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Observer Windermere, Horizon West, Dr. Phillips


VOLUME 4, NO. 41

VICTORY! Windermere Little League’s 11U and 12U dominate the competition. PAGE 13


Is it a done deal? Orange County teachers are set to vote on a proposed compensation package. SEE 5.

Man dies in boating accident

In the mood

Nickaloy Dunstan Thomas, 25, was pronounced dead at the scene after the incident on Lake Butler. TIM FREED MANAGING EDITOR

A man was struck and killed by a boat Thursday, July 4, on Lake Butler in the Windermere area, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office — raising concerns about safety on a lake that’s frequented by many boaters. Deputies responded to Lake SEE INVESTIGATION PAGE 4

Tim Freed

Don Lohr started The Crew as a creative outlet for fellow players in the Orlando area.

CREATIVE OUTLET St. Luke’s United Methodist Church hosts second Take pArt fest.



Postal Customer

It’s been more than 10 years since Windermere resident Don Lohr started The Crew Big Band. The group is still going strong. STORY ON PAGE 4.

New gated community would abut Horizon West Village I The subdivision would include 422 age-restricted homes near the existing Orange Lake Resorts. TIM FREED MANAGING EDITOR

A new age-restricted, gated community could be on the way just outside Horizon West. The Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved the preliminary subdivision plan at its July 2 meeting for the Orange Lake Country Club — a proposed

422-home community set for 198.02 acres on the north side of Hartzog Road and west of State Road 429, just south of the Horizon West Village I border. The property is tied to the existing Orange Lake Resorts to the south, with the land being used for proposed single-family homes SEE GATED PAGE 2

FLAPJACK FOURTH Town of Windermere celebrates July 4 with its patriotic pancake breakfast. SEE PAGE 3.






CINÉPOLIS SUMMER KIDS SERIES 10 a.m. Thursday, July 11, at Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas, 14111 Shoreside Way, Winter Garden. Enjoy a special screening of the classic “The Wizard of Oz.” Tickets are $6 and include a snack pack with popcorn, fruit gummies and a small drink. (321) 250-3580. DATE NIGHT NOSTALGIA 7 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas — Hamlin, 14111 Shoreside Way, Winter Garden. See “The Cure: Live in Hyde Park” in this Cinépolis Handpicked series of cult classics and nostalgic oldies. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at cinepolisusa. com/home/cinepolis-handpicked. WEST ORANGE REPUBLICAN WOMEN FEDERATED MEETING 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11, at the West Orange Country Club, 3300 West Orange Country Club Drive, Winter Garden. Guest Laurie Cordoza-Moore will speak on the subversive infiltration of the U.S. educational system, the rise of the anti-Semitic BDS movement and the unraveling of the constitutional Republic. Donations can be made to the Edgewood Children’s Ranch in the form of picnic items. Buffet lunch is $20. RSVP at or (407) 230-5968.


EMPOW’HER’ 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Orlando Health Medical Pavilion — Horizon West, 17000 Porter Road, Suite 204, Winter Garden. Join the monthly learning events aimed at empowering young girls and women through education about their health. Dr. Shweta Patel will discuss women’s health concerns in a comfortable environment. Program is free. Space is limited; call (407) 635-3303 to reserve a seat. WOOFSTOCK CONCERT: DIAMOND DIXIE 6 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Yellow Dog Eats, 1236 Hempel Ave., Gotha. Enjoy the sounds of the band in this concert series at the restaurant. (407) 296-0609.


CINÉPOLIS SUMMER KIDS SERIES 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, and Thursday, July 18, at Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas, 14111 Shoreside Way, Winter Garden. Enjoy a special screening of “Paddington 2.” Tickets are $6 and include a snack pack with popcorn, fruit gummies and a small drink. (321) 250-3580. MILK MONEY MOVIES: ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’ 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 16, at the Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden. Sponsored by the city of Winter Garden, this summer series of family-friendly flicks costs $3 admission and includes a child-size popcorn and fruit

juice combo. For tickets, visit com/ticket. SPACE SPA 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, at the Southwest Library, 7255 Della Drive, Orlando. Create a Haley’s Comet fizzing bath bomb and exfoliating sugar scrub for relaxation that is out of this world. For adults. Limited supplies. Registration is required at (407) 835-7323.


DATE NIGHT NOSTALGIA 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, at Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas — Hamlin, 14111 Shoreside Way, Winter Garden. See “Between Me and My Mind” in this Cinépolis Handpicked series of cult classics and nostalgic oldies. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at cinepolisusa. com/home/cinepolis-handpicked.


WOOFSTOCK CONCERT: MUD ROOSTER 6 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Yellow Dog Eats, 1236 Hempel Ave., Gotha. Enjoy the sounds of the band in this concert series at the restaurant. (407) 2960609.


CINÉPOLIS SUMMER KIDS SERIES 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 23, and Thursday, July 25, at Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas, 14111 Shoreside Way, Winter Garden. Enjoy a special screening of “Despicable Me 3.” Tickets are $6 and include a snack pack with popcorn, fruit gummies and a small drink. (321) 250-3580.

Gated community CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

instead of vacation villas and a golf course. “What they’re doing is they’re taking some existing footprint of land that they had for Orange Lake that they already had control over, but instead of having timeshares, they’re taking age-restricted instead,” District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey said. Although Orange County doesn’t track the demographics in the area to determine the need for age-restricted housing, the fact that Orange Lake is moving forward with this is a good indicator that it is something residents want, VanderLey said. “We depend on the industry to do their homework on that — I would assume that they have done that homework,” she said. “They’re very thorough, the industry, because they have the most money at risk.” VanderLey said nearby residents shouldn’t expect a major impact to traffic. “There’s going to be a calculation of (whether) it’s going to be more trips or it’s going to be less trips,” VanderLey said. “They don’t look at trips throughout the day, they look at a.m. peak and p.m. peak, so when everybody is com-

ing and going to work. Neither timeshares nor age-restricted tend to add greatly to the a.m. peak or the p.m. peak, because they’re not necessarily folks that are still working and commuting into a job.” She also added Horizon West Village I also doesn’t have a lot being built right now, meaning there won’t be many residents impacted. “The impacts that this would add to the overall total of impacts for Horizon West are fairly negligible simply because there’s not a lot of Horizon West that has reached that far south yet,” VanderLey said. “We’ve all watched in the last five years what’s happened in Horizon West in terms of how quickly that has grown. What we anticipated to be a 10- to 20-year buildout happened in more like five years, so there are undeniably traffic impacts as a result of that. That’s not to say they’re not funded impacts.” Doreen Overstreet, Orange County assistant director of communications, said it’s now up to the applicant when they submit the construction plans for approval, and there is no timeline certain. Jeff Sedloff, of June Engineering Consultants Inc., the applicant, did not respond to a request for comment.

“The impacts that this would add to the overall total of impacts for Horizon West are fairly negligible simply because there’s not a lot of Horizon West that has reached that far south yet.” — District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey







Tim Metz sang a solo during the Of Thee We Sing concert.

