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Bringing You the Best of Okeechobee


Terry Parrish

Okeechobee’s Longest Serving Firefighter


Jacob Larson

Rancher, Farmer and Family Man

Okeechobee Youth Justin Hoover

Looking Back

Okeechobee High School - The First Fifty Years

HEROES ARE ALL AROUND US We’re proud to care for them — every day. Working hard doesn’t fit into a 9-to-5

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Publisher’s Note

video posted on the website.

Thank you to all our readers, advertisers and supporters for making the launch of our new website and Facebook page so incredibly successful. The outpouring of support and feedback has been overwhelming. Our website has had almost 9,000 visitors since we launched March 8, and we have reached over 1,000 likes on our Facebook page during this same time period. As with our last issue, we have updated our website with new content and have some fabulous videos and event photos for you to enjoy and share. Look for the new icons on each event page to let you know if there are additional pictures and

In our Behind the Business features, read about Echols Plumbing and Air Conditioning, a father-and-son business that continues to grow to serve its community, and Inkwell Tattoo and Piercing, a business that supports the continuing education of youngsters in art within the public school system. As always, there was no shortage of events and happenings going on in Okeechobee and we were there to cover them for you, including the Battle of Okeechobee, County Fair, Youth Livestock Show, Okeechobee Main Street Artist Reception, Color Craze 5K and so many more. We have some great video clips from some of the youth at the livestock show talking about what they’ve learned from being members of FFA and 4-H posted on the website. We also take you behind the scenes with interviews from the comedians from the 2nd Annual Comedy Splash hosted by Okeechobee’s own Cris Rodriguez. Have a great summer and don’t forget to continue checking our website and Facebook page for even more extras during the quarter. Also, please continue to contact me with your stories, ideas and events, because after all, it is Okeechobee The Magazine, your magazine.

Susan Giddings


Susan Giddings creative director

Bridgette Waldau graphic design

Nancy Pobiak Chris Felker writers

Rachel Buxton Audra Clemons Raye Deusinger photographers

Sharon Cannon Jane Kaufman Vicky Nichols Sandra Pearce contributors

Maureen Burroughs Judge William Hendry Charles Murphy Jennifer Powers Michael Shellen account executives

Trish Grygo Debi Large office manager

Patti Berglund

OTM Publications, Inc. DBA Okeechobee The Magazine

316 NW 5th Street Okeechobee, FL 34972 Phone: (863) 467-0054 president

Susan Giddings Founder Maureen Budjinski

Lazy days of Summer we have missed you so. We welcome warm weather for all of us to grow. Enjoy time with family and friends, make memories along the way. Cook-outs, boat rides, just doing what you may. Do a little fishing in our favorite lake. Remember, whatever it is, great memories are what you’ll make. - By Patti Berglund OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

8, number 2 | Summer 2014


The cover story this issue is about Okeechobee firefighter Terry Parrish, the longestserving firefighter in the department who has dedicated almost 30 years to serving the residents and visitors of Okeechobee. Also in this issue, meet Jacob Larson and get an inside look into how he and his family are cultivating cattle on their ranch. New to Okeechobee The Magazine is Okeechobee Youth, one of our several new occasional features that will be rotating throughout upcoming issues. This issue we introduce you to Justin Hoover, one of only two people from Okeechobee ever to be inducted as a member of the very prestigious Florida Blue Key Honor Society. And in our Looking Back feature, Judge William Hendry takes us through Okeechobee High School’s first 50 years.

4 | Summer 2014


Okeechobee The Magazine, is published quarterly in Okeechobee, Florida. Copyright 2014, all rights reserved by OTM Publications, Inc. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the space occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing.




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Summer 2014


22 Firefighter Terry Parrish

Watch Nears End at Okeechobee County F.D. By Raye Deusinger

44 Jacob Larson

Rancher, Farmer and Family Man By Audra Clemons



34 Looking Back

By Judge William Hendry

62 Okeechobee Youth Justin Hoover By Rachel Buxton

Behind the Business 74 Echols Plumbing & Air Conditioning 76 Inkwell Tattoo & Piercing



100 Fishing on Lake Okeechobee By Capt. Michael Shellen

102 Cody Walker By Charles Murphy



82 8 | Summer 2014


12 Chamber of Commerce Leadership Okeechobee 14 The Battle of Okeechobee 18 Peace Lutheran ‘A Night With the Stars’ 20 Okeechobee Cattlemen’s Cow Town Rodeo 40 Okeechobee County Fair 41 Okeechobee County Youth Livestock Show 56 Speckled Perch Festival and Parade 58 Battle at the Big ‘O’ Cook-Off 70 Okeechobee Christian Academy Fun Shoot 72 Relay For Life 78 ‘Country Life’ Artist’s Reception 82 Pregnancy Center Color Craze 5K Run/Walk 86 Sheriff Shootout 90 Women in the Outdoors 92 BikeFest Okeechobee 96 FFA Alumni Sporting Clay Shoot 98 Sheriff Torch Run for Special Olympics

104 Around Okeechobee 106 Advertiser Index

Bringing You the Best of Okeechobee


Plus Jacob Larson Justin Hoover

ON THE COVER Story on Page 22 Terry Parrish with son T.J. (Terry Jr.) Cover by Sandra Pearce Looking Back

Okeechobee High School - The First Fifty Years

We will be closed July 1st - July 8th and will reopen on July 9th.

Summer 2014 | 9

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Summer 2014 | 11

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Chamber of Commerce Leadership Okeechobee

John Gililand, general manager of McArthur Farms. (Right) Ray Royce, executive director of the Highland County Citrus Growers, discusses the citrus industry. (Far Right) Wes Williamson speaks to the class about the cattle industry.

Future Leaders Tour Agribusinesses, Health Facilities The Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce recently conducted the fifth and sixth of its eight Leadership Okeechobee class sessions for 2013-14.

(Above) The leadership class with Chuck Syfrett at the feed plant.

The fifth class, on Jan. 15, focused on agriculture and agribusiness with trips to McArthur Farms, the Williamson Cattle Co. ranch and Syfrett Feed. Health and human services were the focus of the sixth class, given on Feb. 19. The eight-month program ending in April is set up to prepare potential leaders of the community. The next leadership class is slated to begin in September. For more information contact Executive Director Antoinette Rodriguez at antoinette@

Mark Mayers of Real Life Children’s Ranch leads a tour though one of the homes. (Left) Robert Lee, CEO of Raulerson Hospital, shows the class the radiology department. 12 | Summer 2014


For additional photos visit

Jonathan Bean, executive director of Martha’s House.

Sharon Vinson, Shared Services Network.

Faye Haverlock, president,and daughter Sandy Perry, vice president of Okeechobee Health and Rehabilitation Center. (Below) Brian Sell, Okeechobee Medical Reserve Corps.

Summer 2014 | 13

Photos By Sharon Cannon

The Battle of Okeechobee

Native American dancers (from left) David Weathers, Francisco Zomora, Katrina Fisher, Dakota Shaw, Otter Standingready and Cody Boettner.

The Missouri Volunteers wait for their commander’s call.

Seminole Battlers of Lake Okeechobee Come to Life

Katrina Fisher does the shawl dance.

An energetic group of reenactors in period uniforms brought the second Seminole War Battle of Lake Okeechobee into living color the weekend of Feb. 22-23 at the Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park. This is the seventh year people have gathered to witness a replay of the battle, which was fought and won on Christmas 1837 by Army Col. Zachary Taylor (“Old Rough and Ready”), later a U.S. president. The local event commemorates the largest and fiercest battle of the Seminole Wars, and spokesman Councilman Dowling Watford said about 30 actors took part and more than 5,000 visitors watched the re-enactments.

Cooper Horsley and Adrian Lanier are dressed for the reenactment. (Left) Federal soldiers in battle. 14 | Summer 2014


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(From left) Jennifer Ceballos, Cheri Nelson, Karen Smith, Gay Carlton, Heather Rucks and Magi Cable.

Peace Lutheran School Mines the Stars in Benefit Peace Lutheran School staged its annual benefit auction the evening of Saturday, Feb. 22, at the KOA Convention Center. From the red-carpet entrance to the Oscar statues on the stage, “A Night with the Stars” lived up to its name. The evening consisted of fine dining, silent and live auctions and music that kept everyone dancing all night. For more information about Peace Lutheran School, call (863) 763-7566.

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Photos By Sandra Pearce

Okeechobee Cattlemen’s Association Florida’s Cow Town Rodeo

Rodeo announcer Jerry Todd (left) with U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney.

Rodeo Act With Staying Power Entertains at Cow Town Event Florida’s Cow Town Rodeo took place March 8 and 9 at the Okeechobee Cattlemen’s Arena. The two-day event featured special performances from 12-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo Act of the Year – One Arm Bandit & Co. – along with bull riding, steer wrestling, bareback riding and all the other great rodeo events. 20 | Summer 2014


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Summer 2014 | 21

“If I Was Young, I’d Do It All Again.”

