Mount Dora Air Brush Artist Richard Barrenechea painted a mural at McCracken’s Irish Pub, 719 W. Main Street in downtown Leesburg, to highlight the new restaurant, which opened in 2022. The mural, featuring the legendary Kraken depicted in the restaurant’s logo, is representative of the pub’s seaside-inspired Irish cuisine and culture. Richard, renowned throughout Central Florida for his unique art style, says he enjoys painting murals and is honored to have been chosen for the project. Other murals by Richard can be seen at Olive Branch restaurant and at the Starry Night House in Mount Dora, Leesburg Center for the Arts, Triangle RV and Boat Storage in Tavares, Barnwood, Wolf Branch and Sol de Mexicao in Eustis, and more.
Barrel of Books and Games, 403 N. Donnelly St. in downtown Mount Dora, and Sunshine Book Co., 647 Lake Ave. in downtown Clermont, were featured in Southern Living’s Jan. 2023 list of “20 Bookstores Everyone Should Visit in Florida.” So, whether interested in browsing selections or purchasing your next read, visit either one of these Lake County gems to find the titles you’re looking for.
IN THE WORKS
A new, 151,000-square-foot Costco wholesale warehouse is being built in Clermont. The much-anticipated retailer will anchor Plaza Collina, a commercial heavy, mixed-use development north of S.R. 50 directly across from Headquarter Mazda and Headquarter Honda. Costco will be joined at that location by Floor & Décor and Bojangles. The project is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.
MAN OF THE CENTURY!
World War II veteran and longtime Clermont resident Frank Klum Sr., who turned 100 on January 24, was honored with a parade that passed by his house led by the Clermont Police and Fire Departments. The VFW Post 5277 he belongs to also hosted a pre-birthday party where Frank’s community involvement and years of service in the Army Air Force Corps/Air Force from 1941 to 1961 were recognized. Dozens of family members, friends, and dignitaries attended. Frank, who is known for playing his trumpet for friends on their birthdays, remains an active member of Fitness CF gym and the Kiwanis Club of Clermont.
Bruce and Cathy Brown opened the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail in 2003 so visitors could catch a glimpse of the Florida Scrub-Jay, a federally threatened species whose population is estimated between 7,700 and 9,300 that lives primarily in areas containing dry, sandy soil and oak scrub trees. The Browns started the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail through a grant from the National Wildlife Federation. With assistance from dedicated volunteers, the Browns planted hundreds of trees on the property to help emulate the scrub jay habitat, ensuring the protection and preservation of this species.
Action-packed excitement and nail-biting moments await at The Villages Senior Games, April 15-23. This Olympic-style competition allows people age 50 and older to showcase their athletic skills in numerous sports, including archery, basketball shooting, softball, swimming, track and field, volleyball, and more. In addition to earning gold, silver and bronze medals, athletes hope to punch their ticket to the National Senior Games, July 7-18 in Pittsburgh.
For cyclists, it can be somewhat annoying when a bike trail traverses alongside busy highways and streets. That’s not a problem on the James Van Fleet Trail, which spans 29 miles into parts of Lake, Sumter, and Polk counties. Quiet and remote, it’s unquestionably the most rural local bike trail and offers scenic views of swamp land, cow pastures and dense forests. The trail also lacks the heart-pounding climbs that might steer inexperienced cyclists away from the sport. Lake County residents can access the trail from the Mabel Trailhead on S.R. 50, five miles past the intersection of C.R. 565/Bay Lake Road.
STEPPING FOR A CURE
Relay for Life of Tri-County, an 18-hour event that raises funds to fight cancer and create awareness about the deadly disease, will take place Saturday, April 15 at 250 Rolling Acres Road in Lady Lake. Beginning at 5 p.m., participants walk around a track throughout the night. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.
LET HISTORY COME ALIVE
The Clifford-Taylor House was built in 1910 on the shores of Lake Eustis by Eustis’ first settler Guilford Clifford, who constructed the city’s first building, a general store located downtown. The home is made of Florida cypress, and the wood floors are heart of pine. The 4,500-square-foot home contains 18 rooms, including five bedrooms, two bathrooms, two great hallways and a basement. Call 352.483.0046 if interested in taking a tour.
Kudos to Akers Media Group Staff Writers James Combs and Roxanne Brown, who recently garnered 11 awards – combined – for stories entered in the Florida Press Club’s 2022 Excellence in Journalism competition. The stories, published in Style, won in categories including: ‘Headline Writing,’ ‘Sports Commentary,’ ‘Religion News,’ ‘Light Features,’ ‘Education Writing,’ and more. Visit www.floridapressclub.org for a full list of award winners recognized during a banquet in Daytona Beach on Jan. 14.