The Last Straw!

The Last Straw!

by Trish Utter One of my favorite places to window shop is Tiffany’s. I love looking at all the glittery diamonds, their famous sterling silver collections, and now I love their home More »

Attention to Detail = Happy Home Owner

Attention to Detail = Happy Home Owner

by Ruth Ward When you are thinking of buying a new home you want a builder that you can trust. One with experience and one that cares about the product they produce. More »

Movie Stars, Red Woods, Cable Cars…California

Movie Stars, Red Woods, Cable Cars…California

by Trish Utter The golden state of California is well worth a visit but to tell the truth, it was not high on my 20-year-old daughter’s list of places to go. I More »

The Value of Castor Oil

The Value of Castor Oil

by Brooke Utter An old remedy that works. Castor oil is a tasteless and odorless vegetable oil made from the beans of the castor plant. If you buy castor oil read the label More »

Summer Body Guide to Hernias

Summer Body Guide to Hernias

by Anya Mayr Why do they happen, and how can I fix them? Summer is finally here, and your love for Florida beaches is more evident than ever as you migrate towards More »


From the Desktop

by Trish Utter, Publisher & Chief Bottle Washer

editor1It is a pleasure to have the Williams’ family on our front cover. What an inspirational couple they are. They have been on our cover about seven times. The couple are brilliant at building affordable, innovative homes. They pay attention to even the smallest detail. I was so happy for them when they had their first child, Jett, and now they are expecting their second. What a happy time. I hope you enjoy reading about their latest project in High Springs called Oakridge.

It is the time of year for parties and family gatherings. Many invitations are sent out and that brings me to one of my pet peeves…….not getting a reply! It is hard for the person hosting a party or event to know how much food to prepare. RSVP is short for the French phrase, R?pondez s’il vous plait and means, Please Respond. Even if you get a Facebook invite, it has a place where you can let the host know if you will attend. Many people feel that if they are not going to attend they can simply just ignore it, but the poor host still does not know if you will show up. Click on the Not Going button to put the host out of their misery…lol.

I love Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday that is relatively stress free. It is a bit like Christmas, but without the stress of gift giving. I have been thinking about gifts now as I don’t want it to be a week before the Holidays and then rush out to buy just about anything. Buying in haste is never a good idea. I usually find great bargains on jewelry and electronics at TBGoods in Alachua and Southern Charm Emporium that is full of antiques, china, knickknacks and unique items. The Healing House offers gift certificates for massages or the Salt Room…. talk about a unique gift! I also like to do day trips to shop at Mall of Millennia, in Orlando, International Mall, in Tampa, or St John’s Town Center in Jacksonville.

I hope you and your family have a fantastic Thanksgiving. All of us at Good Life Community Magazine are truly thankful for our advertisers and our readers. Thank YOU for making this ….the Good Life!

Community Spot LIGHT


The Alachua Chamber Mixer was held at the Chamber office located on Main Street in Alachua. It was announced that there will be a Car Show on Saturday, Oct 22nd on Main Street.

spotlight1spotlight2 spotlight3 spotlight4 spotlight5 spotlight6 spotlight7 spotlight8 spotlight9 spotlight10 spotlight11


by Brian Pope

Photo: Wade Kincaid

Photo: Wade Kincaid

Why are bats so important? Has Zika had an effect on bat population or bat awareness?

Bats are the primary predator of nocturnal insects, including many species that are agricultural pests. A study conducted in 2011 showed that bats save U.S. farmers between $37 to $53 billion annually on pesticides and crop losses. Fruit bats are important as pollinators and seed dispersers, and responsible for 90% of the regrowth of tropical rainforests in Central and South America, and SE Asia after clear cutting. Many agricultural crops depend on fruit bats, such as bananas, figs, cashews, and tequila, as bats are one of the only animals that pollinates agave.

Two species of mosquitoes are known to carry Zika virus – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, both which are common throughout Florida. These species are active during the day and typically stay close to the ground. Because of this, the general consensus is that bats would not eat them. However, no one has ever conducted a comprehensive study on bat diets in Florida Lubee Bat Conservancy is currently writing a proposal for a Florida project to determine what insects bats are preying upon by collecting fecal samples at known roost sites over a 12 month period, and using molecular analysis to extract DNA for comparison to an insect ID database. Florida bats may play a crucial role in helping control mosquito populations that can harbor a variety of diseases such as Zika, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and West Nile virus, and insects that cause significant destruction to Florida crops.


