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Young Entrepreneur, Curtis Loftus is Changing the Game on Land Clearing

by Trish Utter Have you looked though your Facebook page and seen a video that leaves you thinking, how in the world do they do that? at is exactly how I found More »

Slam Dunk for this Bobcat!

Go Bobcats and yes that is just what Byan Chalifoux has done as Captain for Buchholz High School basketball team. is 6’4”, 185lb, 18 year old has a 3.8GPA and has played More »

Getting to Know Officer Young Police Officer of the Year

by Trish Utter What made you become a cop? After High School I couldn’t afford to stay in college out of town, due to tuition fees and living expenses. So I came More »

Hope for Early Stage Lung Cancer Patients

by Dr. Charles Perkins In their 10-year survey, the Cleveland Clinic researchers found that 79% of these tumors responded to treatment and remained under local control, meaning that no further growth of More »

Remembering Gloria Fletcher

by Trish Utter & Blake Fletcher The community had a great loss this year as Gloria Fletcher passed away unexpectedly. She was an absolutely brilliant attorney and supporter of many local charities More »

Help Local Teens

by Trish Utter Life is not easy, especially when you are a teen and trying to t in. I know as I was relentlessly bullied in school. I felt that no one More »


Current Issue

Click Here to see the Current Issue Online!



Young Entrepreneur, Curtis Loftus is Changing the Game on Land Clearing

by Trish Utter

YE1Have you looked though your Facebook page and seen a video that leaves you thinking, how in the world do they do that? at is exactly how I found out about All Terrain Enterprises, Inc. e video that I watched showed a small yellow tractor with an attachment on the front that had massive sharp metal teeth. It drove up to a huge tree and within two minutes not only was the tree down but completely gone! It was like a magic trick. In total disbelief I watched it again……….and again!

I drove out to meet the owner of ATE, Curtis Loftus at a beautiful piece of rural property. He gave me a complete demonstration on his Cat. Just like the video I had seen, it blew me away the ease and tidiness of this versatile machine. I have watched trees being removed before and witnessed the long hours it has taken and the heavy limbs and hard work of the cleanup. ATE makes it quick and easy.  The revolutionary machine that belongs to ATE is a Caterpillar 299D XHP CTL. It is the most powerful CTL that Cat offers and takes land clearing to a whole new level. e tractor has the highest rated hydraulic ow capacity of any other Cat CTL. It is equipped with the “Forestry Package”, reversible cooling fans and a back-up camera. e Cat is built to maneuver in tight spaces as well as through dense terrain. e Denis/Cimaf DAF-180D mulching head uses a patented drive system and planer style cutting knives that are extremely effective at intensive tree and brush removal. e combination of a high-horsepower machine and efficient knife-mulching technology produces a better, finer mulch product and consumes less fuel than other machines that are out there. e quick connectors allow ATE to rapidly change attachments in the event a customer needs or prefers bulk handling or other services.

YE5Land management is so important to the environment. Debris that builds up on the floor of a wooded area can become combustible. ATE can go in under the canopies of large trees to clear it out and gives you the peace of mind to know your land will be safer.

Instead of it taking weeks or months and thousands and thousands of dollars ATE can clear land quickly, effectively and leave no trace of debris.

Did you grow up in this area, and where did you go to school?

I grew up in the country north of Gainesville, on 20 acres. It was a great place to grow up. I attended Santa Fe High School.

Who was the biggest influence in your life?

My Dad, because he always encouraged me to be whatever I wanted to be and to always strive to do my best. He taught me to be true to how I am and for his faith in the Lord, which I believe in also.

Why did you decide to do this for a living?

Around the farm I always enjoyed driving the tractor and working with my hands. I like working with the environment, maintaining the ecology and working with all kinds of equipment.

What is the largest tree you can take down?

The machine can cut down and completely mulch a tree up to 8 inches in diameter safely.

YE2Do you have to take debris away?

No, most of the time. The trees and brush are mulched into small enough pieces that they rot on the ground and the nutrients return to the soil. Sometimes, when we come across concrete, fence wire or extremely large trees, we may have to move those items into a pile for later disposal.

What happens to tree stumps?

Stumps are cut off just above ground level so the cutting teeth will not be worn down by the sand. It’s the same idea of keeping your chain saw blade out of the dirt, or it goes dull very quickly. The stumps eventually rot in the ground, also addition to the soil.

