Paired exchange program helped Spring Hill couple and others in need

In 2009, Michael Durr became ill in Panama. He tried to just work through it. Being retired Navy personnel and a busy real estate developer in Panama, his work ethic pushed him onward.

But when he couldn’t go on any further and feeling gravely ill, he was taken to a hospital in Panama, where he was told that he had pneumonia for starters. When he flew back home to the U.S., he was immediately placed in the ICU, where he later was diagnosed with kidney failure. He began dialysis, initially at a hospital, then at a dialysis center later on in 2009 in Spring Hill. A year later, he was able to start dialysis at home.

Durr was placed on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant to await a kidney donation from an organ donor who had passed away. Over 80,000 people were listed on the national waiting list at the time. He was told that it could take between three to five years to find a donor match.

From the most recent data, there is an average of 2.5 million deaths in the U.S., if each of those people chose to donate their organs, there would be no shortage and many people may not die waiting for an organ transplant.

National Donate Life Month is celebrated in April.

An average of 18 people die each day waiting for organ transplants, because there is such a shortage of donated organs, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services statistics.

As Michael Durr awaited a kidney, he was determined to live life to the fullest. He bought a car for drag racing. He was going to fulfill his life’s “to-do” list.

May 2011, Durr and his wife of 35 years, Gigi, were told of the National Kidney Registry paired exchange program from the Lifelink of Florida staff at Tampa General Hospital. In this paired exchange program, a living donor is matched with a person who is need of a kidney through its common registry of donors.

Founded by the National Kidney Registry’s founder and president, Garet Hil, the living donor, usually a family member or friend of someone in need of kidney donation, “pays it forward” and donates a kidney in the name of their loved one who is need of a kidney donation. In return, their loved one is matched with a donor through the same living donor common registry, usually receiving a kidney within six months.

Gigi and Michael had to find a living kidney donor because the waiting list from a deceased donor was so long.

Gigi immediately started a rigorous four months of medical testing to see if she could qualify to be a kidney donor. The four months of medical tests and exams were assessing to see whether she would experience any adverse effects of what is known at this time after donating a kidney.

“They had to make sure I was healthy enough so that I would not be compromised if I were to donate a kidney”, explained Gigi.

September 2011, Gigi had passed all the tests and was cleared to be a living kidney donor, placed on the Nation Kidney Registry’s common registry. She was scheduled for surgery at Tampa General Hospital last December to donate her kidney.

Through the common registry, a match was found for Gigi’s husband right away. They were ecstatic. Michael was scheduled for surgery at Tampa General Hospital to receive his new kidney the same day as Gigi’s surgery.

Later, they learned much to their surprise, they were part of the longest kidney donation chain, linking 60 people and 30 living kidney donors from across the country.

The National Kidney Registry and the longest kidney donation chain was recently featured on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer and in a New York Times article last month.

Michael’s kidney donor, Becky Clark, from Sarasota, was scheduled for surgery to donate her kidney the same day. Gigi and Becky were able to meet each other a couple days later while they were in the hospital, recovering from their surgeries.

“We just cried together and hugged each other. And Becky still stays in contact with Michael through Facebook, asking him how her kidney is doing”, explained Gigi.

Gigi and Michael Durr are embracing life together and moving onward with their active lives without the hindrances of dialysis and illness. They have plans to go back to Panama and to drag racing, two of their passions in life.

The need is so great for organ donors, Gigi and Michael are fortunate to have found a match through the living donor program. Michael could have died waiting on that list for a deceased organ donor.

Consider signing up as an organ donor today and help to save the lives of those waiting for an organ transplant.

For more info about organ donations, visit or and to register as an organ donor, go to


For further info about the living kidney donor- paired exchange program, contact:

Candace Skelton, RN

Living Donor Coordinator, Lifelink of Florida

(813) 844-5667 or (813) 844-5650 or (800) 844-9302

National Kidney Registry

(800) 936-1627

Heather Francis is a correspondent for Hernando Today. She can be reached at toheatherfrancis (at)

For enjoying nature, fitness or both, hit the trail

Living in Hernando County provides valuable perks in location alone with its close proximity to the Tampa Bay area. Add acres of protected state parklands and you’ve found a nature enthusiast’s paradise.

As society gets back to nature and fitness, more are taking to nature trails as a way to satisfy both objectives.

From dense, woodsy turf through forest lands to gentler paved trails in lit areas, Hernando County can gratify both cravings.

The Withlacoochee State Trail, fondly nicknamed “Rails to Trails,” spans 46 paved miles, with its northern point butting Citrus Springs, south of Dunnellon, and extending to the Dade City Trailhead at U.S. 301.

Hernando residents can begin the trail at State Road 50, one mile east of I-75. It runs 6 miles south to Trilby and 40 miles north to the Gulf Junction just south of Dade City. It travels through Citrus Springs, Inverness, Floral City, and Istachatta.

Most of the trail is paved except for some parts of the Croom area of the Withlacoochee State Park. Here visitors can get a true hiking experience through different types of natural terrain.

Other hot spots along the trail include the Withlacoochee River Canoe Trail and Fort Cooper State Park, which sits on the beautiful and historic Lake Holathlikaha.

An original railroad track converted to a paved walking trail, Rails to Trails is a popular hot spot for hiking, biking, skating and equestrian trail riding.

