Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day today

Peaches N. Cream on her very first day in Michael Freeman’s home.

ORLANDO — It was on a mild November afternoon when she first approached me – and not cautiously, either.
My initial impression was of how scrawny this little black cat was. Emaciated is probably a better word. I could tell she wasn’t afraid of me, even though she appeared to be a stray, because of that very reason: starvation had clearly surpassed fear of people.
Today, I often glance out at the lanai just beyond my bedroom window. This stray cat – who, by the way, is a stray no more – is now comfortably relaxed on one of my lounge chairs. The sun’s rays shine down on her, and she appears to be having the time of her life. If she gets too hot, the cat, which I dubbed Peaches N. Cream, will get up and stroll over to my pool, dip her head in and have a refreshing drink. I’ve often worried that she might slip and fall in, but so far that appears not to have happened.
When I moved to Orlando in 2002, I brought no fewer than six cats with me from Massachusetts. All but one was a stray I had opened my doors to. Sadly, in the 15 years that have gone by, all six have passed away.
And since I relocated to Florida, I’ve adopted seven more cats, and I now own three. Peaches N. Cream is one of them, and in all my years, none of the strays I brought into my home has seemed as desperately in need of saving as this one. Continue reading

Pet Adoption Weekend asks folks to put Paws Over Politics

​Charlie is a dog available for adoption this weekend at Paws over Politics. (Photo by Whitney Boylston).


LEESBURG — With President’s Day approaching on Monday, a nonfit group committed to finding homes for abandoned, abused and stray pets is asking area residents to put “Paws Over Politics.”
In an effort to boost the adoption rate in Lake County, the organization L.E.A.S.H. Inc. is inviting people to come out to the Via Port Florida Mall in Leesburg this weekend to hopefully fall in love with a pet in need of a home.
And as President’s Day gets closer, they are encouraging people to spend the weekend thinking less about today’s political climate, and more about … well, just how cute those cats and dogs can be.
“With today’s contentious political climate, residents can celebrate Presidents Day, whether a Re’pup‘lican, Demo’cat,’ or somewhere in between, by opening their home to a new friend,” the organization based in Leesburg noted in a news release. Continue reading

Kristallnacht remembrance becomes a Readers Theater

"Lonely Woman" is a painting by Nadia Werbitzky, part of an exhibition of her work on display at the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center in Maitland.

“Lonely Woman” is a painting by Nadia Werbitzky, part of an exhibition of her work on display at the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center in Maitland.


MAITLAND — History can be vividly recreated for younger generations, through literature, live theater, and paintings that capture everything from the joys and triumphs to the horrific traumas of the past.
Literature, theater and art all came together on Sunday at the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center in Maitland, principally through the artwork of Nadia Werbitzky and the writings of her mother, Teodora Verbitskya.
Just as remarkable as the history that Nadia and her mother endured, though, was the story behind the exhibition at the Holocaust Center, and how the center was able to find, and restore, some of Nadia’s key paintings that were close to being lost forever.
On Sunday, the Holocaust Center presented a special Readers Theater called “Two Regimes,” as four actors read from the manuscript that became the book “Two Regimes -A Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival”. The book is the memoirs of Teodora Verbitskya and her young daughters, Nadia and Lucy, and their lives in Russia from the 1920s, as the Bolshevik Revolution was becoming an iron-grip dictatorship under Joseph Stalin, through the 1940s, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in an attempt to make it part of Hitler’s Nazi regime.
The occasion was the Holocaust Center’s annual commemoration of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom in Germany on Nov. 9-10, 1938. Continue reading

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