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LIVING Holiday Issue 2013

Your Community Lifestyle Magazine

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Providing better healthcare. Supporting strong economic health.

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2 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


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Letter From



hristmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ― Janice Maeditere Heartland LIVING is taking a moment to reflect on this past year and count all our blessings. We set out to capture one heart at a time, to be of a value to our local readers and advertisers and bring something each of you could look forward to. As we close out 2013 we feel we have accomplished our goal and hope you agree. We are proud to end this year and share with you our Holiday Issue that is filled with all about “GIVING” this Christmas season. Holiday time is here and with it all the festivities, family time, favorite foods and celebrations. Christmas is a season of great joy and a time when God shows his great love for us. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. No matter what religion you practice, these are complex and anxious times we live in and we have the tendency to get wrapped up in our own world and forget to care about one another. This holiday season it is our wish that everyone give whatever they can: unconditional love, opening hearts and homes, volunteering, lending our talents or making a contribution whether large or small to support a worthy cause. You can read some of our suggestions in our Twelve Days of Giving in this issue. When you open your heart good things will follow. When it comes to big hearts, we couldn’t be more impressed with who and what we found in our generous community. Heartland LIVING is proud to share with you in this issue numerous families, individuals and businesses who have given their money in support of causes and their time to the less fortunate, the abused and neglected in order to provide a better environment. These special people have made a significant impact in the lives of others. I have had the most amazing year with my team here at Heartland LIVING and want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have contributed to the publication. I’m sure you know through my crazy times, I couldn’t have done it without you. I would like to give a special thank you to my art director, Bridgette Waldau, for your amazing talent creating this gem with me and photographer Rafael Pacheco, for not only your great photos inside the magazine but also for your awesome covers you have created for us. Each issue you amaze our readers! Please do not forget to support your Heartland community. Take the time to step out to shop locally this holiday season and we also ask that you support our loyal advertisers. Let us work together to make 2014 the year of good things for all. May this be your most loving, prosperous, healthy and peaceful year. Blessings from Heartland LIVING!

4 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland

God Bless,

Cindy Sebring Adams LIVING

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Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 5

Heartland LIVING CONTENTS | Holiday Issue 2013

FEATURES More Child 10 One Florida Baptist Children’s



Special Sections

By Christy Swift


Jewel on Main Street The Hotel Jacaranda By Christy Swift

in Disguise 32 Angels Samaritan’s Touch Care Center By Christy Swift

22 18 20 30 38 40 44 54 56 58


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8 Heartland LIVING Associate’s Memories 46 The Gift of a Smile By Pamela Glinski 52 Twelve Days of Giving 60 Ag Angels for the Children


62 Showcasing The Arts Celebrating Viva Florida 500 64 Woman2Woman Lindsey’s Wish 66 Heartland’s Heroes The Angel Tree 68 Healthy Heartland Holiday Health: Stress Less 70 Fishing in the Heartland My Trophy Swims in Florida 72 The Wine Cellar Domestic and Imported Wines 74 Southern Chef Recipes by Layne Prescott 78 Restaurant Review Eighteen East Restaurant and Bar

Heartland Events

Wauchula Hometown Heroes Founder’s Day Celebration Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta Little River Band’s - Veteran Day Tribute All Star Football Games Pink Army Strut Bras for a Cause Hops on Main Boy Scout Troop 846


76 Dining Guide 80 Calendar of Community Event 82 Advertisers Index

Cover One More Child

LIVING Holiday Issue 2013

Photo by Rafael Pacheco Story on page 10 Your Community Lifestyle Magazine



Holiday Issue 2013 CEO | Publisher Cindy Sebring Adams

Restaurant & Bar

Creative | Art Director Bridgette Waldau Editor Kelsey Tucker Assistant Editor Constance Bartlett Feature Writers Pamela Glinski Christy Swift

Every morning Chicanes Chef’s start the day from scratch with the freshest ingredients preparing our menu items and daily specials.

Our passion is our food!


Contributing Writers Amanda Armentrout Jon Armentrout Dan Echols Nathan Kalin David Padgitt Layne Prescott Kelsey Tucker Bridgette Waldau

Shrimp Appetizer Feature

Cover | Senior Photographer Rafael Pacheco Famous French Onion Soup

Photographers Pam Glinski Raney Sebring Christy Swift

Filet Mignon Rollover Appetizer

Circulation Distribution Connie Bartlett Carol Heston Jerry Heston Chicanes Turbo Burger

Heartland Publications & Marketing 412 Rest Haven Road Zolfo Springs, FL 33890 863-781-0344 E-mail Become a fan on facebook. Visit us at Heartland Living Magazine is published quarterly by Heartland Publications & Marketing. Copyright 2013, all rights reserved. Reproduction of contents in print or electronic transmission in whole or in part in any language or format must be by expressed written permission of the publisher. All articles, descriptions and suggestions in this magazine are merely expression of opinions from contributors and advertisers and do not constitute the opinion of the publisher, editor or staff of Heartland Living Magazine, and under no circumstances constitutes assurances or guarantees concerning the quality of any service or product. Heartland Living Magazine specifically disclaims any liability related to these expressions and opinions. The advertiser agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the publishers from all liability. Letters from our readers are not only welcome but encouraged.

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Heartland LIVING



Our memories about Christmas and the favorite Holiday dish we look forward too. Cindy Sebring Adams

(Publisher) I have 7 brothers and sisters and we all spend the day at our parents’ house starting with breakfast and ending with Christmas Dinner. We all bring our favorite dish and mine is Corn Bread Stuffing.

Bridgette Waldau

(Art Director) My fondest memory is my grandmother’s homemade divinity she would send me from Illinois every Christmas. I always looked forward to the package. I am so grateful my sister continues the tradition. The specialty dish I bring to family gatherings is the wine.

Kelsey Tucker

(Editor) Favorite thing to do around Christmas time: my family loves to curl up on the couch and watch the Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. Favorite Dish is my Aunt Cindy’s famous homemade corn bread Stuffing.

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Rafael Pacheco

(Senior Photographer) Growing up in Puerto Rico, what I miss is my grandmother’s “coquito”, my mom’s “arroz con dulce” and “parrandas”.

Christy Swift

(Feature Writer) Christmas pajamas the girls get to open on Christmas Eve, a special craft every year, Aunt Jay’s broccoli casserole and my mom’s poppyseed cake. Best. Cake. Ever.

Layne Prescott

(Contributing Writer) Christmas is all about family and food. I love the heartier, seasonal comfort foods that we southerners are all about. Now that I have grandchildren, Christmas is re-invented when I look at it through their eyes. Mike and I love to share the Christmas story and try to instill in them the true meaning of the season.


David Padgett

(Contributing Writer) My best memories were watching our niece and nephew open their Christmas presents on Christmas morning and seeing the excitement in their eyes. My favorite dish is WINE.

Amanda Armentrout

(Contributing Writer) My most memorable moments at Christmas have always been centered around my children. Whether I’m watching them perform at the church Christmas program or taking in the excitement of watching them open their gifts; I love it all! My favorite dish is sweet potato casserole.

Jon Armentrout

(Contributing Writer) My favorite Christmas moment is reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ with my kids every year . My favorite Christmas food is deviled eggs.

Pam Glinski

(Feature Writer) The holidays have always been about celebrating faith, friends and family. It is a time to gather together, sharing memories and great food, family favorites like herb encrusted prime rib and my Apple Cinnamon Cake.

Nathan Kalin

(Contributing Writer) The Holidays are a time when people, on a global scale, find a way to put their worries, grudges, and preoccupations, on hold for a few days. What a wonderful day it will be for the world when we realize we have the capacity to choose unqualified happiness all year round.

Travis Garcia

(Photographer) I look forward to seeing the random acts of kindness become more prevalent. Homemade broccoli cheese soup and chicken stuffed croissants or whatever dish is in front of me at the

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Heartland LIVING | 9

One More Child By Christy Swift Photos by Rafael Pacheco

What if there was an organization that was focused on helping Florida’s most vulnerable children? And what if they weren’t afraid to take on the ugliest, most heartbreaking forms of abuse? What if that group reached out beyond our state as well, to children overseas who needed love and support and nurturing? What if there was an organization whose goal was to help just one more child, no matter what it took, for as long as it took, to ensure that all of the children receive the love and nurturing that they deserve? What if this organization really does exist? Florida Baptist Children’s Homes (FBCH) is a non-profit statewide entity that has been helping orphaned and disadvantaged children since 1904. Last year, the organization served 63,226 families through foster care, residential care (group home settings), adoption services, compassion ministries, programs abroad and many more services. „

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“We are passionate about feeding children physically and spiritually.” - Dr. Jerry Haag

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“Our goal is that every child should be with their biological family if that family loves them and treats them the way every child should be treated. That’s God’s design and the best design out there,” stated Dr. Jerry Haag, president of the organization. “But sometimes children need substitute families, families that will treat them with gentle hands, feed them, care for them, love them because their biological family will not do that.” FBCH works through a number of different programs in order to help kids in need. These include their residential campuses, home foster care, Orphan’s Heart outreach, Caring Families, compassion-based ministries and more.

Residential Care

FBCH just opened two new campuses in Florida this past year, which brings the total number of residential care facilities to 18. On these campuses, children who have been removed from their homes by the Department of Children and Families come to live with up to seven other children in similar circumstances. These children are supervised by house parents, which are par-„ Opposite page (Front L-R) Hunter and Hector. (Back row) Ariana, Keishia and Xavier. Right (L-R) Jerry Haag Ph.D., CFP®, President of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes and Orphan’s Heart, Christi Haag and Executive Vice President Dr. Bryan Gunn.

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ents that come to live in the residences with their own children. “They function as a family,” explains Haag. They go to church together as well as sporting and community events. They even take vacations together. “We try to recreate and replicate a family that doesn’t exist for that child.”

Foster Care

The organization provides foster services and adoptive services to children in need. Foster families meet the state criteria and care for the children in their homes on a short-term or long-term basis.

