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For the Love of Trains

For the Love of Trains

by Joe Hancock About ninety miles north of Alachua straight up 121 is Folkston, Georgia – a very small, rural town that frankly, has very little to do. That is unless you More »

Tips for Cooking the Perfect Turkey & Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Tips for Cooking the Perfect Turkey & Cranberry Sauce Recipe

How many people are you cooking for? About 1 to 1/2 pounds of turkey per person is the rule of thumb. Cook for 15 minutes per pound. Cook your stuffing separately to More »

Holiday Cookies

Holiday Cookies

by Paige Beck Ginger and Spice Cookies For years, I have searched for the perfect ginger cookie. While some folks love ginger snaps, I prefer a soft cookie that is almost dough-like More »

Understanding and Compassion

Understanding and Compassion

Have you ever had something bad happen and wondered if you should call an attorney? Some things just…happen! It is times such as this when you should pick up your phone and More »

33480, the Richest Zip Code in the US!

33480, the Richest Zip Code in the US!

By Trish Utter The doorman whisked the car away. We walked through a small, tropical courtyard and ushered to a desk in the lobby that was filled with roses. A glass of More »


From the Desktop

by Trish Utter, Publisher & Chief Bottle Washer

Well, this isn’t what I was expecting to write about in this issue, but it is something we all have to face at some point. I recently had a friend who was like a second mother to me pass away. Her daughter is my age and we have grown up together, almost as though we were sisters.

No one teaches you how to handle death. Unlike a wedding, no one talks about what to expect, and most of the time there is no planning.

I have had lots of experience in this arena, as my parents passed away when I was younger, so I had to handle everything. Being financially taken advantage of with funeral arrangements was something that I had experienced. It’s such an emotional time that you will sign just about anything to get it over with. I’m glad that I could help my friend. No one should go through this alone.

Is a Hamburger Healthier than your Salad?

You want to get in shape and lose pounds and you have been ordering salads when you go out for a meal, but don’t see results. You might as well have ordered a huge hamburger and fries if you chose the Quesadilla Explosion Salad at Chili’s that packs 1,360 calories and 88 grams of fat. A Big Mac from McDonalds has 540 calories and 28 grams of fat…hmmm, hamburger please!

Do you know that what you put on your salad at a salad bar can change your salad from being a healthy meal to being junk food?

Dried cranberries seem like a healthy and tasty choice to top your salad with, but surprisingly, just a third of a cup of them contains 123 calories. That’s a lot of sugar without much of a health benefit.

One cup of fresh grapes has 104 calories, but one cup of raisins packs 434 calories!

Fresh fruit is a better choice. It has more volume and water, which will keep you feeling full and keep you from reaching for a candy bar.

SLIDE into Fashion

by Ruth Ward

When you think of slides, you probably think of Nike or Adidas with their rubber slides that athletes wear, or European tourists that shuffle around theme parks in them. However, this trend in fashion is steaming hot.

I love my flip-flops, but they give your feet no support, and after a while your feet ache. Not to mention that flip flops are never dressy or stylish. If only you could blend flip flops with the comfort of sneakers and the look of a sexy stiletto pump. Well, welcome the…SLIDE!

Music legend Rihanna started the craze with her fur, Fenty Puma collection of slides that sell for around $90. In fact, her brand is so hot that many of her slides are sold out. Kylie Jenner has her own line of slides that come in pink or black with the Kylie Cosmetics logo on them.

Slides have become chic and trendy. They can be worn with anything, for any occasion. Designers have caught onto the fashion craze. Now, luxury brands such as Channel, Gucci, Givenchy, Prada, Versace, Steve Madden, and many others, offer slides. For about $800 you can slide into a pair of Louis Vuitton Mules – yes they don’t call them slides. When they cost that much, they become…Mules!

Am I Saving Money with a Store Credit Card?

by Joe Hancock

I was in one of my favorite retail stores, and to my delight, many things were on sale. When I checked out, the sales assistant asked me if I wanted to open a store credit card, as I would save even more money on my purchases. At first I thought that sounded great, that I could open it and then close it in a few weeks. This way, I could get my savings. But, is this a good idea or should retail credit promotions set off alarm bells in your head?

Joe Hancock with Union Home Mortgage says … NO, don’t do it! “When you open a store credit card, this will potentially lower your credit score, and it is really bad if you have opened a few of these types of accounts in just a few months. Store credit cards usually have high interest rates and again, this will hurt your credit score.”

Credit Tips To improve your Credit Score

What’s your FICO score? This is a question many of us hear, especially when applying for credit. If your score is low, it can cost you thousands in higher interest rates, higher insurance rates, and even may cost you a job opportunity.

Pest Control & Tequila… What’s Not to Love about BATS!

by Brian Pope

Insects love Florida. In fact, mosquitoes love Florida so much that eighty species have decided to become our permanent neighbors – this is more than any other state! Of those, thirteen are capable of transmitting pathogens that cause diseases in animals and humans, including heartworm and West Nile virus.

Luckily, we have a line of defense that few of us see, and even less can “hear” – our native bats.

