A panel has chosen a Mount Dora teacher who says “poetry chose her” as the Lake County Library System’s first poet laureate. In her role, Laura Sobbott Ross will serve a one-year term volunteering for events and writing for the Lake County Poet Laureate Journal.
Sobbott Ross is a widely published award-winning poet whose work has appeared in more than 100 literary journals. In addition to four Pushcart Prize nominations, she was a finalist for the Art & Letters Poetry Prize and won the Southern Humanities Auburn Witness Poetry Prize. She has published two chapbooks, “A Tiny Hunger” and “My Mississippi,” and a third book, “The Graffiti of Pompeii,” is scheduled for publication this year. Her recent poem, “The Writing Lesson,” reflects her strong affinity for the Lake County community.
“My goal is to get it out there, make it accessible and enjoyable,” Sobbott Ross said. “Lake County is artistic. It’s time we uncovered the raw, untapped potential of the people in our community.”
Sobbott Ross is a state-certified English teacher and trained writing coach. Much of her career was spent teaching children in the Lake County Schools system. She currently teaches English to ESOL adults and GED prep at Lake Technical College and has experience working with students ages 5 to 91.
For more information about the Lake County Library System or to find out about future programs, call 352-253-6180. Find more local news in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis here and follow Mount Dora Buzz on Facebook. Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of 'The Buzz' are available here.
You’ve seen them and maybe even shared them. They’ve no doubt made millions of people smile. Police Departments from near and far have been putting their humor on display as their Lip-sync Battle videos go viral.
Recently, Tavares Police Department challenged Eustis Police to expose their lighthearted side in what has become a social media showcase of law enforcement’s pop culture cred.
In Eustis, one officer bravely stepped up to the dare. Sitting alone in his police truck on the central Florida city’s lakefront, Community Service Officer Jim Franquiz primitively rigged a selfie-stick to his cup holder before teasing viewers of what was to come. Unlike more sophisticated productions by larger departments, Franquiz had a single prop: his sunglasses.
The next thing you know, the officer was grooving and moving his lips to “Don’t Stop the Rock,” a 1990s dance anthem by Freestyle.
Keeping his cool under pressure, the seasoned officer impressively tackled the feat in the very first take and without rehearsing. The result was widespread, online public praise.
Franquiz chose the retro dance tune, because it took him back to happy times in South Florida dance clubs and rollerskating with his wife.
When asked how his fellow officers responded to his video, Franquiz laughed and said, “I think it was really a case of ‘Better you than me.’”
A personable extrovert, the 32-year veteran law enforcement officer has relished his job even on the most difficult days and wears his love of Eustis on his sleeve. “I want the community to know that everyone that puts on this uniform is a just a regular person, working day and night,” said Franquiz.
The officer, who has two daughters and a grandchild, said his wife has been keeping him updated on the growing reaction to his video on social media. Meanwhile, in the spirit of law enforcement’s Lip-Sync Battle, Eustis Police Department announced it was challenging Mount Dora Police Department and Lake County Sheriff’s Office to post their own videos. No doubt, the community will be waiting. For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. To get area's news in your inbox once a month, subscribe to the free month issue of Mount Dora Buzz here.
Concert-goers may have a new local venue to see some of their favorite performers. The county seat of Lake County is on the verge of adding a performing arts center to its growing list of entertainment attractions.
City officials have begun the process of evaluating the feasibility of building the center at one of three locations within the city limits that range in size from 53,000 to almost 83,000 square feet.
Currently, the closest performance venues are Mount Dora Community Building with 633 seats, nearby Apopka Amphitheater with seating for 1,500 and additional lawn seating to accommodate 5,000, and Clermont Performing Arts Center with 1,200 seats.
The Tavares study will help determine the center’s location, size, uses, funding, construction and operational costs. The study and contract negotiations are expected to take up to a year for completion.
Find more news in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis by getting a free subscription to the monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz hereand follow Mount Dora Buzz on Facebook.