Much of the trail parallels the Withlacoochee River, guiding gentle glimpses into the natural abounding beauty. Because the Withlacoochee River is a state-designated paddling tail, several trailheads allow river access for canoes and kayaks.

Nobleton Wayside Park boasts one of the best chances for catching river-inspired entertainment and breathtaking views.

But several trailheads exist along the course: Trilby Trailhead (off C.R. 575), 50 Trailhead at Silver Lake Campground, Townsend Lake Regional Park (off C.R. 476, Desoto Trail Kiosk (off U.S. 41), Wallace Brooks Park in Inverness, South Citrus Springs Trailhead and North Citrus Springs Trailhead.

For residents living farther west, the Suncoast Trail offers another great opportunity for outdoor fitness recreation.

Opened in 2001, the Suncoast Trail is a 41.3-mile paved trail that parallels the Suncoast Parkway and extends through Citrus, Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. It is a designated part of the Florida Statewide Greenways and Trail Systems.

Visitors walk, jog, and bike on this rolling paved terrain through some of the county’s most secluded and beautiful areas.

Rest stops dot the trail with illustrations of historical significance and transitions between ecological communities and identification of native species.

A main highlight runs adjacent to Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park in New Port Richey, crossing rivers and creeks like the Anclote and Pithlachascotee.

Barbara Cavanugh of Brooksville is a frequent visitor to Suncoast Trail. She and her two sons, Sean, 23, and Cayden, 17 months, walk at least twice a week. They park their car at the Trailhead at S.R. 50 and walk a distance of about 2 miles.

“It’s clean and safe,” Cavanugh said.

Other trailheads in Hernando County include Crew’s Lake Park (off Shady Hills Road), Anderson Snow Regional Park/Sports Complex (1360 Anderson Snow Road in Spring Hill), and S.R. 50 at Highfield Road off Grove Road.

Hernando County offers wide range of golf facilities

The growth of Hernando County has created wider-ranging demographics, and on a smaller scale that trend reaches into the golfing community.

Whether it’s youths just getting started in the game or retirees enjoying an afternoon on the links, there are plenty of options that can challenge golfers of all skill levels, yet not necessarily break the bank.

A total of 17 courses are located within the county’s borders, eight of them public, four that are semi-private and five that are fully private.

“I think you have a great variety of golf courses in Hernando County,” said golf expert Glen Hnatiuk. “There are some championship-caliber golf courses. Southern Hills is definitely a championship-type golf course.

“The Dunes, they’ve done some renovations to the golf course and that golf course has become really, really good. Then there’s Hernando Oaks and there’s a lot of other golf courses, smaller golf courses that are more friendly to the open public and cater to higher handicaps.”

Hnatiuk, currently a resident of the GlenLakes community surrounding GlenLakes Golf and Country Club, has resided in Hernando County since 1995.

He now works as a gym teacher at Explorer K-8, also coaching the school’s golf team, but he was a professional golfer from 1990-2007, collecting four wins on the Nationwide Tour. He spent six seasons on the PGA Tour from 2000-05.

Hnatiuk has a connection to what would be considered the two crown jewels of the county, the private Southern Hills Plantation Club and public World Woods Golf Club.

During his time on tour, Hnatiuk would often practice at World Woods, which features two nationally recognized 18-hole courses (Pine Barrens and Rolling Oaks), plus a 9-hole course, three practice holes, a circular driving range and a putting green.

“World Woods was always a really, really great facility,” Hnatiuk said of the course located on U.S. Highway 98 right by the Suncoast Parkway. “You can be there all day and never get bored. The last couple of years, they’ve now improved some things. It’s become a championship-caliber golf course.”

Yet it does not only serve the seasoned pro. World Woods is the home course for both Springstead High and the North Suncoast Junior Golf Association.

As for Southern Hills, Hnatiuk has a membership at the prestigious course off U.S. 41. Opened in January 2006, it offers more of a country club feel, but the Pete Dye-designed layout puts it over the top.

“Southern Hills has a lot of length,” Hnatiuk said. “They’ve got it to 175-176 yards long. You have elevations changes, especially on the front nine. You don’t even realize you’re in Florida.”

One thing Hnatiuk particularly noted about those courses, and the majority of others in Hernando County, was the amount of tees available, allowing golfers of various driving abilities a realistic chance at each hole.

Though World Woods and Southern Hill may stand out above the rest, there are other intriguing courses throughout the area.

From the trees that line Hernando Oaks Golf and Country Club to the spectacular quarry holes of Brooksville Country Club, the county presents unique opportunities and landscapes.

“Those quarry holes are something else,” Hnatiuk said. “Those quarry holes make the golf course, but it’s a pretty solid layout.”

The Dunes Golf Club, GlenLakes and Silverthorn Country Club are also among the more advanced courses in the county. All are open to the public, though in the case of GlenLakes only on a limited basis.

There are several more quality destinations — some public and some private — for the intermediate golfer, including Brookridge Country Club, High Point Golf Club, Oak Hills Golf Club, Ridge Manor Oaks Golf and Country Club, Seven Hills Golf Course, Sherman Hills Golf Club and Timber Pines Country Club.

Hnatiuk has a particular affection for Oak Hills, since it serves as Explorer’s home course.