Nine species live in Alachua County, including the beautiful Eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis) and the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis). The latter can be found in massive numbers at the UF bat houses, where hundreds of thousands live within the structures. As Director of Lubee Bat Conservancy, I have a unique opportunity to work with bats from all over the world. Our center houses 200 bats, representing ten species, including the Malayan flying fox which can attain a 6 foot wingspan! We are also actively involved in field work, acoustic surveys, bat house construction/installation, and exclusion work. One interesting aspect of my job is that I get to “listen” to the bats whenever we deploy our acoustic monitors, generously provided by Normandeau Associates, Inc. The devices record bat echolocation calls via a sensitive microphone. This information is recorded onto a mobile computer and the data is uploaded to a server. The calls are then cleaned up and available for analysis, sometimes thousands for each night of recording. It’s my job to look at each call’s frequency and shape to determine which species are in the area. It’s amazing to listen to a world that we don’t even know is around us.

Something you Kneed to Know

by Anya Mayr

As residents of the sunshine state, we tend to stay in action. We’re athletes and activists and pioneers. We surf, play sports and hike, and we love staying in movement – but movement can take a toll on us, and soon enough, on our bones. While the idea of utilizing a robotic arm to perform surgery sounds like a science fiction storybook fantasy, it is very much real, and it’s here to make a difference.

Many patients would agree that there is nothing like a new knee or hip to get that pep in your step back, and there’s definitely nothing better than choosing the right way to do it. The experts at North Florida Regional Medical Center perform more orthopaedic surgeries than anyone in the area.

“We have been using the Mako™ technology for years, and it has yielded positive results,” explains Brian Cook, CEO of North Florida Regional Medical Center. “In the past we have used the Mako™ technology for partial knee, and total hip replacements, but we have recently invested in an upgrade which allows our surgeons to perform total knee replacements with our Mako™ robotic-arm as well.”

Mako™ robotic-arm assisted procedures allow for consistent reproducible precision in performing partial/total knee resurfacing and total hip surgeries, both being challenging procedures through manual techniques. Mako™ robotic-arm assisted surgeries allow for a smaller incision than what is required for traditional manual surgeries, enabling a new level of accuracy in implant alignment and positioning.

Local Celebrity Spotlight – Joe Hancock

Joe Hancock is the President of the Alachua Chamber, Vice President of the Alachua Lions Club, and Area Sales Manager for Union Home Mortgage Corp. Hancock is often seen in the City of Alachua helping out with events or leading a networking group and helping to promote local businesses. Hancock is married and has two beautiful children. You can’t think of the City of Alachua without thinking about Joe.

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

Born and Raised in Gainesville. Moved to Alachua in 2012 and couldn’t be happier. My wife, Crystal worked here and loved it. When it was time to buy a home we decided Alachua was the place. It did not have the hustle and bustle of Gainesville and the people were nice. It is a walkable town and we have access to I-75 and 441 to quickly get anywhere we want.

How do you relax?

Playing with my kids. Mason is 3 and Summer is 1. I really think it is wrestling more than anything else. They love it. They love to jump on me, pound on me, climb on me, and just roll all over me. I love it and can’t get enough of it!! They relax me more than anything else in the world. Before the kids it was driving at the racetrack.

Some of the Filthiest places in your home might surprise you, like….. Poop on your…TOOTHBRUSH!!!!!!

Here are our top dirtiest places that you will find in your home. There are plenty more, but these are eye-opening. It will make you think twice about putting your phone down near a toilet or putting your toothbrush in your mouth.

Kitchen Sink

Your kitchen sink can have more germs than your toilet! The next time you drop a piece of food and then pick it up and eat it, you might want to think twice. Everyone pours their drinks out in the sink, the dog water bowl gets emptied, dirty dishes get rinsed off and raw meat is washed off …do you get where we are coming from? There is more E-coli in your sink than in a flushed toilet, according to Eileen Abruzzo, Director of Infection Control at Long Island Hospital in New York. This is because people take measures to disinfect their toilet, but not their kitchen sink. The kitchen sink is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Just rinsing a sink does not kill deadly bacteria that is left behind to grow and multiply. The faucet also has bacteria all over it. After you disinfect your sink, keep it as dry as possible, as bacterial grows in damp places.

NOT Your Grandma’s Ferris Wheel!

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? We are constantly in search of unique places for our readers to visit. Our latest trips were down I-75 to Orlando to visit I-Drive 360 and a plane trip to the Washington, DC area to see National Harbor in Maryland. What both destinations have in common are massive Ferris wheels, entertainment, restaurants and stunning views.

I-Drive 360, Orlando FL

This entertainment area is located on International Drive, close to the convention area. It was named after the 360° view you will get from the Orlando Eye. You will find restaurants, shops, and entertainment and best of all, lots of free parking!

Coca Cola, Orlando Eye

The huge 400-foot, Ferris wheel opened in 2015 and is run by Merlin Entertainments, under its Midway attraction brands which also has the iconic London Eye. Although this in not as large as the London Eye, it is still impressive and gives you panoramic views of Orlando, theme parks and downtown. Each of the 30 capsules are air-conditioned and have seating. There are touch screens in the gondolas that tell you what you can see on your twenty minute tour. At night, the Eye lights up
with changing color displays commemorating national holidays, important world events, and charitable causes.

Community SpotLight