Firefighter Terry Parrish By Raye Deusinger O Photos by Sandra Pearce

Lt. Parrish’s Watch Nears End at Okeechobee County F.D. Would you have any regrets as you prepared to retire after almost 30 years in the same job? Lt. Terry Parrish, an Okeechobee County firefighter, thought about this question, then said: “If I was young, I’d do it all again. I still enjoy the job, after 29 years.” Parrish, who will retire this year, has spent his entire career in Okeechobee. He is the longest-serving firefighter in the department and, until this past month, worked alongside his son, T.J. (Terry Jr.) a firefighter for six years. This last father/son team in the department was broken up when T.J. moved to Osceola County Fire-Rescue. T.J. said: “I’ve got to thank my dad because he’s given me a career I actually love. He never pushed me into it, but did all he could to help me.” While working as a certified technician at a paint and body shop in Broward County, Parrish had served as a volunteer firefighter from 1981 to ’85, even being named a lieutenant in 1983. In ’85, his older brother Ron, a firefighter, talked him into going to EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) school, and his career began. 

Summer 2014 | 23

Because his parents were living in Okeechobee, Parrish applied to the Okeechobee Fire Department on graduation. Six men were hired at the same time, and all worked to help open a new fire station being built in Treasure Island. At that time, the small department had only 18 firefighters to man its two stations. “We had rough facilities in Treasure Island,” said Parrish; “there was a tiny kitchen, a tiny living area, three bunks for

24 | Summer 2014


sleeping and a bunk for the lieutenant who, when he got out of bed, he hit the wall.” Today, the Okeechobee County Fire Department has four firehouses: Station One on Sixth Street in Okeechobee, Station Two in Treasure Island, Station Three in Fort Drum (this station is manned by a volunteer force), and Station Four near the Okeechobee Correctional Institution. Today’s force employs 36 firefighters serving three stations under the

leadership of Fire Chief David McCain. He attained the rank of lieutenant in 2010. Chief McCain said: “Terry is always a jokester who makes you laugh, but also, always, a true professional and a loyal and dedicated member of the department. I am proud to call him my friend.” Parrish explained that most fire responses in Okeechobee are to occupied-house fires. The greatest danger in a house fire is a collapsing roof, which is

how most firefighters who are killed lose their lives. “But we are well-trained,” he said. “It is our job to go in. Our motto is, ‘We are running into a fire when you are running out.’” But the largest local fire threat is from wildfires. Just after his promotion to lieutenant, Parrish was in charge of a brush fire in north county that consumed 4 acres in just five minutes. “We chased it, but it was outrunning us,” he said. “We didn’t have time to be

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Summer 2014 | 25

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Parrish with his son T.J. (Terry Jr.) afraid; we just knew we had to solve the problem before it became a bigger one.” The largest structure fires locally occur in feed mills. Feed is stacked so compactly in high silos that the firefighters have to go in continuously, frequently over several days, pulling out the feed and fighting reignited fires. Parrish has fought three such fires, “but, thankfully,” he said, “no one has ever died in an Okeechobee fire.” To prepare for future needs, every year, every business structure must be evaluated by the department, with statistics and other information entered in a “book” for that business. Information on sprinkler 

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systems, the type of structure, physical layout, number of employees and more is included. Should a fire be called in, the “book” is pulled and taken on the call to determine the best way to fight the fire. In the oral portion of Parrish’s promotion exam, he had to detail how he would handle a fire in a large structure like Publix. He was asked who he would bring (two trucks must respond to every structure fire), where he would park, what would be his “incident command system,” how and where he would evacuate people and other details of how he would fight the fire, maximizing safety. Parrish said, “You must always have a backup plan for everything; there is always a ‘what if,’ which is why you plan.” While there is a joint agreement between the fire departments of Buckhead Ridge, Okeechobee City and County, St Lucie, Martin and Highlands counties to assist each other, sometimes that might not be enough. The decision what to do in each case must be made within minutes. Parrish’s friend Robert Mears (a retired firefighter) said: “Terry is a fantastic person with a deep passion for fire services. For 30 years I’ve known him to always be professional and dedicated to his job. He knows his job and his people, and Terry can make such decisions.” “But,” said Parrish, “that is why we train; today’s firefighter is versatile.” Each can train in specialty areas such as Search and Rescue, Extraction, HazMat (hazardous materials), USR (Urban Search and Rescue), Trench Rescue (cave-ins), Dive Team and others. Parrish is certified in Search and Rescue, HazMat, USR and Dive Team.

28 | Summer 2014



Parrish said Dive Team responses are a very difficult job in Okeechobee. “Once you are 2 inches below the surface, everything is black,” he said. “I did my training at Nubbin Slough — at night. Deputies were on the banks with flashlights spotting gators. You had to drop a line to the bottom with a buoy to the surface, then swim in a circle around that marker, ‘feeling’ for your quarry. If you didn’t find it, you had to progress to the next circle and continue ‘feeling’ your way. “This is a continuous job,” he added. “We work three cycles of 24 [hours] on/24 off, then 24 on and four days off. We don’t sit around all day. We must check inventory, prep the ambulance and fire truck, do training and perform regular duties. This is our home away from home and must be maintained that way.” Parrish said the firehouses of the past are not the same as those today. “It used to be that it was a big family; our kids and wives would come for dinner, we had outings together,” he said. “Today it is a business, but I see a slow return to the feelings of the past. Last Christmas was the first ‘family’ Christmas we had at the firehouse in five years.” Lt. Ryan Hathaway, another friend, said: “Terry is straightforward and loyal to both his personal and professional families. On a run last Christmas, we found a family with troubles and decided to help make their Christmas better. Though he was not part of that run, Terry stepped up to help when he heard about the needs, because he has a passion for the elderly and children in need.” 

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Parrish’s wife, Robin, who works for the Okeechobee County clerk of court, is the daughter of a 35-year career firefighter. Married 27 years, she was prepared for “the life.” In addition to T.J., they have a daughter, KayeDee, who is a hairdresser. T.J. said: “This is a family profession with my dad, my grandfather, my uncle, cousin and me all working in the field. I’ve never had a problem working with Dad; I learned early to separate ‘work dad’ from ‘Dad dad.’” In 1997, the elder Parrish was named Firefighter of the Year by both the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion posts. He was Preceptor of the Year in 2007. (A preceptor is an instructor and evaluator of paramedic students.) But soon he will enjoy retirement, and he says his plans are to “enjoy life and stay busy.” Okeechobeeans can be sure that will involve helping his community in some way. O

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WILLIAMSON CATTLE COMPANY PRESENTS Photos of the Past Boys Basketball team of Okeechobee High School, 1949-50 Located at the “old” gymnasium, 610 S.W. 2nd Avenue

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(Back row): Coach C.L. Pearson, Lawrence Sweatt, Autis Allen, Jack Williamson, Russell (Nick) Collins and Norris Nix. (Front row): Malton Lightsey, Ira Mason, John Ed Burdeshaw, Jerry Cross and Jack Boettger.

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Marvin Williams, Billy Tomlinson, Lavern Conrad, Billy McLellan and Charles Markham.

The boy’s basketball team played in the newly built gymnasium in 1949-50. Before the flooring was completed they practiced on a sand floor and at times used a basketball net attached to a pine tree.


Acknowledgements: John Ed Burdeshaw and Betty Chandler Williamson

Summer 2014 | 33

Looking Back

By Judge William Hendry

Okeechobee High School The First Fifty Years

Tantie School Building, now located The at the Okeechobee Historical Society on U.S. 98, opened in January

1910. It was a one-room school designed to accommodate 40 students, but, as at all rural schools in St. Lucie County at that time, classes were taught only to the eighth grade. When the school term opened in September 1915, enrollment exceeded all expectations, with 118 children the first week. By December 1915, the school board had retained F.H. Trimble, an architect, and proceeded to construct a brick high school, which was completed by October 1916. This new, two-story building had 12 classrooms, a two-level auditorium and gymnasium and an unfinished basement for future use. The term opened with an enrollment over 200 children, and classes were taught up to the 10th grade. It was not until 1921 that the first class graduated. The class of 1927 was the last class to graduate from this building. The 1916 brick school was renovated in 1996 and now serves as the school administration building. The teaching staff increased from nine in 1917 to 19 in 1925 as a result of rapid enrollment and booming growth of Okeechobee County. Finding it necessary to construct a new high school, the school board purchased a block adjoining the 1916 school. The board then retained the firm of Hatcher & Funk, architects, to prepare plans and specifications.

