Heartland LIVING Magazine April-May 2024 Issue

Page 86

May 11

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November 9 December 10 Specializing in Agricultural & Construction Equipment
40 Daniel Duque Nursing at the South Pole By Deborah Latter
7 24 Where it All Began... Sebring, Florida By Kelsey Schauf 58 Come Tag Along On Our Publisher's Trip to Savannah By Christy Swift 74 Home, Hope & Heart The Founding of ROAR By Rebecca Maglischo FEATURES CONTE NTS April & May 2024 Volume 13  Issue 2 58
Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com NOTEWORTHY 10 Letter from the Publisher 16 Behind the Scenes 20 From our Readers COVER Digital Graphics by Bridgette Waldau Downtown Sebring April & May 2024 Volume 13  Issue 2 DEPARTMENTS CONTENTS FOOD & HEALTH 86 "Those Who Can, Teach" Dr. Alice King Hammel creates bright futures for others. By Ladonna Paedae Rodriguez and Christy Swift 98 86 98 Healthy Spring Meals By Cindy Adams 8

For 50 years, Sun ‘n Lake has been the premier residential community in the heart of Central Florida.

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What’s been on my mind while creating the April & May Issue of Heartland LIVING ?

Well, being a member of the Sebring Family I have a feeling that you might know? If you grew up or have lived in Sebring for many years, then of course it is all the hype of what is going on in our Hometown of Sebring, especially Downtown Sebring ~ “Our City on the Circle.”

My great-grandfather George E. Sebring, as many of you know is the founder of Sebring and had the idea of building Sebring around the circle. It is one of the few surviving circular cities in the United States. Completed in 1912, it is also the oldest circular city in Florida and the only one that uses a circle for its primary commercial district.

Circle Park in Downtown Sebring has historically served as the focus for Sebring’s social activities, and in earlier days, political gatherings, and religious services. The Sebring Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. George E. Sebring always looked at Sebring and the uniqueness of the Circle as a place to extend a warm welcome since 1912 and while the change has been on my mind, I’m here to say, I’m going to follow my great grandfather and extend a warm welcome to the NEW Coming to DOWNTOWN SEBRING.

I’m dedicating the April & May Issue 2024 to my great-grandfather, George E. Sebring, my grandfather Payne Sebring and my Dad, William “Billy” Sebring. I hope I’ve made you proud sharing your history. Here’s to our history and our future Sebring.

Thank you to my writer and niece Kelsey Schauf for writing “Where It All Began”.

I will leave you here to start turning the pages and reading all the features my team and I have shared with you in this issue. Find a quiet place, and we hope you enjoy all the stories we found for you in the Heartland.

God Bless,

10 Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com
William "Billy" Sebring (my Dad) surrounded by the next generation of the Sebring family.

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Photographer: M.A.S Memories

Creative Director

Bridgette Waldau

Cover Digital Graphic

Bridgette Waldau

Feature Photography

Roar Florida

Sebring Historical Society

Contributing Photographers

Diana Albritton

Daniel Duque

Cindy Sebring Adams


Kristan Baker

Lisa Griffin

12 Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc. 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. April & May 2024 Volume 13  Issue 2 Florida Magazine Association CEO | Publisher Cindy Sebring Adams Editor Christy Swift Digital Media Coordinator Kelsey Schauf Feature Writers Deborah Latter
Swift Contact: 412 Rest Haven Road, Zolfo Springs, FL 33890 863-781-0344 E-mail Cindy@Heartland-Living.com Become a fan on facebook www.HeartlandLivingMagazine.com Published by Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc. Proud Recipient of 18 Charlie Awards 2014 - 2021 In the Following Categories: Best Overall Design Best Department Design (2) Best Feature Design (4) Cover Photo Illustration Best Traditional Illustration Best Self-Promotional Ad
Table of Contents Best Department Design Best Photography Image (3) Best Overall Writing Best Custom Publication (2) Heartland Living Magazine is published bi-monthly by Heartland Publications & Marketing, Inc. Copyright 2024, 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.

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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 soonto-be published author of Young Adult and Adult fiction. You can find her at www. christyswift.com.

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.

Ladonna Paedae Rodriguez has written newspaper articles about Sebring, its people and its history, and finds joy in sharing with her community. Her passion for writing connects to her love of the arts. She is also a visual artist, using colored pencil as her medium. Her roots are deep in Highlands County; her mother was born in a house in DeSoto City in 1928, and her relatives were among the firefighters who went to rescue those in Moore Haven during the hurricane of 1926, giving her a unique perspective into our culture.


Deborah Bell Latter has worked in the Community Relations and Marketing Office at South Florida State College for 26 years. In that time, she has written and edited numerous stories about the College, its students, alumni, and employees. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and wrote her first news story at age 19. Early in her career, Latter worked as a public relations practitioner with an advertising agency in Connecticut. She was recruited by a law firm and became one of the pioneers in the field of law firm marketing.

"Every GREAT design begins with an even BETTER story."
- Lorinda Mamo, designer

Bridgette Waldau has been a graphic and fine artist for over 40 years. She received her A.A. from the Ft. Lauderdale Institute of Art and a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Stetson University. Bridgette has been creative director for several publications, working with Heartland Publications & Marketing as art director since 2011, winning 11 Florida Magazine Charlie Awards (2015- 2021). Bridgette is married to James, a retired firefighter from the City of Hialeah.