Joyce Rose and Bonny, John, Eva and Jack Elder put on their most festive Independence Day apparel for the Windermere Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast.

Yankee doodle dandy

Abbie Miller was all smiles after being introduced to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office helicopter at the Independence Community’s 2019 Fireworks Spectacular.

W Members of the U.S. Armed Forces saluted during a solemn moment at the Of Thee We Sing concert.

Morgan Thoss bested everyone in the hula hooping competition at the Independence Community’s 2019 Fireworks Spectacular.

est Orange residents showed their American spirit and celebrated the Fourth of July at a series of family events. The Independence Community Commons turned into a sea of red, white and blue Saturday, June 29, during the annual fireworks spectacular. This year’s festivities included inflatable slides and games, a foam pit, food trucks, vendors and visits from Orlando Regional Medical Center and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office helicopters. The evening was capped off by the signature fireworks display. The next day, audience members heard a spirited collection of patriotic and American music at the Of Thee We Sing concert performed by the Voices of Life choir at Lifebridge Church Sunday, June 30. The performance included versions of “God Bless America,” “Amazing Grace” and “This Land is Your Land.” Young members of Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls took the stage alongside members of each U.S. military branch for one of the final songs. On the Fourth of July, a steady stream of residents made their way through the pancake line at the Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast at Windermere Town Hall to celebrate Independence Day. Residents and volunteers all donned festive red, white and blue attire for the annual event, taking the opportunity to visit with neighbors and enjoy a delicious breakfast. — TIM FREED, DANIELLE HENDRIX AND HANNAH SWAYZE


See more photos at

Peter, Christie and Harper Howlett, Bill Simpson and Eric Qkimoto put aside their breakfast briefly to huddle together for a quick family snapshot at the Windermere Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast.

Carol Rickman, Debbie Johnson, Djina Sterling and Jeri Miles made up The Ladies 4, who performed several a cappella songs at the Of Thee We Sing concert.





Musicians take the ‘A’ train TIM FREED MANAGING EDITOR


he clock seems to move backward and then stand still on Monday nights at the VFW Post 2093 in Orlando. With a simple count in, 18 members of a musical family step in and speak with one voice, playing through tunes such as “Willow Weep for Me,” “When You Wish Upon a Star” and “When I’m Sixty-Four.” Each song is played with a sound that harkens back to the Big Band era that dominated the 1940s. It’s what motivates trombone player Don Lohr, 84, to drive from the Windermere area once a week — and why he started the band in the first place. Lohr formed The Crew Big Band in 2008, and the group has given local players a creative outlet ever since. Gathering every week to play through new songs and practice, The Crew gives longtime musicians and music hobbyists alike a place to gather and play. “There are times when we have our disagreements,” Lohr said. “It’s usually over the tempo or the volume. … But it’s all for the perfection of what we’re trying to do. “We know how it should sound, he said.” Lohr first picked up a trombone in the fifth grade while growing up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the 1940s. It was an era that left Lohr inspired by the works of Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Glen Miller and Harry James that were heard constantly on the radio waves. Lohr wanted to play a clarinet at the time, but the music class didn’t have any left. He might have resented the old antique trombone at first, but eventually the match seemed to be destiny, he said. At age 13, Lohr decided he either needed to get serious with learning the trombone or get rid of it altogether. He ended up taking lessons with Ralph Daubert, an accomplished trombone player. Lohr grew as a player, joining the Jimmy Ryan Swing Band, where he met his wife, Loretta, a vocalist. He also was invited to join the Allentown Marine Band during his

Left: Ron Lopez and Rich Fredrick complement the band’s sound with keyboard and guitar chords. Below: Rich Calderale showed his saxophone skills during a solo for “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Photos by Tim Freed

Dave Wisner rounds out the trumpet section for The Crew Big Band.

MEET THE CREW: Dr. Tom Silliman: Alto sax Bob Clayton: Alto/tenor sax Bill Wallach: Alto/tenor sax Rich Calderale: Tenor sax Bobby Zollo: Tenor sax Jeff Gordon: Tenor/alto sax Paul Bright: Bari sax Ken Moulton: Trumpet Jim Muccio: Trumpet Dave Wisner: Trumpet Rick DeTreville: Trumpet John Holysz: Drums Ron Lopez: Piano Larry Jacoby: Bass Mark Mikesell: Trombone Jim McGonigal: Trombone Jon Treadway: Trombone Don Lohr: Trombone Rich Fredrick: Guitar Wendi Kern: Vocalist Chas Zito: Vocalist Wilbur Smith: Director/trumpet

years at Muhlenberg College. He embarked on a career in insurance and information technology that ultimately kept him away from playing for about 13 years. That changed in 1973, when he moved to the Orlando area to work for Martin Marietta. He met music arranger and close friend Mike Arena, and the two formed the Seminole Community College Concert Band. Shortly after, in 1975, the two friends wanted to start a group that brought back that Big Band sound, and thus created the Altamonte Jazz Ensemble — a group in which Lohr played for 32 years. The band eventually became the Sanford Jazz Ensemble, and Lohr left the group to play in other bands about a decade ago. Around that time, he joined the VFW Post 2093 Community Band, and with the help of director Wilbur “Smitty” Smith,

he went ahead and formed The Crew in 2008. The band plays about four to five concerts every year. In the past, it has played at Windermere Rotary Club events, a charity benefit for Do Unto Others and the city of Orlando’s Christmas tree lighting. “We do it because we like it,” Lohr said. “If it wasn’t for this, I’d be vegetating.” Lohr understands he and the rest of the members are getting older. Many of his close friends and former members of The Crew with whom he has played have passed away, but new players continue to join the band. Eyes lined with wrinkles and behind spectacles still keep a laser focus on the sheet music on Monday nights. Musical talents and techniques practiced over decades are kept sharp, and a musical tradition continues. “It’ll never go out of style,” Lohr said.

