awaiting a spot early next year to enlist. I am proud to be looking into serving my country as a musician.” Mike Wall, originally from Miami, moved to Marion County as a child. He’s lived other places but likes “the amazing talent you can find around every corner of this community.” He recalls road trips with his parents, riding in the back seat of the car as they played their favorite songs on the car radio, the sun on his face, and staring out the window as the world passed by. “It was a simpler time, solidified in memory with the sounds coming through the speakers,” he notes. “I find it amazing how music and song can invoke a feeling or a memory, or just a sense of wellbeing. It wasn’t until well into my twenties that I played for the first time to large groups of people. I think the act of being able to make people feel something is what got me hooked and as long as I can continue to make people smile, I don’t think I’ll ever stop.” He says he is inspired by the

Mike wears a Perry Ellis shirt from Dillard’s

Karim wears a Baird McNutt for Murano jacket and Murano shirt from Dillard’s

courage and sacrifices that people make for others. As for future plans, in addition to Left On Broadway’s first album, he has plans for a solo album. Karim Martin also performs with Stephen Perry in the duo Peaches and Karim, which is set to perform on September 12th from 11am to 3pm at War Horse Harley-Davidson. He says he is influenced by hip hop and R&B but is constantly trying different genres to expand his playing and his standing gig as resident DJ every Friday from 8pm-midnight at Pi on Broadway. His family moved to the area when he was 3. After graduating from Graceland University in Iowa and serving four years in the U.S. Navy, he decided to move back to Ocala. “I have always been around music, whether it be chorus, band or musical theater,” he explains. “I’ve always loved it and have seen myself playing a part in the music scene.”

In answer to what song invariably drags him out on the dance floor, he offers, “I really like this question because I’m a DJ, but really any song with a nice beat and lyrics makes me jump on the dance floor. Every night is different. You never know what type of crowd will come out and it keeps me on my toes.”

NAIDA CATHERINE KING RASBURY The genesis: On October 10, 1935, at the age of 7 years, she made her Broadway debut at the Alvin Theatre in New York City in the production of Porgy and Bess. Musical education: Graduated from the New York City High School of Music and Art in 1947, then enrolled at the Teacher’s College in Oswego, New York, where she became the major vocal soloist for the senior choir and later the director for the First Congregational Church Choir. She attended Syracuse University on a voice scholarship beginning in 1948. Kaitlin Teresa wears a Rare Editions dress and Naida wears a Jessica Howard dress and Scroll bracelet from Dillard’s

Rasbury says people still often ask, once they know of her role in Porgy and Bess, if she knew George Gershwin. “My 7-year-old self was his shadow whenever he was in the theatre, most times sitting with him or riding around on his shoulders, I’m told,” she recalls. “He had bit pieces inserted into the show for me. My mother, sister and I appeared in all touring and Broadway performances until 1943.” She says while she was attending Syracuse University, she had a “gig” on weekends at an “after hours” nightclub called the Musicians and Entertainers Club. “The club catered to professional entertainers as a place for them to unwind and let their hair down and jam with other musicians after their own shows were over,” she recalls. “I was the house singer and took song requests from the locals, until the pros arrived. Although I was only 20 years old when I started, I was able to jam with some of the musicians of the day, including guys from the Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole bands.” She notes that although she received training to become a concert singer, “I honored my mother’s request to never pursue a professional career and

become, in her words, ‘a starving singer.’ The singing I have done over the past 50 years or so has been professional quality thanks to my Syracuse University teacher, who was a retired Metropolitan Opera star.” Rasbury recently completed a 10-year project of writing her memoir, Song Bird. “I only had 50 copies printed, 48 of which went to family, and friends in Ocala and across the country who have had a positive impact on my life journey,” she explains. “I have been asked by many of these recipients for additional sale copies. I finally got the message and am now seeking a distributor.” She and her husband Frank came to Ocala 32 years ago and she loves the simpler lifestyle here. “I have found the audiences here attentive, gracious, and a pleasure to perform in front of,” she says. “I was taught that as a singer you have the responsibility to tell a story when you sing. Therefore, your diction and body language should draw your audience in and get them involved in what you are telling them. Many of us have been given a gift and we should not take it lightly. We all have a responsibility to use whatever our gift, whenever and wherever, to benefit others.”

KAITLIN TERESA Online: YouTube The sound: “I like and sing many different types of music: Disney music like Frozen and Descendants, Christian music by artists such as Lauren Daigle and classic music such as Juice Newton’s Queen of Hearts.” Performances: “I will be releasing a new video at least every other week on YouTube, where you also can find performances for the Celebration of Music Contest from August 9th, 2020, and in the Super Happy Awesome News ‘virtual’ play, directed by Terry LeCompte from the Ocala Civic Theatre from August 16th.”

Kaitlin Teresa wears a Rare Editions dress from Dillard’s



Kaitlin Teresa was born in Kaua’i, Hawaii, but came to Ocala when she was just a few months old. “There is more opportunity here on the mainland, so my parents brought me here because of the opportunities and schooling (Ambleside School of Ocala),” she explains. The 8-year-old says if she had a theme song, it would be High Hopes from Panic at the Disco. She adds that she loves performing and making “the crowd feel something.” “The audiences here are great,” she enthuses. “They are very encouraging and have a lot of kind words to say.” Going forward, she hopes to record an album, sing at Carnegie Hall and appear on America’s Got Talent. In the meantime, she loves being a kid and playing games and reading chapter books.

Godiva wears a Free People dress and Kendra Scott necklace from Dillard’s

GODIVA Online: www.bellagodiva.com and on Facebook and Instagram The sound: Singer-songwriter style with alternative pop mixed in. The genesis: “I love all things Florida—from the quiet rural fishing towns to the urban cities. Florida is the backdrop for my new single release, Key West, and my experiences as a Florida girl flavor my lyrics.” Recordings: Key West is available for download on major streaming platforms. Upcoming performances: “Pre-pandemic, I had a full calendar booked through the end of the year. When everything was cancelled, I decided to redirect my energy to recording and releasing some of the songs I’ve written. I have two more singles I’ll be releasing this fall. My big projects are filming the music videos.” Godiva says she has always loved to sing and that when she was 8, her mother encouraged her to audition for a children’s music video/movie. “I got the part, and that experience really sparked my desire for more,” she recalls. “From there I moved into pageantry, so I could sing in the talent competitions and simultaneously began several years of classical choral training. I realized in time that I love the rush of singing solo, so I began looking for local and regional singing competitions.”

She says she began meeting people who opened doors for her in the music industry and decided to take a “never-say-no” approach toward singing opportunities. “If my calendar is open, I go wherever,” she remarks. “With every event I’ve met new people who’ve connected me to other venues and opportunities. It’s amazing how quickly a network can grow, and I am ever grateful for all the people who have helped me along the way thus far. I’ve certainly had my share of disappointments along this path, just like any other, but my love of singing and the joy it brings me has kept me going. Singing is like breathing.” Fearlessness and perseverance inspire her, and she loves to create. “I love artistry, beauty and light—my ultimate goal is to be able to continue to create music and perform my own songs as a full-time career.” Godiva, a native of Jacksonville, says she was invited to sing at the Fairytale is True Christmas Concert on the downtown square last December, which led to her traveling here frequently to sing at different venues. “Everyone I’ve performed for here has been super sweet and supportive,” she notes. “The audiences here actually take the time to come say hi after the show, take a business card and interact with me later on social media. Those kinds of fans start to feel like family friends, which is really special.” September ‘20


Caly & Megan portrait by Joshua Jacobs

CALY & MEGAN Online: Facebook and Instagram @calyandmeganmusic The sound: Female acoustic duo. Typical sets include folksy, stripped down covers of popular songs, mixed with their original music. “We don’t like being confined to one genre.” Recordings: They are currently in the process of recording some original works. “We’ve been writing some of our most personal and vulnerable pieces over the past couple months. We’re eager to get into a studio so we can share these songs with a broader audience.” Caly moved to Ocala at age 10. The guitarist and singer says she has loved music her whole life but didn’t think of performing until she met Megan and received a push from her. “She encouraged me to attend some open mic nights with her, which turned into us now performing all around town,” Caly notes. Her inspiration, she says, comes “from everything!” “I’ve been inspired by love, family, COVID-19, friends, travelling,” she expounds. “As cliché as it may sound, my biggest inspiration has probably come from 32


relationships. I started writing and playing guitar as a way to cope with heartbreak, and now I use it as a coping mechanism for many aspects of my life.” Megan is from Maine, traveled around a bit and lived in a few different states before settling in Florida nine years ago. She says she was drawn to “the way that you can express emotion through music.” “I think it’s such a beautiful thing to be able to put a piece of yourself into each song and share it with someone else. Making someone feel because of something you wrote or sang is one of the best feelings ever.” The duo has found the local music scene welcoming. “Since Caly and I started playing out last year, we have met so many fellow musicians who have wanted to help us excel and presented us with opportunity to do so,” Megan offers. “Same with the locals in the audience. Everyone just wants to support each other.” Caly agrees. “My favorite thing about living and performing here is the support that I’ve seen from the community,” Caly says. “From our audiences, to our friends, to other local artists and musicians, we have seen nothing but love and support from the day we started performing.”

CHRIS MCNEIL Online: www.chrismcneilmusic.com The sound: “I’m not your typical country musician. I like to put my own spin on songs to give it that extra push to get people out on the dance floor, as well as mixing into different genres. I think that’s what makes someone an artist!” Recordings: Just released his first single, County Line, and is working on recording three more songs, as well as a music video for his current single. McNeil is native Ocalan. He says he joined the U.S. Navy after high school and once he was discharged, he came home to start his music journey. “I’ve been a lot of places and there honestly is nowhere like home,” he states. “I love being able to see familiar faces in the local bars and knowing people by name because that’s where the fun, love and support is at.” He says his future goals for his music are to work hard, release good music and let the rest work itself out. “I never thought of playing music as a career,” he explains. “I always wanted to, but never took the chance. Finally, after years of dedication, seeing my progression inspires me more in just my everyday life— knowing I’m capable of so much more.” If he had a theme song, it would Blessings by Chance the Rapper.

he notes. “My involvement with the orchestra grew to the point where I became the manager after the passing of my dad. I led the band for four years.” His jazz quartet performed at the Reilly Arts Center’s Digital Series in April, featuring musical styles by Stevie Wonder, Sonny Rollins, Bob Marley, Duke Jordan and Miles Davis, with Kayton Lane on drums, Nolan Koskela-Staples on bass, Greg Snider on saxophone and Thomas on steelpans. He currently is the cultural arts specialist for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County and is responsible for introducing bucket drumming to its members and leading them through performances at major events in the Ocala community. Thomas moved to Ocala

SEAN THOMAS Online: www.seanjazzthomas.com Musical education: Thomas received his formal musical education at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at New England Conservatory in Boston, now known as the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz. Career highlights: Thomas is the founder of the Jazz Alliance of Trinidad and Tobago (2007) and his career highlights demonstrate his passion and commitment to cultural and artistic diplomacy as a development tool. He has collaborated with many acclaimed international musicians in various genres of music and has produced, performed and promoted events through the alliance. Early in his career, he toured India and Thailand with the Thelonious Monk Jazz Ensemble under the direction of distinguished Jazz Masters Carl Atkins, Thelonious Monk Jr., Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, and performed on drums and steel pans at the Snowmass Jazz Festival in Aspen, Colorado, and in India and Thailand. Following this initiation, he returned to his native Trinidad to begin his journey as a composer, musician, performer, arranger, inventor, entrepreneur and teacher. Thomas says he was born into a family of music. “My dad made the steelpan instruments and led his own steelpan orchestra, which I joined at age 7. And my grandmother was the first female to play the steelpans,”

Chris McNeil portrait by Young Cultures

Sean Thomas portrait by Meagan Gumpert

September ‘20


music. Being new to the area and not knowing many people, I decided to teach myself how to play the guitar. I started singing in 9th grade and was involved in many music classes at West Port High School by 10th grade. Music has helped me get through many seasons in my life. When I can’t express myself with words, I express myself through music. If I didn’t have music, I would feel lost.” Her theme song, she says, would be Unbreakable Smile by Tori Kelly. As for the future, she cites Psalm 37:4—“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” “God has placed a big dream in my heart for my music,” she explains. “I would love to be a Hannah Matos portrait by Joshua Jacobs professional musician and share my music with people all over the from New York three years ago to establish a cultural world. I’m not sure what exactly God has in store for me, exchange program between Trinidad and Ocala by but I am excited to find out!” creating an International Youth Steelpan Orchestra with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County. BECKY SINN “Thanks to the support from Marion Cultural Online: Facebook and Instagram; music available on Alliance and Insight Credit Union, we were able to www.reverbnation.com/beckysinn, Apple Music, Spotify, purchase some of the steelpan instruments and are on YouTube, Pandora and other platforms. our way to making this project become a reality.” The sound: A sultry siren specializing in all things jazzy, He finds Ocala “an easy going and quiet place to live. bluesy and retro. You can hear yourself think here.” Coming up: “I am working on some new songs and His future plans include publishing several books collaborating with my longtime musical partner, and fulfilling the completion of a 16-piece steel band orchestra at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County. Becky Sinn portrait by Erica Summers