Digital Media Coordinator & Writer

Kelsey Schauf was born and raised in Sebring and resides in Mooresville, NC. For the first eight years of her career, she was a Public Relations Representative in the motorsports industry. Kelsey left that industry in 2022 to spend more time with her husband, Jacob, and son, Kolbey. She is currently working at Carolina Cat in Charlotte, North Carolina as a Marketing Specialist for the Rental and Used divisions.

Creative Art Director
LIVING www.HeartlandLivingMagazine.com 863-781-0344 Cindy@Heartland-Living.com Call or email if you want to advertise with us! Advertising Helps You Get to Where You Want to Go. Heartland
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Heartland LIVING

February & March 2024

"Beautiful picture painted by a beautiful woman."

"The beautiful, talented Janet King. The feature was well done and I'm so happy that everyone in our community now knows about her. I have several of her paintings and love each of them." -Cathy Turner Albritton

"Janet, what a beautiful showcase of your amazing art. Janet, you’re beautiful inside and out! Ladonna, beautifully written. Heartland Living Magazine is always beautiful! " -Penny Breedlove Rhine

"That’s my favorite painting since I first saw it when I moved to Sebring." -Trish Pat Lewis

"Loved this issue!" [Worth and Purpose]

-Jen Noble

"A heartfelt story by Rebecca Wroten Maglischo."

-Cindy Sebring Adams

"Y’all did a particularly fantastic job on this month’s Heartland Living. Thanks. "

-Anne Sherwood Kelly

It truly is a beautiful publication."

-Claudia Brigham

"We can’t thank you, Cindy & Bridgette, enough for making our annual Hardee County Chamber of Commerce Business Directory & Community Guide so wonderful! It’s been award winning for a reason."

"This is awesome & so great to see our 2024 Directories out and about."

-Hardee County Chamber of Commerce

"You blow me away with each new print!

I feel even more proud 11 years later."

-Brittany Queen

"It's a blessing to have you guys, you do an impeccable job!


Heartland Living Magazine"

-Yadira Acevedo Rocha

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

February & March 2024
H OMELESS It’s a single word printed on cardboard and punctuated by a smaller “God Bless.” This is the sign that Rick Highman grips at the stop sign in the Walmart parking lot when things get really tough. He is astutely aware that “HOMELESS” is just one letter off from “HOPELESS,” and on the days he has to hold his sign, Rick knows he is almost there. He bows his head and looks at his feet; making eye contact is just too much. He needs $20. That will get him some ham and a loaf of bread. It will also buy him a pack of smokes and some Mountain Dew, the last of life’s comforts that are still within his reach. If he can get $40, he’ll offer up a prayer of thanks that he doesn’t have to sit in this shame tomorrow. By Rebecca Maglsicho Photos Courtesy Travis Doodles 58 59 „ RICK HIGHMAN
from our
Chamber of Commerce 2024 Community Guide & Business Directory www.hardeecc.com
21 April & May 2024
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n recent weeks, the city of Sebring has been at the forefront of national news headlines. Many people all over the United States now see Sebring’s name and some may wonder, how did the town of Sebring come to be? As some may be aware, this town is extremely special to me. To me, this town represents family. It represents faith. It represents everything that makes me love my hometown that much more.

25 „
George E. Sebring

grew up in Sebring, went to school there, and still come back to visit as often as possible. A career may have taken me outside of Florida, but my heart will always belong to a tiny southern-feeling town in central Florida. Did I mention that my great-great-grandfather, George E. Sebring, founded the town of Sebring back in 1912? Let’s go back in time to learn a little bit more about how the City on the Circle came to be.

Mr. Sebring came from Sebring, Ohio where he and his brothers had built a successful China manufacturing business that was growing in popularity. In 1903, the Sebring brothers elected to dissolve their partnership, and George E. decided to name his son, H. Orvel, as the Manager of the Business. As Sebring’s health began declining, he decided to take a much-needed vacation. Mr. Sebring made his way to the Sunshine State, establishing a winter residency first in Rockledge, then in Daytona before landing off Ridgewood Avenue in what would eventually become Sebring, Florida.

A lover of all things outdoors, Mr. Sebring enjoyed spending time hunting and fishing. In 1911, he met A.G. Smith, a Wauchula resident, with whom he went fishing on a trip to Lake Jackson, back then known as Lake Hare. Land owned by Smith bordered the lake, and Mr. Sebring fell in love—with the land, nature, the lakes, and so much more. He decided then and there to purchase approximately 9,000 acres from Smith and telegraphed his son to come down to Florida to help build the town he envisioned. The first deeds to the land purchased from Smith were recorded on October 11, 1911.

The father-son duo worked together to build the town of Sebring, becoming co-founders. Mr. Sebring remained the dominant figure, and his dreams for the town were always tempered by hard-headed realism. H. Orvel was a person not only of vision and tremendous energy but also one of an inventive, quick mind. The two wanted to build the town on the foundation of social, religious, and economic motivations, which is exactly what they did.

27 April & May 2024 „
H. Orvel Sebring
28 Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

ust one year after officially building the town of Sebring, the Florida legislature chartered the town making it official. Sebring, Florida, is known as The City on the Circle, which makes people ask why the city center is shaped like a circle. Is it because Mr. Sebring looked at Heliopolis, an ancient Egyptian city, and liked the layout? Did he want to break the uniformity of the standard grid pattern in city planning and incorporate more green space?

