Heartland LIVING Oct-Nov 2022

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October & November 2022

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October & November 2022 3

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Thank You for Voting

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With Dr. Maye joining our team, we now have more availability to accommodate your child’s dental needs!

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www.evergladespedodent.com October & November 2022



Okeechobee Cattle Drive Sculpture Project By Sharie Turgeon



October & November 2022 Volume 11  Issue 5


Insider Chicken Tips By Christy Swift


Rachel's Gift By Katy Fassler


Central Florida is Reaching for the Stars By Christy Swift

56 October & November 2022 7



October & November 2022 Volume 11  Issue 5


Birds of Prey Migrate to Florida By Rebecca Maglischo


Beautiful Monsters and More By Christy Swift


Fall Robust Flavors By Cindy Adams


10 Letter from the Publisher 16 Behind the Scenes 20 From our Readers

October & November 2022

COVER Lucy Prescott Photography by


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com


Charissa Greubel

Fall in Love with Your Smile! Cosmetic & General Dental Services Laser Treatment and Digital Imaging Orthodontics Invisalign ® Full-mouth Rehabilitation Same-day Crowns, Root Canals, Bridges & More Zoom! ® Whitening Sedation



October & November 2022 9



My mom, Anne Sebring, celebrating her 90th Birthday with me and her great-granddaughter Finley Grace Pleger and granddaughter Jessica Pleger


think this summer has been the hottest we’ve ever seen, or at least that is the way I feel. We welcome fall and thank you for picking up the October & November Issue. It is time to start planning for all the fall events we have coming up here in the Heartland. And while you are attending these events, please support local businesses by stopping by to say hello and see what they have that you just can’t do without. Holidays are coming up and I know I’m looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with my family. One thing my parents taught us is we should always spend holidays and occasions together, whether big or small if we all can. One big occasion we just celebrated was our mom’s 90th birthday. She was so excited, and we are so blessed she is so healthy at 90 years old. We cherish every day and moment with her.

As we continue to walk down this path of life, let’s continue doing this together. Life changes in the blink of an eye, and right now we are all experiencing changes in our day-to-day lives that we haven’t experienced before. Let’s get real, it feels like we’ve been fighting obstacles since 2020. We just need to acknowledge what is important in our lives and keep moving forward, together. Let’s be supportive, kind and a smile doesn’t cost a thing. So many people, families are sharing on social media that they have chicken coups or starting them. It was brought to my attention we needed to do a story on tips how to start your flock. Thank you to the Thurlow, Redding and Pickle families for sharing your knowledge and joining us in a cute and fun photoshoot. It was hard but out of all the photos Charissa Greubel took we chose Lucy Prescott to grace our cover. One trip you may want to take is to Okeechobee to visit their newly installed public art of a 10-piece Cattle Drive Sculpture Project. This larger-than-life art installation celebrates the heritage of cattle ranchers in Okeechobee. We congratulate Okeechobee Main Street’s Arts & Culture Alliance, the local governments, and the community for celebrating the legacy of the rancher. For generations to come, families will get a glimpse of their heritage how it shaped Okeechobee County. We have a little of something for everyone in this issue. Find a comfy place to start flipping the pages and please let me know which story was your favorite. We are loving that you are sharing your thoughts of each issue, so we know what you enjoy and your ideas for future stories. Heartland LIVING wouldn’t be publishing without all my amazing advertisers. Thank you everyone for all your support for over 10 years. We are looking for many more! God Bless,


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Cindy Sebring Adams

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October & November 2022


October & November 2022 Volume 11  Issue 5

CEO | Publisher Cindy Sebring Adams

Creative Director Bridgette Waldau

Editor Christy Swift

Photography Director Rafael Pacheco

Feature Writers Katy Fassler Rebecca Maglischo Christy Swift Sharie Turgeon

Cover Photographer Charissa Greubel

Published by

Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc.

Feature Photographers Charissa Greubel Sharon Jones

Proud Recipient of 18 Contact: 412 Rest Haven Road, Zolfo Springs, FL 33890 863-781-0344

In the Following Categories:


Best Overall Design

Cindy@Heartland-Living.com Become a fan on facebook


Charlie Awards

2014 - 2021

Best Department Design (2) Best Feature Design (4) Cover Photo Illustration Best Traditional Illustration Best Self-Promotional Ad Best Table of Contents 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 2022, 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.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Fall in Love with your


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October & November 2022 15

BEHIND THE SCENES Creative Director

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.

October & November 2022 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.

Editor | Writer

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.

Photographer CHARISSA GREUBEL Hey! I’m Rissa,

Owner of Photos by Rissa. I’m just a small town hippie-hearted girl, that loves to travel, empower and motivate others to be their best self, and be a mama to my three little cuties. I’m passionate about my work, in love with my family, and & dedicated to spreading light. It’s contagious.


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.



Sharon's passion has always been photography. She is an award-winning photographer having transitioned from amateur to professional in 2010. She is a member of Okeechobee Main Street, on the arts and cultural committee. Recently married to Ronald, Sharon has lived in Okeechobee for many years, and has one son, Karl. “I love the history of our little town. I want to preserve all of our ‘todays’ through the lens of my camera, for our future ‘tomorrows’.”

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.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

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Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

T h e Vi l l a g e s o f H i g h l a n d s R i d g e 36 Holes of Championship Golf

is home to 635 families that live in beautiful homes with beautiful views. There are 150 completely ready to build homesites available. All infrastructure is in place. This is a golf cart friendly community. Actually, it is a golf cart preferred community. A full-time event coordinator keeps everybody as busy as they can be. Not to mention, besides the golf courses, there is bocce ball, pickle ball, basketball, tennis, shuffleboard courts, and two swimming pools, two restaurants, two club houses and two pro shops. Lake Bonnet is adjacent to this property. There are two piers on Lake Bonnet, one is for watching beautiful sunsets; the second dock is next to the private boat ramp. The golf course is set in the middle of the wilderness . You get a chance to step back in time and see where the Seminole Indians roamed and lived. There is wildlife galore. Florida Whitetail deer, Osceola turkeys with their big 8-inch beards, owls, hawks, eagles, ospreys and then of course you have your residence squirrels, possums, armadillos, raccoons, bobcats, and you might even get lucky and see a Florida panther.