HANNAH MATOS Online: Instagram @hannahmatosmusic The sound: “It is hard to describe my music with just one genre or style, but I will say my music is heavily influenced by R&B vibes.” Matos says she moved to the area in 2008, after her family relocated to The Villages. “They felt it was a safer place to raise my sister and I,” she remarks. “I appreciate the support of the arts in the community. I’m excited about what is happening and for what is to come and am happy to be part of it. “Growing up, I was always around music. Whether it be for my mom’s church choir rehearsals, my sister’s dance rehearsals, or just listening to gospel music at home,” she adds. “It wasn’t until I moved to Ocala that I started to develop a personal relationship with 34


William Cansler. He produced my first album and provided most of the instrumentation.” Sinn is an Ocala native and says she loves how the local arts scene is flourishing. “It’s always been here, it’s always been awesome, but I love that now it’s everywhere you look,” she enthuses. “It’s been spilling out into the streets and onto buildings for the past few years. I think the city is more involved than ever and it is thrilling. I love the murals and sculptures just popping up everywhere. I love all the new young musicians carrying on a tradition of Ocala music. Live music on the square and music festivals at the Drive-In—there is so much to do!” Sinn says she was drawn to music way back. “As far as I can remember, music has always caused physical and emotional reactions in me. It moves me so intensely,” she muses. “Music is my gift, it’s a part of the fabric of my being. I feel so lucky to have the natural ability to express myself through art and music. I continue to stay with it because I was blessed with this talent. It is my mission to spread joy and happiness through music.” The singer and guitarist says she is inspired by “other artists, colors, moods, emotions and places.” Rather than a single theme song, Sinn reveals, she would have “a theme album called A Touch of Tabasco by Rosemary Clooney and Perez Prado.

Fareeza Vogel portrait by Melissa Hurst Photography


Ecliff photo courtesy of Ecliff Farrar Telford

Online: Fareeza Music on Facebook and @forrealfareeza on Instagram The sound: “During shows I love to include a few songs from all genres just so there’s something for everybody. My personal style is more alternative rock.” Performances: Singles Not a Quiet Thing and Backwards Fairytale, available on music platforms such as Apple Music, YouTube and Spotify. Coming up: “I am working on writing and finishing an album and have recently gotten a band together, Arctic Red, and we will be making our debut at the Ocala Drive-In event on September 6th.” Vogel was born in Manhasset, New York, and has been in Ocala for 20 years. “My favorite thing about living here is being able to be a part of such a close-knit community,” she says. “The amount of support I’ve been shown from the beginning is extremely overwhelming and I’ve just met the most amazing people.” The singer and guitarist says she is inspired by people who are passionate about what they’re doing. “People are my passion, and everyone is so important in some way,” she declares. “I feel like the

love that everyone has as a whole for what they’re doing ultimately inspires and lifts everyone up.” Her goal for the future is to create as much music as possible. “Performing is a huge passion of mine,” she explains, “If I can inspire at least one person to get out and follow their dreams as well, that’s already more than enough for me.”

ECLIFF FARRAR TELFORD Online: Ecliff Farrar Facebook page. The sound: “I’m a soul singer at my core, but I cover a wide range of pop music with my soulful influences in mind.” Coming up: “I hope to record and promote an original single by summer 2021.” September ‘20


blues. They call me the ‘Mississippi Hippie’ and it wouldn’t be unusual to see me around town in bell bottoms and a flower in my hair!” Coming up: In the studio writing and recording songs to be released in 2021. From September until the end of the year, scheduled performances at The Orange Blossom Opry (virtual), writing and recording in Nashville with Lee Brice band and performing one of her original songs in a movie. Mac and her mom moved to Ocala, where they have family, about five years ago. “I hated to leave Mississippi, but I have met so many amazing people in Ocala, which makes me proud to call it home,” the teenager states. “I am grateful for our local audiences. I have performed at many great venues in Ocala and am always amazed at all the love and support I get from everyone. Ocala is big enough to have a lot to offer and small enough to feel like a hometown.” As for her start in music, “My mom says that I have been wailing since I came out of the womb,” she notes. She says she was drawn to her career through local community theater plays, school Macey Mac portrait by Michael Jenkins Photography productions and entering singing competitions as early as 6 years old. Telford moved here from New York 15 years ago, “I have been blessed with so many opportunities after being hired at a job fair for Marion County with my music,” she outlines. “I have traveled all over Public Schools. the country performing at venues including the stages “I love that live music and the arts have become a of America’s Got Talent Season 13, the House of Blues significant part of the social culture; it may make way and The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. I have performed for further growth in other significant areas,” he offers. the national anthem for MLB and NBA games, which He says he was drawn to music when he heard a include the Orlando Magic, LA Lakers, Memphis woman sing in church when he was young, “and I knew Grizzlies and Tampa Bay Rays. A little closer to home, I one day I wanted to make people feel that way.” have enjoyed performing at the Suwannee River Music “I’d like to write a song I can be proud of and have it Jam and the Orange Blossom Opry in Weirsdale, which stuck in someone’s head and maybe another musician has somewhat become my second home. I am always covers it at a bar gig,” he says of his future hopes. happy performing at Ocala’s events/festivals and our The singer and guitar player says if a tourist walked local restaurants and venues. I haven’t performed at up and asked him about the best local sites, he would tell the Reilly Arts Center, but it’s certainly on my wish list. them, “The downtown area has a tremendous variety, It seems like every time I finish a project another door including gourmet restaurants, an art gallery, Irish pub, always seems to open.” sushi, wine and beer spots, a movie theater—just to name She says her inspirations stem from a long line of a few. But I’d absolutely have to specifically mention artists, including the Beatles, Jack White, Eric Church, a few of my favorite places—The Keep Downtown, La Elle King, Elvis, Janis Joplin, Patsy Cline, Aretha Cuisine, The Courtyard On Broadway, Pi on Broadway, Franklin and many more, and by talented local artists The Corkscrew and Big Hammock Brewery.” such as Doug Adams, Mike Smithson, Doug Stock, Bill Bartling and others. MACEY MAC “My goals for the future are to continue growing as Online: www.maceymac.com, Facebook, Instagram, an artist and keep creating music to perform all around Twitter and Snapchat @maceymacmusic the world,” she offers. “I plan to maintain my Christian The sound: “People say I have a big voice coming from beliefs and values throughout my career and hope that a tiny body. My sound is a blend of country, rock and whatever I do, it makes people happy.” 36


Affordable Elegance





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Awakening Beauty Karine Nigro Queiroz de Aquino has the striking beauty one expects from a fashion model, but the owner of Cartigliano Arts and Roger’s Frame & Gallery has made her life’s work about the beauty of restoration. However, we convinced this talented art expert, with the delicate touch of an old master, to let us adorn her in some inspiring fashions while we chatted about how her life’s journey brought her to Ocala. Story and styling by Nick Steele | Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery Hair and makeup by Nicole “Nicci” Orio of Pretty n Pinned Shot on location at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club


ueiroz de Aquino is an exceptionally upbeat and downto-earth individual, with an irrepressible zest for life, infectious laugh and generous spirit. The musical lilt of her voice and her blended accent create a charming effect when she speaks. She’s the youngest of five children and a “late child” born to a businessman father and stay-at-home mom. “I had a wonderful childhood,” she explains. “I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, but both mother and father family were Italians that emigrated to São Paulo. Life there was amazing. I did a lot of art classes with my mom, simple things: ceramics, porcelain painting and regular trips to attend theater productions and concerts, as well as visit museums. I think all of that contributed for my appreciation of art.” Queiroz de Aquino describes herself as a “normal child” who indulged in “daily sea baths” but never had designs on creating art. “I didn’t start as an artist,” she admits. “My focus was always to fix, make it better… rescue art. That’s my drive.”

While she attended law school, first in Rio de Janeiro and later in São Paulo, she discovered that the law was not her passion. “At 21, I got married and started to think about a new horizon,” she recalls. “My mother-in-law had a cafe inside a museum and I started to manage it. On my breaks I started to get very interested in restoration. The master restorer became a friend. I sat there observing and, before you know it, I was working for her. She was my boss for 15 years, until the day I came here.” During that time, Queiroz de Aquino became a master art restorer in her own right, earning credentials in restoration of easel paintings by the Museum of Sacred Art of São Paulo and the restoration and conservation of papers by the Brazilian Association of Binding and Restoration. “I was titled at the Museum of Sacred Art of São Paulo, and a disciple of the Italian School,” she offers. “My major was in oil on canvas but, as restoration is a very technical profession, it is the day-by-day practice that makes you better. We mostly worked for churches with a lot

of baroque influences: frescos, gilding, images of saints, and also with museums and private collectors.” Some of her most prestigious projects were restoring pieces by such artists as Rembrandt, Poteiro, Volpi and Portinari, as well as pieces belonging to the Portuguese royal family. In addition to works of art, she specializes in paper restoration. “It includes all kind of documents and prints with all sorts of issues, from tears and oxidation to mold damage,” she explains. “It’s very challenging and a slow process. I am very conservative on paper due to its fragility.” She also has expertise in fabric restoration to remove stains and oxidation. She has a breezy manner and gets excited about each new project, without offering any negativity about the condition of the piece. “Art gets old, just like we do,” she asserts. “What we have to do is maintain it—that’s conservation.” In her work as a restorer, she can address such issues as pictorial loss (paint loss, flaking), old varnish September ‘20


(yellowing), removal of surface dirt, tears and holes, ripped borders, oxidation and issues related to canvases not laying flat or coming away from the frame. During her process she performs a detailed examination, cleaning tests, black light testing and analysis of the artwork. She is also the owner of Roger’s Frame & Gallery here in Ocala, which offers custom framing and an impressive gallery, full of limited edition prints, giclée canvas prints, original art and posters. They also offer “extreme” custom framing of items like christening gowns and sports memorabilia, as well as hand-painted mats and hand-wrapped fabric mats. On how she wound up here, Queiroz de Aquino offers, “I didn’t choose Ocala, Ocala chose me! I am married for 19 years. I met my husband Luiz in law school. We always loved America; since we are kids we’ve been coming as tourists. We were both exchange students as teenagers,” she continues. “I lived in Kansas and he was in Montana. We both had the best experience with our American host families and friends. That was crucial and put America on our dream list.” That “American dream” was so strong that it eventually drew them away from their native land and culture. “We love American values, family orientation, work, ethic and culture,” she asserts. “Although we had a good life in Brazil, we wanted our kids to have the American mindset and create roots here. Our dream began years before moving. We spent that time gathering resources to come over and to establish ourselves.” With Florida in mind, she crafted a plan that would help her reach her goal. “I had the idea of buying a business with a art background and, naturally, I would have to work little by little,” she says of her decision to purchase Roger Baldus’ business and make it the home of her restoration services. “When I bought the business, it already had loyal clientele and was well known for its good service over the past 45 years.” She made the decision not to change the name of the frame shop and still employs staff members who have been working at the shop for over 35 years. Even Baldus, who is now her landlord, is on hand most days.