Caring Families

In some situations, families can receive help before the situation gets to a point where the child has to be removed. This program helps families with various needs. For example, if a family is having a medical crisis and their children need a safe place to stay, caring families will place those children in a loving Christian home until the situation has stabilized. Other community ministry programs work with pregnancy resource centers around Florida and work to feed and clothe needy children in different Florida communities. Two of the newest programs are very close to Haag’s heart. A program was started five years ago under Haag called Orphan’s Heart. Orphan’s Heart extends the ministry of FBCH to children outside of Florida and the United States. Help is provided to eight developing countries around the world, including Guatemala, Haiti and Tanzania. Earlier this year, the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, invited Haag and the Vice President for Orphan’s Heart, Ron Gunter, to come the Caribbean island nation and view a plot of land where he wanted FBCH to build a ministry site. This site would house a church center as well as homes for at-

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risk families, mostly for single mothers and their children. “It’s not every day that the leader of a nation is welcoming you to come do Gospel ministry in his country and then give you the land on which to launch it,” Haag was quoted from the organization’s summer issue of Sharing Magazine. Through Orphan’s Heart, there are teams of volunteers that are dispatched to help out at orphanages in Guatemala by feeding children, changing diapers and performing other tasks. “We have seen children starving to death now thriving,” recalls Haag. He talks about a seven-year-old boy who died of malnutrition after coming to the center too late. “When you hold a child like that, when you try to help a child like that, it becomes very personal.” FBCH’s newest initiative is taking on a challenge that very few organizations have yet to-- the tragedy of human trafficking. Unofficially called Safe Homes, this new program would build two residential sites in an undisclosed location in Central Florida to help “rescue and restore” girls who have been victimized by human trafficking.

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While it may make people uncomfortable to talk about, Haag feels that it is a good thing there is a light being shone on these atrocities. “In the U.S. there are as many as 300,000 children commercially exploited in the sex industry,” says Haag. “Florida is the third largest hub behind California and Texas.” If Haag is able to raise the funding he needs, he will open two centers at once, which will be able to house up to ten girls at a time. The homes will include intensive therapy and high security to ensure the protection of these children, many of whom suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Haag says on average, the girls will need to recover at the site for 12 months. Haag hopes to have the facilities ready



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Heartland LIVING | 15

to open by the first quarter of 2014. “We desperately need funding in order to make this idea become a reality,” he states. Haag takes what he does very seriously. After leaving the organization in 2012 to take a job elsewhere, he and wife Christi soon realized that they had left their hearts behind when they left FBCH. “My wife summed it up quite succinctly in a speech given at a church,” Haag says. “We are passionate about feeding

children physically and spiritually.” Haag was happily welcomed back in February of this year and his feet have hit the ground running, pulling together 20 CEOs of major corporations such as Walmart and Publix to talk about how they can help FBCH meet the needs of vulnerable children. The innovative ideas of these top executives will shape FBCH’s ministry moving forward, but they are already doing so

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many things right. Besides the programs themselves, it is the little things, such as the fact that no foster child ever “ages out” of FBCH. “We have children that are in college,” Haag states. “We continue to house them even though there isn’t money coming from the state. We tell them, if you get accepted to college, we’ll provide everything you need.” That goes for technical or vocational schools as well. “We want what’s best for them,” Haag emphasizes. There are a number of ways that our Heartland Living readers and the community can help FBCH with their mission. Donations can be made through their website ( Diapers can be dropped off at participating locations for the diaper drive. Their goal is to collect 350,000 diapers. Volunteers have the opportunity to travel abroad through Orphan’s Heart, volunteer to be foster parents or Caring Families, or they could even look into adoption. “There are more than 8,000 children that need foster care in Florida and about 750 children from newborns to teenagers awaiting adoption,” Haag says. No matter how people wish to the support the organization, Haag emphasizes that they can be assured that FBCH is absolutely going to “provide loving, Christian care to any child that needs help.” He adds, “But we cannot do it alone. It takes volunteers, donors and individuals, all of us together, to make the difference in the life of a child.”

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To contact Florida Baptist Children’s Homes please visit their website (www. or give them a call at 863687-881. ¢



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This December, the Chen Dental Family will give the gift of a healthy smile to individuals in need throughout our community. We are looking forward to hosting a Dentistry from the Heart event. During that time, we will provide a choice of a free cleaning, filling or extraction to those over age 18. If you or someone you know are in need of dental care, we hope you’ll join us for this special event. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis, so please plan to arrive early!




ts are encou to arr raged ive ea rly, dr e for the ss app ropria weath tely er and blank to brin ets, w g cha ater, s irs, nacks , etc. may b as the e outs y ide w aiting to be seen.

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Wauchula Hometown Heroes Main Street Wauchula hosted Hometown Heroes on Nov. 9, honoring local heroes with booths and displays provided by our Civil Servant Agencies. Everyone enjoyed the patriotic celebration with live entertainment, arts & craft booths, shopping and dining at the finest restaurants. Kids young and old enjoyed the festivities.

ROTC Cadets (L-R): Cadet SSgt. Kirsten Ramirez, Cadet MSgt. Isaiah Capron, Cadet 2nd Lt. Selena Macias and Cadet A1C Emanual Garcia.

Firefighter Lt. Greg Pfeiffer with Brody Newman.

Hardee County Sheriff’s Department.

(Above) K-9 handler Sgt. Mark McCoy with K-9 Bak and decoy Deputy Steve Ahrens. (Bottom right) Kids signing the “Say No to Drugs” banner. (Below) Cheerleaders bake sale for Pop Warner regionals.

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Lionette’s (L-R) Cheyanne Pohl, Sarah Welch and Shelby Dees.

Larry Pelton and Marlene Hyde from the American Legion Herger Williams Post #2.

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Founder’s Day Celebration By Kelsey Tucker Photos by Raney Sebring

Sebring Historical Society and the Sebring Centennial Committee celebrated Founder’s Day on Saturday, Oct. 26 at downtown Sebring on “The Circle.” Founder’s Day was equipped with a Bed Race, a George E. Sebring Look Alike contest, cloggers and a BBQ chicken lunch. This day was about celebrating our town and honoring founder George E. Sebring and the founder’s family. The Sebring family was in attendance and enjoyed the event. Great-great granddaughter of George E. Sebring, Hannah Tucker said, “We really enjoyed the day on the Circle and we always love celebrating our families accomplishments.”

Debe & Kevin Roberts with Debe’s mom, Ozella Tubbs Allison.

(Above) Cindy Sebring Adam proudly celebrates the day with her dad, Billy Sebring. (Right) Mountain Dew Cloggers.

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Marvin Kahn and William ( Billy) Sebring.

Tribute to the Sebring Family from Wanda Whitehouse for Jacquelyn “Jacquie” Trevelyan, Billy Sebring and Thornton Trevelyan.



4 3 1. Kids in masks entertained the crowd with their dance routine. 2. Martial Arts America’s students entertains the crowd. 3. A group sings the Downtown Sebring Song written by Mayor George Hensley. 4. Martial Arts America’s Professional puts on a special demonstration. 5. Susanne Hancock Clemons, Jean Hancock and Jane Hancock. 6. A large crowd attended the Founders Day celebration in beautiful downtown Sebring. 7. Mayor George Hensley addresses the crowd.


6 7

Jewel on Main Street By Christy Swift Photos by Rafael Pacheco

EPark gets a Christmas makeover by the loving hands of Joan

very holiday season, the oldest functioning hotel in Avon

Hartt and her daughter-in-law, Sheila Hartt. The Hotel Jacaranda’s spacious lobby equipped with an elegant fireplace, cozy library nook and natural wood floors is dressed with garland, gift boxes and decorations of all kinds, in colors of red, green and gold. Joan Hartt is a board member with the South Florida State College (SFSC) Foundation, which solicits funds to in return award numerous scholarships to students as well as offer low-cost student housing. The housing that they award to students is located inside the hotel, which the Foundation leased with an option to buy in 1987 and purchased in 1989. The SFSC Foundation planned to restore the historic building, which was suffering from disrepair. The foundation’s plan was to use this building as student housing as well as maintain its function as a working hotel. SFSC Foundation’s Executive Director, Don Applequist remembers the deliberations on whether or not to purchase the historic building, which was built in 1926 with a Mediterranean revivalist style of architecture that was common in the late teens and mid-twenties in Florida. „

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“Our foundation wasn’t unanimous in the thought of buying an old hotel. They saw it as a potential huge money pit, and they were right,” says Applequist with a knowing grin. In order to make the hotel safe and comfortable for student residents and guests, the foundation had to tent the building for termites, install a central air conditioning system, update the electrical conduits as well as rip out and replace plumbing. These repairs were such an expensive project, that Applequist wasn’t sure that any profitminded person or enterprise would have taken it on. As it stands now, the hotel bustles with activity, beautifully decorated for Christmas with a dozen trees of varying sizes, a 15-foot decorated tree in the lobby, over 30 wreaths, countless bows, an antique sleigh from North Carolina, a seven foot tall vintage Santa Claus mannequin and a newly-purchased reindeer that was prepared by a taxidermist. The ground floor at Hotel Jacaranda serves as a lobby area with a restaurant, where culinary students at SFSC practice their skills beside seasoned chefs, and an arcade. The second floor houses the women’s dormitory on one-side and hotel rooms that are for rent on the opposite side. The third floor is similar to the design of the second floor, but house the men. There are currently 66 students that reside in 54 residence rooms. The hotel’s original layout, which included two hotel rooms sharing a common bath, works well for dorm life with up to four students occupying the suite. Applequist says the students seem to respect the fact that their dorm is also home to 44 rentable rooms for paying guests, and the students behave accordingly. As the Dean of Resource Development as well as the Foundation’s Executive Director, Applequist describes the hotel as a “labor of love” for him personally. While he credits the actual purchase of the hotel to their past president, Cathy Cornelius, Applequist shares a fondness for every aspect of the building. These precious aspects include the spacious top-floor verandah overlooking treelined Main Street where the Foundation hosts “The Jubilee” fundraising party ev24 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland



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ery year during the Avon Park Christmas parade. “When the sun shines down, it projects hearts along the floor surface of the verandah,” Applequist says as he points to the inverted heart shapes carved out of the verandah balustrades. He adds that George Percy of the Bureau of Historic Preservation in Florida stated that the Hotel Jacaranda was the finest example Mediterranean revivalist architecture still standing. The building with its old Florida, breezy feel was designed by architect William Heim and named after the 150-year-old jacaranda tree that was removed from the property to make room for the hotel. The hotel could tell many stories of the famous guests whose steps graced its hallways, including unforgettable names like Babe Ruth, George Burns and Gracie Allen. Many more baseball heroes stayed at Hotel Jacaranda during Avon Park’s baseball glory days, when the St. Louis Cardinals had their spring training in the City of Charm from 1927 to 1929. Applequist says a big reason for purchasing the Jacaranda was to house the athletes that were being courted for the South Florida State College’s various sports teams. As a community college, the school was not allowed to have their own dormitories, but the Foundation could. “Many of our current students who are intercollegiate baseball players may be sleeping in the same room that Babe Ruth stayed in,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye. Unfortunately, the early hotel registers were lost, so there is no way to know for sure which rooms past residents stayed in, but there is always a chance they could turn up. “Wouldn’t that be exciting?” says Applequist with a smile. Applequist emphasizes that the Foundation was dedicated to restoring the hotel to its former glory and not just remodeling it. In fact, the elevator still runs with a crankshaft that has to be timed just perfectly which is the reason there is a sign posted that reads that employees are the only people to operate it. „

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Joan and Sheila Hartt note that over the years, more and more people have come to take their holiday pictures at the hotel, dressing up their children and families and hiring photographers. The life-sized Santa, which faces out from the arcade onto Lake Avenue, greets passers-by with a friendly smile and a pocketwatch, surrounded by potted calamondin citrus trees decorated with poinsettias. Until recently South Florida State College went by the name South Florida Community College. “We took the word ‘community’ seriously,” Applequist explains. “I don’t think anything did more for the revival of the city of Avon Park than our purchase of this facility.”

