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table of Issue 28 | Summer 2013 Copyright © Pulse the Magazine, Inc. PO Box 1896 • Tavares, FL 32778 www.pulsethemagazine.com facebook.com/pulsethemagazine

contents Publisher's Letter/ About the Cover


Ramblin’ with Richard Low T



Marketing & Development Mari Henninger

On the Human Side Reinvention: Finding Your Hidden Passions

Design Director Cristina Miller Far From Ordinary Design

Writers One Flight Up R.B. Henderson


The Green Scene Living Towers: The Future is Now


Welcome to Gratuity Mount Dora's Parallel Universe


Lake County Libraries Leaving the Light On


Publisher Calvin Arnold C&L Printing & Graphics


Editor Richard Huss

Advertising Design Lorri Arnold C&L Printing & Graphics


Photography Bill Casey Marc Vaughn Steven Paul Hlavac Steve Williams Illustration Jennifer Cahill Harper Contributing Writers Jeanne Fluegge Susan Green Jaillet Mari Henninger, Ph.D. Tom Lloyd Richard Huss Ella Paets, Ed.D. R&M Hussingers Pierce Schwalb Violet Irminger Chelsea Teisberg

26 A Walkway on the Genteel Side of Wild 26 Palm Island's Renovated Boardwalk

Assistant Editors Susan Green Jaillet Mike Ratrie

Salt of the Earth A Mother's Unique Solution for her Son

Advertising Sales Calvin Arnold 407.421.6686 Richard Huss 203.209.6628 Visit our website for more information about all of our contributors!


The Mysterious Migration of Lawn Furniture The Oddest Migration Known to Man



Pulse the Magazine is published quarterly. We are advertiser–supported and available without charge at participating businesses in the Mount Dora, Eustis and Tavares area. Mail subscription information is available upon request. All opinions expressed in these pages are those of the writers. Letters to the Editor are welcome and must be typed or printed clearly, carry the writer’s name and city of residence, a signature if sent through hard mail, and at least one type of contact information (E-mail address, phone number or physical address). Only the writer’s name and city will be published. All letters sent to Pulse the Magazine may be published in print and/or at our website. We reserve the right to edit for accuracy, brevity, clarity, legality, and taste. Letters should be e-mailed to pulsethemagazine@gmail.com or hard mailed to Publisher at Pulse the Magazine, PO Box 1896, Tavares, FL 32778.

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from the


Check out

I think the Gershwin melody goes something like this – Summertime and the livin’ is easy – unless you’re a downtown Mount Dora business owner this summer. Man, what a mess and the weather’s not cooperating either.


But Pulse has weathered the impact of the construction and the summer downpours, and we’re here with an outstanding issue for you. Mari Henninger has uncovered another excellent local artist for our cover. We introduce a “new” writer, Hussinger, with a collaboration effort on the article on page 18 about David Higgins and his fantasy world. Jeanne Fluegge has done a great job covering the rebuilding of our fabulous new boardwalk at Palm Island on page 26. And speaking of islands, we welcome Pine Island Grille to Mount Dora and Pulse as the sponsors for Ramblin’ with Richard. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you. Please support our advertisers and let us hear from you ... the good and the bad. Read on in good health ...

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Calvin Arnold, Publisher calvin@pulsethemagazine.com | www.pulsethemagazine.com

www.facebook.com/ pulsethemagazine

about the


Our Summer 2013 cover, "A Flamingo and Her Pet," is by local illustrator Lew Clayton. A Florida native, he remembers loving to draw from a very young age, especially people. His wide breadth of experience includes Art Director, Graphic Designer, and Children's Book Illustrator; he also teaches Colored Pencil, Figure Drawing and Portraiture with several organizations in Lake County, and loves helping others grow with their medium of choice. (His own medium of choice: Prismacolor colored pencils.)

Visit our Website www.pulsethemagazine.com

free | summer 2013

Lew can be reached at 352.321.1523 or lewlerjake@yahoo.com. Editor's Note: Special thanks to All About Images in Mount Dora for their beautiful work digitizing this piece for Pulse. Check out their ad on the inside back cover for more information.

Send Us an E-mail calvin@pulsethemagazine.com richard@pulsethemagazine.com

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ramblin’ withrichard richard ramblin’ with



Okay folks, the jig’s up. I have discovered evidence that our ultimate demise is near. We dodged the debacle predicted by the Mayan calendar and Nostradamus, the crazy medieval French apothecary, both of whom warned us that our civilization would end in 2012. But I have found a definite sign that the sky is indeed falling and we’ve finally gone over the edge. Run up your credit cards. Kiss your spouse, partner and/or best friend goodbye. Drive your car ‘til the tank’s empty because we’re in the midst of another undeclared war that we surely cannot win. That war is the war against Low T – Low Testosterone. Legions of men suffer unknowingly from Low T. I know this because I’ve seen the commercials on television. And if drug companies are spending gazillions on TV commercials, then you know there must be a lot of Low T men willing to buy their product. Plus, I have empirical evidence. I’ve taken a Low T test, and you know how I love to take tests! Unfortunately I passed this test, and as a result I’ve discovered that I may be counted among those who suffer from Low T. Pre-test, I was a happy guy, until my test results indicated I should not be. Here’s the irrefutable evidence … Do I have a decrease in strength and endurance? Yes – I can no