Something new is happening in Mount Dora during the month of July. Every Friday night the City of Mount Dora is hosting a free Summer Concert Series in downtown’s Sunset Park from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Each concert will features performances by two different artists or bands. The Central Florida performers spam various genres including rock, pop, metal, folk and soul. Here is the schedule of performers:
JULY 6 Featuring Central Florida’s Claire Van Diver who delivers a mix of electric soul and pop and the duo Esh 'n' Sheif.
JULY 13 Featuring the acoustic folk sounds of Josh We Know and one of Orlando’s best rock bands, Tears of a Tyrant.
JULY 20 Featuring the soulful and sultry sounds of solo artist Brooke Klonel of Longwood and Central Florida's high-energy LUVU variety band performing fast-paced pop dance mixes.
JULY 27 Featuring rock artist Clarissa Kelley, as well as the 5-piece rock band Leaving Haven. Both are from Orlando.
Discover what's happening in Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis with your free subscription to the monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz here. Find top local stories here or local events on the calendar here.
Good news! This year folks get to enjoy fireworks across Lake County skies on three separate nights. Here’s the 411 on local celebrations and firework displays:
JULY 1: The City of Eustis will hold their patriotic party on the lakefront at Ferran Park. The festivities will include a concert by Eli Mosley, arts and crafts, a kids zone, fireworks at 9:30 p.m. and more. Get more details
JULY 3: Mount Dora will host its annual Freedom on the Waterfront at Elizabeth Evans Park. It will feature live music, a kids zone and fireworks after sundown. Get more details
JULY 4: Independence Day Parade starts at 10 a.m. along Donnelly Street in Mount Dora.
JULY 4: Tavares will throw an Old-Fashioned Fourth of July party downtown with a dance party, live music, plenty of activities for kids and fireworks at 9 p.m. Get more details
JULY 4: Tavares Independence Day Parade starts at 5 p.m. on Main Street in downtown.
For more events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here.
Get your free subscription to monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz here and find more events for Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis on the calendar here.
There’s nothing more appropriate in this neck of the woods than an old-fashioned 4th of July celebration. That’s exactly what one Lake County city is promising. Tavares will host its annual patriotic bash in downtown beginning at 3 p.m. A parade will begin along Main Street at 5 p.m. with small American flags passed out to the first 1000 guests.
After the parade, Tavares Square will host games, live music, a rock-climbing wall, and a percussion petting zoo which allows kids a fun, hands-on way to experience different types of percussion instruments. Wooton Park will be the location for a dance party with Blonde Ambition, an Orlando dance band. Kids can enjoy crafts and storytelling and bounce inflatables. Fireworks and flag-raising will be at 9 p.m. The Van Cam, a tricked-out VW bus that is also a photo booth, will also be on the scene. For more events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Find more news in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis by getting a free subscription to the monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz hereand follow Mount Dora Buzz on Facebook.
Mount Dora will celebrate the nation’s independence on July 3 on the downtown lakefront. Freedom on the Waterfront is a free, family-friendly event featuring live music by the 13th Army Band, a Kids Zone and fireworks.
Opening ceremony will be at 5:30 p.m. followed by a 5:40 performance by Spayed Koolie and a 7:30 performance by the 13th Army Band. Fireworks over Lake Dora will light up the sky at 9:15 p.m. Public parking will be available with van shuttles available at the First Baptist Church of Mount Dora at 1000 East 1st Avenue. Handicap parking will be located in the lower level of the parking garage on Donnelly Street near the train tracks. Glass, pets, fireworks and alcohol are not permitted.
Road closures will be Tremain St, between Charles and Liberty, Edgerton Court, Charles St, between Donnelly St and Tremain St, Liberty St, between Tremain and Grandview. Public Restrooms are at Gilbert Park and portalets will be at Elizabeth Evans Park and Simpson Cove.
For July 4th festivities and fireworks in Tavares, click here. Discover the news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis by getting a free subscription to the monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz hereand follow Mount Dora Buzz on Facebook.
The City of Eustis will host its annual Independence Hometown Celebration on Sunday, July 1 in Ferran Park. The free, family-friendly event runs from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and includes live music from recording artist Eli Mosley, craft vendors, food, a kids’ zone, community pool, and a spectacular fireworks finale over Lake Eustis at 9:30 p.m.