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October & November 2022

from our


August & September 2022

Heartland LIVING August & September 2022

August & September 2022

So proud of my granddaughter Taylor and all her hard work and her journey to Miss USA. I know she will represent our sunshine state with grace and elegance. I’m so glad that Heartland Living Magazine wrote this awesome story of Taylor and her accomplishments . I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who was involved in writing this wonderful article. -Patsy DeVoss

TaylorFulford 2022 Miss Florida USA

I could not be happier for Okeechobee's very own, Taylor Fulford, Miss Florida USA for gracing the cover of the current Heartland Living Magazine. - Donny Arnold

Our horses love to do beach rides, and their favorite thing to do is swim.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

August & September 2022 51


Hi Cindy. Just wanted to let you know how very impressed I am with your magazine, Heartland Living. I work with Mark Gose in Highlands Ridge (Avon Park) and he brings me several copies of the magazine whenever they come out. I hold them back for home buying prospects who know nothing about Highlands County. They, too, admire the quality and content. It's such a great representation of what goes on here. -Lydia Taylor, Highlands Ridge New Homes Realty

Wow! Best publication I’ve seen since I’ve been in Florida; and that’s 40 years. Your advertisers must be gratified. -Ron Heller, Ageless author

By Kimberly Blaker

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I LOVE Heartland Living and look forward -Jeanne Adam, Lake Placid to a free copy. Always look forward to reading it! -Pamela Phillips Soler

Volunteering is an excellent way for families to make a difference in their communities and offers lots of benefits to those who volunteer their time and skills. First and foremost, nothing is more rewarding than knowing you've made a difference in someone's life. What's more, volunteering raises kids' sense of civic responsibility. It also makes for an excellent family bonding and skill-building experience as well as a socialization opportunity for kids and adults alike. Regardless of where you live, countless volunteer opportunities are available, and there's something to fit every family's talents and interests. So share these ideas with your kids to see what triggers their enthusiasm. Then make a family plan to put it into action.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

August & September 2022 97

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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www.SouthernGraceWedding.com October & November 2022 23

Stella Thurlow and Lucy Prescott


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Things You Should Know Before Starting Your Flock By Christy Swift Photography by Charissa Greubel

Chickens are all the rage these days (or should I say “range”?). Whether it’s for self-reliance, farm-fresh eggs, teaching the kids responsibility, or just for fun, if you’re flocking onto the chicken bandwagon, here are the top things you need to know from some local chicken experts.

October & November 2022 25

First things first. Different municipalities have different rules about whether or not you can have chickens, how many, and if you can have noisy roosters or must limit your flock to hens. Check your local ordinances and homeowner’s association rules for requirements before getting started.

Wauchula mom Sierra Redding Prescott got a surprise when her three children each brought home two chicks, given to them by a friend. She used a Rubbermaid tote at first, but as the chicks grew, they had to build a proper coop. “We have a horse barn, and we turned one of the horse stalls into a coop. Then we bought what looks like a dog run off Amazon.” Chickens should have constant access to fresh, clean water and feed. Make sure they have shade from sun and rain and aren’t overcrowded. They also need grit (small stones or ground up oyster shells) to help them digest their food. You’ll need a heat lamp for chicks, even in the summer. Once they are laying, they’ll need nesting boxes—about one nesting box for every three to four hens.

Your chickens can free range or peck around in their run during the day, but they must be secured at night to be safe from predators. “Raccoons, bobcats, and hawks are the biggest predators,” says Brittany Nickerson Thurlow, who runs Nickerson Cattle Company with her family in Zolfo Springs. She also runs a hatchery, selling eggs to buyers who want to grow their flocks. “Chickens like to be high up at night, so they need something to roost on. I use a bar or ladders in my coop. The door needs to be shut, and the coop needs to have good ventilation, especially in the summer, so they don’t get too hot.” If you’re able to have one, Brittany recommends keeping a rooster, who will protect his brood.


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

October & November 2022 27


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

What do you want from your chickens? If you’re looking for big egg producers, Brittany says the Rhode Island Red produces up to 300 large eggs a year and the Leghorn (a white chicken with a red comb) is another good choice. For meat chickens, you’ll want the Cornish Cross. “That’s the bird you buy in the grocery store. It’s fast growing,” Brittany says. The Red Ranger is also an option, or, if you’re looking for a higher-end meat chicken, she recommends the Bresse: “Allegedly it’s the most delicious chicken in the world.” The Bresse is a good egg producer as well, making it a dual-purpose bird, as is the Turken (those are the ones with the naked necks). For show chickens, there’s a wide variety of options. Thirteen-yearold Paysleigh Pickle from Arcadia took home several awards at Agfest 2021 with her Bearded Belgian Mille Fleur D’Uccle cock, but her 4-H leader recommends larger breeds for showing, like Orpingtons, Brahma, or Cochins.

Hixon, Brittany and Stella Thurlow

For a backyard situation, Brittany says most people want a combination of a nice-looking bird that also produces eggs and has a good personality. “Orpingtons are hardy and beautiful. They come in a variety of colors and have a good nature. The Wyandotte is pretty, and they are decent layers. They come in different varieties. The Silver Laced are black and white. Then there are the Blue Laced Reds. ‘Blue’ really means ‘gray’.” If you want an overly friendly chicken, she recommends the Speckled Sussex. “They are hardy and super personable, but also super annoying—they are all up in your business. I love it!” The Speckled Sussex have a deep rust color with white flecking and green intermixed. For chickens specifically for kids, Brittany recommends little Bantam breeds, like Silkies and Seramas: “The chickens are smaller and easier to handle. They’re docile, easy to keep up, and hardy.” Not all roosters are mean, but some can be, so if you’re combining kids and roosters, beware!

