Ocala Style December '19

Page 1

DEC ‘19




Thank You! This holiday season is joyous because I was able to help so many people find their dream home in 2019 and when asked I was able to help other Realtors find the right property for their Buyers. I have been a proud resident of Ocala for over 30 years and have loved watching our town expand in size and grow in culture and opportunity. No matter what has drawn you to this glorious community, I’m glad you’re here. The phrase “Horse Capital of the World” has never been a more suitable description for our area. Our equine commerce is booming, and the opening of the magnificent World Equestrian Center will provide ample opportunity for those seeking an area that supports an active equine existence. In addition, Ocala allows you to experience a variety of lifestyles. A night at the orchestra or theater can be topped off by sampling the many choices for fine dining. Bicycling and hiking enthusiasts can pursue their passion thanks to miles of dedicated trails. The proximity of natural springs and lakes make our area perfect for kayaking, fishing, or water sports. These are just a few reasons we’re proud to be here and most of all it’s the warm and friendly people that help make Ocala home. In closing, I would like to thank my team, Bonnie and Francis, for their tremendous support and loyalty throughout the years. You are an important part of helping me make dreams come true for our clients. I would also like to thank my incredible husband J.J. for being my rock and my inspiration. It is said that a community is a collection of life stories. I am beyond blessed that J.J. and I have been able to share our story, our life, and our love with this remarkable community. I wish you all the best during this holiday season!


Development Parcels at:



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For this and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and more choices. 352.804.8989 | Cell: 352.266.9100 joan@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. December ‘19



PUT RAYAN FIRST. Ocala Health has always been here for Rayan. Rayan Massini awoke in the hospital in a lot of pain. He was confused and didn’t know where he was or why he was there. He had no recollection of the severe motorcycle accident that almost took his life nearly one month prior. Rayan suffered many broken bones, two collapsed lungs, a broken pelvis and a lot of internal bleeding. “They didn’t think I could survive all the injuries,” Rayan said. “But the doctors at Ocala Regional saw that I was really fighting and did everything they could to keep me alive.” Rayan was hospitalized for three months, had multiple blood transfusions, surgeries and had to learn to walk again. A warehouse laborer prior to his accident, Rayan is also now thinking about going back to school for physical therapy or some other form of medicine. “The accident really opened my eyes and made me want to do more than I was doing – something better – for myself and for others.” See how we’ve always been here for you too at OcalaHealthSystem.com.


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

Publisher | Jennifer Hunt Murty


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 Heather Bjorn heather@magnoliamediaco.com

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER Carlos Ramos carlos@magnoliamediaco.com


MARKETING MANAGER Kylie Swope kylie@magnoliamediaco.com

Drew Fabian

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SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST & SOCIAL SCENE EDITOR Vianca L. Torres vianca@magnoliamediaco.com MARKETING COORDINATOR Savannah Feustel savannah@magnoliamediaco.com SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN Baylie Danielle Chestnut


ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson evelyn@magnoliamediaco.com Sheila Gaspers sheila@magnoliamediaco.com Clif “Skip” Linderman skip@magnoliamediaco.com


Office: 352.694.9800

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DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/SALES Sharon Morgan sharon@magnoliamediaco.com CLIENT SERVICES GURU Brittany Duval brittany@magnoliamediaco.com

EDITOR IN CHIEF Nick Steele nick@magnoliamediaco.com MANAGING EDITOR Belea T. Keeney belea@magnoliamediaco.com PRODUCTION EDITOR Susan Smiley-Height susan@magnoliamediaco.com SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR Lisa McGinnes lisa@magnoliamediaco.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kevin Christian Amy Davidson Jim Gibson JoAnn Guidry Cynthia McFarland Katie McPherson Jill Paglia Patricia Tomlinson PHOTOGRAPHERS Amy Davidson Esther Diehl Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Lyn Larson Philip Marcel Dave Miller Isabelle Ramirez Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATOR Maggie Perez Weakley

Distribution Dave Adams Rick Shaw

CONTRIBUTORS SUZANNE RICE INTERIOR DESIGNER For this issue’s holiday challenge, Suzanne designed a double door capturing a starry winter sky. Originally from Canada, she says December conjures up winter scenes for her. As a licensed interior designer with more than 35 years of experience, she has created functional and beautiful homes, offices, barns and medical facilities.

ALAN YOUNGBLOOD PHOTOGRAPHER Alan’s work in this edition included photographing the Baldwin Angus Ranch family and local designers. Alan has 35 years of professional photojournalism experience behind the camera. He was GateHouse Media’s 2018 Still Photographer of the Year. He is a certified scuba diver and specializes in shooting underwater.

PHILIP MARCEL PHOTOGRAPHER Philip captured the stunning images of Te’Sha Jackson for this month’s Style File. Philip is a North Central Florida photographer and cinematographer, currently in preproduction for an action film. He is from Baltimore, where space is a commodity, and says he has a love for open spaces.

YOHANNA “JOY” ALVAREZGIBOYEAUX INTERIOR DESIGNER Joy designed an over-the-top Christmas tree for this edition. She comes from a family of artists, architects and crafters, and pursues design with function and beauty in mind. She earned a master’s degree in business before she went to the New York Institute of Art + Design and turned her passion into a career.



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Publisher’s Note decade is coming to a close and probably like many of you, I’m feeling ref lective. When we started the decade, we were trying hard to rebound from what I hope is the largest financial downturn to happen in most of our lifetimes. But look at us now! Here in Ocala/Marion County, the building industry is robust once again, our downtown is being revitalized, our art institutions are not only staying af loat but thriving, and our county hospitals have significantly expanded and improved. Now we wait in anticipation as the final phase of the World Equestrian Center is finished to further cement our claim to living in the Horse Capital of the World. Yet with all of these exciting things, we are mindful that there is more work to be done, like reducing poverty and improving our schools. These are big, complicated subjects, but I have no doubt that a community like ours has the right measure of smarts and heart to tackle them with success. We close this decade feeling honored to play a part in collecting the stories of Ocala and the county. Mindful of shifting local media resources, our team has ramped up efforts more than ever to amplify the voices that tell our individual and collective stories so generations to come have this point in time documented. I hope they refer to this past decade, and the future one upon us, as a renaissance period in our community’s history. Let’s make history happen.

Jennifer Hunt Murty Publisher

C O N T To wn





Art of all types, Champagne Dreams, and carnivals were in the mix last month.

Cultural philospher Andrew Taggart ponders the meaning of human existence.






Our guide to some great upcoming events.

Family traditions don’t have to be traditional. Katie focuses on personal Christmas celebrations.

Fe atu r e s






Check out our beautiful holiday designs, sure to inspire you.

With more than six decades of parades completed, this team has (nearly) perfected the prep work.

A SYMPHONIC HOLIDAY TRADITION A musical tradition in Ocala, this symphony performance is a treat for all.


VOWS Get a glimpse into the most special days of our local brides and grooms.

CORRECTION: Amy Davidson was not credited in our November issue for photographs of the tea hosted by Marion Cultural Alliance for the Culture Vultures of Stone Creek.

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW Our community’s key players talk about this year’s progress and what’s next for Ocala and Marion County.

Co u n tr y


HEAVYWEIGHT HOME TEAM The Grandview Clydesdales give new meaning to the phrase “thundering hooves.”



Leroy Baldwin started from a paper route and built an Angus legacy his family continues today.

E N T S Style

79 84

SHINING SEASON It’s a season for celebrating in style and we’re ringing in the holidays with some festive fashions.


A rts

Tab l e

86 91

Say hello to a local nonprofit director with a flair for vintage fashions.

HONORING TRADITION Our food contributor Jill Paglia reveals her family’s legacy of sharing sweet treats as gifts and symbols of affection.


IN THE KITCHEN WITH NATHAN MITTS This busy veterinarian loves to share meals and love with friends and family.



MUSICIAN’S PROFILE: MARGARET DIXON This vibrant multi-instrumental musician has orchestrated a wonderful life.

CURATOR’S CORNER Art expert Patricia Tomlinson shares clues about how to identify art’s origins.

DINING GUIDE Your guide to some of the area’s best eateries.

COVER: Dr. Chris M. Pell and wife Amanda Pell as photographed by Lyn Larson of Mahal Imagery. Shot on location at Bank Street Patio Bar. Chris: Ralph Lauren suit from Macy’s at Paddock Mall, shirt by Murano from Dillard’s Market Street at Heath Brook, Grooming by Nickie Collinsworth of Face the Day Spa and Salon; Amanda: Dress by Tahari and earrings by Belle by Badgley Mischka from Dillard’s, Hair by Christy Hoefly of Cosmera Hair Studio, makeup by Ammi Leon of Hello Gorgeous.

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The Social Scene Beautiful performances by local ballet dancers were a highlight at this year’s Applaud the Arts gala and awards presentation, held at the Appleton Museum of Art. Photo by Dave Miller


Teddy Sykes, EJ Nieves

Randy Godbold and Bu Moring



he 12th annual Applaud the Arts event hosted Oct. 17th by the Marion Cultural Alliance (MCA) and the Appleton Museum of Art revealed the 2020 grant recipients. The event included dance and musical performances, a skit, a high school concert choir and individual awards presented to Suzanne Schmittling, Jim Ross and Olivia Ortiz. Since 2002, MCA has awarded more than $300,000 to local arts organizations.

Leighton Okus, RJ Jenkins, Hillary Cooper, Victoria Billig

Artwork by Maggie Weakley



Jaye Baillie

Shannon Wynn, T.j. Wynn

Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala

Trevena Jackson and Jeff Jackson

Bradley Baechle and family Britney, Ashton, Austin and Arabella

Brick City Carnival BRICK CITY ADVENTURE PARK Photos By DAVE MILLER Elizabeth Goodwin and Matthias Lafferty


Mike Weakley

Shane Ebert and nephew Tristen

bout 8,000 children and adults enjoyed the second annual Brick City Carnival on Oct. 12th. A costume contest included princesses, dragons, unicorns, pirates and a pooch dressed as Supergirl. The event was free, but funds raised through community sponsorships, a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction will benefit local youth through The Friends of Marion County Parks & Recreation Foundation Inc.’s summer camp scholarship program.

James and Miles Austen

December ‘19



Marion County SWAT Team

Dining in the Dark Monica Vinas, Victor Concepcion



Wesly Simpson, Jessica Nisbett, Raquel Arthuzo, Jonathan Brescia

n Oct. 18th, members of the Ocala Police Department and Marion County Sheriff ’s Office SWAT teams donned night vision glasses to serve guests dinner in complete darkness. Dining in the Dark, Florida Center for the Blind’s annual fundraiser, is “a journey of taste, touch, sounds and awareness.” A highlight of the evening was hearing the nonprofit’s clients talk about the impact the organization has had on their lives.

Marion County SWAT Team with Anissa Pieriboni, Florida Center For The Blind, in center



Gary and Denise Wormald, Camryn Richey, and Charles Miller

Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala

Reese Bourgeois, Angie Clifton, Dawn Westgate, Ken Ausley

Niki Tripodi, Tina Chandra, Dawn Westgate

100 Strong Campaign Niki Tripodi, Angie Lewis, Dawn Westgate



or this year’s 100 Strong Campaign to benefit Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection, 10 businesswomen captained teams to raise awareness and funds for the organization, which helps abused and neglected children. During a closing ceremony on Oct. 10th at the Marion Cultural Alliance’s Brick City Center for the Arts, it was announced that the teams raised more than $30,000 in funds to build an outdoor therapeutic play area.

Shari Ausley

John Velaso, Tatiana Domenech, Katie Black, Madai Lopez, Katherine O’Brien, Taylor Duncan, Yamy Del Valle, Kathy Otero, Leigh-Ann Reinhold

Leigh-Ann and Joshua Reinhold

Naaz Saju, Lauren Gibson, Valerie Strickland, Angie Lewis, Katherine O’Brien, Karen Cobbs, Angie Homan Lester, Amy Lord

December ‘19



K9 OďŹƒcer Justin Arnold, Eliana Rosa, and Sgt. Ron Malone

FAFO Board of Directors

Ocala Arts Festival DOWNTOWN OCALA Photos By MEAGAN GUMPERT Miranda Madison


ine Arts for Ocala, Inc. (FAFO), held its annual art festival on Oct. 26th and 27th. The event boasted incredible works of art and great entertainment. Even the pesky rain showers and high winds could not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants or visitors. FAFO promotes appreciation of ďŹ ne arts, enhances art education through scholarships and community programs, and supports local art-based organizations. Fletcher and Cooper Gumpert

Artist Susan Currier, Award of Excellence



Artist Eddie Myers

Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala

Ocala Style Holiday Style Rachel Wright, Rhyse Woodfin, Alessandro Wright, Olivia Wright

DOWNTOWN OCALA Photos by OUR READERS Patty Kirby, Amy Casaletto


uring FAFO’s Ocala Arts Festival, Ocala Style Magazine encouraged visitors to strike a pose in our festive holiday set and post their photos online with the hashtag #OcalaStyleHoliday. After reviewing your posts, we selected some of our favorites to share. Thanks for being a part of our magazine this month and all year long. Continue sharing your photos with us throughout the coming year and tag us online with #OcalaStyle.

Irene and Robert Mello

Saoirse, Gabriel, Cadie, Cheyenne and Abigail Parsons

Irie, Johnny, Binx, and Evie McEarchern

December ‘19


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Philosophically Speaking By SUSAN SMILEY-HEIGHT

Our chat with the acclaimed cultural philosopher and author who will be speaking at the Evening Lecture Series sponsored for the community and hosted by the Institute of Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC).


Taggart portrait courtesy of Alexandra Taggart

rowing up in Platteville, Wisconsin allowed young Andrew Taggart to be a regular kid who played sports. It also gave him room to grow intellectually and academically, which set him on a path to becoming the globetrotting practical philosopher he is today. Taggart, 41, a noted entrepreneur, speaker and author, says he asks and seeks to answer the most basic questions of human existence with others around the world. That includes his conversations with open-minded executives and others in such varied locales as Scandinavia and South America, and spheres such as Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Taggart remembers that early in life, he was an “interesting child” who grew up in a very sportscentric family. “I played baseball, basketball, football and soccer. And yet, I was also a very academically and intellectually inclined young boy,” he notes. “I tended to be quiet and contemplative. I was quite imaginative, and imagination and creativity only had limited outlets in the small town where I grew up and among ordinary people. Later in life, I become even more imaginative, more creative, more contemplative, more—dare I say—countercultural.” He says he started to become very curious about all those big matters in life. “Who are we? Why are we here? What is this all about?” Taggart states that key elements of his cultural development included teachers in middle and high school who “took me under their wing and steered me to the liberal arts” and finishing his doctoral dissertation in 2009. He realized then that, “I was not going on to an academic career, which turned me to the essence of philosophy…meaning the love of wisdom. That led me to New York City, to doing philosophy with people around the world, and to giving talks about matters of great importance.” Another element was losing his sister to cancer in 2014. “This turned me toward what some philosophers and theologians call ultimate questions…that is, I became very interested in Zen Buddhism and certain Eastern practices. My wife and I became very much involved in these practices, such as meditating and certain rituals, all of which are oriented toward enlightenment or self-realization.”