“They’ve got great people over there,” Hnatiuk said. “But the golf course itself is really good. It’s friendly to everybody with its layout.”

Ownership of Oak Hills changed hands last month. Trigild, a San Diego-based distressed real estate and loan recovery specialist, has taken over operating the course.

Finally, there is Rivard Golf Club and two exclusively 9-hole facilities, Heather Golf and Country Club and The Quarry Golf Course.

Coaching at the middle school level has given Hnatiuk additional insight into these courses, and an appreciation for what they have to offer.

The Quarry, located in the heart of Brooksville, has made an especially strong push to encourage a younger generation of golfers, hosting The First Tee of Brooksville program.

“Those three golf courses are perfect for people who are just kind of starting out, kids at the age where they’re playing with junior sets,” Hnatiuk said. “They all lend themselves to being playable to that caliber. If you go out as a father and son, or grandfather and grandson, then those courses are perfect for those situations.”

Looking younger can be reality

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you are certainly aware of the multiple reality television shows, especially the various versions of ‘The Real Housewives of…’ airing on the Bravo channel.

The majority of the women on these shows live a life of luxury showered with wealth, pampering, and of course, plenty of drama. There is certainly entertainment value in the clothing, jewelry, and make-up that these women don; however, the highest level of entertainment is in studying the faces of these women who often look like wax figures from a museum.

Often times, I hear critics state that these women are the faces of the popular botulism toxin, Botox, or it’s competitors whose names are less recognizable, Dysport and Xeomin. Other critics believe the faces of the Real Housewives are overfilled with facial fillers such as, Juvederm, Restylane, or Radiesse.

In the time that I’ve been performing Botox and filler, I’ve never had a patient walk out of the office looking like a “Real Housewife.” Although it may be possible to achieve their look with Botox or filler, most clients who seek out these products prefer a natural, refreshed, and younger appearance.

In 2002, a purified form of the bacterium, clostridium botulinum, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used for cosmetic purposes. Since then, over 11 million people have used Botox.

Botox works by relaxing the facial muscles that create your facial lines. Its effects last approximately 3-6 months. Botox is specific to the muscle that it is injected in and is very safe when used appropriately.

For example, the average woman needs about 20-30 units in the muscles that produce the lines between your eyebrows.

However, when Botox is used to treat migraine headaches, the recommendations are to use 155 units. When too much Botox is injected into a specific muscle, there is a potential for problems.

As a perspective consumer, it is important to know that the individual who is injecting your Botox has the proper licensing required to perform this medical procedure. One should also verify that the individual is receiving their products from the official manufacturers for Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin. Those manufacturers are Allergan, Medicis, or Merz, respectively.

It is wise to choose an injector who has updated training with Botox and filler. The world of aesthetics is constantly changing and staying current on new techniques and updated recommendations are important for all providers and their patients in achieving optimum results.

Facial fillers are composed of hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring element in our skin that gives our face a plump appearance. Fillers are used to add volume to our face. As we age, it’s not uncommon to lose skin texture, collagen, and volume in our face. One can see these signs of aging when we begin to develop the parentheses around our mouth. Fillers work beautifully to fill in these deficits and can give an individual a very youthful appearance. Most people find they’ve actually reversed the hands of time by several years after these procedures.

So, the next time that you are watching the Real Housewives, don’t assume these women are the faces of Botox or filler. Remember, 11 million people have used these products. They are likely your neighbors, colleagues, or maybe even your spouse. See, everyone wants to look good, but most of us do not share ALL of our secrets.

Holly Boyd received her Bachelors in Nursing in 2004 from the University of Florida and a Masters in Nursing in 2007 from the University of South Florida. Holly has a background in aesthetics and family practice. She is currently employed at the Black Swan Spa. She can be reached at (352) 666-1300.