Sometimes it’s not egg quantity people are looking for, but color, and Brittany is one of those people. The Ameraucana and Cream Crested Legbar lay blue eggs, she explains. The Maran lays a dark brown egg. Olive eggers lay a green one. A mix of breeds can give you that coveted “rainbow” egg basket. October & November 2022 29

Hixon Thurlow


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Another decision to make is what age to get your flock. You can obtain purebred eggs from places like Brittany’s hatchery, Stoner Lane Farm, via Facebook and incubate them yourself. Or you can buy alreadyhatched chicks from local feed stores or breeders. You can get pullets (young hens that aren’t laying yet) or mature hens. The younger you get them, the better opportunity for bonding with them, but the greater your chance of heartbreak because... This is a lesson Sierra discovered the hard way (her husband actually called her the Chicken Grim Reaper). “We started out with six baby chicks and I lost one. My son was devastated. Then they got older and bigger and we were doing good and another one got sick. It went limp and wouldn’t get up,” she recalls. Chicks (and chickens for that matter) can die for a number of reasons, including worms, mites, and even just the heat. “Summer is the hardest time of year to raise birds,” Brittany says. “It’s hot and moist and they get a lot of respiratory issues. They’re also slower to lay in the heat.” “Keep them hydrated and out of the sun,” Paysleigh suggests. “Once poultry gets sick it’s often too far gone to save them.” Chickens need their feed, but they also love kitchen scraps! There are a few things they shouldn’t eat (like avocado, dry beans, and onions), but they’ll love your soggy old grapes and vegetables and your watermelon rinds. If it’s hot, fill a pie pan with scraps and a little water and freeze it for a chicken “popsicle” that will also keep them cool. They also like corn and mealworms for treats. Unfortunately chickens are not a “set and forget” pet. You don’t have to keep it spotless, but you can stave off disease by keeping their coop clean. Use a wire brush or paint scraper to get rid of dried chicken poop. Keep their nesting boxes full of fresh hay or bedding and sprinkle diatomaceous earth on everything to ward off insects, especially mites. If you do get a mite infestation, treat it promptly with an insecticide recommended for chickens (Brittany and Paysleigh use Adams brand). Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and pay attention to egg withdrawal periods so you know when it’s safe to consume eggs again. Paysleigh Pickle

October & November 2022 31


Chickens can help keep themselves clean and mite-free if you give them an area to dust bathe. A small area filled with a combination of sand, wood ash, and diatomaceous earth is all you need. Sometimes the chickens will actually make a dust bath themselves, and you can throw in a handful of diatomaceous earth to complete it. Eggs have a natural barrier on the outside, but once they get wet, they can absorb bacteria, Brittany warns. Pick them up every day (every three days minimum) or embryos might develop if you have a rooster. You can keep unwashed eggs on the counter for two weeks. If eggs are dirty and need washing, put them in the refrigerator right after. If you bring new chickens into your flock, keep them separated for at least a week in case they are sick or show signs of parasites. Sometimes bringing new “girls” in can cause strife (it’s not called a “pecking order” for nothing). If you can keep the newcomers in a pen where all the chickens can see one another during quarantine, it will help them get used to each other before they co-mingle.

Lucy, Sierra, Behr and Kane Prescott

October & November 2022 33

Behr Prescott


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

Shea Swift

Photo by Christy Swift

Lucy Prescott, Brittany Thurlow, Hixon Thurlow, Stella Thurlow, Sierra Prescott, Kane Prescott, Sorrel Pickle, Behr Prescott and Paysleigh Pickle

If your young hen suddenly becomes limp and lays down, but still has her eyes open and doesn’t appear ill, Brittany says she might be egg-bound. “Sometimes when she’s a new mama, her body is figuring out what’s going on, and an egg gets stuck somewhere in her reproductive system.” Brittany advises that you soak the hen in a warm, Epsom salt bath, then put her in a cage by herself. Usually she’ll lay the egg within four to five hours.

Don and Maria Maddox Owners


4441 US Hwy 27 South - Sebring, FL 33870

If eggs are soft or the shells are weak or translucent, it means the hens need more calcium. “Put out a bowl of oyster shells,” Brittany recommends. “They have them at the feed store. They’ll eat it as they need it or you can start offering it to them as soon as they start laying.”

f you see your birds starting to lose their feathers, Brittany says it’s usually one of two things. “Either it’s molting season—once a year they lose their feathers and new ones come in. Or they’re protein deficient. Get them black oil sunflower seeds or feed them raw eggs.” It may sound awfully close to cannibalism, but Brittany stands by the practice. “I crack it in there and they love it. They fight for it!” For more tips on raising chickens, join a local chicken community on social media. Happy flocking!

We are so excited for the journey ahead as we grow our family amidst Hobby Hill Florist. We are ready to carry on the traditions and values that have surrounded Hobby Hill for decades. It’s our greatest hope that the Hobby Hill customers will accept us as your family’s florist the same way you have Ladonna for so many loving years. Your new Hobby Hill Family, Andrew, Brooke, Liam and Ellie McDermott

Thank you for voting us Best of Highlands

Best Florist 2021 Best Home Decor 2021 Best Custom Jewelry 2021

October & November 2022 35


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October & November 2022 37

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Steaks - Seafood - Pasta We serve Chairman’s Reserve Certified Premium Steaks! OCTOBER 29 Join us for our annual server Halloween costume contest! Goodies for the kids and adults that show up in costume.

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October & November 2022 39


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Celebrating Cattle Ranching History through Arts By: Sharie Turgeon, Okeechobee Main Street Executive Director Photography by Sharon Jones

These words spoken in Leesburg, FL by Bridgette Waldau, were the beginning of a significant and historical art installation in Okeechobee, FL. The Cattle Drive Sculpture Project was years in the making, starting in 2015 when Bridgette, Arts & Culture Alliance Director of Okeechobee Main Street [OKMS], visited the Brownwood development of The Villages in Leesburg, FL and saw a bronze cattle drive installation. She knew such a work of art would be perfect for Okeechobee.

October & November 2022



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to August 6, 2022. The Okeechobee community celebrated the legacy of Florida’s cattle industry with the dedication of the 10-piece, larger than life, bronze cattle drive sculpture installation in the Cattlemen’s Square of Flagler Park in downtown Okeechobee. “Without Bridgette’s vision, we wouldn’t be standing here today,” OKMS President Angie Griffin said at the dedication. “This will be a legacy for Okeechobee for years and years to come.” The sculpture project started in 2018 shortly after OKMS gained recognition from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs for the Flagler Park butterfly garden, featuring an art installation of giant butterfly sculptures. This project resulted in the creation of the OKMS Arts & Cultural Alliance [ACA], a local art agency for Okeechobee County. At the organization meeting, Bridgette expressed she had two top items on her bucket list for the new ACA. The first item was to create a local art center, and the second was to install a cattle drive sculpture. The ACA decided to initiate the sculpture project, researching the artist of the Brownwood sculpture and fundraising strategies. “Before I could take a breath, plans were laid out, and the project began,” Bridgette said. 43

