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Autumn 2013



Camping in the

Sunshine State Discovering the real outdoors

Paddle Out


Connecting Kayakers to their Rivers

Leave the Light On Florida’s Lighthouses Shine a Light On History




Amateurs and Celebrities Share the Stage at Blues Society’s Monthly Jam

UF Student Organization Gives Back to Local Schools

Florida Attraction Silver Springs is No Longer Privately Owned



Jordan Webb, D.M.D. | Patti Webb, D.M.D., Ph.D. | Austin Webb, D.M.D.

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618 SW 60 TH ST, SUITE J (next to LAE Beauty) 352.505.6161 • Tuesday 9-6 • Wednesday & Thursday 9-8 Friday 9-6 • Saturday 9-4 Walk-Ins Welcome 6 | Autumn 2013


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You Have a Choice for your child’s education.

Alachua Learning Center Elementary and Middle School located just North of the town of Alachua on State Road 235, serves students from all parts of Alachua and neighboring counties.

Charter Schools are part of the Florida Alternative System of Public School Choice and charge no tuition. While having the benefits of a “small-school” environment the Alachua Learning Center provides a challenging and fulfilling academic, cultural and physical educational program for students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

The Alachua Learning Center has consistently been rated an “A” school by the State of Florida. Our varied physical education curriculum includes on-campus rock climbing and subscribes to the “President’s Fitness Program”. The Alachua Learning Center offers inspiring classes on a variety of subjects: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Math, P.E. Sports, Rock Climbing, Drama, Music, Clay Sculpting, Computer Graphics, individual Student Book Publishing (writing, design, illustrating), Drawing, Painting, Crafts, Community Service Display Projects, and exciting Field Trips.

Alachua Learning Center 386-418-2080 Autumn 2013

| 9






Children’s Theater Builds a Passion for the Arts

Children’s Theater



he ability to play is the most important part of children’s theater, according to Anna Dvorak, assistant director of Musical Me children’s theater company. “Be ready to learn and to work hard, but to also play. It’s really about play,” said Dvorak, a musical theater major at the University of Florida. “It’s about having an open mind and being excited and just doing it.” Young performers in the Gainesville area, some as young as 5 years old, have been playing their way through Musical Me productions since 2010, when Ashley McPherson realized a dream and started the company. McPherson “got the bug” for theater very early in life after she

by Christine Boatwright

performed in her first theater production at the age of 5. “My experiences in children’s theater were actually negative,” McPherson said. “I worked with directors who had their favorites. They also favored lead characters over group roles. I didn’t really feel the connection there.” In Musical Me, there are no favorites, and every child has the opportunity to taste the spotlight, McPherson said. “We try to establish a family bond with each and every kid in the musical,” she said. “We don’t have any divas or divos. If you’re a diva, you don’t belong in our company. Even those who are chorus members — everyone involved in the production — will be valued and

Musical Me Theater is bringing out the inner-stars in Gainesville’s youngest performers. Children aged 8 to 18 learn and play center stage in musical productions such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “Peter Pan.”

“If our children have the courage to audition in front of us, they’re in it. If we have 20 kids, they’re all in the show; if we have 50 kids, they’re all in the show.”

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Drawing on Experience

Graphic Illustrators Comic junkie? Learn about Gainesville’s network of comic artists and storytellers. This includes alternative comic collectors, UF academics, and Gainesville’s first space dedicated solely to creating narrative comics — the Sequential Artist’s Workshop started by Tom Hart.

Gainesville’s History with Alternative Comics

BY ASHIRA MORRIS hen Jeff Mason was getting his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Florida, he decided to make some extra money by selling comics. “I realized that there was this niche market for independent and alternative comics,” he said. “Really anything that’s not mainstream or superhero comics.” Gainesville has a soft spot for those graphic novels — the ones that pack a punch with wit and originality instead of a fist. Mason followed up on that observation and founded the publishing house Alternative Comics. In 2003, the University of Florida hosted the first Conference

And last January, the graphic arts got a permanent home when the Sequential Artists Studio opened its doors and beckoned with ink and paper. Mason was one of the first people to give the Gainesville comic scene shape. He would buy people’s alternative comic collections, then turn around and sell them. When he stopped and noticed that he was buying comics from across the country, he decided to start publishing them. In 1993, Indy Magazine was launched. A year later, cartoonist Jon Lewis moved from the West Coast to Gainesville. Mason was a huge fan of Lewis’ comic “True Swamp” and asked if he could publish the

“The reason I wanted to publish this comic was so I could read more of his stuff,” Mason said. “It wasn’t a financial thing.” When Lewis agreed, Alternative Comics was born, with Mason as the founder. After the first publication, people began sending him their work for publication. For over a decade, Mason published titles under the Alternative Comics label. One of the artists he published was Tom Hart, who left Gainesville for New York soon after. In January 2012, Hart moved back to Gainesville to open the Sequential Artists Workshop. It marked the first space in the city dedicated to creating narrative comics. Since opening its doors in the

on Comics and Graphic Novels.

next installment.

courtyard behind the Citizens


by Ashira Morris


ABOVE: Tom Hart works at his desk, slightly removed from the large, open space for classes. He is currently illustrating multiple projects: a personal memoir and an anthology of stories for returning veterans based around the Odyssey, contracted by the Department of Defense. In the past year, Sally Cantirino completed multiple projects, including a guide to roller derby and the story of Persephone.

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Autumn 2013 | 79


• CT




around its shores be celebrated as well. For centuries these towers have stood as beacons to both the past and the future of the Sunshine

these special places hold in a state mostly surrounded by water. To see the beam of light cast from a tower to the sea is a reminder of the fact

ing of many ships and the loss of hundreds of lives.” Lighthouses were constructed along the length of Florida’s coast

State. Each has a story to tell. Many Viva Florida 500 events are

that the history of Florida itself has been shaped by those who, in an

and even on the reefs themselves. Others were built in some of the

in fact taking place at lighthouse settings to highlight the history these stations reflect, offering residents and visitors a great educational and

earlier and riskier time, traversed the uncertain ocean to a new and wild landscape of possibilities. According to the Florida

harbors to guide the ships safely into port. While still important for navigation, the state’s public lighthouses

memorable experience. Florida’s 29 light stations also participate in The

Lighthouse Association, “Florida has been a maritime state from its

also offer a different kind of light to their steady stream of regular

138 | Autumn 2013

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Florida’s coastline was extremely dangerous resulting in the wreck-


light the night sky, illuminating an after-dark view of the importance

• FU

is only fitting that the lighthouses that have long guided ships safely


sels to export their beef products to Cuba. Because of the important commerce they carried out it was imperative to protect the ships.


Indians, who were the nation’s first cowboys, depended on sailing ves-

to those who come and step back in time for a bit. Eight of the lighthouses along the state’s 1,260 miles of coast still


on-shore visitors. Keeper programs, ghostly tours, museums, movie screenings, car shows, art festivals and tower climbs are just a few offerings that make a day or weekend light station trip a Florida must. A great way to explore some of the nation’s oldest and tallest lighthouses is by following a lighthouse trail. Here are just a few:

Northeast Coast ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE AND MUSEUM Now long gone, a Spanish watchtower built in the late 1500s became Florida’s first lighthouse in 1824. By 1870, however, the tower was threatened by shoreline erosion.

by Darla Kinney Scoles


Beacons Beckon


beginning days. Even the Seminole

Lighthouse Passport Program, with each tower offering its unique stamp

500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s ship touching the east coast of the state he would name La Florida, it



United States Lighthouse Society’s


AC T • F U N

The St. Augustine lighthouse can be seen in the movie “Things That Hang from Trees”

FA C T • F




Florida’s Lighthouses Weather Storms; Shine on

s Florida celebrates the



Leave the Light On




Autumn 2013 | 139

In time for Florida’s 500th anniversary, celebrate some of the state’s longest standing landmarks, the lighthouses. From Florida’s oldest lighthouse in St. Augustine to the only lighthouse ever attacked by American Indians, each of these bright beacons has its own story to tell.





42 Crystal Henry NAKED SALSA 66 Brian “Krash” Kruger GATE CRASHING 100 Albert Isaac DIFFERENT NOTE 160 Terri Schlichenmeyer READING CORNER 162 Courtney Lindwall ADVENTURES IN APPETITE

Project Makeover UF Student Organization Gives Back to the Next Generation BY KELSEY GRENTZER


Beating the Odds Three Blessings from Three Burdens BY NATANYA SPIES


Gainesville Sings the Blues Amateurs and Celebrities Share the Stage at the North Central Florida Blues Society’s Monthly Jam




Florida Camping Discovering the Sunshine State BY COURTNEY LINDWALL


Ocala Comic Con Photo Essay BY KRISTIN KOZELSKY

20 Charity of the Month Winners 118 Taste of the Town 124 Community Calendar 135 2013 Gator Football 168 Advertiser Index

The articles printed in Our Town Magazine™ do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Tower Publications, Inc. or their editorial staff. Our Town Magazine endeavors to accept reliable advertising; however, we can not be held responsible by the public for advertising claims. Our Town Magazine reserves the right to refuse or discontinue any advertisement. All rights reserved. © 2013 Tower Publications, Inc.

Autumn 2013 | 11



Published quarterly by Tower Publications, Inc.

PUBLISHER Charlie Delatorre EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Albert Isaac fax: 1-800-967-7382 OFFICE MANAGER Bonita Delatorre ART DIRECTOR Hank McAfee GRAPHIC DESIGN Neil McKinney CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tom Berson Christine Boatwright Kelsey Grentzer Felicia Lee Courtney Lindwall Ashira Morris Darla Kinney Scoles Natanya Spies


Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum.

INTERNS Taylor Clemons Courtney Lindwall Ashira Morris ADVERTISING SALES Nancy Short 352-372-3245 Helen Mincey 352-416-0209


Paddle On Connecting Kayakers to Their Rivers BY ASHIRA MORRIS

106 Crossroads Silver Springs Goes From Private to Public Enterprise BY TOM BERSON

152 Living by the Sword The Fine Art of Fencing BY DARLA KINNEY SCOLES

12 | Autumn 2013

Jenni Bennett 352-416-0210 Pam Sapp 352-416-0213 Annie Waite 352-416-0204

ADVERTISING OFFICE 4400 NW 36th Avenue Gainesville, FL 32606 352-372-5468 352-373-9178 fax



oetic design is located in the Tower 24 Plaza. The inspiration for this specific hair salon is to connect beauty with nature through a dry-cutting technique. The spacious 1800 square foot salon was designed to resemble the Sahag Workshop on Madison Avenue in New York City. Zoetic has taken the road less traveled, focusing on customer individuality by working with the natural growth pattern of hair. The result, is hair that is unique to each client and impossible to duplicate. This transformation takes place by understanding the individuality of the hair combined with the shape of ones face, to create a style that is uncompromised and as individual as the person. The dry-cutting technique was originated by the famed John Sahag of NYC. As the only truly certified salon in Gainesville, Zoetic Designs uses this technique based on the concept of cutting hair dry, to create visual balance. Cut vertically, the hair is seamless and shows no horizontal lines, therefore never working against gravity. John Sahag, who passed away eight years ago, was an icon in the hair and fashion industry. His technique lives on through the passion and dedication of his Mastercraftsmen and his Sahag Team. Salon owner, A.J. Everett serves as one of the leading educators for the Sahag Product Company and travels throughout the country teaching the Sahag dry-cutting technique in addition to performing at hair shows as a platform artist. She frequents NYC for events such as fall and spring fashion week as well as doing editorial photo shoots for Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Allure magazines.

Sahag’s inspiration was about creating hairstyles that have natural influence. This concept of natural influence is reflected in the salon’s interior, its location and most importantly in the dedication to its clients. As you set foot into Zoetic Designs, nature presents itself as you look out 10-foot glass windows. The chic salon has clean lines and exposed ceilings. The walls are a cool, calming grey color and the open layout pays tribute to its New York City roots. This corner salon is surrounded by thriving trees, allowing for nature’s influence to always shine through. According to AJ Everett, the clients that have experienced this dry-cutting technique have enjoyed a dramatic difference in appearance. The dry-cut technique works harmoniously with coloring as each client is treated as a new painting. Each painting requires different brushes and colors, leaving creations that continuously evolve with each visit. Her stylists are excited to come to work and she feels her clients, existing and new, are happy to experience the changes in their hair. The staff at Zoetic Designs, strives for perfection with each new challenge they undertake. The passing of John Sahag has left individuals like A.J. Everett a legacy to follow. Dedicating her efforts to her mentors; John Sahag, Thomas Clancy, Director of the Sahag team, and her national team of educators, Everett’s most important goal is to continue to learn, teach her own team of designers, and to always give back to the industry she loves.

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Autumn 2013 | 13




Labor Daze Festival While many in Gainesville take it easy, and then fire up the grill in celebration of Labor Day Sept. 1, an anticipated crowd of thousands will fill Bo Diddley Community Plaza for Labor Daze Fest 2013. Labor Day “constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country,” according to the U.S Department of Labor, and Americans have celebrated the holiday for more than 100 years. In Gainesville, however, one local couple decided to do more for Gainesville’s labor force. James and Trisha Ingle began a conversation three years ago about the lack of celebration of working people during the nationally recognized September holiday. Soon after, Labor Daze Fest was born. “It is, first and foremost, by locals for locals and about locals,” Trisha said. “I wanted to do something to celebrate the working-class people of this town. It’s Labor Day weekend, and there was nothing

14 | Autumn 2013

going on to celebrate the workers. I wanted to encourage small business and a sense of community in that small business.” The celebration offers a myriad of activities for children and adults alike. From local bands and food trucks to a free rock wall and children’s activities, Labor Daze Fest offers something for everyone. “We’ve got small businesses and non-profits and musicians and artists. Everyone in this town that works for a living is somehow involved, so it’s pretty neat,” Trisha said. The first Labor Daze Fest attracted 1,000 visitors and 18 vendors, while last year’s event brought in 4,000 attendees and 50 vendors. “I think that, in and of itself, shows how hungry people are to create a sense of community and encourage small business and local business to do something that’s not Wal-Mart or a multi-million dollar corporation,” Trisha said. While the founders gear the event toward fun and relaxation,

they also hope attendees will find empowerment and education. “We wanted a combination of coming out and celebrating working people and a day to kick back and take it easy as Labor Day should be, and, at the same time, hook people up with where they should be,” James said. “There’s a real emphasis on empowering local people and having a good time at the same time.” Trisha, a professional musician also known as “Mama Trish,” will perform with her band, Mama Trish vs. Godzilla! Four other local bands will perform, including Ricky Kendall, Nook & Cranny, Savants of Soul and Stereo Vudu. Labor Daze Fest will run from 4 to 10 p.m., with music kicking off at 5 p.m. Bo Diddley Community Plaza is located at 111 E. University Avenue in downtown Gainesville. s For more information, email Trisha Ingle at or search “Labor Daze Fest in Gainesville” on Facebook.


Camping, Canoeing & Lighthouse Viewing Another summer draws to a close as I pen these words, grateful to be inside a climate-controlled office rather than outside in the sweltering heat. Don’t get me wrong, I love the great outdoors and did, indeed, spend a good amount of time out there this summer. We’ve taken the kids to the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo, San Felasco, O’Leno State Park and even North Carolina. They also spent a lot of time in the pool. And then the rains came. Seems like they would never stop. But I’m not complaining. Nope. We need the rain desperately. Plus, when it’s raining I can’t mow the yard. But I am ready for a break from the high temperatures. It will be nice to walk to the mailbox without sweating like a wildebeest. (Yes, wildebeest do sweat. I looked it up.) I’m also looking forward to afternoon bicycle rides without the threat of heat stroke. Perhaps a canoe trip is in order. Camping could be fun. Speaking of camping, in this edition we bring you a story about one writer’s experiences camping at various locations throughout Florida. Having read it, I see more than a few places I’d like to visit in the near future (even if I don’t camp). For those of you less inclined to pitch a tent and sleep outside, but still would like to explore Florida, we have a feature on some of the 30 still-functioning lighthouses in the state. I’ve been to a few of them, including the Cape Florida lighthouse – where as a teenager my friend and I got caught after sneaking in on our bikes (his idea, not mine). The park ranger took our names and phone numbers and drove us out of the park in his pickup truck. I was scared to death of what the folks would say, but nothing ever came from it. But we didn’t do it again. Along the theme of enjoying Florida’s nature we also bring you stories on the history of Silver Springs and Florida Paddling. So it is with great pleasure I offer you the fall edition of Our Town. Within these pages you will find a smorgasbord of stories ranging from children’s theater to comic book creation to the fine art of fencing. Enjoy! s

I can’t wait to Be the one that makes everybody giggle Be the star of my own story Be an explorer on a real-life adventure Be a superhero with powers I choose Be a Girl Scout Learn about all the things Girl Scouts can do at Troops forming now 352-376-3004

Autumn 2013 | 15



STAFF >> CONTRIBUTORS Courtney Lindwall

Kelsey Grentzer

is a Florida native, now studying journalism at UF. She loves telling and hearing good stories. In her little bit of free time, she enjoys hiking, camping and eating delicious food.

is a journalism and sustainability student at UF. She is a freelance writer and photographer who loves animals, traveling and going to the beach.

Tom Berson

Ashira Morris

is a freelance writer and currently teaches history at Santa Fe College. His doctoral dissertation on the history of Silver Springs is available online at etd.fcla. edu/UF/UFE0043083/ berson_t.pdf.

is a freelance writer and editor studying French and journalism at UF. She enjoys fresh vegetables, exploring foreign cities and teaching yoga. But really, she’d rather learn about you.

Natanya Spies

Kristin Kozelsky

is a freelance writer and senior studying journalism at UF. She is a contributing writer for The Independent Florida Alligator and an entertainment writer for Perdeby, a local newspaper in Pretoria, South Africa.

is a photographer based in Gainesville. When not behind the camera, she enjoys spending time outdoors and sharing local food with great friends.

Christine Boatwright

Felicia Lee

grew up in Florida, but moved to Alabama for college and later married her college sweetheart, Lucas. She won journalism awards for her work for a county newspaper in Shelby County, Ala. The couple moved to Gainesville.

is a freelance writer and editor. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and She loves birds, cooking and the Florida outdoors.

Brian “Krash” Kruger

Darla Kinney Scoles

is writer, musician and a graduate of the UF College of Law. He has played in some 17 or so local bands, playing most every Gainesville venue friendly to original music (and some not so friendly).

remembers taking a high school journalism class and falling in love with the process. Oodles of years, one husband, three daughters and multitudinous stories later, she’s still in love with it all. That, and dark chocolate.

Taylor Clemons

Crystal Henry

recently graduated from UF with a degree in Telecommunications. She has also been a finalist in several television script writing competitions, including the National Broadcasting Society, and most recently with Writer’s Digest.

is a freelance writer and columnist born and raised in West Texas. She received her B.S. in Journalism in 2006 from the University of Florida. She is in love with the Florida landscape.

16 | Autumn 2013

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Big Cat Rescue MAY 2013 WINNER – 2,431 VOTES

With more than 100 exotic felines, life at Big Cat Rescue can get a little wild. s founder and CEO Carole Baskin says, “There’s no such thing as a normal day.” The Tampa-based organization has won May’s SunState Charity of the Month with 2431 votes on Facebook. The nonprofit works as an educational sanctuary, housing 14 species of abandoned cats, such as lions, tigers and leopards. Many have been abused as performance animals, given up by ill-equipped pet owners or even saved from slaughter.


She raised them with the help from other owners, later giving them away as pets to what she believed would be good homes. However, as the years went by, failed pet owners would come back to Baskin, unable to handle their big cat’s transition to maturity. Since then, the true difficulties of raising a wild animal have become clear. Unfortunately, the organization still takes in new cats from around the country that are in dire situations, especially from areas where laws against ownership are not strictly enforced. Just earlier this year, Big Cat Rescue saved six cats from a run-down enclosure in Kansas without proper food, clean water or space. Dead animals were found alongside soiled and unattended cages. The owner was said to have abandoned the property altogether. In response to tragedies like this, Big Cat Rescue is pushing for federal legislation to ban exotic cats as pets, which Baskin said would solve much of the problem and redirect efforts toward sustaining wild populations. “Our primary goal is to put ourselves out of business,” Baskin said. “There shouldn’t be a need to run around rescuing big cats.” s Learn more at


Although the rescue’s saved cats are unable to be released into the wild, a big part of the organization’s mission is to raise awareness about the challenges of big cats in captivity. Baskin said people should be helping the wild populations. “They’re too incredible to keep in cages,” Baskin said. Big Cat Rescue is the largest sanctuary in the world dedicated specifically to abused or abandoned exotic cats. Beginning in 1992, the sanctuary now sits on 55 acres in North Tampa and brings in nearly 30,000 people a year for tours, all run by volunteers. Since opening, Baskin’s beliefs about exotic pet ownership have evolved. Her introduction to the world of big cats started when she rescued 56 bobcat kittens that were going to be slaughtered for their fur.

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Phoenix Animal Rescue JUNE 2013 WINNER – 965 VOTES

The dogs arrive broken. They are abandoned, neglected and oftentimes sick. o make matters worse, many are pit bulls that must work against stereotypes to find new homes. But with the help of foster families and volunteers, Phoenix Animal Rescue works to make their lives whole again. Phoenix Animal Rescue has won June’s SunState Federal Credit Union’s Charity of the Month contest with 965 votes on Facebook. The organization was nominated by Kim Lake.