Photo: Trish Utter

The FWC recently issued a statement encouraging folks to put up bat houses. It’s nice to see bats getting positive attention for their role in the ecosystem.

Should people have a bat house?

Putting up a bat house is a great idea! In FL, bat houses provide safe, secure roosting areas for numerous species including Mexican Free-tailed bats, Southeastern myotis, Evening bats, Big Brown bats, and the Critically Endangered Florida Bonneted bat (only found in south Florida). An individual bat can eat hundreds of insects per night, including mosquitoes. Unfortunately, many bat populations are disappearing at alarming rates due to habitat loss. Most bats living in Florida prefer to roost in mature trees, dead trees (called snags), or caves. However, many bats take up residence in buildings or other manmade structures due to destruction of their habitats. Bat houses provide much needed alternative roost sites for Florida’s bats. A house on your property can offer the perfect place for our flying friends to live. They will also return the favor by helping to control insects in your area. Lubee Bat Conservancy builds and installs single, triple, and 4-chambered houses (preferred by maternity colonies) that have proven successful with Florida bats. For more information visit our website http://lubee.org/lubee-bat-houses-site-recommendations/.

Photo: Trish Utter

Photo: Trish Utter

Should people be afraid of bats?

People have no reason to fear bats. They are very clean animals and extremely social. Bats are beneficial and eat many insects around your house. Bats can carry rabies, but so can cats/dogs, and other native mammals. Less than 0.1% of bats have rabies. However, if you see a bat on the ground, do not touch it and call your local animal control officer. Bats like to be as high as possible, and if one is on the ground, there is a chance it may be sick.

If you find a bat in your house, what should you do?

Should you ever find a bat in your house, the best thing to do is close all doors to the room in which the bat is hanging, and open windows. They will leave on their own.

What is the biggest misconception on bats?

The biggest misconception about bats is that they are blind – all bats can see just like humans. Of the 1331 species, approximately 1100 use echolocation to navigate. The other 200+ species are fruit bats whose food isn’t trying to get away.


Photo: Wade Kincaid

What do bats eat?

In 1996, there were 920 known species of bats; today there are 1331! Nearly 70% consume insects, 20% are frugivores (fruit, pollen, nectar, leaves), and the rest eat everything from fish to frogs, and even other bats. Bat species in the U.S. are primarily insectivorous, although a few species in the southwest feed on nectar, mostly from cacti.

How long has Lubee been in our area?

Lubee Bat Conservancy (LBC) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to saving fruit bats and their habitats through research, conservation and education, with a focus on children and community engagement. Founded in 1989, LBC places conservation and education as its two core institutional purposes. Local and global education programs connect children with nature, foster environmental stewardship, and inspire the next generation of conservation scientists to become leaders within their communities. Located on a 110-acre property in Gainesville, Florida, LBC houses the largest and most diverse collection of fruit bats in the world, and is recognized as a unique center dedicated to endangered species. LBC is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums certified related facility (recently awarded in 2015) that undergoes a rigorous inspection every 5 years to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising Association standards, which include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, finances and safety.


Photo: Wade Kincaid

Can anyone come out to visit, or do you need an appointment?

Lubee is a private organization and is not open to the public. However, we have a very active educational program that offer tours to a variety of groups ranging from Pre-K to Professionals. Tours must be made in advance by emailing info@lubee.org.

When people visit Lubee, what can they expect to see?

Photo: Wade Kincaid

Photo: Wade Kincaid

Guests are first engaged with an age appropriate PowerPoint presentation discussing everything from basic bat facts to detailed conservation messages. Next, guests are given a tour of our primary bat viewing area which houses over 200 bats from 10 species, including the Malayan Flying Fox with a wingspan of six feet! Guests will have a full view of bats in their naturalistic enclosures where they will observe them feeding, playing, and interacting with numerous enrichment

To learn more about Lubee visit their website www.lubee.org where you can find out about their bats, conservation/education efforts, and how to donate or become a member.

The Fields of Red in Carver, MA

by Carol Doherty

carver1When guests come into The Great Outdoors Restaurant that is located in High Springs, quite often they ask me where I’m from or they try and guess……. I always say Boston…but that is not really true! I only say Boston because when I say where I really lived before moving to Florida, Carver Massachusetts, people usually say where!??

Carver, Massachusetts is a quaint New England Town close to the gateway of Cape Cod, about 10 miles before the Bourne Bridge. It is a town with large Gambrel houses, hand built stone walls, Christmas tree farms, and two other things that set Carver apart from most New England towns on The South Shore, The Edaville Railroad and The Cranberry Bogs!!