Betsey & Adams gown from Dillard’s Ocala

September ‘20




“He’s like a grandfather to my kids,” Queiroz de Aquino exclaims. Her husband is also flourishing professionally. He recently completed a master’s degree in law at the University of Florida. “I am eternally grateful for everything Ocala provided me,” she shares. “Ocala embraced us with a mother’s arms. It is also a perfect place for us. We love the springs, the trails, the nearby beaches and the golf. My children are very happy and love their schools (Blessed Trinity and Trinity High).” Being a mother to

Xscape gown and jewelry from Dillard’s Ocala

her three children is the cornerstone of her American dream and being a mom is what gives her the greatest fulfillment. She says there is nothing like the feeling that comes from “making a difference in a young person through their life and raising them to make this world a little better. My favorite thing, as a mom, is seeing my children happily enjoying each other’s company, spending time with their friends, achieving good grades and dreaming big dreams.” Queiroz de Aquino, of course, encourages her children

to enjoy and appreciate art because she believes “art is beauty and beauty can elevate your soul and make you better, happier person. And beauty will save the world.” Of her own journey and the masterwork that is her life, she concludes, “It’s been a great adventure and we are finally home. I think everything is where it is meant to be.” For more information, find Roger’s Frame & Gallery on Facebook, call (352) 732-4085 or visit www.cartiglianoarts.com

A Mighty Talent From New York City to a farm in northwest Marion County, this artist works in a wide range of mediums and many of her pieces are imbued with the spirit of animals. By Susan Smiley-Height Many famed artists often use the same model in numerous paintings. Claude Monet and his wife Camille Doncieux, for example, or Pablo Picasso and his lover Dora Maar. Maggie Kotuk’s muse was Ietske, 1,800 pounds of gleaming black Friesian, descended from one of Europe’s oldest horse breeds. Kotuk is a skilled artist in mediums including sculpture, painting and printmaking. On a recent morning in the sculpture garden at her farm in Shiloh, the warmth of the sun cast a pale glow 44


over her gentle face as she caressed the neck of her magnificent bronze statue of Ietske (Its-cah), her hand moving lovingly across the forelock and down to the signature feathered Friesian hooves. As she offered a tour of her home and studio, Kotuk emitted energy in a quiet way that let the visitors know she meant business, while also putting them at ease. She possesses an infectious wit and has a cultured cadence indicative of her upbringing in New York City and East Hampton. Her works have been showcased in numerous

galleries and her portraits are in the collections of such esteemed New York institutions as Guild Hall Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, Parrish Art Museum and St. John’s University. Kotuk has been a resident of Shiloh for 11 years, where she shares her farm with horses, goats, chickens, donkeys, dogs, cats and wildlife. Her most recent art show in this area was February 22nd, with painter and printmaker Michael Kemp, to benefit the acquisition and restoration of the Orange Lake Overlook, just south of McIntosh. She notes in the event program that upon arriving here in 2009, she stumbled upon the Icehouse Gallery and Studios in McIntosh, owned by artist and furniture maker George Ferreira. “In the back building was Harmless Pleasures, a print studio, operated by Mr. Kemp. I thought I had died and gone to heaven—both buildings were filled to the brim with remarkable art,” she writes. “When I was invited into Michael’s print studio, there, right in front of me, was a ‘sign,’ engraved on the side of the 1,500-pound press: Made on East 10th Street, New York City. Eureka! I was born and raised on East 10th Street NYC! How fortuitous!” Kemp notes in the program that though his friend and student “grew up largely in Manhattan’s East Village, she spent a rich childhood amid farms in East Hampton,” which, he says, were “a charm of young Maggie’s life.” “To say that Maggie Kotuk has an affinity for animals would be obvious from her life,” he offers, “but it must be stressed since it is a key to her art.”

Photos courtesy of Peter Cane

Early Development “As a child I lived with art from the WPA era. My family collected Russian émigré art, Americans...so I grew up looking at David Burliuk, Philip Evergood, Chaim Gross, Moses and Raphael Soyer,” Kotuk muses. “I just loved them all.” She recalls always wanting a horse as a girl, but “being born and raised in New York City, it was impossible to have a horse, but we summered in East Hampton.” “Another inspiration is that East Hampton was filled with artists; Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning,” she offers. “The east end of Long Island was an artist’s colony. I was born in 1945 so some of the children of these artists were people I grew up with. Of course, none of their work really registered with me, it was so abstract, but horses…”

Many of Kotuk’s memories include animals, and often come with hints of joy and sorrow. “I had a pet duck that I took to the town fair, and I was wearing all white and the duck pooped all over me,” she says, recollecting on her 10-year old self. “My duck won Most Favorite Pet at the fair. I remember coming home and my mother says ‘Oh my God, look at you.’ And I was so proud! And so, when summer was over and we had to move back to the city, I said ‘We’re going to take the duck, right.’ She said, ‘You can’t take the duck to live with us in Greenwich Village.’ I was heartbroken.” At age 15 she convinced her father she could work to support a horse. It was while working at a barn in East Hampton that she learned a great life lesson. “The woman who ran the barn never paid me. And I knew I had a responsibility because my job was to support my horse. So how was I gonna do that if she didn’t pay me?” she questions. “One day I came home and my mother said, ‘Okay, Maggie, what’s wrong?’ Because mothers know these things. I burst into tears and said she is not paying me, so I don’t know how I’m going to support my horse. And she said, ‘Well you have to tell her to pay you, whether you like it or not.’ I had to, as a young girl, find my voice. It really was a moment of growing up. She started paying me.” Between then and college, she says, her early experiences with art teachers did not go well either, so she became mostly self-taught. In the early 1970s, while seven months pregnant with her first child, she was earning double master’s degrees at

The Rescue

September ‘20




rises in intensity, “and he flipped through all of my work and he said to the others, ‘Why can’t any of you do something like this? I mean it’s original. It’s refreshing. All of you are empty.’” “And then three weeks later I had my baby. And, of course, I had to focus on him. But that was my first encouraging episode in making art.”

Making Her Way By the mid-1970s, along with teaching high school, adding to her family with a daughter, and embarking on farm ownership and management, Kotuk discovered an affinity for painting portraits, “almost in the genre of Alice Neel.” “And I would tell people, I’m not here to read your ego. I am here to look at you and see what I see in you and that’s my painting. So, if you are willing for me to do that, we have a deal,” she confesses. “Some people didn’t take me up on it.” “Some of the famous people whose portraits I’ve painted are Nicolas Nabokov, Alfonso Ossorio, Evan Frankel, Ian Hornak, Charles Gwathmey,” she observes. “There are plenty of people no one has ever heard of, including a collection of African American subjects that caught my eye as wonderful. In fact, just last week, I was contacted by a niece of one of my subjects whose portrait I did over 45 years ago.” Kotuk imparts that she learned another valuable life The Portrait of Jimmy Nicholson lesson around 1976, when she wanted to break into the New York art scene. She knew someone who worked for a major art dealer and they met for drinks. She recalls him telling her the way to do it was to have a person “planted” at auctions to buy her works until people started to take notice. Her then husband, a lawyer, convinced her that was fraud. “Over time, I had various dealers in New York and their commissions kept going up, up, up,” she notes. “And I’m thinking, what am I doing this for? I don’t have to sell the art. I just love doing it, making it. I don’t have to be famous. I just found the process of doing people’s portraits very, very interesting. Trying to find something about them that maybe they didn’t even know. “And then life changed,” she reveals. “I wanted my paintings

Photo courtesy of Peter Cane

New York University (NYU) in history and education. “I had about two credits left and I took a pottery class,” she recalls. “I made a horse out of clay and when they opened up the kiln, something had exploded—my horse—and I destroyed everybody else’s piece. I was devastated and I felt so guilty. I thought, OK, now I’ve got to try a different medium. Something that’s not going to hurt anybody.” She next tried a figure painting class. “Not knowing where my belly was because I’m pregnant, I’m bumping into people, students, knocking over their easels and just making a total scene,” she offers. “And then this model walked in and climbed up to take a seat and took her robe off and she, just her body, overflowed. And I said, oh my gosh, this is not esthetically pleasing. I mean I don’t want to be rude or be critical, but I realized I needed to look at things from a perspective of what pleases my eye, and that would be my way of going from then on. “I took all my little paints and I went up to the locker room, because it was a two-story, big studio,” she remembers. “And I painted and painted for two weeks. The teacher came up to look at what I was doing and he leans over the railing and says to all the students, ‘I want you all to come up here. Now.’ “And I thought, oh God, I’m going to be ridiculed again. I can’t stand it,” she says, adding as her voice

to tell a story. I moved to scenes with people in them that had some meaning or story behind them. For example, there is a huge portrait of the woman who was my mother’s nanny, a black woman from Nassau, who was like a surrogate mother to me. I did a painting of her as a young woman leaving Nassau on a Persian carpet as a vehicle, and her three daughters. And then another portrait of her in this painting of her mother, so it’s a continuum, it keeps moving. There is Nassau on the left and the carpet brings them across to the Bed-Stuy (a nickname for an area comprised of the Village of Bedford and Stuyvesant Heights) neighborhood of Brooklyn.”

The Friesians

Portrait by Bruce Ackerman

In the early part of the 2000s, Kotuk became “fascinated and fell in love with” the Friesian breed of horses. She traveled to Holland, where she was introduced to Ietske at a stallion show. “She just swept me off my feet,” Kotuk recalls wistfully. “She was the quintessential Baroque warrior horse. The kind that the Dutch government wanted to continue to breed just for that purpose, to protect and maintain the massive strength and power and kindness in these horses. There’s nothing stupid or finicky about them; they are solid citizens.” The majestic mare was in foal, but early enough that Kotuk could fly her home to her farm in East Hampton. “What I discovered about this horse was that she had this uncanny nature where she loved to pose, so she became my muse,” Kotuk says with a grin that turns into a hearty laugh. “In other words, I would just put her someplace and say, ‘OK, stand there,’ and she would stand there, and would take different poses. I told an artist friend of mine that I wanted a humongous photograph of Ietske and he said that’s fine, we’ll roll out big reams of paper and umbrellas with lights, like for a model’s fashion shoot, in the barn. So, I finished grooming her and I thought to myself, as soon as her hoof touches that crinkled paper, she’s gonna freak out. She walked onto that paper like a pro. She was ready to go down the runway.” “I just thought they were magical as subjects for art,” Kotuk explains about her affection for Friesians. “They are humongous, they are kind and gentle souls. And their depth of heart runs deep as a breed. I always had the utmost respect for Ietske’s temperament, character and nobility.” Over time, Kotuk started having incredible pain in her

hips and had bilateral hip surgery early in February 2007. “At the end of February, I was out of rehab, where I learned how to walk again, and the ice had totally consumed the farm,” she expresses, pausing for a moment to love on a cat that has jumped into her lap and begun to purr. “And one day it thawed. I let all the horses out and it was time to bring them back in and the water, that had melted, iced over on a slope leading into the barn. I’m leading Ietske and she started to slip and I started to slip. All I could imagine was that I am gonna go underneath her scrambling legs, the titanium rods in my femurs are going to be broken—shattered to pieces—and no one is going to find me. So, this is going to be how I die. I said to myself, ‘If I can get out of this predicament, I have to get out of here.’” A few months later, she notes, the multi-milliondollar farm she had created was impacted by the recession. The two events combined were too much. “It’s never been about money for me, it’s been about having a place for my horses,” she maintains. “I could not afford, anymore, to maintain my habit. I called a friend who did a lot of horse work in Ocala and I said I want to move.”

The Progression of Her Art Kotuk has four grandchildren. She has illustrated three children’s books and is currently working on illustrating a collection of Aesop’s fables using her original etchings. “Give me a kid any day and I would just love to do art with them. And they love to do art,” she declares. “Between children and animals, there is a purity, a candidness, a truth. It doesn’t lie. It doesn’t have any agenda. It doesn’t have any politics. It’s pure, simple, September ‘20


and charming and it makes my heart sing.” Sweeping her arm around her living room, Kotuk motions to a whimsical sculpture of a canine, then turns the face to show that the dog’s fang is stuck outside its upper lip. “It’s so goofy looking, isn’t it. I know that hooked-up fang look. Sometimes I get it myself, but nobody makes fun of me,” she says with a giggle. Another work, in bronze, shows a young girl in a frilly outfit, clutching her pet duck, while on horseback. Sound familiar? Continuing the tour, she notes, “These are two etchings I did with Michael Kemp and that’s an oil painting, sort of a fantasy, I’ve got my goat in there. There is folk art… carved, painted wood… the baby bull head… This is a recent painting called Young Chick Flying Up To Heaven.” One wall is nearly dwarfed by a huge painting in bright tones. “This painting is interactive. The eyes follow you.