longer run the 880 meter race in 2:12 (that’s minutes and seconds), my best time in high school. Nor can I run around on a football field and smack people silly any more. Do I notice a decrease in my enjoyment of life? Yes – but I thought it’s because I watch cable TV news. Now I’m told it’s because of my Low T. Am I sad and/or grumpy? Yes. But isn’t that a behavior we assign to older men who are just being cute, cuddly curmudgeons like the late Andy Rooney? Evidently not. Am I falling asleep after dinner? Yes. I’ve done that since I was a kid. I never fall asleep after breakfast or lunch. But yes, I fall asleep after dinner. I think that’s when I’m supposed to fall asleep. I admit I’m not good too many nights past eleven, but I did stay awake to watch the Times Square “Ball” drop to launch 2013. Has there been deterioration in my “work performance?” Yes – and I quit. There you have it. According to the test, my “yes” answers are clear indications that I need to gird my loins and enter the fight against my Low T. Recent television commercials confirm our national distress over Low T. There’s a particular one with a clear message that features a guy I call “The Low T Guy.” Unlike the FloMax Guy and the ED guy, who have gray hair, the Low T Guy does not. He looks right at me from the confines of my flat screen. And since I now realize I might be suffering from Low T, I listen intently to what this guy says.

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He tells me that I don’t have a “problem” with testosterone and adds that his doctor assures him that, “Low T is not a problem. It’s just a number.” He has an incredible look of sincerity when he tells me not to worry. Immediately I worry.

One doctor quoted by the High T recruiters says that a man with Low T is missing “The Grrr Factor” in his life. His “toggle switch” is likely to remain in the “off” position. I’ve heard of Doctors without Borders, but this could be a doctor without brains.

Mr. Low T goes on to say that all I have to do is rub this performance-enhancing drug under my armpits and Viola, no more Low T. However, females who admire my newfound High T and come into contact with me – a good thing – could break out in acne and body or facial hair. I’m not sure, but I think that’s a bad thing. And, God forbid if a female child comes close to me, because that will result in an onslaught of hormones and early puberty for the poor child.

No Grrr Factor? I quit using “Grrr” as a part of my vocabulary in the second grade when I noticed that it did not scare girls, it only made them laugh at me. And as for “toggle switch” problems, there are medications you can use that aren’t flammable, even if you don’t understand the marketing idea of twin bathtubs.

I have enough in my life to worry about if I don’t use this medication. But if I choose to use it, which will preclude me from playing most professional sports since it’s a banned substance, I should worry about prostate issues and an increase in the size of my breasts. Furthermore, I have to stay away from open flames since the medication is flammable until it dries on my body. Mr. Low T wants me to use a medicine with side effects that quite possibly will cause worse conditions than the Low T will – and possible self-immolation.

I guess I have a couple of questions to ask: Is the world really a better place with millions of men running around with artificially boosted testosterone? We already commit mayhem and murder, eradicate other animal species, plunder, rape and pillage. Am I missing something here? Is there a hidden need that I don’t understand? Maybe I’ll hit the pavement and ask a few women what they think. Catch you at the new Pine Island Grille! A well chilled, very dry vodka martini straight up with extra olives might just help my Low T more than AndroGel 1.62. Just sayin’.

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PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 9

on the human side the human side



Reinvention: Finding Your Hidden Passions In the spirit of full disclosure, this column is not about improving your love life, though for many, finding their hidden passions provides a serious uptick in life both inside and outside of the bedroom. Now that I’ve gotten your undivided attention ... I’ve become an excavator extraordinaire of hidden passions after 15 years of working as a life coach. While I’d like to say this is part of my innate brilliance, I have to confess I’ve learned to focus on hidden passions because that’s the only thing that works. Most people see a life coach when they’re stuck – when they know they have to change but can’t figure out how to do it. They come to me with challenges something like: I graduated in accounting and I have to find a job but I hate accounting! My husband and kids did a family intervention: I work, but I’m so bored I’m driving them crazy. I just got divorced. I'm terrified of dating , but I can't hide out in my house forever. Now that my kids have left home, are successful and doing well, I’m obsolete. The good news is I’ve retired, the bad news is I hate being retired.

As divergent as these concerns may seem, they have two things in common: (1) Most involve making transitions from one life situation to another and (2) they all involve a disconnection from what we really care about – that spark that makes us want to get out of bed in the morning – dare I say, our “hidden passions.” For better or worse, we live in an increasingly competitive culture that places a premium on material accomplishments and possessions. So many of us make choices based on what other people want us to do and on what we believe is our best shot at financial survival. I’m a perfect example of this mentality. In college I majored in both English and Psychology. While I loved both fields, I chose psychology because there were more job opportunities. Then, the graduate psychology program offering the most lucrative scholarship had a strong research bent leading me to earn a Ph.D. in statistics as well as psychology. Completing my descent into occupational hell, the most lucrative careers for research psychologists were analytic jobs in the business world so, no surprise, that’s where I landed. Mid-career, I found myself in a very lucrative job, reporting to the CEO, using my psychological training mostly to navigate the nasty rapids of corporate life. I spent my days either in windowless rooms diffusing inter-departmental warfare or supervising complicated analytic projects designed to identify a new strategy for our failing company. Fortunately, I was rescued from getting everything I thought I’d wanted. The company’s board, heeding complaints from longtime employees who thought the company didn’t need to

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...when one door closes another one opens, but it’s hell in the hallway. change, summarily fired the CEO they’d tasked with finding a new strategy. They also fired most of the staff he’d hired, including moi. While the company ultimately failed, and is now entering its second bankruptcy, I was, nonetheless, out of a job. The bright spot in this sad tale is that I received a small severance package. It gave me enough breathing room to think about what I wanted to do next. I knew I didn’t want another corporate job and even if I did, my body was falling apart – it couldn’t handle the constant travel and stress of corporate life. So where to start – there were no life coaches back then and I had to get a job. I began reading every career book I could find and promptly became depressed. Most focused on identifying the skills that would bring you to your most lucrative career. But the one thing I’d learned from my work experience was that just because you’re good at something like statistics, it doesn’t mean you’ll be happy doing it for the rest of your life. I finally found a couple of books that gave me hope. They were based on the premise that if you find a job doing what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. But I was flummoxed. I had no idea what I liked doing. I’d spent all of my time working or recovering from working. If I had passions, they’d been buried a long time ago.

