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Vernon Murphy, M.D.

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2 | Spring 2012

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Heartland Living Magazine

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Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 3

Letter From




4 | Spring 2012

’m so proud to call this beautiful part of Florida “Heartland” my home. Life takes us down interesting roads, some planned, many not, but this has been a labor of love to do something special for our community and so exciting creating it along the way. I’m very proud to introduce to you, your very own lifestyle magazine ~ Heartland Living. I have so enjoyed being out meeting new people, businesses, foundations and seeing that Heartland has so much to offer to this beautiful piece of Florida we call home. I was talking to my beautiful friend Janet King about who I should approach to represent my cover for my Premier Issue and one of her suggestions was the City of Sebring Fire Department.

I knew that was my choice since my Great Grand Father, George E. Sebring started the 1st Fire House with two 800 ft. hoses in 1914. Sebring is proudly Celebrating our 100 Year Centennial this year, 2012 and our fire station is one of our historical buildings in Downtown Sebring. When I approached Chief Brad Batz not only did he welcome us into the fire station and give us a tour but the history he shared with us was priceless. I so enjoyed my time with these heroes and hope you as well enjoy their story. My goal for Heartland Living is to raise the bar for quality in our community. We want our magazine to feel, look, and be special for our readers. We want our advertisers to be more than advertisers, viewing us as partners with their business. We want the people featured in our magazine to be proud to be part of a great story, but mostly we want to make many friends along the way. I’m so excited to take this journey with our community! Welcome to the first of many ~ Heartland Living Magazine. I hope you agree it is worth the journey.

Cindy Sebring Adams I dedicate my Premier Issue to my Dad ~ William (Billy) Sebring. I Love You!

Heartland Living Magazine


Toll Free 877.385.5188

~ Se Habla Espanol

Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 5


Living Magazine

CONTENT Spring 2012

FEATURES of Sebring Fire Department 12City ...Then and Now By Christy Swift

Magic 20White Janet King Watercolors


By Christy Swift

& Associates 28Gerald Today’s CPA By Christy Swift


17 Heartland Heros Mason G. Smoak Foundation 25 Woman2Woman Casey Wohl 30 Showcasing the Arts Highlands County 31 Tee-Times in the Heartland Richard Donegan

Heartland Events


10 Arcadia All Champion Rodeo 26 John Dean II - Sebring Races

Business News 16 27 34 34

The Blueberry Patch Robert G. McHaffey Tag Studio Advertisers Index Cover

6 | Spring 2012


Heartland Living Magazine

Photo by Rafael Pacheco City of Sebring Fire Department

Heartland Living Magazine

Premier Issue | Spring 2012 Publisher / Executive Editor Cindy Sebring Adams Art Director Bridgette Waldau Assistant Editor Constance Bartlett Writers Amanda Armentrout Jon Armentrout Janet King Christy Swift Senior Photographer Rafael Pacheco Contributing Photographers Jessica R Adams Connie Bartlett Circulation C & C Distribution MarketPlace Central Publication & Advertising 412 Rest Haven Road Zolfo Springs, FL 33890 863-781-0344 E-mail Become a fan on facebook. Visit us at

Heartland Living Magazine is published quarterly by MarketPlace Central Publications & Advertising Incorporated. Copyright 2012, all rights reserved. Reproduction of contents in print or electronic transmission in whole or in part in any language or format must be by expressed written permission of the publisher. All articles, descriptions and suggestions in this magazine are merely expression of opinions from contributors and advertisers and do not constitute the opinion of the publisher, editor or staff of Heartland Living Magazine, and under no circumstances constitutes assurances or guarantees concerning the quality of any service or product. Heartland Living Magazine specifically disclaims any liability related to these expressions and opinions. The advertiser agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the publishers from all liability. Letters from our readers are not only Welcome but Encouraged. Spring 2012

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8 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine


Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 9

84th Annual Arcadia All Florida Championship Rodeo


Photos by Jessica Adams and Connie Bartlett

10 | Spring 2012

The 84th annual Arcadia All Florida Championship Rodeo was held on Saturday, March 10, 2012. One of the biggest Florida rodeos took place at the Arcadia Rodeo Arena. It was an afternoon of excitement and entertainment. For further information visit their website at

Heartland Living Magazine

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Heartland Living Magazine | 11



and Now By Christy Swift Photos by Rafael Pacheco

12 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine


estled on Mango Street in the heart of downtown Sebring, the Sebring Fire Department building brims with history. The façade remains almost identical to the way it looked in 1927 when it was built. The window frames are painted the same maroon red against blond brick. The old tower still juts into the sky at the back of the building, topped with solid copper.