It’s not intentional. It’s just what happened,” Kotuk explains. “It is called The Portrait of Jimmy Nicholson. He used to hitchhike into East Hampton to go to the liquor store and we became friends. He said he was an artist and when I visited his sculpture garden, to my eyes it was a Superfund site. To him, these were his treasures. I thought, I have got to do a painting of this man because it’s wonderful… I mean this is his truth.” In the sculpture garden, Kotuk continues an almost subconscious stream of describing her art. “This is limestone. This is that dog digging for moles,” she explains, pointing to a pet on the edge of the garden. “This was 200 pounds when I started. You have to go through it,” she notes, pushing her hand underneath the smooth underbelly of the canine. “This is a 200-pound block of limestone,” she notes of another work. “This is my goat.” Inside her spacious barn, one area is set aside for sculpting. “Plaster over there, stone over here, it’s just all over the place,” she notes. Inside her painting studio, very large Horse and Rider paintings are nestled into racks and mounted on walls and easels. One is from her “Circus” series, in which she painted herself or family members envisioned as part of a traveling troupe. Another large work shows a naked woman in water, surrounded by animals, including a horse that is looking backward at the viewer. “She thinks she’s alone, but she’s not,” Kotuk remarks, “because the horse is looking at us. The paintings are narratives. What I hope people will do is look at what’s on the canvas and see the story.” “Some artists arrive with their talents very much in place, Maggie Kotuk is one of those,” says Ferreira. “Already an accomplished painter and writer, she took an interest in sculpture after visiting my studio and gallery. I gave her a large piece of plaster from a discarded bucket of wall treatment. In this dried form it could be carved with rudimentary tools. She took this and carved two beautiful doves. From there she went on to stone and then casting bronzes. “Just to show her work ethic,” he adds, “a fellow sculptor and I, Charlie Williams, gifted her a 200-pound block of limestone cut from a larger block. All of us had a piece of equal size with a smaller section left over. We are still carving on our sections while Maggie completed her first piece and we gave her the smaller block, 100-pounds, and she finished another work. We are inspired by her commitment to create, and thankful for her friendship.”



Photo courtesy of Peter Cane

Personal Perspectives

Portrait by Bruce Ackerman

“Maggie produces works which have a museum quality finish even as they exude human creativity and reverence for the sentient world,” Kemp offers. Katherine Weissman, a writer in New York City, knew Kotuk in high school. “We lived a few blocks apart in Greenwich Village, and I think fancied ourselves quite bohemian,” she offers. “Many of the kids in our class had gone to school together since the age of 4, but Maggie and I weren’t among them, and maybe it was that ‘outsider’ status that drew us together. Then as now, she was passionate about horses and had one of her own.” Weissman says they lost touch when they started college, but reconnected at their 50th high school reunion. “It was as if no time had passed, as if the adolescent girl inside each of us had just been waiting for a chance to reemerge—and giggle. We don’t see each other that often, but we email and write and support each other as best we can. I am in awe of her paintings and woodcuts and especially her sculpture. The idea of her attacking a block of stone is both amazing and utterly consistent with her strength of mind and body. Hers is a mighty talent.”

Together in Spirit Seated inside her home, surrounded by her art and several pets, Kotuk shares that in late July Ietske developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “I was at her beck and call, and it was my pleasure,” she shares softly. “I did as best I could to keep her comfortable. And then it was time to let her go.” “I have learned some things about life and death through these animals, and that’s why I love to paint them,” she continues. “And that’s why I love to immortalize them in soapstone, or alabaster or limestone, because what they signify is so profound. She was a gift to me and I don’t want to lose sight of that in all the sadness I feel. And I feel that about all the animals and people I have lost, that in some way they stay with me.” “All of my animals are my subject matter, so they have a purpose,” she avers. “They are a feast for my eyes, for my heart. They mean everything to me. I hope to find, through my art, the secrets that all these animals hold, of...of life. Does that make sense?” To learn more, visit www.maggiekotukart.com September ‘20


Ta ke Heart in Art “Even in this time of social distancing, we can enjoy public art,” says Laura Walker, division head for the

City of Ocala Cultural Arts and Sciences Division, which commissioned the new art approved by the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission. “I am so excited to see the support of our partners, sponsors and community in continuing to expand our collection of public art.”

Life on a Large Scale New sculptures bring opportunities for exploration and education. By Lisa McGinnes

Water is Life Artist: Aspen Olmstead, www.aspensart.com Location: Tuscawilla Art Park, 213 NE Fifth Street


ragonflies are one of nature’s loveliest examples of the cycle of life. The egg hatches in water, revealing a nymph that lives in water for years before its metamorphosis into the graceful, winged creature that will f ly for only several precious weeks of adult life. A new sculpture by Aspen Olmstead that captures the exquisite dragonfly is nearly ready for installation at Tuscawilla Art Park. “Dragonflies are dependent on a clean water source to complete their life cycle,” Olmstead learned from Rachel Slocumb, a conservation coordinator for the City of Ocala Water Resources Department. “That’s why I chose the dragonfly,” Olmstead reveals. “Because without clean water they wouldn’t exist.” Her newest piece is a homecoming for both the artist and the artwork. “Years ago, when I was about 19, my first apartment was right off Tuscawilla,” Olmstead recalls. “We’d spend a lot of time there. It was really a happy place to



go. We would explore around where that new pond is, adjacent to the art park.” The artist’s explorations included collecting broken glass, which she has upcycled into translucent wings of this suspended sculpture. “I’ve been collecting broken glass from Tuscawilla probably for about 10 years,” she says. “I’ve been trying to incorporate repurposed, reclaimed and found items in my sculpture. I love that these bits of glass are almost coming home.” Slocumb says the City of Ocala Water Resources Department is excited to sponsor the sculpture. “It is a great representation of the importance of preserving and protecting our valuable water resources,” she relays. “Dragonflies are slightly intolerant to pollution, so by reducing pollution we will be able to provide not only dragonflies, but all living things a healthier environment.” Olmstead says she felt “the need to kind of convey how important clean water really is” to the community she loves. “It’s been wonderful. I really feel embraced by my community. I’m disabled, so it’s important to still feel relevant in a community that I can’t actually work in anymore. I’m still able to find a way to touch others. It’s a really important part of my life.”

All photos courtesy of Maven Photo + Film

In 2020, new art is a welcome distraction. The recent pandemic shutdowns have not stopped the creation of some remarkable new works.

Chatter Bugs and Whisper Tubes Artist: Adam Walls, www.adamwallssculpture.com Location: MLK First Responder Campus, 500 block of NW Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.


he modern but businesslike buildings that will house new fire and police stations will be flanked by some less serious spaces including a community basketball court and a community room—and a whimsical, interactive courtyard sculpture. Chatter Bugs and Whisper Tubes is designed to intrigue both kids and adults. “The sculptures already look like a ton of fun. They are so playful in design,” enthuses artist Adam Walls, a sculptor and art professor from North Carolina who has

Patchwork Parable


designed artworks for spaces across the Southeast. “My kids are really enjoying them, but at this point there’s been a lot more adults than children testing them out,” he admits. “It seems impossible to walk past them and not try them out.” When the campus is completed and the art pieces are installed, Walls says the sculptures will invite kids of all ages to crawl through them or whisper through the antennae. “I love the sound component,” he says. “When you speak into one antenna, you’ll hear your voice reverberate inside the form and come out through the other antenna.” The accompanying sculptural bench has built-in whisper tubes, which Walls explains “act like cans on a string.” The seating area is themed around the concepts of community, partnership and communication.

or weeks, Jessica and Stephen Pigman have been up and down ladders Artists: Stephen and Jessica Pigman, and perched on scaffolding, www.stephenpigman.com Location: E.D. Croskey Recreation Center, holding drills and levels, 1510 NW Fourth Street wearing tool belts and hard hats. The husband and wife artists are creating a functional relief sculpture at the E.D. Croskey Recreation Center at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex. Patchwork Parable, which was recently completed, evokes the bold geometric patterns of traditional African American quilts in vibrantly hued primary colors. Adjoining panels mirror the African mud cloth pattern that adorns the Ocala Black History Mural in the complex’s adjacent Webb Field. “We chose our quilt concept because they are familiar and comforting,” the Pigmans explain. “They reincarnate discarded scraps into something of beauty and value. The recreation center serves such an important role in the community and we wanted to match its welcoming, joyful spirit.” The function of these artistically designed panels is sound absorption, which will enhance the music and theater performances held in

the center and will brighten up live concerts that need to be moved indoors during times of inclement weather. Residents who take part in basketball, Zumba and other fitness classes will be able to enjoy the artwork along with their chosen recreation. “This project involved a lot of construction, scenic art and upholstery, but also acoustic science because the piece had to be functional,” the Pigmans say. “We drew from our theater experience and background in music to choose materials that are commonly used to dampen the stage sounds in theaters.” The couple from St. Augustine is uniquely qualified to craft this piece. Musicians themselves, the Pigmans regularly design educational exhibits for museums, including Ocala’s Discovery Center, and design and build stage sets for theater organizations throughout the region. Sponsored by AdventHealth, this particular project was commissioned by the City of Ocala Cultural Arts and Sciences Division to address “the sound tunnel that currently exists when bringing performances inside the building.” September ‘20


Meaningful Murals Whether purposely sought out or unexpectedly stumbled upon, outdoor public art murals are attention grabbers. Larger than life, delightful and thought-provoking, murals make us stop, linger and wonder. Here’s a look at some of the recently completed public arts murals. By JoAnn Guidry

Electromagnetism Artist: Drake Arnold, www.drakearnold.com Location: Ocala Citizen Service Center at 201 SE Third Street


asked with painting a mural with an electricity theme, artist and Ocala native Drake Arnold delved into the subject and found a kindred spirit in Michael Faraday. “The mural was for the west exterior wall of the Ocala Citizen Service Center, where people can pay their electric utility bill,” explains Arnold, who works in both traditional and digital media. “Of course, most people know about Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and even Nikola Tesla’s contribution to the field. But when I read about English scientist Michael Faraday and his electromagnetism discovery, I decided to make that the focal point of my mural.” Indeed, an imposing Faraday dominates the stunning black and white narrative mural, daring anyone to challenge his discoveries. Next to him is an electrical table with four compasses on it, which Faraday used to prove there was a connection between electricity and magnetism. To the top right is an artistic rendition of an electromagnetic field. “I rolled the whole wall with black paint and then spray painted the images. It was a revelation to use spray paint for a fine art piece,” recalls Arnold, who has a bachelor’s in fine arts in digital art from the University of Tampa and has worked as a motion graphics designer for Fortune 500 companies and as a music festivals artist. “I decided to go with black and white to get back to the fundamentals, the basics of art to tell a story.” Over a six-week period, Arnold actually painted two murals on the side of the Ocala Service Center building.



Adjacent to the Faraday image is a drop down to the left where Arnold continued the black and white theme, however he switched to an abstract style. The second mural features several 3D boxes and waves of energy, the latter created by Arnold using a push broom with which to paint. And, in keeping with the electricity theme, he painted over and incorporated outside electrical boxes into the second mural. There’s also another twist to Arnold’s Faraday mural. “Anyone can download my Fractal Spirit AR mobile app for free on the Apple Store and Google Play Store,” says Arnold, who is a member of the Marion Cultural Alliance. “Then when you look at my mural, you’ll see interactive images. This is the first augmented reality mural ever done in Ocala.” In addition to Electromagnetism, other Drake murals can be viewed inside and on the outside fence at Muddy Lotus Tea Kava Bar, and inside and on the back alley wall of The Courtyard on Broadway. The first mural he ever painted in Ocala is a blue heron on the west wall of the Brick City Center for the Arts courtyard.