On a wooded one acre lot how long would it take you to clear and how much would that cost?

Speed and cost are always an issue, because “it depends”. One acre of heavy trees and dense underbrush takes longer than one that has brush. Every piece of land is different and because of this we do a free onsite inspection of each job.

What happens to all the mulch?

The mulch breaks down, decomposes and becomes part of the soil. It’s one of the reasons I like forestry mulching so much, because it is better for the environment and for the land owner.

What if I want a tree left standing but everything else cut down?

Not a problem, our Caterpillar 299D XHP CTL is the most powerful one that Cat offers and is extremely maneuverable to help us be selective in the clearing process.

Do you do commercial and residential work?

We do both, but what we do ultimately depends on the “on site” inspection that we do.

What is the most memorable job you have done?

Because of the uniqueness of the mulching process, there are memorable aspects to each job. The one you remember best is the one you just did, and the one you think about the most is the one you’re working on now. And of course you are always thinking of safety, for yourself and for the land owner.

If you have a vacant wooded lot that you have been wanting to build on or wooded acreage that you would like to turn into pasture for horses or cattle but you have been putting off clearing it due to cost and time to hall the debris away now you can call ATE. Turn unusable land into something you can build on or farm with. I encourage you all to visit ATE’s website and view their amazing video

For more information call 352-283-1821


Slam Dunk for this Bobcat!

SlamDunkGo Bobcats and yes that is just what Byan Chalifoux has done as Captain for Buchholz High School basketball team. is 6’4”, 185lb, 18 year old has a 3.8GPA and has played two varsity sports, (4 years of golf and basketball). Chalifoux is a bright young senior from Buchholz High School that will be going to the University of West Florida. His coach talks about him as the area’s best player and wishes he could have stayed one more year at Buchholz.

What made you interested in basketball?

The fast pace of the game and it being a high profile sport.

Which teacher at Buchholz has inspired you?

Mrs. Bramlett (senior English) & Dr. Kearny (senior Anatomy & Physiology).

SlamDunk2What scholarship did you get and to where?

Full ride oers from West Liberty, West Virginia, Nova Southeastern, (Ft. Lauderdale)
and University of West Florida. I chose UWF.

Do you want to be a pro basketball player and if so for who?

I’m not sure, but if it were to happen I would want to play for Golden State.

What has been your hardest obstacle?

Staying positive, determined, and focused.

Do you have a summer job or after school job, and if so where?

I will be working part-time for e Best Restoration.

What advice does he have for other kids that want to play this sport?

Don’t give up if you get cut from a team. I was cut from a tryout for a 7th grade travel team
but I did not give up and look what happened.

Who is your favorite pro basketball player and why?

Steph Curry because he’s fun to watch, doesn’t showboat, he stays calm.


Getting to Know Officer Young Police Officer of the Year

by Trish Utter

Young2What made you become a cop?

After High School I couldn’t afford to stay in college out of town, due to tuition fees and living expenses. So I came back locally to pursue a career in law as an attorney. When I enrolled at Santa Fe Community College, I signed up for a class entitled “Introduction to Law”. However once I arrived at SFC Kirkpatrick Center for orientation I found out that I didn’t sign up for a simple law class to become an attorney. I had accidentally signed up for the Police Academy!

The first day was military style, so through the running and instructors yelling at me and pushing me along the way, I fell in love with it. I was the youngest and most athletic one in my class. e physical part of the academy was no sweat.

Young1What inspired you?

My Uncle, Robert Bryant inspired me. He retired with the Gainesville Police Department. My Uncle was the one who actually tricked me into signing up for the Police Academy. After High School, I stayed with my aunt and uncle. Uncle Robert once asked me if I was ever interested in Law Enforcement and I remember my reply was, “no, that’s too dangerous”. But little did I know he had already planned on getting me signed up to go to the academy. After completing my rst day at the academy, I remember coming home to see the huge grin on my Uncle’s face. I told him, “Man, you tricked me. I’m in the police academy”. He then asked “How was it”? And I said “It was fun!”

What has been the most touching call?

The look of relief on the wife’s face after me and my partner helped revive her husband who was in cardiac arrest. It was not only touching, but it was a blessing as well.

What do you think you will be doing 10 years from now?

I see myself still in Law Enforcement, as a federal agent in a fugitive task force whether it’s DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) or working as an agent with the Federal Marshals.

What is your Favorite Local Restaurant?

