The Villages Voice - December 2019

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Area and Region News

by VHA Regional VP's


North of 466

Joan Testa, Vice President


 There are many generous and wonderfully effective clubs and groups in The Villages that help our residents in so many ways.  Thank heaven for all of them, as they make living here far better than any other place I know. Let me just briefly tell you that the VHA Helping Hands program is by far my favorite group, as I have seen firsthand, how wonderful it is to be able to secure durable medical equipment quickly and FREE!  Bill Gottschalk and his dedicated VHA Helping Hands volunteers spend hundreds of hours each month gathering (or buying) wheelchairs, walkers, transport chairs, shower chairs, knee walkers, crutches, canes; the list goes on and on.  They refurbish equipment that needs a touch up, answer thousands of information-seeking and equipment-ordering phone calls and staff the VHA office in downtown Spanish Springs two hours each weekday to allow Villagers to come pick up, for FREE, the equipment they need and have ordered. A few volunteers also try to deliver equipment to those residents unable to come pick up their requested items. Can you believe a few years ago, we on the VHA leadership team were amazed and proud of the program providing assistance to about 500 Villagers?  Guess how we feel now?  Helping Hands will exceed serving over 6,500 Villagers this year! You can help!  Volunteer to work at the VHA Helping Hands office or be a driver.  Another idea:  The UCONN Sports Club adopted Helping Hands as their charity of the year so fundraising activities as well as “pass the hat” at each meeting is assisting Helping Hands in buying more equipment to meet the great needs of Villagers. So, send in your donation, or volunteer your time, or convince your club to adopt Helping Hands.  Thanks!  Joan Testa  


Between 466 and 466A

John Dean, Vice President - 207--557-0371  


Greetings! My wife, Carol, often refers to The Villages as adult Disney.   She appreciates the design, the cleanliness, the attention given to everything from the flowers in the roundabouts to the maintenance of all the buildings, grounds, fences, roads and multi-modal paths.  I have to agree with her that there is a lot of attention to detail in The Villages. As I write this, we are about to go on a seven-night cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas.  Considering this, my thoughts go to an easy comparison of a cruise to living in The Villages.  On a cruise ship, you can be busy from the time you wake up to the time your head hits the pillow at the end of the day (for some it might even be the next day).  Activities on the ship and ashore are published each day and some days it is hard to fit in everything you might want to do.  Does this sound familiar?  With over 3000 lifestyle groups in The Villages, it is easy to fill any day, no matter what interest you may have.   However, in like manner, you can sit on the deck of the ship and read a book in quiet, listening to the sound of the seas.  In The Villages, you have that same opportunity for quiet time at home, in a library, at a pool, or sitting on a bench by one of our lakes.  I have said to Carol on many occasions, “What would your parents think of our retirement lifestyle?”  Her parents were in the poultry business.  They were hard working people who largely lived off the land, farming and harvesting their own firewood.   We both agreed that they would think that we must be very rich because they would never have seen anything like The Villages.   But we have never been wealthy.  We were careful with our spending and were able to put away some funds for retirement, but working in local and state government and clerical positions, would never make anyone rich.  However, richness comes in more than one form.  In The Villages I feel that we are rich with opportunities, and even richer because of the friends, neighbors, and acquaintances who touch our lives.  I think we need to consider who enriches our lives and lifestyle beyond the obvious.  I am thinking of the district workers, the fire, EMS, and sheriff’s departments, the recreation and parks folks, the houses of worship including the clergy and the members, and the merchants and tradespeople who provide us with services that we all appreciate.  In the VHA we have a rather defined “circle of partners” but I think we have partners who enrich our lifestyle beyond those who come quickly to mind.  They all contribute to “Keeping the Dream Alive” for us all. Perhaps Carol’s parents’ observations would have been correct – maybe we are richer than we think. Did You Know? Walgreens has a Senior Day on the first Tuesday of the month.  It is 20% off and sometimes there are added discounts.  Remember, every penny counts as most of us are on a fixed income.  And those who are not certainly appreciate a bargain. Stay healthy and safe! John Dean  