Step inside the front office and you’ll see relics from a time past. An old pull box sits in the corner, emblazoned with the station’s number 14. The red metal box use to be located in the Sebring Circle, where someone could pull down the handle for an old-school 911 call. In another corner, one of two original brass firemen’s poles stands (the second is at the Firemen, Inc.’s clubhouse). Also in the room are the original bell and the Gamewell system that the fire chief used to call his men. One blast followed by a pause and four more blasts meant 14 - a fire on the Circle. If you stick your head out into the bays where the station’s three fire trucks are kept, just above you are two pompier ladders mounted on the wall. They look like enormously long hooks with fishbone rungs that the old firefighters used to scale buildings, floor by floor. “We tell the new rookies they have to use them,” jokes Fire Chief Brad Batz, who has held that title since 2006. In an ancient filing cabinet, Batz has all of the handwritten journals from the 1920’s which recorded what each call was, who responded, etc. “We preserve every bit of the history,” he explained. “From then to now.” Upstairs things are a little different. The triple blow of Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne in 2004 caused so much damage to the building that a complete remodel had to be done. Chief Batz remembers waiting Charley out in the station with his men, even though they had all been recommended to leave by the city administration. “This building swayed. You could feel it swaying,” recalls Batz. “We were grabbing plywood and holding it up with a screw gun trying to screw it to the windows.” Despite their efforts, all 44 windows were blown out. Deputy Chief Ken “Bear” Barefield was standing in the kitchen when a window exploded. Not a shard of glass hit him, he said, although it lay all around him at his feet. “We weren’t even aware that the tower was falling in at this time,” said Batz. “It felt like you were on a boat.” But the hurricanes gave the city the opportunity to do some much-needed updates to the building. The collapsing tower was shored up with steel, the interior was remodeled and painted, and two additional bathrooms were added, including a wheelchair-accessible public restroom downstairs. The bunk room was redesigned for better privacy, and the kitchen was modernized. On the outside, all the brick was re-mortared. „ (Left) City of Sebring Fire Department (L-R) Chief Brad Batz, Lt. Bobby Boarder, Inspector Mike McCann and firefighters Garrod Gavagni, Danny Lobozzo, Aaron Eures and Brandon Albriton. Not pictured: Deputy Chief Tom Dunn, Deputy Chief Mike Altman, Deputy Chief Ken Barefield, Lt. Dirk Riley, Lt. Jim Baker, 2nd Lt. Miles McGee, 2nd Lt. Chuck Piper, 2nd Lt. Ryan Feickert, FF Don Clarke, FF Kyle Yancey, FF Daniel Edmonds and FF David Avila. (Photo inset) This old photo is the original fire station and is noted to be in use from 1914 to 1921. Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 13


Other updates have had to be done to this 85-yearold structure. For example, the bay doors used to be wooden and were designed for Model A fire trucks. Now they are impact-proof glass, and the windows above the doors have been removed to accommodate the height of the two modern fire trucks that reside inside. Even so, the vehicles barely clear the doorways with an inch of purchase on each side.

Joe Li ghthis er wit h


first m otoriz ed fire


The tower is no longer used to dry the long fire hoses as it was in the past. A rack outside performs that function, and the tower space is currently being used for the new bathrooms. The old compressor that used to blow the siren crouches like a dinosaur in the mechanical room. It still works, but the siren is no longer used, and the compressor isn’t strong enough to fill the tires on the new trucks, so a newer model sits beside it. Out in the bay are also a line of new, front-loader washers and dryers and some modern fitness equipment, luxuries of modern-day living. By the way, the entire firehouse is spotless; the firemen do their own housekeeping. You’ve come a long way, baby.


It makes you wonder a bit what those early fire chiefs might have thought if they could see the building today. In 1913 George Sebring started the first fire department with a pushcart and 800 feet of hose. There’s a picture of the cart in Batz’s office. Aaron Withers was the first fire chief according to the Sebring Historical Society. In 1923, they purchased a motorized chemical truck under fire Chief Walter Zachary. That got upgraded to a water-carrying truck in 1926 under fire Chief Allen C. Altvater. Altvater also initiated the first formal training for firefighters in the state of Florida right here in Sebring. “The firemen laid every brick of this building,” said Batz, his blue eyes sparkling with more than a little pride to be in such company.


But today’s firemen have challenges of their own. The day we spoke they were running on a skeleton crew of five men, including Batz. A regular shift is seven. “We have five guys doing what 20 guys do in other places,” remarked Batz. “The other departments say it’s impossible, but that’s our reality,” he said. „

(left) Old photos of the firehouse and firemen were provided by Allen C. Altvater III. 14 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine

With ever-tightening budgets, these real life heroes find themselves having to be more aggressive and put their lives at risk more often than they normally would have to. Three-quarters of the calls they receive are medical calls. Fifteen percent are structure, vehicle, brush or trash fires. The rest can range from anything from a chemical spill to the proverbial cat stuck in a tree.


There are also the hazards of new technologies to consider, like explosive chemicals in a kitchen meth lab or the danger of electrocution from a hybrid vehicle. And they never know what they’ll find. Batz spoke of a call they received about a fire in some mini warehouses. “They started getting doors open to find the fire and ended up finding (homeless) people,” he explained. Some calls can be emotionally draining, such as the death of a child or a bad accident scene. “At the end of your career you’re going to carry some ghosts with you,” said Lieutenant Ryan Feickert. But these 23 men don’t complain; they just do the job. “Firemen are adrenaline junkies,” admitted Batz. “But the reward is knowing that you are helping somebody.” ¢


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Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 15