My Favorite restaurant is Texas Roadhouse. As for the restaurants located here in Alachua, it depends on what I’m in the mood for, I enjoy them all. Mi Apa, El Toro, NY Pizza, and Conestoga’s.

Have there been any Funny Moments?

Every day at work is a good time. Each of my co-workers has a unique since of humor, and has a little comedian side to them. Whether we are on a call, or even at lunch or dinner, they always nd the time to make a joke and turn a bad or stressful situation into a humorous one. It’s denitely a great stress relief.

“Once I arrived at SFC Kirkpatrick Center for orientation I found out that I didn’t sign up for a simple law class to become an attorney. I had accidentally signed up Officer Bradon E. Young for the Police Academy!”


Hope for Early Stage Lung Cancer Patients

by Dr. Charles Perkins

Hope1In their 10-year survey, the Cleveland Clinic researchers found that 79% of these tumors responded to treatment and remained under local control, meaning that no further growth of the tumor had occurred. Although these results were not directly compared, this is similar to the rate of control for a lobectomy lung surgery (removing an entire lobe of the lung). However, lobectomy surgery is associated with a 3-5% mortality rate in itself, and carries a significant risk of long term effects such as chest wall pain and reduced lung function. Many patients, due to the severity of the procedure, are not candidates for this surgery due to its risks.

SBRT for lung cancers, which uses highly focused X-rays to destroy the tumor, requires very precise and accurate mapping of each patient’s anatomy individually, as well as a way to track the target tumor during normal respiration. This allows the treatment to spare as much healthy lung tissue as possible, reducing the rate of short and long-term side effects

Hope2In contrast, the survey showed that the rate of toxicity for SBRT was low, with most patients having minimal toxicity (chest wall pain or lung inflammation), which in 75-80% of cases were minor and resolved in a short period of time. No severe toxicity or mortality from treatment was reported. However, 35-55% of patients did develop spread of lung cancer outside of the lung, despite their primary tumor responding well to SBRT. This is also similar to lung surgery, and represents the insidious nature of lung cancer, as well as the need for better detection and treatment options that focus on areas outside of the initial cancer involvement.

Given these excellent 10 year results, stereotactic lung radiotherapy should become the new standard of care for patients with early stage lung cancers, who are medically unfit to undergo surgery. However, despite these advances, lung cancer still remains the deadliest cancer, retaining the highest mortality rate in the United States in both men and women, causing more cancer-related deaths than breast, prostate, and colon (the 3 most common cancers) combined. Stereotactic lung radiotherapy is a major step in the right direction, providing a highly effective treatment for patients who otherwise may not have had any other options.

One of the most promising advances in radiotherapy in the past decade has been the development of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for early stage lung cancers, a non-invasive alternative treatment for patients who may not be able to undergo a major surgical procedure. Initial short term data were remarkably promising, with excellent response rates and very little toxicity. Now, results from 10 years of treatment have been accumulated, which show that this treatment maintains its excellent outcomes in the long-term. A recent study from the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University which surveyed patients treated from 2003 to 2012 with SBRT for medically inoperable early stage lung cancer, was presented at the 2014 Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology last year. These patients had undergone 5 stereotactic lung radiotherapy treatments over the course of one week.

SBRT for lung cancers, which uses highly focused X-rays to destroy the tumor, requires very precise and accurate mapping of each patient’s anatomy individually, as well as a way to track the target tumor during normal respiration. This allows the treatment to spare as much healthy lung tissue as possible, reducing the rate of short- and long-term side effects. Technological advances have allowed these requirements to be comfortably met, and specific machines such as the CyberKnife are dedicated to these highly conformal stereotactic treatments.


Remembering Gloria Fletcher

by Trish Utter & Blake Fletcher

G1The community had a great loss this year as Gloria Fletcher passed away unexpectedly. She was an absolutely brilliant attorney and supporter of many local charities that included, FCF, PALS, Girl Scouts, Alzheimer’s association, Ronald McDonald House and more.

G2The last time I saw Gloria she was laughing and dancing with family and friends at the PALS (Partnership in Adolescent Life Style) Party. Who would have thought that two days later she would no longer be with us?

Fletcher moved to Gainesville as a child. Her father Bill Williamson was sent here from Oklahoma to be in a management role with Gainesville Gas. She attended Gainesville High School and went to the University of Florida Law School.

