’Tis the season to give, and to take something away

Debbie Goetz, Publisher

Every December I do the same thing. I look back at the editions we published over the past 12 months, and I am blown away by all that has happened. 

This year, just like the others, exciting things came to fruition: After years of hard work and planning, Orlando Junior Academy’s Edible Education program finally held its ribbon-cutting for The Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House and Culinary Garden. Monarch Learning Academy opened inside Church on the Drive. Sutton & Sutton merged with Keller Williams after 42 years in business. Meanwhile, Amanda and Jedidiah Stone got the Organic Farmers Market up and running in the heart of College Park. Edgewater High School welcomed a much-needed new head football coach, who has breathed fresh life into the school’s football program. And many new businesses came to College Park and Ivanhoe Village. 

Also, like every other year, we saw our share of controversy, which left some neighbors up in arms and others ecstatic: Robert E. Lee Middle School became College Park Middle School, and Knox Medical opened in Ivanhoe Village selling medical marijuana. While those topics garnered a lot of — ahem — “conversation,” nothing had our residents’ blood boiling like finding out the City was changing our trash pickup schedule to just once a week! 

Sadly, other unexpected events hit us like a few tons of hurricane debris. 

We went through the wringer thanks to Irma, but in the process, we also found out how much we care about one another. 

And we lost some dear neighbors who were familiar faces around the 32804: Sue Conklin (The Paper Gallery), Michele Martin (Vascular Vein), Trisha Camirand (Infusion Tea), Dave Powers (United Legacy), 15-year-old Blair Chapin (daughter to Roger and Susan) and Andrea Kudlacz (College Park Main Street). Loved by not only their friends and families but by this neighborhood, they each left an indelible mark on our community in their own way. 

As I reflect on the past year, that is what — that is who I focus on: These people. I think of their lives and what they meant, and I say a prayer of thanks for what they taught me. I will try to be more positive and upbeat like Trisha; I will strive to do more to give back like Michele; I will work hard like Sue and Dave; I will try to be strong like Blair; and I will aim to experience more of what this life has to offer like Andrea. 

This year gave us a lot, College Park. Be sure to find something meaningful to take from it. 

Wishing you many blessings this holiday season, 

 Debbie 

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