Taggart will speak on December 10th at the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Ocala about the “Psychotechnologies of Self-transformation.” He says existential threats, such as climate change, ecocide, technical disruption and bioterrorism present multifaceted challenges. “I’m not persuaded that humankind has yet to evolve culturally enough to be able to respond ably and wisely to the situations at hand. “What do I mean by cultural evolution or cultural development? There are actual practices, not just in the east, but in the west, that enable human beings to become much more than we have been so far,” he offers. “I believe learning technical knowledge and competencies are woefully insufficient, given the conundrums we face today. I’ll be trying to lay a different way of coming to higher forms of cultural evolution, with living wisdom at the center. I want to put people back to discovering the more contemplative aspects of life.” IHMC, which also has an office in Pensacola, works to pioneer technologies to leverage and extend human capabilities. The organization’s lecture series offerings are a free community outreach. RSVP for the Dec. 10th lecture by visiting www.ihmc.us or call (352) 387-3050

December ‘19


Editors’ Picks A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events. Night Swim: A Solo Exhibit by Derek Grimsley Brick City Center for the Arts Opening Event: Dec 6 | 5-6pm, on display through Dec 28

Every kid’s favorite family holiday program includes a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, music and goodie bags on Tuesdays and Thursdays through December 19th. Contact Carla Chindamo of Ocala Recreation and Parks at (352) 401-3918 or visit www.ocalafl.org

The illuminated beauty we experience everywhere inspired this exhibit by local artist Derek Grimsley. Night Swim plays with light and color when the sun has set, exploring different locales. Visit www.mcaocala.org

First Friday Art Walk

19th Annual Toys for Kids Cruise-in

Downtown Ocala Dec 6 | 6-9pm

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing Dec 7 | 8:30am-2:30pm

This month’s featured musical act at the gazebo will be the Greg Snider Quartet, with intermission performances by the West Port High School Dance Group and Forest High School Jazz Combo. Just in time for holiday shopping, most artists will be selling unique gift items under $20. Visit www.ocalafl.org

Organized by The Twilight Cruisers, this holiday car show raises funds to support Interfaith Charities. Dozens of trophies will be awarded to car show entrants, and guests can get in on 50/50 drawings and more than $1,500 in giveaways sponsored by Mike Kelly’s Cruise News. Visit www.twilightcruisersflorida.com

Photo Courtesy City of Ocala

Santa on the Square Ocala Downtown Square Gazebo Dec 3, 5, 10, 12, 17 & 19 | 6-8pm

4th Annual A Fight for Freedom: Attack on Fort King Fort King National Historic Landmark Dec 7 & 8 |10am-4pm Watch a reenactment of Osceola’s attack on Fort King and stroll through a Seminole village and soldiers’ encampment showing what life was like in the 1830s. Enjoy historical period-specific vendors, traditional skills workshops, food, drinks and games such as tomahawk throwing and horseshoes. Visit www.fortkingocala.com 24


Pops! Goes the Holidays!

2019 Lake Weir Yacht Club Christmas Boat Parade

Reilly Arts Center Dec 7 | 7:30pm

Carney Island Recreation Area, Ocklawaha Dec 7 | 4:30pm

Always a local favorite, the Ocala Symphony Orchestra offers fun, laughs, reflection and joy as they play the music of the holidays—from well-known carols and pop hits to the very best of what music has to offer for the season. Visit www.reillyartscenter.com

Decorate your boat and participate or come as a spectator to enjoy the festivities. Boats are judged on originality. The more lights the better! Winners are announced after the parade at Eaton’s Beach Sandbar & Grill. Visit www.lakeweiryachtclub.org

Photo Courtesy Monica Sue Nielsen

The Nutcracker by Dance Alive National Ballet Reilly Arts Center Dec 10 | 7:30pm Become entranced by the beauty of the Sugar Plum Fairy, enchanted by the swirling snowflakes and breathtaking snow, and cheer for the handsome Nutcracker Prince and toy soldiers. A sparkling production with beautiful costumes and sets, this is a ballet for the young at heart of all ages. Visit www.reillyartscenter.com

Santa Paws on the Square

The Edge Effect Holiday Concert

Ocala Downtown Square Dec 11 | 5-8pm

Marion Theatre Dec 11 | 5:30pm

All furry and feathered friends are invited to have their photo taken with Santa Claus at this event presented by the Humane Society of Marion County and the City of Ocala. Make a donation to the Humane Society and take home a holiday photo your family is sure to treasure for years to come. For details, follow www.facebook.com/HumaneMarion

Featured at Walt Disney World’s “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party,” The Edge Effect comes to Ocala for a performance to benefit The Cornerstone School Art Program. Enjoy a high-energy, contemporary take on holiday classics, new spins on traditional favorites and interactive family sing-a-longs. Visit www.thecornerstoneschool.org December ‘19


Assisted Living: The Home for the Holidays

Appleton After Hours

Reilly Arts Center Dec 12 | 7:30pm

Appleton Museum of Art Dec 12 | 5-8pm

Are you dreaming of a white-haired Christmas? This 75-minute vaudeville-esque revue focuses on the crazy holiday season antics at the Pelican Roost Assisted Living Home, an active, full-service retirement community. The many characters sing and dance, revel and kvetch, celebrate and bloviate their way through Christmas and Hanukkah. Visit www.reillyartscenter.com

This soiree celebrates Across the Atlantic: American Impressionism Through the French Lens. Marina Tucker and the Imperial String Quartet will play era-appropriate music to accompany the exhibition that focuses on the Impressionism art movement that swept the world in the 19th century. Enjoy art, food and a cash bar. Visit www.AppletonMuseum.org

Sunset Cruise Crystal River Preserve State Park Dec 13 | 4:50pm

Photo Courtesy Department of State Parks

Imagine floating down a serene river, seeing bald eagles, osprey, dolphins, manatees, gators and the whole adventure ending with a spectacular winter sunset. Board the 24-passenger tour boat and enjoy refreshments and snacks as you leisurely sail through the park’s unique estuary. Visit www.floridastateparks.org

There’s Something About Mary Reilly Arts Center Dec 13 | 7pm The Central Florida Master Choir, with special guest The New Moon String Ensemble, presents music honoring Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Enjoy an evening of seasonal choral music including Felix Mendelssohn’s timeless Magnificat. Donations will be accepted at this free performance and no tickets are required. Visit www.cfmasterchoir.com 26


Belleview Christmas Parade and Winter Festival U.S. Hwy 441, Belleview Dec 15 | 2pm The Belleview South Marion Chamber of Commerce presents a day of family fun highlighted by the holiday parade, with featured high school bands, police cars, ambulances and of course, special guest…Santa Claus. Visit www.bsmcc.org

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100 N. Donnelly Street, Mount Dora Dec 21 & Dec 22 Part of the Super Race Challenge benefiting FFA, Mount Dora High School and Run4ACause, participants will enjoy the stunning moss-covered, tree-lined streets and beautiful parks throughout the course. Those who cross the finish line will be one step closer to earning a super medal (awarded at the ninth race in the series). Saturday, December 21st, the 5K starts at 7:45am and on Sunday, Dec. 22 the half-marathon starts at 7am. Visit www.bighammockraceseries.com

A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas Reilly Arts Center Dec 20 | 7:30pm Phantasmagoria brings its own uniquely dark adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale. This critically acclaimed Victorian performance troupe uses its signature tapestry of movement, dance, puppetry, projections, music and storytelling to bring a new aesthetic to this timeless story for all ages. Visit www.reillyartscenter.com

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December ‘19



Slice-And-Bake Memories By KATIE MCPHERSON



or some families, the holidays are all about presents or trips to see the snow. For others, they’re for building fires and watching favorite movies together. For my family, Christmas is all about food. But…not like you may think. My family isn’t one for elaborate recipes or complex dishes. We love to eat, but we also love to keep things simple. On Christmas Eve we bake cookies, the premade ones from Pillsbury. We’ve been making them since they came out in a slice-and-bake tube and my mom would have to escort me out of the kitchen so I’d quit eating the dough slices as they hit the baking sheet. Each year for Christmas dinner, we have ham, mashed potatoes, corn, cinnamon apples and rolls. The ham is a precooked honey-baked from the grocery store and just needs to be heated up. The mashed potatoes and cinnamon apples, while occasionally homemade, are just as often store-bought, and the rolls come from the freezer section. But it’s not really about what’s made at home and what’s not. The cinnamon apples remind me of my grandma—she looked forward to them while the rest of us would politely pick around them. My sister and her husband both mix their corn into their mashed potatoes, always earning a “Yuck!” from my grandpa, 28


who is, as usual, drinking black coffee even though it’s dinnertime. We ask each other to pass the Engelbert Humperdincks, our term for the dinner rolls made by Sister Schubert’s, because years prior my mom couldn’t remember the correct name and just filled it in with the singer’s name instead. At my dad’s, there’s always an irreverent breakfast Christmas morning. One year, we made bacon, eggs and biscuits while watching the Christmas Day parade. Not much for holiday content, Dad quickly switched it over to Godzilla vs. Mothra, which has become a favorite seasonal movie of mine as a result. Or we’ll have breakfast burritos with chorizo and peppers, because seasonal foods be damned, they’re just what we like to eat together. So parents, may you feel no pressure to slave away in the kitchen or overspend on presents and trips. Now that I’m all grown up and thinking about a family of my own one day, I realize that elaborate traditions and hours-long recipes aren’t what shaped my childhood Christmas memories. Each year when I get in the car to drive to visit family, I look forward to passing the Humperdincks, preheating the oven for premade cookies, turning up Godzilla so we can hear it in the kitchen and basking in my family...exactly as it is.

Happy Holidays!




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Services City of Ocala Municipal Service Statement


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Offset costs associated with operational costs of providing emergency fire services to the city’s citizens and properties.

ELECTRIC Electric Service Charge - Monthly base charge to cover some of the routine expenses associated with meter reading data collection, maintenance and billing. Power Cost Adjustment - Monthly charges per kilowatt hour for the purchase of wholesale power and the generation costs.

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Utility Tax or Surcharge - A tax established by state law and approved by the PSC and Ocala City Council in 1996. Ocala reduced the electric rate by 10% when this tax was imposed. This revenue neutral restructuring was instituted to assure the stability of the General Fund for the future.



Florida Gross Receipts Charge Public Service Comission (PSC) mandated charge collected and submitted to the state of Florida.



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Monthly internet service and maintenance charges for networking connectivity.

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Covers costs related to construction and maintenance of facilities to control flooding and stormwater.

Charge for Residential or Commercial garbage/trash collection.

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Meter Base Charge - The monthly base charge is based upon the size of the water meter installed and covers some of the routine expenses associated with meter reading data collection, maintenance and billing.


















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SEWER Sewer Base Charge - Covers maintenance and billing.



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Sewer Availability - Each Residential or commercial unit which is fitted with an electric meter and a sanitary sewer system, where sewer mains are available but not connected, the monthly charge shall equal the residential base charge.


Master Sewer Recepient Multi- family residential units which are connected to the sanitary sewer system and served by a master water meter.

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December ‘19


Ivy on The Square 53 S MAGNOLIA AVE








You are cordially invited

to celebrate Ocala’s newest brides and grooms, get a glimpse into their most special of days and hear firsthand about the memories that will always hold a place in their hearts. Pictured: Brianna Werenth Photographed by Maudie Lucas

December ‘19



COY & BRIANNA WERNETH October 12, 2019 Photos by Maudie Lucas Venue: The Barn at Martin Farms, Ocklawaha, FL Her favorite memory: “Walking down the aisle to Coy was a dream come true, but the first dance was our first intimate moment, without all the nerves.”

JORDAN & KAYLA DRUDGE September 28, 2019 Photography by Mahal Imagery Venue: First Presbyterian Church, Ocala, FL Their favorite memory: “Reading our vows to each other. It was such a special moment to be able to see, and hear, the love between the two of us. We both got choked up saying them, which made that moment even more special to us.”




RYAN & HEATHER JAMES November 2, 2019 Photography by Philip Marcel Photography Venue: College of Central Florida Charles R. Dassance Fine Arts Center, Ocala, FL Their favorite memories: “Our wedding was Steampunk-themed. We loved that most everyone joined us in dressing up and had so much fun with it,” as well as the inclusion of their two children, Angel and Sabastian, in everything from the ceremony to the reception…especially dancing with them to “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman soundtrack during the reception.

BRYCE & LINDSAY SANDERS April 13, 2019 Photography by Maudie Lucas Venue: Kiwanis Club, Weirsdale, FL Her favorite memory: “My favorite part about our special day was standing face to face with the man I get to spend the rest of my life with.”

