Heartland LIVING Oct/Nov 2021 Issue

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LIVING October & November 2021

Celebrating 10 Years 2012-2021


Call Now For An Appointment

(863) 763-3937 Dr. Charles W. Bartels

Board Certified Optometric Physician

l Comprehensive Eye Exams

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Walk-Ins Welcome Our On-Site Lab allow for Most Prescriptions to be finished in One Hour!

Dr. Janna Lanae Parramore Board Certified Optometric Physician

We Accept and Bill Most Major Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare & BlueCross Blue Shield Healthy Kids

606 North Parrott Ave  Okeechobee  863-763-3937  www.biglakeeyecare.com


“I absolutely love my Chevy vehicles but more than that, I love the customer service I get from Gilbert Chevrolet. They always go above and beyond my expectations.”

- Kathy Scott

Loyal Gilbert Customer

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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021

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Moving health care forward so you can feel whole for your whole life.

At AdventHealth, we’re using the technology of tomorrow to stay well ahead today. From a pacemaker the size of a vitamin, to cancer treatments that reduce recovery time from days to minutes, we’re elevating care in ways never before thought possible.

Stay well ahead at AdventHealth.com.


e m o c l e W ! k Maye

We are so excited to announce our newest addition to Everglades Pediatric Dentistry Dr. Frank Maye. He will be joining our Sebring office and is accepting new patients.

Dr. Fran

Dr. Maye has been in practice for over 18 years and comes to Highlands County from Boca Raton where he had his own Pediatric Dentist office and specialized in Pediatric Sedation Dentistry. We look forward to this new adventure with Dr. Maye on our team!

A lifetime of Healthy Smiles begins in Childhood!

Your child’s health is important and finding a positive relationship between kids and their dentist is a good way to build lifelong healthy habits.

¡ Emergency Dental ¡ Preventative Care Treatment ¡ Restorative Dentistry ¡ New Patient Exams ¡ In-Office Sedation ¡ Interceptive Orthodonic ¡ Dental Care for Special Treatment Needs & Medically Compromised Patients ¡ Extractions Melissa Kindell, DMD

Frank Maye, DMD

OKEECHOBEE 863-357-7338 FAX: 863-357-7342

Serving infants, children, teens, and patients with special needs in Okeechobee County, Highlands County, and the surrounding areas!

SEBRING 863-382-0340

2029 Hwy 441 North Okeechobee, FL 34972

Most insurances are accepted and emergencies are welcomed.

5606 US Hwy 27 Sebring, FL 33870

FAX: 863-357-7342

www.evergladespedodent.com 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021

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Invite.Empower.Build.Love. Haiti Bible Mission By Christy Swift

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ONTENT

October & November 2021 Volume 10  Issue 5

FEATURES 44

Naples Take A Soldier Fishing By Katy Fassler

56

Heartland Ninjas By Christy Swift

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Outdoor Women By Rebecca Maglischo

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CONTENT

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October & November 2021 Volume 10  Issue 5

NOTEWORTHY 11

A Tribute to Bill Wight By Cindy S. Adams

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El Día de los Muertos By Christy Swift

FOOD & HEALTH 100

Día de los Muertos Recipes By Cindy S. Adams

DEPARTMENTS

10 Letter from the Publisher 16 Behind the Scenes 20 From Our Readers LIVING October & November 2021

COVER El Día de los Muertos Day of the Dead Celebration

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Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Cover Design by Bridgette Waldau Celebrating 10 Years 2012-2021


YOU WON'T BE SMILING IF YOU LOSE YOUR DENTAL BENEFITS Most dental benefits don’t roll over into next year!

BOOK AND CLAIM BEFORE DECEMBER 31 Cosmetic & General Dental Services Laser Treatment and Digital Imaging Orthodontics Invisalign ® Same-day Crowns, Root Canals, Bridges & More Zoom! ® Whitening Sedation

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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021

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L

etter fromTHE PUBLISHER Thank you to all my supporters for your continued support of Heartland LIVING and picking up our Fall Issue. We hope you enjoy all the features we have found for you in the Heartland Communities. As we continue to walk together down a path none of us have ever traveled before, let’s continue doing this together. Life changes in the blink of an eye, and right now we are all, together, experiencing unimaginable changes in our day-to-day lives. Let’s get real, it feels like we’ve been fighting threats from all sides since the beginning of last year. The pandemic, political turmoil…the list goes on and on. Our fight or flight response is constantly activated. And we are fatigued at times more than usual. We just need to acknowledge what is important in our lives and keep moving forward, together.

PEOPLE ARE MORE SIMILAR THAN WE THINK, ACROSS RELIGIOUS GROUPS, ETHNIC GROUPS AND RACIAL GROUPS. I BELIEVE AT THE END OF THE DAY; WE ARE ALL JUST PEOPLE. LETS GIVE A HELPING HAND TO EACH OTHER!

I want to give a huge thank you to all my advertisers that have continued supporting us through this uncertainty. We struggled a little and hung in there because of all of you. I’m happy to say we are growing and added extra pages last issue and we are printing more copies for our Fall Issue. You, our readers are picking copies up as fast as we can deliver which makes my team and myself very honored and happy. When you start flipping the pages take a look at all the new advertisers that have joined the Heartland Family. When you’re out shopping please go by and support all our advertisers so we can continue bringing you Heartland LIVING. My writers and photographers have stepped out of the box this issue and brought you a variety of feature stories and first class photos for you to enjoy. We have heartfelt stories that we hope touch you with kindness when you read how these special people “Give Back”. We then switch to some outdoors hunting and added some fun fall decorations and recipes inspired by “Day of the Dead”.

We hope you enjoy the magazine from cover to cover and we would love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to post them on our Facebook Page. We would love to add you to our page “From Our Readers". We try to keep all the bad news for newspapers and television and only bring you happy events and thoughts in the magazine. But in my heart I want to say we are sad and have lost one of our team photographers, Bill Wight to COVID. He will be missed tremendously! Every time I was on a photo shoot with him he always had a smile and such a positive attitude. I know most of you have either lost a loved one or know someone that has been affected by this crazy pandemic and our prayers go out to all families and friends. Let’s hang in there and lean on each other and we will get through this together.

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Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

God Bless,

Cindy Sebring Adams


We lost a valued part of our team. Bill Wight was not only a talented photographer but lived life with a smile on his face every time we were around him. He won the Florida Magazine Association Charlie Award in 2017 for his photo at the Arcadia Rodeo and was so proud of it. Bill will be missed by all of us at Heartland Living as well as the communities he touched. Prayers for his family and friends.

Florida Magazine Association Charlie Award photo taken at Arcadia Rodeo 2017

Bill with his Charlie Awards night. Photo of Eagle by Bill Wight

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 11


Messieh Orthopedic Clinic Leader in Hip & Knee Replacement Surgery in Central Florida since 1991

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5223 Tee Time Circle Sebring, FL 33872 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 13


Heartland

LIVING October & November 2021

LIVING

October & November 2021 Volume 10  Issue 5

Celebrating 10 Years 2012- 2021 CEO | Publisher Cindy Sebring Adams

Photography Director Rafael Pacheco

Editor Christy Swift

Cover Graphic Design Bridgette Waldau

Creative Director Bridgette Waldau

Celebrating 10 Years 2012-2021

Published by

Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc.