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A construction bid from the firm of Rogers & Duncanson in the amount of $93,800 was accepted. The cornerstone was placed by the Masonic Lodge on March 16, 1926, and the completed building was accepted May 2 of the next year, ready for the 1927-28 school term, to serve grades seven through 12. Following the September 1933 hurricane, all damaged schools in the county were repaired except the 1916 brick school, which was condemned as unsafe. All children from that school were moved to the 1927 high school until October 1934, when renovation of the 1916 school was completed, but without an auditorium and gymnasium. Enough money was left from the renovation to construct a new auditorium. Ground was broken in February 1935 and the building completed for the fall term. When the 1940 school term opened, on Sept. 3, 1940, the highlight was the dedication of the flagpole, a gift from the Parent Teachers Association, which was located between the schools and in front of the auditorium. After Pearl Harbor, it became the daily custom to assemble around the flagpole for the raising of the flag while the bugler played “to the colors” followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sports have been an important part of high school since the early 1920s. School Superintendent W.R. Terrell, in his report to the State Superintendent for 1920-1922, stated: “This year we will have high school class ‘B’ and organized athletics including baseball, basketball and track.” The 

Firs t Hig h Scho o l 1926 Photo

Second High School Under Construction 1926 Photo

Class of 1948

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OHS baseball team of 1926 was probably the best team Okeechobee had for many years. The Sebring High School yearbook of 1927 had this to say: “The baseball season of 1926 was the best in our history. The only team that defeated us was Okeechobee, and they would have been state champions if their pitcher had not been ineligible.” Basketball was popular for both boys and girls; however, the gymnasium, which also served as the auditorium, was destroyed by the 1933 hurricane and was not replaced. Some of the later games were played on a temporary outdoor court. The 1934 Purple Tigers girls team had no losses, and the boys team had only one loss. No basketball was played from the late 1930s until a new gym was constructed on the north side of the high school in 1953. OHS football was the major sport and in some years, the only sport. OHS football was first reported in 1925, and the major rival was the Fort Pierce Fighting Eagles, who won all the games except for a scoreless tie in 1929 and a 7-6 loss to the Catfish in 1942. The 1929 football season, under Coach A.B. Wilhite, was the best in OHS history, with the team scoring 164 points without being scored on. Fort Pierce declined a rematch, and OHS played Lake Worth, also undefeated, on Thanksgiving Day 1929, losing 6-0. The Palm Beach Post had this to say about ‘Chobee: “Kickliter and DeBerry, fullback and halfback, were the sweetest

sh fi t a C OHS otos of h p n o i t First ac n white) i ( l l a b t OHS Fo o ov. 1946 N e l l at La Be 36 | Summer 2014


1926 Okeec h Scho o l Bas obee Hig h eball Team

running pair the fans will see in many moons.” The Nov. 11, 1932, game with Fort Pierce was played in Okeechobee and was advertised as the “Fort Pierce -’Chobee Classic” of 1932, as both teams were undefeated. The Fort Pierce News Tribune reported that the game was played before 2,000 fans, with a 12-0 victory for the Fighting Eagles. The big victory for OHS was in 1942, when the Catfish were coached by the Rev. D.O. Alderman, pastor of First Baptist Church, whose booming voice would shout “a little pepper, boys” as encouragement. The worst OHS defeat was a 72-0 loss to Clewiston in 1949. The original OHS football field was located behind the 1916 brick school (present Administration Building). Some of the games were played on Saturday afternoons. The Okeechobee Civitan Club sponsored lighting the field in 1940, and the first game under lights was OHS vs. OHS Alumni. The first game when the OHS band performed (without drill) was in September 1946, and the last game played on the old field was Dec. 6, 1946, OHS vs. Cocoa. The school board purchased two blocks of land on South Parrott Avenue, where TD Bank and the public library are now located, which was ready for the 1947 season, complete with bleachers and stadium scoreboard. The first game on this field was in October 1947, OHS vs. Stuart, and the last game on the Parrott Avenue field was in November 1969. OHS Brahmans vs. Clewiston Tigers. After 23 seasons on the Parrott Avenue field, a new Brahman stadium was completed at the new high school on North U.S. 441. The first game on this field was OHS vs Jupiter in September 1970. By October 1951, an agreement had been made with Glades County for the Seminoles at Brighton to

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OHS B a First nd P Perfo ublic r Flag l mance e April r Park 1945.

y dr n e l H 947 l i B 1 nd May t Ba s rm r i F fo Uni

attend the schools at Okeechobee. The Seminoles were welcomed, and some of the boys made great contributions to OHS football; the outstanding players included Joe Dan Osceola, Cecil Johns, Stanlo Johns and Andy Bowers, to name a few. In order to comply with federal law and regulations, the school board in March 1967 authorized the phasingout of the Douglas-Brown School, formerly Okeechobee Colored #1, and integrating pupils into the Okeechobee schools beginning with the 1967-68 term. More outstanding players were added to the OHS roster. Integration of the Okeechobee schools was a relatively smooth transition.

From the early years of OHS, music had been part of the curriculum. Attempts to form a high school band or orchestra began in 1929, but none succeeded for more than two or three years until 1945. The present OHS band dates from January 1945. Merle O. Kent, a former naval officer and Pearl Harbor survivor, organized and directed the band until July 1949. The first public performance of the band was at the Flagler Park bandstand in April 1945, and the first marching appearance was in the Halloween parade Nov. 10, 2007, of October 1946, but it was at 101 Ranch: 60+ Class Reun not until the spring of 1947 ion of 1945 Foot ball Team. (From left) (Class that band members appeared of ‘46) Haynes Williams, Robert “Doc” Pe arce and Dozie in their new red, white and r Clements; (Class of ‘49) Ro bert “Babs” Hay blue uniforms. Many honors es ; (Class of ‘48) John Brya n “Snook” Watfo rd and have been won since that time. (Class of ‘47) Bi ll Hendry.

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memories of OHS football when I played, beginning in 1943 as the only ninth-grader on the team. In the 1940s, we never had enough players for two full teams; some years there were as few as 14. I played right tackle on offense and left tackle on defense and sometimes center. In 1943, it was not unusual to see long military convoys pass through Okeechobee, but on one occasion the convoy camped near the high school. Our coach invited the soldiers to play us a preseason practice game. It was an experience to remember! In 1943, during gas rationing, we did not always travel to the games by school bus; however, senior player Gene Fulford took the team to play Vero Beach in the back of an open cattle truck. I don’t believe it had been cleaned in a while. In 1944, Clyde Durrance was the OHS football coach, but his only experience had been as a cheerleader. He still claims we didn’t try field goals because we never got that close, but we did win half our games. In 1946, we played an afternoon game at LaBelle on their new field, which had been a cow pasture only weeks before. A cow was chased from the field at halftime, and some dove hunters, in a nearby field, fired toward the football field, with shot falling on our helmets. We won 20-13. Some early OHS traditions that have survived many years began with the graduating class of 1933, the first to wear caps and gowns. They also began the custom of engraving the names of graduates, each year, in a concrete sidewalk at the north entrance of

the high school. As classes got larger, there soon was no more space for this tradition. Several classes during the 1940s made scrapbooks of school activities and events, but it was the class of 1946 that published the first annual. In September 1964, the school board purchased 50 acres north of the City of Okeechobee as a site for a new high school. Opposition to the purchase soon arose, and a civil action was filed seeking an injunction against the school board and for rescission of the purchase contract. Circuit Judge Wallace Sample dismissed the complaint at the conclusion of the plaintiffs’ case for failure to prove the allegations of their complaint. A final decree was entered for the school board on Nov. 10, 1965. O The new high school was constructed in two phases and was completed with auditorium and gymnasium in September 1968. And that’s the way it was! O

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Judge William L. Hendry is a sixth-generation Floridian, born in Okeechobee in 1929. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1957 and was in private practice from then until 1980. That same year Hendry was elected county judge and served until his appointment as the first circuit judge from Okeechobee County before retiring in 1995. In addition, he was chief judge of the 19th Judicial Circuit 19901993 and senior judge in the 10th and 19th circuits from 1996-2010. Hendry is married to Etta Merle Sullivan and has three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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Photos By Sharon Cannon

Okeechobee County Fair

2014 Royalty (from left): Miss Congeniality Bailey Hansen, Little Miss Okeechobee County Fair Ashley Phares, Miss Okeechobee County Fair Teen USA Taylor Pearce and Miss Okeechobee County Teen USA Megan Perona.

Amanda Castaneda and Luis Castaneda won a stuffed animal.

Michael Clayville gets a kiss from “Bubba� the camel. Katie Schmid and Angela Menzie making the famous Amish Baking Co. donuts.

Bradley Sheltra volunteers for the magic show. 40 | Summer 2014


Shows, Events Keep Okeechobee County Fair Attendees Happy The eighth annual Okeechobee County Fair took place Tuesday through Sunday, March 11-16, at the Okeechobee AgriCivic Center. A host of events helped embellish the fun for participants throughout the week. The Okeechobee Youth Livestock Show and Sale, the Okeechobee Idol contest, Lucky the Magician of Lance Gifford Magic Theater, and The Banana Derby were among the highlights.

The Banana Derby race. For additional photos visit

Photos By Sandra Pearce

Okeechobee County Youth Livestock Show and Sale at the Okeechobee County Fair Okeechobee County Youth Livestock Show Winners

Grand Champion Steer – Carolanne Lundy.