The kids’ zone will feature bounce houses, water slides, a face painter, balloon animals, and arts and crafts with the Eustis Historical Museum and the Lake Eustis Museum of Art. The Eustis Aquatic Center will be open at no charge for open-swim and splash pad use from 1:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Nashville-based country music artist Eli Mosley will perform at the the historic Alice McClelland Memorial Bandshell at 5 p.m.. The night will be capped off at 9:30 p.m. with a fireworks display over Lake Eustis.
As part of the PB&J Challenge to benefit local underprivileged children, the city will be accepting donations of unopened jars of peanut butter and jelly at their tent in the park. Everyone donating a combination of peanut butter & jelly jars (min.16 oz or larger) will receive a free Eustis t-shirt while supplies last.
Feran Park is located at 250 Ferran Park Drive on the waterfront in downtown Eustis. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. Pets are permitted, but must remain on a leash.
Get the details for fireworks and celebrations in Mount Dora and Tavares here. For more events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Find out what's happening locally with just a tap on your phone by downloading the area's free mobile app. Free monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
Mount Dora will join other communities across the country by hosting a Juneteenth Festival Saturday, June 23.
The family-friendly festival will be held on historic Grandview Street between Grant and Florida Avenues from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
There will be vendors, food, beer and wine, a kids zone and live music including gospel, rap music, ETurn and a Motown show. FREE admission for all. Food, beer and wine available for purchase. Visitors can escape the heat under the big tent while you watch the show.
Juneteenth, the oldest celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., has been a tradition since the late 19th century and is now recognized in 43 states. This is Mount Dora’s second event.
June 19, known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Emancipation Day, is the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865. Although Abraham Lincoln freed all slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, Texas was geographically remote and its slave owners ignored the new law. Only Texas slaves that escaped could enjoy freedom in the North.
June 19 marks the date Union General Gordon Granger arrived on Galveston Island with 2,000 troops to establish a federal presence in Texas and officially free its slaves.
Today, community Juneteenth festivals celebrate African American freedom and achievement, encourage respect for all cultures, and strive to create new bonds of friendship and understanding. Celebrations often include public BBQs, live music, readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and singing of traditional spirituals.
For more news and events in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Find out what's happening locally with just a tap on your phone by downloading the area's free mobile app. Monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
It’s not every day Lake County welcomes a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. On May 6, Mount Dora will host Gilbert King, awarded the 2013 nonfiction Pulitzer Prize for “Devil in the Grove.”The acclaimed book, set in Lake County, highlights the racial injustice of the case involving The Groveland Boys, Sheriff Willis McCall, and Thurgood Marshall.
King is returning to Mount Dora to talk about his newest book, “Beneath a Ruthless Sun: a True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found.” The new book is an investigative nonfiction tale that raises themes that still haunt American society.
The story is based on a rape case in 1950s Leesburg when Lake County judges, juries, deputies and attorneys manufactured or accepted falsified evidence to send a mentally-disabled teenager, Jesse Daniels, to a notoriously cruel mental institution. Daniels was released fourteen years later with the help of his mother, a reporter, and an attorney.
The presentation will examine an era in Lake County when justice was perverted by bigotry and tempered by the power of the free press. The free presentation begins at 4:00 p.m. and will include a question and answer period. Doors open at 3:00 p.m. at the Mount Dora Community Center, 520 North Baker Street. Books will be available for purchase to have signed by the author after the program.
As if finally getting a local movie theater wasn’t enough for the small Central Florida town of Mount Dora! This September movie lovers will trek from near and far to the city known for its quaint downtown and low rolling hills as it hosts the 13th annual Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO).
The international festival will be held September 7 through 9 at the brand new Epic Theatres slated to open soon just off U.S. Highway 441. In recent years, CENFLO presented 70 to 80 films to audiences, and many featured well-known talent.
After films are submitted to the festival for consideration, they undergo a rigorous judging process on specific criteria. Films with the highest grades from judges are accepted into the festival. The winning film and four finalists are also selected. Film submissions are open until June 1.
The festival’s executive director, Brendon Rogers, is a Tavares resident and approached Epic Theatres with the idea of bringing the festival to the new Mount Dora 12-screen multiplex.
