Mount Dora: A charming way to spend a day

Arriving in Mount Dora is like walking onto a movie set: sparkling Lake Dora provides the backdrop. Panning out from the lake, front-porched homes, American flags flying, line shady streets, an easy walk from main street shops, parks and even a candy cane-colored lighthouse. In the daytime, visitors - like movie extras - fan out to the lake on scenic boat tours, hikes on lakeside … [Read more...]

Presenting musical passion, precise choreography

Their love of singing developed in different ways. “Singing has always been a part of my life,” said Sandy Everly, of Land O’ Lakes. “On Sunday nights, at home, my mom played the piano, and my sister and my dad and I would sing. “Actually, I learned to harmonize at a very young age.” Cathy Frey, of Wesley Chapel, recalled “my parents used to play these reel-to-reel tapes with these … [Read more...]

Female firefighter inspires superhero comic

Larry Jarrell was so captivated when he learned of Stephanie Sorensen’s story that he created a web comic heroine based on the Wesley Chapel woman’s life. This isn’t the first time that Sorensen has attracted attention. The volunteer at Fire Station 28 in Land O’ Lakes, placed second in a national campaign to raise awareness of the need for volunteer firefighters. Besides volunteering at … [Read more...]

A vigil to honor a life gone too soon

A bouquet of heart-shaped balloons separated and floated skyward into the night air, carrying messages of love for Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz. Below, candles burned brightly, held aloft by more than 400 people who filled the stands at Ron Allen Field at Gaither High. They had gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor the life of the 24-year-old Sanfeliz, one of 49 people killed during a … [Read more...]

Shops at Wiregrass debuts flagpole on Flag Day

Initially billed as a celebration to unveil a new 40-foot flagpole at The Shops at Wiregrass, the event took on a more somber tone in light of the mass shootings in Orlando. At the beginning of the Flag Day ceremony, Greg Lenners, the general manager for The Shops at Wiregrass, asked for a moment of silence. That moment lasted 49 seconds. Each second symbolized the loss of a life on … [Read more...]

Summer of sorrow calls us to love each other

Only weeks have passed since the awful news that emerged from Meadow Pointe, but ensuing events in Orlando make it seem like a lifetime. So much atrocity packed into so little time. We hadn’t even crossed the solstice, and already it was the summer of sorrow. But for many in our community, it began here, with the dark bathroom, the blocked door, the oozing blood, and the pure, inexpugnable … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes teen preps for first Muay Thai fights

Fifteen-year-old Stephanie Whipple didn’t know anyone when she moved to Land O’ Lakes from Aurora, Illinois, last December. While Whipple, now a sophomore at Land O’ Lakes High School, was saying goodbye to the freezing Midwest winters in favor of the more enjoyable subtropical climate, she would also leave behind her childhood friends and family members. To help her transition with her new … [Read more...]

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expeditions reveal Florida’s wild side

Motorists zipping along Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando can't see from their ribbon of asphalt how close they are to the wild side of Florida. But the Green Swamp is all around. Often called the "liquid heart" of the state, the swamp is headwaters for four major rivers: Peace, Withlacoochee, Ocklawaha and Hillsborough. Natural habitat, hiking trails, blueways and wildlife … [Read more...]

New season, higher goals for Zephyrhills football

Last year, the Zephyrhills Bulldogs snapped an eight-year playoff drought by making the postseason for the first time since head coach Reggie Roberts took over in 2010. This year, the path to an encore doesn't begin on the practice field, or in the classroom watching game film. It begins in church. "I had one of the preachers from a local church say, ‘Coach, you've been praying for … [Read more...]

Welcome to Dade City, where kumquat is king

Every year, as marauders take over Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa’s Gasparilla Parade, there’s another invasion of sorts— as thousands stream into downtown Dade City for the city’s annual Kumquat Festival. “It’s a wonderful alternative (to Gasparilla),” said John Moors, executive director of The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce. The Dade City event — which draws its name from a … [Read more...]