December ‘19


The Great Toy Giveaway

The King Law Firm’s Great Toy Giveaway is back for another year of holiday giving! Beginning December 9th and lasting for 12 days, the King Law Firm is giving away hundreds of toys for you to win! To enter to win simply visit Ocala Style’s Facebook page at facebook. com/ocalastyle and click on the Events tab. Follow along on the King Law Firm’s Great Toy Giveaway event page for the giveaway prompts to get entered to win! 36


For almost three decades it ’s been our firm’s honor to help people in our community who have been injured through no fault of their own. Running a law firm is a serious business, of course, but we look forward each year to a more lighthearted endeavor— the Great Toy Giveaway— when we are able to spread a little joy to children and connect with all of you on a lighter, more joyous note. We hope your holiday season is full of love and cheer, and that you have a safe and healthy, happy new year. Merry Christmas from, Greg, Jarrod and Chris of King Law Firm! December ‘19


Hip fracture rehabilitation –  Life-changing results Hip fracture can cause loss of independence without the right care. Our hospital is here to help with customized, comprehensive rehabilitation that returns patients back to their community with a safer recovery. Learn more at ehc.rehab/nov2019ocalastyle

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Open For Kindness By LISA MCGINNES Photography by MEAGAN GUMPERT

When Brother’s Keeper thrift store held its grand reopening in September, it was more than a ribbon cutting for a new building; it was a celebration of 49 years of service to our community and a way to serve even more neighbors in need.


f you shopped at the Brother’s Keeper thrift store when it was located downtown on the corner of South Magnolia Avenue and West Fort King Street, you know it was bursting at the seams with affordable clothing for men, women and children as well as furniture and household items, often yielding bargains as quirky as the old two-story brick building. In September, the store and administrative offices moved to a new location. The new combined use building offers lots of space for all the services Brother’s Keeper provides to those in need. “We needed more parking; we needed more space,” explains Executive Director Jason Halstead. “We wanted to be near the people we serve, we wanted to be single story and we wanted to have space to grow.” The new store, located at 320 NW 10th Street, helps form a new “thrift shop row” alongside stores run by community partners the Salvation Army and the Humane Society of Marion County. The thrift shop is the most visible of Brother’s Keeper’s community services and provides funding to support its other programs. The bright, spacious storefront is clean

and well-organized, with much more space for shopping deals on furniture, clothing, household items and even bicycles. Donating items is easy, with a convenient drop-off on the building’s west side. And behind the shop staffed by cheery volunteers is expansive warehouse space where more smiling volunteers manage volumes of thrift-store donations as well as a food pantry stocked with nonperishables for those in need. “We serve about 6,000 clients annually with all the different services,” Halstead says of Brother’s Keeper’s soup kitchen and emergency services. Impressively, all this is accomplished with only a few paid staff and the generous work of around 100 volunteers. Through its emergency services department, located in the back of the thrift shop, Brother’s Keeper accepts applications from local residents in need of food, clothing, furniture and assistance with utility payments, transportation and prescription medications. Started as a ministry of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, the organization’s mission is “to give clients a hand up so they can become the best version of themselves.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP Shop the thrift store open Monday to Saturday, 9am-4pm Donate clothing, household items, furniture, appliances and nonperishable food Give a tax-deductible gift by check or credit card Volunteer to help at the thrift shop or soup kitchen

BY THE NUMBERS In one month: 1,000 people receive assistance 7,000 meals are served in the soup kitchen 130 people receive free clothing 200 bags of emergency food are given to families in need. 100 families obtain utility assistance Brother’s Keeper › 320 NW 10th Street › www.bkocala.org › (352) 622-3846

December ‘19


Deck the Halls Produced and compiled by SUSAN SMILEY-HEIGHT Photography By ALAN YOUNGBLOOD

Home is the heart of the holidays, so we asked some of our favorite local interior innovators to share the magic and deck the halls with some festive ďŹ nery. 40


APRIL ROSE, April Rose Design Co. I created this festive holiday mantel, in the lovely southeast Ocala home of Kyle and Lyndsey Landmann, for less than $250. I chose a garland with pine branches and pine cones and styled it off-center to give it a modern feel. To add fullness, I incorporated fresh seeded eucalyptus, which you can source from a local florist, fresh blue spruce branches and magnolia seed pods from my yard. You can also use any type of evergreen branches. During Christmas tree season, many stores like Lowe’s, The Home Depot and Walmart will actually allow you to take branch clippings home absolutely free—they are typically yours for the asking! Faux cranberries, mixed metal bead sprigs, feathers sprayed with satin nickel paint and twigs were added to create more texture and further interest. Additional items came from Hobby Lobby and included a large square tobacco basket, a Merry Christmas sign, a large sparkly snowflake, buffalo check stockings and simple holders accented by pewter snowflake ornaments. To finish, I added some small, decorative Christmas trees. I purchased chipboard cones, sprayed them with satin nickel paint and added some jute rope.

December ‘19




All the Trimmings YOHANNA “JOY” ALVAREZGIBOYEAUX, Joy in Decor

There is no right or wrong in decorating a Christmas tree. It should represent your personality. So, this year, I decided to go big— Boom—because things in my life are going well. It’s too much, too much—like me! I bought a new 9-foot tall, 48-inch diameter tree and envisioned a lot of white, with glimmers of red and hints of light blue. I began by flocking the tree with faux snow, then incorporated 900 white lights. I found the glittering red hat tree topper online. Among the various elements, none of which were expensive, are five kinds of ribbon. I took round ornaments and added shiny touches to them, such as crystal sprays found in the wedding department of Hobby Lobby. I found crystal ornaments, nutcrackers, miniature castles, silver/blue poinsettias, berries and other items at local stores, including Target and T.J. Maxx. The fluffy white tree skirt was fashioned from two area rugs. I also cut a rug into strips that were then incorporated into the tree, because I like texture. In total, including the new tree, I spent approximately $500. With family members scattered around the world, I can’t have big family get-togethers as often as I would like. For us, it’s about sharing love and being there for our loved ones.

December ‘19


Splendid Showcase Decadent desserts in a lavishly styled buet setting can add an element of elegance as they beckon guests to enjoy the gastronomic delights of the season. Using unexpected statement pieces and oversized candlesticks can create intriguing layers of depth.



JILL BROWN and DAVID GADLAGE, Koontz Furniture and Design One beautiful—and delicious—way to entertain guests is to create an inviting holiday dessert station. For this stylish display, we began with a dining table from the Chateau Lyon Collection by Century Furniture. For the background, we used an intricate braided rope screen that measures 80 inches wide by 96 inches high. In creating a layered look for the table, we incorporated green leafy faux botanical stems by Kalalou, a hydrangea arrangement by Foster’s Point and red ginger sprays. The elegant garnet candleholders are by Zentique, and the industrial pendant is also by Kalalou. Adding to the festive design are stag sculptures by Jeffrey Bilhuber. The cost of all the furnishings and accessories employed in this elegant scene is $12,700. The look can be emulated inexpensively in your own home by adding floral and natural elements to a buffet and pairing dramatic statues or oversized candlesticks with your decadent holiday desserts. This delicious red velvet cake was prepared by Kay Rains.

December ‘19


Shining from Afar

SUZANNE RICE, Suzanne Rice Design Consultants LLC My design inspiration came from snowy, clear nights in Lake Tahoe. The dark skies and bright stars glistening on the snow say Christmas to me. I have glass doors and didn’t want light from inside to shine through, so I started with 1/4-inch sheets of birch plywood. I painted them in Sherwin-Williams “Gale Force,” which matches my shutters. I glued on an incredible number of multi-sized “jewels” (to evoke stars in the night sky), with the Big Dipper and Little Dipper strategically placed in December sky locations. The Milky Way was created with spray glue and glitter dust. I cut Christmas trees out of plywood, painted them green and white for the snowy branches, then sprayed them with glue and sprinkled on glittering snow to create the heavy branch appearance. The panels and trees were mounted over the glass doors with L brackets. The overlapped trees are attached to the panels so you can open one of the doors. In addition to a large illuminated star, the doorway is framed by sparkling white LED rope lights. The snowy porch, railing and steps were fashioned from a Dacron quilting sheet and stuffing from a spare pillow. I always try to recycle something in my designs. The cost for the design was about $300. I added a Santa, sleigh and four reindeer for another $200 (not pictured). The overall project took about 40 hours to complete. The materials were purchased locally, from Manning Building Supplies, Shores Home & Hardware Center and Hobby Lobby. As night begins, the glittering starry sky and snow laden trees transport us into a wintery Christmas with all its beauty and wonder.

December ‘19


Organizing more than 7,000 participants, a variety of animals and countless motorized vehicles into a smooth-moving parade requires months of planning, near military precision and a serious amount of luck. By SUSAN SMILEY-HEIGHT


rganizers of the Ocala/Marion County Christmas Parade say that although the annual event has seen lots of successful outings, they’ve also run into a few snags over the years. History shows that the squeals of excitement from the thousands of children lining the route of the parade increase in intensity as the final float rounds the corner of Northeast 25th Avenue and turns west on Silver Springs Boulevard each year. “Look, it’s Santa Claus,” ripples in echoing layers all the way to Northeast Eighth Avenue as the Jolly Old Elf waves and calls out “Ho, ho, ho.” As the procession turns right and disperses at Tuscawilla Park, those behind the scenes begin to breathe a sigh of relief. This year’s Ocala/Marion County Christmas Parade will get rolling at 5:30pm on December 14th. Here’s a look at what it takes to create a cohesive presentation each year.

Friends, in Deed A committee of volunteers puts on the parade. The event has been organized under the auspices of the Downtown Merchants Association, the Jaycees, the Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit Friends of the Christmas Parade. “The original committee had more than 35 people on it. It has dwindled to about six of the original 35 and we have a committee of about 15 now,” notes longtime chairwoman Sue Mosley. “It’s getting harder and harder to keep people on the committee, just like with any other civic organization. People don’t have the time to volunteer like they used to. “I’m on 25 years. William Taylor is on 28 years. Tamara Fleischhaker is about 15 years. Gary Smith, the band coordinator, has 30-plus years,” Mosley explains. “We all have our chores, we are a well-oiled group and we bring it all together.”

Floats, such as this one from 1968, are always among the favorite units in the annual Christmas parade

These images show participants in the 1971 Christmas parade.

Big, and Getting Bigger The parade has attracted more than 60,000 attendees each of the past three years, according to Mosley. “If you look at the USA Today top 10 holiday events, number one is the Macy’s parade, number two is the Rose Bowl, number three is the Gatlinburg, Tennessee Christmas parade and then four, five, six, seven, eight are all little town Christmas parades, so as far as number three through 10 we’re up there,” Mosley offers. ROTC groups now outsize the historically large band groups, Mosley says. The ROTC units from each area high school each have about 400 or 500 students. The middle and high school bands number nearly 3,000 students. “We are at about 7,000 parade participants now,” she notes. This page, photos by Jim Jernigan. Opposite: Marion County Clerk of Courts Archival Image Collection

Logistics, Law and Order On the day of the parade, more than 100 sworn members of the Ocala Police Department (OPD), at the rank of lieutenant and above, participate in the parade. According to Chief Greg Graham, the patrol shift for the night polices the road and answers calls for service. All other members work in a variety of assignments. “We have officers working crowd control and safety, as well as officers who are in charge of the safety and security of participants during the parade as well as hours of staging before and after,” he explains. “Our traffic unit blocks roads and maintains the flow of traffic during detours.” Graham notes that a member of the SWAT team drives the armored MRAP vehicle during the parade and Sgt. Eric Hooper and friends drive Hooper’s authentically restored f leet of vintage police cars. “Operations plans are started and worked on well in advance each year and the agency puts a lot of time and effort into assigning appropriate officers to each post in order to ensure the safety and fun of each parade spectator and participant,” Graham notes. “OPD also receives a lot of support from nearby partners, such as the Marion County Sheriff ’s Office, Belleview Police Department, and Williston Police Department. Without them, we could not operate as efficiently during the parade and we appreciate their continued generosity.”

Another function for OPD personnel is making sure Santa Claus makes it to the parade grounds. “The police department, although not in charge of his transport, ensures the safety and security of Santa during his visit to Ocala,” Graham remarks. “We are dedicated to maintaining the secrecy of his travel plans so his magic is not spoiled. It’s not often easy to pull Santa away from his workshop ahead of time, so we are very lucky he sacrifices time to visit us for the parade.”

Oh Yes, the Snags… “I had no idea what I was doing,” Mosley recalls of her first year on the parade committee. “The chairman said, ‘Stay with me in the front and I’ll teach you how to start the parade.’” She said the first big unit out of the staging area was a semi pulling a float. It turned the corner from Northeast 25th Avenue to the boulevard and broke down at the corner, blocking everything behind it. “There was no way to go around it anywhere,” she says. “We used to have wreckers that would stage at two areas of the parade so they could get somebody in and out, but this year—and it was probably my job—we forgot to order wreckers. So, I panic and tell the driver of the truck he has to go. He says he needs a brake line and a wrench and can get it fixed. I spent maybe 10 or 15 minutes running up and down to float drivers asking for a brake line and a wrench until, finally, the commander of the parade, Greg Graham, comes flying up and says I have to get that semi moved and to call a wrecker. I said no, he just needs a brake line and a wrench. And Graham just looks at me and then calls for a wrecker. Needless to say, the parade was stopped for a while, and we frown on stopping because we air live on TV. If there’s a huge gap, people think it’s over. So I learned a good lesson my first year.” She says that several years later, a semi carrying a group of kindergarteners, which was about three floats in front of Santa Claus, broke down before it got to the boulevard. She recalled seeing another semi parked on the parade route earlier in the day and scoured the crowd until she found the owner, who turned out to be her friend Jerry Arthur. “So we moved the crowd. His son-in-law drove the semi around December ‘19


Then, There’s the Weather The attendance went down to about 35,000 viewers in 2013, when it rained— 50


sort of—on the parade. “Phyllis Hamm, who was our longtime executive director, and ‘Parade Queen,’ used to say, ‘It never rains on my parade,’” Mosley notes. “In 2013, the year before she passed away, it rained during the day. But it stopped at exactly 5:30pm, when I stepped off that parade, and later, when the police escort pulled Santa off the route at 7:30pm, it started to rain again.” Some parades have been marked by freezing cold, but many have taken place on sunny days with high temperatures. One extreme or the other can be a challenge. For example, marchers who might be wearing costumes not warm enough for low temps, or characters inside mascot-type costumes who are dripping in sweat.

Dollars, as Well as Sense The parade is funded, in part, by sales of bleacher seats at the Staples and Save A Lot shopping centers. That area is where the judge’s reviewing stand is positioned, along with the crew that does the live television production. That team uses the Marion County Public Schools channel and also posts it on YouTube. “The Friends of the Christmas Parade usually go through about $50,000 and the city puts in about $50,000,” Mosley says of the financial commitment each year. “OPD, with overtime for that day, is in it for about $40,000. It’s $100 per unit for entries and we get sponsorships when we can. Vendors pay a commission.” Mosley says many of the businesses along the route do a booming business on parade day. There have been past

Parade photos courtesy Ocala Star-Banner. Portrait by Amy Davidson

Fort King to get to the staging area and the police were so good they wouldn’t let him in,” she recalls. “So we finally get the truck in there, he hooks up the Dr. N.H. Jones kids, they go flying down the boulevard and he didn’t hook up the brake line. So they went down the boulevard—30 kindergartners and their parents—with no brakes and, thank God, nobody got hurt. We laugh about that to this day, but we got it done and Santa got on the boulevard in a timely manner. That’s all that matters, that we get Santa out there.” She also remembers a mustang getting loose one year from the animal staging area and bolting into the big field next to the McPherson Governmental Complex. “It was like watching it in slow motion, with 6,000 kids in that field and a horse took off and nobody could do anything,” she says with a shiver. “Everybody got silent just watching. There was absolutely nothing you could do. And it was, again, by the hands of God that nobody got hurt. That horse just stopped and the owner was able to walk up to it and get it.” She said one unnerving instance involved a man allowing a 3-year-old child to drive a four-wheeler, which came out from a neighborhood, into the crowd and hurt several people. “And that was right at the time we were about to step off,” she remembers. “That was the only time in all my years the parade was ever started late, because we had to get an ambulance on the boulevard.”

complaints about people wanting to use restrooms, but not patronizing the businesses, however, so this year they will have portable toilets at each intersection.