Gloria Fletcher was married to George E. “Cotton” Fletcher for 37 years, living on the old Fletcher family farm since 1996 (now Fletcher’s Mill). They had two children, Blake and Debbie.

“She had a passion for helping people. She thought that in her position as an attorney she could help those who needed her most. Mom loved representing law enforcement and corrections officers since the early 90’s but in more recent years she had also gotten back to her HRS days and helping children with her kids cases. She had a healthy respect for holding someone’s life in her hands whether it be advocating for the rights of children or assisting clients navigating through the criminal justice system.” said Blake Fletcher, her son.

She was known by her peers for her, professionalism, dedication and fierce advocacy. She had the highest rating with Martindale Hubbel (AV Preeminent) for over a decade. She was recognized as outstanding woman lawyer in Florida and recognized in Florida Trend as one of the State’s Top attorneys.

“Dad and I were truly shocked by the sheer number of people telling us stories about how my mother had impacted their lives. Of course we all know our mothers are special, but how did she have time to be such a huge influence in my life, to be such a great wife, to run a successful law rm, and form close personal bonds with so many?

Mom was well known for her professional accomplishments but many of her passions were known hardly at all. She was a fierce advocate for most anyone needing a hand and she was laser focused on the children that she saw forgotten by their families and our social safety net. She had an incredible respect for the men and women who serve our country in the military and law enforcement, honoring the supreme sacrifices that these individuals were making and she worked mightily to return the favor whenever she could. Mom advocated for them not only as an attorney but also stepping in wherever she sensed she was needed.

G3I’ll never forget the first Christmas I was home from college, my mother handed me a list, looking down I saw names with a list of items scribbled next to them and asked, “What is this?” She quickly responded, “Go get everything on their list.” What I later learned was that she had gained a list of corrections officers who we’re deployed overseas and she was set on making sure each of these families had something for Christmas.

My friends knew that visiting the Fletcher house meant they had to be ready for straight talk and sometimes direct comments about their behavior and missteps. The odd thing was how she managed to elicit warms feelings and a “thank you” from them once the conversation was done.

G4Mom was an extraordinary lover of owners and holidays, particularly Christmas, we teased her for having more beanie babies and Annalee dolls than any department store. She worked tirelessly on most any day of the year but guarded the days around Christmas for family. Lights were strewn over Christmas trees, reindeer, dolls, Annalees, and most any stationary within reach. When she spotted a desirable holiday decoration, she bought it, secure in knowing that we all wanted one. Within a few seasons of home ownership, my yard too was completely covered in Rudolph’s and Santa’s, romping with polar bears.

Mom was my role model, mentor, partner, friend, unrelenting advocate, and counselor with the unique ability to express to you how important you were to her and the world around you. She was an insistent believer in the statement “Go Change the World” and she shared this view with everyone she would meet. She was a sage teller of truth, and many relied on her to cut through the noise and get straight to the heart of matters. We were all profoundly blessed to have her.

She never missed a basketball game, parent fund raiser, holding my hand through my challenges in soccer, or anything else I decided to pursue. In business she taught me failure isn’t always a bad thing and learning from setbacks is the hallmark of success. She was always there, win, lose or draw.

“It’s not what you say but how you say it” she would tell me as she lovingly admonished me and many others, to be precise with our words and sensitive to those around us. “Don’t take it personally, watch your assumptions, always do your best”.

With a passion for helping people and a huge appreciation for friends, she was drawn to opposing opinions and even reveled in the tussles sometimes. At the end of the day she would remind me and herself “don’t take it personally”.

As I’m struggling to find my way without her I have been asking, how would she want me to live and who will care for those of us that she fought for every day? I’ll carry what I can, and hope others will do the same, giving time and resources to those that need us and make this a better place for us all. “Do it because it’s the right thing to do” she would say.

Be sure to tell your mom you love her today.” Blake Fletcher.

Gloria was a formidable opponent as an attorney, a great wife, mom and Grandmother, a strong advocate for children. She was also a caring, nurturing friend. Our behavior at times was a reversion to our teen-age years. We would joke together, laugh together and do crazy fun things. Gloria was full of energy as we would do ‘shopathons’, trips and charitable event galas.

Just two nights before we lost her, Gloria was at the PALs party at Rockys Piano Bar dancing and glowing. This is the way we will always remember Gloria. She had so many friends who will always remember her lovingly.”