Reserve Grand Champion Steer – Maria Grisales.

Overall Grand Champion Dairy – Cady McGeehee.

Grand Champion Swine – Jacey Mullis.

Reserve Grand Champion Swine – Trey Thomas. (Left) Kiss the Pig – J.D. Mixon. For additional photos and video visit

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“God orchestrated a perfect deal for us.”

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One Part Rancher, One Part Farmer and Full-Time Family Man By Audra Clemons O Photos by Sandra Pearce

“To God be the glory,” is the response Jacob Larson gives to the question, “How do you get it all done?” In Okeechobee, the last name Larson is synonymous with dairy. As a thirdgeneration family business owner, Jacob Larson is extremely rooted in dairy farming; however, over the past 10 years, he has also been cultivating beef cattle with his wife, Danielle, and their three children: Luke, Lilly and Levi. “When I look at me, I spend a lot of time at the dairy; but when I look at my family as a whole, we’re probably much more of a beef cattle ranching family,” said Larson. Jacob and Danielle met while attending the University of Florida, and both graduated with a degree in animal science, hers being “the beef option,” his, “the dairy option.” After they graduated from college, Larson was hired on by Larson Dairy to run one of the dairy farms. Meanwhile, Danielle was working two jobs – at Okeechobee Soil and Conservation Service, and tutoring kids at night for Indian River State College in Okeechobee. The transition from college to “the real world” takes adjustments for most people, and making his own transitions, Larson found himself asking a twopart question, “How do we do this and enjoy our work; and what are we working for?”

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The two were working hard at their jobs and also planning to fulfill their passions of getting started in ranching. In 2003 and ’04 there was a “land boom” and the couple couldn’t afford to buy property in Okeechobee, so they went to Mississippi and purchased land near Danielle’s hometown. They worked out a deal with the landowner where he could stay and live on the ranch for five years while Jacob and Danielle Larson made payments. This was the first step in fulfilling their dreams of creating the Angus herd they’d always wanted, and for five-plus years, Jacob and Danielle worked hard in Okeechobee and drove, two or three times a year, the more than 800 miles to visit their ranch in Mississippi. The couple’s hard work and smart business decisions were beginning to pay off. The

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Jacob with his wife, Danielle, and their children: Luke (middle), Lilly and Levi.

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young couple were also setting themselves up financially to begin a family of their own. “You take what property you have and pay down the principal, and if there’s something left over, then you buy some more cows or put that towards another lease,” said Larson. Danielle got wind of a dispersal sale happening at Leechman Angus Cattle in Montana, and flew up to “Big Sky Country” to purchase her first three cows. The couple were able to lease land from Jacob’s father at Dixie Ranch in Basinger, Fla., and this is how Danielle’s first small herd of Angus cattle began. “Danielle loves the Angus breed, and she

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would be tickled with just a small herd. But I enjoy growing my business and doing things in a bigger way if I can,” said Larson.

So with all their growth, Jacob and Danielle Larson were able to lease some more land, from the South Florida Water Management District, and continue to grow their herds. In Larson’s eyes, the point when the progress of all this hard work and determination came to a pinnacle is when he and Danielle were able to buy a house. They had been renting a house on the Dixie Ranch land for over 10 years, and had outgrown it after adding three children to their family. “Looking back, God orchestrated a perfect

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“We were growing and selling purebred Angus cows, heifers and bulls,and we did well with that – we still do – and our commercial cows were growing as well. When we got married, I had a herd of commercial cows that I had already put together, all the way back in high school,” said Larson.

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Danielle and Jacob focused on growing and breeding their Angus cattle, and they did. In 2009, they moved most of the herd from the ranch in Florida to their ranch in Mississippi; the breed is more suited to the environment there.


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deal for us. We were anxious to the point of frustration. We had put an offer down on a house, and it didn’t work out. We couldn’t understand why things weren’t aligning,” Larson said about the process of buying a house. “Then God revealed it to us; we sold the property in Mississippi and land came open in Basinger, where we were able to purchase a house and move our Angus cows to the property.” Larson talks fondly of the life he and his wife have built for their family. He enjoys getting on a horse to work cows with his wife and his three kids, and cooperating as a team to accomplish the same goal.


“It’s fun to watch the kids grow, and it’s rewarding to see them do well. They start to understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” said Larson.

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Time management is essential in Jacob’s world. Besides running a massive dairy operation that requires a lot of attention to detail, he is also a family man, and he oversees a beef operation. Larson points out that most days start around 5 a.m., but now he has more flexibility in his schedule as opposed to the first few years out of college. He has accrued a great staff and reliable employees to whom he can delegate tasks. Larson Dairy has herdsmen whom he’s trained to make treatment and culling decisions – both very important to a dairy business. Larson says: “I used to have to make every nitpicky decision, but over time, good management means that you can effectively get things done through other people so you don’t have to be right there doing every single thing. You just can’t be. One of my favorite quotes from a human resource person is, ‘expect and inspect,’ meaning that my employees need to know what I expect of them, but if I don’t inspect to make sure every ‘I’ is dotted and every ‘T’ is crossed, then I’m falling down on my end of the job.”

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“I’m so blessed to have someone who is trained to do this – I know how to do it, but I don’t have to spend hours a day doing this,” Larson said. “Now that we have this system in place, I don’t know how we managed without it. The dairy business is about producing highquality milk at maximum efficiency. Our biggest cost is feed, and we even have a computer software program called Feed Supervisor, that accounts for every pound of ingredients in our ration.” “The dairy runs 24 hours a day. What I am learning now is how to balance my time for my family. Those three kids need to have a relationship with their father. My deal with Danielle was that when the kids got out of diapers, I’d take them with me, as often as possible. So on Saturdays, many times, I take them to the dairy with me, and they know where I am and what I’m doing. It’s cool to see them walking up to the barn while I’m working there,” says Larson of the work-home balance. Life is indeed blessed for Jacob and Danielle Larson. They have success in business, a wonderful family and marriage, and to top it off, last year they were the 2013 Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Winners. They are gracious and thankful for everything they’ve achieved, and the sky is the limit for this young couple. O

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T O O !

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Speckled Perch Festival and Parade

Tiny Miss Speckled Perch Patricia Entry.

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Speckled Perch Parade, Festival Entertain Large Crowds

(Above) Little Miss Seminole Madasyn Osceola and Little Mr. Seminole Roberto Osceola Bernard.

The 2014 Speckled Perch Parade kicked off festivities for the Speckled Perch Festival, staged March 8-9 at Flagler Park in downtown Okeechobee. Okeechobee Main Street coordinated the celebration for the weekend, drawing a huge crowd that enjoyed the arts and crafts as well as the many food vendors on hand.

Karlo Ochoa enjoys a paddle ball game with his dad, Jesus Cardona.

The One-Armed Bandit wows the crowd. 56 | Summer 2014


Kameron Moore, Kimber Ferrell and Kyndall Moore enjoy a few sweet treats.

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Battle at the Big ‘O’ Cook-Off benefits the O.L. Raulerson Jr. Scholarship Fund

Team “Big Papa’s” Country Kitchen took top prize as Grand Champion. Team “Smokin’ Pink” won first place for its beef loin. (Below) Team “Swine Dynasty” won the Grand Champion award in the Backyard Division.

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Competition was heated at the fourth annual Battle at the Big ‘O’ BBQ Cook-Off Saturday, March 22, at the Agri-Civic Center. The cookoff benefits the O.L. Raulerson Jr. Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the late Okeechobee County sheriff. Money is raised annually with the goal of sending a graduating Okeechobee High School senior to the Indian River State College Law Enforcement Academy for a degree in law enforcement. This year, the cook-off included a car show, bike show, swamp buggy show and air boat show.

(Above) First-place winner in “Factory Frame.” (Right) Ural designed after 1943 Russian military motorcycle owned by Bob Moorman won Best in Show. 58 | Summer 2014


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Summer 2014 | 61

Goal-Driven UF Achiever Justin Hoover Attains Blue Key By Rachel Buxton O Photos by Sandra Pearce

Many of today’s youth focus on deciding which new movie to catch or what party to attend. But for 22-year-old Justin Hoover, son of County Commissioner Joey Hoover and his wife Dawn, diversions like that have never been a priority. His aim has always been to get a great education and to make himself the best that he can be. “I’ve always been told I’m very ambitious,” Hoover said. “I have always wanted to make a name for myself.” And that is exactly what Hoover is on the path to do now, beginning studies for a master’s of science degree in management at the University of Florida. While getting his master’s, Hoover hopes to get involved in the upcoming presidential campaign. With a bachelor’s degree in criminology and law and a minor in agricultural and natural resource law, also from UF, politics is in the forefront of his mind. “Sometimes you’re kind of embedded with certain things that interest you,” Hoover said. “I love law, government and politics. My dad is obviously interested in the political process, so maybe growing up around him talking about it got my interest.” Hoover has been paving his way in politics for many years. As a youth, he followed presidential history and kept up with political campaigns. While in high school, he stayed busy partaking in various clubs and organizations, including student council. But no matter how involved he was, academics remained his focus, putting him in the top 15 of his graduating class. 