One day, I came home from work
and The Pond Was GONE!!!! I
mean literally Gone!!! Every drop
of water had disappeared!!!!!!

Carol’s Home in Carver, Massachusetts

Carol’s Home in Carver, Massachusetts

Ahhhhhh…..The Cranberry Bogs….. what a wonderful memory. For those of you that have no idea what a Cranberry Bog is or what it looks like, let me tell you! The bogs are flat fields of land, with a large embankment. They have a soft marshy ground where the cranberry grows on vines and are usually located near wetlands. During the months of September and October, what one sees for miles and miles are these fields of deep red vines against a dark green back drop made up of these wonderful tall pine trees. Carver Cranberry farmers started growing and producing cranberries in the 1870’s and now grow one fifth of all the cranberries produced in the US. Visitors can take tours of the cranberry bogs, learn how the cranberry is harvested, and of course, bring home samples. The feeling one gets while walking, biking, or driving through Carver Massachusetts during harvest season, is a feeling I cannot put into words.

So how does one harvest each little bitter bud of red???? Well, In short, they are floated and corralled. The bogs are flooded, a thing that looks like a fire hose corrals the fruit as they rise to the top of the water. Then they are pushed together, usually in big circles, so they can be sucked up by the machine that transports them. BUT, where does the water come from?????

carver3When I moved to Carver Massachusetts, I also knew little about The Cranberry Bog…..But, when I purchased my house, I soon found out, in the times before refrigeration, it was a cold storage facility for cranberries! The house sat on several acres and was surrounded by cranberry bogs. There was a good size pond in the back yard. My chocolate lab, Stella, loved to run down into the pond and then run in the house and shake everywhere!!!

One day, I came home from work and The Pond Was GONE!!!! I mean literally Gone!!! Every drop of water had disappeared!!!!!! HOLY TOLEDO… WHERE IS MY POND!!!!!!!

I called the police to report my Pond is gone, Stolen!!!! The Police said, don’t worry, you’ll get your pond back when harvest is over.

Carol’s Chocolate Lab, Stella

Carol’s Chocolate Lab, Stella

What I learned that night is that all the little ponds of Carver have this underground dam system that transports the water from one bog to another to harvest the CRANBERRIES!!!!!

Stella was very Happy when the Pond returned to us right before Christmas!!!

For more information on Carver visit Destination Plymouth County website- SleepyMouth.com

Chef Taylor Dukes’ Personal Recipes!

chef1All Butter Pound Cake with Cranberry Orange Peel

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


chef2Preheat oven to 350 degrees F..In a mixer, whip the butter and sugar together. Add eggs, 1 at a time, until one even mixture. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl and add to mixer alternately with milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix in vanilla. Pour into a greased pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. You can also play with the flavor profile by simply adding any nuts, rum, or maple syrup.

chef3Cranberry Sauce

Place 1lb of fresh New England Cranberries into a sauce pan over medium heat. Let the cranberries cook for 4 minutes or until they start to soften.

Add 1 cup of sugar, 2oz of water and 2 strips of orange zest.

Lower the heat and cover for around 10 minutes, remember to stir occasionally.

At this point the sugar should be dissolved and the Cranberries are starting to pop. Continue to cook on low until all cranberries have burst.

Finally, add a pinch of salt, remove from heat, cool and serve!

Oak Ridge Phase II …One Year Later

by Trish Utter

oakridge1Last September 2015, I met Travis, Callie and the Innovative Home Builders’ team out at the future site of Oak Ridge Phase II in High Springs. We all trekked through the tall grass to get a photo in front of the majestic oak tree, for which Oak Ridge was named, to commemorate the groundbreaking of their newest project. Now here I am, catching up with them a year later and marveling at all that has taken place over the past twelve months. In addition to their growing business, Travis and Callie are also excited about their growing family – their two year old son, Jett, will become a big brother in a few short months.

