Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives serving our country in the U.S. armed forces, and several area houses of worship are doing their part to honor and celebrate all military veterans this Memorial Day weekend.

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Like a lot of outsized numbers that almost seem commonplace around Florida’s Friendliest Hometown, The Villages’ medal haul from this month’s National Senior Games requires a dose of scale. The raw numbers: 147 medals, 55 of them gold, across 16 sports contested during the just-completed fes…

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Mary Ann and Ralph Grah look forward to the Camp Villages summer program each year, but their granddaughter gets even more excited about it than they do. Riley Grah, 8, has participated in Camp Villages since she was 3, and Mary Ann said Riley eagerly awaits the program’s brochure each year …

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At 6 feet, 5 inches, Charles Roberson couldn't hide in the crowd of students graduating from the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business this spring.

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Major revitalization projects are underway in the north, jaw-dropping new amenities are breaking ground in the south and more businesses are joining the scene from one end of The Villages to the other.

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The Villages’ popularity has again propelled it to the fastest-growing metropolitan statistical area in the nation for the past 10 years. The population here has grown 33.4% from 2012-21, U.S. Census Bureau data shows, bringing more shopping, restaurants, health care, entertainment and other…

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Jury selection in the felony perjury trial of suspended Sumter County commissioner Oren Miller will be rescheduled again at the request of his lawyer.

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Sumter County Sheriff’s Office corrections officers William Jackson Prevatt and Michael Preston Taylor are just two of the more than 600 law enforcement officers nationwide who gave their lives in 2021 to serve and protect their communities. Each year on May 15, known as National Peace Offic…

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Familiar holiday tunes play in the background at Walmart as children's faces light up with joy. They are browsing the aisles alongside local law enforcement officers to find Christmas gifts they might not get otherwise.

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More than 200 students walked the halls of The Villages High School one final time Friday. Many stopped along the way to shake hands, hug teachers and members of administration or to take a quick photo or video for social media. When students emerged through the main building’s double doors …

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Sixteen-year-old Giulia Manco and her brother, 15-year-old Gio, spent their childhoods in the restaurant they now work at with both their parents.

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Mother’s Day is a time when people spoil moms with flowers, candy and other gifts, and retailers in the community spend weeks preparing for the influx of people shopping for the moms in their lives.

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Local public safety agencies are preparing alongside the community for the quickly approaching hurricane season. The Villages Public Safety Department will host its annual Hurricane Preparedness Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Savannah Center to help the public prepare. And local sheri…

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Congregants from Hope Lutheran Church’s three campuses converged on what will eventually become the church’s permanent south Villages home the afternoon of May 15 for a land dedication service. “It was a short service laying claim to the land, its purpose and its vision for the future,” said…

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Popular Villages voices will fill the sanctuary at New Covenant United Methodist Church with messages of love and strength for a friend and fellow performer. Villages musicians are coming together to perform a fundraiser concert Sunday for local singer Jamie Klatt Savage, who was diagnosed w…

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Snowbirds leaving for cooler climes will miss out on the sizzling entertainment happening this summer in the Sunshine State. Florida’s full-time residents enjoy entertainment all year long, with special access to shows that only happen this time of year. The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts C…

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When Shelly Newman saw what was happening in Ukraine, the Village of Fernandina resident knew she had to take action. “My father was born in Ukraine in 1911, and he and his family were persecuted there for being Jewish,” she said. “They were not considered citizens and could not own the land…

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Summer is the most challenging time for local food pantries. The number of people who need food increases when children aren’t in school, but the amount of donations and the number of volunteers decrease as seasonal residents leave the area. Andy Hendricks is just one local resident who is d…

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Steve and Yamila Code donned their miniature Mexican sombreros as they enjoyed the festivities of the Cinco de Mayo Festival. Not only did the sombreros add to the culture, but also kept their faces shielded from the steamy sun. It was their first time at a Villages festival. On Thursday the…

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“Never again, never forget,” Temple Shalom of Central Florida Rabbi Zev Sonnenstein said to hundreds gathered at St. Timothy Roman Catholic Church for Thursday’s Tri-County Interfaith Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony. “I vow to never forget the lives of those brutalized and tortured by people …

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Three-year-old Emerald Allen held a paper smile on a Popsicle stick to her face while her mom, Ruthie Allen, snapped a picture. Allen, of Wildwood, and her daughter were making memories with her parents Roger and Nancy Haun at the second annual Blueberry Festival Friday at Brownwood Paddock Square.

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This month is complicated for volunteer groups in The Villages. They are celebrating their members in honor of National Volunteer Month, but it is also a time when many seasonal volunteers return to their northern homes for the summer. That seasonal trend requires volunteer groups to make ad…

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Paul Patella moved to The Villages full time in 2014, ready to enjoy all that Florida’s Friendliest Hometown had to offer, but feeling a bit unsure about his faith journey.

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Live Oaks Community Church was one of the relatively new kids on The Villages block in 2017, when Senior Pastor Chris Holck  decided to rent The Villages Polo Club for an Easter sunrise service. “It was a risky idea, that’s for sure,” Holck said. “Live Oaks was not well known at the time.” M…

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Easter is a big deal at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church. And after two years of COVID-related uncertainty, the Oxford church is able to go all out with its festivities this year. “We will have an egg hunt, children’s activities, as well as the release of 200 butterflies into the wild by our co…

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Yajaira Perez looks forward to seeing The Villages’ recreation centers full of children eager to participate in activities with their grandparents. The recreation supervisor is helping The Villages Recreation and Parks Department plan another fun edition of Camp Villages Easter Week starting…

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Community United Methodist Church in Fruitland Park is opening up its Harvest of Hope Community Garden to city residents and needs a few green thumbs to make it a reality. “These beds should be used, and what better way to keep them active than by offering them to the Fruitland Park communit…

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When Hannah Kennedy learned that many residents of Ukraine were forced to leave their country following the Russian invasion, The Villages High School student was determined to find a way to help those displaced. “They are definitely in need, and it makes me feel good to help people,” she sa…

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New churches show The Villages is bucking a national trend of falling worship participation — and new pastors are coming here to lead congregations. A March 2021 Gallup poll revealed that just 47% of Americans polled said they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque in 2020, the first tim…

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First Academy Leesburg is a ministry of First Baptist Church of Leesburg, but that doesn't mean every student who goes there attends that church, let alone is Baptist.

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When the Wildwood Soup Kitchen delivers to Charlie Carter, he gets more than a week’s worth of meals. He gets emotional nourishment as well. “Without the soup kitchen, I would be missing a lot of the substance the body needs,” said Carter, of Wildwood. “When they come to my door, they may be…