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“I am a perfectionist,” Hoover said. “I have a certain level of expectations I set for myself, and if it’s something tangible that I set my mind to, I can accomplish it.” After getting accepted into UF, Hoover set a goal for himself that only one other person from Okeechobee has ever accomplished. “One of my goals going to UF was to be part of Blue Key,” he said. Florida Blue Key Honor Society is a premier honor society that recognizes college students for balanced and allaround excellence in scholarship, leadership and service. Hoover had never heard of the honor society until family friends began encouraging him to take on the challenge. But his entry into the society took preparation: He had to build himself up to be a prime applicant. Unfortunately, he got a late start due to rough freshman and sophomore years as a result of family tragedy and loss. In the fall of 2010, two months after he started college, Hoover lost his grandfather and his absolute role model, whom he referred to as “Papa,” to leukemia. Shortly after, his grandmother, whom he called “Bamma,” fell ill to bladder cancer. Hoover spent weekends traveling to Orlando to spend time with them and help out in any way he could. Justin Hoover in front of the Historical Florida State Capital Building.

During the spring of his sophomore year, his Bamma lost her battle to cancer. And as if losing two grandparents wasn’t enough, Hoover suffered the loss of a dear cousin to a tragedy soon after. “Those whole two years were very rough,” he said. “I’m very close to all of my family.” Through faith and perseverance, Hoover began to move forward following those two heartbreaking years. And he finally

64 | Summer 2014


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Summer 2014 | 65 Visit :

began to take the steppingstones to levels of leadership. In March 2012, Hoover joined Kappa Phi Epsilon, a social fraternity for Christian men, where he is serving as secretary. And then in April, he was appointed as the assistant director of the Alumni BBQ during UF’s homecoming and Gator Growl festivities. Hoover continued to build his résumé that summer by accepting a congressional internship with U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Okeechobee). He spent half of his summer at Rooney’s office in Stuart and the other half in Washington, where he gave tours of the Capitol and answered constituent questions. He also had the opportunity to sit in on committee hearings and write summary reports, getting a real feel for the political realm. (Left) Gov. Rick Scott, First Lady Ann Scott, Justin Hoover and and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

The 2014 Legislative Session was both productive and successful for District 55. Thank you to everyone for your visits, input and prayers. I cannot tell you what your support means to me and my staff. Florida State Representative Cary Pigman - District 55

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66 | Summer 2014


“I always loved politics,” Hoover said, “but doing that really confirmed just how much I loved it.” From that internship, Hoover established a lasting friendship with Rooney, and they’re still in contact. When Hoover returned from D.C. in August 2012, he joined student government. “I was longing for that type of thing,” he said, “because that’s what I was used to. I felt like a little fish in a big pond.” Hoover said student government at UF is so different and so much more powerful and intense than at most universities. It is far from just a little club. “It is hard to express in words,” he said. “You have to experience it. I found my voice in student government, where I can make a difference.” Eventually, Hoover worked his way up to becoming director of federal affairs for UF Student Government’s External Affairs. In this role, he acted as the arm between the UF student body in interactions with the university’s contacts in D.C. Then he moved up to become vice chairman of lobbying, overseeing seven people and keeping tabs on local, state, and federal issues that might have affected his fellow students.

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“It was one of the most enjoyable positions,” Hoover said about the lobbying job. “It allowed me to have that connection of government, student government and politics all in one.” Even while balancing a full load of academics, Hoover never slowed down but instead raised the bar and rose to an even higher level of leadership in UF student government by becoming the assistant supervisor of elections. After that term, the student government

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Fawn’s Studio

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863-467-7770 111 NE 2nd Avenue - Okeechobee, FL

president appointed him as supervisor of elections in April 2013, solidifying his impact in the organization and putting yet one more vital position on his Blue Key application. As supervisor, Hoover facilitated the voting process for 50,000 students. He was also responsible for selecting and overseeing 16 assistants. And he enforced and upheld the “700 codes,” the election guidelines for UF student government. “It has been great,” Hoover said, “one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. It has definitely given me tougher skin than I had before.” With an impressive résumé and firm confidence, Hoover finally applied to become a member of the Blue Key Honor Society in November.

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“A lot of Florida political leaders went to UF and were members of Blue Key,” Hoover said. “It offers you a big network base from business to politics to law.” Hoover sat in front of a six-person interview panel and was questioned on various topics. He impressed them, and was initiated into Blue Key in December, fulfilling his goal. “It is very humbling,” he said about getting accepted into the honor society. “It makes me confident in my abilities and what I can accomplish.”


The last and only other person from Okeechobee to be a member of the honorary society is Elder Sumner, who was inducted back in 1962. “We are the only two from Okeechobee and are 50 years apart,” Sumner said. “I’m extremely proud of Justin. I’ve known his parents and him for many, many years.”

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Sumner said his experience was very different from Hoover’s, however. Back when he was a student at UF, there were

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Elder Sumner

only 40 members in the society, all men. Also, membership was by invite only, based on an all-night secret selection process by the active members. Sumner still has his Blue Key plaque hanging in his office and says people understand that it really stands for something. “People see that plaque on the wall and they say, ‘Oh, look at that.’” Now a member of Blue Key, Hoover is well on his way in making the political connections he needs to further his next goals, which include attending law school. But along with his personal goals, he also hopes to be a role model for the Okeechobee youth growing up. “Hopefully this will inspire other students in Okeechobee,” Hoover said. “You have to set goals for yourself and do what you can, within reason, to accomplish them. If you want something bad enough, realize nothing is too big for you to achieve.” O

Justin with his parents Joey and Dawn Hoover.

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Photos By Vicky Nichols

Okeechobee Christian Academy 4th Annual Fun Shoot Christian Academy’s ‘Fun Shoot’ Makes for Bang-up Fundraiser On Saturday, April 5, enthusiasts came out for Okeechobee Christian Academy’s fourth annual “Fun Shoot at the OK Corral.” Coordinator Sarah Reno, along with OCA faculty members, organized and ran the shoot. It was a great day filled with fun, food and fellowship. Over 100 shooters competed, and afterward, a wonderful lunch catered by Tin Fish was served. All the money raised will benefit the academy’s programs. For more information on Okeechobee Christian Academy, visit www.

The faculty receives recognition from the participants.

Nick and Braydon Reynolds.

Principal Sabrina Perera with Lauren Conley.

Daniel Rickards.

ANTIQUES - HOME DECOR - GIFTS Adding a Little Charm to Okeechobee...

Commissioner Frank Irby.

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505 NE Park St. - Okeechobee, FL Demetri Smith. 70 | Summer 2014


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203 SE 2nd Ave. Okeechobee, FL 34974 Summer 2014 | 71

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Relay For Life

Cancer Survivors Celebrate Life, Hope The American Cancer Society Relay for Life staged a survivor dinner and luminary ceremony at the Agri-Civic Center on April 25. Cancer survivors spoke to the crowd, and the luminary ceremony was especially moving. For more information, visit

Thomas Barber and Andy Godwin. (Right) Relay for Life Event Chairwoman Angie Griffin and Specialist for Relay for Life Emily Gregory.

Come in and see all the NEW we have for you! Designer Fashions Purses Jewelry & Accessories Designer Scarves


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123 SW Park Street - Okeechobee 72 | Summer 2014


Gracie Massie helped put the luminaries out. For additional photos visit

Summer 2014 | 73

Behind the Business S

Echols Plumbing & Air Conditioning By Raye Deusinger

tarted back in 1975, Echols Plumbing & Air Conditioning continues to grow to meet the needs of the community of Okeechobee. “The backbone of our company is service because a satisfied customer is our best product,” said Tommy Close, owner of Echols Plumbing & Air Conditioning. Echols Plumbing began to grow first when it incorporated Close Construction, the building company owned by Tommy’s son, Chris Close, into the business. And in 2012, Echols embarked on a major expansion by adding air conditioning and refrigeration services to its offerings. Tommy Close holds a business administration degree from Moorehead State University in Kentucky, worked in architectural and mechanical drafting and later taught at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach. But it wasn’t until he

had hands-on experience in plumbing along with the business side of the industry that he knew he had found his real calling. While working for Royal’s Inc., a development and property management company, in the early ’70s, he helped with the construction of their two shopping centers, one of which was in Okeechobee. It was there that he met Charles Echols, owner of a plumbing/electrical company. When Ferguson Plumbing of Okeechobee came up for sale in 1975, Close and Echols, who had become friends, went into partnership and bought it, renaming it Echols Plumbing. When Echols retired in 2001, Close bought him out but kept the name. Buying Echols Plumbing served as an excuse to stay and live in Okeechobee, a town that Tommy Close fell in love with as a child. Originally from western Florida, his family moved to Belle Glade when he was 3. His grandfather was one of the first five commissioners in Glades County. Close would come to Okeechobee to visit his grandparents, and he said it always felt like home. Like his grandfather, Close served his adopted community of Okeechobee as a county commissioner for four years and a school board member for eight years, all while building his company. The plumbing side of Echols employs seven people, one of whom, Service Manager Fred Houlette, has been with Echols Plumbing for 28 years doing estimates, submitting proposals, evaluating building plans and quickly finding the source of a problem. A flooded yard might mean a break in the line leading to the house; water on the floor could indicate a broken pipe in the wall. “Responding to your needs with promptness is a major consideration for us,” said Close. “Once you make that contact with us, we’re at your beck and call 24/7, and that goes for our air conditioning and refrigeration service as well.”