Tattoo, henna and piercings

When the weather warms up and the days are inching closer to spring break, many get the urge for a change.
Students seek out beaches and coastal communities for fun in the sun and late night entertainment.
For whatever the reason maybe whether planned, a dare, or a bit foggy headed, individuals wander into tattoo or piercing parlors for either temporary (henna), permanent ink or a piercing.
Tattoos and piercings have been performed for thousands of years, according to research on past civilizations.
Al Gray, MPH, environmental services director for the Hernando County Health Department advised new licensing statutes went into effect Jan. 1. Tattoo establishments wanted this licensing requirement to establish professional standards in Florida. “Not all states have these licensure requirements for tattooing.”
In the past, inspections or licensure was not required. The only requirement was that artists worked under the supervision of physician, he added.
“Tattoo inspection and licensing is new to the Hernando County Health Department,” Gray said. “In the next six months, local inspectors will be working with area artists and businesses to ensure standards set forth by the state are being met.”
Gray estimates there are about six tattoo parlors and about eight artists in Hernando County.
“This is a small number compared to larger communities with highly desirable spring break locations like Daytona Beach and Panama City,” said Gray. “Inspections are just getting under way, so we don’t know yet what violations will be found if any. Expected common violations may be insufficient or no protective barriers such as masks, gloves, and eyewear,” Gray said.
Insufficient lighting violations may occur for local establishments, he added.
Henna tattoos
The Florida Department of Health has issued warnings to consumers to be aware of the risks associated with getting temporary black henna tattoos.
In recent years there has been a significant increase in allergic reactions and injuries related to black henna tattoos, which include permanent scarring of the skin.
Natural henna tattoos are not applied with needles. These tattoos are traditionally used for the purpose of weddings or other ceremonies. The skin is temporarily stained by a dye paste consisting of dried plant material mixed with water and a natural dye fixative.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved the use of henna in hair dye products.
According to DOH, black henna tattoos are not safe, as these are known to cause minor to serious adverse health effects in children and adults.
Black henna tattoos are applied using the stencil method in a paste consisting of para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a toxic chemical which is exempt from approval by the FDA and is included in small amounts in black hair dye, being added to the paste.
The reason PPD dyes are added is because the skin absorbs the ‘ink’ quicker and makes the tattoo look more like a permanent tattoo.
The adverse side effect is the increased risk of having an allergic reaction, which may result in the temporary tattoo turning into a permanent one, in the form of a scar.
The age requirement for tattoos is 18. Persons 16 to 18 must have notarized consent and a parent or legal guardian must be present to get tattooed. No one under the age of 16 can get a tattoo, unless it is performed for medical or dental purposes by a person licensed to practice medicine or dentistry.
Along with tattoos, others seek an alternative to getting ink, choosing to get a body piercing.
Back in 1999, the Florida Legislature passed requirements for guidance for the body piercing industry.
Consumers need to do their due diligence and check out the person and the business prior to getting any work done.
Barbara Bertucci, RN, epidemiology nurse for the Hernando County Health Department advised piercers should be using single use needles.
Body piercers are required to be trained in safety, sanitation, sterilization, and methods.
“Training is a preventative measure to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and artists are required to take continuing education classes every year to maintain their license,” said Bertucci.
Individuals with rashes or areas on non-intact skin or certain skin conditions should not seek piercing for affected areas, opting to wait until the condition is remedied, added Bertucci. “Professionals should be turning away these customers, and rescheduling the procedure.”
According to the DOH website, the original body piercing rule language has changes, referring to “needles” and inserted the word “instruments” in order to maintain consistency with statutory language and provide flexibility to body piercers who use devices other than needles. “We also removed the words “scalpel blades” from the rule language because scalpel blades should not be used by body piercers.”
The age requirement in Florida for body piercings is 18. Persons 16 to 18 can get piercings with a notarized consent by the minor’s parent or legal guardian. If under 16, the minor must have a notarized consent and parent or legal guardian present.
New statutes
Beginning this year, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) implemented a statute (F.S. §381.0071 – 381.00791) for licensure requirements and education for licensed conventional and cosmetic tattoo artists, as well as operational requirements for these businesses.
As a result of these implementations, F.S. §877.04 which applies to tattoo artists and cosmetic tattoo artists to be licensed or work under a licensed physician or dentist, is no longer required.
Additionally, Florida Administrative Code (64E-28, F.A.C.) is in it rulemaking process, which includes the statutory requirements for artists and businesses. Because of this, the DOH recommends owners and operators to review both statute and code requirements.
Local establishments (permanent or temporary tattoos) need to submit an application for a license and pay $200. These forms can be picked up at the local Hernando County Health Department location in Spring Hill located 7551 Forest Oaks Boulevard. Applications are also available on the Florida Department of Health website
These establishments are subject to inspections by local health department staff in order to receive an operator’s license. These inspections also include operators to provide proof of proper biomedical waste disposal with generator permit.
Artists will need to apply for a license which is renewed annually, pay a $60 application fee, provide the necessary documents including documentation of participation in an approved class, and pass appropriate exams.
Duval County Health Department is one of two approved class sites in the state right now but more are expected to be available in the near future. The cost of the four hour Duval class is $100. A second approved site is Community Health Certification, LLC in St. Lucie County.
For more information contact the Hernando County Health Department in Spring Hill located at 7551 Forest Oaks Boulevard. Please call (352) 540-6800 ext. 4 for the environmental health department.

Robert Duvall at home in rural Virginia

The familiar figure walked into the living room of his home and greeted a pair of strangers with the sort of geniality most of us reserve for people we actually know.

“What’s up! Good to see you!” he said, grasping my right hand. “Bobby Duvall. How are you?”

In a world of self-important celebrities, Robert “Bobby” Duvall, one of the great American actors of our time, exudes an authentic, down-to-earth manner, whether he’s telling a funny story about Marlon Brando, one of his acting heroes, or expressing gratitude for the more recent fertilizing work of Bubbles the Elephant on behalf of his farm’s pumpkin patch.

“That whole pumpkin patch was her domain while she was here,” Duvall said of Bubbles, who resides in a wildlife preserve in South Carolina and came to Duvall’s place last spring for an event involving his charity, the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund. “I don’t know much about elephants, but she was terrific.”

The legacy of Bubbles’ visit is a bumper crop of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes on display a few hundred yards from the main house on a 360-acre farm in Fauquier County. Duvall shares the home with his wife, Luciana, an Argentine actress and director who also shares his birthday, Jan. 5, though 41 years apart.

As delighted as he was with the pumpkins, the 80-year-old actor stays busy with more than what grows in what he and Luciana call Bubbles’ Garden.