I believe it is important to have a hands-on approach to fine art with access available to everyone. This art is now placed in a beautiful setting, to enjoy all year long.” - J. Michael Wilson


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City Council gave ACA permission to put the art installation in downtown Okeechobee, Flagler Park #5. With a place set, the ACA then consulted with local ranchers in designing plans for the art project. It was vital that this cattle drive sculpture reflected Okeechobee. It was also important that the public art become a community project. There were sponsorship levels for the individual pieces, but that only paid for about half the project—the rest of the funding came from other donors: small and large ranches, corporations, and private citizens. Bridgette said, “Kathy Scott, an ACA member, single-handedly raised more than half of the funds for the project. Her tenacity, along with the generous support of the community, made this project possible. Understanding the economic impact, the Tourist Development of Okeechobee County also contributed to the sculptures. The installation is a representation of over 200 ranches in Okeechobee County. “Art provides a sense of place and purpose in the community,” said Brad Phares, who is both an artist and a rancher. “The sculptures are based on the Okeechobee County cattle industry of the 1950s and 1960s. The cattle industry in Florida has a long and inspiring history.” 45

J. Michael Wilson from Lehi, Utah was commissioned to do the impressive project that consists of 10 sculptures: cowboy riding a horse, cowboy at a fence, brahma bull, 5 head of cattle, calf, and cow dog. Michael based the sculptures on photos provided by ranchers and his own knowledge of animals. Wilson studied to be a veterinarian before opting for a career in the arts. At a special Artist's Reception held on August 5, he explained, “Because of Covid, there have been quite a few disruptions. I just kept working. I love doing my work, always thinking positive. Sculptural welders and artisans at Mountain Trails Gallery and Adonis Bronze Foundry also worked with him on the project. Michael said, “My hope for this project and Okeechobee is to leave a lasting reminder of the importance provided by local cattle owners and breeders from the last 500 years—a rare breed of community, integrity, and pride. As the world is rapidly changing, it’s valuable to know our roots. I believe it is important to have a hands-on approach to fine art with access available to everyone. This art is now placed in a beautiful setting, to enjoy all year long.” He is inspired by the generations of ranchers in Okeechobee. “I create works of art, but what you guys have in Okeechobee is a beautiful masterpiece,” Michael stated at the dedication. 46

Artist Mike Wilson at dedication

Bridgette said, “It has been an honor to have worked with Michael during this 4-year process. I greatly admire his talent, and I am privileged to call him my friend.” The park setting for the project was significant because the ACA, along with ranchers, wanted to give the visitors the feel of stepping on a ranch. All the pieces are designed to give a sense of movement. When walking into the park, it appears as if the cattle are walking on a wide-open ranch. Bridgette stated, “Michael’s individual art pieces are each unique, but we want the viewer to look at all the sculptures as one piece of art that reflects a moment in time.” OKMS values partnerships with government and community leaders to help create a “place” in downtown Okeechobee. And those partnerships were crucial in creating a “place” for the sculpture. The Economic Council of Okeechobee County reached out to OKMS during the beginning stages of the project and consulted with OKMS to create a vision and master plan for Downtown Flagler Parks. Architectural firm Calvin, Giordano & Associates worked closely with OKMS to design the footprint for the sculpture project.

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October & November 2022 47

The Cattle Drive Sculpture dedication, held on August 6 was very well attended by the community. After a presentation by the ACA Committee City & County Dignitaries, there was a ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiling of the sculptures. The celebration also included food, vendors and entertainment.


ACA Member Brad Phares at dedication

The City of Okeechobee, Okeechobee County, and the Frank Altobello Foundation funded the infrastructure and landscaping of the park. General Contractor Mark Brandel, who volunteered his valuable time, supervised the sub-contractors, many of whom also donated in-kind services. Together they created a perfect canvas for the sculptures.

Mary Kay

The design of the park is set up so that visitors can walk, day or night, around the entire installation. The sidewalk around the installation has informational markers and natural stone benches to sit and view the project. There is also an educational kiosk with information about the ranching industry, artist information, the bronze process, a listing of all the donors and the ACA information. Okeechobee County Clerk, Jerry Bryant, stated, “Bridgette, this exhibit is one of the most beautiful, meaningful, exquisite projects ever done in Okeechobee since the construction of the historic courthouse, city hall and two brick schoolhouses. It is also one of the boldest undertakings. Our community owes you and all the principal movers of Main Street much gratitude for your efforts in making this a reality. But mostly, thank you, Bridgette, for your foresight, imagination, tireless efforts, passion, and your persistence in seeing this project to completion.”

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OKMS President Angie Griffin with Marie and Gil Culbreth

Bridgette Waldau & OKMS Secretary Kathy Scott

On August 5, an Artist's Reception for Mike Wilson was held at the award winning Historical Bank Building of Okeechobee. Gil and Marie Culbreth, owners of the building, provided the beautiful setting. Over 100 guests attended the reception, including OKMS Board and ACA committee members, dignitaries and project donors. OKMS also awarded two Florida Main Street Secretary of State. One to the Culbreth's for the restoration of the Bank Building of Okeechobee and one to Kathy Scott for her fundraising efforts for the Cattle Drive Sculpture Project.

Guest of honor Mike Wilson with Bridgette & Jim Waldau

OKMS Executive Director Sharie Turgeon and OKMS Board Member Diane Hagan

OKMS Board Member & ACA Committee Member Sharon Jones with husband Ron


City of Okeechobee & Okeechobee County Dignitaries

For generations to come, families will get a glimpse of their heritage, and visitors will understand the importance of the ranch industry and how it shaped Okeechobee County. "When Bridgette first told the City Council about this project, I thought she was crazy," said Mayor Dowling Watford at the dedication. "It is quite a testament that our community came together and made this park possible. Okeechobee is a unique place. This is the real Florida.” This sculpture project preserves the legacy of Florida heritage for many generations to come, allowing the essence of the Florida Cowboy to come alive. The ACA’s mission is to create public art reflecting the uniqueness of Okeechobee, and the community stepped up to create a symbol of the quality of the lifestyle in Okeechobee. The Arts & Culture Alliance is proud of what Okeechobee did. “Having a vision is easy, but getting it done is another story. I want to thank OKMS, my ACA team, City and County leaders, donors, along with all others in the community for supporting this project and working so hard to make it happen. I am so humbled by the kind words and support, but one person could not have done this alone,” said Bridgette. The Cattle Drive Sculpture art installation is easy to find, located in the fifth block of SW Park Street in Flagler Park, that runs alongside Hwy State Road 70.