Feature Photographers Pierson Horvath Taylor Loyd

Feature Writers Katy Fassler Rebecca Maglischo Christy Swift

Contributing Photographers Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Mark Gose Mark Stockeland

Proud Recipient of 18 Charlie Awards

2014 - 2021

In the Following Categories:

Best Overall Design

Contact: 412 Rest Haven Road, Zolfo Springs, FL 33890 863-781-0344 E-mail

Cindy@Heartland-Living.com

Best Department Design (2) Best Feature Design (4) Cover Photo Illustration Best Traditional Illustration Best Self-Promotional Ad Best Table of Contents

Become a fan on facebook

www.HeartlandLivingMagazine.com

Best Department Design Best Photography Image (3) Best Overall Writing Best Custom Publication (2)

Florida Magazine Association

Heartland Living Magazine is published bi-monthly by Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc. Copyright 2021, 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. Heartland Living Magazine is not responsible for any unsolicited submissions. The advertiser agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the publishers from all liability.

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Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


Hello Friends of Highlands County,

Dr. Valerie Moulds Board-Certified Optometrist

My name is Dr. Valerie Moulds and on behalf of Pinnacle Vision Care, thank you for taking the time to read about our practice. Being born and raised here in Highlands County, I am honored and excited to serve such an amazing community of people. Pinnacle Vision Care is a family practice that uses a multi-disciplinary approach to provide compassionate, quality care for all patients. We are committed to helping our patients by listening to and understanding their individual needs, and we hope to see you through to your optimal optical health.

questions or concerns that you may have.

Dr. Valerie Moulds

OPENING NOVEMBER 2O21 OUR SERVICES Primary Vision Care

Pre & Post-Operative Surgical Management

Whether you are asymptomatic and looking to keep your

As a patient with Pinnacle Vision Care you can expect to

eye health up to date, or you are experiencing symptoms

be provided with all the imperative information and

of vision loss or discomfort, our team of professionals are

support during pre/post operative surgeries.

here for you.

Pediatric Vision Care

Contacts & Glasses

Optometry diseases and complications when caught early enough, can be reversible and better treated. Pinnacle Vision Care is honored to help keep the vision of

the quality of sight for you and the whole family.

Disease Diagnosis & Management

your child’s future healthy and clear.

Vision Therapy Vision Therapy may be used when glasses, contact lenses or surgery alone do not solve the visual problem.

solutions to the underlying conditions.

Call: (863) 658-0645

919 Mall Ring Road, Sebring, FL 33870 www.PinnacleEyes.com 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 15 *some restrictions may apply


Behind the BEHIND THEScenes SCENES

October & November 2021

Creative Director

Editor | Writer

BRIDGETTE WALDAU has been

a graphic and fine artist for over 30 years. She received her A.A. from the Ft. Lauderdale Institute of Art and a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Stetson University. She moved to Okeechobee in 1994 where she opened her art studio. Bridgette has been creative director for several publications, working with Heartland Publications & Marketing as art director since 2011, winning eleven Florida Magazine Charlie Awards (2015- 2021). She is Arts & Culture Alliance Director (17 years) for Okeechobee Main Street. Bridgette is married to James Waldau, a retired firefighter from the City of Hialeah.

Photography Director RAFAEL PACHECO I am a Pisces

and was born on the island of Puerto Rico. My dog thinks I am crazy for locking the door so many times in 10 seconds and my cats think I am made of catnip. Everything I wear is black, gray or blue. If I put on something colorful I must have been in a hurry. Photography is how I have let my artistic visions come to life since the early 90’s. Patience, kindness, sharing, sacrifice, love and not to judge- I saw my mother practice these and they stayed within me. We are collective energy and all from the same Source. I don’t see the world through my eyes. I see it through my soul.

Photographer PIERSON HORVATH For 9 years

now Pierson has been a photographer who specializes in event, portrait, and concert photography. He has traveled to over 20 states for his craft so far and he is excited to go even further in the near future. In his free time he likes to rock climb, travel, and practice himself for American Ninja Warrior. He also worked as a scare actor at Halloween Horror Nights and now is currently scaring at SeaWorld Orlando. Feel free to follow Pierson on his journey on his Instagram @PiersonJamez

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Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

CHRISTY SWIFT has been a

freelance writer for over 13 years, working as an award-winning newspaper correspondent, magazine article writer, and web and social media content provider. She is also a soon-to-be published author of Young Adult and Adult fiction. You can find her at www.christyswift.com.

Writer

KATY FASSLER has been telling

stories since she was able to scribble her name in crayon on the wall. Hailing from Akron, Ohio, she moved to Sebring in 2006 to attend the Great Commission Bible Institute. Katy, an avid reader and book collector, lives by Dr. Seuss’ advice, “Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” Katy lives in Sebring with her husband, Sean and their two daughters, Adia and Emery.

Writer REBECCA MAGLISCHO is a wife and mother of two boys. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and a Master's Degree in Human Movement with an emphasis on Corrective Modalities. She has completed a two year study in Full Body Systems through the Holistic Nutrition Lab and a certification in Functional Range Condition through the Functional Anatomy Systems.

Photographer TAYLOR LOYD is a Naples native. She enjoys donating her photography services to a worthy cause as it is one of her greatest hobbies.


We’re Back!

Okeechobee Community Theatre, Celebrating our 42nd Season!

Arsenic & Old Lace A play by Joseph Kesselring

Special Announcement! This play was rescheduled and will now open in early

Spring 2022.

We hope you will join us for this production. The play is a classic dark comedy revolving around Mortimer Brewster and his slightly crazy family. Tickets will be available online soon. Follow us on Facebook or go to our Website for tickets and information.

Bringing quality live Theatre to the Heartland Area. All performances are presented in the historic Okeechobee Auditorium in downtown Okeechobee. This intimate 220-seat facility keeps you close to the action on stage.

Theatre location: 610 SW 2 Ave., Okeechobee, Florida

For more information about our upcoming shows & auditions call us or visit our website. Phones: (863) 532-1107 or (863) 332-2053

www.OkeechobeeCommunityTheatre.com 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 17


Where Every Day Is a Play Day.

Florida’s ultimate playground At Sun ’n Lake, great golf is just the beginning of an affordable Florida lifestyle that serves as the foundation of our great community. Our variety of rich amenities offer something for everyone — a recreation complex with a zero entry lagoon pool, 36-holes of championship golf, the Island View Lakefront Restaurant & Pub featuring New Coast cuisine, two excellent schools within the district, hospital and medical facilities at our front entrance, and more!

With desirable building lots, preferred builders, and existing resales, we have options for resales every budget and way of life. Come see for yourself what Sun ’n Lake is all about.

Sebring, Florida . VisitSunNLake.com . 863.382.2196 18

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


VINTAGE w ELEGANT w WEDDINGS Southern Grace is designated by the state of Florida as a century pioneer family farm and has been a homestead to the Gill family for well over 100+ years. A premier all-inclusive historic wedding venue, where every detail on our estate grounds, includes event planning design+styling for an exquisite wedding celebration. Love is in the details, and it’s the little things and extra touches, flawlessly executed, that are sure to exceed your wedding day dreams!