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Applequist, who works out of an office in the arcade, says he loves coming to work in the hotel’s atmosphere. “The thing I like most about it are the people associated with it,” he says. They are thankful for people like Joan Hartt, who is busy putting up beautiful, festive decorations just down the hall and the five other volunteers that are busy making handmade bows or stringing festive lights. These people are helping in the decoration process because, “They have a love for it.” ¢

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Home Decor o s l A Furniture Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 29

Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta Held in Okeechobee One of Okeechobee’s most popular event was enjoyed at the C. Scott Driver Park on the beautiful Kissimmee River. The third annual Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta was held on Oct. 5. Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee, this year’s event was bigger than ever, with an estimated 3,000 people in attendance. With more than 90 boats entered, team spirits were high. The Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta is a homemade boat race with a twist. Participants must construct their boat from minimal supplies. Photos show the diversity of the boats with kids, adults, male, female and characters of all kind racing. Proceeds will go to a scholarship fund in honor of Adam Bryant. A scholarship is to be awarded to a graduating Okeechobee High School senior who plans on a career as a firefighter/emergency medical technician and also to finance the construction of a playground for special-needs children in Okeechobee. For more information about the event and the Kiwanis Club, visit and Photos courtesy of Cindy Burdashaw and Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta.

30 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


Okeechobee Florida's Oldest Locally Owned Business. For over 85 years we have been an integral part of the Heartland area. It is your loyalty to our business and our dedication to our customers that has allowed Domer’s to provide reliable agricultural, residential, commercial and municipal products and services.

Our services include our retail store, machine shop and outside services. Agricultural Driveline Assembly and Repairs Assembly of custom Suction and Discharge Hoses Custom Steel Fabrication | Drive Shaft Repairs Fabrication of custom Branding Irons | Hydraulic Cylinder Repairs Hydraulic Hoses | Installation of Hitches | Irrigation Repair Job Shop | Machine Shop Applications Pump Installation and Service | Solar Pumps and Repairs Water Treatment Installation and Service Water Treatment Maintenance Welding Repairs on Aluminum, Stainless Steel, and Steel Well Drilling - 4” to 24” | Windmill Installation and Repairs

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Holiday behind Issue 2013the

Angels in Disguise


By Christy Swift

ryan Johnson, 37-years-old, has been suffering from a tumor on the back of his neck for the past ten years. A couple of years ago, the tumor began growing more rapidly and reached a point where Johnson could no longer hold his head up straight. Johnson, who worked as a mason, was caught in the housing slump with no work and no way to afford insurance or medical care. Then he found Samaritan’s Touch Care Center. „

32 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


Top (L-R) Medical Director Dr. Luis Pena, Development Director Rachel Nawrocki, Operations Director Heather Stephenson and Pharmacist Herb Weiss. (Above left) Jacqueline Walker gets her blood pressure checked by LPN Faye Shirley. (Above right) Retired dentist Dr. Walter Girgen volunteers his time providing dental care at Samaritan’s Touch Care Center in Sebring.

Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 33

One day, another patient called the Samaritan’s Touch clinic and was sobbing on the phone. She and her husband ran a small business that had recently taken a turn for the worse. At the same time that her business went under, she noticed a lump in her breast. She managed to scrape together $300 for a mammogram screening. The doctor labeled the “I’m really happy to get the weight off lump as suspicious and wanted her to my shoulders. Very thankful,” exclaimed have it biopsied right away. This biopsy would cost her $11,000. Johnson. “In two visits they told me what I had on my back and that I had to see a surgeon,” Johnson recalls with his head held high. Johnson was connected with Dr. Clyde Vanterpool and the Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center where his non-cancerous tumor was removed on an outpatient basis, all at no cost.

Good news was waiting on the other end of the phone. Samaritan’s Touch processed her eligibility immediately and the rest of her treatment was done at no cost to her. “You are my angels,” the woman said, overwhelmed with gratitude. Samaritan’s Touch Care Center (STCC) is a faith-based, not-for-profit health care center providing free primary and specialized medical care to the uninsured and financially disadvantaged citizens in the Highlands County area. All services are provided free of charge to those who have no insurance of any kind (including Medicare or Medicaid) and that have an income at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. A full time clinic, which is located at 3015 Herring Ave. in North Sebring is staffed by volunteer physicians, nurses, a pharmacist and a dentist. The STCC has a second location in Lake Placid, which is open with reduced hours. Since its inception in May of 2007, the STCC has provided primary and specialized medical care to over 42,950 patients at a value of over $22 million dollars. Currently, more than 2,400 Highlands County residents are patients of STCC, receiving services such as diagnostics, imaging, surgery, comprehensive cancer treatment, treatment for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, obstetrics, urology, physical therapy, eye care and dental treatment. “Bringing hope and healing to Highlands County is the foundation of what spurs us on,” says Development Director, Rachel Nawrocki. “It’s hard work. It’s a nofrills job, but we have just the most incredible, dedicated staff.”

Find Travis Photography on Facebook 34 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland

She goes on to say that, “Nothing is above or beneath us. If the floors need scrubbed, I’ll do it. We come together as a team because we believe in this ministry, to meet this need.” Inside the clean, pleasant waiting room at the clinic, sits Jacqueline Walker. She cannot wait to talk about her experience with Samaritan’s Touch. Walker is 46-years-old, currently unemployed and suffers from multiple health



Staff and volunteers who give a helping hand at Samaritan’s Touch.

356 W. Center Ave - Sebring, FL 33870

“We Perform For You”

The Gift of the Magi

December 13-15

On Golden Pond January 15-26 2014


Pharmacist Herb Weiss volunteers his time to manage an onsite pharmacy providing medications to patients free of charge. Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 35

problems including high blood pressure, blackout spells and strokes. Now that she has been coming to Samaritan’s Touch Care Center, Walker, who is uninsured and doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, has access to a regular doctor and the 19 medications she has been prescribed, all for free. That is right, even her prescriptions are free. They even gave her a bike since her health precludes driving. The STCC literally saved her life. “Sitting here last month, I had a heart attack. They caught it before it got too bad. I thank God I was sitting at the Samaritan’s Touch Center and the nurse was prompt,” says Walker. “I might not be here today.” The STCC is contracted with the State of Florida Department of Health as the only Volunteer Health Care Provider Program in Highlands County. The Florida Legislature encourages the creation and support of “safety nets” like STCC to care for uninsured and financially disadvantaged Floridians. As a 501(c)(3), the organization is governed by a Board of Directors and receives no state or federal funding to support its cause. All of its funds come from fundraising, grants, local donations and strong community partnerships. One of the STCC’s largest supporters is Florida Hospital Heartland. Of all the volunteer practitioners, the Medical Director and part-time physician Dr. Luis Pena, is the only person that is paid. It is estimated that the services provided by STCC have saved over $28.5 million dollars in Emergency Room visits. Nawrocki warns that while many people may believe that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will take care of the population STCC serves, that’s not necessarily true. The uninsured population in Highlands County currently stands at one in three. Since Florida opted out of the Medicaid expansion, uninsured rates will likely continue to be high. The Medicaid expansion would have covered citizens who were at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level but who were not legally blind, disabled, and did not have minor children in their home. Even Highlands County residents who make a little more money and qualify for the Health Care Exchanges will 36 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


A smile and a handshake between Dr. Luis Pena and Bryan Johnson after Johnson received needed surgery through Samaritan’s Touch.

find dismal options. So far there is only one insurer on the exchange and there are high deductibles and co-pays for the most affordable plans. “As we continue to monitor state and federal efforts surrounding health care reform, it is clearly evident that the need for a nonprofit, community supported, compassionate health care safety net will remain constant,” says Nawrocki. This is not second-rate care, either. STCC is one of only two diabetic centers of excellence in the county. Cancer patients often receive their care through Moffitt Cancer Center. The various patient testimonials collected state time after time how appreciative these working poor or unemployed people are of the compassionate, high-quality care they have received. Many people are able to go back to work again once their medical needs are met. “A lot people have the idea that these people do not work, that they are wanting a handout. That’s not the case. These are hardworking people. It could be any one of us,” states Nawrocki emphatically. Nawrocki said the biggest challenge for the STCC right now is for continued funding through donations as well as volun-

teer medical providers, including nurses, primary care physicians, specialists and dentists. The need for an orthopedic surgeon who is willing to volunteer his or her services is especially urgent. “I see there is such a need, and so many people don’t know about it,” Nawrocki said soberly. “If we use our resources and work together towards this goal, it can be life-changing.” It has been life changing for many of STCC’s patients, who have written heartfelt testimonials like the one below: “Life is all about choices, and the day I came to Samaritan’s Touch Care Center was a great decision. They have given me the chance to live a healthy life with medicines I need and provided me treatment that has significantly changed my life. Without STCC these things would not have been possible. I thank God every day for Samaritan’s Touch. The STCC has not only provided me with physical help but also emotional support. STCC is a blessing from God. The staff members are definitely angels in disguise.” To contact the Samaritan’s Touch Care Center clinic in Sebring, call (863) 4711870. To make an appointment at the STCC in Lake Placid, please call (863) 659-1137. ¢

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Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 37

Little River Band Veterans Day Tribute By Cindy Sebring Adams The world famous Little River Band performed in concert Nov. 10 as part of the festivities held in honor of Veterans Day at Mosaic Park in Bartow. Proceeds from the event benefited the Wounded Warriors Fund, The Woman’s Care Center in Bartow and the Hearth Project of Polk County. The event was sponsored by Frost van den Boom and Smith, P.A. and the Sutton Law Firm.