Not slowing at all, Duvall stars in the recently released “Seven Days in Utopia,” the story of a talented young golfer who loses his way on the course and in life, and finds himself in Utopia, Texas, where he meets an eccentric rancher who provides guidance and wisdom. Duvall plays the rancher.

Earlier in the summer, Duvall finished shooting a movie in Georgia with Billy Bob Thornton (“the hillbilly Orson Welles,” as Duvall admiringly describes him) that is titled “Jayne Mansfield’s Car” and focuses on the culture clash of two families from different countries.

“The most unique script I’ve ever worked on,” said Duvall. “It’s wacko time … but totally legitimate because families can be crazy.”

Versatile and prolific, Duvall has played scores of roles for big screen and small.

He has performed in movies of great acclaim — including “The Godfather,” “True Grit” and “M*A*S*H” — and uttered some of Hollywood’s most iconic lines, such as “I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” as the intense and surfing-obsessed Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now.” Next year is the 50th anniversary of his first movie role: the reclusive Boo Radley in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

His characters have been tough and funny, gentle and odd, likeable and not. He doesn’t care; he just wants them to be interesting, which is why he insisted writers give his character in “Utopia” a bit of an edge after he read the original script and declared the rancher “too white-bread.” He is unafraid to take chances, even singing in “Tender Mercies” (1983) in which he played a recovering alcoholic country music singer, a role for which he won his only Academy Award for Best Actor.

His favorite role? Gus McRae in the remarkably good 1989 television miniseries “Lonesome Dove.” He had a woman from Texas tell him she refused to let her future son-in-law marry into the family until he watched “Lonesome Dove.”

His best work? He rarely watches his movies, but about six months ago he went to the shelf and pulled down “Stalin,” a made-for-TV movie from 1992 in which he starred.

“That final scene where I played Stalin,” Duvall said, “that’s as good as I can do.”

Ruthless Soviet dictators are one thing, but Duvall’s heart lies with Westerns. He would like to do more, he said, and not only because the barbecue on Western locations is mostly superb.

“That’s our genre,” he said. “The English have Shakespeare, the French Molière and the Russians Chekhov. The Western is ours.

“I say let the English play Hamlet and King Lear,” Duvall said. “I’ll play Augustus McRae.”

Born in San Diego, Duvall fell in love with the cowboy West on childhood visits to an uncle’s ranch in Montana. He and his brothers would ride horses and camp out, listening to the stories of the pioneers who settled the region and the Native Americans who were displaced.

Duvall also spent considerable time on the East Coast. His father was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and an officer during World War II, so the family alternated living in San Diego and Annapolis, Md., which offered a different lifestyle from Southern California.

“I remember my brother would go down and catch six soft-shell crabs, right from the creeks there, and my mother would cook them,” he said. “You cannot beat that.”

Duvall’s parents nudged him into acting when nothing else in school seemed to click. After a stint in the Army, he attended drama school in New York on the G.I. Bill. He scuffled for a while looking for work with his roommate Dustin Hoffman and one of his best buddies, Gene Hackman.

Things, you might say, worked out for all of them.

Duvall has lived among the rolling hills of Northern Virginia hunt country for most of the past two decades, which is appropriate since he has Virginia roots. His father grew up in the Lorton area, and his mother was related to Gen. Robert E. Lee (“Yeah, but so is everybody else in Virginia,” Duvall says with a laugh). He also noted that despite his Southern heritage, his father’s family during the Civil War were pro-Union farmers behind Confederate lines. His grandfather was named Abraham Lincoln Duvall.

Duvall liked “the vibes” in Virginia, in part because he had a brother living in Alexandria. Duvall lived for a short while in Loudoun County before acquiring the farm where he now lives.

“My wife says, for her, Virginia is the last station before heaven,” Duvall said, laughing. “She loves it here. We like Texas, but we like living here.”

He has not been afraid to become involved in community spats regarding development. He stepped into the spotlight soon after moving to the area to oppose a proposed Walt Disney park in Prince William County in 1994. A dozen years later, he lent his face and voice to a landowner battle against a multistate power line. More recently, he stood up publicly against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and its plan to build a store in Orange County near the Wilderness Battlefield. Ultimately, the retailer withdrew its proposal.

Not all of his community engagement is contentious. He shows up in places such as the Red Truck Rural Bakery in Warrenton and hangs out with the locals and visitors. At Red Truck, which turns out goodies such as double-chocolate moonshine cake in a building that formerly housed an Esso filling station, Duvall is even on the menu: Bobby’s Breakfast in a Box is a collection of coffee cake, bread, coffee and homemade granola the Duvalls like to send to friends and relatives.

Bakery owner Brian Noyes describes the Duvalls as “charming,” and he related how a couple from out of town showed up at the Red Truck the other week because their son in Warrenton had told them about Duvall and his occasional visits. A few minutes later, Duvall walked in and sat next to them.

“Sure made their day,” Noyes said of the couple. “The guys talked movies for half an hour.”

A portion of every purchase of Bobby’s Breakfast in a Box goes to the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund, which aims to improve the lives of impoverished children and their families throughout Latin America, India and the United States. Duvall occasionally hosts lectures, dinners and dances in his barn — the structure is appointed more for parties than critters, and features a saloon-style bar that would have fit right in on the set of “Lonesome Dove” — to raise money for the organization.