Three, as in Musketeers Mosley says the dedicated overall committee ramps up their work each August. She says she and co-chairs William Taylor and Tamara Fleischhaker are involved with clerical work all year long, such as working with the insurance and keeping up the 501(c)(3) status. “Come November, Tamara, William and I will put, easily, 30 hours a week into this,” she says. “It’s just, when you see how excited little kids get…waiting for Santa. And then law enforcement goes by. Then the fire trucks. They love that! People complain the sirens are too loud, but you never have a 6-year-old complain.” Fleischhaker, with the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership, says Hamm got her involved in the parade many years ago and that she has since had many varied roles. She says committee members don’t have titles, they just split up the duties and everyone helps everyone else. “I love it,” she says of her longtime involvement. Taylor, with Combined Insurance, says his father Bob was very involved in the chamber and was a parade chairman. He said that even during times of duress, his father would stand behind the parade committee and support their decisions. “Since then, the Friends of the Christmas Parade has taken over ownership of the parade from the chamber, which is now the CEP, and my involvement has continued each year for 20-something years,” Taylor notes. “It’s a year-long effort for one day that seems to upset half of Ocala. But, at the end of the day, when it’s over, it’s amazing to see all of the families walking to their cars and they had a good time. It’s a bonding thing for families.”

And Now, a History Lesson There are some references to the parade beginning in the 1930s, but little actual data is available. The family of Ocala City Councilman Brent Malever has deep roots in the community. According to Malever and Mosley, Brent’s brother Stanley, who died in December 2017, was the first official parade chairman, in 1955. “Stanley started the parade,” Malever says. “I was in college, at Florida Southern, and would come up and help. After I graduated in 1961, I helped even more. “We had a clothing store downtown and he put in an extra telephone line so he could keep up with the parade stuff,” Malever notes. “I remember in the late ‘50s, he had 110 to 120 units. He had ROTC units from the University of Florida, Stetson and Florida Southern.” Malever also recalls one very special horse being in the parade. “Needles, who won the Kentucky Derby, they had him on a trailer,” he explains. “Needles himself was in the parade.” Malever said the Jaycees started a Sheriff ’s Posse, whose members were deputized and could carry firearms, and that they would ride motorcycles and help line up the parade. The posse also participated in the parade, doing figure eights and more. “We were invited all over the state and in Georgia to be in parades,” he recalls. “Stanley ran himself crazy getting everything together for the parade. He had help, don’t get me

Tamara Fleischhaker, William Taylor and Sue Mosley

wrong, but he worked it hard and loved it. Both of us, we love Ocala,” he adds. “That’s who we are.” Elka Malever, Stanley’s widow, recalled the early days of their marriage and his involvement with the parade. “He was in charge,” she notes. “He was out every night with planning, and then some.” She said he was very honored when he was named Man of the Year by the Jaycees, based in part on his activities with the parade but also as a businessman and community advocate. She said they and their children were attendees at many parades over the years and “everybody looked forward to it.” “The greatest memories for me are made of the smiling faces each year, whether they be big or small,” Chief Graham says of the parade. “Christmas lights and a spectacular show may provide light on those faces, but it is the smiles that light up the night for me. We are participating in something where families are able to be together with the rest of their community and enjoy something as one. Something that seems so simple, yet is so magical, becomes a lasting holiday tradition for many.” To learn more, visit www.ocalachristmasparade.com and find the Friends of the Christmas Parade on Facebook. December ‘19


The Ocala Symphony Orchestra’s 15th Annual Symphony Under the Lights at 7:00pm on Friday, December 6th, at Tuscawilla Park, is a great—and free—way to kick off the holiday season. By JOANN GUIDRY


efore the conductor’s baton is raised, before the first note is played for Symphony Under the Lights, comes the work. Very orchestrated work by a dedicated group of people operating behind the scenes. “We actually only have a nine-person full-time staff, with four of those being in production,” explains Pamela CaleroWardell, Executive Director, Development and Organizational Advancement, for the Reilly Arts Center (RAC). “Casey Fritz, our director of theatre operations, gets things rolling with event permit application one year out. And then one month before the event, she really gets to work. Casey is responsible for putting together and coordinating the actual production



of the event. Her production team includes Kirstin Kennedy, Kathleen Stryker and Gary Sonneberger. We couldn’t have a performance without them.” Since Symphony Under the Lights is on a bare outside stage, this presents a unique situation—no lighting, no music stands, no chairs for the musicians. Among Fritz’s duties is coordinating with Bunt Backline Event Services, a Gainesville company that provides the lights, LED wall and microphones for the musicians. Chairs, music stands, conductor’s podium and instruments have to be carried to the outdoor stage after the final rehearsal on Friday afternoon. Everything has to be arranged to a concert-specific configuration; each chair is

Photo at top: Courtesy Reilly Arts Center. Right: Photos by Meagan Gumpert

A Symphonic Holiday Tradition

labeled so the Bunt Backline crew knows where each instrument is to set the mics. If this weren’t enough to contend with, the RAC staff and Ocala Symphony Orchestra (OSO) are not only preparing for the Symphony Under the Lights, they’re also simultaneously working on Pops! Goes the Holidays! “That weekend is our most complicated show schedule of the year. We have Symphony Under the Lights on Friday evening on the outdoor stage, followed by Pops! Goes the Holidays! on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon in the auditorium,” Calero-Wardell reveals. “That means juggling production and rehearsals for three concerts. There are two rehearsals

for Symphony Under the Lights, one on Thursday, December 5th, from 7-9:45pm and one on Friday, December 6th, from 2-4:45 pm. For the Thursday rehearsals, the OSO is joined by the Ocala Youth Orchestra (OYO), which performs with

OSO at the start of Symphony Under the Lights. The Friday rehearsal is for both Symphony Under the Lights and Pops! Goes the Holidays! Then there is another rehearsal for Pops! Goes the Holidays! on Saturday, December 7th, at 11am.” December ‘19


To learn more, visit www.reillyartscenter.com or call (352) 351-1606 54


Photos by Meagan Gumpert

And yet, it all comes together with nary a missed note. The crowd begins gathering under the oaks in front of the outdoor stage in the late afternoon and enjoys the piped-in holiday music and free hot chocolate provided by Meadowbrook Church. The anticipation builds as 100 musicians, which includes the OSO and OYO, take their seats at 7:20pm. Following the traditional orchestra tuning by the concertmaster, the crowd is more than ready when Matthew Wardell, the OSO music director and conductor for the past 10 years, takes the stage. “It’s a 90-minute concert, which usually includes 25 pieces of music. We have to plan carefully so that we aren’t playing too many ‘Jingle Bells’ and keep the repertoire interesting,” says Wardell. “But we also make sure we keep the holiday staples that everyone wants to hear.” According to Cindy Warringer, the OYO director, this year’s Symphony Under the Lights will begin with four songs from The Nutcracker. Included among the holiday favorites played is “The Night Before Christmas” and always features a guest narrator. There also is a medley sing-a-along, aided by words projected on a Jumbotron, of holiday standards like “Frosty the Snowman.” “I really love when we do the sing-a-long and hearing the audience add their voices to the music,” Wardell offers. “And I really enjoy performing with the Ocala Youth Orchestra. I love the interaction between the young musicians and our musicians. It’s great addition to have the students as part of the music and the holiday spirit.” Going into his 11th year with OSO, Wardell has watched the Symphony Under the Lights grow to become part of the community. Before moving to the RAC, the event was held in the Downtown Square and at Citizens’ Circle. “We used to get 500 to 1,000 people and then last year we had almost 3,000 people. I think a big part of that is the community support that we’ve gotten from Jenkins Auto Group, our presenting sponsor, and the City of Ocala, Office of the City Manager, which is our supporting sponsor for the evening,” says Wardell. “Now in its 15th year, the Symphony Under the Lights has become one of those events that has become part of our community’s holiday tradition.”

Best Wishes in 2020

Thank you for making 2019 another wonderful year for our team, and for making Ocala the place we are proud to call home. We are honored to call you friends, neighbors, colleagues, customers, and family.

You are the foundation of our success.


December ‘19



ATLANTIC American Impressionism

Through the French Lens Now Through January 5

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Year In Review As 2019 draws to a close, we look back at a period of exciting development—the happenings, initiatives and growth that made this a year to remember. We asked a few of our community’s key players to share, in their own words, how their organizations contributed to the progress we’ve experienced and what’s up next for our community.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Miller

December ‘19


Continued Success for the Ocala Area! With more business development in all parts of the county, the Ocala area is poised for a big growth spurt.


am not sure how one could view 2019 as anything but an incredibly successful year for the Ocala Metro Area. The Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) is excited to review how our community continues to grow, diversify and prosper. Economic Growth The local economy continues to demonstrate very strong fundamentals. At press time, the local unemployment rate was a record seasonal low of 3.5 percent. But more importantly, the area recorded a job growth rate of 3.1 percent. This number is strong and higher than the state average and nearly double the national average. The Ocala Metro Area is recording job growth while at the same time seeing wages report healthy gains. Our newest major employer opened in February, when McLane Company opened their new 400,000-square-foot distribution facility at Ocala International Commerce Park. The company now employs more than 500 people. Red Rock Developments began construction this summer on a new 620,000-square-foot “spec” building (spec indicating speculation, meaning they do not have a tenant already lined up), which is also in the commerce park along the interstate. This new facility is significant in a couple of ways. One, it will result in a $43 million investment in our community and two, it represents a major investment in the growth of Ocala as a distribution hub. That a major developer like Red Rock was willing to make this investment on spec has further enhanced the community’s reputation as a place to do business. The industrial growth does not stop there. Cardinal LG completed and opened their new 400,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the Meadowbrook Commerce Park. With their second Marion County facility, the company now employs more than 650 people locally. Additionally, the company has located their LG division headquarters here and announced plans to open a LG Tech Center in Ocala. 58


The CEP’s Role The CEP is very proud of the role we are able to play in each of these successes, along with dozens of additional projects around the community. We have continued to see great growth across our organization, especially with our efforts at engaging education providers and students (NEXTworks). A truly amazing partnership is growing between Marion County Public Schools, Marion Technical College, the College of Central Florida, and the business community— especially when it comes to skills. There is an evergrowing recognition nationally that we have neglected the importance and value of skills and the tide is turning. The partnership described above is not only an example of this turn, it is quickly becoming a state and national model for how it should be done. The seven Career Choice Academies, NEXTworking, the Career Technical Education to post-secondary alignment and soft skills initiative are just a few of the many efforts to work together. I would encourage everyone, even the most ardent critic, to watch this partnership. It is catalyst that will drive our community to long-term success. There are so many important and impactful initiatives that I wish I could highlight; however, I am going to close with a recognition that is very meaningful. The CEP was again named one of three finalists for national Chamber of the Year. This is the second time in three years the CEP earned this recognition from our peers. It is much more than accolades for our staff and leadership; this recognition highlights for the nation the incredible partnerships and can-do attitude of our community. Learn more at www.ocalacep.com

Joe Reichel Photo courtesy of College of Central Florida


Fidelity Manufacturing opened a second facility in Ocala as well this year and now employs approximately 200 people. I am hopeful that by the end of the year we will have announced, or will be in the process of announcing, two more major additions to our community. These projects will result in a combined addition of more than 900 jobs and a capital investment in excess of $320 million. Growing and diversifying our economy is a key objective and we are excited to continue to see this momentum. Our growth is not restricted to industrial businesses. One need only to come downtown to notice the continuing growth and changes. The new Hilton Garden Inn is drawing closer to completion, multiple new restaurants have opened, the new Osceola Trak is finally open and several residential projects will begin construction in the new year. As much as downtown has changed in the last three years, it is nothing compared to what is in store for the next three!


Ocala is on Trak! The City of Ocala train of progress is making tracks through all parts of town.


he “City of Ocala train” left the station in 1998 with the creation of the Downtown Master Plan and the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area. Since that time, more cars were added to the train by the development and implementation of several new plans: the Ocala Vision 2035 Plan, the Tuscawilla Park Master Plan, the North Magnolia Redevelopment Plan, the Midtown Master Plan and, most recently, the Cultural Arts Master Plan. An Investment in the Future “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago,” once said Warren Buffett, and for our citizens, that long time ago represents 21 years of thoughtful, professional planning. Our city does not put plans on a shelf. Our plans are implemented. Downtown has not seen the scale of transformation we are currently experiencing since reconstruction after the great fire in 1883. Through the Vision 2035 Plan we now have three more community redevelopment areas where more than $100 million dollars will be invested in redevelopment over the next 25 years.

Osceola Trak, photo courtesy City of Ocala

Additionally, a new $10 million, 42,000-square-foot community center and public library is currently being designed for construction on Northwest 17th Place, south of Northwest 21st Street. A nearby 65-acre, $6.5 million Wetland Groundwater Recharge Park with over 2 miles of walking trails will open in the spring of 2020. And, finally, development plans are underway to construct more than 1,000 new single-family homes and apartments for an approved redevelopment of the former Pine Oaks Golf Course. The City of Ocala shows no signs of slowing down its momentum. There are numerous plans for improvement being implemented throughout the city, perhaps near your home or favorite local business. Twenty-eight trains cross through the city each day, and the sound of progress can be heard in those long train whistles in the distance. If you look and listen closely, you’ll see and hear the City of Ocala train moving full steam ahead, ready to take us into the future. Learn more at www.ocalafl.org

Creating Access In November, the city celebrated the grand opening of the Osceola Trak. This state-funded $1.2 million linear park system connects the Ocala Downtown Market in the south to the Art Park and Tuscawilla Park to the north. Wider, well-lit pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular lanes will provide safe, easy access to an ever-expanding downtown and cultural arts district. The West Ocala Community Redevelopment Area is currently experiencing tremendous reinvestment too. A new $7 million First Responder Campus will be constructed on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue at Northwest Fifth Street. The campus will include a four-bay fire station, fire department headquarters, a community room building, a police substation and a full-size basketball court.