The DeMarsh family, owners of Epic Theatres, immediately welcomed the idea.
The festival has come a long way since its debut year in 2005 at the Osceola Center for the Arts. In 2013 it was named among the "Top 25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" by Movie Maker Magazine.
In the future, organizers hope to expand the festival to include a Showcase Series which will screen outside of the regular festival and include films that have a much narrower criteria. Master classes, workshops and a screenwriting competition are also planned, along with more community outreach.
A volunteer team will be assembled to assist during the festival, according to Rogers. For more events and news in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, click here. Find out what's happening locally with just a tap on your phone by downloading the area's freemobile app. Monthly issues of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
It caused some hearts to sink along with heavy sighs of disappointment.
Epic Theatres’ long-awaited opening today in Mount Dora didn’t happen. Instead of cars spilling in and out of the parking lot, the 50,000 square-foot venue sat largely empty. The 12-screen multiplex had its opening postponed due to the contractor finishing work for life safety permits and others, according to Lisa McDonald, the City of Mount Dora spokesperson. cShe stated once the work is complete, the contractor and owner will request complete final reviews from City inspectors.
A new date is expected to be set in the near future.
The $10 million project was built on the land between Target and Walmart and features 1,400 reclining seats, beer and wine, two extra-large screens, optional reserved seats and an enhanced concession menu. Tickets will be available online for movie-goers’ convenience.
The new opening date will be posted on Mount Dora Buzz as soon as it’s available.
ABOVE: NBC'S Kerry Sanders interviews Nemhauser and Jastrzebski.
UPDATE 4/24: To see the Today Show segment that aired today, click here
Last Thursday was almost a day like any other in the Jastrzebski/Nemhauser household, until a popular national news correspondent and his crew rolled in. Soon the Mount Dora family’s great room was transformed into a bustling studio for an on-camera interview.
National correspondent Kerry Sanders and his NBC News crew had arrived to cover van Gogh Gate--the family’s constitutional fight against the City to keep a mural depicting a local artist’s interpretation of the famous “Starry Night” painting.
ABOVE: Sanders interviews artist Richard Barrenchea front of portion of mural.
After heavy regional media coverage, it was a only a matter of time before the David-and-Goliath story gained national exposure. Sanders and his crew spent over four hours at the home, shooting the mural and setting up equipment for a sit-down interview with the homeowners. The news crew also reached out to neighbors, the City, and the artist for comments. The end result will likely be a one-minute-and-forty-second segment to air during tomorrow’s popular “Today Show” at approximately 7:50 a.m. Depending on the volume of news, the segment could get rescheduled or aired again during other NBC News programming.
ABOVE: Kerry Sanders (right) poses with Nemhauser (left).
The saga began almost a year ago when the homeowners, Lubek Jastrzebski and Nancy Nemhauser, were issued a Notice of Violation for graffiti after the mural was painted on their exterior wall. This puzzled the homeowners, who had previously inquired with city officials whether permission was needed before beginning the painting. Nemhauser was reportedly told no approvals were needed, which aligns with the fact that Mount Dora has no codes that address murals or house paint colors in residential neighborhoods. Months later, the city dropped the graffiti violation and instead deemed the mural a signage violation.
Eventually, the city government levied steep fines against the homeowners and that’s when a constitutional watchdog organization, Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), stepped in to represent the family. The group has a track record of winning the cases it has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and has since won an injunction against the city. PLF has vowed to proceed to the highest court for adjudication if needed.
The excitement is palpable. When Epic Theatres announced in 2016 it was planning a state-of-the-art multiplex in Mount Dora, movie-lovers waited anxiously, with every passing month seeming like an eternity.
Epic announced that giddy movie enthusiasts are expected to be in the seats at the 12-screen multiplex starting April 26. Tickets for opening night will be available on or before April 24.
The 50,000 square-foot project is located on the land between Target and Walmart. The $10 million facility will feature 1,400 reclining seats, beer and wine, two extra-large 70-foot curved screens, optional reserved seats and an enhanced concession menu.
Tickets for opening night and other show times will be available here.
For more local entertainment news and more, sign up for the free monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz here. For other local events and news, follow Mount Dora Buzz on Facebook.