According to the Sebring Historical Society, in an early Sebring Real Estate Company brochure, Mr. Sebring stated that the town was “laid out somewhat after the manner of Washington cities and Indianapolis with a circle in the center and broad avenues running out from it like spokes from a hub.” Sebring, FL, is the oldest circular city in Florida and one of the few circular cities remaining today in the United States. It has also been said that Mr. Sebring found an oak tree on the land he purchased from Smith and wanted to build the town around the tree in a circle. The beautiful town of Sebring was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

29 „

t has been documented that the first business to be established in the town was the Sebring Real Estate Company, known to most in the city simply as “The Company.” While construction on the town was underway, Mr. Sebring and his family lived in a hotel in Avon Park. In an effort to grow the newly built town, he brought people in from other areas to show them all that the town had to offer. He painted a picture for future residents, showing that Sebring was a delightfully wholesome community for people looking to find their place, whether it be while building up a business, joining a church, raising a family, or something else. He began selling lots from a plot of his own land to establish the town.

Mr. Sebring and his family were very active in church and held faith close to their hearts. Before the establishment of churches around the town, religious services were conducted under trees around the city. In an effort to promote religion, Mr. Sebring donated land to any church group wishing to launch a congregation in Sebring. He was one of the first board of trustee members of the local First United Methodist Church and was instrumental in constructing the original church structure. „

31 April & May 2024

eing a businessman was one of the many things that Mr. Sebring was great at. The Sebring Real Estate Company was just one of the many companies that he and his sons established over the years, including but not limited to land development, construction, hotel operations, telephone service, and property management. His family was another of his passions. He had three sons and two daughters.

The Sebring family is still a pillar in the community today. There are family members in the agriculture industry, public service, business owners, members of churches, and fishing teams, holding true to the values that George E. Sebring built the town on all those years ago. Almost 112 years later, the town is still thriving because businesses are coming into the city center to grow and provide their craft to our residents.

Today, you can still see pieces of history around the town. The former Kenilworth Lodge, located off Lakeview Drive, was built in 1916 by Mr. Sebring himself. Designed around Mediterranean Revival architecture, Kenilworth Lodge featured 117 rooms for Sebring visitors to stay in by 1919. This beautiful hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, but unfortunately, the building is vacant today. There is work being done to clean up the property in hopes to get it back to a functional hotel once again.

33 April & May 2024 „

he Salvation Army Building off North Ridgeway Drive is one of three surviving historic churches in Sebring. Mr. Sebring was a longtime supporter of the Salvation Army and donated the space to them. This location is one of the oldest buildings in downtown Sebring. It has been said that Mr. Sebring’s talents went further than pottery-making and town-building as he was part of the Salvation Army band.

H. Orvel Sebring’s home still stands today and is located off Lakeview Drive before getting to downtown Sebring. This home was put on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1989, and was originally built in 1919 with a Spanish Colonial Revival design. This two-story, smooth stucco finish home features a prominent red-clay barrel-tile roof. This is now a privately owned home.

George Sebring's children: Orvel, Elsa, Payne, HO Jr., Liela and Dorothy

he 1912 version of Sebring, Florida is what built the groundwork for the town that we have today, over 100 years later. Looking ahead to the 2024 version of Sebring, new businesses are continuing to thrive, hosting families at various events and festivals around the circle, welcoming outside visitors for events at the local racetrack and so much more. Education and religion are still alive and well in the community and still important in today’s time.

More renovations and town improvements are on the horizon, and it is something to be excited about. Adding new life to existing, old buildings around the city center will only bring in more tourism and prosperity. All of this means added publicity to a town that we all know and love. I, for one, think that Sebring, Florida is one of the greatest cities in the world, and I love that our small town is charming others from near and far. This is my hometown and the values I try to live my life on.

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Daniel Duque returned home to Lakeland in February after working 90 degrees south of everywhere on earth. His office was a mere 150 feet from the geographical South Pole at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, where he spent four months providing medical care in the facility’s clinic. He joked that he could “walk around the world in a few steps.”

Photography Courtesy Daniel Duque
42 Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com
Double Sun at the South Pole

Duque earned his Associate in Science in Nursing from South Florida State College in Avon Park in 2016. While working on his nursing degree, he wondered how far his nursing career could take him. He searched the internet for opportunities to travel as a nurse. Those searches brought him to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), which is considered a gateway to working “on the ice.”

“Everyone in Antarctica – ‘the ice’ – works as a contractor or National Science Foundation (NSF) grantee,” Duque said. “The NSF is the parent organization that is in charge of all science projects. Support staff, such as cooks, medical, logistics, facility maintenance, and so forth are hired under subcontractors to the NSF. All companies make bids to the NSF to get the contract. If you want to work in medical in Antarctica, the UTMB is your only option. The UTMB has an Aerospace Medicine Residency program for their medical residents, and Antarctica is often used as an analog to conditions found in space. So, it made sense for UTMB to have the contract.”

Duque, who came to the United States from Havana, Cuba when he was 7 years old, was raised in Thonotosassa, FL. He was on active duty with the U.S. Army from 2008 to 2013. He said that he joined the Army because his family had few financial resources. When he joined, he decided to take the most difficult job the Army had to offer – Army Special Forces, the Green Berets. “It gave me the opportunity and resources to invest in myself,” he said. “And I was able to pay my way through college.”

Duque’s interest in becoming a nurse began while serving in the Army in Afghanistan. “I was introduced to a mobile trauma unit,” he said. “We had C-130 planes retrofitted with a surgical center. The mobile trauma unit also brings basic equipment that saves lives on the field of battle. I had the opportunity to speak with a surgeon, a nurse anesthetist, a physician’s assistant, and a nurse. That experience made a profound impact on my life. In war, almost anyone is capable of taking a human life. But here was a small group of men and women who could save a human life.”