The Blueberry Patch The Blueberry Patch was purchased in December 2008 from long time owner Susan Royce. Susan and her mom started the business in the early 1980s and grew it into a successful gift shop with their love and commitment. The Blueberry Patch continues to be a local shop where you will be met with a smiling face and helping hand. The owners’ belief is that a relationship driven business will not only make customers want to return to their shop but it will also touch people’s lives. They want people to enter as customers and leave as friends. Being in a small town provides owners, Samantha Price, Kym Smoak and Tracee Smoak, the opportunity to have a very large variety of items that can be purchased. They try to balance some larger branded items like Vera Bradley bags and Lindsay Phillips shoes with an electic mix of unique items. Customers often comment that they can always find items at The Blueberry Patch that they have not seen at other places and seem to enjoy the unique variety of items found in the store. The Blueberry Patch try to have a large selection of “Made in America” items because they believe it is so important to support the local industries. You can find stock items such as home decor, gifts, ladies’ clothing and accessories, baby gifts and even a few men’s gifts.

The Blueberry Patch owner: Samantha Price, Kym Smoak and Tracee Smoak.

The Blueberry Patch 124 E. Inerlake Blvd. Downtown Lake Placid 863-465-5111

Store Hours Tuesday - Friday 10am - 5pm Saturday 10am - 2:30pm

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16 | Spring 2012


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Heartland Living Magazine

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Heartland Heroes By Jon Armentrout

Mason G Smoak Foundation Youth Leadership Heartland Many would find it difficult to cope with the tragic loss of a husband and father, much less turn his legacy into an enduring example of faith and servitude. In 2008, that’s exactly what the Smoak family did. The Mason G. Smoak Foundation was founded to continue the work that Mason had done with several organizations. The Foundation is faith-based and will partner with other non-profit organizations to help children, youth and families in need. In August 2011 the Mason G. Smoak Foundation announced the formation of Class One of their Youth Leadership Highlands program for selected high school students. This program is intended to run year-long and will instill a sense of community and develop the leadership potential of the youth involved. The Youth Leadership Highlands Social Services day was extremely successful. They were able to view a “dedication of the home” ceremony at Highlands Habitat for Humanity- Mason’s Ridge. The home was sponsored my Edward and Anne Smoak. They later stopped by New Testament Mission where the students prepared and served meals for the hungry. They ended the day with Jeff Roth of the Children’s Advocacy Center. If you are interested for applying for Youth Leadership Highlands, learning more about the Mason G. Smoak Foundation or contributing, please visit

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Raymond Drevermann picks strawberries fresh from the field after touring the processing plant.

Taylor Brown and Sherida Zeeuw learn leadership through ropes courses.

Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 17

We Are Redefining Local Healthcare 2011 brought many changes to the healthcare services offered by Highlands Regional. Not only was Highlands Regional named one of the top performing hospitals in the nation in Key Quality Measures, but our Wound Care Center won two national awards and our Women’s and Children’s Care Center received state wide recognition. Highlands Regional also launched Heartland Health, a weekly radio show heard from each Saturday on WWTK 730 AM and 9:00 am to keep our community informed about important healthcare issues. Highlands Regional was the first and only hospital in the area to offer: Ÿ DaVinci robotic assisted surgery fro gynecology, urology and general surgery. Ÿ TIF incision-less surgery for people who suffer acid reflux. Ÿ A senior friendly emergency room. Ÿ Smart operating suites. Highland Regional launched a new breast center with an unprecedented model of excellence in personal patient experience with state-of-the-art digital equipment and stereotactic biopsy. We also launched the most comprehensive sleep center in the region to diagnose various sleep disorders. As we look in the future, 2012 looks to be an even better year for our community as Highlands Regional continues to introduce new lines of needed services and partner with the University of Florida Stroke Program to offer the best quality healthcare and most technologically advanced procedures and equipment available locally. Ultimately these changes will allow Highlands County residents to receive the same quality of care as larger hospitals, right here at home. That’s what being a hometown hospital is all about. Brian Hess 18 | Spring 2012 m Heartland Living Magazine CEO-Interi

Highlands Regional Medical Center Has Been Highlands County’s Hometown Hospital Since 1965.

3600 S. Highlands Avenue Sebring, FL 33970


Highlands Regional Medical Center Announces New Leadership Vicki DeRenzis , MBA has been named Interim Chief Financial Officer at Highlands Regional Medical Center, effective March 1, 2012. Vicki was a Paralegal at a large law firm in Toronto, Canada before relocating to Sebring in 2000 to start her healthcare career in the Business Office at Highlands Regional. The last several years Vicki has served as the hospital Controller. Vicki earned a Master of Business Administration degree and Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern University in Lake Wales, FL. Brian Hess, MBA has been named Interim Chief Executive Officer at Highlands Regional Medical Center, effective March 1, 2012. Brian replaces Bob Mahaffey, who is retiring. Brian has been serving as CFO at Highlands Regional since 2009. Prior to that, he was the Controller at Physicians Regional Health System after beginning his healthcare finance career at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in 2000. Brian earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Regis University in Denver, CO and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Messiah College in Grantham, PA.