Investigation continues in July 4 death CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Butler at around 5 p.m. after the accident, which occurred off the shore of Bird Island. The victim— who was pronounced dead at the scene — has been identified as Nickaloy Dunstan Thomas, 25. It’s a tragic turn of events, Windermere Police Chief David Ogden said, adding the lake is frequently filled with dozens of families and would-be party-goers. “On any given weekend or on holiday weekends, there’s upward of 50 to 100-plus boats there,” Ogden said. “Whenever you have that many boats in one given area, everybody needs to be cautious and on their utmost behavior in that area. There’s kids, there’s family members, there’s people swimming, there’s boaters around, and it always can create a dangerous environment.” Despite the lake and its surrounding waterways being within unincorporated Orange County, the town of Windermere has worked closely with the county

and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to make the area as safe as possible. Alcohol restrictions on the boat ramps in Windermere are put in place to keep boaters responsible, Ogden said. “No alcohol is allowed in the parks in the town of Windermere, so our officers are there,” Ogden said. “All our boat ramps are parks within the town. … It’s one of those things to help curb some of the problems that people have had out in the past. We’ve seen people walk out to the docks with two cases of beer in their hand, and our officers ask what they’re doing. … We make them go back or leave the park.” Orange County has an off-duty officer, as well, to help work the area, Ogden said. The Windermere Police Department has asked to participate in that off-duty role, but that request was denied, Ogden said. “We’re hoping that is re-evaluated, because one of the things that we can do is we do have a boat,” he said. “What we’re looking at

is trying to control our docks and our thoroughfares such as the boat ramps. It’s not that we don’t want people to have a good time, but you don’t need a whole case of beer to have a good time either.” Windermere Mayor Jim O’Brien said the town’s options are limited as far as enforcement but added Orange County has increased lawenforcement coverage in the area. “It’s a finite amount of resources and a lot of (resident) boats,” O’Brien said. “We’re going to continue to work with the county to keep it safe for everybody, but also there’s personal responsibility in terms of self-policing and making sure that boat owners are being safe, careful, following the rules and being respectful to law enforcement. … I think that’s where the big change has to happen.” Technically, residents are not supposed to be on Bird Island itself, O’Brien said, because it’s essentially a cluster of mangrove trees that serves as a nature and bird sanctuary. The island is still

frequently visited and littered with beer cans and other trash. The Bird Island/Lake Butler area has seen its share of incidents, but nothing like what happened on July 4, O’Brien said. “It was a very unfortunate accident,” O’Brien said. “We feel really terrible about the young man. It’s a symptom of a lot of people and a lot of boats in a very confined location. It’s just a tremendous tragedy. Our heart goes out to the family.” Ogden said he hopes people will be more cautious following Thomas’ death. “It’s something everybody needs to pay attention to,” Ogden said. “Unfortunately, we had a horrible tragedy there. It can serve to remind everybody as a time to take caution. Boating requires us all to be safe. “These lakes are great,” he said. “They’re fun. They’re a great time to spend on the weekends. Heck, I actually go out sometimes on a weekend, but boating safety is all of our responsibilities.”

Observer “If we are to build a better world, we must remember that the guiding principle is this — a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy.” Friedrich Hayek

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Orange County teachers to vote on new compensation package More than 14,000 teachers will decide whether to ratify the contract, which would be effective for the 2019-20 school year. ASSOCIATE EDITOR

More than 14,000 Orange County teachers are set to vote over the next few weeks on a compensation plan that sees the majority getting raises — but also comes with an increase in insurance costs. Orange County School Board members unanimously voted Tuesday, June 25, to approve a new, tentative teacher-salary agreement. The agreement was reached by the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association and the District Collaborative Bargaining Leadership Team. Now, ratification of the agreement depends on the vote of the teachers. According to district documents, the board’s offer, including compensation and benefits, currently exceeds surrounding school districts. Some of the highlights of the agreement include the salary offer representing a 4% increase to payroll; a $500 cost-of-liv-

ing increase to all teachers’ base salaries; salary increases of up to $2,025 for teachers rated effective or highly effective; beginning salary increase to $40,500; and a $500 one-time, lump-sum bonus. However, many teachers and CTA members present at the meeting were disillusioned by low pay and insurance hikes. Many urged their colleagues to reject the contract in hopes of a better negotiation. “My concern with this new contract is, how does this help us retain current OCPS teachers who are working very hard, very long hours — on their time off, on time they don’t get paid, and who may not have a stable second income or a stable living situation — in order to make ends meet?” said Megan Kost, a Windermere resident and three-year OCPS teacher who spoke at the meeting. Fellow OCPS teacher Jessica Moore, a Dr. Phillips resident, said the role of a teacher is priceless.

“Classroom teachers are some of the most academically accomplished and competent people I know. Why are other industries with less-qualified citizens of our country making more money than teachers?” — OCPS teacher Jessica Moore

“Classroom teachers are some of the most academically accomplished and competent people I know,” Moore said. “Why are other industries with less-qualified citizens of our country making more money than teachers?” The CTA approved the proposed contract on June 20, stating that the district made it clear that it would not budge on reducing insurance increases. The increase is needed to cover an $11 million deficit in the district’s insurance fund, which was created by the payout for some catastrophic claims. That deficit is expected to rise to about $18 million otherwise. Teachers who only need coverage for themselves still have a nocost option, but covering a spouse and dependents would raise the cost for family coverage. For this reason, many teachers felt that even with a raise they’d end up with less money. District 4 School Board Member Pam Gould told educators at the meeting that the board supports them and recognizes that they should be paid more. “… We have got to be one voice in this and have got to let (legislators) know that you are not paid at market value,” Gould said. “We recognize that. We cannot risk the school district on the other side of



STAY INFORMED Orange County teachers should be receiving their ballots from the CTA soon, at which time they will vote on whether to ratify the agreement. Ballots should be mailed back in the included return envelope or dropped off at the CTA office, located at 1020 Webster Ave., Orlando, before noon on July 29. For further information and details, visit the following websites: n CTA’s Bargaining FAQ: n CTA General Website: n OCPS CTA Contract Details:

there was no more money,” Doromal added. “We signed off on this believing that we couldn’t get a better deal.” Due to a printer mix-up, the CTA’s original ballots were mailed out to teachers early and with the wrong return envelope. The union said ballots are being resent and will be counted on July 29. School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs emphasized that even though many teachers might not believe the board members who say they’re valued, the disbelief couldn’t be further from the truth. “What you do is absolutely the most important thing that any governmental body does,” Jacobs said. “You do it every day in that classroom. … The cost of living has gone through the roof, your salaries haven’t even begun to keep up. If we lose you, we lose the foundation of education.”

It’s Tough Out There!! May of 2019 was the Hottest Recorded in Central Florida History Followed by 3x’s the Historically Reported Average Rainfall Matthew’s Hope has Experienced Explosive Growth with the Addition of 136 New Souls to Our Care in Just These Past 14 weeks! We are Thankful for All the Gifts We Receive Around Christmas However the Need is Year Round. Please Consider a One Time Mid Year Gift so We Will Not be Forced to Back Down on Services During the Summer. You Can Help Make Our Christmas in July Fundraising Campaign a Success by Donating Now. We Thank You in Advance for Your Support! You Can Donate Using a Credit or Debit Card by Calling 407-905-9500 or Online at You May Send a Check to 611 Bussiness Park Blvd. #101 Winter Garden, Florida 34787 Garden Party Reservation or Sponsorship now for just $100 Deposit

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that, though. I would love to find ways to offset the health care if we could, but I have to believe with the challenges from the union to us about our dollars that we’ve overturned those stones. I have to have faith in that at some point to move forward.” Matthew Hazel, a teacher on the union’s bargaining team, said they agreed to the deal because they felt it was the best one they could get. “Here are the facts on the ground: Seminole, Pasco, Osceola, Volusia — they all got smaller raises than we did and they pay way more in insurance,” Hazel said. “We feel the weight of these decisions. We feel all 14,000 of you and your needs and your families. … Sometimes you have to choose the least-worst option. We heard you, and we defended you. I’m sorry it’s not what you deserved.” While the ball is now in the court of the teachers who will vote on it, Florida law gives limited power to teachers unions. If there is an impasse in bargaining, the school board will have to make a decision. “We all agree that Orange County educators deserve higher salaries and better benefits and working conditions,” said Wendy Doromal, president of the CTA. “We cannot recruit and retain quality teachers without them. We live in a state where teacher salaries rank 46th in the nation. We live in a district where the average salary falls below all the five largest districts in the state. “We were told emphatically





Danielle Hendrix

HUMBL CEO Paul Mascia and Chief Culinary Officer Matthew Kenney were thrilled to open the flagship location.