Duvall still rides horses, but not nearly as often as he used to, and he requires “a pretty bomb-proof horse.”

“You’ve got to be careful because they’re not machines,” he said. “They don’t love you like a dog.”

But he’s not looking for hobbies, just work. Good work. He still receives a steady supply of scripts. Some good, some not so much. He would love to do something different, though he doesn’t know quite what that might be considering the variety of his experiences. But he’s open to suggestions.

“Sometimes you plan something, then something else will come around the corner to surprise you,” he said. “I still get a kick out of doing this, so I don’t feel like I’m jaded so that I can’t find something that’s new and fun to do.”

Duvall has been acting so long and so well, did he ever think about what he might have done for his life’s work if not for acting?

“I don’t know what I’d done if I hadn’t gone into this business,” he said. “Maybe a not-so-successful high school football coach? Maybe (own) a ranch out west? That’s a good question.”

Dawn Center gets aid

On July 23, My Gynecologist held a benefit car wash with its staff and their family members, washing cars in exchange for donated items to benefit the Dawn Center, a domestic violence shelter and sexual crisis center in Hernando County.

More than 50 visitors dropped off donations, which included diapers, baby supplies, food, clothes, formula and health care items. The group also washed 20 cars in exchange for donations to the shelter.

My Gynecologist owner Natalie Leibensperger commented after the event that it was an amazing turnout for the facility’s first car wash.

“We appreciate all the support from the community and plan on hosting more events like this in the future,” Leibensperger said.

My Gynecologist is at 11175 County Line Road in Spring Hill. It can be reached at (352) 684-8884.

The Dawn Center has a wish list for needed items, including: copy paper, flour, seasonings, sugar, brown sugar, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, relish, pickles, mixes (cake, brownies and muffins), canned goods (peaches, pears, fruit cocktail, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, soups, broth, gravy, spaghetti sauce), rice, Rice-A-Roni, onion-soup mix, macaroni and cheese, pasta sides, spaghetti, canned tuna, canned chicken, potatoes, salad, cucumbers, salad dressing, fruit juice for kids, storage baggies, storage containers, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, liquid hand soap and refills, toilet bowl cleaner, toilet bowl brushes, shower tile cleaner, vinegar, paper towels, diapers (size 3, 4, and 5), and tissues.

The Dawn Center can be reached at the following numbers: outreach, (352) 592-1288; hotline, (352) 799-0657; shelter, (352) 686-8759 or 683-0110; and teen dating abuse help line, (866) 331-9474. For more information, visit

Reporter experiences ADA pros and cons

Ann Redd of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has mixed emotions about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While having advocated for its 1990 passage and currently recognizing the need, she now questions aspects of its implementation.

Redd knows firsthand the challenges some people with disabilities face. For one, in 1974, her step-brother became paralyzed from the shoulders down after a skiing accident. While a quadriplegic, he earned a Master’s degree and became a California county courthouse administrator.

“Also, my father died of cancer about the same time my step-brother broke his neck,” said 54-year-old Redd in a telephone interview. “He had his tongue, voice box, and about half his jaw removed. He couldn’t speak and was fed through a stomach tube.”

In addition, her first husband had Tourette syndrome, which a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website defines as a “neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.” It was through this husband Redd became involved in a letter writing campaign urging ADA passage.

All that said, here was what happened to Redd herself. In 2007, she purchased a modest retail/rental property as an investment in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

She and her husband had been participating in Civil War re-enactments there and her husband was an Abraham Lincoln impersonator. Redd wasn’t wealthy by any measure: she was a newspaper reporter.

In 2008, an ADA advocate filed a lawsuit in federal court because Redd’s retail tenant had an inaccessible entrance. Redd ended up having to spend $18,000 constructing two ramps, $3,000 for architect fees, and more than $20,000 for attorney and permit fees.

In addition, she has had to replace non-ADA related items, including an air conditioning system. The ramps were expensive because of the building’s weak 1854 foundation and the short space between curb and front door.

“It was one expensive thing after another,” said Redd. “It got to the point I couldn’t rent the store because I had to tell prospective tenants I would be tearing up the interior and I couldn’t tell them exactly when that would happen.”

Redd has taken a financial bath. Though an avid ADA supporter, she would like modifications in existing law.

She said, “There were longstanding (Gettysburg) business seriously considering shutting down knowing if they had to go to federal court (over ADA compliance) it would completely ruin (them).”

For more stories of courage in disability, visit or find them on Facebook at “Disabilities By Daniel J. Vance.” Blue Valley Sod and Palmer Bus Service made this column possible.

Hernando County Parks and Recreation Summer Camps

Students are taught basic baton twirls, dance twirls, show teams, marching, parade routines, teams exchanges and basic gymnastic moves. Beginners through advanced levels are offered. Baton twirling offers a wealth of self-esteem, confidence, poise, grace, teamwork and a lifetime of friendships and memories. All students are offered the opportunity to perform in local parades and competitions.

Diane Sorvillo has taught the Star Brigade Twirlers for fifteen years with the Hernando County Recreation Department. She offers classes in both Brooksville and Spring Hill in a family friendly environment.

Ages: 4 to college

Cost: $32.00 per month or two different classes for $45.00 a month.