43 April & May 2024 „

fter he was honorably discharged from the Army, Duque and his wife moved to Lakeland, but he chose to attend SFSC for nursing school. “SFSC’s Nursing program had a great reputation,” he said. “Its passing score for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) was really high. I can’t recall how much my Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) cost me — something like $9,800. But it was one of the best returns on investment of my life.”

Duque joined the Florida National Guard in 2013. Shortly after earning his Nursing degree and becoming a registered nurse, he was deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo for nine months. “While my main job wasn’t nursing, I was able to help people by using the skills I gained during my training,” he said. “During my time off, I helped in a clinic.”

Upon returning from Africa, Duque started working toward his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at the University of South Florida (USF) and graduated in 2018. He continued his education, earned his Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from USF in 2020, and became a family nurse practitioner.

After completing his master’s degree, Duque applied to the UTMB, interviewed with the director, and was offered a job. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put his aspirations and travel around the world on hold. In 2023, he interviewed again and was offered a position in the South Pole.

45 April & May 2024
46 Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com

“What interested me about the job was the remote location,” Duque said. “The South Pole station is often compared to the International Space Station in that it is one of the most remote and austere environments on earth. NASA often performs experiments there which directly apply to astronauts and space travel.”

Duque and a single physician worked in a clinic six days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The clinic has three sections: an urgent care/emergency trauma bay, a dental suite, and in-patient care/long-term care. Over the winter months, 42 people will serve on the station. In the summer, the population swells to nearly 130 people.

“The physician and I were the sole medical providers for over 800 miles,” Duque said. “We cared for men and women ranging from 21 to 70 years old. This included dental procedures, taking X-rays, running our own labs, physical therapy, pharmacy, and so forth. But we had plenty of time to provide good evidence-based practice and build lasting relationships with our patients. We were able to gain the trust of our patients.”

The most common medical visits on the station are related to the climate. The high altitude and dry climate lead to acute mountain sickness, frostnip (the stage before frostbite begins), dehydration, sleep deprivation, and work-related injuries.

Supply Tunnel (Left): Duque in the clinic administering medical care.

The environment at the South Pole is harsh. According to Duque, a relatively warm temperature at the South Pole is minus 30.7 C (minus 23 F) with a wind chill factor of minus 41.1 C (minus 42 F).

Although the majority of Antarctica is at sea level, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is at the top of a polar plateau, at an elevation of 9,306 feet above sea level.

“Due to this environment, all personnel are given preventive care prior to arrival at the South Pole Station,” Duque said. “The first five days on the station are the most dangerous. During this time, we’re most likely to see acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), or highaltitude cerebral edema (HACE). The last two are potentially deadly illnesses if not treated. Ironically, a person’s age, sex, body habitus, and even previous visits to high altitude locations tell us little of who is at risk.”

“The most rewarding part about the job was being able to provide care for world-class scientists and support staff and learn about airborne geophysics, glaciology, astronomy, neutrino and dark matter physics, weather, astrophysics, and drilling through ice to depths of 1,450 to 2,450 meters below the surface.”

Duque returned to the United States at the end of February. He and his wife purchased a 5-acre farm in Lakeland, which they plan to develop into a homestead.

LC-130 on runway - LC-130 planes are ski-equipped and known as “Snowbirds.” They were specially designed for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to transport scientists and supplies to Antarctica

49 April & May 2024 „
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Since he’s been back home, he’s been building rabbit cages, mowing, and planting fruit trees around the farm. He’s also applied to become an officer in the National Guard and plans to return to running his signage company in Tampa, a craft brewery in South Carolina, and his clinical practice.

“If someone is younger or, perhaps, has the freedom to travel (after kids have left the house), traveling as a nurse offers you a paid opportunity to see different parts of the world. Young people can build up their savings and start investing. More settled people can travel together and become immersed in places they might not otherwise have been able to visit.

“I’m proud, honored, and humbled to have gotten the opportunity to work alongside some of the most brilliant people on the planet,” Duque said of his experience at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. “I witnessed cutting-edge science taking place. It’s only made possible by the hard work, commitment, and dedication of the residents working and living at the Pole.”

51 April & May 2024
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By Christy Swift Photography by Diana Albritton and Cindy Sebring Adams
Cindy Sebring Adams and Diana Albritton

All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl, so let’s put responsibilities aside and tag along with our publisher, Cindy Sebring Adams, and her bestie Diana Albritton for a girls’ weekend in Savannah, Georgia!

It’s only a six and half hour drive from Sebring to Savannah. Called “the Hostess City of the South” for its antebellum hospitality and charm, Savannah marks the spot in 1733 when the 120 passengers of the good ship “Anne,” led by General James Oglethorpe, landed on a bluff high along the Savannah River and created the 13th American colony. Savannah is known for its beautiful landscapes, well-preserved architecture, and vibrant history. Cindy and Diana were only there for the weekend, but they packed in a lot of fun. „

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The Hamilton-Turner Inn

Why stay in a hotel when you can stay in a mansion? And you can stay in a mansion in Savannah! Cindy and Diana booked the 17-room Hamilton-Turner Inn, once a private home and now one of the most historic inns in the city. The French Empire-style mansion was built in 1873 by Samuel Pugh Hamilton, known as “The Lord of Lafayette Square.” Today, with its interior steeped in southern romance and charm, the Hamilton-Turner Inn is the epitome of a historic boutique hotel. It was the first residence in Savannah to receive electricity in 1883, was nearly destroyed during the great Savannah fire of 1898, and has had several owners since. The inn is one of those listed on Savannah’s “haunted sites” list, but if there were ghosts lurking around their historic boutique hotel, Cindy and Diana didn’t notice. They were too busy enjoying the amenities, including a daily, chef-prepared southern breakfast and afternoon and evening refreshments served in the opulent dining room and parlor. Not to mention being in the heart of the historic district.