Plant-based eatery takes root HUMBL 5845 Winter Garden Vineland Road, Suite 130, Windermere PHONE: (407) 349-8800 HOURS: 2 to 10 p.m. Mondays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays WEBSITE: FACEBOOK: humbl.eats INSTAGRAM: @humbl.eats

HUMBL’s flagship location in Windermere Village is now open and dishing out its unique fare. DANIELLE HENDRIX ASSOCIATE EDITOR

With hungry patrons being more cognizant than ever about healthy eating, the Horizon West area’s newest eatery has arrived at just the right time. HUMBL, Orlando’s first plantbased and fast-casual restaurant brand, launched its flagship location in Windermere Village. What’s more, CEO Paul Mascia lives in Winter Garden and COO

Eric Koeser in Windermere. However, HUMBL’s chief culinary officer is Los Angeles-based celebrity chef Matthew Kenney. It’s a partnership that first blossomed when Mascia and Koeser were looking to launch their concept for a plant-based eatery. Eighteen months ago, Mascia was watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives” on Netflix. He B:10” added he had eaten meat or animal T:10”one of his meals protein with every in the past 40 years S:10” before he was

challenged to try plant-based eating. “I thought I’d give it a try, and I felt fantastic,” he said. “I had more energy and alertness, I felt better in every way, so I decided to make it a lifestyle. I realized there wasn’t much around (Orlando) to have a great fast-casual, convenient (plant-based restaurant) experience. I saw a tremendous opportunity for plant-based cuisine, and here we have a few smaller concepts but no real brand. We reached out to Chef Matthew and his team to let them know what we wanted to do.” The vision is to have HUMBL become the country’s leading fastcausal, plant-based brand, bringing familiar favorites to the table while sticking to the fully plantbased concept. When Kenney was speaking to Mascia and Koeser about their idea, he was intrigued. His passions lie in hospitality and wellness/exercise, and plant-based cuisine is one of his specialties. Kenney also has been in the culinary field for 30 years, starting with classical French training before applying those techniques to his desire to cook healthier food. “My passions are not just about staying healthy and exercising but also protecting animals and keeping people healthy,” he said. “I started applying my work completely toward plant-based cuisine with the vision that it would one day become the center of the plate, the common food and not the exception.” Orlando is a very strong market for plant-based cuisine, Kenney said. Mascia added a large part of calling the Horizon West/Windermere area home was because it’s in his own backyard. “I’ve been a West Orange resident for almost 40 years, but we

THREE TO TRY n Humbl Burger — A 17-ingredient burger with spicy carrot mustard, cashew cheddar cheese, pickles, herbed aioli, Humbl sauce, lettuce and tomato. n Humbl Bowl — Wholegrain brown rice, tandoori, cauliflower, turmeric tahini, coriander, yogurt sauce and smashed pistachios. n Meat Lover Pizza — Choose an artisan Neapolitan or cauliflower crust. Includes bacon, fennel farro sausage, cauliflower, marinara, macadamia ricotta cheese and cashew mozzarella cheese.

chose this location in particular, because there’s amazing growth in the area, and we believe the supply wasn’t really here,” Mascia said. “The community was right for it, and there’s opportunities and a need for it. The big picture is to really transform lives at a core — we want people to live a life well fed and get a plant-based experience.” The HUMBL menu features Kenney’s signature cuisine and extends his focus on delivering high-quality, fresh food to the fast-casual restaurant segment. Kenney added the ingredients will be received from Villages Grown, which sources hyperlocal produce. The ingredients are used to recreate classic, familiar dishes such as burgers, pizza, bowls and ice cream. Another feature is the company’s one-for-one program, which provides a meal to a hungry child for every meal purchased. Each HUMBL location is expected to provide 70,000 meals per year.

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Enroll in a branch by August 30, 2019. Business owner? Ask about our business savings rates. Offers available in CT, DE, FL, NJ, NY, and PA. Portfolio by Wells Fargo® customers are eligible to receive an additional bonus interest rate on these accounts.3 1. To qualify for the advertised APY, you must enroll your new or existing Platinum Savings account in this offer between 07/08/2019 and 08/30/2019 by speaking to a banker and requesting the special rate. Offer is subject to change at any time, without notice, and is available only to Platinum Savings customers in the following states: CT, DE, FL, NJ, NY, PA. In order to earn the Special Interest Rate of 1.98% (Special Rate), you must deposit $25,000 in new money to the enrolled savings account and maintain a minimum daily account balance of $25,000 throughout the promotional interest rate period. “New money” is money from sources outside of the customer’s current relationship with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. or its affiliates (which includes all deposit, brokerage and loan/credit accounts). The corresponding Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for this offer is 2.00%. The Special Rate will be applied to the enrolled savings account for a period of 12 months, starting on the date the account is enrolled in the offer. However, for any day during that 12 month period that the daily account balance is less than the $25,000, the enrolled account will not be eligible for the Special Rate and will instead earn the applicable Standard Interest Rate for a Platinum Savings account. As of 05/31/2019, the Standard Interest Rate and APY for a Platinum Savings account in CT, FL, NJ and NY with an account balance of $0.01 and above is 0.05% (0.05% APY); and for a Platinum Savings account in DE and PA with an account balance of $0.01 to $99,999.99 is 0.05% (0.05% APY) and with an account balance of $100,000 and above is 0.10% (0.10% APY). Each tier shown reflects the current minimum daily collected balance required to obtain the applicable APY. Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly. The amount of interest earned is based on the daily collected balances in the account. Upon the expiration of the 12 month promotional period, then-current Standard Interest Rates apply. Minimum to open a Platinum Savings account is $25. A monthly service fee of $12 applies in any month the account falls below a $3,500 minimum daily balance. Fees may reduce earnings. Interest rates are variable and subject to change without notice. Wells Fargo may limit the amount you deposit to a Platinum Savings account to an aggregate of $1 million. 2. Available in-branch only; you must speak with a banker to request the special rate. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is effective for accounts opened between 07/08/2019 and 08/30/2019 and requires a minimum of $25,000 in new money brought to Wells Fargo. “New money” is money from sources outside of the customer’s current relationship with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. or its affiliates (which includes deposit, brokerage and loan/credit accounts). Public Funds and Wholesale accounts are not eligible for this offer. APY assumes interest remains on deposit until maturity. Interest is compounded daily. Payment of interest on CDs is based on term: For terms less than 12 months (365 days), interest may be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or at maturity (the end of the term). For terms of 12 months or more, interest may be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. A penalty for early withdrawal will be imposed and could reduce earnings on this account. Special Rates are applicable to the initial term of the CD only. At maturity, the special rate CD will automatically renew for a term of 6 months, at the interest rate and APY in effect for CDs on renewal date not subject to a Special Rate, unless the Bank has notified you otherwise. 1., 2. Due to the new money requirement, new accounts may only be opened at your local branch and you must speak to a banker to request the special rate offers for both new and existing accounts. Wells Fargo reserves the right to modify or discontinue the offer at any time without notice. Minimum new money deposit requirement of at least $25,000 is for this offer only and cannot be transferred to another account to qualify for any other consumer deposit offer. If you wish to take advantage of another consumer deposit offer requiring a minimum new money deposit, you will be required to do so with another new money deposit as stated in the offer requirements and qualifications. Offer cannot be: • Combined with any other consumer deposit offer. • Reproduced, purchased, sold, transferred, or traded. 3. The Portfolio by Wells Fargo program has a $30 monthly service fee, which can be avoided when you have one of the following qualifying balances: $25,000 or more in qualifying linked bank deposit accounts (checking, savings, CDs, FDIC-insured IRAs) or $50,000 or more in any combination of qualifying linked banking, brokerage (available through Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC) and credit balances (including 10% of mortgage balances, certain mortgages not eligible). If the Portfolio by Wells Fargo relationship is terminated, the bonus interest rate on all eligible savings accounts, and discounts or fee waivers on other products and services, will discontinue and revert to the Bank’s then-current applicable standard interest rate or fee. For bonus interest rates on time accounts, this change will occur upon renewal. If the Portfolio by Wells Fargo relationship is terminated, the remaining unlinked Wells Fargo Portfolio Checking or Wells Fargo Prime Checking account will be converted to another checking product or closed. © 2019 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Deposit products offered by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.











