Best of lifestyles 2015

The best stories of the year

  • By
  • | 8:36 a.m. December 29, 2015
Photo by: Tim Freed - The unveiling of the Peacock Fountain in Central Park is our No. 1 lifestyle story of 2015.
Photo by: Tim Freed - The unveiling of the Peacock Fountain in Central Park is our No. 1 lifestyle story of 2015.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
  • Neighborhood
  • Share

Winter Park Boy Scout's fountain memorial unveiled: Jan. 2, 2015

When Winter Park Boy Scout John Michael Thomas set out to build a memorial to his friend, he didn’t know he’d end up creating one of the city’s most beautiful monuments. The peacock fountain that anchored and completed the Central Park Rose Garden would become the teen’s Eagle Scout project and a lasting tribute to Elizabeth Buckley, who died at age 12 from a brain tumor. She always loved peacocks — Winter Park’s symbolic bird. Read more about the story behind the Peacock Project at

Will Hauver inspires Egg Crack Challenge: March 11, 2015

When Rollins lacrosse team captain Will Hauver was nominated to do the ALS bucket challenge in the fall of 2014, he decided his video needed a twist. Instead of dumping ice water onto his head, he filmed himself cracking a raw egg on his forehead to spread awareness of diabetes. The athletic young man had lived with the disease since he was a young child. His running joke of “LIVabetes” had come to define his life, as an energetic jokester who led his team but had fun along the way. After he passed away suddenly in February, his Egg Crack Challenge caught fire on the Internet, as his hope of spreading diabetes awareness went viral. Learn more about Hauver in our March 11 story at

Meet Maitland Middle's Teacher of the Year: April 16, 2015

Lanie Clowers wanted to be a teacher since the moment she watched children light up as a tiny kinkajou climbed all over her when she was volunteering at the Central Florida Zoo. Twelve years into her teaching career, she found out she was named the 2016 Orange County Teacher of the Year. Her fast-paced, interactive teaching style with a high-tech electronic question and answer format impressed judges, but the enthusiasm of her students really won them over. Read more about what it’s like in Clowers classroom at

Winter Park Lost Pets celebrates 1,000 happy tails: July 9, 2015

A few good, strategically placed digs with her short stubby legs, and Stella was free. Her hotdog shaped body wriggled under the fence, and her white-tipped paws hit the pavement trotting along Mizell Avenue in Winter Park. When her owner and a neighbor down the street went to the same website,, Stella quickly became the 1,000th pet – mostly dogs and cats, a few birds, and one turtle – the website has helped reunite since it launched in 2009. Read more about Stella’s happy tale in The Observer’s July 9 story at

Local 7-year-old fights to find cure for Rett Syndrome: Aug. 6, 2015

Seven-year-old Carly is on a mission to find a cure for Rett syndrome, a debilitating neurological disorder that mostly affects girls; her sister Brooklyn one of them. On the surface, her summer activities look like any other soon-to-be second grader. She went to summer camp, and visited her grandma. Little do people know on those visits, she’d been coloring flowers and popsicle sticks, crafting an informative flyer about Brooklyn, and making dozens of photocopies to try to save her sister. Revisit Carly and Brooklyn’s story at

Winter Park Boy Scout raises money to build book bike: Oct. 29, 2015

Life Scout Joey Cocchiarella wanted to bring literacy to people’s doorsteps, so he came up with an idea: build a modified three-wheeled bike that carries books — a lot of books. Raising money to make it happen, he’s hoping to have it pedaling through the streets of Winter Park by the spring of 2016. Read more about Joey’s plans in our Oct. 29 story at


Related Articles

  • December 29, 2016
Best of news 2016
  • December 24, 2014
Best of news 2014
  • December 29, 2016
Best of sports 2016
  • December 24, 2014
Best of sports 2014
  • December 26, 2013
Best of News 2013