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Sweet Potato Hash Breakfast prepared by Personal Chef at the Hamilton Turner Inn
Heartland LIVINGMagazine.com 62 Cathedral-Basilica of St. John the Baptist

The Trolley Tour

The Inn’s concierge booked Cindy and Diana on one of the ubiquitous Old Town Trolley Tours. Billed as the best way to see the city, these open-air trolleys offer a one-day price where guests can “hop on and hop off” at their leisure at different stops and enjoy a live narrated tour full of historical facts and colorful anecdotes. Here are just a few of the stops:

Franklin Square, a testament to Benjamin Franklin and site of the First African Baptist Church—the oldest Black church in North America.

Forsyth Park, the largest park in Savannah, picturesque and teeming with Parisian flair. „

63 Forsyth Fountain
Franklin Square Monument
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Colonial Park Cemetery The Waving Girl

The peaceful Colonial Park Cemetery, with its quiet walkways winding through mature oaks and thousands of graves (most unmarked) dating as far back as 1753.

The Waving Girl statue, on River Street, depicting Florence Martus as a young girl waving her handkerchief at the passing ships.

The Davenport House Museum, which provides a glimpse into 1820s domestic life in the urban port city.

And more! There are so many sights to see in downtown Savannah, it’s impossible to list them all. Ghost tours aren’t Cindy and Diana’s thing, but Savannah is called America’s most haunted city for a reason. There are options for all “scream” levels, from family-friendly tours to darker, more macabre versions. There’s even a Ghost City Haunted Pub Crawl! „

The Davenport House

The day after their tour, Cindy and Diana used the bikes provided by their hotel to further explore the historic district. They even went looking for the famous Forrest Gump bench in Chippewa Square, but it wasn’t there. They discovered it had been moved to the Savannah History Museum. However, a local took pity on them and played the theme song to the movie for them as a consolation prize. Three cheers for southern hospitality!

Restaurants and Night Life

We’ve all got to eat (and drink), and there’s no shortage of restaurants and bars in Savannah where a couple of tourists can find refreshment. Cindy and Diana enjoyed a gorgeous view of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah from the rooftop bar, Peregrin, at the Perry Lane Hotel. If you ever make it there, they recommend the signature Ruby Nectar drink (prickly pear vodka, hibiscus, lime, and orange bitters) and the laarb (a wrap made with ground chicken, lemongrass, fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro, mint, and basil).

Another afternoon, Diana enjoyed the Moroccan scramble for brunch at the Collins Quarter downtown location, with scrambled eggs, ground lamb, garbanzo beans, and avocado smash. They also sampled the PB&J wings at the Treylor Park’s Hitch location on Drayton Street. And then there were the Bloody Marys at Huey’s On the River. There’s nothing better than snacking and sipping all day as you hop from cobblestone to cobblestone (leave the heels at home!). And when the sun goes down, the fun doesn’t stop.

Thanks to the vibrant nightlife scene, there are plenty of activities to enjoy after dark. Savannah allows its visitors to “bar-hop” with a to-go cup as they explore the lively historic downtown and River Street. Try open mic night at the Wormhole Neighborhood Pub on Bull Street, go dancing at Club 51 Degrees on W. Congress Street, or catch a sunset view at Bar Julian on Port Street. On a friend’s recommendation, Cindy and Diana hit up Smiley’s Dueling Piano Bar for a fun night of music and laughter. Then it was back to the inn for port and cookies. And still not a ghost in sight! „


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April & May 2024 67

Riverboat Cruise

While Savannah is the perfect place to relax in the shadow of history and Spanish-moss-draped oaks, there are some exciting modern additions to the city as well. Cindy and Diana booked a Riverboat Dinner Cruise down the Savannah River, giving them a view of the newly revitalized Plant Riverside District. With a staggering $375 million investment, this project turned the former 1912 Riverside Power Plant site into a 4.5-acre cultural hub boasting over a dozen restaurants and bars, an art gallery, live music spaces, and a Martin Luther King, Jr. park, not to mention the sprawling three-building J.W. Marriott Savannah. (If you’re looking for a ghost-free hotel, this is a good choice!)

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(R): The lobby inside the Power Plant building at the Plant Riverside District Riverstreet

On Monday, it was time to pack up and reflect on the trip during the drive home. Diana’s favorite part was the Savannah hospitality. “I felt safe, I felt like people were happy I was there, and they were pleased to have me.” She also loved riding bikes, navigating with a paper map, and soaking it all in with her best friend. She was happy to be in a season of life where she can do these things.

Cindy loved having a home away from home at the Hamilton-Turner. Relaxing in the fancy parlor with her BFF, enjoying refreshments every evening, being able to borrow bikes, and all the little touches made the girls trip extra special for her. “I just loved the atmosphere, and it was very nice walking downstairs early in the morning and having a private chef cook you a home-cooked meal.”

It is a short drive to Savannah from the Heartland area, but if you do not want to drive, look into taking a train or a short flight. No matter how you get there, it is worth the trip.

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Home, Hope, & Heart:

The Founding of Florida's Community for Adults with Disabilities

Situated on 56 acres in northeastern Lakeland, FL is the home base of ROAR Florida, one of only six similar organizations in the state. This is a residential community offering low income housing and long term solutions for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A quaint design features inviting front porches, beautiful landscaping, and gathering areas that beg residents and visitors to get comfortable and stay awhile. The clubhouse, game room, walking paths, and pool area are a bustle of activity on any given day. For the residents that enjoy the comfort of the community, this is home. For the families that love these residents, this is an answer to prayers.