Moms seek to make autism resources accessible Michelle King-Best, Angie Tolcser-Nunez and Michelle Hinojosa formed the Central Florida Autism Community together. GROUPS


The Central Florida Autism Community group has members that overlap in several other local Facebook groups and communities: n Autism Dads of Greater Orlando: This is an informal social group for fathers of children with autism in the Orlando area. It is run by Joseph Barton. n Autism Welcomed Decal Symbol “Helping Autism Feel Welcomed in Public Places”: This is a Facebook page run by Angela Hart, who offers stickers for local businesses that are autism-friendly. n Mi Rayito Azul: This Facebook group is similar to Central Florida Autism Community but for native Spanish speakers.

Three Central Florida moms are working to make resources more accessible to families with children on the autism spectrum. Horizon West resident Michelle King-Best, Angie Tolcser-Nunez and Michelle Hinojosa met just about two years ago in a More Than Words class by The Hanen Centre. All three of their children, who were under age 3, were recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Like many families and parents with children who are diagnosed, they were struggling to navigate all their options for care. “Once your kid gets a diagnosis, you are given a lot of information, and you don’t know,” TolcserNunez said. “You feel like you’re drowning in a pool of just information overload.” So, the three began to lean on one another. They created a Facebook chat where they would compare notes, ask each other questions and even vent when necessary. They realized if they were feeling this way, then other families might, too. Tolcser-Nunez, King-Best, and Hinojosa started the Central Florida Autism Community Facebook group about two years ago, wanting to provide a space

Hannah Swayze

Angela Tolcser-Nunez and Michelle King-Best are two of the founders of the Central Florida Autism Community Facebook group.

where families with children on the autism spectrum could share resources and have a supportive non-judgmental space to communicate online. Now, the group has more than 1,300 members. They share anything from information about autism-friendly doctors to experiences in local parks to information on local schooling options. Members will go to the group with questions about local schools or clubs or any variety of things for their children. Other members can offer feedback on their experiences in response. Tolcser-Nunez said one of the most important aspects of the group is providing a space for the parents, and even adults with

autism, to find support when sharing in their experiences and finding others who understand their struggles and their successes. “As much as there are resources for the children, the parents are left behind,” Tolcser-Nunez said. “If we’re not at our best, it’s not easy to do (what’s) best for your kid.” King-Best, Tolcser-Nunez and Hinojosa will chime in on posts along with other members to help out, but if someone goes to them directly, and they don’t know the answer, they will reach out to someone who might. “It’s not about knowing all the answers, it’s about knowing where to find them,” Tolcser-Nunez said. The group also serves as a

bridge to many other online professional resources for parents and adults with autism. Local organizations such as the Autism Society of Greater Orlando and Autism Society of Florida are shared on the group, and King-Best said it’s an excellent starting point to find other communities. Moving forward, King-Best said they hope to grow the community, knowing that the more people they reach, the more resources they can find and the more people the group they can help. “Any advocacy work you do — no matter how small or how big or any step you do — it’s helping however many families that come after you,” King-Best said.


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embers of the new Rotary Club of Horizon West gathered for drinks and conversation at the group’s monthly Happy Hour Social Wednesday, June 26, at Bella Italia Ristorante. Attendees networked at the event and took part in a 50/50 raffle. — TIM FREED Pat Orr, Cynthia Hitzman and Linda Mieczkowski were ready for a fun evening.

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Festival celebrates Indian culture

Jenna Kar uses henna to write Niyati Devnani’s name on her hand.

Supriya Devnani sang several songs.

The International Dancers performed several different styles of dance at the Indian Culture Festival on Saturday afternoon, July 6, at the Jamuna Center in Windermere.


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Karishma Bhindi and Delaila Piantinis performed a Bollywood-style dance


downpour of rain couldn’t stop the party Saturday, July 6, as the community gathered to celebrate culture and art at the Indian Culture Festival at the Jamuna Center in Windermere. Festival-goers enjoyed music, dance and delicious food all afternoon. A portion of the profits from the event will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Ekal Vidyalaya, an organization that helps build schools in India.

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Sutton, 5, and Scarlett Davis, 3, held up the pictures they were working on during the event.


he second-annual “Take pArt, A Festival of Arts” was hosted Saturday, June 29, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. The festival let guests dive into their creative sides with a room full of make-and-take projects, art classes and a gallery full of local artists’ work.

Jalen Graham, 7, made a dog named Max in his art class.


Left: Victoria Laney practiced the art of card-making.