Since its founding, the rescue has helped thousands of dogs find homes. This year alone, more than 150 dogs have already been adopted. Although the rescue does not have its own facility, a close-knit group of 40 or so foster homes offer space until adoption. “We support each other and spend time with one another even outside of rescue,” Dunlap said. Although the rescue receives dogs from a variety of places, it has become closely linked to Levy County Animal Services. In a single year, they were able to reduce the euthanasia rate at the shelter by 70 percent, Dunlap said. At the same time, their own adoption rate went up by 126 percent. The rescue has also increased its exposure by participating in the Gainesville PetSmart adoption days on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Many of the dogs that come to the facility on adoption days are pit bulls, and the events help visitors see the truth about the breed that Dunlap believes to be highly misunderstood. As for future plans, Dunlap is putting the prize money toward buying a larger piece of property in Levy County. “It’ll be a farm where people can come and visit with our dogs, not to adopt but to volunteer,” Dunlap said. “It will be where dogs can go to heal, recover and retire.” s Learn more at

June’s winners receiving their $1,000 prize.

The Gainesville-based rescue was founded in 2003 by Michelle Dunlap. After adopting her own dog, Chance, in 1999, Dunlap left her job teaching and began working with animal rescues instead. During this time, an unlikely relationship with a pit bull would impact her life forever. The dog’s name was Phoenix. She had been stolen from her owner’s backyard and forced into dog fighting. When the original owner finally tracked down Phoenix, Dunlap helped to rehabilitate what had become an anxious, withdrawn and traumatized dog. In 18 months, Phoenix grew. She not only recovered — she thrived. Phoenix went from being an abused and unsocial dog to receiving the AKC Canine Good Citizens Award. Phoenix’s dramatic turnaround was symbolic of the positive effects that can come from the dedicated and compassionate work of animal rescuers. Phoenix became the rescue’s namesake, and to this day, the rescue works in memory of her story.

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Mystic Jungle JULY 2013 WINNER – 3,378 VOTES

Spike is the biggest of the big cats. With legs the size of tree trunks, this Siberian tiger weighs more than 700 lbs. ut pretty soon, Spike will have a little more room to stretch out. Mystic Jungle Educational Facility won the $1,000 prize for July’s SunState Federal Credit Union and Tower Publications’s Charity of the Month Contest. It received 3,378 votes on Facebook. Mystic Jungle Educational Facility is a conservation facility that houses exotic animals, such as cougars, alligators and rhesus monkeys. The $1,300 (that includes the $300 prize for nomination) is going toward Spike’s new half-acre enclosure, which will allow other residents to move to bigger enclosures, as well. Co-founders Vera and Mark Chaples started the facility, based in Live Oak. The couple have decades of experience working with animals, including Vera’s overthirty years of experience as a veterinary technician and Mark’s lifetime of ranching. The transition toward Mystic Jungle began 18 years ago when Vera worked at a practice that specialized in exotic animals. As ownership laws changed, many exotic pet owners had to surrender their animals, and there weren’t many options besides euthanasia. But Vera and Mark opened their doors. They began taking in exotic animals, with a focus on big cats, and giving them homes. The goal wasn’t to buy, sell or trade, but to care for them permanently. They contacted other specialists to learn, and over time, became the experts themselves. And like that, Mystic Jungle was born. In 2009, it officially became a nonprofit and began to focus on education for the public, as well. The facility is not a zoo and is not open to the public; however, free tours can be scheduled. Contributions from visitors help support Mystic Jungle, as well as the


24 | Autumn 2013

facility’s weekly yard sale of donated goods. Currently, one of Mystic Jungle’s biggest projects is saving the Asian Leopard, which is being poached at a rate of four per week, Vera said. Mark and Vera plan to go to India in 2014 to talk with the government about more direct ways to protect the species. And at home, Mystic Jungle helps conserve the leopard through its own breeding program. Today, Mystic Jungle is still growing, but its mission remains the same. “Our animals don’t do tricks. It’s not a sideshow,” Vera said. “I’m teaching.” s Learn more at MysticJungleEducationalFacilityInc.


Autumn 2013 | 25





Makeover UF Student Organization Gives Back to the Next Generation STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELSEY GRENTZER ’s Project Makeover will brighten the halls of a seventh Alachua County school in February 2014, and plans are already in the works. Last month, the organization’s leaders chose Sidney Lanier Center as their next location for a renovation. Project Makeover is a UF student-run organization that fixes up one elementary school each year to create a more positive learning environment for its students. Each project takes several months of planning and results in one weekend full of renovations. Courtney Miller, 21, the executive director of Project Makeover, said she and the organization’s project manager chose Sidney Lanier Center as the next recipient because they saw the school as a “blank canvas” with potential for a variety of different projects. “We felt like that was where we really could do the most good,” Miller said. The upcoming project will differ from those of the past because the 2014 selection is a school for more than just elementary-age students. Sidney


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Lanier Center — located on Northwest 16th Avenue in Gainesville — offers classes for pre-K elementary, secondary and transition for young adults with disabilities. Miller said she sees the project as an opportunity for Project Makeover to expand its reach.

A school is chosen based on how much it needs the help and how feasible it would be for Project Makeover to meet those needs. “It’ll be interesting that not all of our projects will be geared toward the same age group,” she said. Every year, more than 1,000 UF students and other volunteers come together for the project, painting educational murals on school walls, sprucing up

ABOVE: UF alumna volunteer Lindsey Dhans steadies a ladder while UF student Christie Leonard paints a timeline in the art room at Idylwild Elementary School in February. Project Makeover volunteers also helped landscape the school grounds and paint a sea life mural at Idylwild Elementary. In February of 2014, the Project Makover crew will be visiting the Sidney Lanier Center in Gainesville, Florida to work their magic.

Autumn 2013 | 27



Project Makeover volunteers (from left) Amanda Eatman, Lauren Elias, Megan Iseman and Carly Borden collaborate on a mural by the basketball court. BELOW: Other projects included several other murals, funding for the installation of a new playground and painting banners for hallway and classroom walls.

landscaping and working on a special project — called the “dream project” — to meet the school’s needs. Special projects have included everything from a science lab to an outdoor classroom. The upcoming “dream project” will be determined after Project Makeover’s team meets with Sidney Lanier Center’s faculty to more thoroughly discuss the school’s needs, Miller said. The last makeover, which took place in February, helped fund the installation of a new and improved

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playground for Idylwild Elementary School in Gainesville. Volunteers also helped to create new outdoor lesson plans for teachers to use at the school. Murals included depictions such as a food pyramid, jungle animals, a color wheel in the school’s art department and famous composers in the music classroom. The organization generates about $10,000 to $15,000 each year through donations, fundraisers and sponsorships to make the projects possible, Miller said. A school is chosen based on how much it needs the help


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Visit for details and how feasible it would be for Project Makeover to meet those needs. Miller said each year more people become interested in volunteering for Project Makeover, and her goal for the upcoming project will be to find even more ways for volunteers to contribute. About 1,500 volunteers participated in the Idylwild Elementary makeover, she said. Joshua Jackson, the founder of Project Makeover, said the organization has grown significantly since its first school makeover in 2008. It started with a staff

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“The reveal never gets old because you have all these young students who come in and are just amazed by the transformation.” of seven or eight members and is now run by 20 to 30 students who work year-round on the project. Then a 21-year-old political science senior at UF, Jackson founded Project Makeover because he was inspired to start something that would have a lasting impact, he said. He had participated in a UF Student Government mentoring program with M.K. Rawlings Elementary School the previous year, and that program had been canceled. With the help of Kelley Kostamo of Alachua County Public Schools, Jackson selected Rawlings Elementary School for the first makeover. He met with the principal of the school, and the project became a reality. Completed in 2008, the first school makeover brought together just fewer than 500 volunteers to paint murals, landscape and plant a butterfly garden. The organization also donated keyboards to the school’s music room, Jackson said.

Modeled after ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” Project Makeover allows students to walk through their school on the Monday after the project is completed to view all of the renovations. They typically do not know much about the project until the official reveal. “The reveal never gets old because you have all these young students who come in and are just amazed by the transformation that occurs in one weekend,” Jackson said. Jackson, now 27 years old and living in Washington, D.C., returns to help with the project every year. He said it is not unusual to see elementary school students gasp, scream or jump up and down with excitement when they see the transformation their school has undergone. “It reminds me a lot of taking kids to a museum or an amusement park for the first time,” Jackson said. And it shows the students that the community really cares about them, he added. Miller, who is a psychology senior at UF, said the project is rewarding for the college students involved as well. “One of the coolest things is seeing how excited the volunteers are,” she said. Jackson said the project seems to serve as an inspiration to some UF students who participate. “I think for many college students it shows a tangible result of putting your mind to an idea for the better,” Jackson said. s

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Children’s Theater Builds a Passion for the Arts

STORY BY CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY BY KRISTIN KOZELSKY he ability to play is the most important part of children’s theater, according to Anna Dvorak, assistant director of Musical Me children’s theater company. “Be ready to learn and to work hard, but to also play. It’s really about play,” said Dvorak, a musical theater major at the University of Florida. “It’s about having an open mind and being excited and just doing it.” Young performers in the Gainesville area, some as young as 5 years old, have been playing their way through Musical Me productions since 2010, when Ashley McPherson realized a dream and started the company. McPherson “got the bug” for theater very early in life after she


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performed in her first theater production at the age of 5. “My experiences in children’s theater were actually negative,” McPherson said. “I worked with directors who had their favorites. They also favored lead characters over group roles. I didn’t really feel the connection there.” In Musical Me, there are no favorites, and every child has the opportunity to taste the spotlight, McPherson said. “We try to establish a family bond with each and every kid in the musical,” she said. “We don’t have any divas or divos. If you’re a diva, you don’t belong in our company. Even those who are chorus members — everyone involved in the production — will be valued and

“If our children have the courage to audition in front of us, they’re in it. If we have 20 kids, they’re all in the show; if we have 50 kids, they’re all in the show.”



treated with respect.” Emma Smith, an 11-year-old starting Fort Clarke Middle School, has been a part of each production’s chorus, and has enjoyed every moment. “Every part is individualized. [McPherson] makes it so your part is special, even if you are part of the chorus. You get to relax and get to be in the big dance numbers. It’s really fun,” Emma said. Emma enjoys the professional experience she is gaining through Musical Me. “It’s a really fun experience. It boosts your confidence by a lot,” she said. “If you’re one of those shy

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people in school, it really helps. I used to be that way. No one judges you in theater.” For Dvorak the children’s learning process can be daunting. “It’s a challenge for me because I’m coming from people who I direct and [they] understand what I’m talking about,” Dvorak said. “These kids don’t know about acting or music, so it’s a teach-aswe-go kind of thing. “It’s wonderful at the same time,” she added. “These kids allow themselves to think, and they have such wonderful ideas, where adults can be reserved. They love to play, and that’s such a big part of theater

— playing and experimenting — and kids are so great at that.” Musical Me kicked off with a production of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.,” featuring a cast of 34 children at the Cofrin Theater at Oak Hall School. Today, productions average 25 to 30 children, with 2012’s “Seussical Jr.” showing off the talents of 55 young performers. Twelve-year-old Rachel Rubin achieved a dream during the casting of “Peter Pan.” In the “Suessical Jr.” playbill, Rachel expressed her wish to play Wendy in “Peter Pan,” and during the July production, her wish was granted. “Wendy was the biggest

challenge for me. Upon speaking with Miss Ashley [McPherson], she told me after the audition the reason she cast me was I’m naturally like Wendy,” Rachel said. “I didn’t realize that at first, but as I got in the character, I realized this character is a lot like me, so it wasn’t too hard.” Rachel said embodying her different characters is her greatest challenge. “It takes a certain feeling you get when the audience is there and you become the character that you can’t possibly have in rehearsal,” she said. “Peter Pan” gave the performers

a unique experience — the ability to fly. McPherson said she was nervous about the flying system throughout the performance, but plans to use the system again in “The Wizard of Oz,” which the Musical Me cast will perform next July. In the meantime, McPherson and her crew are beginning auditions for “Shrek the Musical,” which will be held on November 1st and 2nd. “The first show of the season is ‘Shrek,’ which is so much fun,” Dvorak said. “It’s a huge cast of fairytale characters. It’s a really funny show, and the kids will embrace the humor so wonderfully.” McPherson will hold auditions

for “Shrek” during the first week of September, and rehearsals will run through September and October. Children ages 8 through 18 can audition for the production. Auditions involve a singing portion, as well as a performed monologue from the show itself. “Everybody who auditions is in our show,” McPherson said. “If our children have the courage to audition in front of us, they’re in it. If we have 20 kids, they’re all in the show; if we have 50 kids, they’re all in the show. “Something that makes us different from other companies is that we utilize the child on stage as

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much as possible,” she added. “We don’t have characters who are on stage and never seen again. If they don’t get a lead role, then they’re going to work hard in the chorus.” Musical Me Theater is currently a for-profit organization, but McPherson plans to change the program’s structure to a non-profit in the near future.

“For us, it’s never been about the money. For me and my husband and those involved, it’s about the kids and their experience,” McPherson said. “They love it and enjoy it and want it to grow. In our minds, this was the best way we could do that. Our productions — we make them as lavish as we can. We do what we can to [match] the showmanship they see on Broadway.” In addition to the upcoming season, which includes “Shrek,” “Hairspray” and “The Wizard of

Oz,” McPherson has begun the Musical Me Players, a traveling group of young performers who will compete at the Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta and the National Performing Arts Festival at Disney World. The Players will also perform in local events in the Gainesville area. For McPherson, Musical Me is about more than having top-notch performances. “We are completely for the kids and trying to get more opportunities for them behind the scenes and [in technical aspects]. The children will be 100 percent a part of the experience. We’re building confidence, but also having fun. We’re building a passion for the arts.” s For more information, visit

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Cohen & Montini Orthodontics

The art and

science of patient care. W

hen you walk into Cohen & Montini Orthodontics in Gainesville, one of the first things you notice is the artwork - a natural landscape painting here, a sketch of Spiderman there, Florida and FSU emblems side by side. The works have one thing in common; the artist is Dr. Reid Montini, owner of Cohen & Montini Orthodontics. “Art is a big part of who I am, and when we are designing someone’s smile I think that’s important,” said the former art major who considered a career illustrating medical textbooks before deciding on dental school. “To me, orthodontics is the perfect mixture of art and science.” Dr. Montini has practiced at Cohen & Montini Orthodontics since 2005 and uses Invisalign®, clear braces, silver braces, and retainers to create beautiful smiles. Cohen & Montini Orthodontics also offers a complimentary developmental observation program for young patients who are not ready for treatment. Patients with more complex cases such an impacted canine, misaligned jaw, or severe crowding have access to a 3D x-ray machine and computer aided treatment planning. This allows Dr. Montini and the patient to visualize the plan and outcome prior to initiating treatment. The state-of-the-art technology is complemented by Dr. Montini’s sense of fun and his desire to make patients feel at home. The waiting room area is flanked by two flat-screen TVs showing the latest animated movies, and the tooth brushing station features an Xbox 360 gaming system that keeps patients and siblings entertained. He reassures first-time patients with five simple yet effective words: “No shots, no drills – period.” Dr. Montini works under what he calls a conservative and open-minded philosophy,

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emphasizing the importance of observing younger patients first to see how growth progresses on its own. “Watching younger patients for a period of time to see how they naturally develop is smart,” he said. “If we’re watching a child for six to nine months without seeing progress and there’s a situation that could potentially be harmful, then we step in and give a nudge.” Montini’s love of both art and medicine led him to his career in orthodontics. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with his biological science degree from Florida State and graduated in the top five of his class at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He then went on to the University of Florida for his orthodontics residency – a prestigious program that only accepts three applicants per year. During his residency, Dr. Montini also received a Master of Science degree for his research on the perceptions of facial aesthetics following orthognathic surgery. “We were looking to see whether people saw a big improvement in how faces looked in profile following orthodontics and jaw surgery,” he said. It was research that appealed to Dr. Montini’s longtime love of drawing, painting and sculpting – all of which gives him a unique perspective for his work. “With the overall aesthetic of the smile, we’re taking into account the shape of the face, the position of the bones, the position of the teeth relative to the lips, and symmetry,” he said. “My background makes me uniquely suited to assess and improve facial and smile aesthetics. I view each patient’s smile as a unique work of art.” While most of the practice’s patients are teenagers, Cohen & Montini Orthodontics also serves adult clients and young children. Most patients are

referred from their dentists, but Dr. Montini cited some signs parents can look for when considering whether their child should visit an orthodontist: • Crooked teeth. • Larger than normal gaps between teeth. • A large overbite, in which the top teeth extend far in front of the lower teeth. • An underbite, in which the bottom teeth extend in front of the top • A crossbite, in which the bottom jaw is skewed to one side. • A sense that your child’s teeth simply haven’t grown into the right place, even if you don’t know exactly where they should be. • The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. Although Dr. Montini appreciates the artistic side of his orthodontic practice, he finds great satisfaction in his personal relationships with his patients. He enjoys sitting down with his patients at each visit and chatting about their lives, and with treatments and follow-up spanning several years he gets to see them grow and thrive as people. “That’s probably the best part about what we do,” he said. “It’s cool to see that the kid who came here in middle school is going to medical school next year. We see an awkward looking 13-year-old with gangly teeth, and all of a sudden she’s prom queen. That’s rewarding, that’s fun. “Now there’s your art.” Cohen & Montini Orthodontics is located at 7520 W. University Ave., Suite C in Gainesville. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 352-332-7911 or visit


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Naked Salsa

I found life lying face down in the water. eports that Americans take less vacation than our European counterparts are nothing new. A quarter of Americans don’t get any paid vacation at all, and those who do get on average 12 to 14 days. The majority of people surveyed admit to using the Internet and smart phones while on vacation to keep in touch with the office. And workers must feel that two full weeks is much too generous because on average they leave two to six days unused at the end of each year. I almost threw up when I read that little morsel. I live for vacation. When the hubs and I were in premarital counseling convincing the pastor that we were legit, he asked us why we wanted to get married. Our answer was that we had fun together. It sounded juvenile I’m sure, but now almost 10 years later, I can honestly say the fun times are probably the main reason we’ve made it through all the rough patches. The first time I realized how strong my feelings were for my future hubs was on a trip to Orlando. We were in Disney staying at my mom’s timeshare, and the first morning we were there I woke up at 7 a.m. ready to roll. A humdrum fact, until you realize that 7 a.m. didn’t exist in my world. I only considered myself a morning person because I rarely went to bed before 2 a.m. In those days 9 a.m. was a stretch for a wake-up call, and I was pretty much the most miserable soul on earth until 10:30 a.m. But that


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morning I woke up at 7:00 with a smile on my face ready to hit the parks like a 5-year-old with a sugar high. Some women settle down with a man who can get them into bed. I chose one who could get me out. From then on we lived to travel. At the very minimum we’d take the motorcycle on a day trip to the beach. Our funds were limited, but our sense of adventure was not. Seeing a three-day weekend on the calendar was euphoric. It didn’t have to be an extravagant trip. Some of our most precious memories were spent in a tent in the middle of the Florida wilderness. But sitting at home just wasn’t an option. Our first vacations as a married couple were in the days before smart phones, or at least in the days before we could afford smart phones. No matter where we went we were completely unplugged. With each mile we inched closer to our destination, and I could see the coils of my tightly wound OCD-engineer husband start to slowly unwind until we arrived and he was a totally relaxed, free man. The burdens of work and school had no choice but to stay home because we only had room for so much baggage in our tiny Chevy Aveo. And those bags were jam packed with swim suits and sunscreen. Sorry troubles, you’ll be here when we get back. We always talked about renewing our vows at 10 years as long as we still thought this whole marriage thing was

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a good idea. With only a year left until our deca-bration we’ve talked about where to hold the ceremony. We’ve mentioned Hawaii or Sandals; we always tend to gravitate to somewhere with coconuts. But I think the destination that makes the most sense is the tiny key of Bahia Honda. Before we graduated from UF and the responsibilities of life and jobs and kids overtook us, we took a camping trip each May to Bahia Honda. It was just us, a tent, a cooler full of beer and the crystal blue waters of this unspoiled little island off the tip of Florida. We couldn’t get reception if we wanted to. And we never did. We once spent an entire day sitting in about a foot of water. We had the sunshine, our snorkeling masks and no sense of time. There we were face down in the water marveling at this tiny slice of life that most people never see. Even avid beachgoers would miss the tiny flounder no bigger than a pencil eraser, but we got to see all these incredible creatures because we took time to slow down. To this day when things get crazy and hectic, we go back to that moment our eyes met in those clear blue waters. We saw a lot of things that afternoon, but it was what we didn’t find on the ocean floor that brought the most joy. We didn’t see a clock, or an email or a text. There were no deadlines hiding in the sand, and the only thing that crashed were the gentle waves on the beach. I won’t ever look back on my life and wish I’d spent more time hunched over a desk, but I might regret not spending a few more days lying face down in the water. s

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Beating the Odds Three Blessings from Three Burdens

BY NATANYA SPIES here is something about the number three. Three times getting diagnosed, three weeks in a coma, 30 days in a bone marrow unit and checkups every three months. But for Elyse Jasmund, none of it was time lost. Elyse, a 22-year-old graduate student studying health administration at the University of Florida, sees every burden as a blessing. “You have to look at the positive,” Elyse said, “because if you don’t, you’re not going to survive.” Elyse has battled cancer almost half of her life. She was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia a week shy of her third


46 | Autumn 2013

birthday when her parents noticed her limping and bruises on her legs. At the age of 8, she relapsed while still in the five-year remission period. When she was a sophomore at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, she found out for the third time that her battle with cancer was not over. “It was a confusing and shocking kind of feeling,” Elyse said. “I was just a simple sophomore cheerleader in high school.” As a child, Elyse could not have sleepovers, play sports or go swimming. Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando became her second home. The highlight of her week was picking out coloring books and dolls at the Dollar Tree after every chemotherapy treatment.