So I began the process of unearthing my hidden passions. I did all of the exercises recommended in the books and developed a number of my own. Eventually, I discovered I was happy when I was learning new things, being a creative problem solver, and helping other people. I needed constant challenge and the freedom to do things in a way that fit my personality. Those insights helped me reinvent my life. I cobbled together a career that involved working for myself doing two different jobs: I became a life coach and a business consultant. As a coach I could use my psychology skills and help others, and as a business consultant I found a niche that allowed me to use both my creative problem solving and psychology skills. While fifteen years later I’m still doing and loving the same two jobs, both have evolved dramatically. With the help of my clients, I’ve discovered that life requires constant reinvention. We change, the world changes and staying in the same place is usually not an option. As one of my coaching clients once told me, when one door closes another one opens, but it’s hell in the hallway. If you find yourself in the hallway, follow your heart, find your hidden passions and your time in the hallway will be short and the door you open will lead to a much happier life.

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Photo by Bill Casey

R.B. Henderson, Writers One Flight Up

R. B. Henderson, known around the Tri-Cities and at Writers One Flight Up as Richard, has been writing poetry for as long as he can remember – and that’s a long time. Raised in Binghampton, New York, Richard received his B.A. from SUNY, Binghampton, and his M.A. from Colgate. He escaped to the burbs of Long Island where he taught high school English before retiring to Eustis, Florida. Since leaving the classroom, Richard has produced four volumes of poetry: epiphanics, More Gall than Honey, Wayward, and his latest volume Falling from Eden. His books may be purchased through Mail Express in Mount Dora, (www.mail-express.us) Partners in Crime Publishers, (www. partnersincrimepublishers.com) and Writers One Flight Up (www.writersoneflightup.com).

Good bye, Yellow Brick Road Goodbye, yellow brick road and all the stories of Oz; goodbye to our homeland castles and Middle American Pie pie in the sky easy as pie. Now it’s pie in the eye poke in the eye: aye to southern deserters and southern disaster aye to eastern deceivers and eastern disaster cheaper disaster faster disaster – disaster relief headache relief dysfunction relief relief form bank form tax form job form jobless homeless hopeless. Last hope best hope best all around: come around turn around run around round ‘n round move around – move over move out get moving get in line walk the line move down down time lost time passed time time out time over passed over overlooked oversmiled for years and miles by foreign smiles. They walk our mile in shoes that won’t fit while shoes that can’t quit start again start again start again. September 2009

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Cure for Waiting

or casually tongue-lashing or stealing colors, you won’t be storing harmful gas – you won’t be running out of fuel for thought or risking righteous indigestion – you won’t be hesitant or choosey – you won’t need a second chance.

When wine and beer come calling and making the blood boil with hugs all around and could-ofs and should-ofs and talk about teen parents not tossing babies out with the bath water, think about one night free from yourself with complimentary breakfast and getting away now and connecting the dots.

The dance will quicken and widen when you’re out in force and way past cool. You’ll design a door in the continuum, or at least a window; and later you’ll tell all who follow: “Close cover before striking. This side up. The first step is a doozy.”

Start scratching that itch and share the hot site until mania is boundless and any one near will do. If you feel tourism at the end of the road, don’t sink ahead or pretend to be dead – SHAKE AND SHOWER. SHOW SOME LIFE. Don’t delay for the best on the list. Your parents dreamed about life and had to drink or find a new job or the end of the road or a safe sitter program. SO GO! GO NOW! Your power shifter may rattle – BUT GO! It’s a tale that you shouldn’t miss – SO GO! GO NOW! Paint your pet and uniforms. Uncoil and scatter. Just follow the truck full of wine and beer.

June 2009

Rock and Roll

June 2009

Falling Up Never, absolutely never think! Fire-up and launch! Jostle for attention! If you start with a new name, don’t let your ends get mixed and don’t sound normal – talk isn’t enough and tricky work won’t do. Although all the rules don’t always make sense, hold the edge on ethics violations and avoid all faith-based situations.

it loosens you and fills you up it sets you free and holds you fast it moves your feet your heart your will it takes your breath your body whole and swirls around your hips and thighs and rides your senses ‘round and ‘round – you soar and sway go with go through and dance in ones and dance in twos you soar you swoop and rise and spin and rise again and laugh and shout and leap and fly you leave the ground you touch the sky – you know today you know just why why rock and roll is here to stay July 2012

If you never fail by groping; if you’re never caught while spanking PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 13

the green scene the green scene by SUSAN GREEN JAILLET | photography by BILL CASEY

