100 things to love on Seminole's centennial

As Seminole County celebrates it's 100th birthday, Beth Kassab points out a few things that make the county great.

One hundred years ago this month, Seminole County shook off the reins of Orange County and took charge of its own destiny.

To mark its centennial, I asked you all to help me come up with a list of 100 things people love about Seminole County. Thanks to your responses, you'll find them here, in no particular order.

1. The trail system. In a place ruled by cars, you can still safely traverse most of the county by foot.

2. A preservation-minded County Commission (for now). Commissioners opted for one fewer mega-subdivision last month.

3. Voters deserve credit, too. People in Seminole have twice voted to tax themselves to buy land for conservation.

4. Voter chutzpah. A mostly Republican electorate also went for a school tax and kicked out an unimpressive GOP incumbent slated to be House speaker.

5. A-plus public schools. Widely regarded as community anchors.

6. Stan Van Gundy. One of the county's best-known residents helped rally support for the schools tax. Maybe we'll see his name on the ballot one day.

7. Parking at Orlando Sanford International Airport. Compared to OIA, you practically park plane-side.

8. The Wekiva River. You haven't lived in Seminole until you've experienced its serenity.

9. The Rev. Joel Hunter. He has prayed with presidents and other big shots, but most Sundays he's leading the congregation at Northland, A Church Distributed, in Longwood.

10. The mud walk at the Environmental Studies Center. Every fifth-grader, including yours truly, gets the pleasure.

11. The Casselberry Art House. As much of a treasure as the art it exhibits on the shore of Lake Concord.

12. Beth Davalos of Seminole County schools, who helped put a face on homeless children.

13. Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe. A downtown Sanford success story, and the best schnitzel this side of the Atlantic.

14. The Central Florida Zoo. A perfect Saturday morning with the kids.

15. Duda farms, the Yarborough cattle ranch and other relics of the county's agricultural past.

16. Packed gyms and stadiums for high-school sports. Doesn't matter if it's football, lacrosse or softball; the community knows how to turn out.

17. The Senator. Yes, the 3,500-year-old baldcypress burned last year, but its demise rallied pride in the county's natural wonders. Its clone, The Phoenix, stands at Big Tree Park.

18. Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett. A voice of reason during the tumultuous months that followed the shooting death of Trayvon Martin last year.

CHICAGO

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