Osceola Trak sign, photo courtesy City of Ocala

December ‘19



Marion County is on the Move! As our county turned 175 this year, we had a lot to celebrate, from new roads to new safety equipment to new jobs.


ince 2016, the Penny Sales Tax Initiative has raised more than $100 million in county revenue—monies that have and will continue to serve residents for public safety and transportation infrastructure. One example of “Your Penny at Work” is the new 7,700-squarefoot Fire Station 28, adding protection to the Rolling Greens community and beyond. This $2.1-million state-of-the-art station is home to 30 personnel and aligns with the county’s commitment to public safety and strategic goal of fiscal responsibility. Additionally, the penny sales tax has paved more than 55 miles of roadways and afforded the county 12 ambulances, three brush trucks, five fire engines, a ladder truck, a water tanker, two specialized vehicles used for hazardous materials or technical rescues and 106 sheriff ’s patrol cars. Six highperformance ambulances have been added to this year’s budget for substantial improvements to our emergency medical services capacity. Other major projects, led by the Office of the County Engineer, made possible by the sales tax, are underway. Four-lane Southwest 49th Avenue, being constructed in phases, will bring relief to State Road 200 and County Road 484 and create an essential access road to the Florida Crossroads Commerce Park. This complex will rest on 900 acres at the southernmost tip of Marion County and, once developed, is projected to bring an estimated 7,000 new job opportunities. In addition to improved public safety and transportation, Marion County has made significant changes in waste management. Since 1980, the Baseline Landfill has served as a landing place for our waste. This facility has reached capacity and now serves as a transfer station, with collections transported to the Heart of Florida Landfill in Sumter County, where Marion County has secured 2.5-million tons of landfill space.



Parks and Recreation left an impressive mark on the community this year through successful summer programming and sports tourism. With 446 baseball and softball teams and more than 70,000 visitors to the parks on tournament days alone, these programs had a $5.3 million impact on our community. Over the past year, the Community Services department has worked to provide and expand the supply of affordable housing, create suitable living environments and expand economic opportunities to help prevent homelessness. They rehabilitated 38 homes and constructed 25 new rental units and 35 homes, impacting hundreds of county residents. With a new partnership between the City of Ocala and Marion County, housing issues will be addressed by a combined effort to reduce homelessness in our community. A Standard of Excellent Customer Service Empowering Marion for Success was created in 2017 as Marion County’s five-year strategic plan. This plan makes excellent customer service a priority with a goal of being the leader in exceptional customer service among government sectors. To ensure its success, Marion County rolled out its first Customer Service Boot Camp in which employees heard from industry leaders and influencers and where they were trained on personality types, leadership, culture and emotional intelligence. Additionally, Marion County offers the Employee Academy and Citizens Academy—10-week courses in which participants visit various county departments to familiarize themselves with operations, get a better understanding of the services provided, and realize how each department impacts the community. These programs develop exceptional employees and bridge a positive connection between the county and its residents. The inaugural Employee Academy graduating class received honors before the county commissioners in October.

Photo courtesy of Marion County Commissioner Michelle Stone with TB team members

A Great Time to Work for Marion County Just as the county aims to improve the well-being of its residents, it provides opportunities for personal growth and development for its employees, one example being the new Wellness Center. Opening soon, this newly renovated facility provides county employees complimentary access to personal and group fitness resources. A designated, fully equipped space is also available for Fire Rescue to conduct training and fitness tests. A Leadership Development and Training initiative kickstarted in the fall of 2015, with one team and 10 leaders from around the county. Today, this program engages several county leaders who meet regularly to address challenges, ideas and solutions in an effort to collaborate across departments. If you’d like to become a part of our team and serve Marion County, be on the lookout for upcoming job fairs. Hundreds of attendees participate in on-the-spot interviews at each event and, in May, qualified candidates were discovered at the fair and matched to 16 hard-to-fill, entrylevel positions.

Clark Allen and Charles Ryan Chris Lewis, Rob Robles, Drake Terrell, Wagner Paul

Reason to Celebrate Did you know Marion County hosted a huge event in March, celebrating its 175th anniversary? Hundreds of vendors and thousands of guests attended this event to honor our remarkable community with music, entertainment, charitable giving, education and nostalgia. On May 7th, the Board of County Commissioners commemorated the anniversary by burying a time capsule that will be opened in 25 years. A custom-designed horse statue, Marion, proudly stands inside the administration building courtyard to serve as a reminder of 175 years of great accomplishments. Learn more at www.marioncountyfl.org

Photos Courtesy of Marion County

December ‘19


A Dickens Christmas:

The Urban Family Holiday Exhibition Now Through January 5

Family Day

Saturday, December 7, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Enjoy free admission all day at this annual holiday event.

Museum, Artspace and Appleton Store Hours Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday: noon–5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | AppletonMuseum.org | 352-291-4455

315 E Silver Springs Blvd. | (352) 401-0044

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Michael Stone

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Mrs. Claus says don’t forget Lady Jeweler is an official Santa’s workshop! 62





re you sick of all those daytime television lawsuit commercials? Legal advertisements seem to flash onscreen constantly, but when you need legal counsel, remember: The first name that comes to mind isn’t always the right one for you. It’s more important to seek a firm with proven success trying your type of case. Jarrod King, senior partner at King Law Firm, suggests that anyone looking for legal counsel start by doing their research. “If you know others who have experienced the same legal issue

as you, get their opinions on the lawyer they chose,” King says. “Visit the website of more than one firm to read about their approach to handling cases and the results they have obtained in their cases. Find out if your case will actually be handled by an experienced lawyer, or if you will be passed off to a paralegal or a lawyer with little experience.” These steps are crucial to ensuring you find the best representation. While many practices have memorable jingles and constant commercials, King

warns against choosing your lawyer based solely on their advertisements. The best way to learn about a practice’s track record is to call them directly. “Call the law firm and ask to speak with an attorney. That attorney is required to honestly answer your questions about past results in cases similar to yours,” says King. “There is no requirement of legal proficiency to advertise, whether that be on a billboard, TV or radio. Those who have to advertise have to do so for a reason. They either cannot obtain business through referrals and word of mouth or they operate on volume—like a law factory rather than a law firm.” King Law Firm specializes in personal injury cases and has been fighting for injured citizens in Ocala and Marion County for the last 25 years. They’re known for their success in personal injury and wrongful death cases

and have developed a reputation for success among community members and local experts. If you’d like to learn more about King Law Firm’s past results or areas of expertise, King invites you to call. “King Law Firm has a large number of lawyers who refer cases to us as they know they will be handled correctly. In fact, we have earned those referring lawyers in excess of $3 million in referral fees this year alone,” he says. “Many times, a doctor is the first person someone turns to after an injury. Doctors in our area know that when they suggest their patients seek a lawyer that King Law Firm is a great option.”

King Law Firm › 2156 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, FL › (352) 629-8747 › www.kinglawfirm.org

December ‘19


Happy Holidays from our family to yours



352-732-4296 | 2402 SW COLLEGE RD. | OCALA, FL 34471



Heavyweight Home Team By BELEA T. KEENEY Photography By DAVE MILLER

Thundering hooves is a real thing; when these horses move it’s like a thunderstorm rumbling up from the earth. Nash, Hessten, Stone, Karen and Shannon Cobbs with Gavin

December ‘19


Gavin: Harnessed and show-ready




here’s no mistaking a Clydesdale for any other breed of horse. That distinctive Roman nose, those blocky chests, those enormous feathered feet! They’re tall, they usually weigh about a ton (literally), and they have massive hooves, as large as serving platters. Karen and Shannon Cobbs both hail from multigenerational Clydesdale families and are experts on this heavy-horse draft breed, among the largest equines in the world. The Cobbs were inducted into the Clydesdale Hall of Fame in 2018, and their farm, Grandview Clydesdales, is home to award-winning show horses. Their sons Nash, Hessten and Stone all assist on the farm, and 16-year old Nash is the most involved, working with the horses daily. The Ocala team will be showing in the second annual Grandview Invitational Draft Horse Show, January 31st to February 2nd, 2020 at the Florida Horse Park. Dozens of hitch classes will be offered. Hitch classes have numerous variations with one to eight horses being driven. “It really is like having a ball team,” Shannon Cobbs advises. “You’re only as strong as your weakest player.” A couple of rookies are sitting on the Grandview bench for now, but the core team just came off the summer show circuit and are raring to go again in January.

Clydesdales 101

Nash Cobbs with Tiger

Here are some insights into draft horse lingo to help you enjoy the upcoming show. Color: Clydesdales are usually bay (brown) in color, but roan, black, grey and chestnut also occur. For shows, the Grandview Clydesdales are dyed black. Hands: Horses are measured in “hands,” each indicating 4 inches of height at the withers. So, the average quarter horse is about 15 hands, or 60 inches/5 feet tall at the withers. A Clydesdale of 19 hands is 76 inches/6-foot-4 tall at the withers. Hitch class: Horses are hitched to a cart or wagon. Variations range from one to eight-horse hitches. Lead: The front-most position in any hitch larger than two horses. Swing: The middle horses in a large hitch; they need to have control and balance. Wheel: The horses closest to the wheels. They are the braking action in a hitch team and are generally the largest of the horses. Withers: The top of the shoulder blades where the neck and back meet.

Grandview Clydesdales is open for farm tours. To learn more, visit: www.grandviewclydesdales.tours Karen and Shannon Cobbs

December ‘19


We’re proud to present to you the Ocala Grandview Clydesdales team!





A black roan, who drives in swing or lead position. Born in Quebec, he’s the French lovebird and “ladies’ man.” He was the Kiss the Horse for Literacy celebrity equine for the Marion County Literacy Council’s annual fundraiser, two years in a row, and took the title of National Champion in the Ladies Cart class. He’s 18 hands and weighs 1,970 pounds.

This bay is something of a serious fellow. Born in Illinois, he’s quiet, sophisticated, and “the Einstein” of the group, says Shannon. He takes training and showing seriously, puts his elegant Roman nose to the grindstone and gets to work right away. He’s 18.2 hands and weighs 2,000 pounds.

A bay with a blaze, who also works swing or lead. He is very loving fellow and has a somewhat childlike personality. Sometimes he is downright silly, often playing around with his tongue hanging out. He’d be the type to say, “Hey guys, check me out!” explains Karen. He stands 18.2 hands and weighs in at 2,000 pounds.

A bay/brown, he’s big and works as a wheel horse. “The proverbial bull in a china shop,” Shannon offers, he doesn’t know his own size. But he has the most potential of any horse of the team. He can also be a bit standoffish. He’s 19 hands and weighs 2,210 pounds.





This hunk is true black with a blaze. He’s just as flashy as his appearance suggests. “He’s kinda like James Dean,” Shannon offers. Very talented and with lots of potential, his “frat boy” personality sometimes makes him a handful. Shannon adds, “You’d better be an experienced horseman to coach this guy!” He’s 18.2 hands and weighs 2,000 pounds.

He’s Vic’s brother and drives in the wheel position. As a wheeler, he’s one of the largest on the team. He’s very athletic. But Karen says he’s “the Jolly Green Giant that is scared of a mouse.” He has a lot of heart and always gives his best effort. He’s 19 hands and weighs 2,240 pounds.

The oldest on the team at age 10, he drives swing or lead. “Tiger is definitely the team captain and has opinions,” Shannon says. He’s a seasoned veteran and disapproves of other team horses acting up. He was named Best American Bred Gelding in halter. He stands 18.2 hands and weighs 2,100 pounds.

Another true black, Gavin drives swing, yet is versatile and cognizant of his MVP status. Gavin is the cool kid who’s a bit cocky. “He’s aware of his own awesomeness,” Shannon offers with a laugh. And he doesn’t think all that much about practicing. He’s 18.3 hands and weighs 2,000 pounds.



Legacy of Love With the help of a childhood rural newspaper route, the late Leroy Baldwin parlayed his love of cows into an internationally recognized brand. Today, several generations of Baldwin’s family carry on his legacy. On a recent afternoon, “Butter Face,” the heifer, herded some members of Leroy’s family for a portrait. From left: Michel Baldwin, Erin Baldwin, Alan Baldwin, Leila Baldwin, Bailey Baldwin, Ellie Damron, Austin Baldwin and Joy Baldwin Papy.


December ‘19



riving along the narrow, winding, tree-lined country road, replete with numerous blind spots, the fear of being lost is at last allayed by a street sign that bears the name Leroy Baldwin Road. It leads to the 574acre Baldwin Angus Ranch, located in a nook of northwest Marion County. A well-maintained dirt lane skirts the perimeter of the wide-open pastures, populated by grazing Black Angus cattle, and leads to the equipment barn, where we meet up with the Baldwin siblings. Growing up on the ranch, daycare for Tony, Alan, Joy and their late brother Mike was riding with their father on the tractor before they could walk. By the time they were 5 years old, kindergarten was helping to feed the cattle and walking behind the hay baler to gather up any wayward hay. “Our father believed in waste not, want not, and he didn’t want to waste any of that hay,” says Alan, 60, with a grin. “We picked up the loose hay that the baler spit out with our hands and threw it back in.” “Keep in mind that the hay field was half a mile long and a quarter mile wide,” adds Joy, 59, who is regarded as the organizer of the family. “We were only 5 or 6, but we were expected to buck up and work.” Tony, 62, chimes in, “We were getting up at daylight to help feed cows as soon as we could walk. I showed my first steer at a livestock show when I was 4. The first thing I learned to drive was a tractor. I was 5.” “We all showed steers in 4-H and played sports in high school,” Alan recalls. “But we still had to do our chores before and after school and sports activities.” Indeed, Leroy Baldwin passed on his work ethic to his children. Tony, the unofficial family historian, likes to tell the tale of how his father got his start in the cattle business. “Our father’s family was not in the cattle business; his father worked construction for the Florida Department of Transportation,” Tony offers. “But for some reason, our father loved cows. When he was 6, he had a rural newspaper route of 17 houses that he walked. He saved up his money and bought a calf, raised it and then re-sold it. Then he’d buy another calf. That’s how he got started.” The elder Baldwin was able to expand his route and therefore earn more cow money thanks to Trigger. “He was 9 or 10 when he got a pony named Trigger,” recounts Tony. “The family story is that Trigger quickly learned the route and when the last paper was delivered, he automatically turned around and went home.” In 1947, at the age of 15, Baldwin bought his first two registered Black Angus heifers, young female cows. It was those two cows, who were bred and their offspring sold, that the family considers the official beginning of Baldwin Angus Ranch. When the Korean War began, the cattle business was put on hold as Baldwin served in the U.S. Army from 1952-1955. When he returned to Ocala, he wasted little time in reviving his cattle business dreams. “Our father worked as a carpenter and other odd jobs to save up enough money to buy cows and land,” Tony explains. “In 1955, he bought the first 40 acres of this ranch and then just kept buying any surrounding land when the opportunity came

up. At one point, the ranch was 600 acres and he ran 500 head of registered Black Angus cattle.” Along the way, the elder Baldwin was a pioneering innovator when it came to the cattle business. By trial and error, he helped develop a strain of drought-resistant crimson clover and perfected a method of using anhydrous ammonia in winter feed to increase protein value. Baldwin worked with the American Angus Association in the late 1970s to create the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Certified Angus Beef label. In January 2018, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of that accomplishment, the Certified Angus Beef label was painted on the red Baldwin Angus Ranch barn that fronts I-75. Forty ranches across the country were chosen for the honor, and the Baldwin Angus Ranch was the first. “Our father was a tireless promoter of the Florida Angus cattle industry. He visited more than 20 countries around the world and helped create an international marketplace not just for Baldwin Angus Ranch, but for all of Florida livestock,” says Alan. “Here at home, he worked with schools, 4-H groups and colleges to encourage youth involvement in agriculture. It was his passion.” Baldwin, who passed away in December 2016, was involved in every local, state and national cattle association and received numerous honors throughout his lifetime. A sampling includes 1993 Southeast Farmer of the Year and a 1995 induction into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame. All well-earned accolades for a 6-year-old boy who loved cows.