Creative Refuge Artist: Justin Alsedek, www.gypsea-arts.com Location: Brick City Center for the Arts Courtyard at 23 SW Broadway Street


or Ocala artist Justin Alsedek, his mural’s location and theme are very personal. After years of traveling from beach town to beach town as a pastel chalks portrait artist and establishing his Gypsea Arts, Alsedek decided it was time to settle down. “When my wife Sarah and I found out we were going to be parents, we thought we needed to put down roots,” says Alsedek, who has a bachelor’s in fine arts photography from the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design. “Sarah has family in Ocala, so here seemed like a good choice. Then I discovered the Marion Cultural Alliance and my art just blossomed into painting with acrylics.” When selected to paint the mural on the south-facing wall inside the Brick City Center for the Arts courtyard, picking a theme for the piece was easy for Alsedek. “I have an affinity for butterflies. I can relate to the metamorphosis they represent, so in some form they have become a part of my art,” says Alsedek, now father to 3-yearold son Ki. “Of course, with butterflies comes flowers. And that tied into how I felt I have blossomed as an artist thanks to finding a home with Brick City. I felt like those were all the elements that I needed for the mural.” Originally drawn on his computer in Photoshop, Alsedek then projected the image up on the wall and sketched it in from there. Over a two-week period in June, he painted it in with various brushes, describing the process as “almost paint-by-number.” The result is a brightly colored whimsical mural resembling a page from a children’s book. On the left is a giant zebra longwing, Florida’s state butterfly, sipping nectar from a small white flower. The other focal points are the large magenta-colored flowers and sizable green leaves, dripping raindrops from a typical Florida summer afternoon shower. “The mural is actually a selfie mural, the first one in Ocala. People can take refuge under the giant leaves and take their selfie there, then post it #SelfieMuralOcala,” offers Alsedek. “I love doing murals, especially outdoor ones because it brings art out to the people.” September ‘20


All Hands On Deck Artists: Cosby Hayes and Sarah Painter, www.spchwalls.com Location: 517 NE 9th Street


rom a distance, the murals’ bright colors and unusual patterns draw your attention to the concrete embankments flanking the underpass at the Ocala Skate Park and spark your curiosity. Appropriate to their location, the murals feature giant skateboard trucks, which are the T-shaped metal undergirdings of a skateboard. The title of the murals is a play on a common phrase but in this case refers to “the deck” on top of the skateboard, where the rider stands. “We wanted to create a unique visual backdrop for the skate park, one that would please the skateboarders and make others wonder what they were seeing. By painting the skateboard trucks much larger than life, it created an interesting contrast,” offers Cosby Hayes, a Tallahassee-based artist who created the murals with his partner Sarah Painter. “It was by far the most unusual murals that we’ve ever done. It was a uniquely challenging project, but a fun challenge for us.” The first challenge for Hayes and Painter was that the project began in June, the official start of Florida’s heat and humidity. Added to that daunting fact was that the duo was painting on concrete, which conducts heat, and had to deal with the angle of the embankments. “We basically painted in the early morning and late night,” says Hayes, who has a bachelor’s in fine arts from Florida State University, as does Painter. “The City of Ocala provided us with outdoor events lighting to use when we painted at night. Everyone with the City of Ocala was wonderful to work with throughout the project.” The duo used exterior latex paint primer and then a sprayer to paint the giant, colorful skateboard trucks while crab-walking up and around the embankments. The murals were completed in 16 days and perfectly frame the Ocala Skate Park. “We were honored to be part of the Ocala’s ongoing public art project,” says Hayes. “Public art projects are a great community investment. They make our communities more vibrant and interesting places to live and visit.” Self-guided public art tours are available at www.ocala.oncell.com



Reflections Through Flora Artist: Ernesto Maranje, www.maranje.com Location: Brick City Center for the Arts at 23 SE Broadway Street


larger-than-life black bear peers out from a quintessential Florida nature scene of cypress trees and sabal palms. He is flanked by a pair of roseate spoonbills looking for just the right spot to land in the water and a half-dozen monarch butterflies seeking sustenance in the flora. The living-art mural, on the west-facing side wall of the Brick City for the Arts building, also incorporates attached, custom-fabricated plant trellises to allow for actual plants to grow into the painted wall. The only one of its kind in Ocala, the mural is a collaboration between Miami-based artist Ernesto Maranje, artist and fabricator Mike Zeak and horticulturalist Suzanne Shuffitt. “I was first drawn to nature by an aesthetic curiosity.

And I’ve always been interested in colors, patterns and textures, like animal fur,” says Maranje, who began painting while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. “Later, my curiosity grew to explore our connection to nature and to realize we too are nature. And that is what fuels my art.” Traveling between Ocala and Miami to work on the mural, Maranje also had to pause the project a few times thanks to the Florida summer weather and the COVID-19 outbreak. Using spray paint, Maranje worked on the mural for about four weeks. Zeak and Shuffitt then came in to add their contributions. “My process involves abstract marks inspired by floral elements to create a cohesive whole. This mural portrays the unity of plants and animals by pulling together different segments from each for the finished product,” explains Maranje, who has painted murals in Greece, Spain, Iraq, Ukraine and the Kingdom of Jordan. “The use of live plants in my work is something that I’ve never done before and it really makes it a unique piece.”

Tiny Treasures Artist Diane Cahal has captured the essence of 10 nonprofits in miniature displays. By Susan Smiley-Height

Small Spaces, Big Places Artist: Diane Cahal, www.artisticlunasea.com Location: Various sites around downtown Ocala


iane Cahal, a Texas native who has been a “cheerleader” for the arts in Marion County for more than 20 years, is a master at creating Polaroid manipulations, abstract watercolor and acrylic paintings, dioramas and miniatures. It is the latter that caught the attention of the City of Ocala, resulting in the Small Spaces, Big Places exhibit of 10 pieces that have been installed in “secret garden” locations around the downtown area. The works include, for example, the headquarters of the Boys & Girls Club of Marion County, the Reilly Arts Center and Ocala Civic Theatre. Cahal says that through her work with the Marion Cultural Alliance’s popular Horse Fever projects, she “experienced what public art brings to a community.” “So, I wanted to give back, like a gift to the city,” she explains of the miniatures. “The works are not to scale, are not models and are not replicas. They are my artistic impression.”

The miniatures, which are coated in heavy resin, are mounted on stands that have been anchored into the landscape. It is expected they will remain “viable” for up to eight months. The city’s Cultural Arts and Sciences Division commissioned Cahal to create the miniatures. The project was funded in part by a grant from the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission through the State of the Arts license plate fees. Cahal earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in photography with a minor in studio art from Sam Houston State University in Texas. She is currently serving her second term as vice president of the Magnolia Art Xchange. Although she has been creating artistic works for decades, it was after she had a stroke in 2018 that she embraced her craft full-time. “Strokes have a funny way of stopping the world for a little life evaluation and assessment,” she notes. Cahal lives near Dunnellon and says that “living is just better surrounded by creativity, culture and the arts.” You can take an interactive journey at ocala.oncell.com and view all 10 miniatures. September ‘20


Our area abounds with talented authors creating thrilling contemporary romance novels, suspenseful young adult titles, self-help, fiction, history and humor. So, sit back and learn about these interesting reads awaiting your perusal. By Susan Smiley-Height

In Search of Felicity: In the Footsteps of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings By Marian Rizzo Immersing yourself in the pages of this novel, you can almost smell the orange blossoms and hear the chickens scratching in the shaded yard that Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings called home in the backwater community of Cross Creek, just a few miles northeast of Ocala. That’s where the venerated author penned some of her most intriguing works, such as the Pulitzer Prize winning The Yearling, and where travel writer Julie Peters finds herself discovering not only intimate secrets about Rawlings, but parallels between their two lives. Both women want love and affection, but find no fault in withdrawing from the world into pockets of seclusion that leave loved ones wanting. Rizzo offers an introspective spin on historical facts, bringing the past to light in the shadow of Julie’s romance with Mark Bensen, to whom she is engaged— somewhat reluctantly. And some of those facts might just be revelations to those of us who thought we knew a lot about the beloved Marjorie—such as that, at age 11, she won 56


a children’s story contest using the pen name Felicity. In exploring her own life, through her eyes and those of Mark’s, a sage counselor who quickly discovered Julie’s darkest secret; her best friend, whose mixed-race marriage brings family tensions; and others, Julie finds endless similarities between her story and Marjorie’s. On assignment in Cross Creek, Julie befriends guide Lucy at the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, where visitors can tour Marjorie’s home, kitchen and gardens. She also finds solace, comfort and kinship with Lucy’s aunt Emma, a wizened crone whose entire being oozes southern gentility sheathed in a backwoods patina. Rizzo credits Florence M. Turcotte, a literary manuscripts archivist at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries in Gainesville, for her assistance with the novel. “This engaging novel gives voice to those of us who find inspiration and insight into our own lives through great works of literature,” Turcotte notes. “Rizzo’s work will resonate with Rawlings fans and even those who will take up her books for the first time.” Felicity is the second in a series, following In Search of the Beloved, also featuring Julie and Mark, and set on the Greek island of Patmos. Rizzo, an award-winning journalist, also has authored four other novels, one of which is a nuclear war thriller. To learn more, visit www.marianscorner.com

Summer on the Black Suwannee By Jennifer Odom The inky depths of the Suwannee River have long concealed secrets. The blackness of the winding river stems from the tannic acid of decaying vegetation or, as hinted at in this young adult thriller, from evil. After Emily, a happy-go-lucky 15-year-old is traumatized at the hands of her stepfather, she is forced to leave her friends in Citra and Orange Lake and go to a counseling center with her mother, Charlene. At the nicely named Earth Mother Acres, Emily and Charlene are lulled into thinking they will receive support and care as they work on multiple issues, including Charlene’s fractured relationship with her own mother. The “counselors,” however, soon exhibit mysterious behaviors and exert more and more control over Emily and Charlene, such as forcing them to take “vitamins” that lead to ill health and separating them further and further from each other. What soon becomes apparent is that the facility, which appears on the surface to be a sort of healing commune, is instead one of several that operates on principles of deceit, manipulation and downright cruelty.

One of the bright spots in Emily’s life is a dog who adopts her, and whom she names Beggar. Their relationship gives her comfort in a world as sometimes dark as the snaky river running past the compound. Behind the scenes is the truly creepy persona of Lucas. Those under his power dance to his commands, like puppets on strings. As Emily becomes more and more aware of the darkness at hand, she also realizes that her faith might be the thing that saves her and her mother. Charlene’s mother, and her best friend/neighbor, also wage battle in this tale of spiritual warfare, raising mighty prayers to God for protection of their loved ones. Odom is a Florida girl, and Master Gardener, and it shows in her powerful descriptions of the flora and fauna of north and central Florida, bringing her readers into a natural world inhabited by both beauty and danger. And she is a mother and former school teacher, who is able to provide insight into the complexities of child/ adult relationships. She is an award-winning author, including being named the 2015 Writer of the Year at the Florida Christian Writers Conference. In her subsequent novel, Stranger With a Black Case, Emily’s story continues as Odom brings mystery and intrigue to the town of Gaskille, Florida, which is “suspiciously like Ocala.” To learn more, visit www.jenniferodom.com

Breaking the Power of Negative Words: How Positive Words Can Heal By Mary C. Busha That old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is so not true! As anyone who has ever had their feelings hurt by words can attest, they have mighty— and sometimes long-lasting—power. Busha documents some of those stories, including her own, as she sheds light on how what might seem like a simple phrase or off-hand comment can, indeed, cause great harm. She also illustrates the link between people who have been hurt in turn hurting others through their choice of words. She uses an example from her own life in exploring how her childhood motto, “If

you can’t eat it, don’t buy it,” delivered by her mother, translated into Busha feeling “practically paralyzed entering a department store.” As a child, of course, Busha did not understand that her mother was one of seven children who grew up during the Great Depression, when resources such as food were scarce and precious. She also writes about her troubled relationship with her parents and how she had an “Aha moment,” in which she realized that, “When I began to see that the harsh words spoken to me in my formative years were not about me, I started seeing everything differently.” Interwoven throughout this text are references to scripture and BuSeptember ‘20


sha’s thoughtful insights. At the end of each of chapter are questions posed to the reader to help them look inwardly at such things as how words have impacted their own life, how their words affect others and how he or she feels about forgiveness. “My intention is not merely to bring to remembrance words from our pasts,” Busha writes. “Rather, my aim is to take us beyond the words and offer steps that can help remove their harmful effects and place us on a pathway to healing and freedom.” “I daily have the opportunity to see how words have

the power to either build up or tear down—and either can have a lasting impact for decades,” writes Dr. Michelle Bengtson, a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist. “This is the book for those truly desiring to heal from the power of negative words.” Busha is a writer’s coach, editor and writer whose work has appeared in periodicals such as Reader’s Digest and Focus on the Family.

My F-word is Forgiveness

of Marion County medical team, won the heart of the 6’2” biker as a fellow Warlock lay with a head injury in her emergency room. This easy-reading book offers chapters that could be a primer on relationships: “Cardboard Purgatory”, a self-help guide; “My Wife is Away,”; on how to navigate sometimes dreaded holidays; “Valentine’s Day,” on how to navigate sometimes dreaded holidays; and even a what-not-to-do lesson about waking a sleeping spouse, “Fishing.” And then there is “Groceries, Outhouses and Chewing Tobacco.” Clearly, Agee is not afraid to saddle up on his 2003 Road King and take to the highways of life, nor is he hesitant to put his heart and soul on the line in ministry to others. As he notes on the jacket cover, “Real ‘forgiveness’ has amazing power. It has the power to restore broken relationships, the power to lift huge feelings of guilt, the power to change life. Whether we need forgiveness from someone else, from God, or from ourselves (there’s a tough one), forgiveness is profound. It brings acceptance and the chance for another F-word, ‘Freedom.’ Freedom gives us a chance to change and to live life in the everyday giving and receiving of ‘Forgiveness.’ Go ahead, shout it out and shock somebody!”

