5th Annual Downtown Clermont Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest

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Clermont, Fl - The Clermont Downtown Partnership will be hosting its 5th Annual Earth Day Celebration and Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest. Please save the date Saturday, April, 30th. We have started our Sidewalk Chalk Artist sign ups. You do not need to be a professional artist to sign up. There will be three age groups: 6-10, 11-15 and 16 and up. Grand prizes will be given to the winner in each age group. If you are an artist that participated in the Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest last year or would like to participate this year, send us an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The Clermont Downtown Partnership is a group of property and business owners who are dedicated to bringing new vitality to the Downtown Clermont area. Downtown Clermont offers a wide variety of personal services, shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities, and we are right on the shore of beautiful Lake Minneola. If you are interested in becoming a Member of the Partnership please send us an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


HS/SPCA & Thundershirt Team Up Before Storm Season

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altDoes your Fido “freak out” during thunderstorms or any other factors causing severe anxiety? Thunderstorms, traveling, fireworks and separation anxiety are just some of the stress factors causing your poor dog to fall apart at the seams. Before Florida’s extremely scary storm season begins, the Humane Society/SPCA and Thundershirt.com have teamed for a fundraiser to help your dog through those nerve-wracking times while raising needed donations for animals rescued and awaiting adoption.

Thundershirt provides a gentle constant pressure for a calming effect if your dog is stressed. It works on over 85% of dogs and if it is not to your dog’s satisfaction, they offer a 100% money back guarantee (less S/H). It is the non-medicated safer way to reducing your dog’s anxiety!

Local businesses Whole Earth Pet Supply and PAWS For a Moment Pet Supply in the Villages will have Thundershirts for purchase during this special event from March 26th through April 8th. The HS/SPCA of Sumter will receive $15 of every $36 Thundershirt sold during this period when using the special code SPCASUMTER. There are seven sizes ranging from XXS through XXL, so if your size isn’t available at the store, it can be ordered. Orders can also be directly placed at www.Thundershirt.com, but no matter where you get your Thundershirt use the special event code: SPCASUMTER so the HS/SPCA will receive their contribution to help animals in need! For more information, call the HS/SPCA at 352-793-9117 for details or visit www.hsspca.org.

Update from March 14th Lake County School Board Meeting

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altTAVARES — It takes just one person to make a difference in the life of a Lake County student.

That was the message delivered to the Lake County School Board at its March 14 meeting as Lake County Schools recognized the success of its fledgling Mentoring for Success Program. The School Board approved a resolution on October 25th supporting the Mentoring for Success Program and its goal of recruiting 1,000 mentors for 1,000 students.

“The community has really answered the call,” said Rhonda Hunt, Lake County Schools Director of Elementary Education. “We’re proud to announce that as of today we have 663 mentors in our schools.”

To help reflect on the progress of the program, the School Board heard from several mentors, including John Abner at Umatilla Elementary; Wayne Menne from Mount Dora Middle; and Yolanda Presley from Leesburg High.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to impact the life of a child,” said Abner, who mentors two fourth graders at Umatilla Elementary and is a youth pastor at Victory Christian Center in Dona Vista.

According to officials at Lake County Schools, mentoring is recognized by the State Board of Education as a tool in helping to improve student academic achievement, social competence and personal development. While many schools in Lake County have had success with individual mentoring initiatives, the Mentoring for Success Program aims to incorporate all these initiatives under one umbrella to bring mentoring to as many students of Lake County Schools as possible.

Individuals interested in volunteering for the Mentoring for Success Program are encouraged to visit their local school to sign up. For more information about the Mentoring for Success Program, call the Lake County Schools Curriculum Department at (352) 253-6550.

In other business:


The School Board recognized bookkeepers and principals whose schools had no exceptions during the fiscal year 2009-2010 audit of internal funds. Bookkeepers recognized included: (right to left in photo) Susan Creech from Astatula Elementary; Roni Giachetti from Cypress Ridge Elementary; Sonyia Keating from Gray Middle; Frances Beasley from Lake Hills; Lisa Odom from Leesburg Elementary; Tammy Blodgett from Lost Lake Elementary; Donna Anderson from Rimes Early Learning & Literacy Center; Shirley Wicker from Tavares Middle; Nancy White from Umatilla Elementary; Carol Elmore from Umatilla High; and Janet Morton from Villages Elementary.


Lake County Extension seeks volunteers for new Master Money Mentoring Program

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TAVARES — The Lake County Extension is seeking volunteer for a new program entitled, “Master Money Mentor (MMM) Program”. The goal of the program is to train volunteer mentors to assist residents by providing free help with their household finances. 

Volunteers who participate in the mentoring program will receive 20 hours of training, and will need to provide 25 hours of assistance to local residents. All volunteers will be required to complete the entire training program, and pass a background check before becoming certified as a Master Money Mentor.

Training dates are scheduled for April 11, 13 and 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake County Extension Office, 1951 Woodlea Road, Tavares. The cost to participate as a Master Money Mentor is $50 per person, which includes training materials and lunches. Registration is required by April 6th.

Funding to help off-set the cost of the program is being provided through University of Florida/IFAS Extension and a Bank of America foundation grant. 

Social and faith-based service professionals, retirees and local community members are encouraged to participate. While every family’s financial picture will be different, Money Mentors can help in three important areas:  assisting families as they make spending and savings plans, helping them analyze their credit behavior and limit debt, and pushing families to be proactive with lenders when problems arise. 

For more information about the program, or to sign up to become a Money Mentor volunteer contact Julie England at (352) 343-4101 x2721, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

City of Mount Dora begins Visioning Process

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MOUNT DORA -- Over the next six months, the City of Mount Dora will chart a new course for the town.  It has been several years since the city has evaluated its long range plans so they have hired a consultant to assist in taking public input regarding the practicality of their current vision for the city. 

"We are very eager to begin this process and involve as many residents, business owners and civic organizations as possible.  Public input is critical for this effort to be a success" Mount Dora Mayor Melissa DeMarco stated. "This is the ideal time to assess our current priorities and develop a clear strategy for the future so we will be prepared as the economy recovers" added DeMarco.

Over the last several years, the city has prepared plans for utilities, parks, trails, economic development and redevelopment of target areas in the city.  These plans were often adopted independently of each other.  The Visioning process will incorporate the concepts and priorities from these plans and allow the public and key stakeholders to provide input and direction for the city over the next 20 years. 

The City Council has appointed a 12 member Steering Committee consisting of business owners, commercial property owners, civic organizations, homeowners associations as well as city board and committee representatives to assist in guiding the process.  The committee will meet monthly to take input from various focus groups and community wide forums to make recommendations for changes to the long range capital and policy plans for the city. 

"The character of the city is always foremost in peoples minds.  The charm of this city is why so many people come here. Any changes that come from this process will have to protect that character" Susan Guch, Steering Committee member and Chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission stated.  "We have many different perspectives on how to accomplish this.  I am interested to see how the committee and the public will react to potential changes," Guch added.

City Manager Michael Quinn said "We have been hoping to do a project of this nature for several years.  It is always positive to re-focus our community perspective and engage the public  in a meaningful discussion on whether the City is heading in the right direction.  If we need to redirect our efforts and resources, now is the time to do it."

For more information regarding the Visioning process please call Mark Reggentin, Planning and Development Director, 352-735-7112
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