Our father was a tireless promoter of the Florida Angus cattle industry. He visited more than 20 countries around the world and helped create an international marketplace not just for Baldwin Angus Ranch, but for all of Florida livestock.



Modern Times

Today, the Baldwin Angus Ranch operates as a corporation, made up of Tony, Alan, Joy and their children. Some of the children are involved in the day-to-day operation, while others are not. Tony’s son Asa (18), daughter Christine (37) and Alan’s son Austin (34) are the most involved. About 20 family members currently live on the ranch. The ranch is a cow-calf operation, raising Black Angus stock for those who want to start their own cattle businesses, both small and large. The Angus is a breed of small, hornless beef cattle of Scottish origin. Adult males typically weigh more than 1,800 pounds with females tipping the scale at more than 1,200 pounds. The ranch herd numbers 200, including 85 to 90 mama cows, and two breeding bulls. “We sell weaned calves, young heifers, to people all around the country. We do occasionally sell young bulls as well. People come to the ranch to pick up cattle or we’ll bring them to them,” says Alan. “In my father’s lifetime, we exported cattle to other countries, but that stopped when mad cow disease struck. Now our business is only in this country. Our reputation and word of mouth has kept us in business.” The Baldwins still get up at daylight to feed cattle, seven days a week. “We feed grain to our bulls regularly, as well as to our weaned babies and heifers for about a year,” explains Joy, whose husband Wyatt Papy works in construction and pitches in when needed on the ranch. “We order 25 tons of grain three times a year.” Of course, cows are grazing animals. The Baldwin Angus Ranch pastures are planted in Coastal grass, which is a hybrid

Bailey Baldwin and Big Al

From left: Ellie Damron, Leila Baldwin and Michel Baldwin

From left: Alan Baldwin, Joy Baldwin Papy and Tony Baldwin

December ‘19


of Bermuda grass known for being drought and pest resistant. In the summer, the pastures are mowed for haylage. The baler distributes the hay into a special machine that wraps it into long spiral white plastic tubes. Four feet in diameter and 200 feet long, the 225 haylage tubes sit across the pasture like an invading swarm of giant caterpillars. “That haylage serves as high-protein forage for the cows in the winter,” says Alan. “Tony, who’s a phenomenal mechanic, made us a special tool that we use to open up a haylage tube.” For winter grazing, rye grass is planted and the cattle graze on that for two hours a day before being brought to the holding pasture. There the mama cows are checked if they are ready to be bred again. Then the cows are turned out in the haylage pasture overnight. “Rye grass is very high protein,” says Tony. “So you don’t want your cattle out on that all day long.” When it’s time to bring the cows in from the rye pasture, Joy’s border collie Lou is up to the task. “All I do is open the gate and Lou goes to work,” says Joy. “She’s a herder; she never barks. When the mama cows see her come into the pasture, they know it’s time to go. She brings in the whole herd all by herself. She’s my girl and if I could give her a seat at our dinner table, I would.” Ranches run on seasons. Breeding begins in January via artificial insemination; calving is from October through December; weaning is in June with the babies being tattooed and registered with the American Angus Association. Then the whole cycle begins again. 74


“I love the calving season,” says Joy. “I really enjoy seeing a new crop of newborn babies and watching them grow up.” Born out in the pastures, those new babies are the life’s blood of the operation and are protected by a guard donkey. “Newborn calves are easy prey for coyotes, but with a guard donkey we don’t have that problem. Donkeys are territorial and have a natural aversion to canines, so they will chase off coyotes,” Joy explains. “We’ve had guard donkeys on the ranch for 20 years. April, our current guard donkey, lives with the mama cow herd and helps keep the babies safe.” And like the multiple generations of cattle on the farm, a new generation of Baldwins is in the mix, including part-timers Asa and Erin (who is known to spoil the cattle with treats), and Alan, Tony and Austin who work there full-time. Members of the youngest generation, Ellie Damron, along with Michael, Leila and Bailey Baldwin, are showing cattle in the Southeastern Youth Fair in February. No matter the season, there’s always work on a ranch: fences to mend, water troughs to keep clean and full, equipment to fi x, mowing, weeding and cows to doctor. “It’s a lifestyle that’s not for everyone,” Tony admits. “I drove a semi-truck for a while. Joy went to Texas and made a good living showing cows. Alan is an excellent carpenter and has done well with that. But one by one, we came back to the ranch full time.” “The ranch is our life,” Joy asserts. “We consider ourselves fortunate to be able to do this as a family.” “Our father’s goal was to raise the best quality Angus cattle possible,” Alan adds. “It’s his legacy and we’re carrying it on.”

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December ‘19





If you’ve struggled to lose weight, join us for a free event with Dr. Parth Patel. This seminar will give a general overview of obesity and weight loss options, including the process to become a candidate for surgical weight loss. Obesity is the excess accumulation of body fat, to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health. It can lead to reduced life expectancy and increased health conditions such as certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, acid reflux, sleep apnea and type II diabetes. Anyone interested in learning more about surgical weight loss options is welcome to attend one of these events. Visit CitrusMH.com or call (352) 637-3337 to learn more. Parth Patel, MD

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Shining Season photographer Lyn Larson, Mahal Photography fashion styling Nick Steele fashion assistant Vianca L. Torres hair & makeup & grooming by Ammi Leon of Hello Gorgeous; Christy Hoefly of Cosmera Hair Studio; Kallista Linns & Nickie Collinsworth of Face the Day Spa and Salon models, from left: Amanda Pell: Dress by Tahari from Dillard’s, INC “Party” clutch from Macy’s; Carlos Ramos: Shirt INC from Macy’s; Morgan Zack: Calvin Klein jumpsuit from Macy’s; Chriseanna Mitchell: Calvin Klein jumpsuit and Kate Landry pearl clutch, both from Dillard’s; Meagan Gumpert: Dress by Alex Marie from Dillard’s, INC “Lexy” clutch from Macy’s. December ‘19




Meagan: Jessica Howard dress from Dillard’s, INC “Loreline” micro sandal from Macy’s; Ben Gumpert: Jacket by Murano from Dillard’s, Calvin Klein shirt, Ralph Lauren pant and Alfani belt, all from Macy’s

December ‘19


Megan: Dress by Alex Marie and Vince Camuto cuff from Dillard’s, INC “Lexy” clutch from Macy’s; Morgan: Calvin Klein jumpsuit from Macy’s, Belle by Badgley Mischka Pave Leaf Necklace from Dillard’s; Amanda: Dress by Tahari from Dillard’s.



Carlos: INC Shirt, slim-fit, flat-front pant by INC and Perry Ellis Portfolio belt, all from Macy’s.

December ‘19


Chris Pell: Ralph Lauren suit from Macy’s, shirt by Murano from Dillard’s; Amanda: Dress by Tahari and earrings by Belle by Badgley Mischka from Dillard’s.







This month, we focus our lens on the delightful Te’Sha Jackson, who is Senior Club Director at the Harrell Club for Boys & Girls Clubs of Marion County. We spotted her at the Appleton Museum of Art and had to learn more about this style maven. The way she mixes sleek modern pieces with cool vintage finds makes her a standout in any crowd. She also has infectious energy and a fun-loving spirit, which means she may suddenly break out into a song or dance. We quizzed her on some of her favorite things.

What’s your favorite part of the day? Morning, when the sun is rising. Do you have a motto or favorite saying? “Love you, forever and a day.” My dad always said this to my mom and I say it to my children and my loved ones. How do you describe your personal style? Sweet and feminine... authentic. Where do you go for some retail therapy? Vintage shops—I’m a vintage and thrift store junkie. Favorite girly indulgence? Full body massage. Beauty hack? Shea butter for every part of my body. Tea bags on my eyes, if I have bags in the morning.

Most regrettable beauty trend you once rocked? I sprayed the front of my hair gold to match an outfit. It was the hardest thing to wash out! What words or phrases do you use most/overuse? “That’s what’s up.” and “Peace and blessings.” Entertaining Style? Being a mixologist for the evening. Favorite cocktail? Either a Godfather or an Irish coffee. Your signature dish to cook? Salmon cakes. Favorite restaurant? I love Caribbean food. My favorite local spot is Sun Bless Bakery in Silver Springs Shores. Favorite sweet treat? Chocolate almonds.

What’s your “go-to” comfort food? Fried chicken and waffles, mac and cheese or fish tacos. Favorite place to indulge your sweet tooth? Ocala’s Chocolates & Confections. Favorite day trip? Super Oriental Market in Orlando, grabbing some Peking duck! Chair dancer or car singer? Car singer and a public singer, as well. Chair dancer, nope. I have to get up and dance! Biggest pet peeve? Procrastination. Worst advice anyone ever gave you? Don’t open your heart. Best gift you were ever given? Flowers, for no particular reason.

Most surprising thing you learned about Ocala/ Marion County? The history of the Timucua Indians and the history of west Ocala. Proudest moment of your life? When I gave birth to both my beautiful daughter A’shanti and also my handsome son JahQuin. What’s your most treasured possession? Artwork from when my children were young. What’s the one thing you never have enough of ? Time with family. Best thing you learned recently? That I’m never too old to learn new tricks! To suggest someone with great style to be featured, email us at editorial@magnoliamediaco.com

December ‘19



Honoring Tradition

A Grandmother’s Legacy in Food and Love By SUSAN SMILEY-HEIGHT Photography by LYN L ARSON OF MAHAL IMAGERY Our food contributor Jill Paglia reveals her family’s sweet legacy of gifting homemade treats for the holidays. The tradition started during the Depression, when money was scarce, but their family still values the love baked into these treasured recipes. 86



Jill baking with daughters Danielle Hartman (at left) and Lauren Diamantas


hen Filomena “Fannie” Pisaniello came to the United States from Italy, through Ellis Island in New York Harbor, she brought her beloved recipes along with her. “Grandma Fannie” passed away in 1994 but members of her family are continuing to honor her legacy by faithfully preparing her struffoli and biscotti every Christmas. In Ocala, Fannie’s daughter, Jean Paglia, along with her son and his wife, John and Jill Paglia, host several festive gatherings that include many members of their extended family. On a recent morning, we joined the fun as Jill and her daughters, Danielle Hartman and Lauren Diamantas, and son Vincent “Vinny” Paglia, enjoyed a pre-holiday lunch of chicken salad croissant sandwiches, pasta salad and Veuve Clicquot mimosas as part of their family baking day. “We have been getting together with the Italian side of the family for probably 25 years, at least, because my motherin-law, Jean, always wanted to pass down the tradition of her mother’s cookie recipes,” Jill offers. “She did it at her house a couple of years and then it became the tradition that we usually do it at my house. We pick a Saturday close to Christmas and gather around 11am. I supply lunch and we have mimosas and small pickings. And then we get into rolling our dough.” Part of the family tradition is everyone donning Christmas-themed shirts and Christmas aprons, and bringing their own tins so they all go home with goodies. Always on the list is struffoli (which are Italian honey balls), several flavors of biscotti, and pizzelles (added a few years ago by Jill). At Jill’s house, the struffoli is always served in Grandma Fannie’s beautiful crystal bowl.

There are usually about 15 people in attendance at the day-long gathering. “It is literally a family affair,” notes Hartman. “And there is no Christmas table without struffoli. It’s so special because we put so much time into it.” “Back in the day, the Italians didn’t have much money when they came in, mostly to New York, so as Christmas presents the mothers would form the struffoli—just eggs, flour and sugar—into balls,” Paglia explains. “You can pile them high, in the form of a Christmas tree, and you add hot honey and then rainbow sprinkles that symbolize Christmas lights. They would give these little sweet treats as gifts, because to the kids, that was candy…like heaven. It was, and is, a way of sharing your passion with others and gifting it that way.” Hartman, the mother of two boys, says that once they do the baking, it really begins to feel like Christmas. “We’re nearing the big day. I can’t imagine Christmas without it. It can turn into mom/daughter time. You can’t get enough of that,” she remarks. “Especially as we turn into what she is now. I’m going to be that mom too. New ladies come in and they’re like, ’What is this all about?’ And then they love it, and they want to do the same thing.” Paglia says making the struffoli is the most time intensive. “You’re making a pretty big batch,” she explains. “It’s easy to whip up, but then you have to put it on a board and flatten it out, then cut strips like a rope, then cut little pieces (less than 1/2 inch, with a knife). You throw them into the hot oil and they turn into a ball. “For the pizzelles, we do flavors such as vanilla or cocoa or anise, two at a time in a press. They’re very inexpensive and make lovely gifts,” she adds. “We’ll also do Viennese

December ‘19


TA B L E (anisette) biscotti and basic almond biscotti, and I created a knockoff of a Neiman Marcus biscotti, which is cranberry and pistachio. It’s so good, and with white chocolate chips it’s more like a dessert.” A large binder in Jill’s expansive kitchen contains the original recipes that bear titles like “Grandma Fannie’s Excellent All YearRound Dessert (biscotti). Recipe has been in the family forever!” and “Grandma Fannie’s Excellent Christmas Dessert (struffoli). Tradition is passed down through the generations.” “It’s a wonderful tradition to have from generation to generation, and it’s something to look forward to each year going into the holidays,” states Diamantas. “And now that I have two girls, they’re getting involved in it, especially my oldest. So, it’s five generations now.” As the baking party evolves throughout the day, with Christmas music playing and attendees enjoying the mimosa bar and delicious food, lunch often runs into a dinner consisting of a simple salad, beef and veal bolognese rigatoni and a charcuterie board featuring Italian meats and cheeses. Sometimes family members even stay overnight. “She loves doing it,” Vinny Paglia says of his mother. “She has always loved cooking and spends a lot of time on it. It really is all about family. And it is so good to wake up in the morning and there are the cookies.”