The Little River Band was formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1975 and was originally a blend of musicians who had enjoyed success in other Australian acts. Their new focus was to get airplay on American radio and they achieve that goal. Little River Band is considered to be one of Australia’s most significant bands of all time with worldwide album and CD sales now topping 30 million. They also set a record for having Top 10 hits for 6 consecutive years, the first band to achieve that mark. And according to BMI, Reminiscing has garnered rare status with over 5 million airplays on American radio and Lady is close behind with over 4 million airplays. Little River Band was rightfully inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame at the 18th Annual ARIA Music Awards in 2004.


The Little River Band has always shown appreciation for and been a huge supporter of the military. Find more on Little River Band at


38 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


3 4 6

1. Rich Herring and Wayne Nelson. 2. Volunteers Paula, Gail, Brianna and Kelsey. 3. Little River Band performs. 4. (L-R) Sara Jean Palmer, Dawn Adams, Jessica Adams and Debra Sutton back stage at the concert. 5. Trisha Pfeiffer, Virginia Condello, communications director from the Bartow Chamber and Debra Sutton with band members (L-R) Ryan Ricks, Wayne Nelson, Greg Hind, Chris Marion and Rich Herring. 6. A large crowd enjoys the concert.


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Heartland LIVING | 39

All Star Football Games By Kelsey Tucker The Sebring firemen have been serving the Sebring area since 1927. On Dec. 7, 2013, the firemen are hosting the South Central Florida All-Star Football Classic with the kick-off happening at 6:30 PM. Football players from over 15 counties will bring their talent to Firemen’s Field in hopes that they are awarded a college scholarship for football. Currently, the firemen have exposed over 1,000 football players to colleges and they have awarded over $40,000 in scholarships. In addition to the South Central Florida All-Star Football Classic, the Sebring firemen will also host the 57th annual F.A.C.A. North South State All-Star football game on Dec. 21, 2013 at 4:00 PM. The seniors playing in this game come to Highlands County from all over the state of Florida and are considered the best of the best and most of these players have already signed with a college program or have verbally committed. While they are here, they will have two-a-day practices as well as visiting nursing homes and learning about being positive role models in the community, while making the Kenilworth Lodge their home away from home. The Sebring fireman would like to invite you to attend these football games while they showcase these high school football player’s talents.

Photos of last year’s FACA North South Game. The red is south team and the blue is north team. Photo submitted by Austin Maddox.

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Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 41

Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 43

Florida Hospital

Pink Army Strut By Kelsey Tucker

The month of October is a month recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness month. Florida Hospital enlists an army of individuals with the sole purpose of creating a greater awareness about the benefits of having a mammogram done annually, which helps with the early detection of Breast Cancer. The Pink Army is a group of people that you can join via Florida Hospital. Upon enlisting in the Pink Army, members received their own Pink Army ID and dog tags. Just like the military, members of the Pink Army have the opportunity to move up through the ranks by enlisting other “soldiers”, attending/hosting Pink Parties and by completing missions. On Oct. 12 at 6 pm the Pink Army strutted their way through downtown Sebring for their “Pink Army Strut.” The funds raised by the Pink Army will benefit the Florida Hospital Heartland Mammography Fund, which provides mammograms to women who are in need. In addition to the “Pink Army Strut”, there was a best pink costume contest, car show, food and drinks. The Pink Army campaign concludes with a fun “Girls Night Out” where they provide participants with mocktails, a tumbler, cute shopping totes and a swag bag filled with pink goodies, even a copy of Heartland LIVING. Florida Hospital’s Seascape Imaging and Breast Care Center is offering a $99 digital screening mammogram from Sept. through Dec. of this year. If you know anyone who needs to have their annual mammogram, encourage them to schedule their appointment by calling (863) 402-3627 or toll free (855) 303-3627.

44 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


Best dressed “Strut” winner Amanda Massey Lucero.

Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 45

Allison & Dr. David E Willey 46 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


T he Gift of a Smile By Pamela Glinski Photos by Rafael Pacheco

Four Highlands County residents were recently given the gift of a smile after winning a “Smile Makeover” contest held by the office of Dr. David E. Willey, DMD, PL. Whether he is providing free dental care during his annual “Day of Giving,” doing smile makeovers or volunteering his time and talents as a dentist with non-profit organizations, Dr. Willey has a deep commitment to helping people who cannot afford to have necessary work done on their teeth. “We see so many people in need. People who can’t afford to have a tooth removed or a filling done,” exclaimed Willey. “Your smile is your calling card. If you don’t feel good about your teeth or your smile it affects you mentally and physically.” Richard “Ricky” Ritenour, an employee at Dee’s Place restaurant in downtown Sebring was one of the Smile Makeover winners. “My teeth were so bad I was in pain every day. I was miserable. I wouldn’t go anywhere unless I absolutely had to,” said Ritenour. Ritenour submitted a heartfelt essay when the contest was announced on Dr. Willey’s Facebook page, which earned him a position as a finalist, then a winner. He said, “When they first told me I’d been chosen, I couldn’t believe it.” After having his teeth pulled by Dr. Willey and receiving a full set of dentures, Ritenour said, “I’m not in pain, and I’m not embarrassed to talk to people. I smile a lot now!” „

Back row (L-R) Julie Hillier, Taryn Todd, Dr. David E. Willey, Janet Caraway and Ashley Rotroff. Seated (L-R) Krissy McGee Sherry McGrath.

The second Smile Makeover winner, Vicki Kirby, said in an name of the fourth person to receive the gift of a smile has not online post, “Thank you for not only changing my smile, but been released. changing my life as well! It is so good to smile and laugh and Willey’s dental practice, located at 4741 Lakeview Drive in Senot have to cover my mouth.” bring, Florida, has been providing aesthetic and comprehensive A customer service representative at Lowe’s in Sebring, Clau- general dentistry in the Heartland for over 25 years. dia Brigham said when she saw the contest on Facebook she felt compelled to send in a letter. Brigham said that having bad Dr. Willey’s office provides the latest dental treatments using teeth always affected her self-esteem. But, what she did not state of the art equipment and has been voted “Best Dentist know was that two of her friends had already submitted her in Highlands County” by the 2013 Highlands Today People’s Choice Awards. Services include full-mouth reconstructions, name. composite bonding, fillings, porcelain veneers and Botox injec“It really does make a difference,” said Brigham. “Now, I have tions for the treatment of TMJ. pretty teeth and a pretty smile again.” In September 2012 Dr. Willey, in conjunction with Gayle OberAfter the initial interview and exam, she was chosen to be one mayr, Endodontist and Steven Guelff, Orthodontist, held the of the final four contestants. A few weeks later she was told first “Day of Giving” event. The “Day of Giving” event provided that because of a generous, anonymous donation, all four final- free emergency care, basic restorative treatment and preventive treatment to anyone who could not afford to see a dentist. ists would receive the dental work they needed. “I can’t say enough good about Dr. Willey and the girls in the While Willey had done complimentary work for individual paoffice,” said Brigham. “They are so kind and happy. They make tients in the past, this one-day event was his first communitywide effort. After a long and exhausting day, the volunteers you feel like part of the family.” had treated over 60 patients. “I started this back in October. I now have three of the smiles completely done, and I’m on my fourth one,” said Willey. The “We wanted to give back to the community. This is a way we 48 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


could touch lives,” said Willey. On Aug. 16, 2013, Willey arrived at his office at 4:30 a.m. to prepare for the second annual “Day of Giving,” and was surprised to see people already waiting. Some of them helped as he blocked off the parking lot and set up tables, chair, refreshments and supplies.

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Willey noted the enthusiasm of the people that were waiting in their office parking lot to have painful teeth pulled, x-rays, fillings, cleanings, bonding and more by saying, “We did have some people show up the night before.”

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Willey praised the “amazing team of volunteers,” who were wearing t-shirts that read “Putting a Smile on Faces Since 1988.” The volunteers selflessly worked for over 11 hours, touching the lives of 80 patients who came to them for help. “I implemented this to give back to the community, but what happened is we got more out of this than the patients,” Willey acknowledged. Volunteers this year included Dr. Willey, his staff members, his wife Allison, his son Landon, Dr. Stephen Ebner of the Polk County Health Department and Dr. Michael Kirsch of Heartland Endodontics and Periodontics. “I love the Day of Giving. I was a dental assistant for 15 years before I met David,” said Allison Willey. “I think it is a phenomenal thing my husband does.” “Dr. Kirsch ended up adopting a patient out of this, too,” said Willey of his friend’s philanthropic efforts.

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“I met him during the day of giving. He showed up and had one tooth hurting. I made arrangements for him to walk up the street to my office,” said Dr. Kirsch. “He needed 32 extractions and he needed to have the bone re-contoured in order for dentures to fit properly. Dr. Willey is going to help him with his dentures,” explained Kirsch. “This was a nice way to be able to give back to the community, and the patients were really needful of the care.” „ Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 49

Photos on this page courtesy of Dr. Willey’s staff.

(Above) Landon Willey and Dr. Michael G. Kirsch, DDS. (Left) Janet Caraway, dental assistant to Dr. Willey.

(Above left) Allison Willey assisting Dr. Stephen Ebner. (Above) Dr. David E. Willey & Dr. Michael G. Kirsch, DDS. (Left) Tent used for processing patients provided by Dusty Davis at Taylor Rental.