Southern Grace Promises a once-in-a-lifetime Celebration! 17822 Bill Taylor Road w Lithia, FL w 33547 w Hello@southerngracewedding.com

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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021


from our

READERS

LIVING

Heartland LIVING August & September 2021

August & September 2021

Celebrating 10 Years 2012-2021

Biologist Elysia Dytrych helping

Love the cover of Heartland Living this month.

young girls and women realize that there's nothing stopping them from becoming a burn boss.

- Donny Arnold Firefighter/Paramedic, Okeechobee County

100 Years, 100 Portraits of Conservation:

The Florida Stewards Project

Congratulations on your Florida Magazine Association Awards. Heartland Living Magazine is amazing and I am so proud of my sister and all of her accomplishments with this magazine. Great job Cindy and her team!! - Susie Tucker

The 2021 Charlie Awards The Florida Press Association, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida Magazine Association, and the Florida Newspaper Advertising and Marketing Executives came together for the 2021 Florida Media Conference held July 15-16 at the Weston Hotel in Sarasota, FL. Speakers from around the country shared their knowledge and experience with conference attendees and we were offered the opportunity to choose from specialized tracks on revenue-creation, content, and sessions specific to magazines and weekly newspapers, along with combined sessions of interest to the entire industry. On the evening of Friday, July 16, The Florida Magazine Association (FMA) held the 2021 Charlie Awards dinner and Gala honoring winners and special award recipients. Heartland Publications & Marketing is humbled and proud to again be the recipient of two Charlie Awards for Best Custom Publication.

Bridgette Waldau

The winning publications were the Hardee Chamber of Commerce Guide 2021 (Silver) and the AdventHealth 2020 Annual Report - Heart & Vascular Center (Bronze). Cindy Adams, Publisher and Bridgette Waldau, Art Director.

Heartland Publications & Marketing 2021 FMA Charlie Awards... Hardee Chamber of Commerce Guide 2021

2020 Annual Report Heart & Vascular Center AdventHealth Sebring

AdventHealth 2020 Annual Report - Heart & Vascular Center

Cindy S. Adams

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Thank you so much to you and your team for always creating a beautiful ad and magazine! -Jessica Martin, Island View Restaurant & Pub

Our Hardee County Chamber of Commerce 2021 Community Guide and Business Directory landed Heartland Publication and Marketing a Silver Award for Best Custom Publication through the Florida Magazine Associations! What an achievement for Heartland Living Magazine! Congratulations to you Cindy Sebring Adams and your team! -Hardee County Chamber of Commerce

I love this first class magazine!

By Brooke Payne Photography by Charissa Greubel and Brooke Payne

-Alice Oldham

We love the magazine and what great work you do, Jessica and the whole team. -Mark Gose 44

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021

If you would like to share your thoughts, please leave a post on our Facebook page or email us at Cindy@Heartland-Living.com 20

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INVITE. EMPOWER. BUILD. LOVE. CREATES LEADERS IN A STRUGGLING NATION By Christy Swift Photography by Mark Stockeland and Mark Gose

From those first photos of starving children in Ethiopia we saw in the 1980s, Americans have seen the devastation that afflicts poorer nations and has been moved to help. But we’ve learned that these problems aren’t always easy to solve. Funds don’t end up where they’re meant to. Change must come from within. Community isn’t just a buzzword. Dignity matters.

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For the past 13 years, Haiti Bible Mission has had boots on the ground in a quiet little town called Jeremie on the mountainous west coast of the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, working to make a meaningful difference. CEO Pastor Mark Stockeland and his wife, Sebring native Lacey Stockeland (née Freeland), took over the mission from Mark’s dad, a long time preacher and missionary. His dad worked on his own, training local Haitians to become pastors, but Mark envisioned doing more. What they’ve created has not only changed communities in Haiti for the better, but has given them the resilience to rise to the challenges facing their nation, including the recent devastating earthquake that struck the island nation on August 14th, 2021.

The Stockeland family: Pastor Mark and wife Lacey, Mark, Barak, Amrey & Mikayah.

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Stockeland knew from the get-go what he wanted Haiti Bible Mission to be. “I don’t want to just teach people the Bible and I don’t want to just teach people to be successful— I want to teach them both,” he said. Looking for young, eager Haitians whom he could teach to impact their community for the Gospel, he headed for the local Jeremie basketball courts, a place where he was well known having grown up on the mission. Stockeland said that, like Jesus, he had an eye out for the B and C players, not the A players. “I started turning to people who were super humble, with great character, and nice. In the world, we tend to look for power and prestige. I was looking for character and heart.”

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One of the young men he met was Eldet Tine, a young Haitian man from Jeremie who is now Haiti Bible Mission’s director of operations and Stockeland’s best friend. Tine tells his story in his native Creole in a video on the Haiti Bible Mission website: “When I was a young boy, my mom would ask me, ‘What do you want to do?’ I never gave a response because I saw the situation we were in with our family— we didn’t have possibilities, we couldn’t finish school, so I didn’t think that was even an important question to ask.” Tine recalled times he’d go out looking for food for his family, and all he could find was wood. Then one day, he asked a local concrete block maker if he could watch him and learn the skill. The man agreed and Tine learned to make concrete block so well that he began to be able to sell it to support his family. That was about the time Stockeland met him. He invited Tine to take part in Haiti Bible Mission’s leadership program, and now Tine is an ordained pastor with his own church, Stockeland’s right-hand man at Haiti Bible Mission, and someone the community knows they can turn to.

Eldet Tine

“HBM gave me more and more opportunities to grow,” Tine explained. “That’s when I started to see that I was someone important.” When the earthquake hit Jeremie this year, it took Stockeland five days to get down to Jeremie, but he wasn’t worried because Tine was there spearheading the relief effort and giving updates. To him, it was proof that Haiti Bible Mission was accomplishing its goal of discipling and empowering local community leaders. When Stockeland showed up, it would be to carry bags of rice, not to run the show.

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The Tine family: Eldet, Roselaue, Esther, Elijah & Mitchiouna


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The one-man, one-building organization that was Haiti Bible Mission when Stockeland took it over thirteen years ago has since grown into a multibuilding compound with a two-story bunkhouse/ social area, warehouse, office, and a residence for the Stockelands and their four children. Highlands County contractor Mark Gose has been a part of that journey for the past 12 years. Over 20 plus trips to Haiti, he’s helped build all of those buildings, plus churches, schools and homes on top of countless roof repairs for Haitian families in Jeremie. “The Haitians usually do the concrete slabs and put up the block wall. Our teams go down and hand frame the roofs and install the roofing material and do all the interior framing,” Gose said. Gose met Stockeland when he was building Grace Bible Church, the church he attends with his wife Brandi and where he serves as team captain for the Haiti Bible Mission program. “Three weeks later I was in Haiti with him,” Gose recalled. “We just started building stuff. We started teaching the Haitians how to build. They had no power tools, no electricity, no running water— we started teaching them how to use screw guns. Now the young Haitian men we taught can build their own houses and they can build stuff for other people; they’ve started their own businesses. We just kept supplying them with generators and tools so they could go out and bless their community.”