Elyse said the first time cancer struck was a shocking and traumatic time for her parents with their 5-week-old son, Max. “You can imagine,” Elyse said, “it’s like your world turns upside down.” While in remission, when she was 8, she walked out of ballet class wearing pink tights and a black leotard with her hair in a tight bun. Her mother, Lisa Jasmund noticed her leg dragging and took her to the doctor immediately. The results of a bone marrow aspiration showed that her white blood cell count was elevated. “I just thought there’s no way in the world she can possibly be this sick,” Lisa said. “When you walk into a room and see your parents both crying, and

Autumn 2013 | 47





TOP LEFT: Elyse, 5, and her 2-year-old brother, Max, baking cupcakes while she was in remission. TOP RIGHT: Elyse’s mother, Lisa Jasmund, holds 2-year-old Elyse while they were on a cruise to Alaska with her father, David Jasmund. The photo was taken a couple of months before Elyse was diagnosed with leukemia for the first time. BOTTOM LEFT: Elyse, at age 9, stands with her 6-year-old brother, Max Jasmund. During her second battle with leukemia, she wore a bandanna while her hair was slowly growing back at the early stages of the remission process. BOTTOM RIGHT: Elyse, 11 — in remission and free from treatments — enjoys a family vacation to Nantucket with her family on her uncle Rick’s sailboat.

the doctor and the nurse, you kind of know it’s bad,” Elyse said. “It was one of those things where you asked your mom and dad, ‘Why me?’” Elyse’s uncle, Dr. Wayne Jenkins, is a physician at Arnold Palmer Hospital. He said that her diagnosis was unusual because when a patient is in remission, cancer is most likely to come back within the first two years. After that there is about a 10 percent

48 | Autumn 2013

chance for cancer to return. For Elyse, the most devastating part for her at that age was leaving school to start treatment. A year and a half later, the transition back to Lake Highland Preparatory School as a fourth-grader was not easy. And if it were not for her classmate, Erin O’Neill, now 22, it would have been even harder. Erin was the only person who talked to Elyse on the playground

on the first day of school when she was bald and wore a bandana every day. She was fascinated by Elyse’s red Mary Kate-and-Ashley-style bandana in a school with such a strict dress code. “I used to think that it was so cool that she wore it to school because she was the only one who could get away with it,” Erin said. The two have been best friends since that day.

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Elyse, 16 at the time and wearing her long brown-haired wig, sits with her brother, Max Jasmund, in the backyard of their home in Winter Park, Fla. around Christmas time.

“I was totally that different girl that walked into school,” Elyse said, “and she was the only one that would talk to me.” Almost six years later, during her sophomore year of high school, Elyse went to the hospital for blood work after experiencing pain in her hips. A cheerleader, she thought the pain was just from a tough day of practice. For two months, the results of the blood work came back clear. Elyse and her family continued to believe that nothing was wrong. But on January 3, 2007, during winter break, Elyse woke up with a pounding headache, blurry vision in her right eye and no vision in her left eye. Her parents rushed her to the hospital. The blood work revealed that the cancer had returned and was restricted to her central nervous system. “My doctor looked into my eyes, and then he started bawling,” Elyse said.

50 | Autumn 2013

Elyse said that hearing the news for the third time was the most devastating. “At 15, you realize this is bad,” she said. “At 15, you know that you can die.” But she blocked the negatives out of her memory. She remembered the little moments that made her family closer. She remembered when her brother, Max, held her hand and told her she still looked pretty even if she was sleeping. She remembered her dad, David Jasmund, next to her praying. Jenkins said that cancer cells were found in her cerebral spinal fluid, which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Her previous chemotherapy treatment did not have the intended affect, resulting in leftover cancer cells. The day after her diagnosis, Elyse had a stroke. Within two days, she was induced into a coma and put on a respirator in the Intensive Care Unit at Arnold Palmer Hospital. The

cancer cells had been building up for five months prior to her diagnosis, causing her brain to swell. Three weeks later, she slowly began to come out of her coma. She was moved to the seventh floor of the hospital, and this time, it was not just her family who was there for her. Andrew Starling, a senior at Lake Highland Preparatory School, showed up wearing a Gators sweatshirt. He had just received a call that he was accepted to the University of Florida while he was in the waiting room. Just three weeks before, Andrew and Elyse’s had gone on their first date at a school function. He was unaware of her past or the intensity of her condition. Andrew had stopped receiving responses to his text messages to Elyse. Upon finding out that Elyse was in the hospital, he sent twodozen red roses with a card that read “from your favorite senior.”


Elyse’s family and best friend, Erin, threw her a surprise “Sweet 16” birthday dinner before they moved to Gainesville for her bone marrow transplant.

When Andrew showed up to the seventh floor that day, the memories of the few times they spent together came rushing back to her. Elyse was hooked up to multiple tubes and monitors. She had lost the sparkle in her bright blue eyes. A missing patch of hair and dark circles under her eyes left her in an upsetting physical state. “She was talking completely incoherently,” Andrew said, “and I [was thinking] this is probably pretty serious.” But Elyse’s mother said she had never seen Elyse happier. “She was so so so excited that he was there,” Lisa said. After Elyse was released from the hospital and was home recovering, Andrew asked her to be his girlfriend outside of her house after watching the Super Bowl. The first thing that ran through her head was whether or not she should kiss him. “I kissed him though,” she said, laughing. “I went for it.”

Elyse never thought that twodozen red roses and a 10-minute incoherent conversation in the hospital would result in her first boyfriend — her saving grace during her most intense battle of the three. By now Elyse knew the procedures that came with yet another series of chemotherapy treatments. What she did not know was how intense her next few months would be, moving to Gainesville for treatment at Shands Hospital for Children. Elyse’s previous two sessions of chemotherapy had made her bone marrow weak. Jenkins said a bone marrow transplant was necessary and Shands was the best option at the time. She was added to the registry list, and it did not take long to find a matching donor: a 19-year-old girl who chose to remain anonymous. But not even a bone marrow transplant could stop Elyse from living the teenage life that she always imagined. She delayed

her transplant by a few days to celebrate her Sweet 16 on April 23, 2007 and to attend Andrew’s senior prom. It was the first time that Elyse did not lose her hair immediately after she started chemotherapy. “I was so nervous when I started the chemo because I thought I’d have to go to my boyfriend’s senior prom bald,” Elyse said. “But God had a plan because I didn’t lose my hair until the 29th.” The Jasmund family left Orlando at the end of April and rented a condominium in Gainesville. Elyse checked in to the pediatric section of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Shands HealthCare and began the full-body and cranial radiation process before her transplant. During the month at Shands, Elyse was not allowed to leave her room except for radiation, and someone had to stay with her at all times. From the day she checked in to Shands to the day she checked out, Andrew never missed a day. He

Autumn 2013 | 51




LEFT: Elyse, a sophomore at the time, attended Andrew’s senior prom on April 24, 2007, about a week before her family moved to Gainesville for her bone marrow transplant at Shands Hospital for Children. TOP RIGHT: The Jasmund family brought Andrew along on their trip to Ireland during the summer of 2011. BOTTOM RIGHT: Elyse celebrated her 20th birthday in Orlando with Andrew and her family — the people who got her through the hardest battle of her life just a few years before.

was a freshman at UF at the time. “That was definitely expensive if you think about all that valet parking,” Andrew said with a smile. “I just wanted to see how she was doing.” Elyse said Andrew was her motivation to wake up, get dressed and put on her long brown-haired wig, which was similar to her normal hair, every day while in the bone marrow unit. “Her mental state was pretty good because she had this cute boy coming to see her all the time,” Lisa said. “I knew she was happy because he was in there with her.” Apart from Andrew’s daily visits, Elyse’s mom said she always

52 | Autumn 2013

encouraged Elyse to get up and live a normal life with a balanced schedule, despite her abnormal environment. The two would wake up, get dressed and do schoolwork every day while at Shands. “If you don’t do that, you’re kind of giving in to the disease,” Lisa said. “I always wanted her to feel like she had control of it.” Andrew said the first few weeks at Shands, when Elyse was going through both chemotherapy and radiation in one day, were the most shocking. “It was brutal,” he said, “but if you break it down day by day and don’t get too far ahead of yourself,

it was definitively easier to do.” But Elyse never complained about her situation, Andrew said. The two would joke with the doctors and nurses to lighten up the mood. Elyse had a “two-stick rule,” which allowed each nurse only two attempts per injection. Andrew would tell the nurses that if they did the injection right the first time, he would bring them Leonardo’s 706. If they did not, he would bring them Wendy’s. “You had to joke,” Elyse said. “You had to make life funny.” Elyse let her 13-year-old brother, Max, give her a haircut in the bone marrow unit the day before her



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A dancer signs the letter “F” for Family to represent the miracle families who benefit from Dance Marathon, while participants use the last of their energy after 26.2 hours of dancing.

radiation started because she knew her hair was going to fall out the following morning. “It’s so emotional to lose your hair,” she said. “I decided we should make it fun instead of getting all sad about it.” When Elyse was released from Shands at the end of May, she stayed in their condo in Gainesville for the summer because she was required to be within 10 miles of the hospital. When she moved back to Orlando in August, Andrew, a new member of Sigma Chi fraternity, drove home every weekend to visit her. Elyse missed a year and a half of high school, but her mother homeschooled her and she had multiple private tutors helping her keep up with her work. When she returned to Lake Highland her senior year, she made it her goal to

54 | Autumn 2013

take the SAT and start applying to colleges. She would not let cancer hinder her dreams, and she fulfilled her goal to graduate on time and attend college along with her peers. Elyse said the day she found out that she was accepted to the University of Florida was a defining moment in her life. “Because she’s had so much to deal with, now when she accomplishes things, it makes her so much more appreciative,” Lisa said. Throughout her experience at UF, Elyse has become actively involved in Dance Marathon, a student-run fundraiser benefitting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, specifically Shands Hospital for Children in Gainesville. For the past three years, she has been a family relations captain, spending time with the miracle

children and their families. “I was the patient, and now it’s my turn to give back to the patient,” Elyse said. Elyse has checkups in Orlando every three months with the same doctor, Dr. Vincent Giusti, and nurse, Maureen Saunders, better known as Mo, who have been by her side since she was 3. It is always a fear for Elyse that the cancer will come back, but she does not let it run her life. “It’s in my mind, but it is way on the back shelf,” she said. Elyse said that every time, there was a reason for her cancer. The first time Elyse was diagnosed at age 3, Lisa said that it brought their family closer. “When you almost lose somebody, you just never take them for granted,” she said.

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Elyse sits outside of her sorority house, Kappa Delta, during her senior year of undergrad.

Elyse said a positive attitude, prayer and family is what got her through each day. “I swear, I wouldn’t have made it through if it wasn’t for my family just being there every waking moment,” she said. During her second battle, she met Erin. Erin wrote a speech about their friendship, which was read at their high school graduation. She ended the speech by writing, “above all, never lose your faith; I believe that Elyse is truly one of God’s miracles.” Erin said Elyse’s optimism has helped her through difficult situations in her life. “She makes the best out of a bad situation and she also approaches everything with a sense of humor,” she said. And the third time was the charm. It drew her closer to Andrew. Elyse and Andrew have gone through more in their short time together than most couples

have after a long marriage. On Feb. 5, 2013, they celebrated their six-year anniversary. “I couldn’t imagine anyone more perfect for her than him,” Erin said. “He really showed that he’s a genuine person by sticking by her side through all of this and not because he had to, because he wanted to.” Andrew, now 23, is a third-year law student at UF and Elyse wants to work in administration at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando with her uncle after she graduates with her master’s degree. “That’s my goal,” she said. “If I impact one person in that hospital to help them get the care I had, my job is done.” Elyse said her three battles with cancer changed her life for the better. “I didn’t get sick three times just because God felt like it,” she said. “I know something in my future is meant to be.” There is something about the number three. s


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s a family relations captain for Dance Marathon 2013, the largest student-run philanthropy in the southeast, Elyse Jasmund served as a mentor for 12-year-old Catriona Chennell, better known as Cat. On the weekend of April 13th, more than 800 dancers gathered at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and stood for 26.2 hours to support and raise money for Shands Hospital for Children. UF students and the Gainesville community raised a record total of $1,169,722.16 for Children’s Miracle Network. Cat was one of the many miracle children who shared their stories at the event about how Dance Marathon has changed their lives.

“I was the patient, and now it’s my turn to give back to the patient” Cat was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension when she was 4. At 8, she had a lung and heart transplant at Shands. Because Elyse is familiar with a childhood centered on treatment with Shands becoming like a second home, she said she always felt she could relate to Cat. Through her involvement with Dance Marathon, she has been Cat’s mentor for the past three years. “I’ve gotten really close with her,” Elyse said. “It’s been my way to give back throughout college and before I start working in a hospital.” Elyse said that at the event, she sat down with Cat and asked her what she wants to do with her life one day. “She told me she wants to grow up and help and inspire other families who are going through the same things that she did,” Elyse said. “And I told her, ‘that’s funny Cat, because that’s exactly what I want to do.’”


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Singin’ the Blues Amateurs and Celebrities Share the Stage at Florida Blues Society’s Monthly Jam

STORY BY FELICIA LEE PHOTOGRAPHY BY GLENN PRICE hen the members of local band Cruz Bluz began hauling their amplifiers, sound system, keyboard and drum kit onto the stage of the Dirty Bar in Thornebrook Village on a recent Sunday evening, they knew they weren’t going to be the only ones using them. A couple dozen other blues aficionados, amateurs and professionals alike, would also take turns on stage at various points of the evening. Who exactly these musicians would be, or what they would play, had not yet been determined. It wouldn’t be, not until the stillblank sign-up sheet posted by the entrance to the bar had been completely filled. Welcome to a typical set-up for


60 | Autumn 2013

the North Central Florida Blues Society’s monthly Blues Jam. On the third Sunday of each month, blues fans from all over North Florida converge at the Dirty Martini Bar for an opportunity to listen, play and catch up with friends. The third of these activities – catching up with friends — is as much a goal for the Blues Society as the first two, said Blues Society president Rob Richardson. “Part of it is to build a community where when you go out to hear blues, you’re not just going out to hear great music, you get to be part of a great community of people,” he said. As attendees started trickling into the bar, it became clear that blues lovers are not a monolithic group. While a majority of those

toting instrument cases and perusing the sign-up sheet were re men in their 40s and up, several al of the younger attendees would d have looked at home in a UF computer lab. And while most of the musicians and audience e showed up in typical weekend relaxation wear – jeans, comfy t-shirts and sneakers – a few showed up in snazzy cocktail dresses and brightly colored hats. One of the musicians, harmonica player and singer Pete Karnes, wore eye-catching g mustard-yellow shoes. As the members of Cruz Bluz continued to plug in and check their sound system, Karnes nes took a seat at the bar and sipped ed a beer while chatting with others. ers.

Autumn 2013 | 61



Mark Ambrecht & Alan Yeatter

Don Ford & Charlie Blade

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“It’s about when you hear this musician sing or play, do you feel what they feel? If they’re expressing that emotion, that’s what the blues is about.” Watching him socialize with the other Blues Jam attendees, an outsider would have had no idea he is actually a celebrity in the blues world. “Pete Karnes played with John Lee Hooker for a number of years,” Richardson said. “He also lives in the area and comes out regularly to our jams. We’re just very pleased when somebody of that caliber enjoys what we do and wants to be a part of the community – they don’t act like big celebrities, like they’re above it.” This egalitarian ethos is an important feature of the Blues Jam. “A lot of the jams you go to, you have to know someone to get to play,” Richardson said. “And at other jams, there’s no structure at all. We try to be somewhere in the middle, where some of the best musicians in the area are playing, but also

62 | Autumn 2013

some complete beginners, the people who’ve never played in front of people besides their family and friends. They get to get up on stage and play too.” He emphasized that the beginners are as welcome and supported on stage as the professionals. They’ll play rhythm guitar, they’ll stand on the back of the stage so they don’t feel too exposed by the whole thing, but that’s how we see them grow. People start out playing in the back, being all shy about it, and the more they play, the more they realize that nobody’s judging them. Then they get more confident, and they start standing closer and closer to the front of the stage.” Cruz Bluz’s tightly played halfhour set began – and ended – with a roar of applause. (As the evening’s host band, Richardson explained,

they had the responsibility of providing sound equipment and large instruments such as drums and keyboards, and the privilege of playing both the opening and closing sets of the evening.) As they left the stage, a few other musicians drifted on, plugging in guitars. Richardson, who was the emcee for the event, announced that there was still room for more players. A couple of saxophone players stepped up and stood on one end of the stage, tuning their instruments together. To non-musicians, or classically trained musicians, the notion that a group of random people could spontaneously jump onstage together and create powerful music seems unimaginable. How is it possible without hours of rehearsal or even an organized playlist? Such improvisation, Richardson said,

LEFT TO RIGHT: Charlie Blade, Ken Booth and Rick Lackey perform at Dirty Bar.

Steve Crews & Rick Lackey

Pete Karnes

is one of the structural hallmarks of the blues – and is at the root of most other modern music styles. “We also have local jazz, country and rock musicians who come to the jams to play blues,” he said. “No matter what genre they play, they understand that blues is the root of it, that improvisation in a lot of these music styles is rooted in improvisation in the blues.” Karnes and his band were up next. A heartfelt song dedicated to his wife, whom he had recently lost to cancer, sent the crowd to its feet, some wiping tears from their eyes. Karnes was not, however, the only nationally known musician in the house this evening. Seated next to Richardson at a table near the side of the stage was Sheba, the Mississippi Queen. While originally from Mississippi, Sheba made a name and career for her herself in Miami before moving recently to Ocala. Among the goals of the Blues Society, Richardson said, is to make Gainesville audiences aware of prominent local musicians, as well

Rob Richardson

as to bring non-local acts to Gainesville. “Our goal is to attract musicians north from Ocala, west from Jacksonville and south from Tallahassee,” he said. Sheba was scheduled to perform at 9:00, but she did not step onstage right away. Rather, she allowed the other musicians in the 9:00 slot to play through a couple of songs alone, which puzzled some in the audience. But the moment she stepped up, the reason for her delay became clear: She’d been watching them. Once onstage, she interacted with the instrumentalists as if she had been playing with them for months, prodding one, then another, into solos as she belted out her songs. Meanwhile, another luminary of the blues world slipped onto the stage unannounced. Mike Markowitz, a.k.a. Little Mike, has played with some of the biggest legends in the blues, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Cray and Pinetop Perkins. Richardson said


he lives in the area and is a regular participant in the monthly jams. Little Mike seated himself at the keyboard and began to play in tight harmony with the rest of the ensemble as Sheba continued to dominate the spectators’ attention. The combination of raw vocal power and consummate professionalism was impressive, and as the set ended, Sheba stepped offstage to a standing ovation before returning to her seat to hear the remaining acts. It is the very nature of the blues, Richardson said, that allows and welcomes seasoned professionals such as Sheba and Little Mike to rub shoulders so seamlessly with enthusiastic amateurs. “The thing about blues is it isn’t about necessarily being a perfect singer, it isn’t necessarily about being the top player technically,” he said. “It’s about when you hear this musician sing or play, do you feel what they feel? If they’re expressing that emotion, that’s what the blues is about.” s

Autumn 2013 | 63




Strive for 75 Recycling Campaign In 2010, Florida Statute 403.7032, creating the 75% recycling goal for the State of Florida, went into effect. In this statute the Legislature recognizes, “that the failure or inability to economically recover material and energy resources from solid waste results in the unnecessary waste and depletion of our natural resources. As the state continues to grow, so will the potential amount of discarded material that must be treated and disposed of, necessitating the improvement of solid waste collection and disposal. Therefore, the maximum recycling and reuse of such resources are considered high-priority goals of the state.” ON THE WAY TO ACHIEVING THIS GOAL THE FOLLOWING BENCHMARKS MUST BE MET BY DECEMBER 31ST OF EACH YEAR:

2012 – 40% recycling rate 2012 recycling rate achieved - 55%! 2014 – 50% recycling rate 2016 – 60% recycling rate 2018 – 70% recycling rate 2020 – 75% recycling rate It is the responsibility of each County to calculate and report their recycling rate to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection by April 1 each year. The recycling rate is based on the percentage of munici-

pal solid waste created in the County which is diverted from a waste disposal facility for the purposes of recycling. “Municipal solid waste” includes any solid waste, except for sludge, resulting from the operation of residential, commercial, governmental, or institutional establishments that would normally be collected, processed, and disposed of through a public or private solid waste management service. The term includes yard trash but does not include solid waste from industrial, mining, or agricultural operations.