Kari Bolin, CNO, RN, BSN, MHA, CNE-BC, was recently named the Chief Nursing Officer at Highlands Regional. Kari has 12 years of nursing leadership experience and 3 years of executive leadership experience from larger hospitals throughout Florida. Kari earned her Masters in Healthcare Administration from Salisbury University and Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Breyer State University. Advertisement

Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 19

Janet King Watercolors


n a tour of artist Janet King’s gallery, you can get lost in a world of light, airy, almost ethereal images: sailboats tied up in sun-bleached bays with their sails crumpling in the wind; ballerinas, their long limbs disappearing into a white backdrop; sunlight bouncing off of the facades of buildings and the tops of umbrellas. She paints people, places, birds and buildings. The scenes transport you to warm, sunny places with exotic flavors on the wind: salty sea air, Parisian coffee, New Orleans spice. And there’s lots of white. King says her favorite subject is sailboats. “When I’m painting boats I’m thinking about the play of light on the water. It’s like a mirror.”

Janet King with her beloved Lilly.

King has been a full-time artist for the past fifteen years, working out of her studio in downtown Sebring as well as traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe. She regularly teaches classes out of her studio as well as at the Manatee Arts Center, Vero Beach Art League, Cape Coral Art Center and more. She has even taught in Italy, and in 2010 had two pieces published in the prestigious book Best of American Water Media. King did not receive any formal art training herself outside of attending the Baum School of Art in Pennsylvania during high school, but she comes by her talent honestly. Her great-aunt Lilly, after whom her beloved golden retriever is named, was a renowned oil painter who lived just down the street from King in the town of Chelmsford, Massachusetts where she grew up.

By Christy Swift Photos By Rafael Pacheco

“I always was in awe of her and would sit and watch her paint,” recalled King. “One summer she bought me some (oil) paints and that was it!” But King eventually found her niche in the light, swirl-


20 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine

Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 21

ing world of watercolors rather than heavy oils. Part of it was the practicality of them. She was a busy mom with school-aged children, and watercolor painting was something that could easily be dropped and picked up again later without the paints drying up or the brushes getting ruined. “I loved the vibrancy of watercolors and I just didn’t know how it was achieved. That was sort of a challenge,” said King. As a gift, her husband and children bought her a spot in a five-day watercolor workshop with Jan Kunz. “I came away floating, it was just so fabulous!” King said. After that she started painting every day. She quit her day job to focus on her art. She read art history and technique books, subscribed to countless art publications, reveled in the seemingly endless number of styles and approaches to creating a piece of art. While watercolor is often considered a difficult medium full of

King’s studio is located in downtown Sebring where you will find her surrounded by her students, her paintings and Lilly.

rules, King says she threw out the rule book and teaches her students to do the same. “There’s no ultimate right and wrong here. There are a thousand different ways to approach it. I get such joy out of reading how someone else’s approach varies and differs from mine, and I try to help my students find their own voice.” She admits this can cause some anxiety among some of her more experienced adult students when she tells them, ‘okay we’re just going to throw paint!’ “It gets them outside of their comfort zone,” said King. “I’m not out to change their style or the way that they paint, just the way that they think.” For more information on Janet King, workshops, classes, and exhibits, visit or call 863-314-0042. ¢ 22 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine


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Heartland Living Magazine | 23

Mornings Made Easy! No matter the weather.

Permanent makeup is there to keep you fresh each day regardless of weather, sports preferences or bad hair days to keep your makeup consistent! Permanent (semi-permanent) makeup is a solution that allows for more of one of the most precious commodities…time! Permanent Makeup (also known as micro-pigmentation) is a procedure that allows face-safe pigments to be implanted beneath the skin’s surface. Using these specific pigments offer a nice range of cosmetic friendly options vs. standard “ink”. The delicate areas of your face can be transformed into ready-made beauty enhanced works of art! And the beauty of it is that it lasts from 3-5* years! Stephanie S. Hadwin has trained on and has perfected the art of shaping/enhancing/lifting eyebrows as well as eyeliner and lipliner. Stephanie provides services at The Stephanie Sherrae Salon in Sebring. The unique salon and spa is located in the Sebring Plaza next door to Beef O’Bradys! Appointments can be made by calling 863.386.4681. Advertisement

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Please join us for Camping, Trail Riding, Dinner, Auction, Live Entertainment, & BIGGER THAN EVER PRIZES for high ride sponsorships. You can download the flyer & form at Sponsored by the Putnam Family & The Florida Cracker Trail Association

Riding sessions are held for participants in Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee, and Polk counties. Participation in the program at HHH remains absolutely free of charge for every person; there is never a fee to be paid.



118 College Drive in Avon Park, FL 33825 24 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine

Heartland Horses & Handicapped, Inc. was founded in 1998 on the vision and aspirations of Sandy Kuhn. She believed that by using horses to challenge perceived limitations of children and adults with disabilities that they would learn and grow, therefore improving their lives tremendously. Beginning with one horse and a handful of volunteers, sessions began in the local 4 H facility. On Saturdays, parents and caregivers would bring their children to ride, groom, and interact with the horses. Soon a couple horses were donated and the need to lease stalls, purchase equipment, and feed grew steadily higher. Ride-A-Thons were started as a way to bring much needed funds into the program. An annual “Putnam Ride” began, featured on the first weekend of May every year. This ride, now renamed the Sandy Kuhn Memorial Ride-A-Thon in honor of our late founder is still a well-attended and loved event.