50 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


Willey’s staff is a close knit group and is a major part of all of the charitable events, handling the details of the planning and working alongside the dentist and his family. “My family and my staff are not just generous here, they are out in the community,” said Willey. With pride he cited his wife’s involvement with South Florida State College’s program, “Take Stock in Children” as a former mentor. Willey spoke highly of his staff’s decision to forego exchanging holiday gifts by giving a monetary donation to “Ag Angels for the Children,” a charity sponsored by the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association that gives Christmas gifts to underprivileged children. Pastors Robert and Gwendolyn Shannon of Wings of Faith Christian Worship Center, at 4348 Schumacher Road in Sebring, have also been touched by the concern and generosity often shown by the Willey’s. Allison, who is a realtor in Sebring, donated her commission on a property that was sold to Wings of Faith Christian Worship Center back to the church. When Dr. Willey heard she was doing this, he decided to match her donation to the church. “I met Allison in the course of securing and purchasing a property that would be utilized as a ‘House of Hope’ for individuals who have fallen on hard times,” said Rev. Robert Shannon. “As a pastor and community leader, my wife and I are committed to assisting others in our endeavor to reach the lost. I shared this with Allison, and it must have touched her heart,” exclaimed Shannon. Dr. Willey also takes an active interest in his community by providing dental supplies for church mission trips and seeing patients for the Samaritan’s Touch Care Center, which is a humanitarian organization in Sebring that provides uninsured, needy families in Highlands County with medical and dental care. “Our goal has always been to pay it forward,” said Willey. “It is good to see the smiles on people.” ¢

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Heartland LIVING | 51

g n i v i G tis’ son ea the s for

Heartland LIVING 12 Days of Giving Back Countdown Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference. Join us in December for 12 days of giving back. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Pay for the person behind you at your local

7. Gather all the spare change around the house

2. Give blood to your local blood bank.

8. Donate clothing and/or blankets to a

coffee shop.

3. Compliment

every person you see in any given day – yes, that includes strangers!

4. Write a letter to someone serving in our military at a

5. Volunteer to serve a meal at a local food bank or church.

6. Donate all your old eye glasses and

hearing aids to the local Lions Club.

52 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


and, make the day of a Salvation Army “red kettle” volunteer. homeless shelter.

9. Volunteer to read a book out load at a local elementary school, day care center or nursing home.

10. Donate a box of diapers and/or wipes to a local women’s shelter.

11. Gather a group of friends to sing Christmas Carols at a local nursing home.

12. Take dinner to someone feeling under the weather.

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Heartland LIVING | 53

Bras for a Cause By Cindy Sebring Adams

Highlands Regional Medical Center held their inaugural Bras for a Cause on Oct. 18 at the newly renovated Circle Theatre in downtown Sebring. The event certainly showed how passionate Highlands County is about supporting this cause and how creative our community is. When the committee asked for classy and sassy to funky and fabulous bras, we certainly got them all.” said Julie Fells, marketing director at HRMC. Bras ranged from elegant angels to flashing and spinning. Some played on words such as “Save Our Milkers” and “Peek a Boob.” Decorators were a wide range of people including survivors, those doing it in honor or memory of a loved one, and those who simply want to see an end to breast cancer. “We had a wonderful 1st year for Bras for a Cause” said Brian Hess, CEO at HRMC. The event had 50 bra decorators and nearly 200 guests that attended. Chef Mac and The Palms of Sebring generously donated all the food for the evening.

(Above) ‘Fight Like a Girl’ decoration. 1. Bras for a Cause raised over $3,500 for the American Cancer Society. 2. Brian and Megan Hess. 3. The Bras for a Cause committee. 4. ‘Breast of Show’ was a bra entitled A Tutu for Ta’Ta’s submitted by Chris Murchie and Timi Behrendt. Chris raised $340 for her bra. Chris is a one year breast cancer survivor this past October.



3 4

54 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


(Bottom photos): A variety of the cleaver and beautiful decorated bras.

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25 West Oak Street Arcadia, Florida 34266 Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 55


A New Twist on Wine, Shop & Dine Main Street Wauchula added a new twist to the traditional Wine, Shop & Dine on Oct. 11 with a unique event, “Hops on Main”. This event was a beer tour that led participants through the charming historic downtown Wauchula to enjoy their favorite brew. Beer connoisseurs and novice attended the event that featured 12 different Florida brewed beers. The night included tastings as well as shopping in retail stores, offices and downtown’s finest restaurants. Jessica Newman, Main Street Wauchula director said “We are always looking for ways to add to our calendar of events something a little different”. It was a great kick off to the fall season. For more about Main Street Wauchula’s events visit (Top) Cat’s on Main with Becky Bragg, Trent Anthney and Beth Alibro from Canoe Out-Post Peace River. (Right) Main Street Wauchula office. (L-R) Ernest Falardeu with Mayor Keith Nadaskay.

56 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 57

By Troop 846 Scout Parent

On my honor, I will do my best To do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. This is the Scout Oath. These words are spoken by every scout at every meeting when the boys from Troop 846 get together. They memorize the words, say them over and over, explain what they mean and then they get the chance to actually live them and see the results. That’s what happened when two scouts from Troop 846 happened to hear the national news on the radio November 11. They were on their way to a Veteran’s Day program that morning to oversee the flag ceremonies at the Sun n’ Lake Elementary Veteran’s Day Program. The piece on the radio broadcasted Philippine citizens begging for water, Desoto City Fire and Rescue stopped by with donasupplies, shelter - anything that could be provided. The two scouts just hap- tions of water collected by Air and Electrical Services in Sebring. pened to say, “I wonder if we could do something”. Over the next five days that one question led to the entire troop of 24 boys taking on the challenge. At their troop meeting, parents supported the boys efforts, Griffin’s Carpet Mart supplying the drop off location, Major Bruce Stefanik agreeing for the Salvation Army to take on the distribution and costs and ultimately a collection of 427 gallons of water. Later that weekend, out of the blue, one scout asked, “we only got about 400 gallons, will that really make a difference”? In truth, it will make only a small dent in what’s needed, but a thousand small dents make an enormous difference. As a parent, though, I think the real difference it makes is the lessons and possibilities it teaches these young men aged 10-16 that took an innocent question, rallied there resources and in five days created something that will “make a dent” across the world.

Troop 846 delivers over 385 gallons to Major Bruce Stefanik at the Salvation Army in Sebring. (L-R) Major Bruce Stefanik, Matthew Andrews, Jeremy Soto, Nate VanDam, Jed Davis, Wade Allison, Benton Hughes, Jimmy Griffin, Julian Cozier, Zach Campbel and Scout Master Gary King.

58 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


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Email: Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 59

By Kelsey Tucker Every year, for the past seven years, Scott Kirouac has been writing letters to local businesses and people within the community to ask for donations to a program he created entitled “Christmas Ag Angels.” Kirouac is the president of the Highlands County Farm Bureau and the Christmas Ag Angels founder. The goal of the Ag Angels program is to ensure that underprivileged children have a present to open on Christmas morning. The Ag Angels program donates 100% of the raised funds to local schools where the teachers and “elves” use the money to purchase gifts for the children. When. Kirouac sent out his letter to ask for donations, he also included letters of appreciation from a number of schools that the Ag Angels program donated to in the past. Students at these schools are interviewed and asked what they are hoping to find under the Christmas tree and also what they need. A lot of the gifts bought are items that the student needs. The common factor within these letters was the intent of appreciation. Every school that wrote a letter to the Ag Angels program thanked the program for giving these children a great Christmas. Without the Ag Angels, these children may not have woke up on Christmas day to the present they had hoped to receive.

(Above) A sampling of many thank-you letters Ag Angels receive each year.

“The true success of this program is because of people like you,” Kirouac wrote. “People who found it in their hearts to help less fortunate children during Christmas.”

Scott Kirouac presents a check to Cracker Trail Elementary, one of the many schools his organization donates to.

60 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


The “Ag Angels” need to have all donations by Dec. 9 so that the “Angels” can divide and disperse the money to schools so the “elves” can start shopping. If you would like to make a donation to the Christmas Ag Angels program, please email Scott Kirouac at or call 863-873-3180. ¢

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Voted the #1 event planner in Highlands County. Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 61


elebrating history through the arts. Heartlands’ Okeechobee and Lake Wales are doing just that with a touring photo exhibit, La Florida: 500 Years in the Place of Flowers. This beautiful exhibit commemorates the natural history and culture of our state, which Juan Ponce de Leon named in 1513. Roughly translated, La Florida means place or land of flowers.

ShowcasingT he Arts

By Bridgette Waldau

What is Viva Florida 500? In 2013, Florida reached a momentous milestone, the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de León’s arrival on Florida’s east coast. What makes this anniversary so exceptional is that Ponce de León’s convoy of explorers was the first group of Europeans to document such a landing and give a name to Florida—La Florida. Viva Florida 500 is a statewide initiative led by the Florida Department of State, under the leadership of Gov. Rick Scott, to highlight the 500 years of historic people, places and events in present-day Florida since the arrival of Juan Ponce de León. The touring photography display, inspired by Florida’s diverse and beautiful wildflowers, features 15 of Florida photographer John Moran’s beautiful largeformat photos. These images illustrates the timeless beauty of Florida’s native wildflowers. Traveling the state of Florida, John Moran sought out his vision of natural Florida, as it must have looked to Ponce de Leon and other early visitors in 1513. A University of Florida graduate, Moran’s photography has appeared in numerous publications, including National Geographic, Life, Time, Newsweek, Smithsonian, The New York Times Magazine and on the cover of the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida. Visit his website at to see his work and a slide show of the exhibit. On photographing the nature of Florida, Moran says, “Truly a universal language, photography can help us better understand and appreciate the many gifts of nature bestowed upon this great state we call home.” “La Florida: 500 Years in the Place of Flowers” will be proudly on display here in the Heartlands at two Florida historical sites. Visit the beautiful historical Okeechobee County courthouse Dec. 30, 2013 - Feb. 14, 2014 to see the exhibit. The display was made possible through the efforts of Okeechobee Main Street. The courthouse is located at 304 NW 2nd Street in Okeechobee. Visit for more information. The exhibit will then travel to historical Bok Tower

62 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


Top two photos: Images from the exhibit. All the photographs are 31.5 ” x 42.5” in size. Third down: The historical Okeechobee County Courthouse. Bottom left: Photographer John Moran. Bottom Right: Bok Towers Gardens.

Gardens in Lake Wales. The show can be seen from Feb. 24 - April 11, 2014. Located at 1151 Tower Blvd., the display will be shown in a setting known for stunning gardens. Go to for more information. The exhibit is free to the public. Funding for the display was provided by the Florida Wildflower Foundation and the State Wildflower license plate as part of the Florida Department of State’s 2013 Viva Florida 500 commemoration program. For all the Viva Florida 500 celebrations visit ¢

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Private studio teaching you how to paint step-by-step in a relaxed and fun setting. It's the perfect place to get together, unwind and enjoy time painting with friends while sipping your favorite beverage. Okeechobee’s Original Paint and Sip Studio Give the gift of Art - Gift Certificates Available Call or go online for more information and to sign up. Private Group Sessions Also Available. New sessions posted on facebook.