Margaret Mead is quoted as saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Thirty two years ago, a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals sat in a room looking for ideas, solutions, and support. These families had young children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In the absence of the internet, families attended a group called “Parent to Parent” that met at the Child Development Center in Lakeland, FL.

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Photos by ROAR Florida
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Life for these parents didn’t look like what they had dreamed of, and the children they loved required skills that had to be obtained on the fly. While most of these families were just taking every day as it came, with all that it might entail, and whatever new trick they might have to pull out of the next sleeve, something bigger was happening. The calling that would grip the hearts of these families on the sidelines of a soccer practice would require a tenacity that exceeded what any one of them would’ve believed they might possess. But the fighting spirit acquired as they wrestled for rights and services for their babies bolstered these families to leave a legacy of hope and possibility.

Margaret McNutt, one of the founding members of ROAR Florida (originally called Noah’s Ark), has trudged uphill every step of the way and remains actively involved to this day. Margaret was new to Lakeland and pregnant with her second child when her oldest son was evaluated for his delays. “You just can’t describe it,” she says. “When you get the diagnosis, you kind of already know. But that finality is like a ton of bricks. Your mind reels with everything that it might mean and all the unknowns. And the guilt… you can’t help but wonder if you are responsible.” In Florida, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities can attend school from age 3 to 22 years old. This extended service is important for the students. Schools provide socialization, activities, learning opportunities, job training, therapies, and a much needed break for parents. But time ticks on, and students age out. Margaret and the other founding members had the vision to look past the day-to-day struggles and consider the realities of life for their children as adults.

“We dared to talk about what would happen to our children as we aged and even died,” Margaret tells me. The founding members wanted their children to have a life that was exciting and with as many options for independence as possible. The team dove in wholeheartedly, visiting every type of home for individuals with disabilities in many states across the country. Blending what they had gleaned from those on-site visits, a vision began to form.

Margaret McNutt talks almost without pause for over an hour. She alternates between a solemn recognition that the challenges for her son, and for many individuals, are immense and a laissez-faire confidence that can only come from a woman that has faced tremendous adversity. I wonder how the founders had the strength to seemingly do it all. She laughs and tells me of one day she was particularly downtrodden after they had received some bad news. Jack Kosik, another founder, smiled wryly and patted her on the back, “McNutt that’s just our first ‘No!’”

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Margaret McNutt with her sons.

The real break came for the team when First United Methodist Church offered some adjacent land and helped raise the funds to build the first home. This home and several others still stand on that land. Referred to as The Nest, these satellite sites were the launching pad for much bigger things to come.

Great ideas inspire generosity, and Lakeland was generous! In 2004, the City and State donated the 56 acres in northeast Lakeland. The first residents moved onto this property on July 4, 2016. The original development utilized 16 acres and currently houses about 125 residents. The satellite sites support an additional 21 individuals.

Passion and love were the driving forces that pushed the founding families beyond what they even thought possible. Then they gently placed their passion project into the hands of a highly skilled team that could move the project forward. Cauney Bamberg took the position of CEO in 2022.

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Working with the founders, they handpicked a team whose skills could live up to the dream. Historically, the organization rode the ups and downs of philanthropic giving. Connie and her team envisioned a plan where a revenue stream would offset operational costs so that every gifted dime could go towards improving the lives of the residents.

This year, ROAR Florida is hoping to enter a public/private partnership with the City of Lakeland. Twenty acres of land would house a solar farm and a community garden expected to produce 30,000 lbs of produce per year. An additional partnership with the University of Florida College of Medicine hopes to bring interns on site to train residents with horticultural therapy. This one-of-a-kind approach would provide employment to residents who need more income, address food insecurities within the ROAR community, create a consistent stream of revenue, and set a precedent for future communities. “We want to create a place where residents can thrive!” Cauney Bamberg says with enthusiasm.

The path for trailblazers is unmarked. There is no map and no certainty, only tentative steps in the right direction. Obstacles loom large, and the effort is enormous. But once that trail is blazed, no one will ever have to do it again. The hardest work is done by the brave souls that can’t see what’s around the next corner. Instead, they must operate on the faith that what is good and right will prevail. The story of ROAR Florida is a story of trailblazers. First, parents who dared to dream of the best for their children. And now, a community that refuses to dream of anything less!

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
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Dr.Alice King Hammel

Those Who Can, Teach

Dr. Alice King Hammel creates bright futures for others.

Photos Courtesy Alice Hammel

April is Autism Awareness Month, and one of the pioneers of music education for children with autism is Dr. Alice King Hammel, renowned music educator, author, clinician, and former Sebring resident.

Dr. Hammel is a faculty member at James Madison University, the current President of the Virginia Music Educators Association, and Past-President of the Council for Exceptional Children – Division for Visual and Performing Arts Education. She has spoken at national conferences, co-authored four books, and has received numerous awards, including a special “Inclusion in Music Education” award named in her honor by James Madison University, as well as the prestigious 2018 Outstanding Music Educator Award from the Virginia Music Educators Association, and the 2023 Lowell Mason Fellow Award through the National Association for Music Education.



Alice moved from Kirksville, Missouri to Sebring, Florida in 1974, along with her brother, Nelson, and parents, pediatricians Drs. Nelson and Alice King. Her parents were the only providers accepting Medicaid at the time, and Alice spent a lot of time at their clinic. “I would see kids at their office who were not at the schools that I went to,” Dr. Hammel said. “Some of those children had disabilities that, in those days, kept them out of public school.” She found that curious.

