At a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips, Marisa Worley, director of development at A Gift For Teaching, spoke to members about her work with the nonprofit. A Gift For Teaching was founded in 1998 as a way to recycle unwanted or surplus supplies from businesses and has since grown into a tri-countywide operation that daily distributes more than $40,000 worth of school supplies and incentives for free.
Congratulations to Tiffany Johnson of Independence for winning the solo Miss Starpower dance title and being named overall champion in the 8-under category at the Starpower Dance Competition. The regional dance competition, held annually at Lakeland Civic Center, features more than 1,000 routines throughout three days. Tiffany will now advance to the 2014 Starpower World Championships competition, which will take place July 2 through July 6 at the Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel in Lake Buena Vista.
Lakes of Windermere
Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn declared May Lyme Disease Awareness Month in an official town proclamation. Crucial to the signing of the proclamation was Allison Caruana of Lakes of Windermere, a longtime Lyme sufferer and activist for the Lyme community. During a Windermere town meeting, Allison shared her story of living with Lyme disease for 37 years and explained the need for preventive measures. She revealed that Lyme disease is present in Florida, not just in the Northeast, and the bacteria that causes the disease has several vectors, including fleas, lice and the black-legged tick, which is commonly found on dogs.
Ocoee-based novelist A. A. Nowlin published a new fantasy book, Lyralites: In the Shadows of Evil. Set in the year 2025, Lyralites follows a group of travelers from earth who are on a routine resupply mission when their spaceship crash-lands on Dasara after a collision with an asteroid. Strange things begin to happen as the crew learns the secrets of Dasara and the real reason for their “accidental” landing on the planet.
As part of his leadership project, Ocoee Eagle Scout Chris Cotter brought three large Blue Ridge Shaker benches and historic caladium varieties to Nehrling Gardens. Members of The Henry Nehrling Society previously attended Lake Placid’s Caladium Festival in 2013 to pass out brochures and meet all the growers, who indicated they would be amenable to donating Dr. Nehrling’s varieties back to his gardens for upcoming projects. Chris contacted these caladium growers and received a generous windfall of 4,000 caladium corms in return.
Roy Bye and Doris Lugo-Schelmety of Westminster Landing announced the engagement of their daughter, Danielle Schelmety, to Mike Smith, son of Dr. William and Kelly Smith of Ruston, La. Danielle and Mike, both Juris Doctor candidates, attend Mississippi College School of Law and will graduate this month. Danielle, who graduated with honors from UCF in 2010, is vice president of the Federal Bar Association’s student division and a historian in the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity. The couple plans to live and practice law in Louisiana.
Central Florida-based strings superstars Violectric and Fretless Rock — led by musician Michelle Jones of Windermere — played a full lineup of performances across Orlando to benefit several charitable organizations. Both acts are known throughout the state for their custom arrangements of classic and modern rock tunes such as Billie Jean, Born to Run and Moves Like Jagger.
Rotary Club of Windermere welcomed members of West Orange High School’s Interact Club to a recent meeting. The students had just attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards for high school students, which is held annually at the Elks Youth Camp in Umatilla. RYLA is a four-day experience in a modern camp-style setting that places emphasis on public speaking, building personal confidence and engaging in character-molding activities.
Windermere resident Bob Brown, president and CEO of Heart of Florida United Way, celebrated the conclusion of HFUW’s 2013-14 campaign during the Live United Celebration, where it was revealed that the organization had raised a staggering $18,319,177 since this past September. Bob also helped kick off National Volunteer Month by commending HFUW volunteers for their dedication and commitment to the local community. Held last month, NVM enables organizations across the country to show their support and appreciation for the volunteers in their communities.
Salt Room Millenia workers celebrated the company’s second anniversary by giving away free salt room sessions all day long and a spa day for mothers of participants in the Autism & Related Disabilities Gym at Jim Beech Recreation Center in Ocoee. As part of the seventh Smooch — Special Moms of Outstanding Children with Handicaps — Project, Smooch mothers must volunteer and help out at the gym a significant amount.
Former NFL safety and Trinity Sports Performance owner Kim Herring was recently featured in Men’s Fitness magazine alongside other leading fitness professionals as part of a feature called “World Fitness Elite: Game Changers.” In the article, the Southwest resident was highlighted as a fitness industry leader who is not just playing the game but changing it, too.
Southwest resident and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs provided the opening remarks at a media event hosted by Merlin Entertainments Group. The event provided an early look at I-Drive 360, a $200 million project now under construction on International Drive. I-Drive 360 will be home to three headlining attractions — the Orlando Eye observation wheel, Madame Tussauds Orlando and Sea Life Orlando Aquarium — when it opens in spring 2015.
O-Town Sound Chorus members performed well at the Sweet Adelines Atlantic-Gulf Region 9 Regional Convention and Competition. Singing There Goes My Heart and How Many Hearts Have You Broken, the women’s barbershop chorus landed third place in the midsize-chorus division and fourth place overall among 13 choruses throughout the state of Florida and one from South Carolina.
Southwest residents Jeff Haire and Jill Haire-Costantini announced the engagement of their son, Scott, to Kimberly Coady, daughter of the late Patrick Coady and Geri Coady of Stoughton, Mass. Scott is a 2005 graduate of Florida Atlantic University, and Kimberly is a 2010 graduate of the University of Massachusetts. Both work in medical software sales at Modernizing Medicine, where they met. The couple recently relocated from Delray Beach to Austin, Texas. The wedding will take place Oct. 19 in East Bridgewater, Mass.
Rotary Club of Lake Buena Vista welcomed guest speaker Martha Mannarino, vice president of communications and development for Shepherd’s Hope, to a recent meeting. Shepherd’s Hope operates five medical clinics throughout the Orlando area and relies on strong partnerships within the local community to ensure that its services reach those most in need.
Winter Garden Police Chief George Brennan, Winter Garden Commissioner and Sterling Pointe resident Robert “Bobby” Olszewski, and Winter Garden Fire Chief Matt McGrew attended the grand opening of the new Community Health Centers campus in Winter Garden. The mission of Community Health Centers is to provide quality and compassionate primary and preventive medical, dental and pharmaceutical services to Central Florida’s economically and culturally diverse communities.
The First Baptist Church of Windermere hosted a panel for the community to discuss the place and purpose of faith in government. The panel members — which included Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, First Baptist Church of Windermere Pastor Troy Schmidt, Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn, and Congressman Daniel Webster — represented three levels of government, starting at the local level with Windermere, the Orange County government, and the federal government.
The town of Oakland recently held its fifth annual Wine and Dine for the Arts event. Guests enjoyed an evening of spirits and savories while listening to performances by the University of Florida’s Gator Jazz Band and the Ocoee High School jazz band, all while raising much-needed funds for the HAPCO Music Foundation, which provides scholarships for deserving students to attend any music-related college program of their choice in the United States.
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines, initiated the following Southwest-area residents: Kelly Ball, the University of Central Florida chapter; Rachael Rampi, the Florida International University chapter; and Megan Swider, the University of Central Florida chapter.