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‘She’s a maniac’ Paxton Brock stars as Alex in her first role with the Garden Theatre for the upcoming production of “Flashdance the Musical.”


axton Brock spent much of her childhood studying ballet, but she later discovered her talents went far beyond expressing herself through movement. “I’m a dancer first,” Brock said. “I actually did a lot of my training with the Kentucky Ballet Theater. At the time, it was heartbreaking, because I was Clara in their ‘Nutcracker’ tour. I wanted to be a ballerina, and that was it for me. The principal dancer sat me down when I was little and said that I couldn’t be a ballerina and that I wasn’t cut out for the ballet world. … She said I was too expressive, because when I was Clara in ‘The Nutcracker,’ I was crying real tears when the Nutcracker dies and just being dramatic.” That same ballerina suggested Brock was more suited for musical theater. She also is a singer with a background in performing and singing bluegrass music, and has even been featured onstage at folk festivals. Now, in her first role with the Garden Theatre, the 22-year-old triple threat stars as Alex Owens in the upcoming production of “Flashdance the Musical.”

Based off the iconic film, “Flashdance the Musical” tells the inspiring story of 18-year-old Owens, a welder by day and “flash dancer” by night. Her dreams to become a professional dancer become complicated after she finds romance. Like the feature film, the musical will feature the same iconic score and ’80s pop hits such as “Maniac,” “Gloria,” “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and title track “Flashdance … What a Feeling.” “The musical has way more plot than the movie,” Brock said. “They’ve added in some more plot just to give it some more meat and potatoes and bulk up the show, but none of the classic scenes are compromised.” Originally from Berea, Kentucky, Brock has lived in the Orlando area for about three years. She moved to the area with her boyfriend, a student at the University of Central Florida who also performed in productions with the Garden Theatre in the past. Although she isn’t a welder, Brock can relate to her character’s struggles. “(The role) speaks to my soul in a really — unfortunately — campy and dramatic way, but I really mean that, because her hardships speak to me,” Brock said. “I’ve had to work hard for all of the things

Courtesy photo

The Garden Theatre’s upcoming production of “Flashdance the Musical” will feature much of the movie’s iconic scenes.

that I’ve achieved. … Everything I’m doing in this show has a little twinge of honesty, which I think is important for good theater.” Although the casting is a natural fit, Brock’s role does present some challenges. Brock spends much of the show on stage and has had to memorize a great deal of lines, choreography and lyrics. The physicality and volume of memorization required for her role proved to be physically, mentally and emotionally draining at times. “I always would say, ‘I want something challenging,’ and then I got this show, and it is a beast,” Brock said. “It’s been challenging for me as a dancer, because I’ve had to adapt my style, and I’ve taken a lot of classes, but it’s pushed me because I have to go from hip hop to ballet in a matter of seconds.”

CRUSH by Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen; CROSSWORD CANDY Edited by David Steinberg

©2019 Universal Uclick


25 Higher than the Celsius freezing point (Hint: Enter a 1 Recedes digit in square 6!) 5 Actress Farrow 27 Water, in Juarez 8 Sneezelike dance move 29 QVC competitor 11 Sporty autos 31 Major Islamic sect 17 Not of the cloth 32 Like “Toy Story 4” 18 Having no intermis33 Dynasty known for its sion (Hint: Enter a digit in porcelain square 1!) 34 San ___, Puerto Rico 19 Thrilla in Manila boxer 35 Ivy founded by Ben 20 Taking the place (of) Franklin 21 Head over heels 36 Ed of “Up” 22 Reduce to nothing (Hint: 37 Peru native Enter a digit in square 1!) 38 Pay-per-click displays, 23 Beginning of a run? e.g. 24 Sergeant ___ 40 Tree protuberances

42 Smells like rotten eggs 44 Strange 45 Rapper Fiasco 48 “Neat” or “beat” follower 49 Hand-holding, e.g., briefly 50 Sport coat size 52 Blubber 55 John Gotti, ___ the Dapper Don 56 Where you live, slangily 57 It’s dipped in the water 58 Ancient Roman date 59 Skill practiced on dummies (Abbr.) 60 Upfront poker fees 62 Join, as metal

64 Not close at all 65 “Take ___ Train” (Ellington hit) 66 Treasure hunter’s guide, perhaps 67 “Finito!” 69 PlantBottle water brand 71 Harvest, as hay 72 “Wide Sargasso Sea” novelist Jean 74 Victorious shouts 75 Onsets 76 Cathedral city near Cambridge 77 Senatorial approvals 78 Laddering investments, for short

In addition to it being her first show with the Garden Theatre, it’s the first time Brock has had the opportunity to showcase all of her talents at once. “I’m singing, belting at the top of my lungs and singing my face off (while) I’m acting,” she said. “I’m exhausted acting-wise. I’m exhausted vocally. I’m exhausted physically.” Despite the challenges, Brock has been able to conquer them through good, old-fashioned hard work and practice. She also credits the show’s director and choreographer, Jani Walsh-Weber, for her support. “I’m working every single day (on the show),” Brock said. “I’m on stage for most of the show … (but) Jani is just pushing me to build my stamina, which I’m thankful for.”

15 Jog the memory of 16 Lazy ___ (spinning trays) 18 Monumental bout of retail therapy? (Hint: Enter digits in squares 1-3!) 23 Rich-but-dense playboys? 26 Tranquil garden 28 Supplement chain 30 Cleaning compound 33 Nova in our galaxy? 34 Java 39 Noel beverages 41 Cleanse (of) 43 Musician’s gift 45 Worked hard 46 Hawaiian instrument 47 Lies about making big bucks? 49 Opinion-gauging tweet 51 Snide sounds from Trekkers? 53 Like some tour buses 54 Cooks slowly, in a way 56 Santa ___ 61 Troublemaker 63 Ernie of the links 64 “Whichever” 65 Org. with wands 68 Brewer’s dryer 70 Scarfed down 73 Lays a claim (on) 77 The “Y” of YSL 78 HP’s “brain” 80 Touch gently 86 Beginning-of-dictionary animal 88 Aesthete’s probing question DOWN 1 “Pomp and Circumstance” 90 Red or green drink 91 Hotel desk item composer 92 Hit it on the head 2 Ewes’ sounds 93 Resurrection figure 3 Intolerant sorts 94 Supporter on a tour 4 Dumpster dive 95 Less valid 5 Noted Chinese chairman 97 Not quite right 6 Closely monitored hosp. 99 Add, as video footage area 100 Nacho Cheese chip 7 Achieves 8 Church Lady creator Carvey 105 Occupied, as a table 108 NYSE alternative 9 In the style of 111 2019 Best Director nomi10 Tagline for “Baywatch”? nee Spike 11 Designer Versace 113 “Caught you!” 12 Dynamite letters 115 Longoria or Green 13 Took one’s hand 14 Bangles for space cadets? 116 Single pullup, e.g.