Artist Mike Wilson with ACA Director Bridgette Waldau

A list of donors, contractors and all who made this possible, can be found on ACA’s website at www.OkeechobeeArts.org . For more information contact OKMS at 863-357-6246 or visit the new ACA Art Center at 111 NE 2nd Street. Yes, ACA's first bucket list item of opening an art center also became a reality last year.

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October & November 2022 51

It is quite a testament that our community came together and made this park possible. Okeechobee is a unique place. This is the real Florida.

- City of Okeechobee Mayor Dowling Watford


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Rachel Ore


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

By Katy R. Fassler

“Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.” -Albert Einstein Rachel Ore is not your average author or illustrator. Art and storytelling began as a tool to communicate with her family. Her voice is now sharing her gifts with the world.

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achel was born in 1996 in California. After a horrible reaction to a vaccine at age two, everything changed. Rachel suffered a stroke which left her unable to speak or walk for a long time. With strength and persistence, Rachel has overcome so much. “I remember I couldn’t talk for a long time,” says Rachel. Roslyn Ore, Rachel’s mother, adds, “When she got older, she used to draw, and you would know if she was having a good day or a bad day.” Since the stroke, Rachel has been diagnosed with aphasia and, later, rheumatoid arthritis. “I’m just a girl that likes to draw a lot,” says Rachel. “I used to do a lot of doodles when I was a little girl, and when I was in the fifth grade, I started really drawing. I normally draw animals because they’re easy to draw. I basically taught myself.” Rachel adds, “When I was 13, I created ‘Pixie Dogs.’ I dreamed of faraway places and magical worlds, and that is what inspired me to do my own thing. I love dogs so I thought, ‘I could use dogs!’ I gave them little furry wings and antennas just to be cute.” Rachel’s first book, Pixie Dogs: It's Not Easy Being a Princess, “is about a princess learning that taking care of a kingdom isn’t a walk in the park,” she explains.

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I’m just a girl that likes to draw a lot. - Rachel Ore

Rachel with her mom, Roslyn

Victoria Napolitano

Rachel and brother CJ


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ictoria Napolitano, international a w a r d - w i n n i n g d e s i g n e r, photographer, author, songwriter, film maker, and radio personality, helped make this dream a reality. Visiting the Ore family, who happen to be close friends, Victoria spent some time with Rachel looking at her many sketchbooks. “A week after my birthday, Victoria came over and wanted to see my drawings. After only a few minutes she told me she was going to publish her book,” Rachel says. “It really was Victoria who made this a reality,” says Roslyn. “Because I knew (Rachel) had a talent, I knew she was good, but I didn’t know where to start.”

Rachel with Nana

“Rachel’s favorite name is Amethyst,” adds Roslyn. “At one point we were thinking of publishing everything through the name Amethyst so people didn't need to know it was Rachel and Rachel never needed to talk to anybody. But at the last minute, and I am so proud, she came and said, ‘I want to be me.’” Rachel’s creating a whole world of Pixie Dogs. Beyond the book, she is creating merchandise for the many characters. You can purchase notebooks, mugs, t-shirts, Christmas cards, and more on her website. Rachel is really hoping to soon offer plushies! Pixie Dogs: It’s Not Easy Being a Princess is dedicated to Rachel’s Nana, Maria. Maria was an encouragement and inspiration for Rachel. Unfortunately, Maria passed away due to Covid. Dedicating the first book was a way to honor her influence and to thank her for all she had done. Rachel is always thinking of others. “I want children to make achievements. I want them to think, ‘If a character can do this, so can I!’ I want kids to know that there is still magic in this world, in a way.” October & November 2022 61

(Above): Rachel with her parents, Bobby and Roslyn Ore; (Below right): Rachel signing her first book autograph

Rachel and Captain


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achel does really want to inspire other people,” adds Roslyn. “Rachel has this amazing ability to see the good in everyone.” Roslyn recalled a time when Rachel was in high school and came home in tears, very upset, regarding something that was said to her. Roslyn asked her why she didn’t respond to the insult. Rachel told her mother, “Why would I ever want to make anyone feel the way they made me feel?”

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Rachel, now 26, is working on a second book and is already dreaming of how to expand further. Rachel is constantly dreaming up new characters and storylines. “My goal is to have my stories out there for people to enjoy. I would love to see them on TV shows, like in animation. It would feel like a million dollars for Netflix to make a show.” Rachel even knows who she would like to voice her characters. “I want to make other characters in other time periods and other worlds. The present, the past or the future, or even in ‘a galaxy far, far away.’”

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Rachel’s father, Bobby Ore, is a veteran, actor, and stunt driver. Formerly a NASCAR driver, he now owns and operates Bobby Ore Motorsports in Sebring, where training is offered for military personnel, law enforcement, and stunt driving professionals. Ore has worked on films such as Gone in 60 Seconds, Project Swordfish, Dukes of Hazzard and many more. This October, you have three opportunities to meet and speak with Rachel. She has been invited by the Heartland Library Cooperative to come to each library in Highlands County to speak, read her book, and sign copies of Pixie Dogs. Rachel will be at the Sebring Public Library on October 20th at 3pm, Avon Park Public Library on October 21st at 4pm, and Lake Placid Public Library on October 22nd at 3pm. Come meet Rachel and get a signed copy of her book.

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October & November 2022 63


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One of Rachel's original drawings

achel is talented beyond pencil and paper. She has taught herself to draw digitally on an iPad Pro. She paints, sculpts, and creates art with anything she can find. She has recently participated in painting a mural, creating a butterfly seahorse. Rachel is inspired by the world around her. “Basically, wherever I go, something happens and it just pops in my head.” Pixie Dogs: It’s Not Easy Being a Princess is currently being reprinted with an ISBN number and an ebook version. When the new edition is released, it will be sold through Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, and more. This is only the beginning, the tip of the proverbial iceberg, for Rachel. She has big plans and even bigger dreams. And what’s even more impressive, she will achieve them. For more information on Rachel, how to order your copy of Pixie Dogs or to see the great variety of t-shirts, mugs, stationary and more, visit: www.OreGifts.com.