Woman Woman


hat do you do when you suddenly find yourself divorced, unemployed and fighting off depression? If you’re Casey Wohl you start traveling, write a book, develop your own publishing company, start your own public relations firm and become a marketing guru. Her drive doesn’t stop there. She has also taken a struggling downtown district and inspired them to unify and work towards growing business in the Downtown Sebring area. What started for Casey as a type of “therapy” after life changing events soon became an opportunity. She started traveling with girlfriends at every opportunity. Every time she would purchase a book or read reviews on an area, they were targeted toward a certain demographic. “We started to notice that there were no books for women who travel,” Casey recalls. This led to Casey then writing her first book The Girls Getaway Guide to Orlando. This book reads almost like a bucket list of places to go and things to see for the female traveler. Once finished, she formed her own PR firm, Grey Dog Communications (lovingly named for her now- departed companion) in order to publish her own books. Then, the unimaginable happened. Barnes & Noble contacted Casey in order to carry her book. She then followed up with her second book The Girls Getaway Guide to Key West. This “Getaway Girl” now has an amazing career as a travel advisor. Casey then decided to draw on her media, public relations and marketing background to work on a couple of proj-

By Amanda Armentrout

ects with the Economic Development Commission. At this point the position at the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) opened up. Wohl was then hired on to implement some of the plans that had already been made. “We launched the ‘Buy Downtown’ program,” says Wohl. This program is based on a consumer rewards system. Registered Downtown Sebring merchants offer discounts and specials to those carrying the consumer card. These free cards can be picked up at locations or print directly online at www.BuyDowntownSebring. com. Casey is also not afraid to step out of the box in order to successfully market. To promote some of the new consignment stores in the Downtown Sebring area, she organized a fashion show which showcased their items.

Casey Wohl

She has also worked with Avon Park Main Street to put in place some of the same programs that has worked in Sebring. Casey has bright hopes for the futures of both cities. ¢

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863-471-BULB 283 US 27 North Village Fountain Plaza Sebring, FL 33870 Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 25

Local Racer John Dean II Triumphs at Sebring Races


orn and raised in Sebring, local boy, John Dean II is the son of “the Voice of Sebring” (radio racing commentator for the 12 Hours of Sebring, John Dean Senior). Starting his career in karts at the age of 10, John moved on to driving Skip Barber formula cars, and SCCA sanctioned sports cars, where he won many races and 2 regional championships. He also made the jump to motorcycle racing for a number of years, before moving on to a testing role with Dodge, where the manufacturer also enlisted him to perform drifting exhibitions during Grand-AM, the Daytona 500 and other major Nascar events. Continuing his expertise developing road cars, John was recently signed as the official test driver for the ambitious Dagger GT Super Car project, which sets out to be the first ever 300+mph road car.

In January 2011 John II opened his own shop in Sebring to expand his business “Sick Sideways.” The unique name was derived from John’s driving style. Sick Sideways, with Drivers John Dean II, and Christian Szymczak, decided to take on the Mazda MX-5 Playboy Cup Season for 2012 late last year after signing with a pharmaceutical consulting company “Projections Research.” Thursday was Qualifying 1 and race 1. John II and Christian found themselves 3rd and 4th after their first qualifying session for the season. Following an exciting standing start Christian and John worked together to get through the pack as quickly as possible. Going down into turn 7, Sebring’s Famous “hairpin” corner, there was a 5-car battle. John was able to make a move down the inside taking 3 cars at once. He was then was able to break free from that pack pulling an incredible 3 place finish out from a 20th place start. For Race 2, Sick Sideways started 4th and 5th. John was just able to hold on for the win by a 0.04 of a second. Christian came across the line in 3rd giving Sick Sideways a 1,3 finish. Sebring was a very successful debut race for Sick Sideways taking two 3rd places and a win. If you missed watching race 1 from Sebring it will be televised on Velocity April 21 at Noon, and race 2 will be on Velocity April 28t at Noon. Tune into WWOJ 99.1 and TK730 for guest voice appearances by John throughout the season. You can get the inside scoop by following Sick Sideways on Facebook. ¢

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Heartland Living Magazine

Highlands Regional Medical Center Staff Bids Farewell To A Great Leader. Robert G. Mahaffey, CEO Photos By Rafael Pacheco He is a stellar leader and I will miss him tremendously both professionally and personally. His smile alone can make your day seem brighter.

Mary Ferguson, RN, CNOR, RNFA, Director of Surgical Services.

I have truly enjoyed working for you and with you. Thanks for all you did for everyone. - Nell Fairchild, RN, Director, Med/Surg (interim). Bob, thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you. It has been a great pleasure. You will truly be missed. Wishing you the best - you deserve it. - Pamela Prunier, CPCS, Director of Medical Affairs. Bob Mahaffey is not only a great leader but a great man. He truly cares not only about our patients but about every single associate. He always strives to do “the right thing” and he encourages everyone around him to do the same. Bob is known for his honesty, straight-forwardness, and sense of humor. He is a business man and an “out of the box” thinker. But, he is also caring, genuine, and sincere. He will not only be missed by his family here at the hospital but by the entire community. - Kari Bolin, Chief Nursing Officer. The best boss I have ever had! His knowledge of the inner workings of a hospital is unmatched. I owe my success in this position to him for taking the time to teach me. Thank you Sir. Steve Nyhan, SFC (USA Retired), Director of Marketing