Between 466A and SR44 Joe Elliott, Vice President – 757- 846-1998

Greetings from the South!  The VHA is having a “changing of the guard” this month.  Farewell to Fred, Hail to Phil!  This major event reminds me of my days in the Army and the Hail and Farewell event where we said farewell to departing leaders and welcomed the new. Plan to attend The VHA General Meeting on December 11, 2019 at Lake Miona Recreation Center.  The evening promises to be an action-packed event with remembrances of major events from Fred’s Five “One Year” terms.   It will be a great chance to wish Fred and Peggy the best as they embark on a new life journey and to welcome Phil and Donna on their own first term. If that’s not enough, we’ll have Free Ice Cream.   The doors open at 6:00, the program starts at 7:00, and open to all VHA members only, with an opportunity to join our great organization at the door that evening. Another significant event in December is the South Area Meet & Greet.  It is today, December 4, at Eisenhower Recreation Center. Doors open at 6:30, with events starting at 7:00. This is a great chance to check out The VHA, learn more about our sponsored events, and see if you might be interested in getting involved in  “Keeping the Dream Alive!”  I hope to see you there. It can be difficult to fully engage with what we do not understand. To better understand The Friendliest Hometown, consider attending the “Introduction to your Special Purpose Local Government” held every Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at the District Office, 984 Old Mill Run. After that, a great follow up is the Resident Academy. For registration call Customer Service Center at 753-4508 or stop by the office at 984 Old Mill Run. Call me with your questions, comments, suggestions, or problems you would like The VHA’s assistance on, and also feel free to call your South Area representatives listed inside the front page of the Voice. As your Interim South Area Vice President, I am always happy to talk to you.  If you have a subject you want me to explore, of interest to fellow Villagers living in the “South”, please let me know:   A special VHA Merry Christmas to all!!!!!  Joe Elliott  

Resident Academy

Resident Academy is an interactive program for residents who are interested in learning about their local government, plus Villages Public Safety, Property Management, Customer Service, Community Standards, Community Watch, Recreation & Parks, Executive Golf, Budget, Utilities, Finance and More!  This program will help alleviate the confusion, questions and misinformation that exists regarding the responsibilities and functions of The Villages Community Development Districts (commonly referred to as VCDD’s or CDD’s).  To secure a spot or for additional information, please contact the District Customer Service Center at (352) 753-4508. When:  January 6, 2020 Where: The Savannah Center/1545 North Buena Vista Blvd. Time:  8:00 am – 1:30 pm    


South of SR44

Andrew Bilardello, Vice President – 561-644-1358

Andy is “off”  this month, so I thought I’d fill in and just let you in on some of the Christmas doings in The Villages in general.  Most of this may be repeated in The Daily Sun, but just in case you miss it there, here are some highlights:
  • Nothing beats driving around in your golf cart checking out the light displays. Some people may have decided to retire from decorating, but many have not.  Watch for the annual listing of the best places for holiday light displays. In our neighborhood we get a group together to tour the lights in our golf carts and then meet afterwards for snacks.
  • Many local churches have special Christmas concerts and plays that are well worth attending and they are often free or relatively inexpensive.
  • The annual Christmas Parade starts at noon and will be held on Saturday, December 14 at The Polo Fields off Buena Vista, north of 466 It is a lot of fun.
  • The post offices are crazy busy as grandparents send off packages to their little ones, so mail early and plan to wait in line.
  • Watch The Daily Sun for the annual listing of light displays worth checking out. If you have a great display, let them know to include it. 
  • Many Villages authors have great books you may want to give as gifts this year (including yours truly). The Writer’s League of The Villages link to their catalog of books by Villages authors is:
  • Consider making a gift of yourself to your area of The Villages by becoming part of The VHA. Just let us know what floats your boat as far as “Keeping the Dream Alive” now and for many years to come by giving of your time, talents, and desire to give back in a tangible way. 


Lynn Davis - 352-250-7782

  Update on the widening of SR 27/441:   State Road 27/441 will be widened from four to six lanes from Lake Ella Drive north to Avenida Central.  Plans also include upgrading signal lights at intersections, installing new drainage, removing the existing bridge that passes over CR 25 and installing a fiber optic conduit. FDOT is proposing to start collecting bids for this project after the 1st of the year with the proposed awarding around April. Upcoming Events
  • Lady Lake Expo, Wednesday, December 4th at 10 am - 3 pm at St. Timothy's Catholic Church, 1351 Paige Place.
  • Lady Lake Christmas Parade, December 7th at 10 am. (Rain date December 14th at 10 am). On Old Dixie Highway, Lady Lake.
  • Light-Up-Lady-Lake, December 13th at 6 pm.  At the Log Cabin/Veterans Park, SR 441/27, Lady Lake.
Ongoing Events:  
  • Farmer's Market every Tuesday at 9 am - 2 pm. At the Log Cabin, SR 441/27, Lady Lake.
  • Farmer's Market and Craft Fair the 1st Saturday of the Month at 9 am - 2 pm. At the Log Cabin, SR 441/27, Lady Lake.