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(NAPSI)—If you would like to help a veteran, if you are a veteran who needs extra help, or know of one in your community, here’s good news. There’s a new, nationwide resource that makes it easy to match civic-minded individuals with those who need a little assistance. The database, called VolunteerforVeterans.org, was created by DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a nonprofit charity that helps veterans get their benefits and services.

Here’s how it works. Veterans, as well as their caregivers, can use the site to seek assistance by entering the type of help they need, from basic tasks such as yardwork, help with errands or other services. Neighbors or friends who know of a veteran in need of help can step in to coordinate requests on their behalf. On the flip side, volunteers who are interested in giving their time can use the site to look for and respond to requests for help.

Using the site is easy, and at no cost to veterans or volunteers. Go to www.VolunteerforVeterans.org, click on the “sign up” icon and indicate whether you are a veteran or caregiver who needs help, a friend or neighbor making a request on someone’s behalf, or a volunteer willing to give support. Choose your state and the screen will populate with requests. Continue reading

By Blanca Taylor

Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

Each year, we announce the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). By law, federal benefits increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Usually, there is an increase in the benefit amount people will receive each month, starting the following January.

Nearly 69 million Americans will see a 1.6 percent increase in their Social Security benefits and SSI payments in 2020. Continue reading

There’s nothing like an emotive quote to make you think, pause, or smile.  Teddy Roosevelt once mused, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  Ross Perot attested, “Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face.  You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.”

These two trailblazers may have had opposing political views, but they certainly share a similar ideology when it comes to human connections and the crux of what we all have in common:  the desire for interactions with others who are kind in spirit and speak with sincerity.

Look no further because eight of these benevolent smile makers comprise the team at Columbia Bank.  A staff that has been unchanged since the Ocala branch opened in 2017. Continue reading

Ocala’s downtown square that it is!!

Visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus at the downtown square on select evenings during the month of December. There will be holiday music and snacks, too!

This is a chance for all of Ocala’s good little boys and girls to talk to Santa and share their holiday wishes with him.

Come downtown and create some lasting holiday memories.

Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Florida’s Senior Protection Team, an intra-agency group of experts working together to fight fraud and abuse. The team is comprised of leading members from the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, Consumer Protection Division and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Seniors v. Crime and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will also actively assist the team with investigations and outreach efforts.

The goal is to bring attorneys and investigators specialized in fighting civil, criminal and health care fraud together to develop strategies to protect Floridians 60 and older. The team is already meeting with experts and stakeholders across the state to develop aggressive ways to combat fraud against seniors. Continue reading

On November 20, 2019, in News Releases, by Staff

Nearly $3 million in funding dedicated to career and technical education remains available

Tallahassee, Fla.– Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced the school districts, universities, colleges and private institutions who have been awarded with the Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant.

During the 2019 Legislative Session, Governor DeSantis worked with the Florida Legislature to secure historic funding for Florida’s students and families, including $10 million dedicated to career and technical education for the newly created Florida Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program. The program provides competitive grants to eligible institutions to create or expand apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Of the $10 million in state funding, nearly $3 million still remains. Continue reading

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced and applauded the efforts of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to remove more than 3,600 invasive Burmese pythons from South Florida’s Everglades System.

This month, FWC’s Python Action Team reached a major milestone of removing 1,000 Burmese pythons from the wild in Florida. The removal of these 1,000 snakes compliments the more than 2,600 pythons removed by the SFWMD’s Python Elimination Program.

“I’m proud that our recent efforts to expedite the removal of invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades are yielding results,” said Governor DeSantis. “The removal of more than 3,600 pythons by FWC and the South Florida Water Management District is an important milestone in this fight and demonstrates that our policies are working. Together, we will continue to build on this success and do all we can to preserve and restore our environment.”

On August 7, Governor DeSantis joined FWC and the SFWMD to announce new efforts to remove pythons from the greater Everglades. The Governor directed FWC and the District to increase collaboration on a number of initiatives, including training programs, research, education campaigns and incentives for veterans to remove pythons.

The SFWMD’s Python Elimination Program and FWC’s Python Action Team were created in March and April of 2017, respectively. Both programs were designed to further engage qualified individuals with python control efforts. In recent months, FWC has doubled their number of Action Team contractors, significantly increasing the number of pythons that have been removed.

The FWC Python Action Team’s 1000th python was captured by Tom Rahill and the Swamp Apes Team in the Chekika region of Everglades National Park. It measured in at 9 feet, 5 inches long and weighed 23 pounds. The Swamp Apes Team is a group dedicated to serving U.S. veterans through serving the wilderness.