What I admire and will remember most about Mr. Mahhaffey is he is truly a Leader. Often times when discussing business operations Bob would stop the discussion and simply say “What is the right thing to do for the patient?” and his decision would be for the patient. Good Luck and Enjoy! Annette Yunck RNC, Director of Maternal/Child Services

I enjoyed each day and each challenge we faced with the growth of Highlands Medical Group. Your humor always made it a little more bearable and helped me to keep a positive attitude for all. Gwen Shaw, Physician Practice Manager

The conventional wisdom and rules don’t matter with Bob. He is going to do the right thing, and everyone can count on him for it. He is loved and respected by the people who work in this facility. John Ware, Director of Human Resources

To Purchase Contact Nancy Proverb


Highlands Regional Department Directors Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 27

Gerard and Associates

Today’s CPAs

By Christy Swift Photos By Rafael Pacheco


that time of year again and I don’t mean rain showers and azaleas. Tax season is upon us, and with the continual changes to the tax code, the Certified Public Accountants at Gerard and Associates have to stay on their toes. “Problems facing CPAs today are not the same as they used to be. A lot of the issues that are facing CPAs today are problems that are a result of the economy,” said owner Priscilla Gerard, who has 30 years’ experience as a CPA. She works alongside fellow CPA Allison Davenport in their Sebring office located at 219 E. Center Avenue. Two situations that Gerard says are common now, but were rare five years ago are cancellation of debt and home foreclosure. Both of these can have tax implications and should be disclosed to your CPA. Five types of debt cancellation are exempt from being taxed. One of the main exemptions is mortgage debt under the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007. If you’ve had debt on your primary residence forgiven through restructuring or foreclosure, you won’t have to declare it as income. The legislation expires December 31, 2012, though legislators could decide to extend it.

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Heartland Living Magazine

The process of resolving this she said, can be a nightmare. One way to avoid becoming a victim of this type of fraud is to protect your personal information, especially your social security number, however thieves can often access your information by hacking your bank account, pension account or any online account that has your bank card number on file.

Another relatively new development, tax return identity theft is growing year after year, said Gerard. According to, 335,341 fraudulent refunds totaling $1.9 billion have been filed as of March 4, 2011. Basically, the thief gets your personal information, prepares a fake W-2, and files a tax return as you. He or she files early and gets your refund before you do. By the time you file, the IRS flags your return and tells you they’ve already sent out your money. “This type of fraudulent activity holds up your refund for months, or at least until the IRS can determine who was rightfully due the money,” said Gerard.

Gerard said that the IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email, so avoid responding to electronic messages claiming to be from the government. They are surely a scam. Any good news in the world of accounting? Gerard says she’s seeing a slight improvement in the economy and fewer bankruptcies than in the past few years. Her firm, which moved to the area in 2006, handles not only tax preparation, but estate planning, guardianship, new business start-ups, bookkeeping, payroll and IRS problem resolution. A proud, native Floridian, Gerard loves working in Sebring and is thankful for the support she’s received from the community. Priscilla has been married for 28 years to Phil Gerard. They have one daughter, Emily, who works for McCrady Hess Ruth CPAs in Orlando and „

(Above) Office building of Gerald & Associates. (Right) Priscilla Gerald and Allison Davenport. (Below) Receptionist Anna Smith.

will sit for the CPA exam this year. Allison, a native of Tennessee and a big Vols fan, has one daughter, Chloe. Priscilla and Allison both love their jobs and are grateful to be working in Sebring. “Sebring is a wonderful community. It’s a wonderful place to work and socialize. We’re glad we’re here,” said Gerard. ¢

The Blueberry Patch

Italian Restaurant

Calzones - Subs & Sandwiches Pizza - Salads - Desserts Dine In - Take Out - Delivery


Hours: Monday 3pm-9pm Tuesday - Thursday 11am - 9pm Friday 11am -10pm Saturday 3pm - 10pm

4325 Sun N Lake Blvd. Sebring, Florida

The Blueberry Patch

Exquisite gifts for women and men, home decor, and baby accessories.. plus a few items to pamper yourself!

Beautiful Gifts for Every Occasion

Hours: Tuesday - Friday 10:00 am-5:00 pm Saturday 10:00 am-2:30 pm

863-465-5111 124 E. Interlake Blvd. Downtown Lake Placid Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 29

By Janet King


ShowcasingT he Arts

have had the good fortune of living in Highlands County since 1981 and have seen this community blossom from having one traffic light on Highway 27 to the thriving community you see today . During those years of growth and prosperity many new restaurants, shops and service industries have sprung up, changing the feel and pace for those of us who call this home. So my thoughts today are to share with you a few of my favorite local hidden jewels, certain to inspire your creative muse, maybe even to slow you down a bit and make you appreciate the world around you. Whether you are a poet, a visual artist, or someone who just loves the great outdoors, these venues are a must-see!