By Herb Agee You remember Mama demanding that you not use the infamous “F-word” because it is vulgar, crass and just plain rude. That, in part, is what makes the Reverend Herb Agee quite brave in using the reference in the title of his book. But, as those who get past the title and delve into the chapters will learn, this former police officer, hospital chaplain and church pastor, still avid motorcycle rider and current Hospice of Marion County chaplain, is not afraid of rattling cages and unsettling the settled, including himself. And it is through his myriad life experiences, such as being on the front lines inside hospital emergency rooms, working the midnight shift as a cop and guiding the bereaved through their sorrows, that he is able to deliver life lessons in light prose that often is humorous and nearly always gives one insight into their own predicaments. You will surely giggle—and learn something about acceptance of others—in the multichapter entry that shares how he developed a strong friendship with his buddy Boodan, a member of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club, and how his 4’11” wife, Carmel Lee “Candy” Quigley, a member of the Hospice

Remembering Paradise Park: Tourism and Segregation at Silver Springs By Lu Vickers and Cynthia Wilson-Graham Historic photographs show people young and old cavorting in the crystal-clear waters of the Silver 58


To learn more, visit www.breakingthepowerofnegativewords.com

Find Agee’s book on Amazon. Learn more about his personal ministry at www.facebook.com/stfrancishelps

River, riding on the famed glass-bottomed boats and enjoying a spacious complex that included concessions, a piccolo ( jukebox), a dance floor and lawns perfect for lounging on blankets. The images are from the heyday of Paradise Park, the “colored” counterpart of the Silver Springs attraction. In Remembering Paradise Park, the authors, in

addition to the photographic evidence, dig deeply into the formation, challenges, rewards and ultimate end of what was, indisputably, a major local and national tourist attraction and safe haven for Black guests. An excerpt from the jacket cover notes: “Together, the two parks formed one of the biggest recreational facilities in the country before Disney World. From 1949 to 1969, boats passed each other on the Silver River—Blacks on one side, whites on the other. Though the patrons of both parks shared the same river, they seldom crossed the invisible line in the water.” Paradise Park was created by Carl Ray and William “Shorty” Davidson, the owners of Silver Springs, in part because Black visitors to Silver Springs were allowed to enter and roam the grounds but were not allowed to ride the boats or enjoy rides and other amenities. They tapped one of their number of Black boat captains, Eddie Vereen, to manage the new park. It is through historical documents and personal recollections, including from relatives of Vereen and many others, some of whom live in Ocala today, that the story of Paradise Park is told in a rich narrative that matches the undeniable pull of the attraction itself. This extensively documented work delves deeply into the history of segregation, the history of Seminole

Indians and African Americans in Marion County, and explorations of tourism nationwide. In its pages, Vickers and Wilson-Graham offer the definitive history of one of Marion County, and the nation’s, most renowned attractions. Vickers, of Tallahassee, is the author of a novel and three nonfiction books. WilsonGraham, who lives and works in Ocala, is an educator and lecturer whose advocacy was instrumental in the installation of a historical marker by the Bureau of Historic Preservation at the former entrance to Paradise Park. Their book is filled with images taken by renowned photographer Bruce Mozert. The Appleton Museum of Art is temporarily closed to the public but, upon reopening, will feature the exhibition “MidCentury Tourism on the Silver River: Photographs by Bruce Mozert.” The show will feature photographs of Silver Springs and Paradise Park, as well as other ephemera, that will highlight Mozert’s innovation, creativity and significance to the history of tourism in Marion County. Find the book on Amazon. Read a blog post by Vickers at www.floridapress.blog/2015/09/08/guest-postdiscovering-a-forgotten-florida-park

Roaring Reptiles, Bountiful Citrus, and Neon Pies: An Unofficial Guide to Florida’s Official Symbols By Mark Lane Mark Lane doesn’t have as much of a bushy hairdo as Mark Twain, but he does have the trademark mustache—along with the quirky wit and journalistic flair. Lane, a longtime feature writer and metro columnist with the Daytona Beach News-Journal, understands nuances and how to deliver a verbal punch. In this new work (he also is the author of Sandspurs: Notes From a Coastal Columnist), he delves into the murky waters of how the state Legislature signs state symbols into law. From the opening chapter on Key Lime Pie, the state’s official state pie, in which he waxes poetic on the vagaries of adding food coloring and where the limes actually come from, Lane turns a tart tongue on the why and how these iconic items were chosen. He tackles the official state slogan, reptile, fruit, fossil, marine mammal, soil, play, song, tree, sport, litter

control symbol (huh?), bird, motto, seal and gem. Not to mention Florida Day, subtitled Ponce de Leon Schlepped Here! Who knew, or would even the most seasoned native recall, that the Sunshine State slogan has been on our license plates since 1949? Before World War II, however, Florida was known as the Peninsula State, the Everglades State and the Alligator State. But, as Lane September ‘20


expounds, “Highlighting your biggest swamp or scariest reptile is not always the best pitch for moving real estate or attracting tourists.” The author also takes aim at some unofficial symbols, such as, “The Official State Sport Stalled in the Pits,” meaning NASCAR racing, and the unofficial state fossil, the lowly Eocene heart urchin, which he describes as “found in limestone deposits as well as on eBay.” Lane himself describes the literary romp as, “Full of the kind of unnecessary commentary that might cause trouble.” Jeff Klinkenberg, also a newspaperman, at the

Tampa Bay Times for four decades, and recipient in 2018 of the Florida Humanities Council’s “Lifetime Achievement for Writing Award,” weighs in on Lane’s book this way: “This old Florida boy has been waiting for such a book for a coon’s age. I learned a lot about the origins of our state’s symbols and laughed a lot while reading. It’s a great combination, like butter and grits.” As a Florida native myself, I don’t think there’s much higher praise than that.

Beyond Power

situations such as encountering a Florida black bear near a dead body, guns, stacks of money, shots fired in her direction and a fire set outside her camper. The plot includes the truly complicated innerworkings of a fractured family, the formation of militias, selling guns, setting traps for snoopers and a proposed child marriage involving Delilah’s young sister. And, of course, the sweet and sometimes salty romance between the main characters. Sourcebooks plans to release the e-book on September 1st and the print edition in early January 2021. The first book of the Florida Wildlife Warriors series is Beyond Risk. Mann also is the author of six other novels and is featured in an anthology. The multitalented writer is a U.S. Coast Guardlicensed boat captain who, among other excursions, takes Marion County Public School fifth graders on tours of the Silver River, through a Silver River Museum program. She also is a wife, mom and nature lover, and advocate for women and children in developing countries.

By Connie Mann In the second of her Florida Wildlife Warriors series, author and boat captain Mann delivers a contemporary romantic suspense novel filled with local references. In the story of fictional Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission bush pilot and officer Josh “Hollywood” Tanner and rhesus macaque monkey researcher Delilah Paige Atwood, who barely escaped her ultra-fundamental militia family years ago and has returned to try to save her nearly 16-yearold sister, Mann draws the reader into locations that will ring true with locals, such as area rivers and the zip line attraction that spans old limestone pits north of Ocala. Just imagine for a second this scenario from Chapter 13 as Atwood, Tanner and a friend are at the zip line: “He was about to say more when suddenly, they heard a crack, Delilah’s harness broke free, and she plunged toward the water.” What happens next? You’ll have to read the book to find out! “It’s about family, and how far we’ll go to protect those we love,” Mann writes on her website. “It’s about overcoming the past and, for Delilah, it’s about stepping into her own power and becoming who she was always meant to be. And of course, it involves spine-tingling suspense set in Florida’s wilderness, with two fabulous people who are trying to stay alive while also falling in love.” She’s right about the spine-tingling part, as the reader follows Atwood into deep woods and precarious 60


Learn more at www.marklane.net

To learn more, visit www.conniemann.com

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Painting in the Lascaux caves in France

What is Art, Anyway? Patricia Tomlinson, the Appleton Museum of Art Curator of Exhibitions, muses on the marriage of function and beauty in art. Tomlinson, a former professional archaeologist, joined the museum in 2016 after serving as curatorial staff in the New World Department at the Denver Art Museum.


hroughout human history, people have been creating visual representations of their hopes, dreams and desires. Whether it be the anticipation of a successful hunt depicted in the famous caves of Lascaux, France, or adoration of the gods in ancient Mesopotamia, it seems human beings have always felt compelled to express themselves in a physical manner. But is it art? One of the most eye-opening experiences of my scholastic career was while I was studying for my art history degree. I had been a professional archaeologist for many years and then went back to school for a second degree. Part of what made this experience so revelatory is that in my art history classes we were often studying the same ancient objects I had studied in archaeology, yet looking at them in completely different ways. Before, when I had looked at something like an Egyptian pyramid, I was studying it from the perspective of its societal function–it was a tomb. Art historically, it was also incredibly lovely and a timehonored form–a triangle. Many of the things I had studied before I had never thought of as art. The case against thinking about certain objects as art can often be summed up by intent. Was a cave painting



that was placed in a hard to reach spot in the dark ever intended to be admired, or was it meant to spiritually provide a certain outcome? Was the attractiveness of the painting even considered, or solely its function? I was once helping out at the Appleton booth at a large public event where a man was at pains to inform me that he “didn’t like art” but very much liked the beautiful stone projectile points (commonly called arrowheads) at the neighboring booth. Two of the ancient tools had been intentionally crafted so that the grain of the chert formed a distinct pattern along their length. In other words, made to be both beautiful and functional. That ancient individual “bothered” to make beauty, and I would argue, art. The marriage of function and beauty seems to be something that is necessary in us. I would also say it is a large part of what makes us human.

Visit www.appletonmuseum.org for more information and online offerings. Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., (352) 291-4455.

Photo courtesy of the French Ministry of Culture

By Patricia Tomlinson

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Jasmine 7550 SW 61st Ave. Ste 1 Ocala, FL 34476 (352) 732-7337



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September ‘20



Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille 24 SE 1st Avenue, Ocala

(352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-9p › Fri & Sat 11a-10p › Sun 11a-8p Located in the heart of downtown Ocala, Harry’s offers traditional Louisiana favorites like Shrimp and Scallop Orleans, Crawfish Etouffée, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, Blackened Red Fish, Louisiana Gumbo and Garden District Grouper. Other favorites, like French Baked Scallops and Bourbon Street Salmon, are complemented with grilled steaks, chicken, burgers, po’ boy sandwiches and salads. Their full bar features Harry’s Signature Cocktails, such as the Harry’s Hurricane, Bayou Bloody Mary or the Cool Goose Martini. They also feature wines by the glass and a wide selection of imported, domestic and craft beer.

El Toreo

3790 E Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala

(352) 694-1401 › 7 days 11a-10p SR 200, Ocala › (352) 291-2121 › 7 days 11a-11p 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).

Happy Hour Specials: 2-7p every day $3 Draft Beer $4 House Wine & Premium Cocktails $5 Super Premium & $6 Harry’s Signature Cocktails $7 off bottles of wine We are open for dine in, carryout and delivery through Doordash and BiteSquad

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

Braised Onion

754 NE 25th Ave., Ocala

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



Easter Buffet featuring Prime Rib, Ham and Breast of Turkey 11:30am-5:30pm Reservations recommended We’re Open! New enhanced menu


Sweet Treats These confections can help start the day as a breakfast goodie or serve as the perfect palate pleaser after an evening meal. By Jill Paglia | Photography by Meagan Gumpert September ‘20



aking happens with ingredients that last for months and come to life inside a warm oven. It is slow and leisurely, even relaxing. It also has a way of bringing back delightful memories. Not much in my childhood compares to walking in the door after school and being enveloped with the aroma of freshbaked chocolate chip cookies. I would eat them while they were hot out of the oven and would flip them over and spread real butter on them—the ultimate indulgence! I find that baking is a labor of love that often gets passed down from generation to generation. With cooking, you can experiment. You don’t have to be precise with a recipe. When it comes to baking, however, it is all about precise measuring—or your recipe most likely will fail. Baking requires a disciplined approach, but the reward is a consistent outcome. I also love the process of making something to share with others to enjoy. So this month, I’m sharing the recipes for some of my favorite and best-loved baked goods. My Orange Pecan Topped Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread is not only a crowd pleaser, it is a great way to use ripe bananas. The best part is that my recipe makes two loaves, so you have one to enjoy and one to share. This luscious bread can be a great addition for brunch, lunch or a thoughtful treat for someone you love...just because. Another of my all-time favorite recipes is probably the most quintessential cake for Italians, a simple Torta di Mele Classica or, more plainly, Apple Cake. It’s delicate, moist and heart-warming like few other baked dishes. It’s one that great aunts made for years and that disappears way too quickly once it’s pulled out of the oven. I may be a bit biased, but this is the perfect breakfast cake in my book. If you prefer to serve it as dessert, you can take it up a notch by adding fresh whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel along the edge of the cake. And, since I am one who despises waste, I will routinely bake or cook up a concoction before a particular food goes bad. This led me to first make my irresistible Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake, because I wanted to use some



fresh organic blueberries before they got soft and mushy. I made this one evening after dinner and my son couldn’t wait the 20 minutes for it to cool. So, I cut it after 8 minutes and it held up well without crumbling. This is not too sweet and also makes a great breakfast cake. I hope you will enjoy these recipes as much as I do, and by all means, share the love!