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Gate Crashing On Deck: Cicada Shell, Becca Pieters DATE: FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2013 VENUE: THE CIVIC MEDIA CENTER reetings, live music aficionados! This issue finds us at the Civic Media Center, a venue which I haven’t previously featured in this column, but with which I’ve had a long personal relationship. The CMC describes itself as an “alternative library, reading room, and infoshop,” a “community-based non-profit organization that serves as a resource for progressive grassroots activism and promotes public awareness in Alachua County and North Central Florida.” Its stated mission is “is to provide community access to information and points of view that are under-reported or distorted in mainstream media.” A few years back, the Midtown location it inhabited since 1993 closed and was moved to its current location at 433 South Main, in between the fire station and the Citizens’ Co-Op grocery (with the recently-moved Wild Iris books behind it and around the corner). The venue is unique in Gainesville, as its central raison d’être is not to exist as a show-space (or a place to sell alcoholic beverages), but instead to educate and furnish access to its sixteen thousand books, journals, “‘zines,” DVDs, magazines and newspapers by independent, non-corporate press on a wide variety of subjects. The CMC is also a meeting place for a variety of local progressive groups, in addition to hosting the occasional benefit or fundraiser. The event that was the subject of this issue’s column was a benefit for one of the Civic Media Center’s local projects, the low-power radio station WGOT. Gainesville has a history of low-power radio, and in the ‘90s was home to the pirate station Free Radio Gainesville. Operating from a secret location, since federal authorities then refused to license low-power radio stations, FRG was eventually hunted down and had its broadcasting gear confiscated.


66 | Autumn 2013

The work of pioneering pirates like FRG, however, resulted in changes in regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission, so that today’s WGOT is entirely above-board and licensed by the FCC. Not that it was easy, however. WGOT applied for an FCC license way back in 2001, and was not finally approved to broadcast until 2008! Also, regulations require that WGOT share its 94.7 FM slot with two local churches, which broadcast at different times. This Friday night was typically hot and humid, as Gainesville summers tend to be. My band (which shall remain nameless) was the opener, but our drummer was out of town, so we played drummerless, and billed ourselves as the “Nigel Bruce Trio.” (This was an inside joke, as our drummer’s first name is Bruce, but one of

Cicada Shell

his many nicknames is also Nigel.) We played in the back courtyard, and not having a drummer allowed us to keep our volume somewhat lower outdoors. After the Nigel Bruce Trio finished its punk rock racket, a trio of a very different sort took the stage in the CMC courtyard. Cicada Shell is a trio consisting of Brian Turk on standup bass, Chelsea Carnes on banjo,

“Lars has one of those somewhat quirky voices” mandolin and backing vocals, and Lars Din on guitar and lead vocals. As best I can reckon (there is a Cicada Shell facebook page, but it is empty), the band has been around since at least November 2012 (when the facebook page went up). But all have readily traceable local music pedigrees, as Turk plays bass in Nook and Cranny and in the Blue Suede Swingers, Lars has been playing solo under his own name for quite awhile, and Chelsea formed the band Dirty Fist! (yes, there’s supposed to be an exclamation point) at age 17, teaches several instruments at Studio Percussion, and was

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Becca Pieters

recently involved mentoring with its Gainesville Rock and Roll Camp for Girls. In contrast to the openers, Cicada Shell played entirely acoustically (so far as I could tell — the bass was wired for amplification but I don’t believe it was plugged in): no mics, no PA, no amps. And that was just fine. Lars has one of those somewhat quirky voices, not out there in the Tom Waits or Iggy Pop zone, but vaguely akin to someone like Jonathan Richman or Neil Young. This was offset by fine backing vocals by Chelsea, and a little additional variety was added by her playing mandolin on some songs and banjo on others. Some of the song lyrics were about progressive political issues (like unionization or the environment) but others (one with the apparent title “Dumpster of Love”) were pure fun and had the audience joining in at times. Closing the festivities was Gainesville’s Becca Pieters, a solo singer-songwriter who previously performed under the moniker “White Elephant Gift Exchange.” She’s also been playing locally for several years and put out an EP in 2009. She covered Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and provided a set of strong originals, one of which featured a descending bass line reminiscent of the Beatle’s “Norwegian Wood,” along with lyrics reflecting her self-deprecating humor. Now, go see some bands. s


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amping C

in the Sunshine State Discovering the Real Outdoors

BY COURTNEY LINDWALL he rush of warm Florida sun filled my tent at dawn — bringing to life the birds, the sleepy campers and the hunger that had been building inside me after four days hiking trails. I was hundreds of miles away from my apartment, trying to resurrect some primal outdoorsiness I believed was hidden inside. This was years ago, on my big camping trip around the Panhandle, the one that sparked my passion for hiking and the outdoors. I had set off with a gear-packed car, hoping to come back with a new sense of appreciation for my Sunshine State. I was on a trip to reconnect with the untouched patches of Real Florida that I believed were still waiting for me.


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And the remarkable thing was — I did. Somewhere between the Suwannee and Apalachicola, I fell into place outdoors. On the trails, in the water and out among the dunes, I recognized the gift that a night out in nature can be, especially here, in our Florida. But among the thousands of tucked-away spots to camp in natural Florida, these six will stay with me as my favorites.

Blue Spring State Park (Orange City) Blue Spring State Park, just a couple miles down the road from where I grew up, is the busiest on two types of days. The first is in scorching summer, when icy spring water is just the right thing

for bathing away heat. On these afternoons, before the thunderstorms roll in, the park gets so busy that cars form a line at the entrance. Caravans full of kids tube down the St. John’s river, with snorkel masks and deep tans. The second is when the manatees come. Beginning in winter, the manatees migrate down the river and spend time at what is now a designated manatee refuge. Herds of these “sea cows” are around from mid-November to early March, and most days you’ll find crowds of visitors peering over the boardwalk’s lookout, just a stone’s throw away from Florida’s gentle giants. On my weekends home during Christmastime, we’d always go out with cameras to take pictures of what were sometimes groups of 20 or more manatees right at the river’s edge.

Somewhere between the Suwannee and Apalachicola, I fell into place outdoors. On the trails, in the water and out among the dunes, I recognized the gift that a night out in nature can be, especially here, in our Florida.

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Blue Spring is the largest spring on the St. John’s River, a winding 300-mile behemoth unto itself. When it’s not too cold, you’ll usually find scuba divers suited up, heading into the mouth of the spring — a deep crevice that leads down into the Florida aquifer. This spot is particularly popular for boat tours, fishing, canoeing and snorkeling. The campsites are tucked into sandy scrubland, just walking distance from the springs. This park also has fully equipped cabins. Be sure to get up early and hike along the boardwalk, which winds along next to the water underneath a shady hammock. The view near the mouth of the spring is particularly great from the boardwalk’s gazebo. I know it well; it’s where my fiancé proposed.

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Anastasia State Park (St. Augustine) This coastal park is only miles away from downtown St. Augustine, and the park’s history is deeply rooted in the old Spanish port town. My trips to Anastasia have been part of larger trips to the city — to go see the nearby fortress and national monument, Castillo de San Marcos; to walk through the narrow streets of downtown’s shops and restaurants; and to trek to the top of the 19th-century lighthouse at the north end of Anastasia Island. While the park can be enjoyed by itself, its strip of untouched Atlantic coastline is more meaningful when seen as a piece of Old Spanish Florida.

The park is speckled by scrub and cactus — patches of green against the rolling tan of the beach’s dunes. Marshland, seablown trees and a distant view of the lighthouse line the ocean’s edge, where summertime swimmers, surfers and kayakers pile in. We’d comb the sand for shells while watching the shorebirds. The park is an archaeological site where coquina, a type of sedimentary rock made up of shells, was mined to build the fort. It’s also home to one of my favorite short hikes, the Ancient Dunes Trail. A little less than a one-mile loop, the trail winds through slightly hilly dunes, shaded by a maritime hammock. Campers are set up in some of the more wooded spots, but are still just a walk from the water’s edge.

Wake up early to bike along the beach at sunrise. Take your canoe out to Salt Run, the park’s tidal salt marsh, and bring your fishing gear. Or just lay in your tent through the morning, breathing in salty air and listening to the laughing gulls and the songbirds.

Florida Caverns State Park (Marianna) When I first visited the caverns, the water inside had just begun to flow. Our tour guide led us through puddles, around the raining stalactites and dripping limestone. The water that carved the spectacular cave formations, over thousands of years, was doing its slow work in front of us. The caverns, cold

and wet, had begun to gleam with underground dew. Florida Caverns State Park is the only state park that offers cave tours to the public. In a half-hour trek from room to room, visitors learn the caverns’ geological history and the history of the park itself. High-quality lighting is set up throughout, making the views impressive and picture-taking easy. My favorite rooms are set up with multi-colored lights, splashing the massive rocks with bright greens, reds and blues. But the park is more than just the caves. The Chipola River winds through the area, diving 90 feet underground at the site’s river hole sink, and a freshwater spring is available for swimming during warmer months. It is the northernmost state park, and the land changes from Florida’s typical scrubland to elevated rocky bluffs. I first visited in early spring, and the land’s mosses and leaves were that shade of freshly born green. Sweetgum trees, hardwoods and

just-sprouted wild flowers lined the trails, alongside lichens, black walnut trees and oak-leaf hydrangeas. The campgrounds are walking distance from the nearly half-dozen miles of trails. On cold mornings, walk along the river and watch the steam rise through the woodlands and just-broken light.

Falling Waters State Park (Chipley) Falling Waters State Park is home to the highest waterfall in the state, but visitors should look down, not up, to appreciate its stature. From a distance, the waterfall seems small — a mild stream flowing over the edge of a mosscovered rock. But as you get closer, the water churns louder and reveals the 100-foot drop below. The water, whose final destination is unknown, falls into a 20-foot-wide sink and makes for one of Florida’s most picturesque landmarks. The park’s Sink Hole Trail leads

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I had forgotten there is more to our state than too-packed amusement parks and sprawling suburbs. to the falls itself and has a shaded boardwalk lined with large trees and ferns. Trickling streams wind through the gently sloping landscape and are what I would consider perfect for afternoon hikes. When I visited, I didn’t have a chance to hike the other two longer trails (the Terrace and Wiregrass trails), but their paths through the sloping North Florida hardwoods would make for moderate day hikes. The campsite itself, tucked into the longleaf pines, is situated on one of the highest hills in Florida, 324 feet above sea level.

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On warmer days, dip into the two-acre lake or bring a picnic to eat in the shade.

Suwannee River State Park (Live Oak) The Suwannee River runs through Old Florida — through its land, its people, its history and even its songs. The river is a picture of the south: fishermen along the riverbanks, low-hanging moss, cypress trees. Alligators, hawks, turtles and herons make their

home in and around the wide, black and strong water — too strong, in fact, to swim at the park. The park features trails, sinkholes and even Civil War earthwork mounds, telling the story of the area’s Confederate defenses of the old town Columbus. My favorite trail in the park is not the one running alongside the river, but instead the Sandhills Trail, a little farther away. Just under a mile, the trail loops around near the old stagecoach road where wagons filled with cotton and other goods used to head toward the river. But

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the best part of the trail, halfway around, is the emergence of the old Columbus Cemetery. Gravestones from the mid-19th century emerge among the trail’s pines. The camping is alongside the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail, which leads to the old Lime Sink and winds through the woodlands. The best view in the park is up on the lookout, standing over the intersection of the Suwannee and Withlacoochee. Here, you can see the strength and size of the old rivers — the way they have both defined and kept alive the people and wildlife of the Florida backcountry.


Torreya State Park (Bristol) When I first arrived to Torreya State Park, the northern chill of the panhandle was in full swing. The circular campsite sits on a high bluff, with a lookout to the area’s rare and striking elevation. The winds whipped around the hardwoods, flickering the fires that every campsite had burning throughout the evening. Torreya, to me, didn’t feel quite like the Florida I knew. In the fall, the leaves turn. And in the winter, the cold is bitter. The fauna is even unique to the area — famous for the rare species of Torreya tree that makes it home specifically on the bluffs overlooking the Apalachicola River, the dividing point between time zones. Some of the best trail systems I’ve seen in Florida are at Torreya — miles of hardwood forest pushed up against the edge of the river and hills. The Weeping Ridge trail begins at the edge of the campsite, winding down to a ravine at the bottom. When I hiked it near dusk, I spotted deer, which sprinted away immediately, and heard the nighttime cries of distant coyotes. They continued to sing throughout the night. If you are interested in more primitive camping, the park provides something dubbed “The

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Bring a propane stove for easy cooking. Things like pasta, oatmeal, and ground beef are easy meals. Bring cheap pots and pans, and wash them by hand at the camp ground’s water spout.


Bug spray is a must. If you’re camping in winter, it will be less of an issue, but during summer bug spray is critical. Also check for ticks every night.


Leave food outside your tent, and preferably in an airtight container a distance from the campground. Food attracts wildlife such as raccoons, but in areas like the Ocala National Forest, campers should be wary of black bears.

4 5

Make sure you bring a tarp for under your tent and a waterproof “rain-fly” cover in case of rain.


Only make fires in designated fire pits. Most campgrounds offer wood, and campers shouldn’t gather timber themselves from the surrounding area. Bring a bag of instant match-light briquettes and lighter fluid to get nighttime fires started more easily.

7 8

Bring activities for nighttime, such as books, cards, or smores. Bring plenty of lanterns and batteries.


Practice setting up your tent at least once before you arrive. First, make sure all the pieces are there, but also practice a speedy set-up in case you have to race against rain or darkness.

Bring good hiking shoes with ankle support, thick socks, and plenty of Band-Aids. Florida has mild terrain, but after a week of hiking your feet will appreciate appropriate footwear.

Air mattresses aren’t a requirement, but will make sleeping a lot more comfortable than with just a sleeping bag on the ground. Most campsites will have a power outlet so you can plug in an air mattress pump. Battery powered pumps are also available.


Lastly, respect the environment. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Torreya Challenge.” This five-mile loop allows for backpackers to set up camp halfway around, and then finish up the rest of the loop the next day. Equipped with fire rings and benches, these back-in-thewoods trails give campers darker, quieter nights — lit only by the stars and the domed glow of lanterns. During the day, walk to the historic white-paneled Gregory House, a 19th-century plantation house overlooking the Apalachicola.


rowing up near Orlando, I had forgotten there is more to our

state than too-packed amusement parks and sprawling suburbs. Somewhere between the miles of trails and the dozens of parks, I fell in love with Florida again. I canoed across rivers and came face-to-face with wildlife. I slept on the ground and woke up with the sun. These six camping spots are my favorites, some because of their beauty and some because of the memories I have there. But these parks are just an invitation to discover the hundreds of others — the corners of Florida best seen after a night in a tent and a day on the trails. s





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Drawing on Experience Gainesville’s History with Alternative Comics

BY ASHIRA MORRIS hen Jeff Mason was getting his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Florida, he decided to make some extra money by selling comics. “I realized that there was this niche market for independent and alternative comics,” he said. “Really anything that’s not mainstream or superhero comics.” Gainesville has a soft spot for those graphic novels — the ones that pack a punch with wit and originality instead of a fist. Mason followed up on that observation and founded the publishing house Alternative Comics. In 2003, the University of Florida hosted the first Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels.


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And last January, the graphic arts got a permanent home when the Sequential Artists Studio opened its doors and beckoned with ink and paper. Mason was one of the first people to give the Gainesville comic scene shape. He would buy people’s alternative comic collections, then turn around and sell them. When he stopped and noticed that he was buying comics from across the country, he decided to start publishing them. In 1993, Indy Magazine was launched. A year later, cartoonist Jon Lewis moved from the West Coast to Gainesville. Mason was a huge fan of Lewis’ comic “True Swamp” and asked if he could publish the next installment.

“The reason I wanted to publish this comic was so I could read more of his stuff,” Mason said. “It wasn’t a financial thing.” When Lewis agreed, Alternative Comics was born, with Mason as the founder. After the first publication, people began sending him their work for publication. For over a decade, Mason published titles under the Alternative Comics label. One of the artists he published was Tom Hart, who left Gainesville for New York soon after. In January 2012, Hart moved back to Gainesville to open the Sequential Artists Workshop. It marked the first space in the city dedicated to creating narrative comics. Since opening its doors in the courtyard behind the Citizens


ABOVE: Tom Hart works at his desk, slightly removed from the large, open space for classes. He is currently illustrating multiple projects: a personal memoir and an anthology of stories for returning veterans based around the Odyssey, contracted by the Department of Defense. In the past year, Sally Cantirino completed multiple projects, including a guide to roller derby and the story of Persephone.

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TOP: Tom Hart sits under comics created by the yearlong program graduates. Registration for next year’s class is open, and people from as far as Australia are registered. ABOVE RIGHT: Sally Cantirino, one of the first graduates of S.A.W.’s yearlong program, has her own desk in the studio’s loft. She recently bought a house two blocks away from the studio and will continue to draw and teach there. “That’s how devoted I am to this place,” she said. ABOVE LEFT: Cantirino does all of her work with ink at her desk at S.A.W. to avoid staining her white carpets at home.

Co-Op on South Main Street, S.A.W. has hosted professional workshops, gallery shows and countless classes. Hart’s wife, Leela Corman, is also a published comic artist and one of the instructors. S.A.W.’s yearlong program gives its students a holistic knowledge of the art, from character development to technical editing. This year, five students made up the first graduating class. They celebrated with a final show and

80 | Autumn 2013

commencement party at Newnans Lake. All the students published their work, with titles ranging from “Persephone” to “I Am A Buffalo I Do What I Want.” The students enrolled for next year’s program come from as far as Australia. “I think we’ve definitely generated a lot of interest in comics,” Hart said. “We’ve pulled a lot of people out of the woodwork who maybe have doodled a little bit, and gotten them

really interested in storytelling.” The University of Florida provides an academic angle to the comic community. The English department houses the Comics and Visual Rhetoric track for master’s and doctoral students. Every year, the university hosts the Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels. The 10th annual conference, themed “A Comic of Her Own,” was held in March. Corman was one of the guest


Cantirino draws her comics in pencil first, before going over them in ink. Tom Hart, who founded S.A.W., was her first cartooning teacher in New York at the School of Visual Arts.

speakers at the conference. Other past speakers have included Daniel Clowes, author of cult classics “Ghost World” and “Art School Confidential,” and Eddie Campbell, who illustrated “From Hell.” The department also publishes ImageTexT, a peer-reviewed online journal with academic pieces on the history, significance and rhetoric of comics. The conference and ImageTexT helped convince Hart and Corman

to move back to Gainesville. S.A.W. teaches its students how to create comics; the university teaches them how to analyze. “It seemed like a natural, nice sort of symbiosis,” Hart said. Cartoonist Derek Ballard, on the other hand, has never been to the UF conference. He prefers to grab a sandwich with the artists when they are in town. He also enjoys comic festivals, where people come to share ideas and sell their work.

“You know what a Comic-Con is, right?” Ballard said. “Okay. It’s nothing like that. Nobody’s dressed up. It’s indie comics. It’s more like a film festival.” Ballard started drawing cartoons when he was 10 months old. As a child, then teenager, he never doodled. His drawings always told a story. After graduating college, he was working manual labor jobs in Mobile, Ala., while his wife was in

Autumn 2013 | 81



medical school. He was contacted to draw covers for a magazine, and paid the bills with the money from his drawings. Since then, writing cartoons has become his primary job. Initially, he was given standard assignments that were not inherently interesting so he would take it as a personal challenge to make the cartoon different. “So at this point, no matter what you give me to draw, no matter what the subject is, I can find a way to make it interesting to myself,” he said. Currently, he is storyboarding an episode for the Cartoon Network show “Adventure Time.” Most people will be assigned a prop design job as their first gig with a cartoon, drawing the piece of trash or small shrub the viewer sees in the foreground. Move up a rung on the ladder and one will find the background designers; character designers are the top step. Presiding over the artistic


S.A.W. students Adrian Pijoan and Sally Cantirino were on hand at the Ocala Comic Con event held in June.

direction is the story boarder, who narrates the entire episode. Ballard sketches two screenshots per page, each with dialogue, sound effects and action listed below the image. “I’m more of an idea man,” he said. “It’s like being a director.” At S.A.W.’s grand opening party, Ballard had the book release party

for his first compilation, “Cartoon Show.” He also hung a show in the school’s gallery space. “It was amazing,” he said. “I’d never been to an Art Walk (Gainesville’s monthly art celebration) before that. And so many people came. I thought maybe 10 people would come… I haven’t been disappointed by Gainesville yet.” s

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Ocala Comic Con Where Fantasy & Reality Meet PHOTOGRAPHY BY KRISTIN KOZELSKY

n June, Ocala saw its first Comic Con. Comic Cons are independently organized events that celebrate pop culture focused around comics, graphic novels, $


anime, manga, video games, SciFi, fantasy and more. Ocala’s Comic Con featured a variety of guests available for autographs, conversation and panel discussions. Some of this year’s guests included Quinton Flynn and John Swasey, both accomplished voice actors; Rob Van Dam of WWE fame; and Sergio Cariello and Clay Mann, artists from Marvel. Darth Vader, Storm Troopers and Chewbacca, as representatives from the local chapters of the Rebel Alliance and the 501st Legion, were also in attendance. About 75 vendors were present — including Gainesville’s own Sequential Artists Workshop — allowing visitors to purchase anything from vintage comics to original drawings to pop culture paraphernalia to costume accessories. Of course, the highlight of the event was the costume contest. Comic Cons are probably most well known for the epic costumes visitors wear. Ocala’s Comic Con did not disappoint.