Mark and Brandi Gose with Haiti volunteer.

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Mark Gose


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Gose went down to Haiti shortly after the August earthquake as well. Haiti Bible Mission’s main task was delivering food and supplies and preparing food for the 300 plus patients and staff at the local hospital as well as transporting people out who needed medical care. “The hospital director said, ‘We need food’,” Stockeland recalled. “Eldet said, ‘We’ll bring it. We’ll cook it’.” “We were unloading these big helicopters from the U.S. Army that were coming in full of food,” along with deliveries from Agape Flights and Mission Aviation Fellowship, Gose added. At first, they couldn’t get supplies across the river because the only bridge was damaged. Gose explained how the Jeremie government used a bulldozer to haul the trucks across the river one by one. It is difficult work, especially in a country that already has its fair share of desperate people and suffering. But bit by bit, the work gets done. “It gets a little bit better every day,” Gose said. “We’re the hands of Jesus down in Haiti.”

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Want to get involved with Haiti Bible Mission or the ongoing relief effort? There are a couple of ways to do it. Monetary donations can be made through www.haitibiblemission.org. To specifically donate to earthquake relief, look for “Earthquake Response Effort” in the drop-down. Donating money is better than donating items as items need to be shipped. Donations are managed by a third party and all donated funds are spent in Haiti, helping to boost the local economy. That means when you donate money, you get to help twice. Haiti Bible Mission will continue to run mission trips to the island. You can join a group through Grace Bible Church in Sebring or First Presbyterian Church of Lake Placid. You can also reach out to the organization directly at info@ haitibiblemission.org.

Drink Specials! Happy Hour all day 2 for 1 House Wine - Draft Beer and Specially Cocktails

There is a great need for medical p ro f e s s i o n a l s , e l e c t r i c i a n s , carpenters, and handymen. But even if you don’t have any of these skills, Stockeland said you’ll be welcomed and put to work. There is always a need for general labor, support, and even cooking and serving meals. “Or you can just come down and love on people,” he added.

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10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 39


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I started turning to people who were super humble, with great character, and nice. In the world, we tend to look for power and prestige. I was looking for character and heart. -Pastor Mark Stockeland

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 41


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By Katy Fassler Photography by Taylor Loyd

Sharing the fun of fishing turns strangers into friends in a few hours. - Dr. Eugenie Clark

Directly on the Gulf of Mexico is the beautiful city of Naples. Known for its beautiful landscape, high-end shopping and dining, and golf, Naples is also making a difference in the lives of our troops. Naples Take a Soldier Fishing is a 501c3 non-profit organization that gives the brave men and women of the United States Armed Services a luxury weekend of fun and fishing.

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Steve and Jamie Loyd, local fishing enthusiast, started a program to give back and say ‘Thank you’ to our troops. “It was just an idea,” says Steve Loyd, “Me and a couple of fishing buddies were just having a conversation, drinking a couple of beers, and one of the guys said some of his buddies had taken some military guys up in Tampa fishing. They had 3 or 4 boats and had a great couple of days fishing. I said, ‘Why aren’t we doing something like that?’ I thought we should do it and got excited about it and started putting the wheels in motion. Of course, Jamie did all the legwork on it. In, I don’t know, a month to two months, we were able to bring 35 troops down from MacDill Airforce Base, put them on about 15 boats, and just took them fishing. Everyone had such a great time we just figured, man, we should do this all the time. It took off from there.” The first fishing trip was in 2007. Over the years, the program grew and grew. “It has exceeded any expectations I ever had,” says Steve. “ It’s at a whole 'nother level. It's way over my head. It’s crazy big now. Everyone loves it and everyone works really hard for it. We have something that’s really cool.” Steve and Jamie Loyd “It's not just Jamie and I. Yes, we kind of started it, but we have a group of people: friends, family, and neighbors that really jumped in and helped take this thing to the next level. Jamie and I are just one spoke in a big wheel. I have tremendous people that have jumped on board and love this like we do.”

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“We fundraise year round for this one weekend. We bring 150 troops in for a 3 day weekend. We put them up in a 5-star beach resort, usually the Grand Naples Beach Resort. We bring them in on a Thursday night for a dinner called “The Captain’s Dinner”. There we introduce them to their captains that they will be fishing with on Saturday. Friday is a free day. We set up golf, we take a bunch to Bass Pro Shops where we do a little fishing on their private lake and there’s a bunch who want to go to the beach so we shuttle them out to the beach just to relax.” This year’s event was September 16-18. “We had 150 troops, all highly skilled, highly trained special operations troops. These are combat pilots, Green Berets, Navy Seals, troops that have been overseas the last decade kicking in doors and beating back the big, bad wolf. These are guys that have seen more than any human should have to see protecting freedom, not only for us, but all the other countries that are fighting. This year was a special year. They deserved to be here and it was probably very therapeutic for a lot of them.” “There was a story told by one of the troops in front of our audience many years ago that made me know I had to keep doing this,” says Steve. “We had found out prior to that event that there was a troop of Army Rangers that were serving in the Afghanistan mountains. At the end of the fishing event, the lieutenant took the microphone and addressed the crowd. He said, ‘We found out three months ago we were offered a trip to Naples and we decided we wanted to come together to go fishing. As the lieutenant, it is my job to protect everyone as well as I can and keep the morale high. Understand that in the Afghan mountains, this is a very dangerous area, we do a mission, sometimes two every day. When I briefed my troops, after we found out we were coming to the fishing program, I always ended the briefing with ‘Take care of each other and be safe because in a couple months we are going to Naples to go fishing’.” 49


First Place Offshore Soldiers with Captain Stephen Cooper

Board Member Kevin Johnson with KJ. One of the dogs they sponsor from PAWS.

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Steve reflected on that moment and realized, “If this is what it means to these guys, we have to keep doing it.”

“To show them our sincere gratitude for their bravery, honor, dedication and willingness to give their all, we take our soldiers fishing.” “Through donations from local businesses, personal donations, and our various fundraising events, we raise the necessary funds to put on the largest charity fishing tournament in Southwest Florida. Our board is 100% volunteer, comprised of local individuals who care deeply about our country and the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to defend the freedoms we cherish in America. All monies raised or donated directly fund the weekend events, which include luxury lodging, meals, entertainment, transportation, and awards for our troops. All captains who participate donate their time, expertise, fuel, and equipment.” For more information, please visit www.NaplesTASF.com.

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The mission is simple: “To provide 150 active duty military troops a free all expense paid weekend of fishing, golfing & various entertainment. With an emphasis on the fishing, our troops are given the opportunity to escape their everyday stresses and dangers that come with such a hazardous job defending America's freedom.”

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Hearing Services Designed f� Your Individual Care

Lampe & Kiefer Hearing Aid Center is the oldest established hearing aid office in Highlands County. Established 1968 - Voted #1 Hearing Aid Office

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Take care of each other and be safe because in a couple months we are going to Naples to go fishing. -Army Rangers Lieutenant

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Orthopedic expertise

Expertise. Innovation. Technology. From minimally invasive procedures to joint replacement surgery, AdventHealth is leading the way to reimagine orthopedic care. Backed by national awards, our world-class experts deliver comprehensive care for sports injuries, arthritis, joint problems, and more. So you can get moving again.