Tommy Close and Chris Close. 74 | Summer 2014


Heading the air conditioning department is Beau Cook, who first came to Okeechobee in 2007 from West Palm Beach, where he was working as a handyman. He loved Okeechobee, but his work took him all over the state for three years. Moving back to West Palm Beach, he worked for a refrigeration company that quickly recognized his abilities and sent him to Palm Beach Community (now State) College to learn air conditioning and refrigeration.

Desiring a permanent location for raising his three children, he accepted a job with Royal Concrete Concepts, or RCC, in Okeechobee, where he managed 13 employees. RCC manufactured pre-formed concrete buildings ready to be installed, on site anywhere in the state, which incorporated pre-installed electricity, plumbing, air conditioning and refrigeration lines. Cook’s time at RCC helped hone his air conditioning and refrigeration skills as well as allowing him the opportunity to do residential designs, create estimates, bid jobs, schedule hours and order materials.

homeowners and contractors and handle the maintenance of rental units as well as commercial establishments. Customers may call for plumbing, but soon realize they get more than they expected.” The only member of the family not working directly for Echols Plumbing is Close’s daughter, Tonya Hargraves, who teaches special education at Pemayetv Emahakv, the charter school on the Brighton Seminole Reservation.

“Like the plumbing field, AC/refrigeration is a 24/7 job,” said Cook, “but we believe in quality work that doesn’t cut corners. I now have four employees in my division and am proud to be a part of Echols Plumbing.”

“I’ve been doing this for 39 years and really enjoy it,” Tommy Close said. “It amazes me at times that I still find it fascinating. I look forward to the time Chris can take it over and keep it going. We consolidated Echols Plumbing with Close Construction, and it’s satisfying that father and son are co-owners.”

When you contact this company, you will speak with Angel Stevens, who has been part of the team since 2006. “We are like family here,” she said, “because while the attitude of this place is all business, it is also all cooperation. We work with

Echols is located at 2233 U.S. Hwy. 98 N. The phone number is (863) 763-6461.O Log on to and click on Online Exclusives to get to know more about Tommy Close and Echols Plumbing & A/C.

Employee Commitment, Dedication and Community Partner

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a light bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours or a TV for 2 hours. Waste Management is the largest recycler of paper and other commodities in North America. In 2013, WM recycled more than 15 million tons saving 123 million mature trees!

Waste Management employees planted a pollinator garden to enhance the Wildlife Habitat at Okeechobee Landfill. Pictured left: Stacey Lowe, Teresa Almond, Sr. District Manager Tony Bishop, Pam Casperson and Teresa Chandler.

If every household in the U.S. recycled just three more plastic bottles, we could divert more than 23 million pounds of plastic from our landfills and increase the amount of recycled plastic used to manufacture new bottles.


10800 N.E. 128th Ave.

Fax: 863-357-0772 Okeechobee FL, 34972

Okeechobee Landfill, Inc.

Area Director Disposal Operations Bryan Tindell (right) and Sr. District Manager Tony Bishop rescued a 1-2 week old fawn at the Okeechobee Landfill. The fawn did not appear to be injured, just abandoned. The fawn was taken to Arnold’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to be cared for and will be released back to the Okeechobee Landfill Wildlife Habitat.

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Behind the Business E

Inkwell Tattoo & Piercing By Audra Clemons

rik Clay, owner of Inkwell Tattoo & Piercing, developed a passion for art during his formative high school years. So what does one do after high school with a sincere love for creating art? Forget Disney World. A career as a tattoo artist is much more beguiling – naturally.

Clay said his career began the day he displayed a few of his drawings to a tattoo shop that was in need of an artist. He was hired on the spot. So he quit his day job in construction and dove headfirst into the body art business. It was all or nothing; there was no turning back. Fast-forward 10 years, and Erik Clay is now the proud, licensed owner of Okeechobee’s premier tattoo shop. Clay and his salon partner, Chris Joles, work hand-in-hand on tattooing and piercing at Inkwell. Joles is the veteran piercer, and Clay is the veteran tattoo artist; however, both have been learning each other’s trades for over four years now, and continue to hone their skills daily. Clay began his career years before there were stringent regulations on tattooing, but once it became a certifiable occupation, he drove himself to Jacksonville and took a course to attain his occupational certificate. His shop is sterile and clean, more closely resembling a barbershop than a tattoo parlor. When you walk through the door, it’s hard not to notice the green dollar bills stapled from the floor to ceiling on an adjacent wall. As we spoke of this, Clay reminisced about his high school experience as an art student – in a time when art classes weren’t a line item threatened by budget cuts but, instead, something valued as helping to stimulate and develop the leftbrain creativity of a child.

Chris Joles and Erik Clay.

76 | Summer 2014


“Nowadays, you have to pay for children to participate in art. There is an art fee every semester of school, and a lot of the time teachers end up funding this,” stated Clay, who started the wall of dollars to help raise money for art education in Okeechobee’s public school system. “It started out that the shop would donate one dollar for every

body-art piece, and then the customers got into it and started donating on their own.” Inkwell’s wall of money has not only singles, but also fives, tens, twenties and even a hundred-dollar bill. Clay says he aims to raise more than $1,500 for art supplies that will be donated to Okeechobee schools from this project. His daughter Emily is a high school student, which gives Clay firsthand experience of the art education snafu. The financial donation from Inkwell is an active way to support the continuing education of youngsters in art in the public school system. “I was the parent who took the coloring book out and spent time coloring with the kids. Emily and I would both have our own coloring books. I would color in mine, and she would color in hers,” Clay comically stated about raising his daughter with a view toward drawing. When it comes to tattooing, though, Erik Clay is a wealth of

knowledge. He informs clients on everything from the colors that work best in Florida’s climate to the approach toward small and large designs. He works with a client to create what he or she wants, as well as to inform the person of the care required for maintenance and upkeep. “I was raised in Okeechobee, and this is where I want to live and work. It’s important for people to have a sterile and professional tattoo shop, and that is what we intend to provide our customers with,” Clay said. Inkwell Tattoo & Piercing is located in the Sun Plaza at 909 S. Parrott Ave. For more information on body art pricing, or to donate to the school supply art fund, please contact Erik Clay at (863) 357-4465. O

Log on to and click on Online Exclusives to get to know more about Erik Clay and Inkwell Tattoo & Piercing.

COLLISION CENTER Quality Repairs and High Customer Satisfaction.

We Service All Makes and Models. Come See George and Ana

3550 Highway 441 South · Okeechobee (863) 763-3154 View on your computer, mobile phone, or tablet! • COLLISION CENTER HOURS: Mon-Fri 7:30 AM-5:30 PM

Summer 2014 | 77

Photos By Susan Giddings

‘Country Life’ Art Exhibit

Okeechobee Main Street Hosts Artist Reception

On April 22, Okeechobee Main Street threw an artist reception, sponsored by Bridgette Waldau Studio of Art, for the latest art exhibit on display at the Historic County Courthouse, titled “Country Life.” The exhibit featured artwork from five of our best local artists. Guests were able to meet and mingle with the artists while sipping on wine and snacking on hors d’oeuvres.

Artist Sandra Pearce.

(From left) OKMS President Maureen Burroughs, OKMS Arts & Culture Chairwoman Bridgette Waldau and OKMS Executive Director Shari Turgeon.

Artist Kathie Papasso.

Artist Diane Richmond Hall. 78 | Summer 2014


Artist Brad Phares.

Artist Fawn McNeill-Barr. For additional photos visit


Private studio teaching you how to paint step-by-step in a relaxed and fun setting. It's the perfect place to get together and enjoy time painting with friends while sipping your favorite beverage. Small class size promises personalized instruction and a lot of fun! You are invited to Paint, Unwind & Unplug! Treat yourself to time away from the stress of the outside world and take a painting home with you!

Okeechobee’s Original Paint & Sip Studio

Give the gift of Art Gift CertiďŹ cates Available

All classes taught by professional artist Bridgette Waldau. 863-467-7300

The Little Yellow Cottage on the Corner

111 NE 2nd Street - Suite A

Summer 2014 | 79


Bobby Bennett!