Living Towers: The Future is Now Jan Young, owner of Living Towers in Eustis, has a vision – she sees “millions of people growing their own food and living in sustainable communities.” She sees “neighbors feeding neighbors” and thinks that “connection” is what we are seeking. Jan’s life has been the development of her personal vision – wellness – and sharing that vision with others. Twenty years ago a friend’s cancer prompted Jan’s interest in health which has now grown into a 4400 square foot aeroponic greenhouse that showcases the technology used to make growing “mineral dense” local foods possible. She built the Living Towers greenhouse because she felt “it was time to do so.” When she started, Jan had two Tower Gardens of her own. Those two rapidly turned into ten. According to Jan, “My biggest problem initially was abundance. My friends ate well. Surplus produce was donated to food banks and churches.” Living Towers’ greenhouse now contains over 10,000 plants and provides organic produce for five local co-ops. “Small things make people happy. Being a part of a bigger picture makes people happy. Our society is focused on being consumers, rather than producers. Producers have to interact with each other. Consumers don’t. It is the developing and fostering of these relationships that creates our interdependence. Tower Gardens create connections among people.” So what are Living Towers exactly? They’re a patented aeroponic food production system. Plants grow vertically so the amount of space required is drastically reduced – 90 to 95 percent less than other gardening methods. You’ve probably heard of hydroponics – growing plants in a nutrient solution with or without soil. When Epcot’s Future World opened in 1982, it showcased hydroponic growing. Aeroponics takes this one step further. NASA experimented with this technique during the 90s and 14 | PULSE • SUMMER 2013

discovered that plants, under the right conditions, actually grew better without soil. The continuous supply of nutrient rich water, without soil competing for these minerals, is what makes this possible. Tim Blank, son of another of Jan’s friends, developed Tower Gardens. Here’s one of those connections. Tim managed Epcot’s agricultural display until 2005 when he left and founded his own business, Future Growing. His dream, like Jan’s, was that some day anyone on the planet could have access to growing healthy, nutritious food. NSA Juice Plus purchased his Tower Garden growing system in 2011 and now distributes them for home and commercial garden use all over the world. Plants can be started from seed in a Rockwool cube. Rockwool is a growing media developed in the 1970s in Denmark, made from basalt rock and chalk, heated to 1600 degrees Celsius then formed into slabs, blocks or cubes. The fledging plant in its Rockwool cube is placed in a slatted plastic pot which is then inserted in one of the 20 openings in the vertical Living Tower.

“Grassroots movements last. Revolutions don’t.” The tank at the bottom of the tower is filled with water and supplemented with a solution of minerals which a small electric pump circulates from the reservoir to the top of the tower. The water drips down and feeds the bare roots of the plants and is continuously re-circulated. Water in the tower reservoir must be changed monthly and the system is designed to make that an easy process. Most vegetables, herbs and spices can be grown in Living Towers. Living Towers are a part of the growing “locovore” movement. The term “locovore,” first coined in 2005, was the Oxford American Dictionary “word of the year”

PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 15

for 2007. It means primarily eating food produced locally – somewhere between a 100 to 250 mile radius of where you live. Locally grown food dramatically increases the nutrient value of what we eat. Long distance transportation is not required, so the “farm to table time” and the cost of transporting is reduced. “Food is fresher. With locally grown vegetables, half the amount of food could be eaten and you would get twice the nutrition,” Jan says. Manhattan restaurant, Bell, Book and Candle, was the first restaurant to use rooftop Tower Gardens and grows 60 percent of their produce. Towers at the O’Hare International Airport Eco-Farm in Chicago provide fresh produce to four airport restaurants.

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Jan now offers monthly classes on tower gardening and plans to offer more classes on canning and preserving seeds.

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“Grassroots movements last. Revolutions don’t,” Jan says. “We’re one part of a big picture.”

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In a nutshell, here is Jan’s big picture: US farming is controlled by multi-national corporations. The economic times are challenging. People miss the connections once offered through family, neighbors and friends and feel disenfranchised. Living Towers connects people with a common purpose – to grow and eat the freshest food possible – to ensure food safety – to sustain their food source – to have more control over what they eat. If this is your nutshell, join the movement.

Summertime - Let’s Play Ball!

Find Jan Young at LivingTowers.com and on Facebook.

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There is a town in Mount Dora that only comes to life when no one is looking…

Gratuity Welcome To


PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 19

Greetings from the Hussingers. We own a small publishing and printing company in Gratuity, Florida, where we live in a 1930s parallel universe imagined into existence by our creator David Higgins, a neighbor, friend and resident of Mount Dora. Our business is located across from Debi’s Gourmet Diner, run by our friend, food photographer and cook extraordinaire, Debi Harbin. If Debi’s food isn’t temptation enough, our downstairs neighbor is Donna’s Bakery, owned by Donna Shelley, home of the most tempting cakes and pies to pass the palates of any living soul. And thanks to the repeal of Prohibition, we can now wet our whistles at Cliff’s Tap Room, owned by Brew Meister, Cliff Harbin. We’re not going to talk about what Cliff did during Prohibition days, but rumors involve moonlit stills, fast cars and government agents in high speed chases. Not long ago we were all sitting at Cliff’s enjoying his fine craft beers when we realized we knew nothing about David Higgins. Since we’re writers and publishers, the two of us – Richard and Mari – were selected to investigate the history behind our perfect little town and the lovely parallel universe we inhabit. David, magnanimous as opposed to a fire and brimstone type, was more than happy to talk with us and satisfy our collective curiosity. As might be expected, David is much larger than we are – 96 times to be exact. To make our investigation easier, we met him at the edge of our world, which is in fact, flat. When we approached he looked at us from on high where he’d been planning additions to our small town and greeted us with, “So, hi Hussingers. What can I tell you?” Hoping we were David’s “only child,” we asked him about how many parallel universes he’d created. Sadly (for us,