In the 7th grade, young Alice played flute under the guidance of band director, Mr. Fulton. “We were playing a scale, and that is when I thought ‘I want to be a middle school band director’,” Dr. Hammel remembered. She “did everything that Sebring High School offered”: band, choir and drama. The pieces of the puzzle were coming together.

“I wanted to teach musical skills to kids with disabilities, those who are neurodivergent—people whose brains are functionally different—such as those with Autism, ADHD and anxiety,” Dr. Hammel said. “I had the love of teaching. I graduated from Shenandoah University, and then attended Florida State University, which was one of the first universities to break through the fine line of ‘music education’ and ‘special education.’ I took music therapy classes as well as musical education, earning my Master’s degree from FSU. My Doctorate was earned at Shenandoah University.”

When she first began her studies, special needs education was still in its infancy. During an interview for the “Enhance Life with Music” podcast, Dr, Hammel talked about her undergraduate studies and how excited she was to finally get to the section in the syllabus on teaching students with disabilities. “The professor said, ‘You are going to have students with disabilities in your classroom, and you’re going to have to do things to help them learn.’ And then she turned the page.”

Since then, Dr. Hammel has made it her life’s calling to make music education for neurodivergent kids easier and better for both students and educators. She has co-authored four books, including “Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Label-Free Approach” which she wrote with Ryan M. Hourigan (both Dr. Hammel and Ryan are parents of autistic children).

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Hannah Hammel Maser Hollie Hammel Ian & Hannah Maser, Alice, Bruce and Hollie Bruce Hammel

“We pushed this new heuristic where we think of students in domains: communication, sensory, cognition, behavior, emotion, and physical, instead of separating them into discrete disabilities the way we tend to—what I think—is hyper-label in our society,” Dr. Hammel explained. Her books are all practitioner-oriented, with strategies on using music to help kids with learning differences thrive. Some are adaptive (they can be used with the entire class) and some are modifications (for a specific child). The goal is for every child in the classroom to learn something.

“There’s a lot of give and take that we weren’t necessarily taught as teacher-musicians,” Alice explained. “Each lesson becomes a totally different thing.”

The rest of the Hammel family are all musically talented as well. Alice’shusband, Dr. Bruce Hammel, is a professor of music theory and bassoon at Virginia Commonwealth University. He holds a Doctor of Music in bassoon and a Master of Music in wind instruments. Their two daughters, Hannah and Hollie, are gifted and accomplished artists as well. Hannah is the Principal flutist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, while Hollie’s career is in Nashville. She has sung with country singer Sara Evans, R & B singer Joss Stone, has performed at the Country Music Awards as a back-up singer for Carrie Underwood, and was featured in Disney’s 50th anniversary celebration, singing “Harmonious.”

Dr. Hammel has made it her life’s calling to make music education for neurodivergent kids easier and better for both students and educators.

On the rare occasion that she is home, instead of out of town lecturing at educational conventions, Dr. Hammel enjoys teaching the students majoring in Music Education at many schools through residencies. Said Dr. Hammel, “We are getting more students who are on the autism spectrum. They are amazing. They will just tell you about how they learn. When you send more neurodivergent teachers into the field, you better understand how to teach all students.”

Dr. Hammel is a force to be reckoned with, a small but mighty package when it comes to teaching and sharing her knowledge. Her passion is in educating the next generation of teachers who will bring music education to those with learning differences. The beneficiaries of her passion will undoubtedly be those who learn, gain confidence, and realize that although they “learn differently,” they too can go on to achieve great things.

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Saffold Legacy Continues

with the Annual Robert C. Saffold Sr. Memorial Golf Tournament

Get those clubs ready. This summer, you can put them to work for a good cause!

The Robert C. Saffold Sr. Foundation will hold the second annual Robert C. Saffold Sr. Memorial Golf Tournament on May 13th, 2024 followed by the first annual PAC Challenge, a parent and child tournament, on June 15th, 2024.

In 2014, Mr. Saffold Sr., a well-loved former teacher and community leader, was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame. The tournaments continue Mr. Saffold Sr.’s dream of advancing the sport of golf within the community, especially with youth.

In 1957, Robert C. Saffold Sr. began teaching at E.O. Douglas High School, the only school black students from Hardee, Polk and Highlands County could attend. Formerly a military barracks, it was not built for classroom use; however, the county converted the units into classrooms and some living quarters. Living in a segregated community, Robert C. Saffold Sr. saw the need for a community youth center where children, supervised by adults, could enjoy a safe space with movie nights, sports and games.


His son, Robert C. Saffold, Jr., remembers being the only black male at Woodlawn Elementary. It wasn’t easy. As a child, Robert Jr. saw his father as an ambitious man, empathetic to the community he served, always present, sacrificing for those that needed help. But he didn’t recognize the full impact.

“When I was growing up, I grew up with the son of the largest car dealership in town, the son of the president of one of the largest banks,” Robert Jr. recalls. “All these people had their names associated with their next move in life. I didn’t. (. . .) I didn’t think (my dad) left me a future.”

It wasn’t until his father passed away at the age of 91 that Robert Jr. understood that his father had left him something—a legacy. And he was determined to continue it. In 2023, Robert Jr. founded the Robert C. Saffold Sr. Foundation. The organization exists to help youth realize the possibilities their future may bring.

“What we offer with our foundation is opportunity, and that’s what they granted me, as parents,” Robert Jr. explains. “The foundation provides youth of all backgrounds opportunities for a bright future.”