When: Tuesdays: June 21 & 28 – August 2 & 9 – 10am – 6pm (call for specific time)

Where: Delta Woods Park, 3400 Deltona Blvd., Spring Hill, FL 34606

Instructor: Diane Sorvillo – Former Majorette Queen of America, Two Time National Strutting Champion

To register and for more information: Contact Diane Sorvillo at (352) 527-6540 or, Hernando County Parks & Recreation (352) 754-4031 or visit

This course is designed for making friends while learning the fundamentals of cheerleading. Choreographed pom-pom and dance routines will be taught along with jumps, stunts, and other skills required for school tryouts.

Where: Spring Hill , Delta Woods Park, 3400 Deltona Blvd., Thursdays beginning June 9

Brooksville, Community Activity Center, 201 East Fort Dade Avenue, Tuesdays beginning June 7

When: 6:00-6:45pm — 5 – 8 yr olds; 7-7:45pm — 9 & up

Age: 5 & up

Cost:$6.00 per week $10.00 one-time registration fee

Instructor: All American Youth Activities Personnel

To register: Call AAYA at (813) 885-2292 or HCRD at (352) 754-4031 or visit our web site at

This Hip-Hop program will emphasize urban funk and street dance with popping, freezing and sharpness. Turning and dance tricks showing progressive movements and transitions are used. Emphasis is placed on creativity, body expression and rhythm. This style of dance is very close to “music video” style. High energy music is used and pre-screened for lyrical content.

Where: 3400 Deltona Blvd., Spring Hill

When: Tuesdays 6 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. for ages 5 – 8; 7 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. for ages 9 & up

Age: 5 to 15 yrs. of age

Cost: $6 per week $10 one-time registration fee

Instructor: All American Youth Activities Personnel

To register: Call AAYA at (813) 885-2292 or HCRD at (352) 754-4031 or visit our web site at

Learn self-control, self-defense, discipline and respect. Learn the fundamentals of tae kwon do along with integrity.

This program is suitable for all ages and can become a lifelong form of fitness.

Students find increased strength, flexibility, self-awareness, concentration and confidence as well as learning the value of hard work & dedication.

No registration necessary. Simply show up a few minutes early.

Beginners are always welcome!

Where: Monday, Delta Woods Park, 3400 Deltona Blvd. Spring Hill, FL 34606

Friday, Kennedy Park, 895 Kennedy Blvd. Brooksville, FL 34601

When: Spring Hill — 6:30pm – 8:30 pm.; Brooksville — 6pm – 8 pm

Age: 6 yrs. to adult

Cost: First lesson is free; first month $30, $45 additional months

Instructor: Mater Simeon “Sam” Kinard

To register: No pre-registration necessary. For more information, call Hernando County Recreation Department at 754-4031 or visit

A sport to enjoy for a lifetime. Improve you skills for family fun, individual play, on leagues, competing in school or entering tournaments. For 20 years now our Hernando County Recreation Department has been providing instruction for all ages. Improve you game for family fun, individually, on a league, competing at school or entering tournaments. We focus on enhancing fundamentals, improving strategy, and creating a supportive, competitive environment

Where: Delta Woods Park, 3400 Deltona Blvd. Spring Hill, 34606

When: A variety of evenings and weekends

Age: 7 – Adult

Cost: Group lessons $10.00 per hour; Private lessons: $30 per hour

Instructor: Doug Haskedakes, PTR Certified Instructor; Louise & John Downey, USPTA Certified Instructors

A great opportunity for girls to develop and improve skills in the wonderful game of fastpitch softball. Open to all ages and levels of experience, whether you are new to the game or have been playing for some time. We are dedicated to helping each student reach their full potential.

Where: Anderson Snow Park, 1360 Anderson Snow Road and Fastpitch Academy

When: Call for availability

Age: 7 – 16

Cost: Private lessons $20/30 min. hitting or catching; Private field and throwing lessons $15/30 min.; Private pitching lessons $20/30min, $25/45min, $40/1hr.

Instructor: April Pelham, certified Florida Fastpitch Academy Instructor with over 20 years of playing and coaching experience.

To register: Or for more information, call Hernando County Recreation Department at 754-4031, or visit

Camps for children 4-15 years old.

Some camps have limited enrollment and ages differ by camp.

Registration is under way now. A complete listing of the programs may be found online at The registration form is also available there. Registration forms may be faxed, emailed or brought in to the Parks & Rec office at 205 E. Ft. Dade Ave., Brooksville, FL 34601.

Please contact the office for further information at (352) 754-4031.

Fax numbers are (352)754-4415 or 754-4098.

Email is

Coping with the changes Psychological aspects of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures

Cosmetic procedures, including minimally invasive procedures, cosmetic surgical procedures, and reconstructive surgical procedures, have become increasingly popular among men, women and even children in the United States.

This is despite the economic recession and a significant increase in unemployment during the same time period.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there was an across the board increase in 2010 from 2009 of all categories of cosmetic procedures. Such procedures include everything from liposuction to tummy tucks, breast augmentation to facelifts, neck surgery to nose jobs, chemical peels to dermabrasion, and laser treatments to Botox and collagen injections.

