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Even against the backdrop of major calamities,  Sumter County’s financial health has long fueled Florida’s economic engine — a legacy that rests in the hands of county commissioners as they head into budget season.

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For several Villages residents who may have grown up with adoptive parents, Father’s Day has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to genealogical discoveries. “On Father’s Day, I remember my dad who raised me and loved me dearly,” said Cynthia Fellows White, a member of The Villages Genealogical Society. “But I also have this wonderful biological father. I did think about him (last year). Wow, I don’t think my life would have been any better if I had been raised by him, but I guess I wish I could have met him.”

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When Walt Disney announced plans to build a theme park in Florida, Disney fan Rich Harinsky knew he had to go there. And he didn’t wait long. He visited the Magic Kingdom in its opening week. Wandering through its six themed lands that revolve around the towering Cinderella Castle was unlike anything in any place he visited before or after it. “You ever see a kid in a candy store?” asked Harinsky, of the Village of Silver Lake, explaining his reaction to visiting Disney World for the first time. “Your eyes are wide open, trying to get everything done, trying to fit in all the rides and…

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After four years of hard work and dedication, seniors from The Villages High School finally had their moment in the sun Saturday at The H.G. Morse Range. The ceremony started with “Pomp and Circumstance” played by the VHS band as the procession of graduating students marched along the track toward the central podium and seats. Isaac Cree and Johnathan Ballou, the valedictorian and salutatorian of the senior class, led their classmates following administration and academy instructors. The home and visitor grandstands were filled with family and friends of the graduating class, and immed…

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While the 2020-21 school year began with a murky path, The Villages Charter School aimed to make it a year of choices. There were three options that students had this year for learning, according to Merideth Brock, school counselor at The Villages High School. Starting their senior year in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s graduates talked through a tough decision with their families and each other to determine the best option for them, Brock said. Even outside the learning experience itself, students were faced with difficult decisions about how involved they could be i…

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A little more than 20,000 thoroughbreds are born in North America each year, according to figures from The Jockey Club, which registers every horse that’s a candidate to enter the starting gate somewhere. Some are held back by illness or injury or other misfortune. Others lag at various levels along the journey. Just 20 — about one in 1,000 — reach the sport’s grandest stage, the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime prospect, restricted to 3-year-olds.  And only one gets to cross the finish line first. This year, the one who crossed first was born just…

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Anyone venturing into downtown Orlando on a spring Saturday is liable to catch a glimpse — and likely a whiff — of dense purple smoke. On match days, Church Street transforms into a sea of flags, chants and face paint as the loyal fans of the Orlando City Soccer Club file into Exploria Stadium. Amidst the throng can always be spotted a contingent of young footballers, kids decked out in Lions’ purple but wearing their own self-dirtied cleats. Florida is leading the charge as soccer has grown in popularity in the United States, both as a pastime and a spectator sport ­— and the two are …

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Watching your children grow up and discover who they are as people is one of the greatest joys a mother can experience. Seeing your babies grow up and have babies of their own is an even more surreal experience. As their mother you want to help them, but you also know you need to let them learn the ropes of parenthood on their own. Passing the torch of motherhood down to your own daughter is an honor many moms dream of. Rebellious teenagers often hear, “I hope you have a kid like you some day,” and those mother-daughter duos laugh as grandchildren grow up just as spunky. For Patti Desi…

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Tiffany Sevick’s life is nothing like she thought it would be when she moved to Florida from Texas about four years ago. The Fort McCoy resident never expected her husband passing away in a car crash and being left alone with four children, ranging in age from 4 to 13. “It’s been hard, you know?” she remarked as tears welled in her eyes. “I have family in the area, but I don’t have the friend support system that I used to have. We have some things, but I’m on a limited income, and so toward the end of the month, I need help, especially with groceries, especially when the kids are home …

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Whenever Arch Simonson plays his “Are You Experienced” album by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, he feels as if it’s 1968 again, when he met Jimi Hendrix. Playing vinyls transport Simonson back to his youth when he would go into a record store, sift through the stacks of albums, put them on a turntable and enjoy the music. “It’s not just the memory of the song itself,” the Village of Bonita resident said. “It’s the memory of the time decades ago.” Nostalgia is a key element of entertainment—especially for people 55 and older. In Florida, which has more than