84 | Autumn 2013

Some of the largest Comic Con conventions take place in cities such as New York and San Diego. Now Central Florida has its own close to home. During the Ocala Con’s June event, collectors peruse one of the many comic book vendor’s vintage collections. Also on display, a life-size replica of the legendary Han Solo, frozen in carbonite, courtesy of Florida’s chapter of the 501st Legion, “Vader’s Fist.” Find them at

Autumn 2013 | 85



ABOVE: Illustrator Alexander Lugo works on a new drawing. Finished drawings were available for purchase. BELOW: Artist Nigel Williams (left) draws caricatures of attendees in super hero form. Voice actor Quinton Flynn (right) chats with fans. Flynn is frequently a recurring actor in the video game series Crash Bandicoot.

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Costumes galore! Darth Vader, a storm trooper, The Joker, a group of characters from “Death the Kid” (“Death the Girl” placed 3rd in the costume contest), Steve from Minecraft, and Robin all made appearances.

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Your lawyer has experience with divorce…

Shouldn’t your financial advisor?


ivorce is a reality for about half of American couples. Financial hardship during and after divorce is a reality and this can make an emotionally difficult situation even more stressful. For nearly 20 years, Ashley Banks and Donna Carroll have worked together to help ensure that the financial burden of divorce and other life-changing situations is as minimal as possible. Ashley Banks, a Certified Financial Planner and Morgan Stanley Branch Manager, and Donna Carroll are the only female advisors in the area who have the Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) designation. They work with divorcees to help complete financial affidavits, budget analysis and settlement options for 5, 10 and 15 years following the divorce. This enables the person getting divorced

to take control of his or her finances, determine monetary needs, identify investable assets and develop a plan for their future. They suggest clients meet with them at the onset of a divorce, if not sooner. This allows Banks and Carroll to learn as much as possible about the person’s finances and also enables them to recommend whether or not she or he is in a position to move forth with a divorce. Sometimes not getting a divorce makes more financial sense, at least for the immediate future. Banks and Carroll work with clients of both genders and a range of ages. However, they are passionate about empowering women to help them feel comfortable with their financial choices. They also educate their clients, which include both private and corporate entities, about other

issues, such as investment, insurance, estate and retirement planning. They network with attorneys, CPAs and other professionals as the need arises for their clients and prospects. Ashley and Donna are very committed to their community and giving back by actively participating in many local charities. Ashley is a graduate of UF and serves as Treasurer on the Board of Boys & Girls Club and a member of the Women’s Auxiliary. Donna went to NOVA in Virginia and is a member of the Women’s Auxiliary, Women Linked In and is involved with the Children’s Advocacy Center and Internet Crimes Against Children. To contact or find out more about the Banks Carroll Group please visit the website

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Paddle Out Connecting Kayakers to Their Rivers

BY ASHIRA MORRIS he Suwannee River begins in the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia and flows through North Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. Over time, this 246-mile river has seen a lot. Three Native American tribes, including the Seminoles, lived alongside the river. The steamboat “Madison” provided communication throughout Florida until the Civil War; now, its remains rest on the bottom of the riverbed at Troy Springs. In 1851 Stephen Foster, America’s first professional songwriter, found that the river’s name fit perfectly into his song “Old Folks at Home.” The tune famously opens


92 | Autumn 2013

with the line “way down upon the Suwannee River,” although Foster never visited Florida. And more recently, Paddle Florida took its inaugural trip down the Suwannee in March of 2008. Paddle Florida organizes kayaking trips through Florida’s waterways with the goal of promoting water conservation and protection, wildlife preservation and restoration of springs, said Bill Richards, its founder and current executive director. Richards kayaked the entire Suwannee River in 2006. While on that trip, he had a realization: “If you didn’t have to carry gear and didn’t have to cook... people would love to do this.” Two years later, Paddle Florida

was born from that idea. Richards planned and promoted a trip down the Suwannee River. He was uncertain of what the response would be. It was a resounding one: They led 163 people down 123 miles of river, camping along the way. After the success of the first trip, Richards continued leading trips down the Suwannee. Over the years, he added new waterways to the trip list.

“Itt’s liike e paddling thrrou ugh your own perssona al NOVA special.”


Paddlers on the Florida Keys Challenge trip in 2012 took a 115-mile trip following Henry Flagler’s overseas railway. They ended in Key West on the rail line’s 100th anniversary.

Now, Paddle Florida takes a trip in each of Florida’s five water management districts — Northwest Florida, Suwannee River, Saint Johns River, Southwest Florida and South Florida — every year. The trips range from around 30 miles to more than 70 miles. Some take up

to a week to complete. For providing this service, the state Department of Environmental Protection gives Paddle Florida fee waivers at the state parks they camp in at night. Jill Lingard was a paddler on the inaugural Suwannee trip, and is

now the vice president of the board of directors. After years of paddling Florida’s rivers, she now volunteers on many of the trips. “The irony is that I rarely get to paddle on a Paddle Florida trip now,” she said. Participants range from 8 to 80

Autumn 2013 | 93




ABOVE: Kayakers cruise along the Suwannee Wilderness Trail at sunrise. Paddle Florida’s first trip was down the Suwannee River, and it it now an annual event. LEFT: In 2010, Paddle Florida took its first trip down the St. Johns River. In Volusia Blue Spring, record low temperatures in the 20s caused manatees to huddle together for warmth. The heat from their breath added to the mist rising from the water.

years old. Some are avid kayakers; others have never wielded a paddle before. “We really welcome newbies,” she said. “It puts a spring in my step to see someone who is new to the sport really embrace it. And I see it all the time.” Lingard is also involved with Current Problems, a nonprofit

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dedicated to preserving and protecting the water resources of North Florida. It organizes the annual Great Suwannee River Clean Up, which coordinates volunteers to clear the river of rubbish. During Paddle Florida trips on the Suwannee, Richards would dedicate a day to cleaning up the river as a part of the great cleanup.

“We started asking ourselves, ‘We do this on the Suwannee. Why don’t we do this on every waterway?’” Lingard said. Now, most trips have a clean-up component. Paddlers have collected as much as 1,500 pounds of trash on a single day. However, not all of Florida’s aquatic problems are as easily solved as picking up a discarded beer can. Some lurk below the surface, such as the nitrates in the Wekiva River. Others are in plain sight. Three years into paddling on the

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Paddlers travel down the Ochlockonee River on Paddle Florida’s Dam to the Bay in March. The six-day trip took participants through Florida’s panhandle, ending at Bald Point State Park.

Peace River, Richards noticed that people were dragging their boats because the water was so shallow. “What we saw while we were paddling [was] the rivers and springs were being degraded,“ he said. Richards saw an opportunity for his organization to improve the situation. In June of 2011, he

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changed Paddle Florida from a commercial enterprise to a nonprofit. Now, the organization’s mission extends beyond taking participants out for an enjoyable trip down a river. Their events aim to promote water conservation, wildlife preservation, springs restoration and waterways protection.

For evening entertainment, Richards wanted to expose participants to Florida’s rich natural beauty and heritage. He added biologists, park rangers and United States Geological Survey employees to the lineup of local authors and musicians. The entertainment program has included Bing Futch, who plays Appalachian mountain dulcimer; author Cynthia Barnett, who has written extensively about Florida’s water issues; and Ken Sulak, a research fish biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. “It’s like paddling through your own personal NOVA special,” Lingard said. “They’re talking about

areas you’re seeing firsthand.” Paddle Florida is not the only organization looking out for the state’s waterways. The Florida Paddling Trails Association was established to maintain Florida’s aquatic trails. In 2007, Florida’s first saltwater circumnavigation trail officially became part of the Florida Greenways and Trails System. It is the longest paddling trail in the continental United States. However, there was no funding to maintain the waterway or the primitive campsites along the trail. A group of concerned Floridians came together at Homosassa Springs to establish a nonprofit to take care of the trail. While they were there, they realized that no one had taken responsibility for the freshwater trails either. The Florida Paddling Trails Association and its members serve as stewards of the water trails in the state of Florida, said current president Tom McLaulin.

McLaulin was also on the original Paddle Florida trip and has been on six since. To keep rivers like the Suwannee healthy, he also emphasized education. The avid paddlers usually are not the problem; they usually come to land with bags full of garbage they have collected along the river. “They are an asset to the community,” McLaulin said. He hopes that the association’s outreach programs will impact the recreational paddlers and demonstrate just how important their water resources are. The Blue Way Community Program was recently established to connect communities on the rivers’ paths to their waterways. The program helps cities promote themselves as a destination for paddlers, bringing in tourism dollars. As a part of the program, the association also educates the city on proper environmental practice and what resources and services paddlers need.

Now is the time.

By tying their community to the sport, he hopes the concept will be easier to grasp. “If we don’t take care, there won’t be places to paddle,” he said. Recently, the towns of Suwannee, Fort Mead and Fernandina Beach joined the program. Every city that McLaulin has reached out to is now a Blue Way Community — a total of 37. “It’s a good excuse to be in the water,” he said. “I get invited to go places that I probably would not go.” Creating a powerful emotional connection to the water may just be what saves Florida’s waterways. “It’s more far-reaching than a lazy paddle on a weekend afternoon,” Lingard said. “Once you’re in the environment and experiencing it firsthand, restoration packs a bigger punch than reading a newspaper article.” s To learn more, visit the websites for:


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Environmental Current THESE LOCAL GROUPS IN THE ALACHUA COUNTY AREA ARE ALSO WORKING TO KEEP OUR WATER CLEAN AND FLOWING Florida Conservation Coalition The coalition, founded by Bob Graham, emphasizes managing Florida’s water resources at local (not state) levels and restoring funding to the regional water management districts. Florida Defenders of the Environment Since 1969, this group has stood for the protection of freshwater resources. They also emphasize environmental education and conservation of public land. Florida Wildlife Federation This nonprofit stands up for the state’s animal, plant, soil and water life.

Santa Fe Lake Dwellers Association This group’s focus is the water quality of the Santa Fe Lake, on of the headwaters of the Santa Fe River, which is the largest tributary of the Suwannee River. Save Our Suwannee This advocacy group is a voice for the springs, bringing its call to action to state and local officials. Suwannee/St. Johns Sierra Club The local chapter of the national organization focuses on all aspects of environmental conservation.

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Different Note It’s Like Pulling Teeth hen I was a little boy,” is how I would begin all the stories I would tell my youngest son at bedtime. This tradition helped me to remember a variety of tales — some too humiliating to mention here. These stories may have otherwise fallen into the deep dark nether regions of my brain never to see the light of day. Here’s one: When I was a little boy, my younger brother had a loose tooth. And, of course, we needed money (some things never change). So we decided we would pull his tooth and then collect coinage from the illustrious bearer of great wealth, the Tooth Fairy. Back in those days we could earn as much as a quarter for prime enamel, which could buy us 1.5 cans of soda or 25 pieces of bubble gum. The tooth had to go. I’m here to tell you that despite what my dentist has to say, pulling teeth is not easy; that tooth was slippery and not budging.


So we decided maybe we should concentrate our efforts on a baby tooth instead. I am KIDDING. This was most assuredly a baby tooth. And some baby teeth are well-rooted, it would seem. We were not stupid kids. We watched TV. And we had seen people on TV tie one end of a string to a tooth and the other end to a doorknob. Close the door and pop! The money was as good as ours. I helped my brother tie the string to his tooth, wrapping it good and tight around that tiny pearly white. We tied the other end to the doorknob of our bedroom door. For this to work it seemed only logical to slam the door as hard as possible. My brother braced himself as I readied the door. One! He clenched his fists. Two! He closed his eyes. Three! I slammed the door shut with a bang. But we hadn’t measured the string. It was too long. The string didn’t pull the tooth but instead drooped from his gaping mouth to the doorknob. And then fate moved its heavy hand. There was a card table propped against the wall behind the door. It toppled down upon my brother throwing him forward

“Tooth Fairies are very busy this time of year,” I would say, as if teeth, like crops, were seasonal.


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and knocking him senseless. His tooth flew from its socket with the greatest of ease and dangled from the string in all its tiny bloody glory. Success! Now we had enough capital for a whole bunch of bubblegum. But, if memory serves me, my brother kept it for himself. I can hardly blame him. Fast-forward a few decades and now I have children losing teeth. My kids are not always as adventurous or industrious as my brother and I (for which I am most grateful). Indeed, my wife on more than one occasion has had to yank the teeth from their bellowing mouths. You’d think she was killing them the way they scream. But once the tooth is out, they’re like, “That wasn’t so bad!” They would then dutifully place their tooth under the pillow and go to sleep with a smile on their faces. They’d wake up bright and early the following morning to discover that, more often than not, the Tooth Fairy, having had a couple of adult beverages, had fallen asleep early and neglected to pay them a visit. No money under the pillow, only the dry, bloody tooth. “Tooth Fairies are very busy this time of year,” I would say, as if teeth, like crops, were seasonal. Our oldest son became so accustomed to having to wait for his money that it did not faze him in the least when the Tooth Fairy forgot him, sometimes for days on end. Our youngest, however, expects more. In fact, since his teeth are not falling out as rapidly as he would

like, he has become rather industrious. But he didn’t get a string and tie his tooth to a doorknob. Nope. He pulled a tooth out of an opossum skull and placed that under his pillow. He didn’t tell me about his little ruse until the following morning when, lo and behold, the marsupial’s molar was still there. “Oh, Da-ad,” he said with a mischievous grin, lifting the pillow to reveal the opossum tooth. “I tried to trick the Tooth Fairy.” “Didn’t work, did it?” “She probably knew they were rotten and dirty,” he said. “And not even human,” I added. “Now go brush your teeth. The ones in YOUR mouth.” s

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Cross Roads Silver Springs Goes From Private to Public Enterprise

BY TOM BERSON ong before Disney’s mouse roared in Central Florida or throngs of tourists flocked to South Florida’s resorts and beaches, travelers from far and wide made the then-difficult journey to the heart of North Florida to visit Silver Springs. Gushing more than half a billion gallons per day of crystal clear water, Florida’s first tourist attraction was celebrated as an eighth natural wonder of the world. Today, nearly 150 years after it entered into the great pantheon of America’s natural tourism treasures, its fate is at a crossroads. Development and other environmental factors threaten the health of the spring and the Silver River it feeds while the company that runs the attraction at the springhead is opting out of its lease early, leaving the springs in public hands for the first time since Florida became a state.


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According to the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, a non-profit environmental group, the springs’ flow, once the highest in the world its kind, has dropped by about a third from its historic average. In the past few years, it has been so bad that it is no longer the reigning champion of largest springs. The Institute contends that this is mainly due to the human factor of pumping groundwater, while the Suwannee and St. Johns River Water Management Districts, which have oversight of such issues in the area, argue that it is largely due to natural factors such as reduced rainfall or too much vegetation in the river slowing down the flow. “It’s ridiculous we’ve let it get this far and the [water districts] have been in denial,” said Dr. Bob Knight, president of the institute. “They’re make-believe explanations.”

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Change is coming to Silver Springs, including the removal of the amusement park rides and zoo animals. The glass bottom boat rides and concert series will continue.

Casey Fitzgerald, the SJRWMD’s springs initiative team leader, said the district’s studies indicate that as much as 95 percent of the flow issues are the result of a dry period in a long term climate cycle that appears to be ending. “Bob Knight obviously has a different take on that but we think [our science] is pretty well supported,” he said. Silver Springs is also suffering from nitrate levels more than 25 times higher than historic levels, a fact that the Institute attributes to the increasing amount of fertilizer and poorly treated waste water that ends up in the spring’s watershed. These increased levels have led to algae blooms and decreased clarity in the once gin-clear spring run. Both the district and the institute agree about the causes, but Knight is concerned that the

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district has been slow to recognize the problem and remains slow in acting upon it. He said the problem is that political interests often get in the way of other concerns. “One way I’ve heard it put well is that ‘they’re essentially following through on the appearance of regulation rather than the substance,’” he said. Fitzgerald said the district is moving forward deliberately in order to find the most cost-effective long-term solutions and pointed out that there are several major projects already underway to improve wastewater treatment in Marion County. Overall, the district is planning to invest $15 to $18 million over the next few years in water quality projects throughout the region. With other funding, those projects could cost as much as $60 million in water quality

investments. “We’re not just sitting back and studying these things,” he said. “But it’s important to remember that we’re also investing in the science and the modeling and all that so we can come up with the most cost-effective solutions.” As all this is going on, the state will soon have more of a vested interest in the fate of the springs. The private company that operates the attraction under a lease deal with the state has decided it cannot sustain operations there and will turn the property over to the Department of Environmental Protection this fall. Ultimately, the springhead will be renovated and merged into the neighboring Silver River State Park. While the decision has been met mostly with approval from area residents concerned about Silver

Springs’ future, some are concerned about losing the attraction’s unique blend of nature and kitschy consumer culture. “I took my kids there. My dad took me there,” said Brad Simpson, 54, of Gainesville. “It’s three generations of Silver Springs and I wanted to make it four but now they’re going to miss out on what we saw there. It’s not going to be the same.” Sally Lieb, park manager at Silver River State Park, said that officials are well aware of the attraction’s unique history and its standing as one of the last great Florida roadside attractions. When the 242-acre site is merged into the 4,418-acre park, there will be “respect to the history” of the attraction at the newly dubbed Silver Springs State Park. Precisely how the history will be honored will depend on public input and state funding, but “we will definitely feature it in some way,” she said. While virtually all the land around the springhead has been

designed to navigate the narrow, shallow, winding waterway to Silver River and the springs. During the next several decades, as northerners and others sought to “discover” Florida, the overnight journey on the exotic Ocklawaha and Silver Rivers from Palatka became a celebrated travel experience. Writers such as Sidney Lanier and Harriett Beecher Stowe sang its praises in national publications. Luminaries such as Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman visited, adding further to its fame, particularly in the North. By the 1880s, it reportedly drew an average of 50,000 visitors per year via riverboats and an expanding rail system. As the 1800s came to a close though, Henry Flagler and Henry Plant were extending their railroads further south. The heyday of steamboat travel was coming to a close and people no longer desired the exotic adventure of the Florida interior. Now they wanted luxury and relaxation at the coastal resorts

Overall, the district is planning to invest $15 to $18 million over the next few years in water quality projects throughout the region. turned over to the state during the past several decades, the attraction itself has been operated by private ventures since its inception and has enjoyed wildly different levels of success. Although humans visited Silver Springs for 10,000 years and the site has been an archeological treasure trove, Silver Springs was largely unknown to Americans until after the Civil War. Visitors before then often complained about the difficult and uncomfortable overland journey over rutted or washed out roads. Following the war, a Vermont entrepreneur cleared the Ocklawaha River and brought in steamboats specially

that Flagler and Plant built along their rail lines. By the early 1900s, Silver Springs was all but forgotten. In 1924, however, local businessmen Carl Ray and W. M. “Shorty” Davidson teamed up to lease the property from its owner and upgrade it for a potential resurgence. They agreed to reinvest virtually every dollar of revenue back into the business, taking only gasoline and tobacco money for themselves. They replaced or improved docks and buildings around them, added attractions and poured money into marketing. Even as the Florida land boom and bust crisis of the 1920s and the ensuing Depression destroyed

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A first magnitude spring can discharge more than 100 cubic feet of water per second. There are 33 of them in Florida.

150 MILLION GALLONS MISSING Historically, Silver Springs’ aveage daily flow is 550 million gallons. That flow rate has dipped below 400 million gallons per day in 10 of the past 20 years.


