by Trish Utter
No more waiting at Disney’s entrances. Now guests just wave their admission card like tickets over a wand like object and breeze right in.
Fantasy Land has undergone the largest expansion in the Magic Kingdoms history, adding over 10 acres of Disney magic. The new roller coaster called the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride will open in 2014. Two new castles, gardens, waterfalls and Storybook Circus have been added and more amazing things will be unveiled in 2014.
by Trish Utter
Sarasota offers world class fine art at the Ringling Museum, the excitement of a big city to the tranquility of quiet, natural beaches. There are three Keys: Longboat, Siesta and Lido which are all connected by St. Armands Circle where you will find up-scale shops and dining.
We look forward to our annual trip to the Helmsley Sandcastle Resort, located on Lido Key. Old Florida charm abounds with large comfortable clean rooms with spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico. The property has two large heated pools, a gym, laundry room, Tiki bar, shuffle board, and my kids really enjoyed playing table tennis.
We appreciated the way the chamber maid was so quiet. On our first day she asked me what we needed and made sure we had everything without me having to ask again.
As you walk around the grounds you will meet lots of families from all over the world. Many guests have been coming to the hotel for years and now bring their grandkids to visit.
by Trish Utter
It’s not every day that a huge Hollywood star pops into Gainesville but Judith Chapman did. Chapman currently plays Gloria Fisher Abbott Bardwell on the soap opera, the Young and Restless and is best known for roles as Natalie Bannon Hughes from As the World Turns. Chapman was here to teach two master acting classes to some very fortunate students at Santa Fe College.
I am a huge fan of Judith’s as I have watched her on the Young and the Restless so I had a ton of questions to ask. Apart from the obvious questions of how can we all become stars I wanted to know how this busy lady keeps in shape and stays beautiful.
Would You Do What Angelina Jolie Did?
We posed the questions to local Breast Cancer physicians, Dr. Cherylle Hayes and Dr. Allison Grow, who are radiation doctors at The Cancer Center right here in Gainesville. Dr. Hayes also brings her own personal experiences of cancer to the table, so who better to ask?
Dr. Hayes says that the type of surgery Jolie underwent should not be taken lightly. Angelina Jolie’s mother passed away with ovarian cancer, and Jolie inherited the BRCA1 gene which gave her an 87% risk of getting breast cancer and a 50% chance of ovarian cancer in her lifetime. She was at extremely high risk, and it’s major surgery and very costly, so is it for everyone? NO!
by Ruth Ward
The walls and shelves of Superintendent Dan Boyd’s former office at the headquarters of Alachua County Public Schools are bare now. But until just a few weeks ago they bore testament to a lifetime of achievement and appreciation—letters, plaques, photos and other memorabilia from grateful students, colleagues, local organizations, even the governor.
Until his recent retirement, Boyd had spent more than four decades with Alachua County Public Schools. He started his career as a teacher, then served as an assistant principal and principal, including 24 years at the helm of Gainesville High School. Under his leadership, the school developed the district’s first career magnet, which is now the highly-successful Academy of Health Professions. He also spearheaded the development of the district’s first pre-collegiate program for minority students and a host of other academic, extracurricular and parental involvement programs.
by Trish Utter
Drum Circle I always plan my trip so that we stay over a Sunday night just so we can go to the drum circle on Siesta Key. This weekly event starts about an hour and a half before sunset. You will find about 500 people of all ages dancing and drumming on this wide stretch of white beach. It is a sight to be seen and visitors are welcome to join in. We take our djembe drum and dance the night away. This is a very colorful place. Make sure you leave time to find a good parking spot. Take chairs and your camera.
by Brian Pope
What would our world be like without elephants, lions, tigers and other exotic animals? Most of us grew up reading stories like Jungle Book but these beautiful animals within the pages are disappearing so fast that they may not be here for our grandkids. The secrets they hold for our medical wellbeing will be lost.
For the past two decades, conservation efforts have made great strides in protecting charismatic species such as elephants and rhinoceros. Unfortunately, rising wealth amongst the middle class in many countries has significantly increased illegal wildlife trafficking over the past 5 years. Ivory is carved and sold as trinkets, rhino horn is sold as a cancer cure or aphrodisiac, and tigers are killed for their parts which are used for medicinal purposes or simply a status symbol. In Africa, 618 rhinos have been poached compared with 668 in all of 2012. In the same year, 30,000 African elephants were killed, slaughtered in large family groups to supply the growing demand for ivory in China and other Asian countries. A hundred years ago there were as many as 100,000 tigers, today there are only 3,000! Other animals declining at an alarming rate include fruit bats (crucial pollinators thought to cure asthma), sharks (soup made from their fins), and Asian turtles/tortoises (hunted unsustainably to the brink of extinction).
by Ruth Ward
Long days, hard work and ethics have taken young power couple, Travis and Callie Williams, a long way. The first time I met them they were building in High Springs at Ashton Ridge subdivision, then a year later in Newberry at Newtown 1896. Now they have totally revitalized another subdivision in High Springs called Cinnamon Hills.
The road to Innovative Home Builders of North Florida, Inc.’s success began when Travis started a framing contracting company. It was a natural progression to open Innovative Home Builders in 2007.
by Trish Utter
The British flag is hot, appearing on everything from T shirts, phone covers, jewelry, cushions to beauty products and food. The hype is due in part to the birth of the Royal baby, the award winning period show Downton Abby and boy band, One Direction. Americans have gone Red Coat crazy wanting to know what brand of tea the Royal family drinks and what One Direction eat for breakfast. The curiosity in England and the increase in Brits and Commonwealth nationalities that have moved to our area prompted Hitchcock’s to start a large British product section at their Alachua store. This has grown to huge proportions over the past ten years. Pat Good over sees this department and has built a close relationship with her clients. Her customers request things from their native country and Pat makes sure they are stocked. Some customers drive hours to stock up on Marmite, bacon, sausages and other tasty treats.