In the past twelve months, this raw land on US Highway 441 between High Springs and Alachua has been transformed from an open, grassy field, into Innovative Home Builders’ newest desirable neighborhood. Anyone who understands the challenges involved in the infrastructure and development process of raw land can truly appreciate this magnificent transformation that has taken place since last September. Innovative Home Builders has since completed the development and infrastructure for all 35 lots in Phase II of Oak Ridge. Of these 35 developed lots, 34 of those lots now either has a completed home on it or has a home that is currently in production. Ten families have already closed on their beautiful new homes in this premier neighborhood, and seeing a moving truck pulling into the neighborhood will become an even more common sight as the rest of the houses in production are finalized and closed.

oakridge2Oak Ridge Phase II on 441 is High Springs’ fastest growing community! When you step into the homes being built, it is easy to see why. With popular features such as open floor plans, Hardie Board brand siding, luxurious granite, and vinyl floating floors from Urban Surfaces, you will realize the quality that goes into each and every home that is built. You also may have noticed their houses don’t have traditional house wrap and felt paper on the roofs. That is because they are an exclusive partner with Zip System(R) sheathing and are the only builders in the area using this innovative product, which provides an additional water and air barrier for a more energy-efficient home. In additional to top-of-the-line products that set them at the top of their trade, the location of this subdivision is ideal; only three minutes away is the new Publix grocery store as well as I-75. You are also just a few miles from some of the world’s most amazing natural springs and rivers as well as award winning restaurants.

Previous IHB customer, Brooke Pyne told us that her favorite part of the Innovative Home is her kitchen. “I love my kitchen! When looking at floor plans, I knew I wanted a house with a large and open kitchen, lots of counter space, and tons of storage. That’s why we chose the Innovative floor plan that we did.” If you have ever been inside of a home built by Innovative Home Builders then you can understand the appeal of their custom-made cabinets and gorgeous countertops.

oakridge3Travis and Callie take pride in their home designs and selections. In regards to floorplans, Travis shared with me, “We have worked diligently to design floorplans that meet the needs of our customers and their growing families. We understand the busy lifestyle of families today and we want to make their home a nice place to retreat to at the end of every day. Layout and design has a lot to do with the feeling you get when you walk inside a home, and that is why it is important to us that our homes are functional, practical, and also aesthetically pleasing.”

Travis’ wife Callie plays a major role in the selections that go into their spec and model homes. “I enjoy putting together color packages and seeing all of my selections come together inside of a new home we are building,” Callie said, “I like to step back and think, “That looks great! I would be happy to have those selections in my own home.” I think that is a big part of what makes our homes so special. We put our personal attention to them. In fact, I recently walked through a home that we are building that I had made all of the selections in and I came home and told Travis, “I love it! I think we need to buy it and move in!” I really enjoy the design and selection process and enjoy seeing our finished products and being proud of the completed homes. It’s nice to have a role to play and to be able to put my personal touch on things.”

oakridge4The homes in Oak Ridge subdivision range in size from 1,250 to 1,650 square feet. There are both 3 and 4 bedroom models available. The price range of these homes range from the $160s to the low $200s. And with FHA, VA, and USDA (100% financing) available at this location, you are sure to be able to find the financing that best meets your situation and needs.

There are several homes in Phase II that are still available for purchase and Phase III will be opening soon as the development and infrastructure is completed. There is also a lovely, fully furnished model in Phase I that customers can tour, as well as a new model that is coming soon to Phase II.

Innovative Home Builders is also actively building in several other communities in our area. They recently sold out of the popular Newtown 1894 subdivision in Newberry. They are almost finished with their Forest Creek subdivision in Gainesville. If you are looking for larger homes on larger lots, then look no further than their gated neighborhood in High Springs, Cinnamon Hills Estates. To the north in Lake City, they are building homes in their exclusive subdivision, Cottage Grove. Finally, they have gone coastal with their newest project in Cedar Key Plantations. Whatever your needs or desires are, there is an Innovative community that will be a perfect fit for your family!

To view some of their impressive work, you can also visit their Open House at the 2016 BANCF Fall Parade of Homes held on the first and second weekends of October. Their Oak Ridge model will be part of the Parade of Homes. You can also go see their work in Cinnamon Hills Estates down Poe Springs Road.

This past year has brought much growth to both Innovative Home Builders and also to Travis and Callie’s family, and we are excited to see how their business continues to expand in the Good Life Community. Live Innovative, and you’ll be living the Good Life!

