Jolie Fowler

5th Annual Lake County Back the Blue and Red Walk

Photos from the 5th Annual Back the Blue and Red Walk. Organizer Shannon Cook has been supporting law enforcement since 2019 with this walk. This year, firefighters were added to the event, and the name was changed. PHOTOS: Bonnie Whicher/Special to Inside Lake

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Lake-Sumter State College Foundation Honors Hall of Fame Recipients and Distinguished Alumni Tuesday Night, Including Inside Lake’s Own Marilyn Aciego

LEESBURG, Fla.—The Lake-Sumter State College Foundation honored its Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame recipients Tuesday night in a ceremony held at the Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center at the college’s Leesburg campus.

Nine individuals and a community organization were recognized for their achievements and contributions to the community in front of a large crowd that enjoyed a three-course dinner and video testimonials from the recipients.

Each year, the LSSC Foundation Board of Directors select the recipients from nominations made by the public to receive distinguished alumni awards. For the first time its 12-year history, two people were awarded the prestigious Professional Achievement Award, and one of the recipients was Inside Lake’s Publisher Marilyn Aciego.

Aciego discovered her passion for journalism at Lake-Sumter State College after taking a media class and later became editor of both The Angler and The Odyssey, LSSC’s student publications. She was hired by the Daily Commercial while she was still a student at LSSC and worked her way up to the lead cops and courts reporter. She covered numerous stories that gained national interest, including the death of beloved Sheriff Chris Daniels, a murder committed by identical twins and the disappearance of Trenton Duckett. Aciego’s coverage of these stories lead to appearances on Nancy Grace dozens of times and an episode of Evil Twins on Investigation Discovery.

Lake-Sumter State College Foundation 2023 Hall of Fame recipient Toni Upchurch and Distinguished Alumni recipient Marilyn Aciego.

She left the Daily Commercial in 2009 and began working for an international media organization in an entry-level position and was named Florida bureau chief just three years later. In 2010, she joined recently-retired attorney James Hope to write local stories for Hope’s Lake Legal News magazine, rising to editor-in-chief and then partnering with Hope to start the online edition that focused on breaking crime and public safety news.

In 2021, Aciego and Hope dissolved their partnership and Aciego rebranded Lake Legal News to Inside Lake and began covering general news along with crime news.

“Lake County was becoming a news desert,” Aciego said. “I knew it was time to start Inside Lake.

It was these achievements that earned Aciego the prestigious Professional Achievement Award and Tuesday night she shared that honor with Sandra Wilson, a 1989 graduate of LSSC.


Lake-Sumter State College Foundation Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame 2023

  • Marilyn Aciego—Distinguished Alumni, Professional Achievement Award
  • Sandra Wilson— Distinguished Alumni, Professional Achievement Award
  • Pat Atley— Distinguished Alumni, Scholar Award
  • Christine Boodhoo— Distinguished Alumni, Valor Award
  • Juliana Green— Distinguished Alumni, Community Engagement Award
  • Andrew LoFaro—Distinguished Alumni, Graduate of the Last Decade Award
  • Toni Upchurch— Hall of Fame, Faculty Award
  • Kevin Yurasek— Hall of Fame, Staff Award
  • Patrick Ryan— Hall of Fame, Athletics Award
  • The Live Well Foundation of South Lake— Hall of Fame, Community Partner Award

Lake-Sumter State College Foundation Honors Hall of Fame Recipients and Distinguished Alumni Tuesday Night, Including Inside Lake’s Own Marilyn Aciego Read More »

Independence Day Events In Lake County

Independence Day Events In Lake County Read More »

Third Annual Lake County Back the Blue Walk

The third annual Back the Blue Walk will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 9 am. Walkers will begin at Wooton Park with stops at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Tavares Public Safety Complex and back to Wooton Park for lunch. Come honor all law enforcement and wear blue. Signs will be on site for anyone needing one but bring your own if you would like. Flags are also welcome. Event host Shannon Cook said “Lets show our LEO’s some love for all they do!!!”

PHOTO: Lake County Back the Blue Facebook Event Page

For more information contact event host Shannon Cook on the Lake County Back the Blue Walk Event Facebook Page.

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Women: Boss Up Brunch

Rose Lindo with Lindo Catering will be hosting a Boss Up Brunch Saturday, April 2, 2022 starting at 2pm. Lake Square Mall 10401 US Hwy 441 Leesburg, FL 34788. Contact Rose for tickets and more information 352-321-9498. Follow link below to contact by Facebook.[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22your_upcoming_events_unit%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22bookmark%22%7D]%2C%22ref_notif_type%22%3Anull%7D

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United Way Annual Hometown Hero Hoedown

United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties presents the annual Hometown Hero Hoedown. Saddle up and bring the whole family. This is an annual recognition of community heroes. Where: Far Reach Ranch 1255 S. Dora Blvd, Tavares, FL 32778. When: Friday, April 29, 2022 5:00PM-8:00PM.

Each year, a Hometown Hero from both Lake and Sumter counties are selected from your nominations. Nominations are still open at

Flyer: United Way Lake and Sumter Counties

There will be Awards-Raffle-Silent Auction-Kids Games and Prizes-Live Animals-Cow Plop Bingo-Food Trucks-Live Music-Adult Beverages.

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Puzzle Ranch Holiday Fundraiser

Puzzle Ranch 33348 County Road 437 Sorrento, Fl 32776

Puzzle Ranch is a non-profit organization creating a wild-west themed horse ranch and Cowboy Town for families with Autism and other disabilities.  We are hosting several holiday Fundraiser events.  All events include live music and local vendors,  Puzzle Ranch activities including a hay ride, pony rides, bounce house,  petting farm and Gemstone mining. 

Christmas at Puzzle Ranch,  December 11th and 19th, 2-8pm. Santa will visit along with Christmas Carolers. There will also be Florida “snow fun”.

Three Kings Day Festival at Puzzle Ranch,  January 2nd,  2-7pm. This is a celebration of the Hispanic tradition of Three Kings Day.  There will be a visit from the Three Kings.

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Scheduled Holiday Closings And Modified Garbage Pickup

LAKE COUNTY, Florida—Many local government offices are scheduled to close this week in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Lake County Government offices will be closed Thursday and Friday and county garbage pickup regularly scheduled for Thursday will be Friday and regularly scheduled pickup for Friday will be Saturday. This includes Altoona, Astor, Ferndale, Grand Island, Okahumpka, Paisley, Sorrento and Yalaha. For more information, visit

Most city government and town halls will be closed Thursday and Friday; this includes Clermont, Eustis, Fruitland Park, Groveland, Howey-In-The-Hills, Leesburg, Mascotte, Mount Dora, Tavares and Umatilla. Astatula, Lady Lake and Minneola are scheduled to close just on Thursday. Aligning with the county garbage pickup modified schedule; garbage pickup for Thursday will be Friday and pickup for Friday will be Saturday for most cities, except Lady Lake, Leesburg and Tavares.

Lady Lake’s and Leesburg’s garbage pickup will resume Monday and Tavares will resume Tuesday. 

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