Archive for September, 2013

Scheduled Events

Thursday, October 17 at 6 p.m. for Leesburg’s Lone Oak (Cemetery) Moonlight Tour. Some of the Chetwynd colonists are buried there—among them Capt. John William Henry Ogilby who “died [January 1888] rather suddenly. . . from a chill aught in surveying the Race Course.” Ogilby was the “originator” of the Sunday horse races.

Thursday, October 24 at 1 p.m. at the Lady Lake Library, sponsored by the Lady Lake Historical Society. This new and accommodating library is very close to Conant. Attendees will be introduced to an old but full map of Conant discussed below in a previous post. Call 259-4359 or 408-1150 to reserve a seat.

Tuesday, January 1 at 3:30 p.m. at the Leesburg Public Library, sponsored by the Leesburg Heritage Society. Glorianne Fahs was so gracious and helpful during the research phase of The Chetwynd Chronicles.

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Thanks, Jill Sherman

Jill Sherman, a senior writer for The Villages Daily Sun, thought her article about Chetwynd would publish last Tuesday. So imagine my surprise when the first email I saw early the morning before was headed “WOW!” Jo’s message sent me flying out the door in my jammies to fetch my paper and to verify the “grandness” of the article of which she wrote. Jill’s skillful writing, along with nine pictures, not only summarizes my work and story but is far beyond my wildest expectations in terms of length—just short of two full pages. One reader said that he was prepared for a paragraph or two on the continued page rather than two-thirds of a page. Anyway, I loved the emails and phone messages and phone messages left while I was—you guessed it—playing golf. Jill said the article was the “talk of the office.” It was also the talk of The Villages radio station although I didn’t hear it. As for television coverage?

The afternoon of the photo shoot at Holy Trinity Church I was told that the photographers (note plural) were back in the school parking lot. Sure enough there was George who I had once encountered when the church was vandalized along with John who was removing a TV camera from the back of a SUV. John was mystified about his “work order”—something about a colony called Chetwynd that he thought was up north somewhere. “Let me see the cover,” he kind of barked. I held it out. “Oh my God; you mean it was right here? In Lake County?” Now whether his interview with me ever ran, I haven’t a clue. But I’ll never forget John’s reaction.

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A couple of months ago my eyes were drawn to a New York Times article, “A Race to Save the Orange by Altering its DNA” by Amy Harmon. Altering the orange’s DNA? Whoa! And why?

An air-borne insect is transmitting a disease that sours Florida’s oranges and turns them half green. Grove owners have tried everything to stop the infestation—cutting and burning trees and pesticide spraying—to no avail. One grove, the supplier of oranges for Tropicana and Florida’s Natural juices, lost about a quarter of its 700 thousand contaminated trees. Scientists from all over the world have tried to solve the Citrus Greening disease with no success.

Instead, they concluded that the only possible solution is to alter the orange’s DNA with a gene from a different species to produce a genetically modified orange. But would the consumer eat a modified orange? Maybe yes; maybe no, although tomatoes are a perfect example of a genetically modified food. For now work is progressing in laboratories on grafting a spinach gene to a healthy tree with some success. If this means works it will take about a decade to restore the industry to full productivity.

The freezes of the 1890s obliterated the citrus trees of Lake County and plunged the entire central Florida area into a severe economic depression. Ninety years later a series of freezes shut down most of the area’s groves forever. Imagine the loss of the world’s second largest orange producer—all because of an indestructible virus-carrying insect. It adds up to an unthinkable 76 thousand jobs and a loss of $9 billion dollars to the State’s economy.

Read more about this at: http://tinyurl.com/mg9yob5

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