anyway) we learned Gratuity was only one of David’s many worlds. His interest in building other worlds started at an early age as the family’s third son with two “perfect” older brothers. Filling the empty space of rebellious younger brother, he quickly retired to the basement of their large River Forest, Illinois home to erect his own happier world around a train set his father built for him. People who visit Gratuity always comment on the 30s style advertising that graces our streets and buildings. We asked David how he developed his advertising expertise. He said that when it came time for college, he bowed to family pressure and started as a business administration major. He “failed spectacularly” which allowed him to switch to the arts-based major he craved. Earning A's after this misadventure with business, David graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Michigan. Facing the Korean Conflict draft, David joined the Air Force ROTC ultimately serving as a DC-6 pilot. At loose ends when he left the service, he joined J. Walter Thompson (JWT) in Detroit, one of the country’s largest ad agencies. In his role as a cut-and-paste assistant, he managed to collect enough rubber cement from his projects to make a grapefruit-sized ball, which with great ceremony was dropped from the 14th floor of the Buhl Building. Riding the wake of that success, David left JWT to pursue more exciting adventures in Aspen, Colorado, where his art studio nested between two world class artists, Larry Poons and Claes Oldenberg. After becoming an ace downhill skier and budding artist, Saga Food Service Company seduced him into moving to San Francisco where he managed multiple ad campaigns for the corporate food service giant. He soon returned to Colorado to ski and to supply advertising materials for The Breckinridge Ski Company, a startup resort with one slope and a lot of chutzpah. Impressed by David’s ability to move between careers and adventures, we were surprised to learn he eventually settled in San Diego and earned a Ph.D. in psychology, specializing in child and family therapy. But once again his artistic leanings drew him into a parallel universe – painting animal portraits for the San Diego Zoo and children’s portraits too. He soon discovered that the parents’ view of their child differed from his. To resolve this conflict, David painted two portraits for each client. One small image which revealed the child’s character as David saw it; and a larger

20 | PULSE • SUMMER 2013

A s might be expec ted, D avid is much larger than we are – 96 t imes to be exac t.

portrait which fulfilled the parents’ request. Invariably the parents chose the smaller image because it portrayed their child’s spirit.

it should be no surprise that when he moved to Mount Dora, he created a new parallel universe starring his Mount Dora friends.

After nearly two hours interviewing him, we concluded what David is all about – seeing and revealing the essence of living beings whether it involves children, street people he’s met, residents of the San Diego Zoo, or the fairies who frequently visit him. (By the way – Richard Simmons purchased a couple of David’s sculpted fairies.) He told us he’s a hands-on artist who gives meticulous attention to every detail and uses all of the skills he’s honed over the years – painting, sculpting, fabrication, and yes, even working as a tailor, cobbler and jeweler.

Gratuity comes alive when no one’s looking. In a parallel universe, you enjoy a life that no one else knows about – just ask those of us who live there. Thanks to our gracious, talented and playful David Higgins, we can’t wait to see what, or who, the next twinkle in his eyes will bring to our ever changing neighborhood. Gratuity will be on display at W.T. Bland Library in Mount Dora throughout the month of July! To visit Gratuity and see the totality of David’s creative work anytime you like, visit Online Extras at pulsethemagazine.com.

With each set of characters, David always develops a storyline which uncovers the inner lives of his subjects. So PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 21

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Lake County Libraries: Leaving the Light On


The municipal library is a ubiquitous feature of the American landscape, but as local budgets tighten and information becomes more and more accessible electronically from the comfort of home, some question the value of an institution with a vested interest in paper and ink. Some believe they have little use for a community library. They have the Internet via an iPhone. They have bookstores or coffee shops in which to sit and chat. Libraries, they argue, are for latchkey children and polling booths. Nothing happens at the library, so they pass it by like they might pass by payphones and empty newspaper dispensers. “The library is dead” they decree. But is it? Is this age of technology and social change detrimental to the brick and mortar library, or does it 24 | PULSE • SUMMER 2013

provide new avenues through which to distribute information to the public? Perhaps the answer will become clearer if we look at libraries not as immovable and esoteric establishments, but as fluid organizations, constantly bending and evolving in response to societal shifts. So as technology changes by leaps and bounds, so too does the library system, transforming itself from quiet reading rooms nestled amongst aisles of books into community centers offering a myriad of programs meant to empower and educate. The Lake County Library System, comprised of fifteen member libraries, provides a diverse selection of programs and services including adult literacy programs, mail order books for homebound patrons, eBooks, youth activities, reference databases and more. Currently the system has a

print collection that exceeds 560,000 materials, almost 6,000 eBooks and audio books, more than 120,000 registered borrowers, and over a quarter million reference transactions yearly. Of course the number of registered borrowers does not account for those who visit but do not carry a library card. According to a statistical report from 2011 to 2012, Lake County libraries were visited well over 1,500,000 times. As the need and interest in diverse educational and recreational programs has grown in the county, the library has responded to its needs. Programs include adult literacy, youth and teen summer reading, Authors @ the Library, Trash to Fashion, and a close partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) extension service. Between 2011 and 2012, approximately 118,000 community members attended library-affiliated programs, with the bulk of those programs aimed at area youth. The UF/IFAS partnership in particular has opened up plenty of opportunities for community members to improve and enrich their lives. Course offerings led by area experts include money management, healthy eating and gardening. Recently the library faced technology head-on by adopting eBooks, or electronic books, into their collection of materials. EBooks have proven to be a massive success and are oftentimes more cost effective for the library to maintain and obtain. Extensive reference resources are also available through the Florida Electronic Library, including news, genealogical and other topical databases. Through these and other services, the library thus serves as a conduit for the free flow of information into the community. The Lake County Library System has also worked tirelessly to ensure that the arts, humanities and other creative endeavors maintain a stronghold within the community. After all, despite the multi-purpose “community center” evolution of the library, its roots remain firmly planted in the fertile soil of literature and the basic act of reading. One of the major literary events held by the library is the yearly BookFest which connects residents with local and nationally recognized writers. Other events include an annual poetry contest, the Authors @ the Library series and the Local Authors’ Day.