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that revolves around you

10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021


HEARTLAND

NINJAS

Kids are

through the air... literally.

By Christy Swift Photography by Pierson Horvath

Zofia Weinacker,

Nine-year-old Harry Chubbs from Osceola county flings himself from bar to bar like he was bitten by a radioactive monkey. Twelve-year-old Bray Weinacker from Polk county scales a 13-foot sloped wall with ease. His sister, ten-year-old Zofia “ZoZo” Weinacker, leaps from a trapeze to a ring, then spins lazily on one arm before dropping to the mat below.

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Harry Chubbs

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Olivia LopezLIVINGMagazine.com Heartland


—WE’RE NOT ON A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE SET— we’re at Obstacle Ninja Academy (ONA) in Orlando, run by top American Ninja Warrior RJ Roman. If you watch the show, you’ll have seen him tearing up the courses since 2018, long black hair flying. The gym owner and rock ‘n roll bass guitar player coaches the competition team classes that Harry, Bray and ZoZo attend. RJ, who made it to finals (again!) this year, said one of the main draws to the sport is the support competitors give to one another. He strives to keep the good sportsmanship vibe alive with the next generation. “We make sure to kind of drill it in their heads,” said RJ, who could be seen patiently helping 13-year-old Olivia Lopez (current world champion in her age group) overcome a mental block on the Broken Bridge. The balance obstacle is made up of five square plastic platforms suspended by ropes. RJ had her try it with just one platform, then two, then three. Eventually, she worked her way up to running across all five unstable squares. In true ninja spirit, her friends stepped in to steady the platforms for her so they weren’t swinging. “There’s a big mental side,” RJ said. “Different people find different obstacles intimidating.” Heartland families like the Chubbs and Weinackers make the trip to Orlando regularly so their kids can take advantage of the epic gym and thriving ninja community the team at ONA has built. This year, seven teens and adults made it onto the American Ninja Warrior TV show. Six kids from the competition team were featured on the 2021 American Ninja Warrior Junior televised competition, including Harry and Bray.

RJ Roman

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“THUMBS” CHUBB His ninja name is “Harry Thumbs” for his longer than normal fifth digits. The fourth grader became a ninja at the age of six when he attended the birthday party of a friend of his older brother, Toby (who started ninja-ing alongside Harry in November). Previously a gymnast, Harry found a better match in the more freestyle nature of ninja. “Gymnastics is very disciplined. Ninja has the same sort of skills, but you literally chuck yourself through it,” said mom Ayesha Chubb. Both Harry and his mom also liked the way ninja didn’t put limitations on the kids. “If Harry wanted to try it, they were never going to say no. They were going to make sure he was safe, but they were going to let him do it. That’s how he got really good really quick.”

NO Not setting limits has been a theme of Harry’s entire nine years. Born eight weeks premature in an emergency delivery, Harry could not breathe on his own and is only alive because of NICU physician Dr. Gregor Alexander, Ayesha said. Harry has had chest infections throughout childhood, and doctors warned that he might never be able to do sports, but as his mom says, “Harry doesn't like having limitations. He likes to surpass them all.” Also a flag football player with the nickname “The Beast,” he competed in the 2021 American Ninja Warrior Junior competition, but wasn’t able to talk about his performance at the time of the writing of this article. As a nine-year-old, he was one of the youngest competitors. Mom Ayesha and dad Dave bring Harry and Toby to competition classes at ONA Tuesday and Thursday evenings so they can train with RJ. “When Harry started, we had a ten foot rock wall, and he was terrified of it,” RJ recalled. “Watching him now, you’d never know it.” Harry’s favorite part about Ninja: “I like to fly through the air.” His favorite obstacle is the Wingnuts, where athletes use a trampoline to boost them up to a line of parallel swinging T-shaped handholds. They must swing sideways across all of them before dismounting. He also likes the Salmon Ladder where contestants hang from a bar that they must unseat and “jump” up to various higher levels, and the Warped Wall, a 13

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foot steeply curving wall that athletes clamber to the top of (the gym is in the middle of an expansion that will include a standard 14.5 foot Warped Wall as well as an 18 foot Mega Wall— just like in the TV Show). The most challenging obstacles for Harry, as with many ninjas, are the balance obstacles. But, as with many things in life, you get better with practice and Harry has no problem with that. “If I can't do something then I would spend one hour doing that obstacle straight and I would finally get it. RJ would help.” Look for Harry on Episode 5 of the 2021 American Ninja Warrior Junior competition on Peacock.


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WEINACKER Seventh grader Bray Weinacker has his grandmother to thank for getting him into ninja since she introduced him to the TV show at age three. At his kindergarten graduation, he said his goal when he grew up was to be an American Ninja Warrior. Lucky for him, he didn’t have to wait that long. The Polk County resident competes in all the local ninja competitions and placed 5th in the 2019 World Championships. He also competed in the 2021 American Ninja Warrior Junior television show along with Harry. Bray, with his long blond curls and tanned skin has earned nicknames like “Miami” and “Point Break” from his trainers, but his Ninja name is “BrayMan”. He loves the Lache Bars, where participants hang from a bar, then swing hard to gain momentum before launching themself to the next bar. “It’s fun to fly. It’s like Ninja therapy,” he said. His favorite part about being a ninja isn’t a particular obstacle, however. “I like getting better and hanging with people and having fun,” he said.

The son of two star athletes, professional wakeboarders Nick and Sonja Weinacker, Bray’s got a natural talent, but that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy road. At the age of five, Bray was injured by a bungee cord, which hit him in the eye, causing severe retinal damage. Even after doctors reconstructed his eye, the nerve damage caused constant nausea and other issues. Bray couldn’t run, couldn’t catch a ball, was constantly sick, and was even losing color and shadow perception in his good eye.

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The family watched him struggle for three years until his mom made him an appointment with long-time friend Lynn Teachworth, a massage therapist in Orlando with advanced training in structural bodywork, bio-mechanics and movement as well as energy medicine. Using a technique Teachworth developed specifically for Bray, he was able to help Bray’s brain overcome his injury, Sonja said. She recalls the day everything changed. “Bray said, ‘I see blues, I see greens, I see yellows. We didn’t know he was losing color.” He could see shadows on the wall and dimensions again, too. Teachworth also worked with Bray to keep his bad eye focused in the same direction as his good eye. Within three months Bray was the number one scorer on his soccer team. “For Bray to swing and do ninja and catch these tiny little obstacles— it’s a miracle what this kid can do because I know what he was from five to eight years old,” Sonja said. Look for Bray on Episode 9 of the 2021 American Ninja Warrior Junior competition on Peacock.

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Sonja was the number two female wakeboarder in the world and helped launch the sport back in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s. Now her daughter, Zofia, or “ZoZo” as she likes to be called, is following in her mom’s athletic footsteps. The tenyear-old was not on the American Ninja Warrior Junior TV show this year, but in 2019 she was a Florida state champion and qualified for the Ninja World Championships, but didn’t place. After watching her brother finish out the competition and take fifth, ZoZo decided to take the sport more seriously. She said getting trained by RJ is “really cool” and described ONA’s gym full of obstacles as “a playground times a million.” She said she’s good at most of the challenges, but has had to work at the Slack Line, a loose tightrope balancing obstacle. ZoZo said the challenges are the same for both boys and girls and wanted to encourage other girls to check out the sport. “If you try hard enough, you can be anything you want,” she said.