79 Basilica recess 81 Brother of Curly 82 Lawn droplets 83 Kevlar garment 84 “___ a sock in it!” 85 Hard-to-park vehicle 86 Egyptian cobras 87 Hurry, old-style 89 Single statistic 91 Rods’ eye part 93 Heated barrage of words 96 French or Dutch entrance 98 Gave a hoot 101 Arizona tribe 102 “Mamma Mia” band 103 Area 51 subjects, briefly 104 Youngsters 106 Completely focused 107 Sch. with a live tiger mascot 108 Alarm clock toggle 109 Cassandra Peterson persona 110 Values to live up to 112 2019 Super Bowl losers 114 Warriors coach Steve 117 Quarreling 118 “No ___, Bob!” 119 ___ shed (woman’s haven) 120 December holiday party times 121 Rudner or Ora 122 Beta version evaluator 123 Bill add-on 124 Chihuahua sound 125 Tie the ___



WHEN: Through July 28. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; and 2 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and July 18 and 25. WHERE: Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden TICKETS: $35 for general admission and $30 for students and seniors. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. The production contains adult themes and language, and viewer discretion is encouraged. WEBSITE: PHONE: (407) 877-4736


By Luis Campos Celebrity Cipher cryptograms are created from quotations by famous people, past and present. Each letter in the cipher stands for another.



Puzzle One Clue: J equals Z


©2019 NEA, Inc.


Complete the grid so that every row, column and 3x3 box contains every digit from 1 to 9 inclusively.

©2019 Andrews McMeel Syndicate






Let us tell the story of your life.


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Gerald T. “Pat” Vaughn was born in 1931 in Peoria, Illinois, and his earthly journey ended on Saturday, July 6, 2019. He was predeceased by his son, Mark Patrick, and is survived by Ginger, his wife of 51 years; their daughter, Andrea; and granddaughter, Lena; his sister, Katherine (Jim) Kunath; and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 11, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shepherd’s Hope ( or Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, Enterprise, Florida. Arrangements entrusted to Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Home, Winter Garden.

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This week’s Crossword answers

This week’s Celebrity Cipher answers Puzzle One Solution: “Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.” – Walter Cronkite

This week’s Celebrity Cipher answers Puzzle One Solution: “Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.” – Walter Cronkite

This week’s Sudoku answers

The West Orange Times and Observer is hosting this weekly contest, and winners will have their photograph featured and receive a $20 prize. To enter, email your photo, along with your name, city and a caption, to; put “I Love West Orange” in the subject line. Please include your mailing address to receive your prize. – Walter Cronkite

Puzzle Two Solution: “The press is a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. ... A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

– Walter Cronkite

This Two week’s Sudoku answers Puzzle Solution:

This week’s Crossword answers

“The press is a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. ... A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

This week’s Crossword answers


“Because You Care”

Todd Degusipe Director/Owner

Colleen Gillis Pre-planner

Frank Scarlata Director/Manager

We Are FAmily OWned & OperAted



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Michelle Corcia, of Windermere, took this photo of a stunning sunrise while she was running down Lake Butler Boulevard on a recent Saturday morning.


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BEULAH BAPTIST Pastor Casey Butner 671 Beulah Rd, Winter Garden 407-656-3342 | Sunday Bible Study 9:30AM Sunday Service 11:00AM Wednesday Service 6:00PM

Advertise your Services or Events on this page weekly. This page appears weekly in the Windermere Observer and online at

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JULY 11, 2019





Carly Bunnell, of the Windermere Little League 12U softball team, is ready for the state tournament. Page 14.

Hot wheels

For the second year in a row, the Windermere Wildfire 16U (Paulson) brought home the 2019 Florida State USA Softball Championship on Sunday, July 7. The Wildfire will follow up the win with an appearance in the Atlanta Legacy Showcase this weekend in Georgia from July 10 to 13.


Griffin Willman, a Boy Scout with Winter Gardenbased Troop 210, is looking to raise $5,000 to build a gazebo, renovate structures, repaint the benches and install solar lighting for the Windermere Little League softball fields as a part of his Eagle Scout Project. As of Monday, July 8, Willman has raised $725 of his goal. To help contribute, go to


The strength and conditioning department at Windermere Prep was recently named a National Strength & Conditioning Association Strength of America Award winner. The program — led by Micah Kurtz — was recognized for the three year period of 2019-22. The award itself “honors schools that exhibit the highest standards in the safety and success of young athletes.”


This past weekend the Windermere Wildfire 18U (Pollock) celebrated the Fourth of July holiday by going a perfect 5-0 to win the Stars and Stripes Independence Day tournament. The 5-0 record pushed the Wildfire to its current win streak of seven games in a row.



s Spencer Pigot rolls over in his bed, he checks the time. It’s around 6 a.m. on Sunday, May 26, and the noise of people and cars outside his RV is loud enough that it seeps through the window sills. Going back to sleep for another five minutes isn’t going to happen. So he wakes up, gets himself ready and takes an hour or so to brace himself for the monster he’ll soon be battling that lies just outside his front door. Time slips by swiftly, and as the hour hand hits 9 a.m. it’s time for the first interviews of the day — the first of many that he’ll have to sit through. As the Windermere Prep alum opens a door and steps out into the sunshine, there in front of him sits the grandstands of the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s Memorial Day Weekend in Indianapolis, which means one thing — it’s time for the Indy 500. The weight of the moment doesn’t truly sink in until just before the green flag drops. “You have a few minutes with the team

From Windermere to Indy, Spencer Pigot is making his name known in the world of IndyCar.


Courtesy photos

Windermere dominates in softball All-Star season


Windermere Prep’s Tiago Barni had a strong showing during the NHSGA High School National Invitational at Walt Disney World Resort, which took place June 28-29. Bari placed ninth overall to earn 2nd-Team All-Tournament honors in a stacked field of 172. Meanwhile, fellow teammate Eric Berggren (who is heading to Indiana in the fall) tied for 26th.

Within the same week, the 11U team won the Florida state title and its 12U counterparts won the Section 5 title. TROY HERRING SPORTS EDITOR

Courtesy photo

Windermere’s 11U team hopes to keep their winning ways going in the Tournament of State Champions.

They say good things often come in waves, and that’s the case when it comes to the All-Star season for Windermere Little League. In the span of just two days, the league saw two of its softball teams take home titles of their very own. On Saturday, July 6, the Windermere Little League 12U All-Stars

dominated Oviedo in a big 12-0 win to seal up the Section 5 title. “It feels good to finally play,” said Rex Smith, head coach of the 12U team. “We’ve been working hard since June 1 with the team and everybody else has played, so really we were the last ones out on the field. “This isn’t what we are playing SEE WLL PAGE 14







Carly Bunnell Following a stellar Little League season, Carly Bunnell is currently making a run to the Little League state tournament with the Windermere Little League 12U team. When she’s not on the softball field, she enjoys swimming and hanging out with her friends.

How did you first get into softball? It was spring of fourth grade and I started because my brother was playing baseball when he was really little. I was really annoyed because I had to watch every single game, and I was like, “You know what? I’m going to try this out.” That’s how I got started.

THE BASICS TEAM: Windermere Little League 12U SPORT: Softball POSITION: Varies AGE: 13 BATS/THROWS: Right/ right

have agility and stuff, so that helps with moving back and forth to get to the ball.