“The library is dead” they decree. Bu t is it? Perhaps the most popular feature provided by Lake County libraries is free and open Internet access. The LCLS currently owns 440 computers meant as public Internet access points, and the system has over one half million users annually. Libraries also provide wireless Internet access at all locations so visitors can bring in their own devices. The Internet is no longer a luxury item only for those who can afford it. More and more government assistance programs – such as unemployment benefits, food assistance, and temporary cash assistance – are moving from paper to virtual applications. Often those most in need of such aid are without computer access or the skills with which to navigate those services. And with social service agencies pushed to maximum capacity due to recent economic conditions, the municipal library has become a gateway to both governmental and community funded programs. Using library services, the jobless have been able to write resumes and connect with potential employers, and the homeless have been granted safe and dependable access to much needed programs. In these (and countless other) circumstances, Internet access provided by the library shifts from recreational to essential. So, how does a community calculate the value of such a resource to the people who depend on it? Are open access to information, basic government services and job opportunities expendable? There is no doubt that there is a significant monetary cost associated with the operation of something as broad and expansive as the Lake County Library System. The system relies primarily on state and local funds, community contributions and state grants. Currently, only 2.7 percent of library revenue is derived from fines and fees, which strongly cements the library as a little to no cost resource for community members. Continued on Page 33

PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 25

A Walkway on the Genteel Side of Wild: Palm Island's Renovated Boardwalk by JEANNE FLUEGGE | photography by BILL CASEY

Palm Island’s new boardwalk is made of Brazilian hardwood the color of copper kettles. It stretches across a peaceful cove, disappears behind a jungle of palms, then beckons from the peninsula’s other side. This peaceful eight acre nature preserve is Mount Dora’s genteel walkway on the wild side, and it looks like a glossy photo in an upscale travel magazine. Flash back to last October when the old boardwalk was on its last legs – much of it closed off for safety reasons – and marvel at the change. The boardwalk was in such bad shape, Palm Island regulars were more than ready to stay away when chain link fencing and “Keep Out” signs 26 | PULSE • SUMMER 2013

barred them from the island and reduced them to the status of sidewalk superintendents. Early mornings were best for seeing the timeworn boardwalk chain-sawed into manageable pieces then ferried across on a barge to Elizabeth Evans Park. Rubble piled up like tornado wreckage, its black slimy wood a reminder of how temporary man’s mark can be. Mounds of the decayed wood were loaded onto flatbed trucks and whisked away. Soon neat stacks of pristine pylons appeared in the park. The same barge ferried the huge cement posts dangling from the jaws of a crane back to Palm Island. The relentless hammering of the pile driver

This peace ful eight acre na ture preserve...looks like a glossy pho to in an up scale travel magazine. pounding posts through Lake Dora’s murky silt into deep substrate could be heard all over Mount Dora. When the pounding finally stopped and rugged wood beams appeared across the naked pylons, you could almost hear the town’s collective sigh of relief. The structure looked impressive before slabs of hardwood crisscrossed its thick beams and 4x4 side posts shot up from its outer planks, before the side rails could be bolted into place and the gazebos built. At this point in the construction, most everyone in Mount Dora had already decided that the boardwalk was going to be first class all the way, and were they ever right. Under budget ($1.2 million) and finished a few weeks earlier than expected, Palm Island’s grand opening took place on April 19, 2013. Parks and Recreation director Roy Hughes said, “Getting the new boardwalk built was ten years in the making. It felt like I was birthing a baby.” He couldn’t say enough good things about the contractor’s crew. “The Lucas Marine workmen were fabulous workers. They were enthusiastic about the job. These men took pride in their work, and they really loved our town.” After members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board cut the ceremonial purple ribbon, the first visitors slowly stepped onto the eastern boardwalk. In hushed voices they said how wonderfully wide and sturdy it felt, how beautiful the Brazilian hardwood looked and how elegant the gazebo was. As if extras in a jungle movie, four alligators lazed in the water below, ignoring their babies splashing in the shallows. A blue heron, wings outstretched to catch the morning breeze, stood on a log while parading turtles crowded his perch. The western section of new boardwalk – the portion closed off for many years – curves around Lake Dora’s more rugged shoreline. Here a second large gazebo juts out into open water. This side is more isolated and catches a divine breeze carried across miles of lake. With the wind comes a feeling of peace and oneness with nature.

The center section of boardwalk spanning solid ground wasn’t replaced during reconstruction. It was shored up in places and a thorough pressure washing improved its appearance. It’s a trail that roams above dark places and growing things you wouldn’t dare walk through without knee high boots and a sharp stick. Although rickety and narrow, there is something wild and fitting about traveling across a sea of ferns on this gnarled, winding bridge. Nature lovers and fishermen have always been drawn to Palm Island no matter how wobbly or how much of the boardwalk was inaccessible. But now that there are smooth wide walkways to stroll, with sturdy benches for bird watching and romantic gazebos for picnics and watching the sunset, Palm Island has become a genteel “walk on the wild side” for everyone to enjoy. EDITOR’S NOTE: My wife, Mari, and I walk the boardwalk on our early morning tromps through the parks and downtown Mount Dora. What a haven and what a great place to observe our local wildlife. To the Mount Dora city officers, especially the Parks & Rec folks who oversaw the installation of this delicious slice of the Lake Dora shoreline, we offer nothing but kudos! PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 27