Orange Pecan Topped Cream Cheese Banana Nut Bread 3 cups King Arthur Gluten Free Flour 2 cups sugar 1 1⁄2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 medium) 1 cup chopped pecans 8 pounces cream cheese, softened 2 large eggs 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Orange Icing

1 cup powdered sugar 3 tablespoons orange juice 1 teaspoon orange rind, grated Stir together until well blended.

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. › Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluff y. › Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. › Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and gradually add to the butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. › Stir in bananas, pecans and vanilla extract. › Spoon batter into two greased and floured 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pans. › Bake at 350° for one hour or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and the sides pull away from the pan, shielding with aluminum foil last 15 minutes to prevent browning, if necessary. › Cool bread in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. › Drizzle orange icing evenly over warm bread and cool for 30 minutes on wire racks before slicing.

Traditional Italian Apple Cake (Torta di Mele Classica) 4-5 large Granny Smith apples (you can also use Jonagold, Braeburn, Pink Lady or Winesap) 3 large eggs, separated 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup whole milk 1 organic lemon 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder Preheat oven to 360°. › Butter and flour springform pan, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. › Finely grate the zest of lemon and set aside. › Peel the apples, cut them in wedges and place them in a bowl. › Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the apples to prevent them from browning and mix well. › In a deep container, beat egg whites with cleaned beaters until foamy, then add about 1/4 of the sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites hold stiff peaks and then set aside. › In a separate big bowl, beat together yolks and the remainder of the sugar, then add softened butter and keep mixing until all lumps are gone. › Stir in milk, a little bit at a time. › Add lemon zest and mix. › Gradually stir in flour and baking powder just until combined. › Gently fold in 1/3 of egg whites to lighten, then fold in remaining whites. › Gently stir in 2/3 of the apples. › Transfer batter to springform pan. › Arrange the rest of the apples on the top, in September ‘20



circle patterns. › Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. › The cake is done when a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. › Leave cake in the pan for about 10 minutes. › Run a knife around the inner edge of the pan and remove the outer ring. This cake is best enjoyed when served warm.

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off 2 cups fresh blueberries



3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup milk 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon salt

Streusel topping: Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. › Using your fingers, mix until no lumps of brown sugar remain. › Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it is in a crumbly state. › Put in refrigerator.

Streusel Topping

Coffee cake: Preheat the oven to 375° and set an oven rack in the middle. › Spray a 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. › In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. › With an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt

sugar until creamy, about two minutes. › Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. › Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. › Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine. › Add the berries to the batter and stir gently with a spatula, but do not overmix. › Transfer to pan, top with streusel and bake for 40 minutes. › Cool for 20 minutes. › Store at room temperature for a few days—if it lasts that long!

Thank you to our County-Wide Executive Challenge Members Each of these amazing individuals raised over $2,500 for the Marion County Heart Walk and the American Heart Association. Thank you for your dedication to our mission.

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Karan Gaekwad, Danny Gaekwad Investments

Joe Johnson, AdventHealth Ocala

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September ‘20



In The Kitchen With Anthony Ortiz Chopping vegetables, clad in an apron made of upcycled firefighter gear, this dedicated dad is serving up one hot dish. By Lisa McGinnes | Photography by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery


nthony Ortiz is a family man who knows his way around a kitchen. He handles a chef ’s knife like a boss—even if he doesn’t always slice the onions quite thin enough for his wife’s taste. But, most likely, when you go in the kitchen with him, you’re really going in the kitchen with Anthony plus his wife Olivia and 9-year-old daughter Giada. Expect plenty of chatter and laughter, with the Kidz Bop versions of his favorite 1990s rap music playing in the background. Eleven-year-old Roman might not enjoy helping in the kitchen as much as his little sister, but don’t worry, he’ll be at the table when the whole family sits down to eat. “We try to do family dinners at much as possible,”

Ortiz says. “When Dad’s in charge, most of my cooking is pretty simple. Easy cleanup. If we do any grilling or proteins, I’m usually the one who whips that up.” Ortiz first learned some basic cooking skills as a teenager working at Chili’s Grill & Bar. “I did a lot of food preparation at Chili’s and the chefs there would teach you how to hold the knife,” he explains. Knowing a little something about cooking would prove to be useful as he went on to Florida State Fire College and then found himself cooking for the other firefighters at the station when he went to work for Ocala Fire Rescue (OFR). But food prep skills and spending money were not the biggest rewards to come out of that busboy job.


“Back then, Chili’s had those crayons in the wooden crayon holders,” he recalls. “Part of the busboy’s job was to bring those crayons back after the customers left…” He would bring the crayons back to the restaurant’s hostess, the lovely Olivia Mercado. “We got to spend a lot of time together,” Ortiz remembers. “And then we ended up going to the same youth group together at Meadowbrook (Church).” The rest, as they say, is history. Twenty-two years later, the couple is getting ready to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. “Sometimes I’m her sous chef,” he says. “We work together pretty good as a team.” He has fond memories of calling her from the fire station to get help with a recipe. But, he says jokingly, with a wink to his wife, “Even if I’m cooking, she’s supervising.” Being able to cook family dinners is a luxury Ortiz didn’t always have as a firefighter working 24-hour shifts. Now, as a captain in OFR’s Fire Prevention Division, he’s home every night. One of his go-to dishes for a quick, easy and healthy dinner is One Pan Salmon, which he serves with his secret ingredient—locally made Barbacuban 455 BBQ Sauce. The only part that can be

tricky, he says, is cutting the vegetables uniformly so they cook evenly in the oven—and so they meet Olivia’s high standards. “I want them (the onions) so finely sliced you can read a newspaper through them,” she admits with a laugh. The salmon dish fits into Ortiz’s keto diet, which, he says, makes a noticeable difference in his daily run. “We’re not big junk food kind of people,” he shares. “We usually eat pretty healthy. Every little bit of weight, when you’re running consistently, you can feel it.” – Tony Ortiz He ran cross country at Belleview High School, and Ortiz has been better than most of us at keeping up with it. His daily routine is to get in a run right after work, before cooking dinner. Ortiz has run every day for more than 3 1/2 years without missing even a single day. In July, he passed the 1,300day mark. So be sure to smile and wave if you see him jog by. Just don’t call this dedicated dad at 6pm on a weeknight. That’s family dinner time. “I like sitting down together to eat it better than the cooking part of it,” he admits. “It’s definitely the payoff. Everybody sits down, you get something to eat together. And we know we made it.”

We try to do family dinners as much as possible.

One Pan Salmon

Salmon fillet, around 2 pounds 2 lemons, thinly sliced 2 onions, thinly sliced 1 bunch asparagus 1 beet, cubed 24 oz. cherry tomatoes 16 oz. Brussels sprouts Butter Barbacuban 455 BBQ Sauce Capers Himalayan sea salt Olive oil Place salmon fillet skin down on a baking sheet. › Arrange asparagus, beet, Brussels sprouts and cherry tomatoes around salmon. › Place pats of butter down the middle of the salmon. › Layer lemon slices, onion slices and a sprinkle of capers on top of salmon. › Drizzle entire pan liberally with olive oil. › Sprinkle with Himalayan sea salt. › Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until onions begin to brown, being careful not to overcook. › Serve with Barbacuban 455 BBQ Sauce on the side for dipping. 72




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Loving Care At some time in your life there’s a very real possibility that you’re going to be called on to be someone’s caregiver. One of the biggest challenges that any caregiver faces is knowing where to turn and what resources are available to help them navigate the journey.

By Marian Rizzo | Photography by Bruce Ackerman September ‘20




ne day at a time. That’s how most caregivers look at life. But, for Linda Lofton, one day at a time has turned into more than 40 years of caregiving for her daughter Candra, who was diagnosed with hydrocephalus shortly after birth. Candra suffered numerous complications during her first year of life. For a while she could walk without assistance and she even ran in Special Olympics races, but, in recent years, Candra’s left leg and arm began to atrophy and she became dependent on a wheelchair. After graduating from Hillcrest School, Candra waited nine years for Medicaid Waiver services so she could attend adult day training at ARC Marion, the Advocacy Resource Center. In the meantime, the majority of Candra’s care has fallen on Lofton, a single mom, who left her job as a makeup consultant in order to stay at home with her daughter. “There are lots of positives about Miss Candra,” Lofton says softly. “She loves to smile. And she’ll do funny little things that make you know she is not a baby. She likes to think for herself. When she looks at me and smiles, which is all the time, it makes me smile. “But you just never have a life,” sighs Lofton. “It’s having to take care of another woman, basically. When you don’t have that extra person to lean on, it’s rough. I’ve got back problems from lifting Candra’s wheelchair in and out of the trunk of my car. I go to a chiropractor, I do exercises and I try to deal with it. I’m just needing a break while knowing she’s taken care of.” Lofton’s other daughter, Leah Taylor, helps whenever she can, but most of the caregiving falls on Lofton. “I try not to put too much on Leah, but it’s just a help having somebody else around so I can run out to the store,” Lofton says in praise of her elder daughter. To help them cope, both Lofton and Taylor recently enrolled in



Candra and Linda Lofton

Savvy Caregiver classes offered by Elder Options in Gainesville. The seven-week course, which was actually designed for people who assist someone living with dementia, also provided vital information about self-care and stress reduction, which Lofton shares with members of her caregiver support group, Shining Lights. She helped start the program two years ago at Meadowbrook Church. “I’ve had a good ministry over me,” Lofton shares. “My belief in the Lord is that He just takes care of us. My saving grace has been ‘one day at a time.’” Most mornings, while Lofton is getting Candra dressed and putting toothpaste on her toothbrush, in another part of town Judy Berthelot is helping her husband Elmo shower and shave. Over the next several hours, both women will be cooking meals, walking their “patients” to the bathroom, and finding ways to keep them entertained. It’s like taking care of a child, notes Berthelot, who has watched her husband decline with Alzheimer’s disease for the last 22 years of their 29-year marriage. “The difficult part was in the beginning when the unknown factors were throwing out their ugly faces,” recalls Berthelot. “I just sensed a difference in him, but I didn’t understand what it was. It just

wasn’t him. He had a problem trying to retain a focus. Conversations were difficult, because his comprehension was being lost at the same time. We got bombarded with difficult social situations. If we were in a group of people and we were talking, he didn’t respond because he couldn’t keep up with the conversation.” Sometimes the former Elmo reappears for a little while. Somebody plays a song at a clubhouse gathering and, although Elmo can no longer dance, his face lights up and he gets into the rhythm, says Judy. “Dancing is something that was built in—the beat, the rhythm was always inside of him,” she recalls with a giggle. “Even today, if he can’t dance, he can tap his cane to the music. In Blessed Trinity (Adult Day Care), sometimes they have guests who come in and play music, and sometimes they’re songs he remembers and there goes the cane. He’s reliving that happier time when he could jump up and have fun.” Such stirrings of life give a moment of joy to the Berthelots. Then, Judy laments, reality sets in and they are back to a parent-child relationship. “Number one, you have to understand the person and where they are in this disease and that it is a disease,” advises Berthelot. “This is not the person who is lashing out at


you, the person that you’re waiting to say, ‘I love you,’ and put his arm around you, because that may never happen again.” Fortunately, Berthelot had the foresight to purchase a long-term care insurance policy which has paid for home health care with a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and also is funding Elmo’s adult daycare at Blessed Trinity. More recently, Berthelot applied for additional resources through Caregiver Services Inc, a Miami-based home care provider. According to the organization’s website, without long-term care insurance, the average monthly cost of services would be $3,833 in Marion County. For Berthelot, the insurance has been a lifesaver. Nevertheless, caregiving is not an easy task for this 112-pound woman who’s taking care of a 207-pound man. “If I have to move him, shift him or roll him in the bed, or try to lift him, I couldn’t do that,” admits Berthelot. “As long as he’s walking on his own two feet, we’re good.”