Be Innovative – Live Innovative – Buy Innovative

INTERESTED IN TOURING THESE HOMES AT OAK RIDGE? Call Rebecca Johnson, Realtor with Rabell Realty Group 352-275-9900 ● info@buysellrabell.com Find out more by “liking” Rabell Realty and Innovative Home Builders on Facebook. www.IHBHomes.com

Innovative is a very dependable builder if you are considering buying a home. I have had the pleasure of being one of the first houses built in a phase of property that they own and have now almost completed. Consistency comes to mind when I see Travis and his crew constantly check on bu builds as well as phase improvements. Just as giving the same level of care he provided for us when we started discussing what we wanted and where we wanted it. They answered all of my questions (and believe me that could not have been easy) and always tried to find a solution quickly whenever a problem did arise. A great builder and with caring professionals. – veaticusasmodi18

Local Celebrity Spotlight: Ward Scott

wardscott1A teacher by trade with over forty years of experience in the classroom. A Professor Emeritus Santa Fe College English Professor, recipient of the Santa Fe College Lifetime Achievement Award, four-term Santa Fe College Senate President, Who’s Who Among American Teachers, 2002, NISOD EXCELLENCE AWARD IN TEACHING AND LEADERSHIP, University of Texas, 2008, Finalist Florida Association of Community Colleges Teacher of the Year, 2007.

Retired from classroom teaching and is now the talk show host for The Ward Scott Files, a live call-in talk show sponsored by MARC RADIO and broadcast on 101.7 Hank FM and 980 AM, the voice of North Central Florida News Radio. Scott has been on the air with MARC radio as The Ward Scott Files since September 2013.

Where are you from and when did you move to Alachua and why?

Born in Columbia, South Carolina. Moved from Gainesville to Alachua in 2001.

How do you relax?

Watch my cattle graze in the pasture at sundown at Windy Hill Farm in Alachua.

Where do you like to go for a weekend getaway and why?

I always look forward to skiing in the Colorado Rockies and an annual trip to the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament.

What gadget and/or app can’t you live without?

Martini Shaker, Wine Opener and the Drudge Report.

What was your first job?

Hoeing beans and feeding chickens.

What is in your fridge?

Chocolate Ice Cream.

What has your best financial investment been?

Real Estate such as commercial, residential and farm land.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Foul deeds will rise though all the earth overwhelm them to men’s eyes.” Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2, line 256.

Who inspired you as a child?

My mother. She taught me to read even before I went to kindergarten and to memorize nursery rhymes. She taught me my love of the English language.

What is your favorite thing to do locally?

Brown’s restaurant on 441 in Alachua on pork chop Thursday.

What type of music do you listen to?

My 104 year old mother when she plays the piano, particularly when she plays the church songs I first heard sung in the country church choirs of my childhood. It makes me feel so good, like maybe the world will be all right after all.

What is your favorite movie?

It is difficult to pick one: The Sound of Music, The Phantom of the Opera, A Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now and Dr. Strangelove

What drives you crazy?

As my grandmother used to say, my mother’s mother, people who like to talk to “hear their heads rattle.”

What is your favorite meal?

Cheeseburger and french fries. What else is there?

What have you always wanted to do but never done?

Finish something I start.

What was your first car and what do you drive now?

A white, 1956 two door six cylinder Ford sedan with a stick shift that had no air conditioning. Drove it to Ft. Lauderdale in the early sixties for Spring Break. Now I drive a manly Ford F 150 with four wheel drive complete with the big Triton engine.

Ward’s First Car: 1956 Ford

Ward’s First Car: 1956 Ford

A Gadget You Can’t Afford to Live Without

by Trish Utter

gadget1Over the years I get asked to test a lot of products but here is something I found that I cannot live without!

How many of you have lost your cell phone and NEVER BACKED IT UP????? MEEM works just like a simple power cord for any cell phone. Download the free MEEM app, plug your phone in and MEEM walks you through setting up your personal pin number and shows you how it works. Within seconds your phone is being backed up. This can take a few minutes or hours depending on how much you have on your device. Don’t worry, you can still use your phone while it is being backed up as long as it remains plugged in.

Once the initial back up is done, you can simply charge you phone with your cord overnight and it will automatically back it up…magic! Even the most tech challenged person, like myself, will easily be able to use this simple cord. One charging cord can back up two phones. It comes with either a 16 or 32GB of internal storage.

Photos, contacts, calendars, videos; it stores it all unless you ask it not to. You can select what you would like stored or just let it store everything. MEEM shows you how much storage you have used and how long it is taking.

When I got this phone, I automatically started to panic that I would not be able to figure out how to use it but it was as simple as plugging it in.

It is encrypted and only you have the pin. MEEM works with IOS or Android. If you move from an Android to an IOS you can also transfer everything over using the MEEM. There are no monthly fees, no bulky storage unit and you can easily carry the cord in a pocket and take it anywhere you go.

MEEM makes a great Christmas gift. I am not parting with my MEEM!