Good news in Marion County. Please send items to calendar@starbanner.com


Here’s a look at good news happening in Marion County. Please send items to calendar@starbanner.com.


Area students excel in higher education


University graduates


Alejandra Ruiz, Ocala, Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre and Performance, Emerson College


Colton Godwin, Ocala, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication, Valdosta State University


Trace Thornal, Ocala, Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, Valdosta State University


Tyler Wallace, Ocala, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication, Valdosta State University


President’s List


Aubriana Minimi, Citra, University of Alabama


Gabriella Mancia, Ocala, University of Alabama


Riley Owen, Ocala, University of Alabama


Nixie Vorndran, Ocala, University of Alabama


Ryan Krawczyk, Oxford, University of Alabama


Dean’s List


Kalan Ramsey, Umatilla, University of Alabama


Riley Owen, Ocala, University of Alabama


Kristin Stockton, Ocala, University of Alabama


Jane Todd, Ocala, Samford University


Local non-profit, service groups provide meals to Belleview families


Champions for Champions and Florida Kids Helping Kids, with the support of Ocala Moose Lodge 1014 in Belleview, provided hot meals to Belleview families recently, Maria Roman, executive director of Champions for Champions, said in a press release. The meals were also delivered to first responders, also in Belleview.


The drive-thru service was staffed by volunteers and staff from Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart 8012 and Champions for Champions, the release said. The meals were provided by D&M Meals on Wheels.


The purpose of Champion for Champions, Inc., according to Roman, is to enrich the lives of special needs individuals and their families through facilitating and providing recreational, social, educational, athletic, life skills and musical activities. The programs and services are offered without any cost or fees to participants.


For additional information on Champions for Champions and NFL Alumni events visit its Facebook page or https://championsforchampions.org.


County commissioners recognized as FAC Presidential Advocates


The Florida Association of Counties recognized Marion County Commissioners Kathy Bryant, Michelle Stone and Carl Zalak as Presidential Advocates for their work during the 2020 legislative session, according to a county press release. They received the designations during the association’s virtual annual business meeting.


"It is our honor to be awarded the Presidential Advocacy Award by the Florida Association of Counties," said Bryant in the release. "Working together, advocating for all citizens of Florida’s 67 counties through the policy and legislative process is rewarding in itself. Being recognized is the icing on the cake."


The FAC Presidential Advocate recognition is given to county commissioners who have shown exceptional leadership in advocating with FAC during the 2020 session to advance the counties’ legislative agenda, the release stated.


"It’s our duty as commissioners to stand up for our community, to fight to preserve the unique aspects of where we live, work, and play," said FAC Immediate Past President and Leon County Commissioner Nick Maddox, in the release. "This responsibility is only heightened during the Legislative Session where hundreds of bills are heard that directly impact that quality of life."


Historic signage installed for oldest school in Ocala


The Historic Ocala Preservation Society recently announced they have begun installing signs this month in the Tuscawilla Historic District, according to a press release. The signs, mounted on a granite monument located near the sidewalk, describe the history of the homes.


"These signs will preserve our heritage and encourage walking tours throughout the neighborhood," Leon Geller, a historic homeowner who purchased a sign, said in the release. He added that he loves old homes and the history behind them, and recently renovated a home at 114 NE Tuscawilla Ave.


A sign was also installed this week at a recently renovated building next door at 118 NE Tuscawilla Ave., enhancing the neighborhood, the release continued. Twenty-three signs have already been installed in the Ocala Historic District.


Owners may contact HOPS for information by calling 351-1861.


Historic sign installed at oldest school in Ocala


The Historic Ocala Preservation Society recently announced it has donated and installed a sign at Eighth Street Elementary, the oldest continually operating school in the state, a press release said. The sign, mounted on a granite monument located near the sidewalk, describes the history of the building, and an embedded QR code allows visitors with a card reader on their smartphone to view historic photographs.


According to Secretary Rick Perry, the school became the 55th building in the Ocala historic districts to have a sign installed, the release said. This brick three-story Prairie style building was built in 1914. For 10 years it served as Ocala High School, and in 1925 became Ocala Grammar School.


In 1942 it was designated Ocala Junior High, and since 1965 has been named Eighth Street Elementary.


These signs preserve Ocala’s heritage and encourage walking tours throughout the neighborhood, the release continued.


For further information, contact HOPS at 351-1861.


Ocala Impact Basketball Travel Club adds teams


The Ocala Impact Basketball Travel Club has grown to include an Ocala Lady Impact team and an Impact Jr. team, according to an email from Kristen Rawls. The club continues with the 15U and 17U teams.


Each team is comprised of athletes from various Marion County schools, and each team is coached by Brandon and Latwana Cave, who started the nonprofit club several years ago, Rawls stated in the email.


Last AAU season, the 15U team won the National AAU Championship at Disney’s Wide World of Sports and the 17U team finished in the Top 10, the email said.


"Team Impact is ramping back up amid the Covid-19 pandemic," Rawls said in the email. "July 14th-17th the 15U team will return to Disney’s Wide World of Sports to defend their title as National Champions. On this weekend the teams will travel to Clearwater to compete in one final tournament before the National games. The teams practice daily, rain or shine."