• It may not be as popular as Black Friday, but the back-to-school tax holiday can offer some parents great savings, too.

    The 2014 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday runs from Friday, Aug. 1, to Sunday, Aug. 3.

    Florida waives sales tax (6 percent) for school-related items; including clothing costing $100 or less per item and up to the first $750 toward personal computers and computer-related accessories.

  • She was only a little thing when she first walked the halls of Floral City Elementary School.

    First-graders were intimidating, learning to tie her shoe was a foreign concept and kissing a boy would only result in cooties. Julie Jones didn’t know if she would make it home alive the first day.

     Fast forward to 2014 — Jones is redoing her first day of school at Floral City Elementary School.

  • Q: Let me begin by saying you write a great column, leaving no stone unturned giving much attention  to detail.

    I am a 67-year-old female who has had several major procedures done in a short period of time — four years by a competent periodontist/general dentist. I go for regular cleanings two times a year, brush two times a day and take 1200 mg of calcium and 20 mg of Periostat daily. I also floss daily. I don’t understand why my teeth are falling apart, much due to bone loss.

  • Use of electronic or e-cigarettes is increasing every day. Currently, it accounts for almost $2 billion sales annually in the U.S. It’s currently expected that it will exceed revenue from cigarettes in about 10 years. They’re marketed as healthier, as potential quitting aids and they allow smoking almost anywhere.

  • During the past few weeks we have covered in detail the cause and diagnosis of lung cancer. Today, lung cancer represents the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women in this country.

  • Actinic keratoses is a term that is used to describe a skin-colored or reddish-skin eruption.

    Generally, they are flat. They can also be slightly elevated, rough feeling, scaly and even crusty. These are very common later in life and also as a result of years of sun exposure. Some extreme examples will develop a hornlike eruption emerging from the skin edge, and can even feel like sandpaper, and sometimes they are uniquely colored.

  • Just when you think there’s nothing new under the sun, something new comes along.

    There’s a new field of psychology called “wantology.” It’s an actual field of expertise where “wantologists” help people discern or define their wants and desires and then help them work out a plan to achieve them.

    That’s what I want — a wantologist!

  • Still ‘spreading simplicity’

    Lovina Eicher has decided to no longer write The Amish Cook column. I wish her well in life’s challenges and opportunities ahead and feel blessed to have spent so much wonderful time with the Eichers.

  • Few will reveal it, but you are not alone if you are somewhat intimidated by wine.

    Watch that woman there twirling and sniffing and blabbing about the first growths in France. She is insufferable; she wants to dazzle the world with her expert knowledge, while at the same moment the frazzled novice is standing around asking, “Is there any sweet wine on your table?”

  • Got scallops? The Boathouse Restaurant in Crystal River will prepare them to your taste.

    Got kids? The Boathouse has launched its Inspiration Station playground and old-fashioned soda fountain just for them.

    Got a hankering for tasty dishes at affordable prices? Check out the Boathouse menu.

  • In the good old summertime, when the thermometer is pushing 94 degrees, you have to find a way to stay cool and calm.

    A really good antidote to the heat is taking a break with a good book under a shady tree or in blessed air-conditioning.

    Freeze some fresh grapes, and when the icy fruit is ready, arrange the grapes on a plate with a chunk of your favorite cheese (I like Havarti, Gouda or Cheddar) and maybe some crackers or chips for a salty edge.


    Megan Wright Carella

    Chronicle correspondent

    Bad research and Internet myths can be a dangerous combination. In the case of childhood vaccines, this combination led to parents opting out of vaccinating their children, which is causing a resurgence of potentially deadly, and easily preventable, diseases.

    In 1998, Andrew Wakefield, who has since lost his medical license in England, published a small, flawed case study that attempted to link the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism in a prestigious medical journal.

  • Years ago, patients were taking medications only if the doctor recommended and/or directed it. Nowadays, patients are fairly savvy and use the Internet, sources like Wikipedia and go to health food stores and get advice from questionably trained individuals about the benefits of over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, etc.

    For the most part, the information out there is fairly accurate, but I would always recommending reviewing anything you take, whether it is prescription or over-the-counter, with your primary care physician.

  • I was recently invited to Dr. C. Joseph Bennett’s office at The Robert Boissonealt Oncology Institute to speak to one of their support groups. I enjoyed the interaction with the patients and family members, and had the opportunity to answer dental questions they had on their minds. I thought I would briefly mention a few of the questions in today’s column.

    1.  Many people asked about which toothpaste to use. My philosophy on this is to use simple Colgate or Crest. No bells or whistles.

  • Mr. Smith is a 75-year-old gentleman who was diagnosed with CLL, or chronic lymphocytic leukemia, almost 10 years ago.

    CLL causes a slow increase in a certain type of white blood cells called B lymphocytes or B cells. Cancer cells spread through the blood and bone marrow. CLL can also affect the lymph nodes or other organs such as the spleen. CLL eventually can cause the bone marrow to lose its function.

  • During the past few weeks, we have discussed the role of tobacco products, mainly cigarettes, in the development of lung cancer and other related illnesses. Today, we will look at the types of lung cancer and the process of diagnosing this disease.

    Generally speaking, lung cancer starts in the cells which line the bronchi or tubes of the lungs. The effect of tobacco smoke on these cells causes changes in the cell’s DNA and initiates a series of changes and growth abnormalities which leads to the formation of a cancer.

  • Not very long ago, ethnic food was just that, ethnic. Italians ate pasta, Mexicans, tacos, and Jews, bagels and lox. Today in our assimilated cultural milieu, just about anything goes and foods that we once considered “ethnic” have found their way into mainstream American cuisine — much to the delight of us all.


    Chronicle staff

    LECANTO - In many of today’s churches, worship music tends to fall into one of two camps: contemporary songs and choruses or old-fashioned hymns sung the same way for decades.

    But there’s a third camp, a revisiting of the old hymns, leaving the theologically rich texts but tweaking or even completely rewriting the music — and adding drums and electric or acoustic guitars.

  • Red with meat, white with fish: Two of the most tiresome wine adages around — and worst of all, the premise is false.

    Chis Shipley, who ran the wine division at New York’s ultra-plush famous 21 Club, put it like this: “I don’t think about specific flavor matches but about blocks of flavor. If the food is rich, I choose a full-bodied wine. If it’s delicate, I choose a lighter wine.”

  • The Amish Cook

    This is part two of our summer recipe series, answering reader requests for different recipes. The column will return in its usual format next week.

    A reader in Huber Heights, Ohio, asked for a chicken loaf recipe:

    Chicken loaf with peas

    1 cup soft bread crumbs

    2 cups milk

    2 eggs, beaten

    1 teaspoon salt

    1/4 teaspoon paprika

    3 cups cooked chicken, diced

    1/2 cup cooked peas