High school students in Highlands County have the opportunity to learn about higher education and vocational opportunities during the annual University Experience. This event affords participants the chance to tour a University Campus. As part of this year’s University Experience, the students experienced the annual Florida Classic Football game.

“The look on those kids’ faces, to hear them on the bus, it was like we won the Super Bowl! What I hope they took away from the experience—that’s my reward,” Robert Jr. said.

In 2023, the Foundation took part in several community initiatives, including the Dr. Powell Annual Christmas Giveaway, 5th Annual Soda Festival, 12 Hours of B-B-Q Festival, First Annual Boys and Girls Club Back to School BASH, FEMA Free Bottled Water Giveaway, Chamber of Commerce Fall-A-Ween Festival, and the Christmas Parade. They were also Platinum Level Sponsors of the Sebring High School 2023 Football Teams and Supporters of the 8th Annual Elks Lodge Golf Tournament.

Robert Jr. hopes the upcoming golf tournaments will not only continue the memory of his father, but also to help raise funds for the University tour and football trip, programs, and activities. He is also enthusiastic about future plans for the First Annual Sunset Music Festival. The event will commemorate the day Mr. Saffold Sr. was handed the key to the city.

“As his son I am proud to carry his legacy,” Robert Jr. said. “My goal is to try to walk in his steps as much as possible. Note that I said ‘in his steps’ and not ‘in his shoes’ because I don't think that I can fill his shoes. Plus, I have my own shoes.”

To learn more about the Robert C. Saffold Foundation, go to www.birdease.com/saffoldfoundation or contact them by email: rcssf1112@outlook.com or phone: 863-812-0845.

tax exempt 501(c)3
your contribution is tax deductible. Advertorial
The Roberts C. Stafford Sr. Foundation, Inc, is a nonprofit,
organization; therefore
Photos Courtesy of Andres LaBrada

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Healthy Spring Meals

We are moving into Spring and time to get healthy so Heartland Living is bringing you some nutritious recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, you can enjoy a wholesome Green Detox Smoothie, or if you want a more hearty meal, try the Baked Eggs with Mushroom and Spinach. Keep lunch light with a delicious Apple Cranberry Pecan Salad or a low carb Cauliflower Chowder. If you are a shrimp scampi lover, for dinner try this healthier recipe, Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti Squash. And for a light spring drink, try the Apple Sangria anytime in the afternoon or evening.


2 cups baby spinach

2 cups baby kale

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 medium green apple, chopped

1 cup frozen sliced banana

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon honey


Combine spinach, kale, celery, apple, banana, almond milk, ginger, chia seeds and honey in blender until smooth.

Serve immediately.


Baked Eggs with Mushrooms and Spinach

Easy baked eggs with garlic sautéed mushrooms and wilted spinach in individual pans. Quick, healthy and hearty.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 ounces thinly sliced cremini or baby bella mushrooms

2 cloves minced garlic

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups baby spinach

4 large eggs

4 tablespoons heavy or low-fat cream

4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

F. Lightly oil four 10-ounce pans or coat with nonstick spray.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in spinach until wilted.

3. Divide mushroom mixture evenly into the cup pans. Top with eggs, cream and Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Place into oven and bake until egg whites are just set, about 12-14 minutes.

5. Serve immediately.

99 „

Apple Cranberry Pecan Salad

A bright, refreshing spring salad with apples, bacon, and pecans.


3 slices diced bacon

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 medium diced shallot

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large bunch kale, stems removed and leaves shredded

1 medium diced apple

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 7 minutes. Drain excess fat; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, shallot, and Dijon; let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in olive oil and honey; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in kale and massage for 1 minute.

3. Top with bacon, apple, celery, cranberries, feta cheese and pecans, and gently toss to combine. Serve & Enjoy!


Cauliflower Chowder

A creamy, low carb, hearty soup, loaded with so many good veggies..


4 slices diced bacon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 minced cloves

1 diced onion

2 celery ribs, diced

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup 2% milk

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


1. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 1 tablespoon excess fat in the stockpot.

2. Melt butter in the stockpot. Add celery, onion and garlic.. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes.

3. Stir in cauliflower and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barely crisptender, about 4-5 minutes.

4. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.

5. Stir in chicken broth and milk, and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

6. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower are tender, about 12-15 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

7. Puree with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached.

8. Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parsley.

Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti Squash Recipes photo credit: Damn Delicious®

Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti Squash

Everyone loves shrimp scampi with a healthier alternative, using spaghetti squash instead of pasta. It’s buttery, garlicky and amazing with half the calories!


1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves minced garlic

1 minced shallot

3 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan


2-3 pounds spaghetti squash

3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise from stem to tail and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Place squash, cut side down, onto the prepared baking dish. Place into oven and roast until tender, about 40 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.

5. Using a fork, scrape the flesh to create long strands.

6. Season shrimp with paprika, salt and pepper, to taste.

7. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp, garlic, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes, set aside and keep warm.

8. Add squash and spinach to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is heated through, and the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in basil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, to taste.

9. Serve immediately, topped with shrimp, and garnished with Parmesan.

Apple Sangria


1 bottle white wine

1 cup apple cider

1 sliced honey crisp apple

1 sliced Granny Smith apple

1 sliced pear

1 cup fresh cranberries

1 bottle sparkling white wine

8 sprigs of rosemary


1. In a large pitcher, whisk together white wine, apple cider, apples, pear and cranberries.

2. Let chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

3. Serve over ice with sparkling white wine, garnished with rosemary, if desired.

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