October & November 2022 65

Community Theatre is proud to announce We’re Back! Okeechobee that we are returning this fall for our 43rd Season!

Dial M for Murder

Play On

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Fall 2022

Spring 2023

A play by Fredrick Knott

October 21-22, 28-29, November 4 - 5

March 17-18, 24-25, 31 April 1

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 - (863) 332-2053

www.OkeechobeeCommunityTheatre.com 66

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October & November 2022 67


By Christy Swift Photos Courtesy of NASA

Only the elite of the elite are selected by NASA to become astronauts, and this year one of our own has made the cut. Central Florida resident Luke Delaney is one of 10 new astronaut candidates chosen from a field of more than 12,000 applicants to represent the United States and work for humanity’s benefit in space.


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Luke Delaney Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

The 42-year-old DeBary native has a quiet, unassuming demeanor as he talks about the incredible honor and opportunity of being chosen as an astronaut candidate. He described the selection process as less rigid than he expected, and more like “adult space camp.” “They are looking to find the right person for the job, and at the same time you’re looking to make sure that job fits you.” When he got the phone call, he was actually expecting to find out he hadn’t been picked. “I’d met so many people with impressive resumes and backgrounds. I was ready to thank people for the opportunity and all these things.” He even asked the caller if he could get back with them so he could check with his wife one last time!

While Delaney might be humble about being selected, from the outside it’s clear why he was chosen. Delaney is a retired Marine Corps major and distinguished naval aviator with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He participated in exercises throughout the Asia Pacific region and conducted combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Most recently, Delaney worked as a research pilot at NASA’s Langley Research Center, in Hampton, Virginia, where he supported airborne science missions. Overall, Delaney has logged more than 3,700 flight hours on 48 models of jet, propeller, and rotary wing aircraft.


Delaney has been working in aviation safety, traffic management, and atmospheric science—the aspect he finds most interesting. “Trying to understand better the complexities of this planet and how things are changing and how to best handle future catastrophes—I think a lot of data collection we’re looking at is mapping out different avenues for our planet, and that’s awesome, that’s great to be at the forefront of that,” Delaney says. Going into space takes that exploratory science to the next level. “There's different things we look at on our planet that we're going to be looking for in space,” he adds. “Looking at the different constructs and compositions on the moon and Mars and other locations. To me, that’s exciting just to see what’s out there.” Working for NASA, Delaney has gotten a glimpse over the proverbial bow at what’s to come for human spaceflight. “I feel almost in the last decade or so things have kind of been picking up on the space front. Potential deep space exploration, going places humans haven’t been yet—it’s exciting to think about what could be next.”

Even though he’s got an eye for the stars, Delaney is also a self-proclaimed outdoorsman and enjoys spending time in the woods and on the hobby farm he and his wife recently started with their daughters and two rescue dogs. He comes by his love for the outdoors honestly, having grown up in rural DeBary in the nineties. His interest in STEM was nurtured by a combination of factors—growing up so close to the Space Coast, a science-loving father, and a high school math teacher/ mentor, Mrs. Ebert, from Deland High School. While he dreamed of becoming an astronaut as a kid, Delaney said he struggled with how to get there. Because his family comes from a military background, he chose that route, but he encourages young people not to worry if they aren’t sure what they want to do yet or how to get there. “I took it step by step to define myself and find where I needed to go,” Delaney said. “Pursue what you’re interested in and build on that.”


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October & November 2022 73

Delaney describes a NASA astronaut as being “somebody who can manage uncertainty, somebody who’s adaptable—ready to go places nobody’s been before.” According to NASA’s website, the organization has selected a total of 360 astronaut candidates, beginning with the original Mercury Seven in 1959, and “more are needed to see the space station into its third decade of science in low-Earth orbit and propel exploration forward as part of the Artemis missions and beyond.”


32, Major, U.S. Air Force. Ayers is a Colorado native and experienced combat aviator with more than 200 combat hours and over 1,150 hours of total flight time in fighter jets. One of the few women currently flying the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, Ayers led the first ever all-woman formation of the aircraft in combat in 2019.

Nichole “Vapor” Ayers

Ph.D., 37, Major, U.S. Air Force. Hailing from Puerto Rico, Berríos holds a doctorate in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. A distinguished pilot, Berríos has more than 110 combat missions and 1,300 hours of flight time under his belt. Ph.D., 35, is originally from Gilbert, Arizona and has a background in biochemistry and molecular biophysics, as well as a doctorate in biological engineering from MIT. She is also a decorated track cyclist on the U.S. National Team. 36, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Burnham calls Wasilla, Alaska home and serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. She is an experienced leader in the energy industry.

Marcos Berríos

Deniz Burnham

Christina Birch

October & November 2022 75

Ph.D., 35. Douglas is a Virginia native with multiple degrees in mechanical engineering, naval architecture, marine engineering, and electrical and computer engineering, as well as a doctorate in systems engineering. Douglas served in the U.S. Coast Guard and, most recently, at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, working on maritime robotics, planetary defense, and space exploration missions for NASA.

Andre Douglas

39, Commander, U.S. Navy. A distinguished naval aviator originally from Connecticut, Hathaway flew and deployed with Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron 14 aboard the USS Nimitz and Strike Fighter Squadron 136 aboard the USS Truman. He flew 39 combat missions and has over 2,500 flight hours in 30 types of aircraft and over 500 carrier arrested landings. M.D., 45, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force. Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Menon has a long, distinguished career as a flight surgeon (he was SpaceX’s first flight surgeon and served NASA as the crew flight surgeon for various missions taking astronauts to the International Space Station). He is fellowship-trained in wilderness and aerospace medicine, and, while in the Air Force, supported the 45th Space Wing and the 173rd Fighter Wing. Ph.D., 38. Originally from Potomac, Maryland, Williams is a board-certified medical physicist with experience working at Harvard Medical School. He also served as the lead physicist for the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s MRI-guided adaptive radiation therapy program, where his research focused on developing image-guided techniques for cancer treatments.

Jack Hathaway


Anil Menon

38, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy. This Californian has a distinguished career serving as a naval aviator and test pilot. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in aerospace engineering, and has served operationally flying F/A-18 fighter jets with Strike Fighter Squadron 34 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Strike Fighter Squadron 151 in Lemoore, California. She also worked as a test pilot and project officer with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 31 in China Lake, California.