863-270-2130 Residential • Commercial • Agricultural Property Management Tania C Bobe

Licensed Real Estate Broker BL3342106

2631 US 27 S Sebring, FL 33870

Tania@mbnarealty.com

www.MBNArealty.com

Real Estate the way it’s supposed to be!

­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­ ­

ARTS & CRAFTS FOR ADULTS & KIDS Looking for a perfect spot to unwind and be creative? Look no further than The Red Easel Arts & Crafts Studio! We offer all types of classes and private parties too. The Red Easel On-the-Go. Offering parties “on the go” outside of the Studio!

863-271-9506

155 US Hwy. 27 S, Suite 3B | Sebring, FL 33870 Follow us on Facebook & Instagram!

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Noraeen Lockhart, Esthetician (863) 441-0469 1243 US 27 S • Sebring, FL 33870 noraeenlockhart@gmail.com

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Toby Chubbs

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America First Air Conditioning & Heating

ONA welcomes kids and adults to “become your own superhero” by trying their hand at the obstacles they see on TV and gaining strength and confidence. They hold classes for different age groups and skill levels (including a beginner adult class Friday evenings) and have open gym times as well. Everything is designed to be safe and fun. “We want to build a community where people feel welcome and where everyone wants to see everyone succeed,” RJ said. On November 22nd, ONA will host a Ninjafest camp/clinic for kids and adults featuring big names ANW fans will recognize: Jesse “Flex” Labreck, Jake Murray, Ethan Swanson, Daniel Gil, and “Mighty Kacy” Catanzaro. If you’re of the “I just want to watch” mind, you can purchase spectator tickets for the kick-off pro competition on November 20th and 21st. Kids can register for the kids competition on November 23rd. For more information, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/obstacleninjaacademy or their website at www.obstacleninjaacademy.com.

There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for!

863-453-4741 Sales,Service and Installation Residential Only

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Over 40 Years Experience! 2153 St. Rd. 64 West - Avon Park, FL

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Fall Is In The Air It is the perfect time for preventative maintenance on your central air system!

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MAIL CALL SHIPPING

863-465-1661 TWO Businesses - ONE Stop 863-531-0081 Fax: 863-465-1799

• We Pack & Ship • Mail Box Rental • Packing Supplies • Personal Service

• Office Supplies • Copy/Print Services • Fax Service • Laminating • Shredding Services See us for all Monday - Friday • Notary Email: officesupply204@gmail.com 7:30 am until 5:00 pm your shipping needs! Dan Stickle Owner

204 S. Main Street • Lake Placid, Florida

Morgan’s Furniture “Your Comfort Is Our Business” LOWEST PRICE GUARANTEED

LOWEST PRICE GUARANTEED

Family Owned & Operated Since 1983

863.467.2072

707 S.W. Park Street, Okeechobee, FL 34972 Rylann Leichner

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Zollee Casey

A I R - Harry Chubbs

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Res Local tau ly ran Own t a ed nd Bar

Steaks - Seafood - Pasta We serve Chairman’s Reserve Certified Premium Steaks!

November 25th - We will be Closed for Thanksgiving to allow our staff time with their families.

Photos courtesy of Visit Sebring

OCTOBER 31 - Halloween Join us for a “Spooktacular” Dinner and help us pick the Best Staff Costume!

COME IN AND TRY OUR NEW FLATWOODS FLATBREADS!

Please Follow Us on Facebook for Future Live Entertainment Schedules.

Hours: Monday - Thursday 11-9 pm Friday - Saturday 11-10 pm Sunday - 11 am-8 pm

(863) 314-9459

6813 US 27 South - Sebring, FLorida 70

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


Skeet’r Beat’r Motorized Screen Doors •Garage Doors •Motorized Screens •Hurricane Shutters •Awnings

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888-306-8509 Southwood has been selling, installing and servicing Skeet’r Beat’r Screens in Highlands & Polk County for over 35 Years.

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GarageDoorsandScreens.com 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021


Be Your Own Kind

of

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& All of your Skin care needs

Gift Certificates Available Dr. Rogers and his highly qualified team of Nurse Practitioners and medical staff look forward to keeping your skin healthy for years to come! Dr. Michael J. Rogers, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Alexander W. Kennon, M.D Board Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon Dr. Brooke Rogers, DNP, FNP-C | Barbara Ross, ARNP-C

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SEBRING (863) 385-7183

727 US Hwy 27 S

WINTER HAVEN (863) 293-SKIN 400 Avenue K SE Suite 3

www.LakesideDermatology.com

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


CHAMPION

FOR CHILDREN FOUNDATION OF HI GHL ANDS C O U N T Y, IN C .

• www.championforchildren.org •

George A. Hall Devon P. Donaldson GeoDev Pizza, Inc.

863-386-1177 BE A CHILD’S

935 Sebring Square - Sebring, FL

Will you help provide assistance & hope to our Highlands County families?

Please consider supporting a local family in need. All donations are tax deductible. Make contributions payable to Champion for Children Foundation. 419 East Center Ave., Sebring, FL 33870 (863) 382-2905 • Nonprofit 501(c)3: Federal ID #65-0444941 • Charitable Organization Florida Registration Number CH6601

Sales Service Installation Dryer Vent Cleaning Passionate About Customer Satisfaction

863-699-5455 www.MillersCentralAir.com

LIC. NO. CAC058675

24 Hour Emergency Service

*The Wells Fargo Home Projects credit card is issued by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., an Equal Housing Lender. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. The monthly payment for this purchase will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the promotional (special terms) period. The APR for Purchases will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. For new accounts, the APR for Purchases is 28.99%. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. This information is accurate as of 6/01/2021 and is subject to change. For current information, call us at 1-800-431-5921. Offer expires 12/31/2021.

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By Rebecca Maglischo Photos Courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation

I slashed the metal against the flint for what seemed like the ten millionth time. A single bead of sweat dripped down my nose and paused just long enough to catch a ray of sunshine before dropping onto my feeble pile. Spark, smoke, hope…. spark, smoke, hope….. for an hour now. I simply couldn’t tease a fire out of thin air. My hands were cramping from holding the flint, and the tiny metal razor of my survival bracelet was cutting into my fingers. Another droplet, running down my cheek this time. Fire. The very thing that separates humans from other animals refused me my own sliver of humanity. But it was more than just fire. Something had gotten lost somewhere, something that felt vital to my very existence, something that linked me to the thousands of generations that came before me. And thus it began.