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111 NE 2nd Street - Suite A Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 63


Woman Woman “Lindsey’s Wish” where soon replaced with the bleak inside of a hospital room. However, her faith in Christ, her attitude and positive outlook kept her in a very positive place. She never considered death to be an option and always saw the light at the end of the tunnel. She again won the fight against cancer and went on to get a parttime job and begin her first year in college.


lthough many kind hearts give to others throughout their lifetime, it takes a special soul to make sure they leave a legacy of giving back to others. Lindsey Hammortree was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma on May 12, 2010. This is a type of cancer of soft tissue. When Lindsey was diagnosed, she was at stage three. After her fist dose of chemo, she quickly lost her hair and her ability to walk. Even though she was always having complications from the treatment, she refused to let it get her down. Even when she was forced to drop out of school her senior year of high school, she managed to enroll in the GED program. She eventually walked across the stage with her classmates. She never once refused to be a victim of her circumstances. She fought hard during her first round of chemo and was tumor free for several months. Hope ran high through her family. Unfortunately, she relapsed. She began to prepare for round two of her fight. Her “normal” teenage life of friends, football games and lake days (Right) The tribute tree at the event.

64 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


After a few short months of being cancer free, Lindsey relapsed yet again. This time, it was much more aggressive. The doctors gave the family a two-week expectancy. Lindsey handled the news with grace, ready for her fight to be over and to “go to Heaven to be with our Father.” She still only worried about others and only feared how her family would handle her passing. She said, “I am not angry with God, I’m just not sure why he chose this for me.” She passed much too soon on December 10, 2012.

By Amanda Armentrout

Lindsey’s journey has really only begun. It is her grace, mercy and caring nature that is remembered. “Lindsey’s Wish” is a not for profit organization that was created in her honor whose vision is to assist children in Highlands County who are battling cancer. They distribute funds to the children’s families for medical expenses or assistance with any other financial needs. It was her hope that people will remember her fight that people will remember her fight and support other kids battling much like she did. On October 5, 2013, Lindsey’s Wish held their first fundraiser event. Jeans & Jewels included dinner, a silent auction and a concert. A tribute tree featured names of individuals who are currently battling or who have lost their battle with cancer. The Jeans & Jewels event will be an annual fundraiser.

Madison Harris is a student at the University of Florida, president and founder of “Lindsey’s Wish”, but most importantly she was one of Lindsey’s best friends. She was overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and support from the community for the first annual “Jeans & Jewels” event.

We have many Holiday Gifts for you to choose from!

“The first annual Jeans and Jewels event really made Lindsey’s Wish become a reality,” exclaimed Harris. “We all were able to witness the smiles of several beautiful children who have battled or are battling cancer and their families as we honored them.” Harris went on to say that without the volunteers, who offered their time and money, this event would not have been as big of a success as it was. The Lindsey’s Wish board members are excited to start planning next year’s event!

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Donations to Lindsey’s Wish can be mailed to P.O. Box 8895 Sebring, FL 33872. For more information call (863)381-6257 or visit their Facebook page “Lindsey’s Wish”. ¢

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Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 65

Heartland Heroes

By Jon Armentrout

The Angel Tree The Holidays are supposed to be a joyous time of year for everyone, no matter where you are from or where you live. Unfortunately, there are families with children that get excited about this time of year, not knowing that the family cannot afford to gift their children the item that they would like to receive due to many unfortunate circumstances. This is where the Angel Tree by the Salvation Army steps in and assists those families.

Major Connie Morris explained that this year, “The Angel Tree program will reach 3,600 children from age’s newborn to fourteen this Christmas Season.” The program starts November 16 and ends December 16. This provides plenty of time for people that want to get involved, get involved.

The Angel Tree has been around since 1991, providing parent’s assistance to other parents to provide their children with a gift that the kids have asked for. Major Connie Morris has been involved with the Salvation Army for 16 years and has served in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Maryland and Florida. “The parents are a lot of working poor that are trying and just can’t make it because they are underworked,” explained Major Morris. The parents that request assistance apply to the Angel Tree program during school hours, so that their children never have to know what is going on. The children ask for a specific gift, which the parents list on the application. After the parents fill out their application, this is where the true act of giving takes place. The “Angels” go to various places, such as the Lakeland Mall, to select Angels off of the Christmas tree. These “Angels” then provide the child the gift that they are going to be looking for under the Christmas tree. The gifts are then dropped off at the Salvation Army, located in Lakeland, and then distributed to the proper families to ensure that the gifts reach the children before Christmas. Nathan Fetz checking donated bikes in preparation of distribution.

(Above) Juan and Jose with mother Amanda receiving angel tree gifts.

Major Morris explained that out of all the places she has been to, she has not seen an area that is as generous as Lakeland. This statement echoes the support that is out there for children that are in need. On December 19, they start to distribute the gifts to ensure that the parents have their children’s gifts in plenty of time to wrap them. Just when you thought that the Angel Tree Program could not do any more to assist children and families in need, Major Morris said there was more that they assist with. “The Salvation Army has a stocking stuffer and shoe program to help these children and families as well.” After all this there is still more! The Salvation Army continues to partner with Publix in order to help some of these same families by providing Christmas Dinner. These cards can be purchased as dinners for families that can’t afford to provide a Christmas Dinner for their families. If you would like more information about the Angel Tree Program in Lakeland you can contact them at (863) 853-2214 and to contact the Angel Tree Program in Sebring you can call a (863) 385-7548. There are numerous Salvation Army locations throughout the Heartland and any assistance is always greatly appreciated. ¢

66 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland



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Heartland LIVING | 67

Healthy Heartland By Nathan Kalin

The term “Holiday-Stress” sounds like it should be an oxymoron, but as most of us well know and fear, the holiday season can bring on more stress than cheer. If you typically find yourself overwhelmed throughout the holidays, you are not alone. The American Psychological Association released a statement last year which concluded that 69% of Americans feel more pressure, anxiety, and tension during the months of November, December, and January than during any other time of the year. The good news is it won’t require a Christmas Miracle for you to de-stress and actually enjoy this holiday season. Spend Time in the Sun: The sun is one of mother-nature’s rem-

edies for mental stress. Spending 30 minutes to an hour a day in the sun is a fabulous way to boost emotional and psychological well-being. Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin – the happiness hormone – and helps keep us feeling calm and anxiety-free. Whether it’s barbecuing with friends, going to the beach, or simply taking the dog for a walk, make sure you give yourself time to get outside so you can feel better on the inside. Smell Some Citrus: This concept may seem a little strange, but it is scientifically proven that taking a strong whiff of citrus fruits has a very positive impact on our mental state. The citrus scent releases a strong dosage of norepinephrine which helps to provide the feelings of alertness, concentration, and control. 68 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


Enjoy Hot Foods: When you’re debating what holiday-specialty you’re going to prepare for the family, trade in the cold cuts for a hot dish. Hot foods trigger endorphins that help keep us relaxed and content. Take Control: While natural light and comfort foods are great ways to supplement good vibes, but they can only do so much if you don’t attempt to change to your stressful routine. It’s important that you don’t rely on your brain to keep all your responsibilities in order. Take a moment before you go to sleep or while you’re eating breakfast to jot down your goals and responsibilities for the day. Prioritize these items in a simple A-B-C order of importance. When you find yourself in the throes of an insurmountable day – and inevitably you will – cross off the ‘C’ column and watch 1/3 of your worries evaporate with a single flick of the wrist. Learn to Say ‘No’: It often feels like the greatest pressure in our lives is the product of other people and our struggle to meet their expectations. While this is an easy way for us to play the blame game, the reality is the only stressors that can truly affect us are the ones we choose to let into our lives. Try to remember that this is your holiday season too, and you deserve to enjoy these special months on your own terms. Don’t overbook yourself; it breeds anger and resentment. Find a way to politely decline invitations and don’t feel guilty.

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Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 69

Fishing in the


By Dan Echols

My Trophy Swims in Florida The State of Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission is now into the second year of a program called the Trophy Catch angler recognition program. The aim of this program is to promote the ecological, social and economic values that are important to everyone that supports conservation. The program promotes the live release of largemouth bass larger than eight pounds. All one has to do in go online to TrophyCatchFlorida. com and register. All bass entered into TrophyCatch must be caught legally in Florida waters and documented following a few simple guidelines. Anglers must submit high resolution photographs, with at least one of the whole fish on a spring or digital scale with the weight clearly visible. Anglers are encouraged to submit two to three additional photographs of the whole fish on a measuring board with the length clearly visible, close-up on scale, the girth, and being released, and/ or of themselves or a friend with their catch. Everyone who registers in the TrophyCatch program is automatically registered to win a Phoenix 619 Pro bass boat & trailer, powered by a 200 hp Mercury outboard and MotorCraft trolling motor.


(10-12.99 pounds) $150 plus in value Requirements: Same as Lunker Club requirements (above). Competition: Year-round. Begins October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. Reward: $150 worth of gift cards (Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and/or Rapala) + Longsleeved Bass King shirt + Discounts for Sportsman on Canvas and other prizes + Entered into a drawing for fishing trips + TrophyCatch certificate + Exclusive TrophyCatch Trophy Club window decal.


(8-9.99 pounds) $65 plus in value Competition: Year-round. Begins October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. Reward: $50 Bass Pro Shops gift card + Customized Bass King T-shirt + Discounts for Sportsman on Canvas and other prizes + Entered into drawings for gift cards from Bass Pro Shops and Dick’s Sporting Goods + TrophyCatch certificate + Exclusive TrophyCatch Lunker Club window decal.


(13 pounds or greater) $1,000 plus in value Requirements: Same as Lunker Club requirements (above). Competition: Year-round. Begins October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014. Reward: Free fiberglass replica mount ($500 value) + Gift cards worth $200 (Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Rapala) + Bass King duffle bag with customized hoody, shirt, hat + A Glen Lau DVD + Honored at annual rewards event + Name entered into Florida Bass Hall of Fame at Florida Bass Conservation Center + Entered into drawing for fishing trip with Peter Miller (Bass2Billfish) + TrophyCatch certificate + Exclusive TrophyCatch Hall of Fame Club window decal + Additional prizing to be determined. Heaviest bass of the year will earn the TrophyCatch ring $3,000 plus in value. So what are you waiting for? Get registered and start fishing. It’s all free!

70 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland



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1092 Locke Street Avon Park, FL 33825 Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 71

Domestic Wine and Imported Wine By David Padgitt, Branch Manager for PRP Wine

Besides differences in style between the wines of America and Europe, the way wine is identified on the label of one country’s wine versus the other also tells a tale of two wine cultures.