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October & November 2022 77

Johnson Center director Vanessa Wyche looks ahead to the future of space flight that will be paved by these intrepid leaders via the Artemis missions. “We’ve made many giant leaps throughout the last 60 years, fulfilling President Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the moon. Today we reach further into the stars as we push forward to the Moon once again and on to Mars with NASA’s newest astronaut candidate class.”



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eptember marks the beginning of the annual migration of hawks and falcons, a journey that for some species begins in Canada and ends as far south as Peru. As the days shorten and the temperatures begin to drop, the raptors migrate from the north moving south to warmer locations with abundant prey- song birds, small mammals and reptiles. The science of migration is mind-blowing! Weather, timing, species symbiosis, and the path and pattern of a migration are all intricately woven through the tapestry of nature. Florida has members of every group of raptors: eagles, buteos and hawks, harriers and kites, falcons and caracara, and the osprey. While not all US species are found in or migrate through Florida, each group is represented. Florida is perfectly poised, from Sept through November and February through March, to receive travelers from all over the globe as they movee along routes that are etched into their biology. The most common hawk passing through Florida skies is the sharp-shinned hawk, whose large numbers make it possible to spot between 200 and 1,500 birds in a single day following a cold front. Sharp-shinned hawks are often in the company of the Cooper's hawk, a larger bird though similar in appearance. The two birds are similar in their looks and their flight patterns: fast and erratic. The broad-winged hawk, heavier than the Cooper's but around the same size, winters anywhere from Florida to Peru. This slow flying bird of prey has a very notable migratory characteristic that other hawks also adapt, the formation of Kettles, or groups. Most hawks swirl overhead rather than fly on a direct course like the sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawk.


October & November 2022 83

ther raptors to look for include the marsh hawk, Mississippi kite, osprey, red-tailed hawk and the red-shouldered hawk, all in fairly small numbers. Falcons join in on this fall Florida migration, too. One of the rarest and most sought-after migratory species is the endangered peregrine falcon, the great aerial performer which was used in the sport of falconry for thousands of years. Peregrines may be the crowd favorite, but the American Kestrel and the Merlin, are the most commonly seen falcons during this migration. The best hawk watching is on Florida's Gulf Coast, sometimes on the mainland but typically more on the offshore barrier islands that parallel the coast. An important exception is Guana River Wildlife Management Area and State Park just north of St. Augustine, the best place for peregrine falcons in Northeast Florida. Both falcons and hawks should be present along the dune lines in October if there is a west wind or if a cold front has just gone through. St. George Island, near Apalachicola, is another prime area for fall migrants, but perhaps the best place i all Florida to witness the fall hawk migration is nearby St. Joseph Peninsula, where 200 to 300 birds may be seen in a single day. This peninsula is known as Northwest Florida’s most reliable place to spot a Peregrine Falcon.


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hile the weather in Florida may not quite yet feel like fall, the arrival of these magnificent birds signals to the nature-attuned that Florida is indeed on board to celebrate the season. Historical cultures that took their cues from nature stood in reverence to the Birds of Prey, symbols of courage and strength with clear vision and focused execution. The arrival of the fall migration would have signaled the time to remove distractions from life and to become laser focused on the things that matter. Perhaps this fall, if you were to tilt your head to the sky and see a kettle of hawks, you might reflect on this symbolism and draw meaning for your own life. Fall calls to each person… slow down, ride the current and enjoy the journey, gather with others and hone the vision for your life.

October & November 2022 85

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a new Free Checking account with direct deposit ($500 cumulative which must post within 45 days of account opening), as well as accept and open online banking, online bill payment, eStatement, eNotice, and a debit card. No dividends are paid on Free Checking. Annual Percentage Yield is 0.00%. Anyone who has held a checking account with MIDFLORIDA in the past year will not qualify for the incentive. The incentive will be

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Fall Robust Flavors By Cindy Adams

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time for feasting, celebrating, and indulging in delicious appetizers, entrees and cocktails. In general, a traditional meal features robust flavors that are fun to compliment with creative cocktail pairings. A favorite combination I found for fall is pumpkins, apples, pears, and ginger, with some sage and thyme added in. Start with Pear & Brie Skewers for an appetizer while sipping a Bourbon Pear Spritzer, then try Pumpkin Gnocchi, and end with Brown Butter Apple Pear Pie. Enjoy baking!



Pear & Brie Cheese Salad Skewers

These pear and brie cheese salad skewers are made with arugula, walnuts, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. They're such a quick + easy, sweet + savory party appetizer idea that your guests will love!


2 pears Approx. 8 ounces brie cheese Approx. 2 cups baby arugula Approx. 1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped Balsamic glaze, to drizzle (or balsamic vinegar)


Slice pears into quarters and remove seeds and stem. Cut quarters into roughly 1/2-inch cubes. Cut brie cheese into similar-sized, 1/2-inch cubes. 90

Tip: I found that leaving the rind on made the skewers

a little less sticky to handle!

Take a small (4-inch) skewer, and thread a piece of pear, a bundle of arugula, and then a piece of cheese onto it. Place skewer on a serving platter and repeat until all cheese and pears are used up. Gently press a few pieces of chopped walnuts onto the brie cheese so that they stick. Drizzle balsamic glaze over top of skewers and enjoy!

Baked Pumpkin Gnocchi with Thyme and Parmesan This Baked Pumpkin Gnocchi with Thyme and Parmesan is the perfect one pot dish for casual entertaining. It is rich and creamy and packed with wonderful fall flavors.


1 tbsp butter 1.5 lb store-bought potato gnocchi 1.5 lb pumpkin 1 red onion 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, if you don’t have fresh, use half the amount of dried 2 egg yolks 2 1/2 cups heavy cream/whipping cream 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella 1/4 cup grated parmesan


Preheat oven to 390º and grease a 13" round baking dish. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt it generously and add the gnocchi. Cook it as per the packet instructions and then drain and rinse in cold water. Remove any peel from the pumpkin and then use a mandolin or sharp knife to cut it into thin slices (no thicker than 0.2 inch) and about twice the length of the gnocchi. Peel and slice the onion into half-moons. In a large bowl, mix the cooked gnocchi, sliced pumpkin, onion, olive oil and thyme. Whisk the cream together with the egg yolks and half of the mozzarella. Pour the mixture over the gnocchi and then transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan and bake for 40 minutes until golden and bubbly.