White Chocolate Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti 2 organic free-range large eggs 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup white baking chips 3/4 cup dried cranberries 3/4 cup pistachios 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt Preheat oven to 325°. In a small bowl, beat sugar and oil until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in the chips, cranberries and pistachios. Divide dough in half. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, shape each half into a 10x11/2-inch rectangle with lightly f loured hands. Bake 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned. Place pans on wire racks. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a serrated knife into 1/2-in. slices. Place cut side down on baking sheets. Bake 6-7 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. 88


Pizzelles This recipe calls for a batter-like dough and is baked on a pizzelle iron. Powdered sugar adds an elegant touch. In the Italian version, vanilla is replaced with anise or you can use chocolate. 3 organic free-range large eggs 1 3/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free flour 3/4 cups organic cane sugar 1/2 cups organic non-salted butter, melted 2 tablespoons baking powder 1 tablespoon vanilla or anise extract In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla or anise. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and blend into the batter until smooth. Heat the pizzelle iron and brush with oil. Drop about one tablespoon of batter onto each circle of the iron. Bake for about 45 seconds, or until steam is no longer coming out of the iron. Carefully remove cookies from the iron. Cool completely before adding powdered sugar and storing in an airtight container. For chocolate pizzelles, add 1/4 cup cocoa sifted together with the flour and baking powder, 1/4 cup more sugar and 1 to 2 teaspoons more baking powder. For a chocolate mixture, make sure the iron is well oiled to start and brush on more as needed.

TA B L E Grandma Fannie’s Biscotti (Tweaked a bit by me –– I use parchment paper to bake on and King Arthur Organic All-Purpose Flour.) 6 organic free-range large eggs 6 cups of unbleached King Arthur All-Purpose Flour 1 1/2 cups cane sugar 1 cup olive oil 6 teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons anise extract (or vanilla, almond, or orange extract to taste) Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350°. Crack eggs into a large bowl and beat with fork, add sugar and beat again. Add oil, anise extract and beat once more. In a separate bowl, sift and mix the baking powder with the flour then combine with the egg mixture. Using some extra flour on your hands, divide the dough into four equal parts. It will be very sticky. Form each portion into a long log on the parchment-lined sheet and pat down as you form it to be about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide (similar to forming a meatloaf.) Place two logs per cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Take out of oven and place each log on a cooling rack. While the logs are still hot, take one at a time on a cutting board and slice with a serrated knife diagonally. After slicing, place each biscotti slice side up on the cookie sheet and return to the oven to broil for 1 minute on each side until golden brown. Place cooled biscotti in airtight container. Store for three weeks or more in a cool dry place. You can also dip some in dark chocolate, or also add mini chocolate chips. These are delicious with your morning coffee or evening espresso! Grandma Fannie’s Struffoli 6 organic free-range large eggs 5 cups of King Arthur All-Purpose Flour 1 large jar of Nature Nate’s Raw Honey 1/3 cup pure olive oil 1/2 cup of cane sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon lemon extract Crack eggs in a large bowl and beat with fork, add sugar and beat again, add oil, vanilla and lemon and beat a final time. Combine the 5 cups of flour with the baking powder then add to the egg mixture. Flour your hands and counter to mold dough together; it will be very sticky until all together. Flatten the dough into a thin loaf about 10 inches. Cut 1/4 inch long ropes lengthwise, then cut 1/2 inch pieces as you go along and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. If you have a helper they can roll out the dough, make ropes, and then cut pieces and while this is being done you will fry batches in a deep fryer until light golden brown. As each batch cools, place them on paper towels to absorb any excess oil. When all the batches are fried, place them in a large decorative glass bowl. Melt the honey in a pan on stovetop. (Do not overboil.) When it starts to boil, pour over struffoli and blend well. Place on a serving dish, pile into a mound and sprinkle with multi-colored sprinkles. (These symbolize Christmas lights.) Without the sprinkles, these will store for two weeks in a cool dry place. To refresh, simply add a bit more honey and sprinkles.


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In The Kitchen With Nathan Mitts By LISA MCGINNES Photography by ISABELLE RAMIREZ

This busy equine veterinarian doesn’t often have time to cook, but when he does, you can certainly expect something spectacular.


r. Nathan Mitts is a selfdescribed “scientist” in the kitchen. His “experiments” are precisely prepared dishes with complex flavor profiles, fresh herbs and healthy ingredients that taste so good even his 3-year-old daughter Heidi enjoys eating them. His busy schedule doesn’t allow him to cook as often as he’d like, but when he does, it’s as much about the process as it is about the end result. “If I do have a day off, I love for it to be spent in the kitchen,” he confesses. He and his wife Amanda have created a cozy kitchen that’s the heart of their home overlooking the rolling pastures of their northwest Marion County farm. It has warm touches—natural wood serving platters, an old-fashioned mortar and pestle and a treasured vintage spaetzle (noodle) press brought over from Germany by Amanda’s grandmother. They love nothing better than hosting family for a home-cooked, leisurely meal enjoyed with a bottle of wine and plenty of good conversation. “We all travel a lot so when we’re in town we tend to eat on the farm,” Mitts explains. “It’s so much fun to cook and to share the spoils with the family and those you love. Cooking for people is so different than a restaurant meal. It’s such a shared experience when everyone is eating the same thing. But it’s also the eat December ‘19


to live philosophy—things that are natural and flavorful that you can feel better about eating.” To get just the right ingredients, Mitts shops the specialty markets in Gainesville, or if he’s lucky, plucks some fresh herbs from his in-laws’ garden. His scientific approach to cooking means everything is precise and carefully planned, from edible flowers for pops of color and beautiful presentation to cooking with the same wine he’s selected to pair with the meal. If you’re lucky enough to partake in one of Mitts’ specialties, like the venison

I think the kitchen is the pulse of the home, the real soul. porkolt he enjoys preparing in the fall, you can be sure he has perfected the balances of salt, fat, acid and heat, and has purposefully selected each ingredient, from the vibrant red imported Hungarian sweet and hot paprikas to the “integral” French cornichon pickle and Icelandic yogurt garnishes. Often, daughter Heidi keeps him company while he cooks. “She follows the energy and the energy is in the



kitchen,” he says. “She is attentive to what we’re doing. We’ve never ‘cooked around her’ so to speak; she’s always eaten what we eat.” Growing up in Missouri, Mitts remembers his mother often cooked “three square meals a day.” As an adult, he admits he “ruined so many good pieces of meat on the grill” that he began to try braising and pan-frying techniques instead. Because of his preference for organic meat with traceable sources, he appreciates game acquired from friends who hunt. Mitts learned a lot about preparing wild game from the Hunter Angler Gardener Cook website by former restaurant cook and cookbook author Hank Shaw. His current secret ingredient is duck fat. “Things get browned in duck fat,” he reveals. “It makes everything better.” After the busy fall season, which keeps Mitts on the road examining sport horses at sales around the country, he looks forward to Thanksgiving, his favorite holiday, and more time at home to enjoy his family, which also means more time spent together in the kitchen. “I think the kitchen is the pulse of the home, the real soul.”

Venison Porkolt and Spaetzle Serves 6

Editor’s note: This is Mitts’ variation on a recipe inspired by Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, so it includes instructions on butchering and aging your own game and cutting the bones. But don’t be dissuaded if you’re not comfortable doing that. Simply start at Step 3 using a storebought lamb or beef roast (approximately 2 ½ pounds), a high-quality packaged bone broth, any egg noodle and plan around three hours to cook on the stove. To make it even easier, you can even place the browned meat and other ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning for a ready-toeat meal after work.

Step 1 Field dress a venison shoulder or shank. Ship in ice. Trim any bloodshot or heavily bruised areas. Disarticulate the joints if necessary. Dry age in a clean refrigerator for 48-72 hours. (I simply place the pieces on a wire rack in a cookie sheet and rotate the meat every 12 hours.) Wrap in cheesecloth once the surface is dry or tacky. Cut the meat off the bone and leave in large 4-inch chunks. Dry age those overnight while you make the broth. Step 2 If necessary, cut the bones with a hacksaw so that after roasting they will fit into a large stockpot. Rub them with olive oil and salt and roast at 400° until brown. Place the roasted bones in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat then reduce heat to maintain a gentle steamy simmer overnight (6+ hours). Skim and discard the foam off the top from time to time. Add the following to the pot: Broth 2 carrots, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 2 leeks, chopped 1-2 parsnips, chopped 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped 2 tablespoons rosemary 1-2 tablespoons juniper berries, crushed 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed 1 tablespoon thyme 4-6 bay leaves After 2 hours at a gentle simmer, remove everything you can with tongs, then pour through a cheesecloth-lined fine wire mesh sieve and collect the broth in a stockpot. Taste, carefully salt, and reduce if necessary. Hold back a quart and freeze the rest for another day. Meat/Venison: 3 pounds yellow onions, chopped 4-5 cups broth 1/3 bottle of wine 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes 1/3 cup Hungarian sweet paprika 2-3 tablespoons duck fat 1 tablespoon caraway seeds 1 tablespoon hot paprika 1/2 tablespoon marjoram Step 3 (Start here for store-bought or butcher-cut meat.) Bring your venison to room temperature. Heat duck fat in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the venison evenly on all sides, salting as you go. Remove the venison and set aside. Add more duck fat to the pot if needed—there needs to be just enough to coat the bottom of the pot. Add onions and caraway seeds and slowly brown over medium-low to medium heat with a gentle hiss and sizzle and an occasional stir. (This tends to take an hour or so and I cover it after 30 or 45 minutes.) Return the venison to the pot and add sweet paprika, hot paprika, marjoram and crushed tomatoes, and enough of your

broth and red wine to cover everything—usually 4-5 cups broth and 1/3 of bottle of wine. (Cook with the wine that you plan to serve with the meal. Mitts suggests serving Northern Rhones with this recipe.) Mix everything well and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook on low heat at a cheery simmer until the meat can be easily separated with a potato masher—about 6-8 hours, but will vary depending upon the age, cut, and condition of the meat. Spaetzle: 4 eggs, beaten 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt Milk-enough to thin For the spaetzle, bring a large pot of salty water to a rolling boil. Make a dough with the flour, eggs and salt, and just add enough milk to thin it somewhat—it will need to be able to be squeezed through the press. Dunk the press and the blade of a table knife into the boiling water, then fill the press with dough and quickly squeeze into the water and cut the noodles from the press with the table knife. Give everything a little stir. Cook these in batches so as not to overcrowd. Once the noodles are floating, give them another 30-45 seconds to cook up, then remove them with a slotted spoon and place in a warmed bowl. Plate a generous helping of porkolt alongside some spaetzle and top with a dollop of yogurt, a few sliced cornichons, some chopped cilantro and serve.

December ‘19



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

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

Book your party at Tony’s today.

Open Christmas and New Year’s Day! Gift card specials 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, is open for lunch and dinner. Winner of Culinary Combat and Taste of Ocala for four years and most recently voted Ocala’s Best of the Best; the menu options are plentiful and guaranteed to make your taste buds explode with happiness. And don’t forget the dessert menu, which includes our prize-winning bread pudding and coconut cream pie. So call today to make your reservation; you won’t regret it. Open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve for lunch and dinner. Closed Wednesday Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Feta Mediterranean Cuisine 306 SW Broadway St., Ocala

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



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



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 Purchase $100 in gift cards get a FREE $30 gift card in return. Available Nov. 1st-Dec. 24th.

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

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

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

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

December ‘19


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Ocala Tree of Life Sanctuary Kickoff Gala Saturday, January 4, 2020 6-10 p.m. Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m., Dinner at 7 p.m. keynote speaker | music and dancing | auction and raffle Ocala Hilton, 3600 SW 36th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34474 First Congregational United Church of Christ and Temple Beth Shalom cordially invite you to attend our kickoff gala proceeds will support an exciting new partnership in a vibrant interfaith worship and activities center: the Ocala Tree of Life Sanctuary

$100/person $1,000/table for ten Make checks payable to: Ocala Tree of Life Sancturary PO Box 771318, Ocala, FL 34477-1318 Reservations and Information: Church: 352-237-3035 | Temple: 352-629-3587 uccocala@live.com or templebethshalomocala@gmail.com Featuring Motown Recording Sensation

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December ‘19



Growing A Dream Cullison-Wright Construction Corporation After the great fire of 1883 destroyed most of downtown Ocala, the city rebuilt and rebranded itself as the Brick City. The Cullison family has been building here ever since. By LISA MCGINNES Photography by ALAN YOUNGBLOOD Hair and Makeup by NICKIE COLLINSWORTH AND KALLISTA LINNS of Face The Day Spa And Salon


he story of Cullison-Wright Construction Corporation’s long history in our community actually starts way back in 1884, around the time Ocala became known as the Brick City. A young man named Jerry Burnett came from South Carolina with his brother to look for work in the Sunshine State’s booming construction industry. The brothers actually planned to go all the way to Orlando, but when the train stopped in Ocala, where much of the town needed to be rebuilt after a recent fire swept through downtown, that sounded like opportunity knocking, and they answered. Burnett settled in Ocala and raised a family, and his grandson and namesake, Jerry Cullison, would start his own construction company, Cullison Builders, in 1962—the company we now know as Cullison-Wright Construction Corporation, still operated by his family today.

