Mary Hatcher surges to top opponents in hotly contested judicial race

Mary Hatcher

Mary Hatcher rose to the top Tuesday evening as she and two other lawyers tried to unseat incumbent 5th Judicial Circuit Court Group C Judge Sandy Kautz. Trailing behind her were Denise A. Dymond Lyn and Bo Samargya. Kautz was running fourth. But it appears Lyn squeaked out enough votes to force a November runoff with Hatcher. The race … [Read more...]

No connection between recent bank robberies in Ocala, The Villages

Surveillance footage captured this image of a man who attempted to rob an Ocala bank branch.

A robbery Monday at a Bank of America branch in Ocala and the Aug. 13 robbery at Citizens First Bank at Mulberry Grove in The Villages appear to be unrelated, according to investigators. At about 10:30 a.m. Monday an older white male with white hair and a scruffy beard, wearing a red ballcap, green shirt and blue jeans gave a teller a note … [Read more...]

FHP to join in caravan to raise awareness about drunk driving

Florida Highway Patrol

Drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest crimes. In 2013, there were  nearly 1,000 alcohol related fatalities across Florida.  This week leading up to the Labor Day weekend, law enforcement agencies in Florida and Georgia are once again joining forces for "Hands Across the Border," an annual traffic safety campaign. Law enforcement officers … [Read more...]

Man arrested on disorderly intoxication charge after incident at Winn Dixie

Travis Slisz

A 29-year-old Fruitland Park man was arrested on a charge of disorderly intoxication following a disturbance at the Winn Dixie on Bichara Boulevard in The Villages. Lady Lake police were called to the grocery store shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday. They were responding to a report of a man who had gotten loud and begun shouting profanities at the … [Read more...]

Woman arrested by deputies following fight over vehicle ownership

April Abbott

A 45-year-old Summerfield woman was arrested Sunday afternoon by Sumter County sheriff's deputies following a fight with a man over ownership of a vehicle. Deputies were called shortly before 1 p.m. Sunday to County Road 466 at County Road 107 in Oxford. April Anne Abbott was at the scene after she had arrived to assist a man whose vehicle … [Read more...]

Voters head to polling places to cast ballots in Florida primary


The Florida Primary has arrived. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The Villages/Tri-County Area League of Women Voters’s 2014 Primary Election Voter Guide is available on their website, The guide was developed in collaboration with the LWV of Marion County and covers Lake, Sumter, and Marion County … [Read more...]

Former Villages fire chief finalist for Pinellas Suncoast chief position

Chief Mike Tucker

Former Villages Fire Chief Mike Tucker is one of two finalists for the position of fire chief with the Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District. Tucker, currently the safety program manager for the Florida Bureau of Fire Standards in Ocala, resigned from the Villages Public Safety Department earlier this year. Salvatore D’Angelo, deputy … [Read more...]

$760,000 Avendia Central repaving project has begun in Lady Lake

Cars travel on Avenida Central in The Villages.

Work has begun on the re-surfacing will occur on Avenida Central. While this work is anticipated to take approximately one to two weeks, motorists are advised that it may be changed due to unforeseen circumstances.  During this maintenance, drivers are encouraged to pay attention to all directional signage and use caution in the area as traffic … [Read more...]

Former NASA consultant addresses climate change at Tri-County Tea Party

John L Casey presents to the Tri-County Tea Party

Tri-County Tea Party president, Pam Robin, welcomed former NASA consultant, White House space advisor and Space Shuttle engineer, John L. Casey, Monday evening to take on the topic of climate change. Casey began by telling the audience: "Five scientists 'from the Al Gore / Barack Obama school of global warming' met recently for thirty minutes … [Read more...]

Lightning rod interest grows in wake of more strikes in Villages

Firefighters investigate the scene of a suspected lightning strike in the Village of St. James.

It seems fewer and fewer people are taking foolish chances when thunderstorms come up quickly around The Villages. As more and more people learn about the dangers of lightning, they are taking steps to assure their safety. This safety trend is evidenced by more and more residents following golf course ambassadors' suggestions to find shelter from … [Read more...]

Villager who received needed boost from USO, now returning the favor

Villager Harry Lumpkin is seen here as a young serviceman.

Harry Lumpkin, who served 26 years in the U.S. Army and retired as a colonel, has fond memories of his experiences with the USO. He recalls that USO entertainers were willing to risk their lives in dangerous territory to entertain troops in Vietnam. The organization provided a refuge from anti-war protestors when he returned from his Vietnam … [Read more...]

‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie’ hitmaker coming to Katie Belle’s this week

‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’ hitmaker coming to Villages

It’s July, 1960. Brian Hyland, a 16-year old kid from Queens, finds himself backstage on a hot Saturday night in the Little Theater at 240 West 44th Street in Manhattan. Hyland, wearing cut-off clam diggers and a slick pompadour, is waiting to be introduced for “Dick Clark’s Saturday Night Beechnut Show” on ABC television. Clark is sitting in … [Read more...]

Villager finds therapeutic outlet in Colony Cottage Mahjong group

Original Mahjong group members, from right, Faye Stein, hostess Bev Hayes, Marilyn Astor, Rosalie Plotkin and Elly Cazes.

Bev Hayes of the Village of Duval never played Mahjong before coming to The Villages in 2006. While raising six kids with her husband, Tom, she never had the time. But she recently marked her seventh anniversary hosting the popular game from noon to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Colony Cottage Recreation Center. The game, which started in China, is … [Read more...]

Too rich for your blood? $2.4 million home on market in Villages

This home on Clearwater Run in the 
Village of Bridgeport at Miona Shores was recently listed for  $2.4 million.

Billed as "turn key" and "in a league of it's own," a palatial lake view home on Clearwater Run in the Village of Bridgeport at Miona Shores was recently listed for  $2.4 million -- possibly the most costly home ever offered in this adult lifestyle community. A July open house brought a larger number of curious Villagers and visitors than most … [Read more...]

Big Cypress Recreation Center shows off bright, bold colors

Big Cypress Recreation Center

There's always a big splash when The Villages cuts the ribbon for the opening of a brand new neighborhood rec center -- and that is as it should be. Special events should be marked by ceremonies and recognition. The brilliant color scheme and homespun decor at the almost one-year-old Big Cypress neighborhood facility on Canal Street, off Hendry, … [Read more...]