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Autumn 2013 | 109



businesses all around them, the two men were able to grow Silver Springs into a greater attraction than it had been before. Roads were replacing rails and several major ones passed right through neighboring Ocala. Meanwhile, Hollywood discovered the possibilities of filming at the site and the name Silver Springs returned to national prominence. An odd assortment of exotic animals was added in the 1930s. First, an aspiring herpetologist named Ross Allen arrived at the park with a trunk load of snakes and asked to set up an exhibit. The Ross Allen Reptile Institute would become a world-renowned fixture at the park for decades. A few years later, a man named Colonel Tooey began operating a jungle cruise along

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the river, where he placed a small colony of rhesus monkeys on a small island in the mistaken belief they could not swim. Colonies of their descendants to this day roam the woods along the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers. Ray and Davidson also made sure travelers across the nation knew of Silver Springs through a massive and often creative marketing campaign. Silver Springs bumper stickers and placemats were distributed far and wide at service stations and hotels. “What was so unusual at that time is they blanketed the whole country with materials for what was then basically a local or regional attraction,” said Tim Hollis, author and pop culture historian. The only thing comparable, he

said, was the famed “See Rock City” marketing campaign and that only happened after the owner of that attraction asked for advice from Ray and Davidson. After World War II, as Florida began its great population boom, tourists and immigrants alike flocked to Silver Springs. By the 1950s, more than a million people a year were going to Silver Springs, enjoying its signature glass-bottom boat rides along with a variety of other exhibits and attractions that cropped up within or nearby the attraction. From 1958 to 1961, numerous episodes of the television show “Sea Hunt,” starring Lloyd Bridges, were filmed at the springs, and some props remain in the springhead. In 1962, entertainment giant

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ABC-Paramount bought the lease from Ray and Davidson. With the company’s resources, Silver Springs survived better than most of Florida roadside attractions as the Interstate Highway System supplanted long-traveled state roads, air travel became more common and Walt Disney World reshaped the Central Florida landscape. Between 1960 and 1980 the number of major roadside attractions in Florida was cut roughly in half by closures. With the glory days clearly moving into the rear-view mirror, ABC sold the lease to Florida Leisure Attractions in 1984. The park has changed hands several times since then, ending with its current operators, Palace Entertainment. Last year, Marion County flirted with the idea of buying out the lease and running the site as a county eco-park, but the move stalled over questions of financial risks and rewards. Finally, earlier this year, amid declining profits, Palace announced it would spend $4 million to upgrade the park and get out of its lease. The state will take over management on October 1. Knight, from the Florida Springs Institute, said he has heard some cynical arguments that this could actually be bad for the springs since there will be no longer be a private interest to lobby for protecting the quality of the water. Still, he hopes the move will be for the best. “Ultimately, the state should be interested in the public interest and that means taking care of the springs better than they have been,” he said. In any event, the amusement park that has evolved over the past 90 years is being torn down, the exotic zoo animals have already been removed, and the site will become more like that of other state parks. The signature glass-bottom boat rides will continue. Some other concessions will remain operated by private companies under contract. Some features, such as canoe and kayak rentals, will be added. The concert

series, often the largest draws of the year, will continue. Otherwise, much has yet to be decided. “We’re still in the planning stages, to be honest,” Lieb said, reiterating that the plans are still very much fluid. Not even the admission fee has been set yet. “We’re still taking public input,” she said. Scott Mitchell, director of the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center in the park, said that little will change for programs at the museum, which hosts educational programs

for more than 10,000 schoolchildren each year. He also pointed out that, no matter what changes take place, the state has a solid track record in managing parks at other springs and, in any event, humans have been using Silver Springs in different ways for the past ten millennia. “It’s important to remember that from a long term perspective this is just another chapter in the long story of Silver Springs,” he said. “It’s just the next chapter in the story of how people use Silver Springs.” s

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A Passion for Building William Weseman Construction, Inc.


illiam Weseman has always loved building things, and he knew from an early age that he would have a career in construction. “When I was little, I was always playing with Lincoln Logs,” said Weseman, son of local builder Gary Weseman. “My dad always told me, ‘Find something you always enjoy doing, so you can do it for a long time.’” And so he has. For the last six years, William Weseman Construction Inc. has been building new homes and remodeling existing ones. Whether you know exactly what you want in a new home or you have a vague idea for your dream bathroom, Weseman will create a design that suits both your needs and your budget. THE COMPANY’S SERVICES INCLUDE: • New home construction – single family residential homes • Remodeling – renovation of or additions to interior spaces, from bedrooms to bathrooms and more • Wood fencing • Flooring – installation of tile, carpet, wood and other surfaces • Windows and doors - Replacing old windows and/ or rotten doors, framing out walls for new windows and doors • Back porches and decks “When it comes to building, I have the same passion for all of it” said Weseman. “Slabs, framing, trim work, cabinets, roof trusses, I do everything. Whether it’s a wood fence or a kitchen, I have the same passion for both.” Weseman brings nearly a lifetime of experience to his company. Growing up in a contracting family, he spent many years working alongside his father and gaining valuable know-how. By the age of 21 he

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had already graduated from the building construction program at Santa Fe College and received his contracting license. Weseman’s complete dedication to his customers is evident from the first estimate to the finished product. “I back everything I do,” he said. “I can’t sleep at night unless it’s right. That sounds cliché, but it really bothers me. I build a house that will last longer than I’m going to live. That’s what I really try to do.” Weseman lives in Alachua with his wife, Ashley, and his four-year-old son, Andrew – who, like his father at that age, loves to play with Lincoln Logs. Perhaps a third generation of family builders has already taken root; until then, however, Weseman will continue the work that has come so naturally to him nearly all of his life. “I just really enjoy what I do,” he said. “It’s not work to me, it’s really not. When you enjoy what you do, work is not that difficult.” If you would like to contact William Weseman Construction, Inc. please call us at 352-449-9892.

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Taste of the Town


BubbaQue’s 4928 NW 39th Ave, Gainesville, FL • 352-672-6404 14209 W. Newberry Rd, Jonesville, FL • 352-331-1BBQ Mon-Thu, Sun: 11am to 10pm • Fri-Sat: 11am to 11pm BARBECUE — Howdy folks, one day some good-ole boy was supposed to be cookin’. He turned down the heat and went fishin’. When he come back, his meat was juicy and delicious. That ol’ boy’s name was Bubba and today he’s got some restaurants called BubbaQue’s. BubbaQue’s ain’t one of those fancy pants places. It’s a place where you can relax with some down-right friendly service and the best barbeque around fer miles. Folks been sayin’ that BubbaQues got the best butts in these parts — smoked pork butts that is. Stop on in and say howdy see what I’ve been jabberin’ ‘bout. BubbaQue’s barbecue, ‘preciate it.

Pepper’s 7750 W. Newberry Rd, Gainesvillle (Across from Pep Boys) 11:00am - 10:30pm 7 Days A Week


MEXICAN — At Pepper’s Mexican Grill and Cantina, we offer a wide variety of great Mexican food with recipes straight from Jelisco. We really want you to have the best experience with us, and hope to make you feel at home. Pepper’s Mexican restaurant serves only the finest ingredients. Enjoy our dishes made fresh daily, and our home made sauces, which are made from scratch. Pepper’s has a full bar. Express Lunch Specials starting at $5.99. We offer childrens plates. Come relax with our house margaritas & 2-for-1 draft beer every day until 6:00pm. Enjoy free chips and salsa with every meal.

Dave’s New York Deli 12921 SW 1st Road • Tioga Town Center Open 7 Days


AUTHENTIC NY DELI — The Reviews are in and here’s what customers are saying about Dave’s NY Deli Tioga Town Center! “Best Reuben, Best Pastrami, Best Philly, and Best Wings” Dave’s continues to be the place to go for authentic NY Deli food and Philly Cheesesteaks. Owner Dave Anders says “Nothing beats quality ingredients combined with a friendly staff. We bring in all of our Pastrami and Corned Beef and Cheesecake from New York’s Carnegie Deli. In addition we offer Nathan’s Hot Dogs, NY Kettle Boiled Bagels, Nova Salmon, Knish, Cannolies, Philly Cheesesteaks, Wings, Cubans, Subs, Kids Menu and more.” Come out and enjoy Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at Dave’s NY Deli. Now serving beer and wine.

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Dos Mamas 2017 NE 27th Ave. Gainesville, Florida 32609 Monday - Thursday 6am – 4pm Friday 6am - 11pm • Saturday 8am -4pm


HOME STYLE — New to the North East part of Gainesville, Dos Mama’s has fast become a great local establishment. No they are not a Mexican joint. Just a down-home restaurant serving up Mama’s finger licking home-style cookin’. Terra and Rosa, your new mama’s, have over 40 years of combined experience in the Food and Beverage industry to make sure you get what you expect. Customer Service is NUMBER ONE to these Mama’s. Live entertainment is also on the menu at Dos Mama’s, with local bands ranging from Blues to Jazz to Rock and Roll. With Little Jake Mitchell and the Soul Searchers, Anna Marie and Friends and Little Mike and the Tornados all sharing Friday nights and putting on a great show.

Gator Tales Sports Bar 5112 NW 34th Street (across from the YMCA) Sun - Tues 2pm - Midnight • Wed, Thurs, Fri & Sat 2pm - 2am Gameday Saturdays Opening at 11am


BAR & GRILL — GATOR TALES Sports Bar features 3 large separate entertainment areas! You can relax at our Tiki bar in a large covered outdoor patio with tropical tunes enjoying 3 large screen TV’s and a full outdoor liquor bar. If you prefer to be inside, visit the sports bar, where you can find large TV’s, a performance stage with nightly entertainment including karaoke, live bands and acoustical sets. We have a separate pool hall and offer two happy hours every day. Gator Tales has a variety of domestic and import beers including a local favorite Swamphead Stompknocker. Our menu has a lot to choose from, appetizers, black angus burgers, gator tail, and salads.

Heavenly Ham 3832 W. Newberry Rd Ste 1-C Located in Plaza Royale next to Moe’s Mon- Fri 10AM – 6PM Sat 10AM – 4PM Sun 11:30AM -3PM

352-375-8050 LUNCH / CATERING / HOLIDAYS — Heavenly Ham Market Café has the best custom hand tossed salads in Gainesville! Seriously! With over 20 toppings, 10 dressings, and 8 different meats to choose from, our custom hand tossed salads are sure to please. In addition to our salads, we hand craft our signature & classic sandwiches made to order. Delicious Vie de France bread is baked daily so that it is at its freshest when we prepare your box lunch either for dine-in, carry out, or delivery. We also carry a line of hot sandwiches & panini like our Roasted Chicken Florentine Panini made with fresh baby spinach, toasted on ciabatta with melted provolone cheese and our house made Balsamic Vinaigrette.

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Taste of the Town


Mason’s Tavern 16135 NW U.S. Hwy. 441 • Alachua, FL Open every day 11:00am – 11:00pm Just North of the intersection of I-75 and HWY 441


SPORTS BAR & GRILL — Mason’s Tavern is a family operated sports bar with hand-cut steaks, fresh seafood, hand-made burgers, pastas, wraps, salads and homemade wing sauces. With twenty TV’s there is always a place to watch your favorite team. The NFL Sunday Ticket and all of the Gator games makes us your football headquarters. Video games for the kids make Mason’s fun for the entire family. Live entertainment (call for schedule). Reservations and large parties welcome.

Mark’s Prime Steakhouse & Seafood 201 SE 2nd Avenue, Gainesville, FL (Historic Downtown) Monday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm • Tues-Sat: 5:00pm to 10:00pm Happy Hour: 5:00pm - 7:00pm


STEAK & SEAFOOD — Mark’s Prime Steakhouse and Seafood has a goal to create a unique dining experience that will please the palate and soothe the soul. We serve the finest beef, the freshest seafood, and naturally fresh vegetables. Recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence 2004-2011. Join us for Primetime Happy Hour featuring drink and appetizer specials Monday thru Saturday 5-7 pm. We are pleased to feature our full service, private dining facilities. It would be our pleasure to help plan your next reception, banquet, business meeting, or social gathering. Complimentary valet service.

Newberry’s Backyard BBQ 25405 W Newberry Rd, Newberry Monday-Wednesday 11am-9pm • Thursday 11am-9pm Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm • Sunday 10:30am-8pm


BBQ — Newberry’s Backyard BBQ is UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP, and to celebrate we are lowering our prices! Newberry’s Backyard Bar-B-Q is located in our historic building in beautiful downtown Newberry. Our pork, chicken, beef, and turkey is smoked to perfection daily. Our salads and sides are always fresh. If you are thirsty we have the best sweet tea in the South and a full bar as well. Make sure to bring your kids, we serve their meals on a frisbee that they take home. For your entertainment, we always have live music on Friday nights and Karaoke on Saturday evenings. Always remember big or small we cater all gatherings.

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KC Crave 3501 SW 2nd Avenue • Gainesville, FL 32607 Monday – Friday, 4 PM – 1 AM • Saturday, 11 AM – 1 AM Sunday, 11 AM – 10 PM • Saturday & Sunday Brunch 11 AM


SHARING ENCOURAGED — Putting a creative spin on the culinary experience as a whole, KC Crave is a fresh restaurant concept offering a variety of American-style menu options at a great value, featuring slow-roasted meats, fresh seafood and chef-inspired entrees. The atmosphere at KC Crave is unsurpassed, accented with elegant African mahogany, special effect lighting, private dining rooms, self-serve beer tap tables, full stage and dance floor with live music every Friday through Sunday. There’s something for everyone at KC Crave Gainesville.

Northwest Grille 5115 Northwest 39th Ave., Gainesville 32606 Open 7 Days: 11am to 10pm (Friday open until 11pm) Saturday & Sunday: Serving brunch 10am to 3pm


SEAFOOD — Locally owned and operated, Northwest Grille has been providing the finest quality fish and seafood entrees in a friendly atmosphere since 1996. Whether it’s their fresh, local seafood and fish, or handcrafted sauces and specialty desserts, Northwest Grille has something to please your palate. Meat lovers will enjoy the hand-cut steaks and vegetarians will love the wide range of vegetarian options. Serving lunch and dinner daily, Northwest Grille, offers an extensive brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-3pm. Northwest Grille also features a full liquor bar with nightly drink specials. Happy hour is served daily from 3pm-7pm and all day on Wednesday – offering a wide assortment of craft beer, wine and $5 martinis.

The Red Onion 39th Ave & 24th Blvd, Gainesville (Uptown Village Apartments) Monday – Thursday: 11am-10pm Fri & Sat: 11am-11pm Sunday: 10am to 9pm Brunch: Sun: 11am-2pm


NEIGHBORHOOD GRILL — Featuring Harris Ranch All Natural Prime Steaks, All Natural Chicken (no antibiotics, no steroids) and local produce. Join us for the love of Fine Spirits, Food and Music! Live Music Wednesday, Friday, Saturday! Come listen to the area’s best Jazz and Blues bands every Saturday for “Music & Martinis” with $5 Martinis all night! We muddle, pour, mix & Stir! So join us for Happy Hour at our bar, big enough to bring all your friends! Join us for a nooner! Our casual cuisine is perfect for lunch in a rush. Private Dining Room available for rental, perfect for your next rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, baby shower, birthday party, corporate luncheon, etc.

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Taste of the Town


Saboré 13005 SW 1st Road, Tioga, FL 32669 (Tioga Town Center) Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 11am – 10pm Fri. & Sat.: 11am – 11pm • Open Mondays for special events only


FUSION — Saboré [sa-bohr-ay] is a modern world-fusion restaurant featuring a variety of dishes inspired by dynamic cuisine from places like Europe, Asia, and South America. Their recipe is simple: authentic global flavors, quality ingredients, expert craftsmanship, and exceptional service. Saboré offers customers a unique dining experience, shareable plates, delicious dishes, signature cocktails and desserts that will keep you coming back for more. So let us surprise your palate with our global flair and exotic ingredients. Experiencing world cuisine this fresh usually requires a passport.

Roundabout 2725 SW 91st Street (Haile Publix Shopping Center) Tues-Thurs: 11:30-10:00pm • Fri & Sat: 11:30am-2:00am Sunday: 10:00am-9:00pm


Bar & Grill — Roundabout is the place to be for people in Haile and SW Gainesville! Our newly renovated space features a restaurant, bar with six flat screen TV’s and expanded patio. Specializing in casual American fare with a wide selection of salads, flat breads, burgers and specialty entrée’s such as Shrimp & Grits and Chicken Pot Pie makes us the perfect place for a family dinner or date night. Our food is made to order using the freshest ingredients ensuring the highest quality. Tuesday’s wine bottles are Half-off, Wednesday’s kids eat FREE & 8oz Filet’s are $14.90, Thursday’s Martini’s are $5, late-night Happy Hour Saturday 10pm-2am, Sunday Brunch 10am3pm. Live music weekly. Open lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday.

Napolatanos 606 NW 75th Street Gainesville, FL Monday - Thursday & Sunday 4:00pm-10:00pm Friday 4:00pm-2:00am • Saturday 4:00pm-11:00pm


ITALIAN — Napolatanos is the longest original owner operated restaurant in Gainesville. Nappys, the name the locals have given Napolatanos has the most extensive menu. Whether you choose pizza, calzones, salad, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, seafood, steak dinners or the best chicken wings in town, Nappy’s uses only the freshest ingredients. Visit on Tuesday & Wednesday for half price appetizers. Save up to $4 on pizza on Thursday and $5 off bottles of wine on Saturday. Outside dining with live music on Sunday evenings. Family meals for pick-up starting at $21.95.

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CALENDAR If you would like to have an event considered for publication in this calendar, please submit information directly. post 4400 NW 36th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32606 | e-mail | fax 352-373-9178

LADY GAMERS First Friday of Every Month 1:30pm HIGH SPRINGS - The High Springs Woman’s Club, 40 NW 1st Ave. The Lady Gamers meet for fun, friendship and food — and let’s not forget the cards, board games and any other activities you would like to bring to the group.

HIGH SPRINGS MUSIC IN THE PARK Third Sunday of Every Month 2:00pm - 4:00pm HIGH SPRINGS - James Paul Park and Community Garden, 200 North Main St. Every third Sunday, come enjoy local music and fresh air out in the park. Bring lawn chairs, refreshments, and blankets. Admission is free. 352-275-4190.

ARTWALK GAINESVILLE Last Friday of Every Month 7:00pm - 10:00pm



Second Wednesday 11:00am

Aug. 20 - Sept. 5 Times Vary

HIGH SPRINGS - St. Madeleine’s Family Center, 17155 NW Highway 441. Come visit the monthly AARP meeting for a meetand-greet at 10:30 a.m., a presentation often including a guest speaker at 11 a.m., and a noon covered-dish luncheon. 386-454-9834.

DORIS BARDON COMMUNITY CULTURAL CENTER - 716 N. Main St. The Gainesville Fine Arts Association celebrates 90 years with the Art for All Seasons exhibition. Artists from around Florida and southern Georgia were invited to participate. The reception is Aug. 20, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 352-692-4466.

BO DIDDLEY FREE CONCERTS Fridays 8:00pm BO DIDDLEY PLAZA - From April to Nov., Friday nights come alive as local and regional bands are showcased under the stars in downtown Gainesville. Hundreds come out to enjoy the free live music and shows in a family-friendly environment. www.


BO DIDDLEY PLAZA Self-guided tour of downtown’s galleries, eateries and businesses. Pick up a map near Bo Diddley Plaza, visit more than a dozen spots, including local landmarks like the Hippodrome and The Sequential Artists Workshop. Watch live performances throughout the night, as well. www.

ACROSSTOWN REPERTORY THEATRE - 619 S. Main St. In this opening performance for the 2013-2014 season, a young man is on trial for the murder of his own father. Watch the tensions unfold among his twelve jurors as they decide if he should face the electric chair.

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Aug. 9 - 25 Times Vary

VISUALIZE THE YEARLING Aug. 22 - Sept. 15 Times Vary ALACHUA COUNTY BRANCH LIBRARIES - Locations vary. Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ book “The Yearling.” Discussions about the setting and characters will take place with Anne Pierce, a board member of the Friends of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Farm and Society.

SPECIAL GUEST DARRELL HAMMOND Saturday, Aug. 24 7:30pm SANTA FE COLLEGE FINE ARTS HALL - 3000 NW 83rd St. Meridian presents Darrell Hammond, who, as the longest-running cast member of SNL, was a part of history. Visit to buy tickets.

GRAPE STOMPIN’ Saturday, Aug. 24 1:00pm - 6:00pm BO DIDDLEY COMMUNITY PLAZA - Enjoy the Grape Stomping festival along with wine tastings and food pairing tours at all of your favorite downtown establishments. Live music, carriage rides, grape stomping contests and even participate in the Lucille Ball look-alike contest. Come join us downtown and make this event the perfect blend of romance and fun!

REV. CATH DEPALMA Sunday, Aug. 25 11:00am UNITY OF GAINESVILLE CHURCH - 8801 NW 39th Ave. Special guest Rev. Cath DePalma, a Science of Mind minister from Ocala, will speak during Sunday’s morning service at Unity of Gainesville. She is the founding minister of the Central Florida Center for Spiritual Living. 352-377-2272.

DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER Aug. 30 - Sept. 22 Times Vary HIPPODROME THEATER - 25 SE 2nd Pl. A major hit on Broadway and in London, Don’t Dress for Dinner is the hilarious sequel to BoeingBoeing. It’s the raucous story of infidelity gone awry, when Bernard’s wife stays in town the same weekend as his

mistress comes for a romantic rendezvous. Everyone is guaranteed a good time at this hilarious romp through the French countryside.

UNITED DOWNTOWN GATOR FUN-NRUN Friday, Aug. 30 6:00pm - 10:00pm UNITED DOWNTOWN - SE 1st St. Kick off Gator season with a 5K alongside the Florida Track Club, and afterward celebrate with Albert and Alberta at United Downtown. Participation is free. 352-331-2800.

LABOR DAZE FEST Sunday, Sept 1 4:00pm – 10:00pm BO DIDDLEY PLAZA - For locals, by locals, about locals, there will be live local music, speakers, food and merchandise, face painting, free activities for the kids, free hotdogs, free rockwall, and free chair massage! Come have fun, listen to music, and learn how we can work together to better our community. Bring the whole family and have a good time for a good cause! Trisha Ingle: 352231-3647 or mama_trish@ (Please put “RE: Labor Daze Fest” in the subject line).

DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER Aug. 30 - Sept. 22 Times Vary HIPPODROME THEATER - 25 SE 2nd Pl. A major hit on Broadway and in London, Don’t Dress for Dinner is the hilarious sequel to BoeingBoeing. It’s the raucous story of infidelity gone awry, when Bernard’s wife stays in town the

Blackfish Aug. 28 - Sept. 5 Times Vary HIPPODROME THEATER - 25 SE 2nd Pl. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, Blackfish examines the complicated and often unknown life of orcas in captivity. With unseen footage and interviews, the movie questions whether or not such majestic beasts belong at sea parks, or interfered with by humans at all.

same weekend as his mistress comes for a romantic rendezvous. Everyone is guaranteed a good time at this hilarious romp through the French countryside.

RECONSTRUCTION ERA EVENT Sept. 6 - 7 9:00am - 5:00pm NEWBERRY - Dudley Farm Historic State Park, 18730 W Newberry Rd. An immersion event in which visitors encounter living historians from the year 1875. Come see, hear, and feel what it was like in one of the hardest times for the South, after the Civil War, when Dudley Farm first came into existence. 352-472-1142.

BLUES PIONEERS AND THEIR PRODIGY Through Sept. 7 Times Vary THE THOMAS CENTER - 302 NE 6th Ave. This exhibition of colorful folk art-style illustrations will highlight the musical legacy of the great 20th-century blues artists, as well as the later artists who were influenced by them. 352-334-2787.

JUAN PONCE DE LEÓN AND MORE! Saturday, Sept. 7 2:00pm HEADQUARTERS LIBRARY 401 East University Ave. Dr. William Marquadt will speak on Ponce de León’s 1513 and 1521 contacts with

the Calusa Indians of Southwest Florida. Dr. James Cusick will discuss his latest volumes on the León’s voyages. And author Harvey Oyer III will discuss his children’s book, “The Last Calusa.”

KIDS4KIDS TRIATHLON AND FUN RUN Saturday, Sept. 7 8:00am HAILE PLANTATION GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB 9905 SW 44 Ave. Sixth annual Kids4Kids Triathlon and Fun Run, whose proceeds will go to charity, such as the Child Advocacy Center, the Morning Mile Program, and the Food4Kids Backpack Program. Register online: Autumn 2013 | 125



GOLF “FORE� KIDS’ SAKE Friday, Sept. 13 12:30pm HAILE PLANTATION - 9905 SW 44th Ave. Break out your golf bag and join in the seventhannual Golf “Fore� Kids’ Sake golfing tournament benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Florida. There will be over $12,500 in prizes. You may register in teams of four or as an individual. Several sponsorship levels are available for the tournament. www.

PAINT OUT Sept. 13 - 15 10:00am - 5:00pm KANAPAHA GARDENS 4700 SW 58th Dr. Local landscape artists will be gathering to create paintings at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. The three-day event is part of the 11th Worldwide Artist Paint out. Witness the creative process firsthand as you stroll through the gardens, artist to artist. 352-372-4981.

Blues, Booze and BBQs Friday, Sept. 6 5:00pm - 10:00pm DOWNTOWN - As part of the “First Friday� event series, there will be live blues, folk and bluegrass performances from local artists and southern-style live street art. There will also be microbrewery stations, BBQ taste testing, and a judged pulled pork contest. More than 35 participating locations.

J.T. GLISSON AUTHOR VISIT Sunday, Sept. 15 2:00pm HIGH SPRINGS - High Springs Branch Library, 135 NW First Ave. Author J. T. Glisson

will discuss his two books (“The Creek� and “Guardian Angel 911�), artwork and memories growing up near Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the local Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

INTRODUCTION TO SQUARE DANCING Sept. 17 and 24 6:30pm - 7:30pm UNITED UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP - 4225 NW 34th St. Come join the Grand Squares Square Dance Club in free instructional lessons. It is nonprofit community organization interested in promoting square dancing as a fun, family activity. Dress is casual.

FEAST YOUR EYES ON DOWNTOWN Friday, Sept. 20 6:00pm - 10:00pm DOWNTOWN - Put your favorite downtown restaurant to the test at the first United Downtown Quick Fire Challenge. Sponsored by United Way of North Central Florida, the event is part of the larger series of free street parties on the nights before home football games. 352-331-2800.

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CHRISTIAN MUSIC FESTIVAL Saturday, Sept. 27 - 29 Times Vary MICANOPY - Camp McConnell, 210 SE 134th Ave. Life in the Son Christian Music Festival offers modern Christian artists such Newsong, Aaron Shust, Royal Tailor, and Love & the Outcome. Camp out or rent a cabin for this three-day festival. Family-friendly activities such as swimming, volleyball, tennis, and more will be available.

SWAMPTOBERFEST Friday, Oct. 4 5:00pm THE OPERA HOUSE - 110 SE 1st St. Join Gainesville’s largest happy hour with food and drink specials at over 35 participating locations around town. The event will feature a series of drinking games and contests with prizes, as well as Swamptoberfest craft beer and German-inspired cuisine. This is part of the “First Friday” event series. Donate laundry detergent to The Opera House to get a discounted VIP wristband. www.

Artifacts Exquisite e & Extraordinary Through Sept. 28 Times Vary THE THOMAS CENTER - 302 NE 6th Ave. The Thomas Center’s new exhibit, “Artifacts Exquisite and Extraordinary: From the Theatre of Memory Collection,” is inspired by the centuries-old “Cabinet of Curiosities” tradition of eclectic and encyclopedic personal collections. A diverse range of material will be shown, ranging from ancient Chinese jade to meteors from space. 352-334-5064.

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DUDLEY FARM QUILT SHOW Saturday, Oct. 5 10:00am - 3:00pm NEWBERRY - Dudley Farm Historic State Park, 18730 West Newberry Rd. Come see traditional, appliqued, vintage and art quilts. At 11 a.m., there will be a “bed turning” where quilt experts will look at each quilt and discuss age, condition, colors and patterns. 352-472-1142.

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ZOMBIE TOWN: A DOCUMENTARY PLAY Oct. 9 - Nov. 3 Times Vary THE HIPPODROME THEATRE - 25 SE 2nd Pl. Join the walking dead of Harwood, Texas, as a theater group tries to interview the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. This “mockumentary” will feed your appetite for all things zombie. www.


Colleen’s Kloset Re-Sale Boutique WOMEN’S • JUNIORS BABY • CHILDREN’S HOME GOODS SCHOOL UNIFORMS We carry a complete line of baby items and furniture, as well as designer clothing, shoes, purses and more!

Designer Brands: Hollister • Abercrombie & Fitch American Eagle • Chicos • Talbots Ann Taylor & Many others WE CARRY A COMPLETE BELVAH LINE:


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Thursday, Oct. 10 7:00pm TOWER ROAD LIBRARY - 3020 SW 75th St. Join Mike Manetz for a look at Costa Rica’s fabulous birds, seen on his recent Birds and Conservation tours, which feature the photography of Diana Manetz. 352-333-2840.

ALLIGATOR WARRIOR FESTIVAL Oct. 18 - 20 9:00am - 5:00pm HIGH SPRINGS - O’Leno State Park, 410 SE O’Leno Park Rd. Experience a Native American gathering with dancers, musicians, artisans and traders, as well as a living history reenactment of the 1836 Seminole War Battle of San Felasco Hammock. 386-454-1853.

PAYNES PRAIRIE 5K Saturday, Oct. 19 8:00am PAYNES PRAIRIE STATE PARK - 100 Savannah Boulevard. Start your day with the sunrise at Lake Wauberg and enjoy this mostlytrail run through the uplands of Paynes Prairie. Registration closes on Oct. 17. 352-466-4966.



Oct. 12 - 13 10:00am - 5:00pm

Oct. 19 - 20 10:00am - 5:00pm

THORNEBROOK VILLAGE - 2400 NW 43rd St. More than 120 fine art booths will be along the tree-covered paths in Thornebrook Village for the 29th-annual art festival. Music, children’s activities, and food will be available.

FLORIDA MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY Explore the lives of bats, bees, birds, and butterflies at this fall’s ButterflyFest. There will be a butterfly plant sale, butterfly releases, a pollinator parade where guests can come dressed as their favorite pollinator. 352-846-2000.

IHN GOLF EVENT Monday, Oct. 14 7:00am MARK BOSTICK GOLF COURSE - 2800 SW 2nd Ave. The Interfaith Hospitality Network will be holding its 13th Annual “Fore the Families” golf charity event. Sponsorship opportunities available. 352-378-2030.

FALL PLANT SALE AND ORCHID SHOW Oct. 19 - 20 9:00am - 5:00pm KANAPAHA GARDENS 4700 SW 58th Dr. Come see the facility admission-free, while also browsing around 40 booths of plants.


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Gainesville Kids Triathlon Saturday, Oct. 19 8:00am CITIZENS FIELD - 1100 NE 14th St. The Fourth Annual Gainesville Kids Triathlon will be open for kids ages five to 15. The race will consist of swimming, biking and running. There will also be a Tri4fun division will be open to anyone over the age of five that would like to participate just for fun. Registration is $35.

The event celebrates Kanapaha’s Oct. opening in 1987. The American Orchid Society’s judged orchid show will take place inside Kanapaha’s entrance building. 352-372-4981.

THE GREAT SUWANNEE RIVER CLEANUP Saturday, Sept. 21 9:00am IVEY MEMORIAL PARK Branford. There will be food for all who help. This year the groups encourages everyone to work on the Suwannee or any other river in the basin — the Withlacoochee, Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, or even Alapaha. As in the past, the cleanup

will consist of many small cleanups all along the rivers during a 3-month window from Sept. through Nov.. Call 352-264-6827 or email

HALLOWEEN SWING DANCE AUTISM FUNDRAISER Saturday, Oct. 26 7:30pm - 12:30am THE MOVEMENT - 1212 N. Main St. Come dressed up and ready to dance at the third-annual “Swingin’ for Autism” Halloween Swing Dance. Professional swing dancer Demery Strickland will be teaching a workshop, as well, to help raise funds for the UF Center for Autism and

Related Disabilities. There will be Halloween costume contests and raffles. Admission is $20, $10 for students. 352-514-4238.

raffle prizes from both corporate and local companies, live music, bouncy huts, and batthemed merchandise. Admission is free, although donations are encouraged. Info: batfest@


Saturday, Oct. 26 10:00am – 4:00pm


LUBEE BAT CONSERVANCY - 1309 N.W. 192nd Ave. This free event promises to be an exciting day enjoyed by the entire family, where guests will have a unique opportunity to see giant fruit bats up close while visiting a world-renowned conservation center. There will be a wide variety of activities for everyone, including fun bat-themed crafts,

Friday, Nov. 1 5:00pm - 10:00pm DOWNTOWN - This school-spirited event will feature tailgate Olympics, a streetwide sing-along of “We Are the Boys,” Gator-themed trivia, and contests. It’s Gainesville’s largest happy hour, with food and drink specials at more than 35 participating locations.

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CHRIS TOMLIN Tuesday, Nov. 5 7:00pm STEPHEN C. O’CONNELL CENTER - Chris Tomlin, contemporary Christian music artist. Call 352-392-5500 for information on purchasing tickets.

VETERAN’S DAY SPECIAL Monday, Nov. 11 9:00am - 5:00pm KANAPAHA GARDENS 4700 SW 58th Dr. Kanapaha thanks Veterans for their service. Active or retired military have free access to the gardens on Veteran’s Day. 352-372-4981.

DOWNTOWN FESTIVAL AND ART SHOW Nov. 16 - 17 10:00am - 5:00pm DOWNTOWN COMMUNITY PLAZA - East University Ave. and SE 1st St. Art, music, and entertainment during the 32nd Annual Festival and Art Show. Enjoy the displays from the over-250 participating vendors, performers on three different stages, and the Blues Concert on Friday night.

Noche de Gala Saturday, October 26


MICANOPY - Besilu Collection. With your support, the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation continues to support the Shands Hospital for Children at the University of Florida. This year’s theme is Noche de Gala Oasis. Sebastian Ferrero Foundation’s annual fundraising event, Noche de Gala, has become a standalone event, unsurpassed in our region. Following last year’s sold out event, this years’ Noche de Galapromises to be an evening packed with live entertainment, a silent auction featuring unique and extraordinary items, a Champion Paso Fino horse show, exquisite dining by Embers Wood Grill, and much more! The event will be produced by Keith Watson Events and guests are encouraged to dress black tie. For more information, visit

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ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION Wednesday, Nov. 20 7:00pm MILLHOPPER LIBRARY 3145 NW 43rd St. Karl Miller will discuss the ecology, distribution and population status of the Southeastern American Kestrel, sharing insights and photographs from nearly a decade of research and monitoring. Miller is a bird biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 352-334-1272. s

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Autumn 2013 | 135







he hot summer months can take their toll on anyone, but for seniors the threat is especially dangerous. “Dehydration is a significant issue with the elderly,” said Jami Proctor, a clinical manager at Mederi Caretenders of Gainesville. “It can occur in less than eight hours and it’s a significant reason for hospitalization. Approximately 18 percent of seniors admitted to a hospital for dehydration die within 30 days.” Seniors often have a decreased level of perspiration, a delayed sense of thirst or decreased senses of taste and smell. Medications can suppress hunger or thirst. And even in hot weather many seniors choose not to use air conditioning, opting instead to open windows or turn on fans to avoid high energy bills or a house that feels too cold for them. Caretenders personnel educate seniors and caregivers on the signs of dehydration and ways to avoid it. Some obvious symptoms may include increased confusion or disorientation, fainting, headaches and dryness of the nose and mouth. “The tongue can get sticky or tacky, and the skin loses elasticity,” Proctor explained. “If you pinch the skin up and it very slowly goes back down, that is a 136 | Autumn 2013

sign of dehydration.” Left unchecked, dehydration can lead to complications such as stroke or heart failure. Yet the danger can be averted with simple planning. Proctor suggests providing attractive containers such as colorful glasses and pitchers to entice clients to drink fluids, or adding a little fruit to water to give variety in appearance and flavor. “Have things prepared ahead of time and placed where seniors can easily reach them,” said Proctor. “Call them through the day and monitor their eating and drinking habits.” Water does not have to be the only option; liquids that are low in sugar can help keep dehydration at bay. Incorporate plenty of fruit, vegetables and other foods with high water content into the diet. Sugar-free popsicles and smoothies are also good ways to get fluids into a senior’s diet. Save outdoor activities for the early morning or evening when temperatures are lower, and wear a hat and loose fitting, cotton clothes that allow skin to breathe. If a senior shows signs of heat stroke – high body temperature, rapid pulse and vomiting – get him or her to a hospital immediately. With a little knowledge and some preventive measures, independent seniors can still enjoy “the good old summertime!”

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Autumn 2013 | 137




Leave the Light On Florida’s Lighthouses Weather Storms; Shine on

BY DARLA KINNEY SCOLES s Florida celebrates the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s ship touching the east coast of the state he would name La Florida, it is only fitting that the lighthouses that have long guided ships safely around its shores be celebrated as well. For centuries these towers have stood as beacons to both the past and the future of the Sunshine State. Each has a story to tell. Many Viva Florida 500 events are in fact taking place at lighthouse settings to highlight the history these stations reflect, offering residents and visitors a great educational and memorable experience. Florida’s 29 light stations also participate in The


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United States Lighthouse Society’s Lighthouse Passport Program, with each tower offering its unique stamp to those who come and step back in time for a bit. Eight of the lighthouses along the state’s 1,260 miles of coast still light the night sky, illuminating an after-dark view of the importance these special places hold in a state mostly surrounded by water. To see the beam of light cast from a tower to the sea is a reminder of the fact that the history of Florida itself has been shaped by those who, in an earlier and riskier time, traversed the uncertain ocean to a new and wild landscape of possibilities. According to the Florida Lighthouse Association, “Florida has been a maritime state from its

beginning days. Even the Seminole Indians, who were the nation’s first cowboys, depended on sailing vessels to export their beef products to Cuba. Because of the important commerce they carried out it was imperative to protect the ships. Florida’s coastline was extremely dangerous resulting in the wrecking of many ships and the loss of hundreds of lives.” Lighthouses were constructed along the length of Florida’s coast and even on the reefs themselves. Others were built in some of the harbors to guide the ships safely into port. While still important for navigation, the state’s public lighthouses also offer a different kind of light to their steady stream of regular




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The St. Augustine lighthouse can be seen in the movie “Things That Hang from Trees”



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U on-shore visitors. Keeper programs, ghostly tours, museums, movie screenings, car shows, art festivals and tower climbs are just a few offerings that make a day or weekend light station trip a Florida must. A great way to explore some of the nation’s oldest and tallest lighthouses is by following a lighthouse trail. Here are just a few:

Northeast Coast ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE AND MUSEUM Now long gone, a Spanish watchtower built in the late 1500s became Florida’s first lighthouse in 1824. By 1870, however, the tower was threatened by shoreline erosion.

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Look for this quote during your visit:


“Nothing indicates the liberality, prosperity, or intelligence of a nation more clearly than the facilities which it affords for the safe approach of mariners to its shores.”



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Construction began on the current lighthouse, which was completed in 1874 and stands 165 feet (219 stair steps) above sea level. Like several other Florida towers, the old St. Augustine tower succumbed to the sea during a storm in 1880. The lighthouse is St. Augustine’s oldest surviving brick structure and as such has housed many keepers, assistants and others who worked on the facility and lived in the



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keeper’s housing there. Some say a few of those occupants have yet to move on. The “Dark of the Moon” tour allows participants to climb the tower, explore the keeper’s quarters and wander the grounds in search of ghostly encounters. A guided portion begins the experience and then paranormal-seekers are allowed glow-stick-lit time on their own, perhaps with an optional ($5 and worth it) EMF meter to

detect haunting spirits. The St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program and has many educational and experiential offerings including archeological and maritime projects. One such undertaking has volunteers recreate a wooden boat. Visitors on workdays can watch, ask questions or lend a hand.

PONCE DE LEON INLET LIGHTHOUSE AND MUSEUM Several Florida lighthouses have been used as filming locations, but the 175-foot Ponce de Leon Inlet tower was part of the setting for a short story by author Stephen Crane. In 1896, Crane, along with the rest of those aboard the S.S. Commodore, were shipwrecked off the Florida coast near Daytona Beach. After more than 24 stormy hours of unending rowing and bailing in a lifeboat, Crane, the ship captain and two others followed the light from the Ponce station to safety. Shortly thereafter, Crane published his most successful short story about his experience, titled “The Open Boat.” Today, a more romantic way to visit this lighthouse is offered in the Climb to the Moon tour, where visitors experience lofty views of the sunset and moonrise from atop the tower. Led by a lighthouse keeper, participants climb 203 stair steps to toast the setting sun with cider and hors d’oeuvres once a month at the full moon. Weddings are often held at the site near the World’s Most Famous Beach, as well.

Southeast Coast JUPITER INLET LIGHTHOUSE AND MUSEUM At a time when Jupiter housed only 200 citizens, the lighthouse that had been extinguished for six years during the Civil War, burned bright again as a U.S. Naval Supplementary Radio Station and a vital communications link in

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the midst of World War II. Named Station J, the tower protected U.S. ships by intercepting the U-Boat radio signals and facilitating their capture as they nightly rose to the surface to recharge and report. According to the Loxahatchee River Historical Society, “With the expanded presence required by World War II, the 12-acre Station J reached its peak in 1943 when the secret operation had 95 men on this site, plus 11 marines who stood guard. The station included

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an operations building with 24 radio receivers, two barracks buildings, a mess, administration and recreation hall, an emergency power house, a garage and workshop, a dispensary, a service store, tennis and volleyball courts, a house for the commanding officer, and quarters for the families of six married men.” Now boasting the best view in Palm Beach County, the 156-foot lighthouse (atop a 48-foot shell mound) stands next to a museum housed in the last remaining

building from that installation. The history exhibit “Five Thousand Years on the Loxahatchee” explores all aspects of the area’s past. Climbing tours, hiking, birding and manatee viewing are popular activities on the 122-acre site.

CAPE FLORIDA LIGHTHOUSE On July 23, 1836, a Seminole Indian band attacked this lighthouse, finding only the assistant light keeper and his handyman (the light keeper had gone to visit his




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family — then housed in Key West due to earlier American Indian hostilities). Arriving in a wave of bullets, the assailants trapped the two men in the tower top and set fire to the station door. With the fire fueled by the facility’s oil tank the pair was forced outside onto the narrow iron balcony where the handyman was killed and the assistant was wounded. Throwing a keg of powder down onto the flames in the hopes of causing an explosion large enough to end his misery the





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assistant succeeded only in sending his attackers (assuming he was dead) over to the keeper’s house, which they set on fire and then left. Rescued the next day by the crew from a Navy vessel that had come to investigate the skirmish, the assistant known only as “Thompson,” had to be lowered slowly from the balcony by ropes and pulleys. It was more than 10 years before the area was safe again for the tower and quarters to be restored. The only lighthouse to be

attacked by American Indians, Cape Florida now stands safely within the bounds of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Built in 1825, and recognized as the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County, this tower not only went dark due to the terror caused by Seminoles but has been extinguished multiple times over the years due to the Civil War, erosion, tropical storm damage and Hurricane Andrew. Visitors can enjoy not only the station in its current, peaceful state, but all park

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This lighthouse was visited in February 2013 by replica ships “Niña” and “Pinta” as they sailed Florida’s “Forgotten Coast.”