- Carol Bosshardt

In 1982 as I was starting my first year in law school, I met a classmate with an effervescent personality, warm smile and raven hair, Gloria Fletcher.

After graduation, Gloria went to work as an assistant state attorney and I at the public defender’s office. We would routinely meet to go over cases in an attempt to agree on their resolution. When we could not agree, we went to trial against each other, both of us sure we were right and would win the case. Regardless of outcome, Gloria was always concerned about the people involved, including not only the crime victim, but also the perpetrator of the crime and the police who investigated the case. Gloria wanted a result that was fair, that was justice.

When we both entered private practice with our own law firms, I was fortunate to work together as her co-counsel where I saw firsthand her incredible caring for people, coupled with a work ethic documenting her commitment to her clients.

Gloria always had a kind word and a smile when she greeted me, as she did with most people. Gloria was an important part of the fabric which makes our community. I miss her and mourn the great loss to her family and to all of us who have known her or have benefited from her selfless dedication to the people in our community.”

- Robert Rush


Help Local Teens

by Trish Utter

HelpTeens1Life is not easy, especially when you are a teen and trying to t in. I know as I was relentlessly bullied in school. I felt that no one understood me, I felt all alone and that I was not normal. All very natural things for a teen to feel but some take to extreme measures and think that the only way to fix it is by ending their life. If only I had been able to have a trained professional to talk to. If only someone had taken the time to notice the pain I was in.

This year I became president of PALS(Partners In Adolescent Lifestyle Support) which is a program designed to provide lifestyle support to teens in a school environment. PALS is a Nobel Prize Nominated and Florida Blue Foundation’s Sapphire Award winning program. The goal of this program is to provide an altruistic atmosphere in the schools where mental illness is understood and all teens feel included and valued. PALS is important to our community as it not only builds future leaders, but keeps our teens safe.

The PALS program provides lifestyle support in several ways:

  • Mental health professionals conduct counseling and groups with teens, who are suffering from depression, low self-esteem, isolation, and diagnosed mental health problems.
  • Teen leaders learn how to deal with topics such as peer pressure, ways to peacefully intercede when another teen is ridiculed, extending a helpful hand to other teens who appear lonely or depressed, and when to seek professional assistance in dealing with an emotionally disturbed peer. These exercises are presented to the school through closed circuit TV, assemblies, and peer counseling sessions.
  • Educational programs concerning adolescent mental illness, as well as violence and bullying prevention are presented to the school by mental health professionals and through educational videos.
  • Provide aftercare support and education for adolescents with mental health issues, thus decreasing their deterioration in a community setting.
In the U.S two children commit suicide weekly – over the last 15 years PALS has saved lives, trained student leaders and equipped teens with the necessary tools to maintain resiliency and succeed in life. The cost of providing this service annually per school is $25,000.00. Currently the program is implemented in six schools with parents and students requesting service in the remaining Senior and Middle Schools.

The following are quotes by PALS students::

I’m usually harassed and picked on. Sometimes I’m even afraid to walk alone. I fell into a depression. It even got where I wanted to commit suicide. Now, I’ve learned that you should never be ashamed of who you are and believe in yourself. I’m happier now and feel I could do anything. Thanks.

My father died on Easter and I was very depressed. My grades went down and I didn’t care. I had planned to commit suicide on Easter, when a kid wearing a PALS shirt saw me sitting alone. He asked me to join their group. Things are better now and I want to live and be a wonderful husband to my kids like my father. I WILL make something of myself!

As you can see this is a very important mission. We want to keep our children safe and with your help we can improve our effort to do this.

Teens can volunteer for PALS THRIVE where they can help with events such as icecream socials.

This September PALS is holding its largest event, Roast of Storm Roberts. Put your flipflops on and come to the UF Hilton for a night of good laughs as Ken Block from Sister Hazel, Rod Smith, Chris Wells and Dr. Cheryelle Hayes take to the mic.

If you are being bullied, here are some things you can do:

  • Walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.
  • Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone. They can help you make a plan to stop the bullying.
  • Stay away from places where bullying happens.
  • Stay near adults and other kids. Most bullying happens when adults aren’t around.
  • Always think about what you post. You never know what someone will forward. Being kind to others online will help to keep you safe. Do not share anything that could hurt or embarrass anyone.
  • Keep your password a secret from other kids. Even kids that seem like friends could give your password away or use it in ways you don’t want. Let your parents have your passwords.