Alice Hansen - Hammock

Highlands Hammock State Park, Bok Tower Gardens, and Archbold Biological Station, along with a plethora of pristine lakes are a mere day trip for most of us, making Highlands County the ideal place to spend an afternoon exploring. Each of these venues is both serene and inspirational, and all have played a significant role in the lives of our locally celebrated artists from Alice Hansen’s watercolors of the Catwalk at the Hammock to Cathy Futral’s beautifully captured native landscapes. Add in Molly Doctrow’s craftily preserved and understated etchings of Archbold’s flora and fauna, and what we have are amazing individuals who are willing to share their views of the artful life that surrounds us. So get out there and take a moment to appreciate what the forefathers of this community had the insight to preserve, and maybe you, too, will be inspired! Alice Hansen has the distinction of being the first and thus far only signature member of the distinguished Florida Watercolor Society, which, by the way, we all aspire to be recognized by. Cathy Futral is the Art professor at South Florida Community College, and Molly Doctrow is the Curator at the Museum of Florida Art and Culture. There are many more artists who call Highlands County home. You can find them at the Highland’s Art League’s Yellow House where studio artists share their work every day, the TAG group in Avon Park, and the Caladium Co-op in Lake Placid. ¢

Highland’s Art League’s Yellow House

30 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine

Cathy Futral - Big Cypress

Molly Doctrow - Prickly Pear & Palmetto

Janet King - Pinewood Estates Pots




In the Heartlands

Heartland Junior Golfer Florida State Junior Golf Champion Okeechobee, Florida

April 14th & 15th Fine Artists. - Student’s Art Musical Entertainment Large Children’s Art and Fun Activity Area

Richard Donegan, a senior at Okeechobee High School, holds the 2011-2012 Class 2A state golfing title. He won the tournament on Nov. 2, 2011 at Howey-in-the-Hills’ El Campeon golf course, with a winning score of 3-under-par 69. Since winning the state championship he has also won other two tournaments. On Feb. 5 he placed first at the FCWT Junior Golf Tour Tournament at Mission Inn El Campeon and Feb. 12 he also won the Hurricane Junior Golf tour tournament, Palm Beach Junior Challenge at Binks Forest Golf Club.

Flagler Park

On St. Rd 70 in the Heart of Okeechobee Saturday 10 am - 5 pm Sunday 10 am - 2 pm

Entertainment featuring: Scott Benge, Lowdown 13, Special to the Event! Leslie’s Dance Studio, Dedication of Okeechobee Main Street’s Chobee Steeler and Fourth Mural Project of the OHS Jazz Band plus more! Old Bank Building - April 14th at 1:30 pm

A scholar athlete, Donegan has been honored three times with the MVP award by Okeechobee High School.


Blinds ASAP! of Sebring

Richard Donegan competing at the Florida State Junior Golf Championship.

Donegan has been playing golf since the age of 3 with family and friends at the Okeechobee Golf & Country Club. He also trains on the east coast and will be attending Florida Atlantic University in the fall.

WE ARE BUILDING OUR TEAM! We are looking for an Outside Sales Professional to join our Advertising sales team. The ideal candidate must possess excellent communication and presentation abilities and sales/marketing experience.

Your Source For Quality Window Treatments! Let Us Help You With All Your Window Covering Designs!  

Please know we are only hiring the BEST to join our team and represent my publication.

Featuring: Lafayette Interior Fashions, Comfortex, Skandia, Graber, Eclipse Shutters and More!   Please visit our SHOWROOM

Heartland Living Magazine

237 US 27 N. Sebring - Village Fountain Plaza

Email Resume to or call – 863-781-0344 for information.

We are the Manufacturer for Vertical Blinds!


Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 31

Down Arcade Grooming “Very Reasonable Rates” Linda, Lora and Debbie

863-386-0033 Mon - Sat 7 am - 5 pm

Archer’s Art Affordable Artwork All Originals No Copies or Prints Custom Orders Accepted Tammy Archer Artist 104 N. Ridgewood Dr. Sebring, FL 33870


Capt. Ron’s Mercantile • Florida Souvenirs Se br • Novelties a n d F loi ng • Gifts S o u ve n r id a i rs . • Team Logo Items • Nautical Home Decor • Sunny Puppets 101 Cirle Park Dr Downtown Sebring

The big guys have lots of items... I have that one unique special gift! 32 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine

Installation or Repair for Carpet, Vinyl, and or Vinyl Composition Tile.


Licensed and Insured

Owners Arthur & Beverly Singley

“Safeguarding Your Independence” Assurance and peace of mind that loved ones are protected.

“We Perform For You”


Art's Home Enterprises, Inc.


356 W. Center Ave - Sebring, FL 33870

Nunsense March 30 - April 15 Doubt May 25 - 27 How the Other Half Loves June 8 - 24

119 W. Center Ave. Sebring, FL 33870


First Class Fashions for Women & Men plus Home Decor


Consignment by Appointment

659 S. Commerce Ave. - Downtown Sebring

Fall Safety Fire Safety CO Safety Medication Safety Immediate Response

Contact Nancy Lombardo


24/7 Emergency Response

304 Circle Park Drive State of the art nationally-recognized emergency response facility since 1991. Sebring, FL We stay on the line until help is at your side!

ntown Sebring . .