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amenities as well. Fun note: The spiral staircase in this lighthouse is not attached to the exterior walls of the tower for a portion of the climb, making for a free-floating wobble or two along the way up. Cape Florida Lighthouse has also appeared in at least four movies, including “Clambake” with Elvis Presley.

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Northwest/ Panhandle CROOKED RIVER LIGHTHOUSE AND KEEPER’S HOUSE MUSEUM Long before the railroad was the go-to method of commercial transport, rivers were critical in

moving goods — including cotton — from inland plantations to ships docked at port along the Gulf of Mexico. To that end, a small port was established near the mouth of the Carrabelle River, necessitating a lighthouse to assist in maritime traffic. Actually the fourth to fill that role (the first three, located on Dog Island, were downed by storms), the 103-foot Crooked River Lighthouse was completed and lit for the first time in 1895. This skeletal tower lighthouse was only in recent years restored and opened to the public, thanks to a dedicated group of local citizens, grants, city assistance and an underthe-wire bid to acquire the landmark just weeks before it was to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. What this structure may lack in aesthetics, it makes up for in activities and special events, including a holiday boat parade and participation in the 2012 Florida Panhandle

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Between 1863 and 1886, 11 different lighthouse keepers served at the Pensacola Lighthouse, with nine of them removed from their position for offenses ranging from intoxication to neglect of duties.







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Lighthouse Challenge where hardy souls aimed to climb five towers in just two days. Plein-air art days, nautical film nights, lantern-making festivals, moonrise tours and the annual Coastal Blessing ceremony at the beginning of each hurricane season are just a few of the offerings here. A pirate ship playground for the little ones is also an oftmentioned plus in visitor feedback.

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PENSACOLA LIGHTHOUSE AND MUSEUM Only at this lighthouse can visitors stand in the tower and experience the incredible precision and power of the U.S. Navy Demonstration Flight Squadron Blue Angels at eye level — 150 feet above the ground. Located on the grounds of the Naval Air Station Pensacola, this 1859 structure also

offers stunning views of the Gulf Coast, Pensacola Pass, three forts, the historic Navy yard and the Pensacola skyline. Proof that lightning can strike twice in the same place, this 177-step tower was zapped in 1874 and 1875, melting metal fixtures throughout the lighthouse, thanks to a faulty lightning rod. In 1886 a keeper there also

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Tower hours, restrictions and programs vary. It is best to research and contact a station before traveling there. Each lighthouse featured has its own website and Facebook page.

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With Gainesville as its closest large-city neighbor, this Gulf of Mexico lighthouse location has been used by the University of Florida as part of their Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory since the 1950s. Accessible only by boat from Cedar Key, the location presents a bit of a more adventurous outing than other Florida light stations. The diminutive design of the tower is a departure as well. Situated at the mouth of the Suwannee River, the cedar tree-rich collection of islands known as the Cedar Keys has housed a military outpost, supply depot, hospital, Native American detention camp, and an Eberhard Faber pencil mill. Built to facilitate such industry and to assist Suwannee River traffic, the lighthouse was first lit in 1854 and is the oldest continuously standing lighthouse on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Now part of a National Wildlife Refuge, Seahorse Key — where the light station sits — is a bird sanctuary and rookery and as such is closed to the public from March 1 through June 30 each year. The island and lighthouse are open to visitors at various times, including the last Saturday in July, the third Saturday and Sunday in October and the last Saturday in December. s


C The only woman to serve at this station, Catharine Dorgan Hobday, survived five husbands and died on duty at age 83. She is buried in the cemetery east of the lighthouse.



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Central West Coast




penned the following report on a rare earthquake that shook the landmark: “It lasted between three and four minutes and was accompanied by a rumbling, as if people were ascending the steps making as much noise as possible. The shock was like a tremor, causing the lens to vibrate from side to side. The pendulum clock on the tower floor was stopped by the shock at 9:07 p.m.”

A visit can mean more than a day’s fun Planning a single day excursion or an overnight trip to a treasured light station can go a long way toward saving it from the effects of weather, time and lack of funds. “At one time there were about 65 lighthouses off Florida, but the elements, time and neglect have resulted in the loss of many of them. As a result only 30 remain, including one that is now a private residence. Today with GPS and other navigational aids the role of the lighthouse has been diminished, in fact some consider them to be obsolete. However, many of the small boats that can’t afford the electronics still depend on them. Also, those with electronic navigation realize that electronics can fail and it is assuring to see that dependable light. With the countless ships and lives that were saved by these lighthouses it is only right that we now protect and preserve them. It is imperative that they be preserved as a part of our maritime heritage.” — FLORIDA LIGHTHOUSE ASSOCIATION

Supporter License Plate Displaying a love of lighthouses and help generate funds to restore these state treasures. $25.00 from the sale of each tag will be used for the preservation and restoration of the state’s 29 remaining historic lighthouses. Proudly display your “Visit Our Lights” License Plate. (The Gene Oakes Memorial License Plate Project)

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Living by the Sword The Fine Art of Fencing

BY DARLA KINNEY SCOLES n advertisement for the sport of fencing might sound like one for the next miracle drug: “Improves health and vitality!” “Sharpens mental focus and performance!” “Increases speed, rhythm, timing, balance, and coordination!” Unlike many wonder drugs, however, fencing requires no dire warning label. Despite some impressions to the contrary, the sport is actually one of the safest endeavors in the athletic world.


According to fencing coach and owner of Florida Fencing Academy, Brian Harper, fencing would differ from the drug du jour in another way. “Fencing is here to stay,” Harper said, having just returned from the USA Fencing National Championships where more than 4,000 athletes competed in the sport — including three from Gainesville. “Those who are in it are in it to stay. They like a challenge and know their lives would be different without it.” Fencing began in Europe in the 18th century and the sport

was certainly known by those who settled America, but because their new life circumstances did not include much need for the sword, they instead focused on the plowshare. Guns eventually replaced the sword, removing it further from the every day. The art and sport of fencing in the United States has struggled as a result, but still has a loyal following. Harper hopes to increase the number of fencing fans in Gainesville — and the United States — one convert at a time. “This sport, which is


Fencers face off at the Sunshine State Games held at the Santa Fe College Gymnasium in June.

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CLOCKWISE, BOTTOM LEFT: Florida Fencing Academy’s Division 1 Epee Team at Division 1 Championships - (L-R) Coach Brian Harper, David Neil, Team Captain Omar Elgeziry, Chris Paul and Dylan Smith. Ashley Todd fixes equipment at the Florida Fencing Academy. Fencer Destiny Dunaway, 14. Larry Reeves at the Sunshine Games at Santa Fe College.

thrill-seeking yet low-impact, can do as much for a six-year-old as it does for a 60-year-old,” Harper said. “Kids love fencing. It’s amazing how natural they are. And really, the sport is like tag but with a lot of rules, if you think about it. Fencing can be a safe outlet for the energy of youth, while teaching them discipline and a few life lessons at the same time. “For adults the physical conditioning in a low-risk, low injury environment is a big draw. Fencing has been called ‘physical chess’ because it teaches one to think about what the other person is thinking. It requires strategy and intelligence and a bit of cleverness to win, not just physical prowess.” Both young and adult benefit from the sport’s unique ability to humble a person while equally building their self esteem. Sportsmanship is key to a

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successful bout and a big ego will cause a competitor to lose every time, Harper said. This balance is what Harper strives to create in his students along with healthy doses of excitement and creativity. Ashley Todd, 16, has been Harper’s student for seven years and comes to train every week year-round. A chance visit to the Florida Fencing Academy where Harper coaches found Todd hooked almost immediately. The Gainesville teen now works the armory at the academy and at tournaments, repairing equipment as well as fencing. “I’ve always loved fixing things,” said Todd, who is planning a career in criminal justice. “This is my favorite part of fencing now and I can fix anything here. I’m also doing equipment safety checks.” It was a fencing exhibition at

a Boy Scout camp that intrigued 14-year-old Destiny Dunaway, then age seven. She tried the sport as part of a Gainesville home school group event. “Before I was not very humble,” Dunaway said. “Fencing has humbled me. I love saber. It perfectly fits my personality. I can see myself doing this as a hobby my whole life.” There are three weapons in modern fencing: foil, épée, and saber. Each weapon has its own rules and strategies. Working with Dunaway on a regular basis is assistant coach Giovanni Cerda, also of Gainesville, who agrees that humility is key in fencing. “The first thing you need to check when losing a bout is yourself,” said the 20-year-old who also plays soccer. “I’d never done that before fencing. All my life I played on an eleven-man team and



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FLORIDA FENCING ACADEMY UNIFIED TRAINING CENTER 809 West University Ave. Gainesville 352-262-0184


The perfect fencing candidate. According to Florida Fencing Academy’s Brian Harper, the person who would most enjoy and grow from the sport of fencing has certain qualities:


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a loss was never my fault, but this is an individual sport. “Now I have more of an investment. I look at my reaction instead of pointing fingers at others. I have learned to be more insightful in what I do, both positive and negative. As an assistant coach I can better others from my mistakes.” As a fencing coach, the political science major also strives to motivate his students to take the opportunity to participate in as many bouts as



enjoys a good bout. A professor at the University of Florida, he fenced at an earlier point in his life and then was absent from the sport for 25 years. Now back in the strip, Kibert is a sponsor at the Academy and enjoys regularly practicing with Épée Master, Omar Elgeziry, a pentathlete whose fencing skills have taken him all over the world. Elgeziry prefers to stay right here in Florida where his Olympiclevel presence can help grow the

“What fencing is not, is dangerous or complicated. Once you know it, it’s really very simple and enjoyable.” possible. Cerda also is working to become a nationally recognized referee in the sport — a position that can help a fencer earn a bit of income from the sport they love. While fencing is not as expensive as some sports and equipment can be rented, cost is a factor, with full gear ownership running from $600-$700 for the average student. Classes and camps have fees as well, but Cerda is quick to brush cost aside as no exclusionary factor. “Anyone can do this,” Cerda said. “It’s not about your income or background. And it’s interesting!” At age 65, Dr. Charles Kibert

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sport in the state. “I’m trying to build something here,” Elgeziry said. “I can give them my experience. I love this sport. When fencing, a person must always be focused and coordinated — head, hands and legs. This sport is good for the mind. It’s fast action, fast reflexes and makes you strong. “What fencing is not, is dangerous or complicated. Once you know it, it’s really very simple and enjoyable. And it is getting more common for communities to have fencing opportunities, which is great.” Events such as the recent USA Fencing National Championships

and the Olympics help spotlight the sport on a larger scale and expose potential students to terms such as parry, hilt, flick, reprise, and appel. Competitive fencing is one of only five sports to be featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games. Traditionally, U.S. competitors have not medaled as often as the European fencers, though there have been occasional shining stars such as Albie Axelrod from New York, Mariel Zagunis, who won gold twice, and Weston “Seth” Kelsey who made it to the last Olympic semi-finals. “Currently,” Harper said, “our youngsters are doing well worldwide and the U.S. girls have done well in saber.” Most fencers, however, will never reach Olympic level but can make the sport a perfect lifetime hobby. Interestingly, many who have recently joined the fencing world have come from the video gaming world. “Those kids love this sport,” Harper said. “They are conditioned for it. Fencing, like gaming, has the elements of quick response and you progress by levels. Here the fastest and strongest doesn’t necessarily win. The clever, intelligent person does. That’s a game changer.” “And really,” added Cerda, “who doesn’t want to swing a sword around?” s


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arol Doak believes housekeeping isn’t just about cleaning – it’s about touching lives. As her cleaning business, Mini Maid, celebrates its 20th year, Doak embraces the changes that both Mini Maid and Gainesville have seen. “It’s been fun to grow with the community,” she said. Community for Doak includes her many loyal customers. “We cater to a lot of elderly and retired people who need a little extra – and have saved some help,” Doak explained. “And then disasters from happening.” we have busy, busy families with Finally, Doak and Mini children who don’t seem to have Maid regularly give back time for family time. We love to the Gainesville comto think of having their houses munity. “It just goes hand cleaned as a gift to their families in hand with owning a so they have time together, instead business in this great of stressing each other out about city,” she said. Mini Maid who’s going to clean the house.” currently partners with Doak’s employees form another Cleaning for a Reason, a important community in her life. foundation that provides “I’ve been very fortunate. A few of Carol Doak (far left) and a Mini Maid team. free housecleaning for them have been with me 15 years women with cancer. “But if someone brings an idea to or more,” she said. “I really trust them, and really, us, someone who’s in dire straits who’s not a woman, they know the clients better than I do. They really we help them out as well,” Doak said. “I wouldn’t feel have that relationship with them, especially with the fulfilled just trying to grow my business. I feel it’s a elderly, who look forward to someone coming in and platform for doing better things.” caring for them.” Relationships and integrity are a key part of Mini Maid’s business. Carol is proud that every crew she sends out includes an experienced supervisor to ensure accountability. Occasionally, her cleaning crews recognize the need to do more than just housework. “We once found a woman on the floor and were able to call 911 – she had had a stroke,” Doak recalled. “We’ve smelled stuff in the walls burning – electrical problems R



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Four-Legged Miracles written by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger c.2013, St. Martin’s Griffin $14.99 / $16.99 Canada 264 pages ou looked everywhere. Why is it that when you put something away for safekeeping, it ends up being safe — from you? Why is it that you always find whatever you’re looking for in the last possible place you’d think to look? Somewhere on Earth, if there’s a corral for lost items, it must be unimaginably huge. And, as you’ll see in “Four-Legged Miracles” by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger, there are some lost things you’d go to the ends of the Earth to find. The gate was only open for a second. It took even less time for your fur-buddy to disappear, and the dogsized hole in your heart still hurts. You’ll never stop hoping that, like Lassie, he comes home. In this book, you’ll get even more hope…


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Dogs have many ways of getting lost. Like Buca in Utah, they can become “freaked by their new surroundings,” and bolt. Or perhaps, like show-dog Honor in Georgia, a minor mishap in unfamiliar territory could result in a missing pup. Some dogs just love to roam, and the authors say you shouldn’t “take it personally.” Perhaps, like Gyp in Tennessee, they might repeatedly leave and return, as if they want to comfort two families. If the roaming happens in woods or mountains, a dog like Aniki in British Columbia might spend awhile in the wilds before his person finds and rescues him. And rescue our dogs, we do: whether it’s rabbit holes or man-made mishaps; boating accident or explosion; hurricane, tornado or flood, we dog folks make sure our pups are kept safe. For instance, authorities — post-Katrina — reported that 44 percent of pet owners refused to be rescued without their pets. We can take comfort, however, in the beliefs of researchers and the fact that some dogs return. Maybe dogs read our minds, know how much we miss them, and hurry back. Maybe they have an innate sense of homing, a good sense of smell, or strong senses of love and loyalty. Or perhaps — if you believe in miracles — a joyous reunion can be explained with a “somewhat unconventional approach...” In their introduction, authors Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger are careful to stress that all the anecdotes in this latest “Miracles” book are happy ones, in which every dog comes home. Though that’s rather relentless if you read it cover-to-cover, it’s also good news for anyone who’s lost a pooch. Indeed, some of the Steiger’s subjects returned to their owners many years after disappearing. Another thing that’s good: “Four-Legged Miracles” lacks “four-letter” words. That means you can easily share this book with your 12-year-old, hand it off to great-grandma, then pass it to your pastor. It’s quick to read (the stories are short), and it also includes helpful advice on “speaking dog” and finding your lost Fido. I would recommend this book for any dog lover. I’d also recommend that you browse rather than read beginningto-end, for fuller impact. Do that, and the only thing you’ll have to lose with “Four-Legged Miracles” is time. s Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives with her two dogs and 11,000 books.

Changing retired to rewired. By design. The Village’s residents don’t believe learning has an age limit. Neither do we. Which is why our partnership with Santa Fe College is such a perfect match. Through this partnership, residents can enroll in any of the college’s courses, both on campus and online. 7KH\FDQHQMR\VFKRODUO\OHFWXUHVÀQHDUWVDQGVSRUWLQJHYHQWV and experience the wonder of the school’s planetarium and zoo. All for free. It’s just one more example of the re-energizing opportunities you’ll discover at The Village. Better living, by design. That’s our approach.


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Adventures in Appetite At restaurants, I always want to share food. I have grabby hands that reach across the table for fistfuls of fries. y fork makes its rounds to try the last bite of his dish, maybe the first bite of hers. It helps with my other problem of wanting to order everything on the menu. But finally a restaurant understood my dilemma. Gainesville’s new KC Crave and its delicious “sharing-friendly” entrees worked with me on my chronic food hoarding. Perfectly portioned entrees designed for “tapas-style” dining created a meal all about tasting. And with the food’s unexpected flavor combinations and rich, slow-roasted meats — I wanted to taste it all. KC Crave is tucked onto a side road between 34th Street and University Avenue and screams “date night” as soon as you walk in. Almost all the tables were filled with celebrating families, parties and girls-night-out. The restaurant’s two stories of dark mahogany and modern, multi-colored lighting (some of the booths actually change color as you’re eating) made me glad I had dressed up a bit. Without a wait, I was seated at a high, intimate table, near walls mounted with guitars and rooms stacked to the ceiling with wine. The waitress explained the gist of their menu: each meal is sized for one person, but served in share-friendly portions. If you want to make your dish personal, it comes with a side and salad for $5 more. But who isn’t up for a little sharing? Before I’d even ordered an appetizer, a basket of crunchy flatbreads and roasted red pepper hummus


had arrived. Starved, I dug in. Although I didn’t drink, most everyone else around me was. The menu listed almost 30 different beers (with a large craft selection), 11 “signature martinis” and dozens of wines, among other specialty drinks. Some tables even featured self-serve beer taps. I began with an appetizer of Hawaiian Tuna Poke. Served in a chilled martini glass, raw tuna bites were mixed with chunks of avocado and diced onion, swimming in a ginger wasabi sauce. I resisted the urge to drink the leftover sauce at the end, no chaser. The table next to me was eating the Crabstuffed Wonton starter with goat cheese and sweet and spicy pow sauce. I was disappointed sharing didn’t work inter-table, too. Planning the entrees was delicate. I knew what I wanted my order to be: the Crispy Panko Chicken, smothered in artichokes, red onion, sun dried tomatoes (my absolute favorite), feta cheese and citrus-y butter sauce. But I wanted a say in the other dishes, as well. After all, this was a group effort. My date finally decided on the Crabby Diane — sirloin topped with mushrooms, lump crab and brandy peppercorn sauce. We passed up the Bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon Medallions with gouda fondue, but weren’t happy about it. Another dish wait-listed for next time was the Pistachio-Crusted Lamb “Lollipops,” drizzled with

The waitress explained the gist of their menu: each meal is sized for one person, but served in share-friendly portions.

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mint vinaigrette. When the meals arrived, the presentation was half the enjoyment. The crispy chicken and sirloin were both sliced into shareable portions on white dishes drizzled artfully with sauce. The lump crab and sautéed

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Our dishes twisted familiar combinations with kicks from unexpected flavors. mushrooms were some of the best I’ve ever had, and the artichokes dipped first into the butter sauce and paired with the chicken made for a mouthful of near-perfection. Our dishes twisted familiar combinations with kicks from unexpected flavors. Other menu items (like the roasted pork corn cakes with a fresh lime sour cream, or fried turkey with wasabi mashed potatoes) did the same. And even though the meat took center stage, the hints of basil or spice of red onion weren’t masked. We boxed up some of our entrees and left room for dessert. The waitress recommended (and now so do I) the Cinnamon Fried Cheesecake with vanilla ice cream, bananas and caramel sauce. The pastrywrapped cheesecake was crispy without being greasy, and the cheesecake inside was melting and rich. Unapologetically, we finished the entire thing. Other options included Bourbon Peach Bread Pudding and Chocolate Fondue. By the end of the meal, I was beyond impressed — and stuffed. The service is fast, the decor made it feel like a special night out, and the twisted classics couldn’t be found anywhere else around town. And for once, I didn’t feel the least bit bad for tasting everyone’s food at the table. s

Here’s the Basics... PHONE: 352-224-5697 LOCATION: 3501 SW 2nd Ave. HOURS: Monday through Friday, 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. MENU: The dinner menu features rich, classic dishes with modern flavor twists. Almost all entrees include meat, ranging from lamb chops to chicken to slow-smoked salmon. The dishes are “sharing-friendly.” Guests can order multiple entrees and share amongst themselves, tapas-style. The highlights of its large drink selection are the craft beers and variety of wines. PROS: Lavish interior perfect for dates or parties, artful food presentation, fun sharing-style entrees, unique flavor twists. CONS: Busy on weekends, some dishes expensive PRICE: Main course items range from $11 to $18.

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ADVERTISER INDEX 4400 NW 36th Avenue • Gainesville, FL 32606 352-372-5468 352-373-9178 fax AUTOMOTIVE Maaco Collision Repair .......................... 77 Park Place Car Wash & Detail ............. 77 Terry’s Automotive & Qwik Lube .... 132

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Each year, more than 800 students stay awake and on their feet to raise money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Read all about one such UF student: Elyse Jasmund — cancer survivor and Family Relations Captain for Dance Marathon 2013.

Autumn 2013 | 169




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