While PALS is sponsored and administrated by Shands Psychiatric Hospital, it depends on donations and grants for support and expansion to additional schools. Every donation counts no matter how big or small. In addition, the next fund raising event will be the PALS Jimmy Buffet style Margaritaville Roast on 9-17-15. If you would like to donate, become involved or learn more about PALS go to partners-adolescent-lifestyle-support-program-pals.


Newberry Elementary School Kids Bring Home 1st Place

by Ruth Ward

Solar-FoodHundreds of children from schools across the state of Florida compete annually in the Florida Solar Energy Center, Energy- Whiz Olympics, held in Cocoa, Florida. e elementary school students took part in the solar renewable energy competition where they showcase their science, technology, engineering, artistic and mathematics (STEAM) knowledge and skills, as they relate to energy topics such as solar thermal, photovoltaics (PV) and hydrogen technologies.

SolarKids4th graders, taught by Science teacher Helen Saltzgiver, in the Gifted Science Program at Newberry Elementary School won 1st place in Solar Cooking Culinary, 3rd place in Solar Cooker Design and the “WOW” award where they overall ‘wowed’ the judges. The students won the Solar Energy Whiz in Design and Culinary at Santa Fe College as well. An amazing feat when you think that all the food was cooked by the power of just the sun.

“We are so proud of them,” said Michelle Vance, mother of one of the competitors.

The large vegetable garden at Newberry High School contains cabbage, kale, celery, radishes, beans, potatoes, squash, bell peppers and more. The students also provide fresh veggies to the school cafeteria from this garden. 

The Garden Solar Special soup recipe included kale, celery, sorrel, carrots, radish, tomatoes, bell peppers and beans/peas. Sea Biscuits (shaped like sea stars) garnished the soup. Dessert was a baked apple with butter, brown sugar, granola, almonds and craisins.


Saving a Billion Bees

by Michaela Steakley

beesChappie McChesney refers to himself as a lifelong beekeeper. “I’ve always been fascinated by bees,” McChesney said. “I know how important they are to our food crop.” Though McChesney has been working with bees for most of his life, he is not immune to the stings. He estimates that he gets stung between 20 to 30 times a day. “It never ends,” McChesney said. McChesney does not wear protective clothing when he works with the bees, but if he gets more than 5-10 stings in a day, he wears a veil to protect his face. He tries to avoid wearing gloves, which prevent him from feeling the bees.

McChesney is the founder of beekeepers clubs in North Central Florida, and he has mentored hundreds of new beekeepers. He is also the Florida State Representative for National Honey Bee Day.

ough beekeeping takes up a large portion of his time, McChesney is also a minister.

It has been rumored that the bee population is dying but McChesney said it is mostly sensationalism. “e only ones losing bees are commercial beekeepers,” McChesney said. Colony collapse disorder, a syndrome that occurs when bees from a bee colony disappear abruptly, only happens when there are too many chemicals involved. Commercial beekeepers often use chemicals to get rid of parasites and to prevent the other diseases that can plague the bee colony, but those chemicals help to kill or weaken the bees the same way they kill the bad bugs.

“Commercial beekeepers are necessary to pollinate, but they could do better,” said McChesney, who teaches chemical-free beekeeping. As he sat in an apiary on his property, just yards from his house, McChesney stressed the importance of being educated about bees.

McChesney teaches the public about bees locally, but he has also traveled across the country to share his knowledge. Every year the American Beekeeping Federation holds the North American Beekeeping Conference and Tradeshow around the country. Next year, the conference will be held in Jacksonville, so he hopes that people in North Central Florida will go to the conference and learn something new. “It’s all about public education,” he said. McChesney also wants people to stop killing bees. Swarms of bees, which form when bees are repopulating, are common in the spring.

bees2McChesney gets calls from firemen, police and home owners about swarms of bees. “Anytime bees are swarming somewhere, people panic,” said McChesney. He encourages the public to call him when they see swarms or when there are bees around a person’s home, rather than calling an exterminator. He just removed a swarm of bees from Hidden Oak Elementary School. At the end of the day, McChesney’s favorite thing about being a beekeeper is the bees themselves. “It’s a super-organism,” McChesney said. “They work for the good of the whole and we can learn a lot from that.”

At 69 years old, McChesney will not be able to work with bees much longer, but he hopes that the beekeepers he has trained will continue the chemical-free practices he has taught them and continue to teach younger generations.