After centuries of winemaking in Europe, they have established that specific grapes make the best wine only in certain regions. These grape-region marriages, and the wine styles associated with them, have become so well known by the Europeans and wine lovers everywhere that they simply refer to the wine by the name of the region and not the grape. The type of grape used is secondary. ples are Oregon for Pinot Noir, Rutherford in Napa Valley for Cabernet Sauvignon or Carneros for Chardonnay among many other appellations that have developed fine reputations for certain types of wines. In the United States there are no restrictions on what grapes can be grown in any region, but in France and other European countries it is unlawful to make wines labeled with the region’s name from grapes that are not officially approved for that region. If they do, the wines are reduced in class to a more basic, less regulated “Table Wine” or “Country Wine” classification. What is obvious to the French may not be so obvious to the average American, however. Here are a few popular regions in France and the grapes they use to make their famous wines: •Red Bordeaux: Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and blends that include these grapes. Also, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot are in the mix. •White Bordeaux: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon •Red Burgundy: Pinot Noir •White Burgundy: Chardonnay •Red Rhône: Primarily Syrah and Grenache and blends that include these grapes. •White Rhône: Viognier, Rousanne, Marsanne and blends that include these grapes In the US, our wine regions are still experimenting, finding the best grapes to grow in certain areas. Many regions here have gradually become associated with a single grape because of the exceptional wines that they consistently produce. Exam72 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


Italian wines offer both approaches to identifying their wines. Some popular wines, like Chianti, Valpolicella and Barolo use the geographic name while wines labeled Prosecco, Barbera and Pinot Grigio, are named after the grapes used. In an effort to make it easier for American consumers to select French wine, more wines from France are being labeled by grape variety today than in years past. ¢

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= Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 73

Southern Recipes by Layne Prescott

s b i R t r o h S f e e B d e s i a r B

Onion Dried Minced e in ½ cup Red W mmé rt Ribs Garlic Powder nso rge Beef Sho La to ka ri m iu ap P ed 1 can beef co d 8-10 M Smoke ed ce ic u sl n Sa e io ir 2 T. Flour live oil 1 Medium on Worcestersh ray with o vers or p s s: g , il ce in u n fo o Sa as y m Se So e sli inu with alum ribs to remove bon alt, pepn a p g n Salt & Pepper ti ,s as beef short s. Line ro soy sauce 75 degree slices in pan. Rinse estershire sauce, 4 to n e v with Worc Preheat o ray. Layer onion s. Season sp n r e io tt n u o b in r o s temperaNestle rib wer oven lo d n a shavings. rlic powder. n e ov a ove from per, and g tes. Rem u in m 0 3 oven for 75 degree Roast in 4 degrees. 5 aprika, ture to 32 smoked p onions Braised Beef Short Ribs n e th , s n inced er onio v m o d r e u ri o d fl 6 cups chic Sprinkle . Sprinkle ribs in pan. short ribs 1 cup Port ken broth (1 ½ box between d rearrange short beef consommé e o n an 1 cup butt bello mushrooms, s) over ribs red wine and 1 ca 1 T. butter thinly slic on mushro p u c ½ r u ed 1 cup shit oms, thin Po tight r e v 2 a o ly k shallots, s C e s . li m ced ushrooms, Salt & Pep liced into pan thinly slic pe 1 ½ cup Arbori e d 4 T. butter r to taste o 1. Place R ic e ½ cup Dry W 1/3 cup fr hite Wine and sim chicken broth eshly g in sauce mer. Parmesan rated 2. Place pan and cheese c gently h season leaned, sliced eat to r or mov m o ushroo lling bo e after 3. Add ms in il. Turn pu 1 down h 4. Add T. butter to pa tting over hea large skillet an eat white w d n with s t . e B v e r o n wn mus ly cover ine and 5. Using liced sh h p s a r s ti a o ll continu auce pan, po r until all win ots and Rice oms and rem n. DO NOT u o . 6. Repe usly over med r chicken brot e is absorbed. Stir rice until ove from pan. h (1 cup at step golden ium/me 5 Approx brown. imately until all broth dium-high he increments) in a 7 2 t t is o . 0 u R u n r m e ic s ti mo ed and inu e otto incorpo l liquid is abso (skillet) and until ric ve from heat, tes. om Ris stir rbed. rated in add mu h and c Mushro to rice a reamy. s nd rice Serve. hrooms and th is al den eir liqu te. id, butt er and parmes an and stir SAUCE: tick) butter s (1 p u ½c 1 T. salt on ar am n 1 cup sug ermilk in : c s E . T K le n p A 3 a t p C c p a a tt r d u tr e fo b x p op la e pray ½ cup 1 T. vanil led and finely ch if desired) Baking s ar mon a n in ly e g soda 2 T. C 3 cups pe dded coconut (on 2 cups su n baking o o p s a re te on . ½ 3 eggs s vegetable oil 1 cup sh mped raisins g spray , salt, cinnam in lt a k s a t. b p lu a u p ½ h od 1 cup cans 1-1/2 c nge juice pan wit aking s tter. opped pe se tube juice, flour, b s into the ba out 1-1/2 a e ¼ cup ora purpose flour 1 cup ch r g ly n s e a a u g c , n b ro an pe 3 cups all soda F. Gene , eggs, oil, or , raisins and mes out clea s e e g r g in r ut de ga r, butr co 1 t. bak e suga il for to 325 mbine the su apples, cocon until a teste h n t e v in o r l, co bake t the Fold tly. Bo an, sti Prehea a large bow d mix well. ube pan and saucep rring constan oven, let e g r n la In t a a e ti : d Cake illa extract; he prepare boil, s om th tter in t n the bu good rolling remove it fr lt e M and va e batter into . u a o is done ring to on as y Pour th re cake a, and salt-b he pan as so o f e b . d hortly baking so ot cake in t tely. hours Make s h le nd Sauce: cinnamon a uce over the o cool comp , t a k s k il c e a m h r a rt ter t onto te. Pou Fresh A 1 minu hour. Turn ou pple Ca ke stand 1

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74 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


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Heartland LIVING | 75

d i n i n g GUIDE Cang Tong Japanese Steak House + Sushi + Chinese Enjoy dining in a casual comfortable atmosphere at our new location with a new menu. Personal Chefs prepare your meal the way you want it, right at your table. Try our unique variety of sushi rolls including everyone’s favorite roll the OMG, it consists of spicy salmon and avocado topped with avocado and sweet delicious mango. We also have a wide variety of Chinese specialties. Come visit us for a fun experience and a melt in your mouth taste. Take-out or Delivery and Catering | Menu Highlights: Daily Sushi Roll specials, Hibachi Filet Mignon and Lobster, Sesame Chicken, Lo Mein, Fried Cheesecake. Hours: Sun. - Thurs. 11:30 am – 9:30 pm, Fri. and Sat. 11:30 am –10:30 pm. 110 Sebring Square | Sebring | 863.386.1924 | See ad on page 41.

Chicanes Restaurant and Bar Enjoy one of the best restaurants in Sebring. Our chef’s are passionate about using only the finest ingredients and everything is prepared from scratch. Chicanes bar offers a vibrant and upscale yet casual ambiance. Enjoy our happy hour specials from 3 pm -7 pm with special prices. Also 5 superb appetizers for $5 each. For patio lovers we offer sun-drenched tables on our outside terrace or enjoy one of our window seats overlooking Little Lake Jackson. Menu Highlights: Premium Hand Cut Steaks, Succulent Seafood, Fresh Fish, Chicken, Ribs, Pastas, Sautés, Freshly Tossed Salads and more at surprisingly affordable prices. Hours: Serving Lunch and Dinner 7 days a week. Early Bistro dinners Mon. – Sat. 3 pm - 6 pm and all day on Sundays. | Private and Semi Private Rooms available for Special Occasion dining, meetings and banquets. 3101 Golfview Road | Sebring | 863.314.0348

See ad on page 7.

Cowpoke’s Watering Hole Cowpoke’s Watering Hole serves the highest quality tender and juicy steaks along with a large selection of seafood and scrumptious appetizers. Friday and Saturday night feature live bands inside and Karaoke in the Tiki Bar. The full service bar features happy hour daily from 11 am – 7 pm. Locally owned, the Hole provides an enjoyable atmosphere for any occasions. Menu Highlights: Oysters, Escargot, Ribeye, Filet, New York Strip, Lobster Tail and Pasta. | Hours: Mon. –Thurs. 11 am- 10 pm; Fri. and Sat. 11 am - 2 am, Sun. Noon – 8 pm. Live Music Fri. and Sat. from 9:30 pm – 1:30 am | Live Music Under the Tiki Sunday from 3 pm – 6 pm 6813 US 27 South | Sebring | 863.314.9459 | See ad on page 37. 76 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


Heartland area’s finest restaurants Eighteen East Eighteen East is a restaurant and bar in the heart of downtown Avon Park, serving the area’s best steaks. We offer a large selection of American food with creative new menu items added regularly. The historic brick décor gives a pub-type atmosphere where local artists perform throughout the week. Eighteen East is a favorite with locals and a guaranteed enjoyable experience. Appetizers: Pan Seared Ahi-Tuna; Hog Wings; Grilled Chicken Nachos | Entrees: Eighteen East Signature Burger; Prime Rib Rueben; Filet; Giant Shrimp Ravioli. Hours: Mon. thru Fri. 3 pm - 11 pm. Call for Live Entertainment Schedule. 18 East Main Street | Avon Park | 863.453.1818 | Downtown Avon Park See ad on page 67 and Restaurant Review on page 78.