The Legacy of Jerry Cullison The Cullison family and their second family at Cullison-Wright Construction Corporation lost their patriarch, Jerry Cullison, when he passed away in August. At age 86, he was still at the helm of the company he built from the ground up, always with his legendary smile. Mr. Cullison found joy in building landmarks that will no doubt stand in Marion County for generations to come. They range from the Skyline Corporation mobile home manufacturing plant, built in 1969, to Forest High School, completed in 2005, and include the complete renovation of the historic Eighth Street Elementary School that Jerry Cullison attended as a young boy. He also found joy in giving back to the community where he was born and raised, and his beloved Ocala Lions Club renamed their annual golf tournament the Jerry Cullison Memorial this year. Nearly 60 years after Mr. Cullison started his company, Cullison-Wright Construction continues his legacy of unparalleled customer service. “Mr. Cullison built that into us, that no job is too big or too small,” says President Barry Mansfield, who joined the company 98


Colt Mansfield, Barry Mansfield, Sandy Mansfield, Virginia Cullison, Sara Cullison, Cody Mansfield

December ‘19


Clockwise, from top left: Jerry “Pop Pop” Cullison; Jerry’s grandfather Edgar Greene and family in an early 1900s Easter parade; Edgar and Inez Greene and their family; Virginia and Jerry Cullison at the University of Florida Spring Frolics in 1956; Jerry Cullison gathered with Ocala businessmen in the 1960s; and Cullison Sausage, owned by Jerry’s parents, Harold and Dora, in the 1950s. Opposite page: The Cullison family in the 1940s. From left: Bessie, Elsie, Dora, Harold Jr (“Jack”), Jerry and Harold.

100 ocalastyle.com

they will take good care of your customers. “That gives us as a project manager nearly 30 years ago. “Always be honest, always be fair, and you’ll always have repeat customers and that’s the skill level that sets us apart from the competition,” Barry explains. “We’ve built a good team. Mr. Cullison always said if he still our motto.” had a good contractor and a good owner, the sky’s the limit.” Barry is literally part of the family, married to Mr. Cullison’s daughter Sandy, but he explains that all the Cullison-Wright employees are like family too. The Growth of Cullison-Wright “The company is very committed to family and has always The company has grown every year, Barry acknowledges. been committed to its employees,” Barry says. “We treat them “We went from small projects to a nearly $38 million project like family. We go the extra step and I think that sets us apart almost immediately, so that put us onto a whole different from our competition.” He adds that playing field. We started doing larger one of their most treasured employees, and larger projects, and along with superintendent and estimator Herb medical buildings, we started doing a lot Drum, has been with the company for of warehouses. We got a chance to build 41 years. Three other employees have Cardinal Glass’s 420,000+ square-foot worked for Cullison-Wright for more building, which is equivalent to eight than 20 years. acres of covered, air-conditioned space. “My family will continue the We did a lot of banks, but then got into reputation we built for hard work and the medical field, including surgical dedication,” promises Vice President centers and assisted living, which turned Sara Cullison, who joined her father’s out to be sort of our specialty.” company full time in 1990, first as One of Cullison-Wright’s most recent a receptionist while she finished projects is Paddock Ridge, the flagship construction school at University of property of Prospera, the development - Cody Mansfield Florida’s Rinker School of Construction company Mansfield owns with partner Management. After earning her degree, Sara Cullison became a Scott Ryan. This distinctive new neighborhood-based assisted project manager and says she’s always been proud of Cullisonliving facility opened on Southwest 33rd Court in July and is a Wright’s reputation for making customers happy. Over the years senior community they designed to be “good enough for their she eventually took on more of her father’s duties and says now own mothers to live in.” It’s Ocala’s newest resource for longshe’s just following in her father’s footsteps, using his philosophy: term residential care. “It’s simple. Always treat the customer right and he will return Paddock Ridge is “more than just a new community—it’s the the favor in so many ways.” start of something truly remarkable,” Barry says. Plans have Barry and Sara believe if you take good care of your employees, been drawn for the complex’s new independent living senior

It’s a proud feeling to be able to work in another generation of something that your family built. Ocala is a nice place to live, a quiet family place. And we have all this history here.

December ‘19


apartment community, which Cullison-Wright expects to complete in 2021. At the end of this year, Cullison-Wright plans to break ground on the MLK First Responder Campus on Northwest Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, designed to be the new home of Ocala Fire Rescue’s Station No. 3 as well as an Ocala Police Department station, community center and basketball courts.

The historic 1928 Marion Hotel was renovated by Cullison-Wright in 1985.



Barry says this is a project they wanted to do simply because it’s good for the community.

The Commitment to Others Being involved in the community has always been important at Cullison-Wright. Barry and his wife Sandy helped with school committees and clubs when sons Cody and Colt were in school. However, Barry’s favorite volunteer role is grill cook. “We volunteer a lot,” he says. “I enjoy cooking—that’s sort of my fun time; I enjoy barbecuing and serving people.” Throughout the year, the Mansfields transport their large outdoor cooker to school functions, service club events like the Lions golf tournament, and soon, Barry says, to cook for the firefighters at the new station. “That’s how we give back to our community.” For Sara Cullison, with her love of animals, serving the community often involves giving back to the Humane Society of Marion County, where she adopted a dog. She explains that Cullison-Wright worked closely with the city manager to build the Humane Society. Now, she says, “They do small projects and we always support them. Our whole family has always loved animals.” Sara, who grew up riding horses, now lives in the historic homestead on the family’s northwest Marion County ranch, surrounded by pastures rich with family history. “My mom designed the plans when she was pregnant with me and my dad built it the year I was born,” she reveals. “My grandmother always wanted to keep it in the family.” At Cullison-Wright, being a good corporate citizen of the community is at the heart of both their customer service policies and their hiring practices. “We believe in local participation and in the local community, and we have the capability and expertise to do very large projects,” Barry explains. “We like to deal with local people and we really push for all local subcontractors.”

The Future of Cullison-Wright “We’ve always tried to get to the next level,” Barry states. “You can’t rest on your laurels. We’ve been very successful but we always have to stay ahead of the curve. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to bring in the younger crew,” he says of his 26-year-old son Cody, a Cullison-Wright project manager, and 30-year-old Troy Thurston, the company’s newest vice president and partner. Cody Mansfield, who remembers playing on job sites as a kid while tagging along with his dad and his beloved Pop Pop, now supervises job sites as a project manager and is the fifth generation in his family to work in the construction industry in Ocala. He earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations from Rollins College in 2015 then spent a year and a half traveling the world working for a cruise line. When his dad mentioned that there was a great opportunity for him to join the family business, it seemed like a natural fit. “It’s a proud feeling to be able to work in another generation of something that your family built,” Cody explains. “Ocala is a nice place to live, a quiet family place. And we have all this history here.” Cody embraces his role as family historian, and has amassed a treasure trove of memorabilia, from albums full of old black

and white photos and newspaper clippings to memorabilia like vintage building plans, stock certificates and stationery. In his office, along with the impressive collection of Legos he’s used to construct elaborate projects since he was a kid, is the erector set saved from his grandfather’s childhood. From time to time, Cody takes inspiration from sitting behind the desk of Jerry Cullison, his Pop Pop, the man he says was “perfect” in his eyes. “He always liked to build things; I like to build things,” Cody says. “You don’t know how precious something is until you lose it. My takeaway at the end of the day is I got to spend time with my family.” Learning the business gives Cody a treasured opportunity to be mentored by his father and his Aunt Sara. “I’m proud to see him work,” Cody says of his father. “He is the best businessman and role model. I saw how hard my dad and grandfather worked—they are the American dream. They built what they have with their own two hands.”

Cullison-Wright Construction Corporation › 112 NE 12th Street, Ocala › (352) 629-9572 › www.cullisonwright.com

From left: Troy Thurston, Sara Cullison, Barry Mansfield and Cody Mansfield

December ‘19 103


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Orchestrating A Career By SUSAN SMILEY-HEIGHT Photography by MEAGAN GUMPERT Makeup by COURTNEY SIMON, FACE THE DAY SPA This professional musician and power weightlifter has orchestrated a creative life. Luckily for area music lovers, she landed at Ocala’s Reilly Arts Center.

December ‘19 105


I wanted to play saxophone, but there were eight saxophone players and no French horn players. So it kind of chose me.


argaret Dixon has an extremely busy life as a performing professional musician and teacher in Central Florida. She plays with the Ocala Symphony Orchestra (OSO), based at the Reilly Arts Center. She also is personnel manager and librarian for the orchestra and manages the organization’s Symphony for Schools program. Dixon has a small private studio in Ocala; she also teaches at the College of Central Florida and Trinity Catholic High School. She lives in Gainesville, has a larger private studio there, and teaches at some schools and performs with the Gainesville Orchestra. She also teaches at a school in Bradford County and performs “gigs at churches, graduations, a little bit of everything,” she says. “I’m all over the place. “In my studio in Gainesville, I have about 30 students, on French horn and trumpet mostly. French horn is my primary instrument, but I can play or teach pretty much anything. “I’m a musician, teacher, jack of all trades,” she explains,



her arm sweeping the room like a maestro. “I was going to do this and this…get a job and travel the world. I got through my master’s and I wanted to take a year off, which turned into five. My career here was taking off and I could drop everything and move to New York or stay and take advantage of the wealth of opportunities before me. It was a complete change in what I had planned. I’m much happier doing this than living in New York, in a closet, for $1,000 a month.” Dixon, 32, says she didn’t want to play the French horn. “In the ninth grade, I moved to Alabama. I played cello in middle school and elementary up north, where they had orchestra. In the south they have football, so they have band,” she explains. “I wanted to play saxophone, but there were eight saxophone players and no French horn players. So it kind of chose me, and then I ended up being really good at it.” For the OSO, Dixon is contracted as second horn but plays principal horn “pretty regularly because the guy who plays principal is from D.C. He can’t make every concert because he’s got to play with groups like the Washington Ballet.”

ARTS As OSO’s personnel manager, Dixon contracts the musicians who play each concert. For the current season, there are 10 concerts scheduled. “I get the musicians together and I send out all the music and make sure everyone has what they need and knows where they need to be and make sure they get paid,” she explains. In managing the library, she organizes the materials on hand and directs rentals or purchases. Through the Symphony for Schools program, musicians visit local elementary schools. “My partner and I go out and show them a number of instruments to encourage them to get into music, to join band,” Dixon explains. “It’s a really cool program.” “Margaret is so gracious with her passion for music and for teaching the next generation of musicians,” offers Pamela Calero Wardell, Executive Director, Development and Organizational Advancement, for the Reilly. “She is instrumental in helping the OSO achieve our mission of youth outreach, and brings so much talent, enthusiasm and heart to our organization. We are lucky to have her in so many different capacities here at the Reilly.” In her spare time, Dixon pursues quite a different path—power weightlifting. “I want to be able to squat lift 300 pounds,” she shares. “I’ve done all kinds of fitness things but couldn’t find anything I could stick with. I started working with a trainer and she created a plan and helped me a lot.” Dixon admits with a hearty laugh that she is a “little competitive.” “So I was going to the gym and seeing big dudes there and I was like I’m gonna pick up something heavier than him,” she declares. “That didn’t always happen, but every now and then I got to say ‘I’m stronger than you.’” Dixon enjoys going to the beach, along with checking out farmer’s markets. “I like to cook. I like to experiment, but I don’t like the rules,” she remarks with a grin. “I usually look up a recipe and then don’t follow it.” She also likes doing “crafty stuff ” and tends to “get obsessed. Right now, I’m crocheting… whatever my brain is into. It’s the creative impulses.” In the future, Dixon hopes to start a community music school, perhaps in partnership with the Reilly, in Ocala. She says that would address a need for children in lowincome families and for adults who may have played an instrument years ago and want to pick it back up, or those who always wanted to learn to play but never did. “I was a kid like that. I didn’t take lessons until the end of high school,” she explains. “I have a few students from lower income families that are phenomenal. It would be about creating a place to serve the community, to make it accessible for everybody.” When asked if she is known for a signature piece of music, Dixon says with a laugh, “Well, it’s kind of a silly thing. At the end of concerts I do a warm down because the muscles in my face get really taxed. I always play ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ and I play it in minor so it sounds really scary,” she offers with a giggle. “That might be my theme song—scary, scary teapots.” December ‘19


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Identifiable Origins Art styles vary from country to country and even within regions, but to the trained eye, telling details provide clues that reveal a true sense of place. By PATRICIA TOMLINSON

Axel Linus, Winter Landscape, oil on canvas, 1937


remember when I first saw the Appleton’s painting Winter Landscape. I had no idea who had painted it, but the first thing I said was, “Oh, that looks so Swedish!” Swedish? How can a painting “look” Swedish? Well, let me tell you… A major duty of an art historian (which is what most art museum curators are) is to know and understand art historical styles, which can vary regionally. For example, a curator of Renaissance art would not only know about the artists who painted during that time, but how artistic styles differed from place to place. Renaissance paintings created in England look different from those painted in Italy, and so on. You can certainly learn some of this in your studies, but a lot of it is exposure—when you’re around a type of art long enough and see it often, you learn the style well. In a similar vein, when I lived and studied in Sweden I was exposed to Swedish artists such as Carl Larsson and Jan Bauer, who have a certain way of depicting people and landscapes—a particular “Scandi-style,” if you will. I became familiar with the style, especially how these Swedish artists painted snow. Yes, snow. Stay with me here. For example, Bauer, especially, painted snow in a rounded, molded way that almost makes it seem as if it’s formed around a tree branch, not sitting on top of it; I saw this same way of depicting snow in Winter Landscape. Additionally, a closer look revealed a farmhouse painted in the popular Swedish “Falu Red,” which is a typical deep red made from iron oxide and used on buildings in

rural Sweden. From these clues, I knew I was looking at a Swedish painting. Further study revealed the signature of Swedishborn Axel Linus, who was a pretty interesting artist. Linus immigrated to the United States in 1920 and worked as a muralist, portraitist and commercial artist. Some of his important portrait commissions included Charles Lindberg and Carl Sandburg. In 1938, during his honeymoon, he traveled by trailer and painted as he roamed the country, painting landscapes throughout California, Florida, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In 1940, he settled near Palm Springs, California, where he purchased a hotel and set up a painting studio in the scenic Snow Creek Canyon at the foot of Mount San Jacinto. So there you have it. The story of how a painting can “look” Swedish. I invite you to visit the Appleton Museum of Art, where you can see more terrific art from around the globe. Learn more › Appleton Museum of Art › 4333 E Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala › www.appletonmuseum.org › (352) 291-4455

A former professional archaeologist, Patricia Tomlinson joined the Appleton Museum of Art as Curator of Exhibitions in 2016 after having served as curatorial staff in the New World Department at the Denver Art Museum for eight years. December ‘19 109



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Day in the Life


In observing the beauty that exists in the here and now, we can find the extraordinary revealed within the ordinary. Each month we invite you to see our community with fresh eyes through the lens of our talented photographers.

A couple of years into parenting, I realized I could either have a Pinterest-worthy Christmas tree or a Christmas tree my children decorate. The two ideas couldn’t coexist. I opted for the latter. So, every year we drag home a live tree, listen to Christmas classics, turn on a TV fire and drink hot chocolate. It is definitely one of my favorite parts of the holidays. December ‘19


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