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n her book, Why Women Hunt, author and hunter K. J. Houtman interviews 18 women who hunt to explore their motivations for this most ancient of survival rituals, from the physical to the familial. “This fall, women will feed their families locally-sourced free-range meat that has been foraging on natural grasses, leaves, nuts and berries—clean, delicious food without a trace of chemical additives. But it goes beyond food for many women,” says Houtman. “For some it’s a sense of independence that comes from possessing the skills to hunt, the ability to provide food without having to rely on others.” While many women grew up in hunting families where they learned to hunt from a young age, an increasing number of adult women are becoming hunters well into adulthood. Women want to hunt for many of the same reasons that men do. They enjoy the time in nature, the unexpected challenges that arise and the wonderful interactions that happen with wildlife. They love the fellowship of the time with family and friends and they like providing wild and healthy food that they then turn into delicious meals. Women also appreciate the self-reliance and self-confidence that comes with going safely and successfully afield, and they love to share stories after. Just a few years ago, a woman wanting to learn the skills to become a hunter or angler may have faced challenges. But that has changed rapidly in a short time. Today, women have access to several programs that help teach the skills to hunt, fish, and process wild game. Organizations especially aimed at bringing together women with interests in outdoor skills are making strides to help them develop these skills in the company of other women. With the current migration from cities in turmoil to small town and rural America, interest in programs introducing people to hunting is on the rise. Hunting is seen as part of the larger “locavore” movement, a trend to source food—be it hunted or grown—from one’s own area. 77


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lizabeth Bland, President of the Florida Chapter of the American Daughters of Conservation, is passionate about bringing women into outdoor spaces for many reasons. “ADC is a supportive community of women teaching and mentoring other women,” she says. “When women get together, they can appreciate the challenges that are unique to females and impart knowledge to help other women feel more confident.” American Daughters of Conservation offers events and activities in Florida and nationally for beginning and experienced female hunters and anglers. But there’s a whole lot more, too! “We have more of a voice than we realize,” exclaims Bland. “When women hunt or fish our waterways, they begin to care. And women who care are passionate to conserve!” ADC members additionally attend meetings held by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to provide a voice on matters of conservation. Women bring a unique perspective and experience to the conversation, as well as a real boots-on-the-ground sense of action! Becoming an Outdoors-Woman is an FWC program with excellent opportunities for women in Florida. The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Program provides hands-on workshops and classes to teach adults outdoor skills while building their confidence in their ability to get out and safely enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops are a fun way to connect with nature, meet others who enjoy the outdoors and learn a wide range of skills. Courses include fishing, boating, hunting, target shooting, birdwatching, canoing/kayaking, archery, outdoor cooking and more. Workshops are for anyone 18 years or older who have never tried these activities but want the opportunity to learn as well as those with some experience who want to improve their skills or learn new ones.

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he FWC provides expert instructors and safe, hands-on learning opportunities at these workshops. The next workshop is being hosted April 22-24, 2022, near West Palm Beach at the Everglades Youth Conservation Camp in the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. Attendees can experience nature’s best in a facility that offers air-conditioned cabins and modern restrooms at an affordable price. The proportion of women who hunt or fish has risen more than 25 percent since 2006. Women are finding that these activities give them a chance to connect more closely to the food chain and to nature. It also gives them a chance to connect more closely to other women in a raw and authentic setting. Women can come together, as has been the long lost tradition, in the procurement and preparation of the foods that nourish the people that matter the most.

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863-453-7555 Now ‘s the perfect time to make your Holiday Reservations. Ask about our private room for your next Business Lunch or Holiday Dinner. Sunday - Thursday 11 am - 8 pm Friday & Saturday 11 am to 9 pm

Located in the newly remodeled Club House at Pinecrest Golf Club.

Now Open Daily for Lunch and Dinner Reservation are Welcome

2250 Little Lake Bonnet Road Avon Park, Florida 33825 10 Year Anniversary 2012-2021 81


I didn’t ever spark a fire that day, but I did light a torch in my soul. In reality, the kindling for that internal flame had been carefully placed by the fates over the years. A giant trash pile just waiting for everything to align perfectly. This was that day. I picked up my bow and arrows for the first time in nearly 20 yrs. It felt good. I sat in a tree stand, alone in the dark, for the first time. It felt primal, empowering. I made fire. It felt magical. Then, I went in search of other women. - K. J. Houtman, Why Women Hunt

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Locally Owned and Operated

A Unique & Friendly Neighborhood Restaurant & Tavern Best Gatortail, Wings & Burgers in town! 8 TVs to watch all your favorite games!

Open For Breakfast!

7 Days A Week Served Daily at 7:00 am

Late Dinner Services Friday & Saturday

Outdoor Dining Area!

until 11pm

Watch your favorite Sport Event on one of our 5 TVs in the Tiki!

Try our Newest Item!

Jumbo Pretzel

with Beer Cheese Try our new online ordering!

Go to our Facebook page to check it out.

Dog Friendly Patio

Serving Highlands County for over 40 years

2751 US 27 South - Avon Park, FL 33825 84

Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

CHECK OUT OUR

Monday thru Thursday 3 pm - 6 pm

SPECIALS!

www.WildTurkeyTavern.com


Bare Wood Market Presents

Artist Market

Featuring local artists displaying their art for one month. Artwork will be for sale. A different artist will be featured at the beginning of each month. There will be an informal opening night each month to introduce our 'Artist of the Month’

We are a one stop shop for all your lighting and home improvement needs. y o Carr We Als ulbs LED B

• Light Fixtures • Table & Floor • Lamps • Bulbs • Ballasts • Security Lighting • Lamp Shades • Lamp Repair

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Shop With Us Online!

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283 US 27 NORTH VILLAGE FOUNTAIN PLAZA SEBRING, FL 33870

Store hours Wednesday - Friday 10:30am – 4:00pm Saturday 10:00am-2:00pm

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863-314-6545

Full Service Salon& Spa Hair | Nails Skin care | Hair Removal Massage and More! Gift Certificates Available

Be Beautiful!

7417 US Hwy 27 North | Sebring, FL 33870 Now hiring motivated professionals! Chair rental and private suites available. Follow us on Facebook

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Day of the Dead is becoming more and more popular north of the border with festive ways to decorate your home this time of year. Featuring candy skulls, paper banners, and the color pop of bright orange marigolds, the symbols of this Mexican traditional holiday appeal to many people, especially those who don’t enjoy the creepy/gory aspect of Halloween. El Día de los Muertos (sometimes just called Día de Muertos) occurs on November 2nd every year, corresponding with the Feast of All Souls in the Catholic faith. According to tradition, on the Day of the Dead the souls of the departed are permitted to return to earth to visit their family members for twenty-four hours. Families welcome them and help guide them home with altars featuring photos of the deceased family members, candles, marigold flowers, pan de muertos (a sweet bread that literally translates as “the bread of the dead”) and the favorite food and drinks of those who have passed on. Decorations for Day of the Dead often consist of cheerful skulls, paper picado banners, and marigold flowers (it is said their scent helps guide the dead to their altars). Here are a few DIY Day of the Dead decorations you can make at home.