Shopping All Roads Lead To The Circle

till Chic Boutique THE MERMAID CASTLE SUpscale Ladies Consignment for the 130 N Ridgewood Dr. - Sebring, FL 33870


Stylish, Smart, Sophisticated & Swanky

Extraordinary Selection of...

Mermaids - Silver Jewelry - Faries - Crystals Wizards - Incense - Dragons - Burners Designer Jewelry - Candles Custom Art furniture and More! Monday - Saturday 11am to 7pm


112 N. Ridgewood Consignment by Appt.


215 N. Ridgewood Dr. Sebring, Floirda 33980


863-382-0947 239 N. Ridgewood Dr. Sebring, FL 33870

Pi e c

Workshop Instructor & Gallery Please call for Appointments & Schedule

Boner® Custsom Fishing Rods -Both Freshwater and Inshore SaltwaterWe have a fun line of apparel. IF YOU’RE GONNA GO FISHING... YOU GOTTA HAVE A BONER®!

la’s Plac u a




Janet F. King


Consignments Welcomed!

Located in Historic Downtown Sebring

Pa s

Joining us:

The 3 Bears Antique Shoppe

of the

Glass, Pottery, Artwork, Furniture Antiques, Extensive Collection of Early 19th Century and Up Historic Downtown Sebring 304 Circle Park Dr. - Sebring, FL 33870

863-385-0200 Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine | 33

TAG Studio

The Artists’ Group, which is known throughout the community as TAG, is a community of artists who commit their individual talents to teach and promote an appreciation for art and artistic expression. TAG is part of South Florida Community College’s Community Education Program. Artists meet regularly at the TAG studio in the Hotel Jacaranda in downtown Avon Park. There are 5 main artists that conduct classes and workshops in various mediums throughout the year in the TAG Studio.

The Artist’s Group at SFCC

TAG Studio



Nancy Adams is a retired veterinarian from Tampa who now resides in Avon Park. She enjoys oil painting and watercolors.

We provide a venue for artistic creation, classes of art and jewelry instructions in a variety of media and techniques.

Betty Heim began her career in painting after she retired from teaching fine arts. Watercolor is her principle medium.


Original art, designer jewelry, hand painted glass and china, giclee prints, note cards and much more.

Kathleen Morgan is an artist and teacher that works in a multitude of mediums. Her “one of a kind” hand painted metallic glass takes approximately 10 layers of metallic paint to create its desired effect.

Summer Hours: Tuesday - Friday 11 am - 2 pm Winter Hours: Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 3 pm Sunday 11 am - 2 pm

Betty McCarthy has studied art at several colleges and most recently, at South Florida Community College under the tutelage of Mrs. Cathy Futral. While proficient in several mediums, most of her current work is in watercolor

Become a Preferred

Heartland Living Magazine Reader for our $9.95 Special Introductory Offer by subscribing for Home Delivery in 2012. All 4 publications will be direct mailed to you so you can enjoy Heartland Living Magazine in your home and keep on your coffee table until the next issue arrives. Name: _________________________ Address: ________________________ City, State & Zip:___________________ ______________________________ Phone:________________ Please enclose a check made out to Heartland Publications & mail with this form to: Heartland Publications 412 Rest Haven Road Zolfo Springs, FL 33890

34 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine

Advertisers Index

Louise Weis completed her first painting in the 8th grade. Although, she paints mainly in Acrylics and Oils, she loves to dabble in watercolors, colored pencils and pastels.

19 East Main Street - Avon Park, FL. Located inside the Hotel Jacaranda

15 32 32 32 15

Amanda Armentrout Arcade Grooming Archers Art Art’s Home Enterprises Auto Options

31 29 35 33 17 25

Blinds ASAP Blueberry Patch Body By Vi Boner Custom Rods Boom Booms The Bulb Bin

16 Cangtong Restaurant 32 Captain Ron Merchantile 16 Cut ‘n Up Salon 11 Duffers Sports Grille 8,9 Florida Heartland Hospital 33 Flower Box 23 Food for Thought 27 Gun Smoke


33 Janet King Watercolors 32 Kathy Consignment 23 Kathy Consignment / Still Chic 32 Life Support Medical 33 Linda’s Books 23 Maria Fablea 33 Mermaid Castle 5 Michael Keiber Attorney 3

Okeechobee Dodge Chrysler Jeep

33 Paula’s Place 7 Rafael Pacheco Photography 24 Residence Inn 11 24 32 17

Southwood Builders Stephanie Sherrae Salon Still Chic Boutique Stuart Mobile Village

2 Highlands Regional Medical 18,19 Highlands Regional Medical 34 Tag Studio 36 Highlands Regional Medical 31 Top of the Lake Art Fest & 32 Highlands Little Theatre Music Fest 27 In-Life

29 Zeno’s Restaurant

90 days to Summer.. Get back the body you’ve alway wanted.

For Everybody, and Every BODY! Fast, Easy Affordale 90 Day to a New You! Cindy Sebring Adams Zolfo Springs, FL 33890 863-781-0344 Heartland | 35 Spring 2012

Living Magazine

36 | Spring 2012

Heartland Living Magazine

Heartland Living Magazine, Premier Issue 2012  

This is the Premier Issue of Heartland Living Magazine.... a lifestyle magazine for the local community of Sebring, the "Heartland" of Flori...

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