Help Is Available

Lofton and Berthelot are part of a growing number of caregivers in the United States. According to a 2017 AARP report, 41 million family caregivers provided 34 billion hours of care in the U.S., generating an

estimated economic value of $470 billion. Listed among the most prevalent medical duties caregivers undertake are pain management, wound care, giving injections and operating medical equipment. Add to that transportation, meals, taking care of insurance and finances, and assisting a loved one with bathing, dressing, grooming and other daily needs, and the caregiver is set up for burnout and even health problems of their own. But help is available, explains Beverly Crumpler, program manager of Hospice of Marion County’s Transitions, one of three Transitions programs in Florida, the other two being Big Bend Hospice in Tallahassee and Haven Hospice in Gainesville. Transitions is a support system for those challenged by an advancing, life-limiting illness. No stranger to the plight of a caregiver, Crumpler is currently taking care of two people: her 81-year-old mother, who has rheumatoid arthritis, and her son, Dexter, who is 31 and was diagnosed with autism. Spurred by her personal experience, Crumpler has been working with Hospice of Marion County for 16 years. She became manager of Transitions three years ago. Applying for services is easy. Just pick up the phone, says Crumpler. “The first phone call usually

Elmo and Judy Berthelot

comes from the doctor’s office, a family member or even the patient themselves,” Crumpler explains. “We send a caseworker out to assess the situation. We have a wealth of resources for them. We partner with a lot of local organizations to meet the needs of patients. When we notice a client is having issues or declining, we’ll communicate that with their physician. It’s all about gathering the best resources to meet the needs of that patient so they can live as normal as possible.” The Transitions staff and volunteers also pay close attention to the needs of the caregiver, Crumpler adds. “When you’re caring for someone you sometimes forget to care for yourself,” she says, partly from experience. “We not only look for resources for the patient but we’re also looking for resources to help the caregiver. When a caregiver starts to get burnout, we notice their own health starts declining. That’s a big one for us. If anything happens to that caregiver then who is gonna care for that patient?” There are telltale signs to look for when a caregiver is heading for burnout, says Crumpler. “One of the big things they start going through is depression. A lot of them are not able to get enough sleep. They’re fatigued. Then if they should have any health problems themselves, they start showing more and more symptoms.” Crumpler recommends having someone else come in and sit with the patient so the caregiver can get a few hours of respite. “It’s okay to take a break,” insists Crumpler. “They need to get away so they can revive themselves. Just go to the golf course and play a round of golf or just go shopping without having to look at your watch and rush back home. Then roll up your sleeves and go back at it.” Caregivers also need to put a long-range plan in place, insists Crumpler. “Unfortunately, a lot of September ‘20



caregivers don’t have plans,” she admits. “We have a large population that come down here to retire. Suppose one of the two gets sick and the children are up north working? This is a retirement state. All of us are gonna be caregivers at some point. It’s not if, it’s when.” Transitions of Marion County has three caregiver support groups that meet monthly. One is located at the Elliott Center in Ocala, one at Brandley House north of The Villages, and the third is for the residents at Ocala Palms and was started in January 2019 by John Renyhart, who leads the group. Renyhart knows what it’s like to have his world turned upside down. He and his wife, Nancy, had a wonderful life together, traveling and visiting with family and friends. Then Nancy started to experience short-term memory loss and she began to withdraw from social activities. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011. After 56 years of marriage, Renyhart’s life partner died on April 30th this year. “I miss her dearly,” laments Renyhart. “I will tell you that the struggle she had with this, especially over the last few years, it was difficult to see her go down. Swallowing for example—that was one of her biggest issues. We tried all kinds of things to keep it under control, but eventually it just got the best of her. Whenever I had a moment of utter despair, I always thought, where are we going? My job was to keep her home. We did everything we could possibly do to keep her comfortable and safe and keep her alive. “When people witness what is happening to their loved ones it’s tough to watch,” he adds, after an emotional pause. “Sometimes at our age, there is a certain amount of memory loss. It’s part of the aging process. But for someone who has dementia it’s far more serious. It isn’t just forgetting where they put the keys. Nancy went out in the car and she got lost, so we surrendered 78


her driver’s license and got a state identification.” Like Lofton, Renyhart furthered his own education in 2015 when he enrolled in the seven-week Savvy Caregiver training program. “It was a godsend,” declares Renyhart. “It was just before Nancy’s health really took a nosedive. It helped me understand the different stages of the disease, the type of behavior to anticipate and the best ways to respond. It’s being proactive in dealing with this disease.” Renee Horne, one of the facilitators of the Savvy Caregiver’s classes, makes sure people know what to expect when they take on the role of a caregiver. Discussions often focus on the types of behavior Alzheimer’s patients might display, such as outbursts or wanting to wander back to the home they grew up in. While dealing with such unnatural behaviors, the caregiver needs to separate enough to take care of themselves, Horne advises. “We stress self-care because we don’t want to lose two people to the disease,” explains Horne. “Caregiving is a different role than the role you had with the person before, and you have to learn the skills to take on that role. It’s about not being isolated. Too often caregivers think they’re alone. They don’t realize there are other people out there.” A 2020 report by the Alzheimer’s Association mentions that more

Beverly Crumpler

than 5 million Americans age 65 and up have Alzheimer’s disease. Medicare and Medicaid will cover $206 billion, or 67 percent, of total health care and long-term care payments for people with all types of dementias. Out-of-pocket spending will likely reach $66 billion this year, the report states. While learning how to deal with Nancy’s disease, Renyhart said he also learned a lot about himself. “The very first thing I learned was that I am not a very patient person in my workaday life,” he admits. “When Nancy took ill and the disease progressed it became evident that patience was really important. It requires an inordinate amount of patience and understanding.” For a while Renyhart was able to get a daily break by placing Nancy in Blessed Trinity’s adult daycare, but he had to pull her out when she started having trouble swallowing. Then, using his long-term care insurance, he hired a home health aide to come to the house seven days a week. “One of the things that every caregiver needs is respite,” acknowledges Renyhart. “You need to have some kind of break. Having someone come to the house gave me the opportunity to go to the store or get a haircut or just go to a meeting. Someone who is in the full throws of being a caregiver, totally


John Renyhart

immersed, they need a break. Caregiving is stressful. It can be very challenging and emotionally and physically stressful. Sometimes you don’t sleep well. When you’re in the role of a caregiver, you need to take care of yourself.” To help nurses and other medical personnel understand their patients who have Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, Renyhart recently established the Nancy Renyhart Endowment for Dementia Education, a part of the philanthropic mission of Hospice of Marion County. And, though his caregiving days are over, Renyhart continues to lead the Ocala Palms support group meetings. “Part of my therapy is helping other people get through this,” muses Renyhart. “There isn’t a week goes by that we’re not helping someone in a more intimate fashion. One of the challenges that any caregiver has is knowing where to turn, where the resources are in the community that can help them navigate this journey. A lot of people who find themselves in the role of a caregiver may lack confidence. They may feel overwhelmed. We feel as a support group that we can help.” Today’s Caregiver Magazine has named Ocala Palms Caregiver Support Group as one of the recipients in their nationwide 2020 Caregiver Friendly Award in the

Service category, recognizing their support of family caregivers while also improving their loved ones’ quality of life. Needless to say, there are rewards, some hidden and some that surface unexpectedly, reflects Renyhart. He especially likes to talk about the time a physical therapist was helping Nancy walk using a gait belt. “Overnight she had just stopped walking,” Renyhart recalls. “It was just remarkable to see how the therapist was getting her to walk. She really wanted to walk. She kept moving her feet, and there were moments when she smiled.” Then there were those fleeting times when Nancy connected with him on a personal level. “Oftentimes when I would tell her I loved her, she didn’t say it back. She couldn’t communicate that way,” recalls Renyhart. “It was through facial expressions, a smile. And a couple of times when I was holding her hand I felt a slight squeeze. She was getting it. I never gave up on her no matter what. As trite as this sounds, I always took my marriage vows quite literally—for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health— that was always on my mind.”

You Are Not Alone

The Family Caregiver Alliance website notes that 85 percent of all caregiving typically falls to a family

member. But they don’t have to make the journey alone. Multiple organizations offer resources that benefit the patients and also reduce the stress on family members who care for them. Among Marion County’s “knights in shining armor,” Marion Senior Services (MSS) offers numerous resources that help both the client and the caregiver. Due to the recent pandemic, companion and respite services have been suspended, however volunteers do telephone reassurance calls and deliver meals on wheels, notes Jennifer Martinez, MSS executive director. Once things get back to normal, the respite services will once again provide a needed break for the caregiver, Martinez assures. “A lot of our dementia clients’ caregivers don’t get time for themselves to recharge their batteries,” admits Martinez. “We try to give them as much support as possible. It’s important for them to take care of themselves in order to take care of their loved ones.” Also coming to the rescue, Ocala Caregivers provides a variety of services and works alongside skilled nursing care, says director Sam Betty. The organization charges a flat rate of $15 per hour for a minimum of four hours up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, states Betty. Some private insurance, such as long-term care insurance policies, cover the cost, and Medicare will cover it under a limited timeframe when a doctor prescribes it after hospitalization, Betty explains. “Most of the time we’re assisting the spouse or family member that lives in the home and is acting as the caregiver,” maintains Betty. “We also have resources on our website for dementia and caring for elderly family members. We have a lot of dementia patients, people going through cancer therapies, individuals who are getting to the point in age where they need a hand around the house or they aren’t driving anymore.” September ‘20



Sometimes, the disabled person is younger and active enough to receive services outside the home. For them, there is ARC Marion, a Medicaid Waiver-funded adult day training center, and also the Transitions Life Center (TLC), a nonprofit, faithbased community for intellectually disabled individuals. Lucy Johnson, executive director of TLC, praises the organization as a safe place with a variety of learning activities, such as arts and crafts, life skills, and physical fitness. “They want their own independence, just like each of us who want to go and have a job and have a little bit of peace for ourselves,” contends Johnson. The daily fee is $40, however, Johnson says, many of the clients have accessed funds through the state’s Consumer-Directed Care Plus, an alternative to Medicaid

Home and Community Based Services. Also, financial assistance can be awarded in-house on a sliding scale, Johnson mentions. Of all the family members Johnson has met over the years, she remembers well the one who confided how exhausting her role as a caregiver had become. “Caregivers need a break to be able to go and stand in line at the post office and not worry about somebody else,” Johnson contends. “They need to refresh, to clear their brain so they can handle the level of care appropriately. The rest of the world doesn’t see the physical toll it takes on families, but they don’t think twice about it.” Any family member who is caring for their loved one wants to keep them at home as long as possible, Johnson believes. “They’re caregiving out of love.”

Local Caregiver Resources

• The Transitions Program of Hospice of Marion County has three support groups, which meet at the Elliott Center in Ocala, at Ocala Palms for the residents, and at the Brandley House near The Villages. For information, call (352) 854-5200. • Savvy Caregiver is a seven-week course offered by the Gainesville based-Elder Options, the area agency on aging in 16 counties in Florida. Currently, an online program is being offered. For information about future classes or access to an online support group, contact Renee Horne at (352) 692-5226. • The Shining Lights caregiver support group is currently meeting via Zoom session at 10am Thursdays at Meadowbrook Church in Ocala. Open to the public. Call (678) 814-6099. • Blessed Trinity Elder Care is a state-licensed adult day care. Hours: 7am to 5:30pm, MondayFriday. Cost, $15 per hour or $65 per day, includes breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. May be covered by Medicaid, long-term care policies, VA contract and Marion Senior Services. For information, visit www.blessedtrinity.org or call (352) 671-2823.

Additional Resources

• Elder Helpline. A qualified information and referral specialist will provide information about services in



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Strategies to Avoid Burnout • Get to know the disease • Relearn the person who is afflicted • Be patient, take one day at a time, one hour at a time • Forgive yourself, others, and the patient • Make time for yourself • Seek outside help when needed

Tips for Coping • • • • • •

Sit down and take 10 breaths Walk away Don’t argue Keep a sense of humor Apologize when you lose it Watch yourself for physical signs of stress

Sources: Alzheimer’s 911, by Frena Gray-Davidson; and the National Institute on Aging

the local community. Call (800) 262-2243 or visit www.agingresources.org. Department of Elder Affairs, National Family Caregiver Support Program, Tallahassee office. Visit www.elderaffairs.state.fl.us/doea/contact.php, call (850) 414-2000 or email information@elderaffairs.org National Alliance for Caregiving. Provides support to family caregivers and the professionals who serve them. Go to www.caregiving.org National Family Caregivers Association. Offers information to help caregivers with day-to-day issues and situations. Visit www.caringcommunity.org Family Caregiving Alliance. Provides caregiving tips and programs for caregivers. Go to www.caregiver.org Alzheimer’s Association. Provides statistics and information about the disease and offers tips on how to deal with disruptive behaviors and other types of caregiving advice, plus sponsorship of support groups. Visit www.alz.org The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving. Provides information and support for caregivers. Online at www.rosalynncarter.org Caring.com focuses on aging parents, spouses and other loved ones. Go to www.caring.com Alzheimers.net is an online community focused on education, advocacy and other needs related to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Visit www.alzheimers.net

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