For 49 years, I have been a proud citizen of Okeechobee and actively involved in our community as a coach, volunteer, veteran, employee, father and grandfather. I want to help shape Okeechobee’s future, and as County Commissioner I will be committed to you and your families. Vote for me to work for you! Promote Economic Development & Agri-Civic Center Fix Okee-Tantie for Tourism Enhance Trust in Local Government Learn more at:

08 26 14 80 | Summer 2014



863-357-0722 Hours of Operation

Sun. - Thurs. 11am - 8 + | Fri. & Sat. 11am -9 +

PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING THE Fisherman's Platter, Fish & Chips, Local Catfish, Gator & Frog Legs Combo, Healthy Mixed Seafood Grill and Grilled Fish Taco’s Fresh Fish ~ Good Food ~ Beer & Wine Great Kids Menu ~ Delivery

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Clean Rooms ● Large Pool Tanning Deck ● Located on the Water Live Entertainment ● Pet Friendly

Summer 2014 | 81

Photos By Jane Kaufman

Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee Hosts Color Craze 5K Run/Walk for Life

Madison and Morgan Hancock. (Left) Heat 1 – ready, set, go!

First Color Craze 5K Run/Walk for Life a Big Draw The Pregnancy Center of Okeechobee’s inaugural running of the Color Craze 5K took place Saturday, April 19, at the Agri-Civic Center, making for a day of colorful, messy fun. Though many participants arrived outfitted in clean white shirts, powdered paint soon filled the air, coating the 528 runners and many of the 200-plus spectators. The event was staged to raise money and awareness for the organization. For more information on the Pregnancy Center, call (863) 467-8748. Mike and Scott Dawson.

First-place winner – Oscar Ayala.

Committee members (from left) Cindy Maynard, Robyn Garner, Susan Pilgrim, Renee Juarez, Lisa Lumpkin, Lauri Hester, Rachel Williams, Frank DeCarlo, J.D. Mixon, Kyle Reno and Mike Hopkins. 82 | Summer 2014


Katie and Adalaide Enfinger.

For additional photos visit


Serving the legal needs of the Okeechobee Community

Glenn J. Sneider Attorney at Law

Our entire staff is dedicated to helping clients with their legal matters.

•Family Law •Criminal Law •Civil Litigation

daily breakfast and lunch specials breakfast or lunch available all day.

863-824-0347 Open 7 days a week, 7am to 2pm


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3235 us hwy 441 se


treasure island plaza okeechobee

Summer 2014 | 83


863-357-8772 How Safe is Your Rubber? Tires, Wheels & All Types of Mechanical Repairs

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84 | Summer 2014


A name you can trust.

Abney Building & Consulting is Okeechobee’s hometown design, construction and consulting company. Known for delivering peace of mind and quality structures, we emphasize the need to consistently exceed our client’s expectations. This is our mission and our commitment to you.

Contact Wes Abney, President at 863.532.9074 or Commercial & Residential | Design | Construction | Consulting | CBC058152

Your sight. Our vision.

Over 2.2 million Americans have Glaucoma, a sight robbing condition that begins without warning. Half of those 40 years and older don’t even know they have it. The best and most effective way to diagnose glaucoma is with an annual dilated eye exam. *(Glaucoma Research Foundation)

Early detection can mean healthy sight for life. And that’s our vision.

FLORIDA EYE INSTITUTE Thomas A. Baudo, MD | Karen D. Todd, MD Val Zudans, MD | Wilson K. Wallace, MD Cynthia L. Kipp, O.D. 772.569.9500 • 2750 Indian River Blvd., Vero Beach

Summer 2014 | 85

Photos By Jennifer Powers

Third Annual Sheriff Shootout Nine Counties Join Sheriff Shootout to Help Youth Ranches Seacoast National Bank played host once again to the third annual Sheriff Shootout, inviting sheriff’s office representatives to participate in a friendly cross-county shooting competition in a benefit for the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. Sheriff’s offices and departments from nine counties were represented at the event on April 3 at the Quail Creek Plantation in Okeechobee. The Highlands County Sheriff’s Team took home the top prize, and a $1,000 donation was made to the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches in Sheriff Susan Benton’s honor.

(Above) Shootout participants. (Right) Highlands County Sheriff’s Deputies Paul Blackman and John Barcinas with Seacoast National Bank Chairman and CEO Dennis S. Hudson III.

(From left) Seacoast National Bank Chairman and CEO Dennis S. Hudson III; Highlands County Sheriff’s Deputy John Barcinas; Roger Bouchard, president of Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches Inc.; and Highlands Deputy Paul Blackman. 86 | Summer 2014


Computer Sales & Service Serving Lake Area Since 1990


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Vacation Specialist

Networking Cabling Accessories Audio Visual Wireless Managed Services

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Authorized Business Telephone Systems

Groups Ÿ Family Reunions Ÿ Couples Meetings at Sea Ÿ Honeymoons Ocean Cruises Ÿ River Cruises Ÿ Wine Cruises Tour Resorts Ÿ All-Inclusive Singles Ÿ First Time Cruisers Cell/Text 863.697.0270 Office 954.309.0255 ext 134 Toll Free 877.588.2279 ext. 134

Your Vacation




Email: Associate of Independent Franchise Mixon, Ardila & Associates - Coral Spring, FL.

Summer 2014 | 87

88 | Summer 2014




2015 ISSUE Chamber of Commerce of Okeechobee County 2015 Community Guide and Business Directory

Published By

To Reserve Your Advertising Space Call Today!


Summer 2014 | 89

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Women In The Outdoors

Koren Harringan takes aim, guided by Steven Lipiski.

300-Plus Enjoy Women in Outdoors Educational Event

Margie Cogt, Linda Hamilton and Linette Trabulsy get ready for the jewelry making class.

It was a beautiful weekend for the eighth annual Women in the Outdoors gathering on Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, at Quail Creek Plantation. Attendees came from all over the state to participate in the event. A wide variety of classes was offered, including archery, basic and advanced photography, jewelry making, introduction to oil painting, cowboy roping, self-defense, fly fishing, swamp cabbage cooking, handgun safety, concealed weapons permit certification, Florida Cracker history, fireside cooking, soap making, and beginner, intermediate and advanced shotgun instruction. Backwoods buggy rides were available, and a canoe/kayak class was also given. There were more than 300 women in attendance for the successful event.

(From left) Preethi Sekharan, Judge Nelson Bailey, Jennifer Williamson and Linda Weiksnar.

Backwoods buggy rides were a favorite activity. (Left) The women enjoyed lunch at the lodge surrounded by silent auction items. 90 | Summer 2014


For additional photos visit


Paul Knode

Our Services

Keratin Smoothing Treatments Shine Treatments Colors, Cuts and More! Makeup for Special Events by Mercedes Casteneda Donna Bunty Mercedes Casteneda All Ages Welcomed: We pride ourselves in customer service Men ,Women and Children for an enjoyable experience!

Walk-ins Welcome - Appointments Preferred Danielle Mohan with instructor Scott Woodward.

Pat Williams places her bid for an auction item.

Hours: Mon-Fri 9-5 and Sat. 9-3

Vicki Anderson (863) 634-4106

909 South Parrott Ave. Ste.G Okeechobee, FL 34974

(863) 634-4107 Eric Anderson

Shelly Doyle

Personal Assistant


21442 E. SR 78 -Buckhead Ridge Okeechobee, FL 34974 Allison Priddy enjoys kayaking.

For All Of Our Listings, Please Visit Our Website:

Summer 2014 | 91

Photos By Vicky Nichols

5th Annual BikeFest Okeechobee

1999 Honda Goldwing owned by Robert Peters.

2003 Custom owned by Gilmar Mendes won Best in Show.

Motorcycle Enthusiasts Join Up for BikeFest, Shows and to Help a Friend

Jayson Tratten and his dog Wrigley.

Motorcycle riders and lovers both turned out for the fifth annual BikeFest Okeechobee Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13, at the Cypress Hut Eagles on U.S. 441 South. It was a fun weekend for all, with attendance more than triple the number who came out for last year’s event. The BikeFest included both a car and motorcycle show, live entertainment, vendors, food and lots of fun. Dewey and Sandra Lightsey organized the event, and Marc Sandlin of Style Studio Custom Motorcycle Shop worked hard as master of festivities for the weekend. Will Fowler won the Harley Davidson bike raffle that was conducted to benefit Casey Lawrence.

Sandra and Dewey Lightsey.

Will Fowler and Casey Lawrence. 92 | Summer 2014


For additional photos visit

MMI Certified Harley Davidson Technician


ŸTire Purchase & Mounts ŸFull Service ŸRepairs - Minor to Major ŸCustomizing of Aftermarket Parts

Brandon Baughman Certified Technician, MMI Graduate

We’ve Got You Covered at Skull Hill Steel! Come By & Check Us Out!