There were a total of 13.1 million cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. in 2010; up 13 percent from 2009. This includes 1.6 million cosmetic surgical procedures; up 2 percent, 11.6 million cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures; up 5 percent, and 5.3 million reconstructive procedures; up 2 percent.

They report that $10.1 billion was spent on such cosmetic procedures; up 1.2 percent. Business from repeat patients increased 13 percent, with a 5 percent increase in office-based procedures.

One would assume that patients who undergo such procedures are therefore quite happy. This is true for many of them, with many feeling better about themselves and their lives.

However, people who may be predisposed to depression, anxiety, personality disorders and other psychological issues are more likely to experience an emotional letdown after a plastic surgery procedure.

Often, emotional changes come as a result of dissatisfaction with the procedure or the impact on their life and relationships. Many plastic surgeons have begun to encourage preoperative and postoperative counseling for their patients, something that has already been required and become the norm in bariatric surgery candidates.

Research published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has identified several predictors of poor outcomes, especially for those who hold unrealistic expectations or have a history of depression and anxiety.

The researchers found that patients who are dissatisfied with surgery may request repeat procedures or experience depression and adjustment problems, social isolation, family problems, self-destructive behaviors and anger toward the surgeon and his or her staff.

In particular, the extent to which cosmetic surgery affects patients’ relationships, self-esteem and quality of life in the long-term offers many research opportunities for psychologists, says psychologist Diana Zuckerman, PhD, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families, a think tank that focuses on health and safety issues for women, children and families.

Some studies have even gone as far as linking dissatisfaction with cosmetic surgery procedures to suicide.

For example, in one study, the National Cancer Institute found in 2001 that women with breast implants were four times more likely to commit suicide than other plastic surgery patients of the same age as the women who underwent breast implants, says Zuckerman.

Various studies have indicated that the type of procedure and the area of the body involved are correlated with significant differences in the degree of satisfaction with the procedure and propensity in the patient to have emotional difficulties.

Some studies result in dramatic statistics, with as many as half of those seeking “nose jobs” or rhinoplasty suffer from clinical depression, and nearly a third has attempted suicide.

Dr. Henri Gaboriau, of the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, at Tulane University in New Orleans suggests that such studies are intended to help doctors decide in which cases plastic surgery is appropriate.

Focusing attention more on the fact that this is an issue deserving of doctors’ attention rather than using statistics in a way that may stigmatize, suffice it to say that a very significant percentage of patients who are seen by dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons suffer from anxiety, substance abuse, addictive personalities, personality disorders and even suicidal tendencies.

Research findings demonstrate a high level of conflict between surgeons and patients suffering personality disorders after surgery, and that these patients were more likely to seek legal redress.

A special area of concern are patients who suffer from a mental illness which is directly related to their appearance. They find themselves seeking cosmetic procedures rather than psychotherapy and psychiatric treatment. These patients include those individuals with anorexia, bulimia and especially body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Individuals who suffer from BDD are characterized as having a preoccupation with an aspect of one’s appearance, and attempt to repeatedly change or examine the offending body part to the point that the obsession interferes with other aspects of their life.

They may have an imagined defect in appearance or markedly excessive concern with a minor physical flaw. These include a diversity of imagined flaws of the head, (including too much or too little hair), ears, skin, shape of the face, or other facial features.

Various body parts may be focused upon, including genitals, breasts, buttocks, extremities, shoulders, and overall body size.

Such preoccupation persists even after significant and repeated reassurance. BDD sufferers, especially those who remain undiagnosed, fail to recognize their problem originates in their brain. Instead, they mistakenly believe that if they could only fix their “deformed” physical appearance, their life will be transformed. So they seek out plastic surgery, assuming that the surgeon will immediately see how severe their defects are, and will correct them.

It is not surprising, then, that patients with body dysmorphic disorder are found commonly among persons seeking cosmetic surgery. Several studies show that 7 to 12 percent of plastic surgery patients have some form of BDD, and that the majority of them do not experience improvement in their BDD symptoms as a result, often asking for multiple procedures on the same or other body features.

They may end up even more obsessed with any imperfections left after the surgery, and obsess about any scars or the slightest asymmetry of the result. Others shift their focus to another perceived defect that was not addressed by the surgery.

In either case, the BDD patient often doesn’t take long to seek out the next surgery. These patients are likely to become what the world at large perceives as “plastic surgery addicts.”

Many doctors who study BDD believe that plastic surgeons come into contact much more often with BDD patients than do psychologists or psychiatrists. It is a surgeon’s ethical responsibility to take into account the mental and emotional state of his patient before agreeing to operate, and most plastic surgeons are very aware of the nature and symptoms of BDD.

Therefore, many people who suffer from BDD are finally diagnosed as a result of being referred by their plastic surgeon to a psychologist or psychiatrist. It is important for all plastic surgeons to examine the nature of their patients’ dissatisfaction with their appearance, such as whether they may have an excessive concern with a body feature that appears normal to nearly anyone else.

Plastic surgeons and other doctors who come into contact with patients unhappy with their appearance need to be aware of which patients may not adjust well psychologically or psychosocially after surgery, and understand their patients’ internal motivations for surgery or other cosmetic procedure.

Dr. Lou LaPorta is a licensed psychologist in Spring Hill who writes regularly for Hernando Today. He can be e-mailed at