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, in honor of Veteran’s Day, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the launch of a new military-friendly travel section on VISIT FLORIDA’s website, www.visitflorida.com/military.

The section is a consolidated source of Florida travel information for service members, veterans, and their families. The site includes information about discounts and experiences available to military members and their families, monuments and memorials, military-related events, museums and more.

“More than 1.5 million veterans call Florida home and the defense industry is one of the state’s top economic drivers,” said Governor DeSantis. “On Veteran’s Day, we recognize and observe the sacrifices of our men and women in the armed services who have dedicated their lives to preserving the principles upon which our great country was founded. Since taking office, I have made it a priority to enhance Florida’s reputation as the most veteran-friendly state in the nation. VISIT FLORIDA’s new military travel hub expands this initiative and further strengthens the bond between Florida and our nation’s heroes.”

“Florida is one of the world’s leading destinations and VISIT FLORIDA is dedicated to providing all our visitors with inspiring travel ideas,” said VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young. “Through this new addition to our website, VISIT FLORIDA is showcasing the many military-friendly experiences available throughout the state. We are honored to provide our country’s servicemen and women with tailored visitor information, and will remain committed to ensuring military members, veterans, and their families feel welcome when creating lifelong memories in the Sunshine State.”

Florida is a diverse destination that last year attracted 127 million travelers from around the world. Tourism remains the state’s leading industry and, based on the latest economic impact study, visitors to Florida contributed $85.9 billion to the state’s economy and supported 1.5 million Florida jobs in 2017.

As the holiday season approaches, residents in our community will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate. Whether you are traveling out of town or hosting holiday festivities at home, the Lady Lake Police Department wants you to be safe. Here is a security checklist to help protect your home and family.

Before you leave town it is important to make sure your home appears occupied. Place timers on your lights and set them to turn on and off at different times. Lock your garage door and disconnect the automatic opener. Most importantly, tell a trusted neighbor that you are going to be away and ask them to dial 911 immediately if they see anyone on your property.

Here are some additional home security tips to keep in mind: Continue reading

Roma’s Italian Restaurant review…There are usually 10 to 12 of us that dine out together every week and we dine at Roma’s quite often.  The food is always good and the wait staff is very friendly.   Whether you are ordering a calzone, chicken cacciatore or eggplant parmigiana, you can expect a wonderful meal.  Vickie is our frequent waitress and she is amazing – always getting the order & billing correct with a pleasant and friendly smile.  I would recommend Roma’s to anyone in the Ocala area that wants a good Italian meal. (Off US 27 next to Publix). Ron & Elaine

*****

Front Porch home style cooking, very well prepared, appetizing to look at and the service was good Buuuuut they have home pies fresh made daily.

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Breakfast Go For Donuts fresh baked in house every night. Dunlop Florida.

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Terry Restaurant on Friday. Great fish sandwich or Shrimp Poor Boy.

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Mojo’s many great salads in an eatable crunchy shell with your choice of meat and dressing.

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A New Hardee’s and Taco Bell has opened in Dunnellon. They are moving and shaking in Dunnellon. I like Hardees roast beef.

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Villages area Texas Road House had a coupon in the Village Spectator in the October issue for a free Cactus Blossom. Good till 12-31-19

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A restaurant I frequent is Northgate Diner at the corner of NW 35th St and Old 301/200A/J’ville Rd. The food is good ol’ home cooking style. The service is as great as the food and very moderately priced. The owner Tammy Lolley, and has been in business for over 17 years. PS-Tammy is also a great bowler.

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Lunch at Applebee’s. I had to travel to Tampa for newspaper and order newspaper bags for the Villages papers. It went well. I pulled into the loading dock area, told the guy at the desk my name and in about three minutes I hear a forklift. I drop the tail gate on my truck and the guy slides the pallet into the truck and we left…Fast!

On the way back my wife and I stopped at Applebee’s in the newly formed Wesley Chapel area. The hostess and the waitress were very friendly and accommodating. I order a Whiskey Burger medium (no alcohol ). It was a handmade burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and battered thin sliced onion fried crisp on top before putting the top bun half on. It was served with fries. I ordered coffee if they could assure me it would be hot…It was. My wife had a bowl of potato soup with cheese on top. It was good and thick and a house salad. Both were well prepared and were delicious. It was a good experience!

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