Rebecca James and Reilly


It’s a given. The mother protects the child. That’s all there is to it. When the chips are down, bet on the mother to do the right thing. Rebecca James, the mother, did the right thing for Reilly, the son, and it led to a lot more than she had expected. Here’s the story. When Reilly was about two and a half years old, doctors told Rebecca that his allergies were so severe that he was pre-asthmatic and was prescribed an albuterol inhaler, used to clear breathing passages. There was no guarantee. His condition could worsen and Reilly would face a long-term dependency on the inhaler. 28 | PULSE • SUMMER 2013

Too young to understand, but struggling to breathe, Reilly started full-blown kicking, screaming fights every time he needed to use a nebulizer, which must have seemed like a torture device. Rebecca did understand and was very worried about the long-term drug side effects. She remembers being in Walgreens picking up another prescription, tears in her eyes, wondering what she was doing to her child. How could she truly help him? She did not have that answer, but she knew that medication was not it. Something had to change. The change occurred when she discovered that a childhood friend of hers was owner of The Salt Room in Winter Park. After a little research into the benefits of salt

therapy, and without other options, Rebecca decided to try it out. Reilly had nothing to lose.

reclining chair, soft music, softer lights, deep breathing and salt vapors permeating your being.

Reilly took to the play-therapy approach right away. Digging in the salt and playing with his toys for 45 minutes three times a week, wasn’t therapy to him. Three sessions soon became two. His congestion turned to a thin loose fluid. Gone was the dreaded nebulizer. Colds did not debilitate him. Rebecca saw that he was progressing toward a boy’s life without respiratory medication.

Rebecca also knew she needed more than just a place to come and breathe salt. Her plans called for a spa center – a spot where people could also enjoy a massage, Reiki, acupuncture or a facial. She wanted an environment where friends could gather for a spa party, complete with wine and hors d’oeuvres.

The mother had protected her child. The work with Reilly gave Rebecca another idea. She was in the midst of family changes and a move to Mount Dora with Reilly, and she was looking for a new direction professionally. Her experience with The Salt Room certainly was a success story. She thought – Why not open a Salt Room of my own? Why not use Reilly’s improvement as a model for others and do something good – that works? Initial reactions to her idea by friends and family were less than enthusiastic. It seemed that salt therapy was not something people in Central Florida were familiar with. Then there were the issues of funding, time, physical location, how to market a new idea – hurdle after hurdle after hurdle. “Everyone I talked with thought I was crazy,” said Rebecca. “And there were times when I thought I was crazy.” Because of population density, the Orlando area was Rebecca’s initial focus for a location. Some things, however, just don’t work the way you think they will and “forces” lead you in a different direction. That different direction was toward The Villages where Rebecca found lease space in Lady Lake, and on May 15, 2012, she opened The Salt Room @ The Villages.

The mo ther had pro tec ted her child. Rebecca’s success in her first venture is due to hard work and long hours, to be sure. But it’s also a case of success breeding success, and nothing travels faster than wordof-mouth success stories, like: • COPD sufferers who can leave their oxygen at home while they enjoy a round of golf, will tell everyone. And they have been doing that. •

The woman who lost all sense of taste because of her allergies, who hasn’t tasted food for five years, told everyone how good her last Christmas dinner was – because she could taste it.

A sax player with diminished lung capacity had lost a part of his life – his love – because he could no longer play his sax. That’s no longer the case. And he tells everyone he knows.

The design and décor of The Salt Room is a result of the team effort of Rebecca and her key staffers – Karen Wagner and Stephanie Omura. You enter into a light, soft environment that immediately relaxes your mood, a key ingredient for a successful “salt session.”

The mother who found an answer for her son also found answers for others. Now she is looking for other Lake County locations. For Rebecca James – and Reilly – The Salt Room is a place where you can leave the world behind, relax, and breathe your way to better respiratory health.

No cell phones or electronic devices are permitted – readers excepted. You leave the pace of your hectic life behind and spend a solid 45 minutes in a zero gravity

The Salt Room @ The Villages is located at 480 North Highway 27/441 in Lady Lake. For more information, call 352.750.9909 or visit saltroomvillages.com. PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 29


Your dream home awaits . . .

Karen R


Call today to unpack your ur dreams. © 2012 The Bunk Room 30 | PULSE • SUMMER 2013



The Mysterious Migration of

Lawn Furniture by TOM LLOYD | illustrations by JENNIFER CAHILL HARPER

Brush up on Sir Edmund Hillary. Break out your Marlin Perkins safari jacket. Today we scale the withering – if not Wuthering – heights of Mount Dora, Florida, in search of the oddest migration known to man.

The Full Metal Jackanape, meanwhile, may appear to be about as mobile as a hunk of cast aluminum, yet it is capable of crossing great distances under the cover of night.

Yes, right here in the deepest, darkest heart of Lake County, in an area cleverly disguised as an ordinary dog park, strange and unusual creatures are even now going about their own unique migration rituals.

The frightful Adironyourback is so cunning and so well disguised that countless dog park patrons have fallen flat on their backs thanks to this creature’s puckish habit of imitating an actual wooden Adirondack chair and then suddenly collapsing its hind legs sending the sitter into a backwards sprawling heap.

These include the Southeastern Basketweevil, the Full Metal Jackanapes, the frightful Adironyourback and the deceivingly delicate molted, molded WalMartin. Traveling in herds and flocks far smaller than, say, the wildebeests of the Serengeti or the Emperor Penguins of Antarctica, these masters of camouflage have nonetheless prospered under our very Mount Doran noses.