“I’ve never saved a human being as a minister, but I’ve saved billions of honey bees,” McChesney said. While most people probably will not see that many bees in a lifetime, it is important for everyone to be educated in order to learn the best practices for dealing with and saving bees.


Getting to Know the Doctors

Spotlight: Christopher Balamucki, MD

The doctors at the Cancer Center of North Florida take the time to get to know you. Here’s your opportunity to get to know more about the doctor behind the white coat in this issue with featured physician Dr. Chris Balamucki.

doc1Q: What made you want to become a doctor and choose this field in medicine?

A: Since nearly everyone in my family has an engineering degree, there was clearly a strong family influence on my initial career path, which led me to graduating with a chemical engineering degree from Virginia Tech. Near the end of my college experience, I found myself reflecting on my own aspirations in life, and I realized that I wanted to work more with people. This initiated my desire for a career change and drove me in the direction of becoming a physician at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

I discovered my passion for Radiation Oncology during a medical school research project after my 1st year as a medical student. In the end, I fell in love with the specialty and knew that it was the perfect match for my personality. Specifically, I love helping patients who are looking for hope as they navigate through a cancer diagnosis. I also really enjoy the complexity of the clinical reasoning process and evidence- based medicine practiced in Radiation Oncology in addition to the utilization of cutting-edge technology.

Q: Has cancer affected you personally?

A: My mother underwent treatment for DCIS of the breast. It was a difficult time both for her and our entire family, but I am happy to say that she is currently cancer free and doing well.

Q: How do you keep up with new technology and medical breakthroughs in your field?

A: Radiation oncology is a very dynamic specialty in which treatment decisions are shaped by evidencebased medicine, and the technology is always evolving. I keep up-to-date with the field through my daily interactions with colleagues, weekly multidisciplinary tumor board conferences, reading journal articles, and attending national meetings.

doc2Q: Where did you grow up?

A: Marlborough, CT, which is a small town.

Q: Do you have kids and pets?

A: I have two children, Lucas (7 years old) and Zachary (20 months old), who are both amazing in every way. My lovely wife’s name is Jeanne. We also have two cats, Stella and Mickey.

Q: What is your hobby, where do you do it, how long have you been doing it etc.?

A: I play competitive tennis in the local USTA tennis leagues in addition to playing the occasional round of golf with friends. I started playing both of these sports in my youth and still really enjoy the challenge. I also love to ski and try to plan at least one ski trip out West every winter. For expert terrain (steep trees, chutes, and bowls), my favorite mountains include Jackson Hole, Alta, and Snowbird.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in our local area?

A: I really enjoy spending quality time with my family. Whether we are cheering on my son, Lucas, at his GSA soccer academy games, hanging out at the park, or swimming in the pool on a hot summer day, life is perfect when I am with my family.

Q: 8-Do you have a favorite healthy meal?

A: I have always loved Italian cuisine, but I like so many different types of food that it is difficult to pick a true favorite.

Q: What do you do for exercise?

A: I really enjoy working out when I have the time; however, free time is rather limited these days! On that note, I try to be efficient with my work-outs, utilizing home work-out regimens, such as Focus T-25, P90x, and P90x3, in addition to dumbbell workouts with my Bowflex system.

Q: How do you get rid of stress?

A: My outlet for stress is typically on the tennis court during my weekly matches.

Q: What do you listen to in your car on the way to work?

A: I enjoy a wide variety of music, but my favorite bands include Nickelback, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, and Evanescence.

Q: What is your favorite gadget?

A: It would be very difficult for me to function for an extended period of time, both in my professional and personal life, without my iPhone. I have accumulated many contacts, pictures, videos, and music over the years, passed on from phone to phone. This data basically represents a snapshot of my life. I am guessing that going “dark” without a phone is possible for a day or two but probably not long term. My favorite app on my iPhone is “Nike Running” since it can accurately track my distance and pace with GPS, in addition to logging runs in order to track my performance. My other favorites include Pandora (music wherever I go), GolfLogix (provides yardage information on the golf course and tracks golf statistics), and Yelp (helpful in finding restaurants).

Q: What are some of your favorite TV shows?

A: My favorite TV shows include Marry Me, Scorpion, and 24 (with Jack Bauer).

Q: Where do you go for a weekend break?

A: Family beach trip to St. Augustine Beach!!!