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You can never have too many calaveras (skulls). In Mexico, vendors sell tiny ones made of sugar and decorated with colorful icing smiles or painted wooden ones for decoration. Here are a few fun ideas to try. Smiling Stone Skulls. Stones and paint are all you need to make these pocket-sized skulls shared by Portland artist Alisa Burke. Simply paint one side of the stone white, add black features for the eyes, nose, and friendly grimace. Then decorate with brightly colored dots and flowers. Suncatcher Bead Skulls. This project uses wooden skull cut-outs you can find at Michaels or another craft store. Line a metal baking sheet with foil and fill the holes in the cut-out with colorful pony beads. Set the pan on a hot grill until the beads melt. When the project cools, you can paint the cut-out or keep the natural wood-grain look. You can also buy those white pumpkins that are often overlooked at the grocery store and paint traditional Day of the Dead skull faces on them. Clay flower pots painted white and then similarly decorated work well, too. Once you master the traditional style of the skull face, the possibilities are endless! 89


The traditional paper banners of Day of the Dead are inexpensive and easy to find online, but you can make them yourself as well. Use tissue paper or, for a sturdier option, lightweight plastic tablecloth material. Cut pieces to the desired size, then find a template online or design your own. (Templates are available for skullshaped, rectangular, or scalloped designs, to name a few). Trace the design and start cutting, or you can go rogue and “snowflake” it, folding the material and snipping away like you would do for a paper snowflake project. String them up as a garland one of two ways: either punch holes in the top two corners for the string or fold the papel picado over the string and glue it down (works better with tissue paper than plastic).

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It’s not Day of the Dead without marigold flowers. But rather than spending a lot of money at the florist, you can make your own out of bright orange or golden yellow tissue paper and pipe cleaners. You can make the flowers any size, but a good start is to cut your tissue paper into 7.5 by 10 inch pieces. Fold the paper accordion style and use scissors to round off each end. Wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle, then gently fan out the “flower petals.” Fluff your flowers and display!

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Lanterns and luminaries are all the rage this time of year, right up there with pumpkin-spiced lattes and zombies. You can put a Day of the Dead spin on any type of paper, tin can, or mason jar luminary, but we really like this one: Draw your paper picado-type design on a paper bag and use an X-acto knife to cut out various parts where you want the light to shine through. Cut the rim off a short paper cup and tape the paper bag design around it. Fill the cup with rice and an LED light, then line your windowsill, counter, or fireplace mantel ¡Ándale! (You got it!)

If you try your hand at these projects or any others,we’d love to see your results! Share your photos and comments on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/heartlandlivingmagazine.

Tutorials and YouTube Videos can be found online for any of these Dia De Los Muertos projects.

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Día de los Muertos By Cindy S. Adams Dead of the Day is a holiday that celebrates with delicious cuisine. Ready to get the family or friends together to feast on some of the best traditional delicacies? Here's some of the tastiest and simplest recipes that you can create to make the holiday a memorable experience.

Pan de Muerto “Bread of the Dead” A sweet bread that is baked during the Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebrated in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd.

Ingredients

¼ c milk ¼ c water 2 Tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature 2 ½ - 3 c unbleached all purpose flour, divided ¼ c sugar 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (one packet) 1 ½ tsp ground anise 1 tsp salt 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1 egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)

For the Glaze and Topping

1 small orange, zested and juiced (roughly 1/4 c orange juice) ¼ c + 1 Tbsp sugar, divided

Instructions

In a small saucepan heat the milk, water, and butter together until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a shallow, wide bowl to cool to 80-90F. In a large bowl, mix together 1 c flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and anise. Add the cooled milk mixture and whisk until combined. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining 1 ½ - 2 c flour gradually, mixing until each addition is fully incorporated before adding more. Add just as much flour as you need for a soft, but workable dough to form. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes, adding any remaining flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the counter. Knead until the dough is smooth and soft, but doesn't stick to your hands. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover it with a damp tea towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, roughly 1 hour. Cut 3 small portions (roughly 1.5 ounces each) and 1 smaller portion (roughly .5 oz) from your dough. Shape the 3 smaller portions into a rope that is roughly 6-7 inches long and has 4 bulges. (These are your ‘bones’.) Shape the smallest portion into a small ball (for the top).

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Shaping dough to make Mexican Day of the Dead Bread Pan de Muerto Shape the remaining larger portion of dough into a large ball and place it on a flour-dusted baking sheet. Brush it with the egg wash and layer the three "bones" across the top. Brush again with egg wash and press the smallest ball into the top where the bones meet. Brush the top ball with egg wash.

Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped. (The internal temperature taken with an instant read thermometer should read 170F.) If the crust looks like it is getting too brown for your liking towards the end of baking, you can tent it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.

Dough ready to rise for Mexican Day of the Dead Bread Pan de Muerto

While the bread is baking, make the glaze: Heat ¼ c sugar together with the zest and juice of one small orange. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If necessary, strain the glaze of any orange pulp and set the strained glaze aside.

Let the dough rise in a warm and draft-free place until puffy and nearly doubled, roughly 35-45 minutes. Near the end of the rising time, move your oven rack to the lowest position (this bread gets tall and having extra space over the top of the bread in the oven will help it not darken so quickly) and preheat your oven to 350F.

When the bread is done, brush the warm loaf with the glaze and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Let the bread cool slightly before slicing. Serves 8 people. 99


Sugar Skull Pear with Cream Cheese Crepes Ingredients

Crepe Toppings 10-12 crepes (Store bought or make your own) 1-2 pears 1-2 kiwis 1/2 cup strawberries 1/2 cup blueberries 1/4 cup sunflower seeds Filling 8 oz cream cheese, softened 4 oz mascarpone 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Combine cream cheese, mascarpone, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Electric mixers are recommended, unless you want a workout. Lay each crepe flat, and spread on a thin layer of filling on each. Fold in half, and then fold in thirds. Slice pear as close to the core as possible to get the tallest slice. Use your favorite cookie cutters to make fun shapes with the other sliced fruit. Pineapple and kiwi work really well for this. Place pear at center of crepes for the skull, and then decorate with the other fruit to make the facial expressions. Use sunflower seeds to make tiny teeth. Decorate the rest of the crepes as deliciously as you want. We made an alternating pattern on ours, but this is a great step for everyone to get their hands on.

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Day of the Dead Sugar Cookies Ingredients

1-1/4 cups butter, softened 1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar 2 oz almond paste 1 large egg 1/4 cup 2% milk 1 tsp vanilla extract 4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp salt 2 packages (12 ounces each) white candy coating melts Optional decorations: Jumbo sprinkles, peppermint candies, candy-coated sunflower kernels, Skittles, Twizzlers Rainbow Twists and Good & Plenty candies Black paste food coloring

Instructions

In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy; add almond paste. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut out with a floured 5-in. skull-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 7-9 minutes or until firm. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. In a large, shallow microwave-safe dish, melt white candy coating melts according to package directions. Dip top side of each cookie into coating, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed paper. Add decorations as desired. Tint remaining white candy coating black; pipe on mouth. Let stand until set.

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Pomegranate Margarita This sweet, refreshing tequila cocktail is great for special occasions like the Day of the Dead.

Ingredient

4 oz Tequila 4 oz pomegranate juice 1 Tbsp lime juice 2 tsp agave nectar pinch of kosher salt plus more to salt rim if desired

Instructions

Pour all ingredients with ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake very well to mix. If salting the rims of the glasses, rub a cut lime around the outer edge of the glass, pour a little salt in the palm of your hand, and roll the edge in the salt to coat. Fill glasses with ice. Strain mixed cocktail over the ice, and serve immediately.

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Enjoy!


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