The molted, molded WalMartin is equally insidious. Its slight frame allows it to go largely unnoticed among the larger creatures of the park and it grazes among them Continued on Page 33

Of course, to the untrained eye, these unique creatures might seem to be nothing more than a mish-mash of discarded lawn furniture, exiled from patios and lanais across the town – victims of age, fashion and overzealous decorators. Nothing could be further from the truth. For example, while the Southeastern Basketweevil may bear an uncanny resemblance to woven strips of vinyl wrapped around a metal frame, it is, in fact, a four-footed cousin of the Venus Fly Trap, luring unsuspecting victims into an inescapable web of stickiness on hot, sunny Florida afternoons. PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 31

A Happy Little Gift Shop

Greeting Cards Puzzles Toys Games $7 Orchids

Polish Pottery Wind Chimes Plants T-Shirts Sundresses

439 N Donnelly St, Mt Dora 32 | PULSE • SUMMER 2013

(352) 385-2803

LIBRARY, continued from Page 24

Excluding grant expenditures, well over three quarters of the LCLS budget goes towards the technology, services and programs that directly benefit the community, while only about 13 percent of the budget is allocated towards actual operating expenses. The library has proved to be both efficient and mindful of the costs associated with its upkeep, while still providing worthwhile resources and services for those most in need and for the greater Lake County community. Perhaps the health of local libraries is indicative of the intellectual curiosity and civicmindedness of the people who live there. The library culture is certainly alive and vibrant in Lake County, and patron-run societies such as Friends of the Library prove instrumental in advocating for, preserving and gathering interest in municipal libraries. However, the looming threat of budget cuts and reallocation of funds away from the library is always present. We must start thinking of our libraries as more than just depositories of books and yellowing newspapers, but more as community gathering points, egalitarian in nature and open to all who seek sanctuary within them. We need to think of libraries not merely as buildings, but as communal front porches, always with their lights left on so that all can see – even those left in the dark.

Sun State Printing & Stationary FULL SERVICE PRINTING Business Stationary

So Lake County, are we going to leave the light on or not? Many thanks to Judy Buckland, Programs Coordinator, Lake County Library Services, for all her hard work and as a source of information. Learn more at mylakelibrary.org.

Marketing Material Business Forms

FURNITURE, continued from Page 31

almost undetected. Like the Adironyourback, the WalMartin’s chief defensive strategy is to collapse its legs as soon as it senses any weight being placed upon it. As lawn furniture, it would be a failure, but as a rare and largely unappreciated exotic specimen of this mythical animal world, it is a star. On a daily basis, all four of these exotic beasts migrate from one section of the dog park to another. This is almost always done at night when humans are unable to detect their movements. By sunrise, they have reformed their herd – usually in a circular formation – and await the onslaught of the only animal they are known to fear … the dreaded leg-lifting male dog.

Business Promotion Social Announcements Design Service Call For Your Free Estimate

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ARTISANS ON FIFTH 134 E. Fifth Avenue, Mount Dora

Mount Dora Portraits.com

352.636.6336 www.caseydigitalworks.com

qualit y gr aphic design doesn ’ t have to break the bank. Affordable, accessible print design services for the business on a budget logo design | marketing materials | more

far from ordinary

graphic design

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(352) 366-0333 449 Royellou Lane Mount Dora, FL 32757 (Across from the Old City Jail)

1100 N. Unser Street • Mount Dora, FL 32757 • Box Office 352.383.4616 • www.icehousetheatre.com

Kicking Off the 2013-2014 Season

OLIVER! THE MUSICAL July 19 – August 4 • Book and Music by Lionel Bart Dickens’s timeless characters are brought to life in the story of the boy who dared to ask for more. Songs include Consider Yourself, I’d Do Anything and As Long As He Needs Me.

Don’t miss these Fun July Camps!

at the Christian Home & Bible School Auditorium 301 W. 13th Ave., Mount Dora

Ages 5-9 • Tuition $125 • 9:30 AM - Noon July 22–26: Fantasy & Fairy Tales July 29–August 2: Oliver! Kidz

Ages 9-18 • Tuition $150 • 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Tickets: $20 Adults, $18 Seniors (65+, Thurs & Matinees), $16 Groups (15 or more), $10 & $15 Students

July 22–26: Hello Broadway! July 29–August 2: Clown College

Showtimes: Thursday 7:30 PM • Friday 8:00 PM Saturday 2:00 OR 8:00 PM • Sunday 2:00 PM

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 352.383.3133 or youth@icehousetheatre.com PULSE • SUMMER 2013 | 35


staycations start in Mount Dora.

Award-winning gourmet foods, specialty kitchenware, beautiful entertaining pieces, exotic spices and local

foods are in abundance at The Gourmet Spot. This ‘boutique in good taste’ has everything for easy entertaining and memorable meals at home.

The ultimate pampering experience awaits at Synergy Salonspa. This full service, ultra-modern salonspa features a relaxing couple’s massage room and self-sanitizing pedicure chairs. It’s the perfect place for a refreshing facial or a whole new summer look.

E xplore the town’s best selection of wines

‘buy’ the glass or bottle at The Wine Den, a

unique combination of wine bar and wine shop. ‘First Friday Wine Tastings’ and 3rd Friday ‘Yappy Hours’ are the perfect way to kick off your staycation.

411 N. Donnelly St. TheGourmetSpot.com 352.735.4777

Donnelly & 3rd Ave SynergySalonspamtdora.com 352.383.2900

109 4th Avenue TheWineDenOnline.com 352.735.5594

Profile for Pulse the Magazine Online

Pulse Summer 2013  

Summer 2013 Issue of PULSE, the Magazine of Mount Dora, Eustis and Tavares

Pulse Summer 2013  

Summer 2013 Issue of PULSE, the Magazine of Mount Dora, Eustis and Tavares


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