Flames Waterside Restaurant & Bar If you are looking for a great affordable meal and a casual dining experience in the Heartland, Flames Waterside is the place to go. Locally owned and operated, they offer a large variety of American, Greek and Italian favorites. The restaurant has been newly renovated which features a large dining area and a full-service bar with flat screen televisions. Check out Flames Waterside on Facebook for daily lunch and dinner specials. Menu Highlights: Cuban Sandwich, OMG Burger, Chicken Parmigiana, Stuffed Grouper, NY Strip Steak and Full Service Bar | Hours: Tues. - Thurs. 11 am – 10 pm | Fri. and Sat. 11 am – 11 pm | Sunday 11 am – 3 pm. 2451 US 27 South | Avon Park | 863-453-3440 See ad on page 16

Island View Lakefront Restaurant & Pub Island View Lakefront Restaurant offers a unique dining experience like no other in Highlands County. We offer a variety of great American food from fried green tomatoes, ribs, and a variety of sandwiches to our Friday Night Prime Rib dinners. Our Sunset Dining menu includes dinner and house beer, wine or soda starting at $10.00. Hours: Mon. – Sat. 11 am – 8 pm Sunset Dining: Mon. – Thurs. and Sat. 3:30 pm - 7 pm Sunday: Bar Service and Light Sandwiches from 11 am – 5 pm Call 863-382-1191 for reservations. 5223 Sun N Lake Blvd.| Sebring | 863-382-1191| See ad on page 29 Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 77

Heartland Living

By Cindy Sebring Adams

Eighteen East Restaurant & Bar I invited my best friend Nancy Redding to dine with me during my restaurant review at Eighteen East Restaurant & Bar located on Main Street in downtown Avon Park which is owned and operated by David Ailstock. When we arrived David shared with us that he would be our personal chef for the night, which made us feel special. Eighteen East offers delicious American, David Ailstock, owner of Eighteen East Restaurant. Entertainers Cory and Roger traditional style cuisine. Their menu features everything from sandwiches to deli- Wrapped Shrimp was served with a sau- with twice-baked potatoes, sour cream, cious steaks to decadent wines. té peanut sauce drizzled on the side. The cheese, bacon and chives and fresh shrimp were plump and tasted delicious. green beans in a delicious sauce. These We were looking forward to having Daside dishes were the perfect choice vid as our personal chef for the evening. For the main course, we were served to serve with each of the main course He started us off with a choice of two two amazing, delicious dishes, The Filet meals. Our dinner was also paired with appetizers; Seared Ahi Tuna and Bacon and the French-Cut Bone-in Pork Chop. a decadent Red Cabernet wine. Wrapped Shrimp with a glass of Pinot The Filet was served with a homemade Grigio wine to complement the flavors. Oscar Sauce, which is optional according At the end of our meal we were served What a delicious way to start off our din- to their menu. This mouth-watering Filet with the only dessert option on their ing experience. The Ahi Tuna was served was ordered medium rare and cooked to menu, which was a delicious, All-Amerwith Wasabi and Soy sauce and the Bacon perfection. ican dessert. Eighteen East’s homemade, Granny Smith Caramel Apple The French-Cut Bone- Dumpling with Cinnamon and is served in Pork Chop had the with homemade Ice-Cream. This dessert greatest flavor, served has sugar, spice and is everything nice! in an elegant presentation. This delicious Throughout the week, you can find a entrée was topped variety musicians playing inside the reswith a mustard sauce taurant. While enjoying our meal, we lisand roasted red pep- tened to the incredible Cory and Roger pers. When we asked perform. When we left, the parking lot the waitress what the and restaurant were packed with locals, term “French-Cut ” who were enjoying the excellent food meant, she explained and entertainment that Eighteen East to us that this term has to offer. is just a fancy way o f s ay i n g b o n e - i n . If you are looking for a big time restauTo “French” a bone rant in a small town, Eighteen East Resmeans to cut away the taurant & Bar is the place to go. It is no meat from the bone, surprise that their slogan is “We are just leaving part of the BIG time in a small town.” Their comfortable, casual and fun dining environment bone exposed. is perfect for a night out on the town. ¢ Entrees were served 78 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland


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1500 US Highway 27 South - Avon Park Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 79

Heartland 2 Dec. 6 Dec. 6 Dec. 6 Dec. 6&7


Avon Park Christmas Parade 7 pm | Main Street | Avon Park 3rd Annual Holiday Home & Garden Tour and Poinsettia Sale 1-4 pm | Lake Placid Garden Club | Lake Placid | 863-465-1269 Wine, Shop & Dine/ Christmas Tree Lighting 5:30 pm – 8 pm | Wauchula Sebring Christmas Parade 7 pm 863-273-2090 Okeechobee Top of the Lake Christmas Festival Friday-6 pm | Sat 10 am Flagler Park Annual Lighted Christmas Parade Sat 10 am | Flagler Park | Okeechobee

6&7 Dec. 7 Dec. 7 Dec. 7 Dec. 7 Dec. 9 Dec.11 Dec.11

Okeechobee Community Theatre It’s A Wonderful Life - Radio Play 8 pm | 2 pm Matinee on Dec. 7 | Okeechobee | 863-763-1307

12 Dec.13

Okeechobee Main Street Mixer 5 pm - 7 pm | Raulerson Hospital | Okeechobee 863-357-6246



80 | Holiday Issue 2013 Heartland



Downtown Sebring Sidewalk Sale 7 am – 1 pm | Downtown Sebring | 863-382-2649 Meetinghouse at Bartow Arts Crafts and Yard Sale 9 am - 3 pm | 1400 Old Bartow/Eagle Lake Road | Bartow Main Street Wauchula Christmas Parade 6 pm | Wauchula 10th Annual Wild Game Dinner Noon Rotary Lake Placid Christmas on Main Street 6 pm| Jacaranda Hotel | Avon Park Lunch Club Wednesday 11:30 am | Sebring Elks Club Okeechobee County Chamber Chamber Business After Hours 5 pm - 7 pm | Beef O’ Bradys | Okeechobee |863-467-6246

Downtown Sebring Wine Walk 5 pm – 8 pm | Historic Downtown Sebring

Community Events 13 Dec.13 Dec.13-15 Dec.

14 Dec.14 Dec.14 Dec.14 Dec.14 Dec.14 Dec.



11 January 11 Jan. 16-19 January

Holiday Events


Bartow’s Magical Illumination Christmas Parade 6 pm | Downtown Bartow Main Street Wauchula Hometown Holidays/ Living Christmas Tree 6 pm – 9 pm | Wauchula Highland Little Theatre The Gift of the Magi Fri., Sat. 7:30 pm | Matinee on Sunday 2:30 pm Sebring | 863-382-2525 Bartow Antique Fair & Yard Sale 8 am – 3 pm | Downtown Bartow Lake Placid Saturday Morning Market 8 am – 1 pm | Stuart Park Lake Placid Christmas Parade 7 pm | Lake Placid Lake Wales Downtown Farmer’s Market 9 am - 1 pm | Market Square | Lake Wales Santa in the Park 10 am – 12 noon | Stuart Park | Lake Placid Saturday Night Cruise 11 am – 3 pm Downtown Sebring 6 pm – 9 pm 1989 Lakeview Drive | Sebring Okeechobee Main Street - 7 Week Exhibit

La Florida: 500 Years in the Place of Flowers Exhibit

Dec. 30, 2013 - Feb. 14, 2014 | Mon. - Fri. 9 am - 5 pm Historical Okeechobee County Courthouse | 863-357-6246 Younified Youth Rally 2014 Location and Time TBA - Highlands Art League 6th International Wine Tasting Time TBA | Kenilworth Lodge U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 8:30 am | Sebring Regional Airport Look for more January community events in our January | February 2014 issue.

Details May Be Subject to Change.

Want to announce your Community Event? Email us at Holiday Issue 2013

Heartland LIVING | 81

Advertisers Index

79 All Around Septic & Sewer 51 Alligator Pack & Ship 73 Amanda Armentrout 53 Amber Louise Boutique 51 America First A/C & Heating 59 Beef O’Bradys 59,75 Blinds ASAP 55 Boner’s Outfitters 59 Boom Boom’s Gun & Ammo 63 Bridgette’s Studio-Arté Vino 79 Budget Bi-Rite Insurance 53 Caladium Arts & Craft Co-op 41 Cang Tong Restaurant 51 Captain Ron Merchantile 29 Cat’s On Main 79 Central Florida Immigration 17 Chen Dental Center 7 Chicanes Restaurant & Bar 56 Cornerstone Hospice 49 Cow Pie’s Country Store 37 Cowpoke’s Watering Hole 63 CSA Design Group 19 Customized Wellness, LLC 3 David E. Willey, DMD 61 Dogtown USA 31 Domers, Inc. 67 Eighteen East 15 Eldridge Design Center 5 Everglades Pediatric Dentistry

49 Off The Top Barber Shop

16 Flames Waterside Restaurant 75 Florida Cardiology 67 Florida Fence Post 84 Florida Hospital Health Partners 42-43 Florida Hospital Heartland 69 Food for Thought 55 Frames & Images

75 Papa Johns Pizza 61 Paul’s Plantscape 55 Peddler’s Boutique 69 Pink Pineapple Catering 59 Quail Creek Plantation

61 Galleria 301 61 GB’s Formal Wear 65 Gerald & Associates

13 Rafael Pacheco Photography 79 Residence Inn 49 Roden + Fields Dermatologists

24 Heacock Insurance 28 Heartland National Bank 40 Heartland Pharmacy 35 Highlands Little Theatre 67 Highlands Master Jeweler 83 Highlands Medical Group 2, 39 Highlands Regional Medical

55 Sandy’s Restaurant 53 Sebring Insurance Group 49 Signature Floors & Design 27 Sunshine Inspections 65 The Bulb Bin 51 The Daisy Girl Shop 34 Travis Brandon Photography

29 Island View Restaurant

40 USA Mobile Drug Testing

55 Jen’s Cakery and Bakery

55 Wauchula Main Street 55 Wauchula State Bank 9 Women’s Health

28 Lakeland Pro-Rodeo 71 Laye’s Tire Service 67 LB Hair Company, LLC


75 Mark Palmer Electric and A/C 29 Miller’s Central Air 73 Miss Cindy’s Garden 71 Mobility Express



Cang Tong Restaurant Chicanes Restaurant Cowpoke’s Watering Hole Eighteen East Flames Waterside Island View Restaurant

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Pictured from left to right: Donald Ware, D.O. Family Practice 863-471-3500

L. Francisco Espaillat, M.D. General Surgery & Comprehensive Breast Surgeon 863-382-6108

M. Braimah Saaka, M.D. Vascular Surgery

Kevin Robinson, M.D. Ears, Nose, Throat 863-402-1970

Robert Midence, M.D. Internal Medicine 863-386-4302

Jessica Narvaez-Lugo, M.D. Gastroenterology & Hepatology 863-385-1045


Euclides Marmolejos-Baez, M.D. Internal Medicine 863-386-4302

Tahir S. Chaudhri, M.D. Orthopedic Surgery 863-314-9308

Kwabena Pobi, M.D. Urology 863-382-2576

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Heartland LIVING | 83

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Heartland Living Holiday Issue 2013