Brown butter is a cook’s best friend—it adds richness and depth of flavor to any food it touches. And, thankfully, it’s easy to make. Simply melt butter over medium heat until it smells nutty, and well, delicious. What you’re doing is toasting the milk solids that are inside butter, and those are what give brown butter its name. Here, tossed with pears, apples, and vanilla, you get something wonderfully sophisticated and not overly sweet—perfect for impressing guests. If you want to go the extra mile, serve with creme fraiche or lightly sweetened mascarpone.

Brown Butter, Apple and Vanilla Pear Pie Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter 2 1/2 lb pears (about 5), peeled, cored, chopped 2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, chopped 1 tsp ginger 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp clove 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1/4 cup sugar, plus sprinting 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour plus more for rolling 1 Tbsp vanilla extract 2 disks pie crust 1 large egg lighten beaten


Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the lowest position. Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat, swirling until golden and nutty smell, pour in bowl and let cool. Toss pears, apples, flour, vanilla, salt, brown butter and 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl. Roll out 1 disk of piecrust on lightly floured work surface to about 14 inches in diameter. Place in a 9-inch pie plate, trim dough to a 1-inch overhang. Fill crust with pear mixture. Roll out remaining disk to about 12 inches in diameter and lay over pears. Fold top edge over and tuck under bottom edge as desired. Brush with egg, crimp, and sprinkle 1 Tbsp sugar. Bake on bottom rack until deep golden brown and juices start bubbling through the cracks, 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool for at least 4 hours before slicing. Serves: 8


Thanksgiving Bourbon Pear Spritzers Holidays tend to involve some effervescent fun. One of my favorite combinations is ginger and pear, so we thought it would be fun to make spritzers to get into the holiday spirit. This sparkling bourbon pear cocktail is easy to make and will be perfect for any holiday celebration.


Ginger Sage Simple Syrup Equal parts water to sugar (1 cup of each) 5 cubes of frozen ginger or add fresh ginger 4 - 5 sage leaves Bourbon Pear Spritzer 1 ½ oz bourbon 2 oz fresh pear juice 2 oz ginger ale 1 tbsp ginger sage simple syrup Pear & sage leaves (for a garnish)


Ginger Sage Simple Syrup Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, until simmering. Be sure to continually whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Once combined and simmering, remove from heat and let it sit for 5-10 mins for the flavors to absorb. Strain and store in a class jar until you’re ready to use. Fill a glass with ice and mix in bourbon, pear juice, ginger ale, and ginger sage simple syrup. Serve with a beautiful pear garnish and sprigs of sage. 93


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AND MORE By Christy Swift Photos Courtesy of Dave Powers

The next vampire flick you see might have been filmed in Sebring. Beautiful Monsters, an independent film written and directed by Dave Powers, was filmed on his property in Sebring, but you won’t know that when you see it. With drone footage of quiet, wooded areas in Sun ‘N Lake and gothic elements like homemade coffins with metal grates, the 10-minute short film has a creepy, timeless feel that will hopefully win awards at the Orlando Independent Filmmakers film festival on November 5th. The story is about a man (played by assistant director and actor Jimmy Paul) who falls in love with a vampire (played by actor Chase Shellee). The problem is, she’s already married to another vampire (played by Powers). Paul’s character kidnaps both of them and keeps them locked up in coffins, injecting himself with their blood to stay alive, while he professes his love to Shellee’s character over 200 years. “It’s the ultimate story of unrequited love,” Powers says.

97 October & November 2022


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

hings get complicated when a delivery man realizes something strange is going on. Beautiful Monsters puts a twist on the typical horror storyline, making the vampires victims instead of villains. Powers, a therapist, says the film deals with the themes of “our internal monsters,” touching on addiction, for example. “Can you imagine being six feet away from someone you love, but you can’t see them or touch them or be with them for 200 years? It’s the ultimate mental torture. And the main character, in his own way, is being tortured, too,” Powers says. The idea came from a song Powers wrote called ‘Beautiful Monsters.’ All the films he’s done have been named after songs. “It’s kind of an Easter egg,” Powers says. Lake of Fire, a film on benzodiazepine recovery, is named after a song performed by the Meat Puppets and, later, Nirvana. Send in the Clowns is a short film about professional clowns putting on a happy face while dealing with despair in their personal lives. The film was extremely well-received at the inaugural Heartland Film Fest in Sebring in 2019, Power recalls. “People were crying; it was in the newspaper.” Her Ghost in the Fog was nominated for every possible category in last year’s Orlando Independent Filmmakers film festival and took home awards for best director, best cinematography, best film in a drama, and best lead actress in a drama. It’s about a brokenhearted insomniac writer who falls in love with a lonely ghost.

99 October & November 2022


Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

hat felt like our first real film,” Powers recalls, since they had invested in a larger camera. Until then, everything had been filmed on a small, handheld camera. His crew for each film includes many of the same people, including Paul and Shellee. Anthony Tyler is an assistant director and actor who also does editing, production, and story (he plays the delivery guy in Beautiful Monsters—the “comic relief.” Keith Batchelor, Jr. is a regular actor as well (he plays the delivery guy’s roommate). Most of the crew is from Central Florida, with Powers living in Sebring, Paul in Avon Park, Shellee in Orlando, and Batchelor, Jr. in Tampa. They recently landed a film agent and are looking forward to even bigger things. Powers, who has been telling stories, writing, making music, and taking photos throughout his life, says filmmaking has allowed him to combine all those forms of creativity in one medium. “Coming from Sebring, making a movie seems like it’s a million miles away, like you’ve got to go to L.A. or New York and have money to go to a big film school. We’ve been doing it now since 2019, and we’ve made six films. We’ve won awards. We have great actors. Doors have been opening,” he says. Powers hopes to be able to continue to tell the stories that haven’t been told and need to be, including making Lake of Fire into a feature film. Beautiful Monsters can be seen by attending the Orlando Independent Filmmakers film festival on November 5th at the AMC theater in Altamonte Springs. For tickets and more details, visit www. OIFstudio.com. To see other films, teasers, and content by Powers and his crew, visit or subscribe to Lucid Windows Studio on Youtube.

October & November 2022


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