What’s your favorite thing about playing softball? It’s just a really fun sport with my friends, and when I do good it just feels good.

How do you prepare for a game? You have to get a good night’s sleep, then in the morning you have to eat a good breakfast and hydrate because it’s really hot.

What is the most challenging aspect When you mess up, you don’t have a chance to go back to it. If you strike out you probably have 45 minutes waiting before you can do something again.

Is softball something you’d like to do at the next level? Yeah, I mean if I can make it that would be great. If I keep working, hopefully I’ll make it.

What’s some of the best advice you’ve been given when it comes to playing softball? “You have to pay before you play.” You have to work at it to get a position on the team, and if you practice hard you get a spot.

When you’re not on the softball diamond, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I’m in the National Honor Society, so I go out and get hours with my group of people. I sometimes go swimming and I hang out with my friends. I also walk my dog — he’s fun. But softball is virtually my life.

Going into All-Star season, do you have anything you want to work on? Probably diving. We practiced yesterday and I almost broke myself. And probably finding the bag, because some times I have to play first base — which is hard because it’s not my position. I have to get used to finding the bag and stretching it out.

What’s your perfect post-game meal? Probably like a salad — I like Caesar salad, that’s really good — or pasta. After a game I’m not really hungry until a couple of hours after. After a game I’m really focused and I don’t really think about food until I’m actually hungry.

You just made the basketball team at school — is there anything you can take from the court and use in softball? In basketball you have to


Pigot firing on all cylinders CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13

before you get in, and that’s when you kind of realize what’s about to happen,” Pigot said. “You start focusing, and you definitely have some nerves, but once I get in the car and put the helmet on and the engine starts up, all that kind of goes away.” FROM WINDERMERE TO INDY

In the world of racing, no race is bigger than Indy. It’s the kind of race that makes families set aside a whole day so they can watch, and it’s one that kids with a dream of racing play out in their head over and over again. Pigot was, and still is, one of those kids. For as long as he can remember racing has always been a part of his life, and it all started because of his dad, who had raced a bit and was involved with the sport. The young Pigot decided to jump into racing, and got his first go-kart when he was living in the race-obsessed state of North Carolina. Though the state is well known for being the birthplace of NASCAR, it wasn’t the type of racing that Pigot wanted to do. “I was about 8 years old and, as you know, it’s all kind of oval racing around there and we always liked Formula 1 and IndyCar and road racing, so we would always have to drive from North Carolina to Ohio or down to Florida to find a road course,” Pigot said. “We would drive 10 to 12 hours to find a different type of track, and then all of that became a lot

easier when we moved to Windermere when I was about 9.” With so many tracks around, Pigot really dove deep and dedicated a lot of time to his sport, and the practice paid off. Over the next few years he began winning — first at the state level, then on the national and international levels. By the time he knew it, he was graduating from Windermere Prep and was quickly moving up the ranks as he captured the 2014 Indy Pro 2000 championship and 2015 Indy Lights title for Juncos Racing before moving up to IndyCar in 2016. Luckily for Pigot, his very first pro race was only about a twohour drive southwest. “It was really neat — it’s always been my dream to be an IndyCar driver and race in this sport,” Pigot said. “My first IndyCar race was kind of my home race — the St. Pete race just outside of Tampa. It was one of my favorite events, and to make my debut there was really cool. “It was a long journey for me and my family, and we’ve been working toward this goal together since I was 9 years old,” he said. “It was kind of surreal and I tried to soak it all in, but at the same time (I was) trying to focus on driving the car and learning as much as I could. The weekend itself was a lot to take in.” Since that first race, Pigot has joined on to compete full-time with Ed Carpenter Racing, and has picked up three top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes.


for (to win our section) — we play to get back to the state tournament and change the outcome from last year,” he said. The state tournament last year was unkind to both the 11U and 12U teams, as each lost in the championship game — ending their seasons. But this year is new, and things looked really good for the 12s through sectional play at their home field. In its first game on Saturday morning, the 12U team lit up the scoreboard against South Orange, taking an easy 23-0 victory before facing off against Oviedo — a game that took a while to get started up. After strong storms moved through the area, the field was flooded badly. It would take an hour of work to get it playable. “I was just glad we got the game in — it was awesome,”

Smith said. “We had probably 10 people — coaches from the other team and people from the stands- jumping onto the field to get it (dried). That’s what Little League is all about.” Despite the delay, WLL came out and dominated from the get-go, as it scored three runs through the first two innings. What followed was an explosion of seven runs in the third to make it 10-0 WLL. WLL would put up two more runs to make it 12-0 and mercy rule Oviedo in four innings of play. While the 12U team will have a few days to soak in the win, it’ll have a quick turnaround as it travels to Port St. Lucie this upcoming weekend — July 12-14 — to take part in the state tournament. WLL 11U TAKES STATE TITLE

The Windermere Little League 11U All-Stars stormed its way

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As the engines of 33 cars fire off with monstrous roars, Pigot grips the wheel and takes a deep breath. He had spent the past two weeks practicing on the track, and in qualifying hit an average of 230 miles per hour — good enough to land him on the front row in the third position. Back in his first race at Indy in 2016, Pigot remembers the speed of the first few laps — how it felt as though he had been shot out of a cannon. But this was his fourth go-around — he knows to expect the unexpected. “Going into the race you kind of have to be open to anything,” Pigot said. “You can try to make plans and have things that you want to do, but you’re racing against 32 other people and your plan can be dictated by what other people do.” For the next 500 miles Pigot battles it out against racing’s best, and for a while he stays in the top 10. Unfortunately a few things mid-to-late in the race threw off his time, and Pigot finished in a respectable 14th place. There’s a disappointment in his voice when he looks back on that day at Indy, but when he looks at the whole picture he sees just how far he has come since he first put on a race helmet as a kid. “Racing side-by-side at 180 to 200 miles per hour is like nothing else, and I’ve always enjoyed battling wheel-to-wheel ever since (I was) go-karting,” Pigot said. “It’s a lot of fun — to me there’s not much better than that.”

WLL takes charge

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to a Florida state softball title this weekend in St. Pete, after a close 4-0 blanking of the Brevard All-Stars (of Viera Suntree Little League) on Sunday, July 7. The 11s kicked off pool play in the tournament on Saturday, July 6, with a 24-0 walloping of Golden Gate. The win would be followed by a 23-1 victory over Palm Coast later in the evening. Palm Coast’s lone run would be the only run scored against WLL. After the perfect 2-0 start in pool play, the 11U team was matched up with the Pool B winners in Brevard All-Stars. At the time, the Brevard All-Stars had only given up a single run all tournament, as well. Despite the offensive explosions for the Brevard All-Stars throughout the tournament, the WLL 11U team came in and clamped down — holding Brevard scoreless. Up next for the 11U All-Stars is the Tournament of State Champions that will take place from July 19-24 in Clarksville, Tennessee. 2 ORANGE OBSERVER





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