ŸModifications and Repairs ŸPoylmer Sales and Installation ŸRepower and Customization ŸCustom Bow Fishing Platforms

ŸPurchase New and USED Bows & Accessories ŸServing includes but not limited to: ŸInstallation of Peep Site, D-Loop, Main String & Bus Cable ŸCut and Fleetch Arrows ŸComplete Bow Service and Paper Tune ŸShooting Lessons Available

Just 1 mile South of the Hwy 70 & Hwy 441 Intersection on the East side of Hwy 441.

The 8th wonder of the world! A never-ending cascade of rich chocolate is yours for the dipping!

863-763-0444 Steaks, Buffet & Bakery

700 S Parrott Ave. Okeechobee, FL

Summer 2014 | 93

Okeechobee Health Care Facility We LOVE To Care!

We’re Federal & State 5-Star Rated! Serving Okeechobee Since 1985

Okeechobee Health Care Facility Provides the Highest Quality Nursing Care in a Relaxed Residential Setting Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ

Rehab Wing Speech Therapy Physical Therapy Occupational Therapy

Ask About Our

Skilled 24-Hour Nursing Care Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ

Dietitian-Planned Meals Fun and Stimulating Activities Chaplain Shaded Patio Areas On-site Beauty and Barber Shop

Secured Memory-Care Wing Family-Owned and Operated

Talk to Our Medicare/Medicaid/Managed-Care Specialists About Affordable Long-Term Care

Located Just South of Raulerson Hospital


94 | Summer 2014 1646 US Highway 441 North - Okeechobee, FL 34972 OKEECHOBEE THE MAGAZINE

Refrigeration ~ AC ~ Ice Machines

St. Lic. #CMCO54668

Serving the Glades since 1929

Okeechobee 863-763-2114 804 N. Parrott Ave. Okeechobee, FL 34972

Clewiston 863-983-8111 311 E. Sugarland Hwy. Clewiston, FL 33440

LaBelle 866-942-7280 We also service LaBelle, FL

Carrier Full Service Dealer

A Divison of Glades Gas

Authorized Appliance Service Co. Service All Makes & Models Locally Owned & Operated by Kevin McCarthy and Monica Clark 863-467-1331


804 N. Parrott Ave. - Okeechobee, FL 34972

863-983-8111 Clewston, Florida

Serving the Glades since 1929

Summer 2014 | 95

Photos By Susan Giddings

FFA Alumni Sporting Clay Shoot

The Mims Veterinary Team: Jared Phares, Brady Pearce, Nate Wilcox and Preston Arnold.

The Blazing Beretta Babes team had a great time.

Sport Shooters Raise Cash for Scholarships The FFA Alumni gathered for their annual sporting clay shoot Saturday, April 26, at Quail Creek Plantation. More than 70 shooters competed in the event and then enjoyed a great meal, sponsored in part by Golden Corral, Mosquito Creek Grocery and 3D Ice. FFA Alumni is the support group for the four local FFA chapters in Okeechobee. Money raised at this event helps finance two $500 scholarships, along with funding assistance for camps, state and national conventions and more.

The A&G Concrete Pools Team: Luke White, Art Allen, Lane Clanton and Aaron Allen.



Oil Change $ & Filter

.99 $22.99 Reg.


21 Point Inspection. Frequent, vital engine maintenance includes refill of up to 5 qts. of 5W-30 Oil

FFA Alumni Board members: (From left) Adam Baker, Darryl Boney, Mariah Anuez and Ray Anuez.

Plus $1 Disposal Fee. Most Cars. Open Daily 8am-5:30pm Saturday 8am-2pm

(863) 763-3308

1815 S. Parrott Avenue (Next to Pogey’s Restaurant)

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Lane Clinton won the youth first place award. For additional photos and video visit

Modern, Trendy or Traditional We do it all. Large Beautiful Showroom Stop in to see our new specialty cupcake designs! “We deliver smiles.”

863-763-5051 800-260-2592

207 NE Park Street Okeechobee, FL 34972

Summer 2014 | 97

Photos By Sharon Cannon

Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics

Runners Pump Up Special Olympics in Sheriff’s Torch Run

(Above) Torch Run participants; (Top photo) The participants run on State Road 70 East.


The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office conducted its 2014 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on Thursday, May 1. The run began at the OCSO headquarters, and the runners sprinted through the downtown area, finishing in the Publix parking lot. The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office raised $5,692 for Special Olympics this year.

Across From Lake Okeechobee Open 24 Hours to Serve You!

•Souvenirs •Snacks •Beer •Ice •Fishing Tackle •Much More!

Brand New

Inside & Drive Thru


EBT Accepted

4993 U.S. Highway 441 S - Okeechobee, FL 863-623-4939

98 | Summer 2014


Like us on Facebook@TexacoRunsOnDunkin

Sheriff Paul May speaks to the crowd. For additional photos visit

863-763-2248 5286 SW 16 Avenue Okeechobee, FL 34974

• Largest Section of Gambler Lures and Reaction Innovations with the Lowest Prices Around. • Enough Hard Bait to Keep Any Fisherman Busy. • Great Tee Shirts and Souvenirs for the Loved Ones Back at Home. • Best Live Bait in Town. • Great Rod Selection for All Techniques. Summer Hours Monday - Saturday 6 am - 5 pm Sunday 6 am - 1 pm Summer 2014 | 99 5% Discount To All Who Mention This Ad (Excluding Live Bait)

Fishing Fishing

Shellen onBy Capt. LakeMichael Okeechobee By Capt. Michael Shellen

Ah, Summer: Time for Man-To-Bass Combat Summer in Okeechobee is different in every way from our winter/tourist season. Instead of crowded highways and boat ramps filled with fishermen, the town is sleepy and slower-moving. Roads are not crowded at all, and the local grocery stores and restaurants are filled with fulltime residents. Fishing on the Big “O,” however, is still incredibly good. The water is warm and the temperatures are stable, although quite a bit hotter, so the early-morning bite can be essential to one’s overall success.

««« 1993- 2013

863-763-4080 100 | Summer 2014


Bass fishing is tremendous; shad and other baitfish are hatching out and doing their best to hide in the Kissimmee grass that surround the outer lake edges. After spawning, the majority of the bass will move toward the outer edges of the lake and feed heavily on the plethora of baitfish, chasing and blowing up on them as they feed hungrily in and around the grass lines. Schooling fish can be found in all areas of the lake and easily caught on spinner baits, lipless crank baits, flukes or other fast-moving type baits. Once the school fish stop chasing the baitfish in the grass and it quiets down a bit, a slower and more methodical presentation with a plastic worm, jig or senko will keep the strikes coming, just not as fast and furious as the pre-dawn bite. As the sun rises high into the sky, the fish will find their way into the thicker cover areas where they can get relief from the hot summer sun. Flipping and pitching presentations are the more effective way to catch these fish, and heavy tackle and braided line is necessary to wrestle them

Capt. Michael Shellen

from thick cover once they are hooked. Basically, it’s man-to-bass combat, and the bass win more often than not. The warm water gets all of the bugs moving and flitting about, which is a mainstay for the lake and its panfish population. Lake Okeechobee is known worldwide for its bass fishing, but the shellcracker and bluegill fishing is as good as you will find anywhere in the world. Bluegill from 10 to 11 inches are the norm, and they are as tasty as any fish you have ever eaten when filleted and fried. Primary baits for panfish are red worms and crickets; the all-time favorite of locals, however, is grass shrimp, which are just a miniature version of the shrimp you see at the grocery store and can be found in the thick, weedy areas of the lake and harvested with a fine mesh dip net. Summertime is the time of year to take the kids fishing and catch bass, bluegill or whatever your heart desires. The lake is gorgeous, and the splendid sites are many. If you have not joined us in adoring its splendor, you should. O Capt. Michael Shellen Shellen Guide Service

(863) 357- 0892

DR. JOE WATER TREATMENT “ We Make Your Water Clean”

863-763-7630 Free Water Analysis Joe Renta FREE Estimates

ŸSalt /Salt Delivery ŸChlorine ŸPumps & Filters ŸWater Softeners ŸAerators

ŸSulfer Guard ŸWells ŸIron Filters ŸReverse Osmosis ŸSprinkler System Repairs

We now sell 7% hydrogen peroxide for $3.50 a gallon! 1106 NW Park Street Okeechobee, Florida 34972

Summer 2014 | 101

Cody Walker Wins One Last Point in Ending OHS Career


By Charles M. Murphy, WOKC’s Voice of the Brahmans


ody Walker finished his high school athletic career in April as he helped Okeechobee win its only point in the regional tennis match at Melbourne High School.

the second time to the all-area football team on the Treasure Coast. He also played in two all-star games for graduating seniors, the South Central Florida All-Star Classic in Sebring in December, and the Brevard vs. Treasure Coast allstar game in Vero Beach in January.

Walker was a four-year letter winner for both football and tennis over his career. He won numerous awards, including the Brahman Award for tennis. Walker said that making the regional this year in tennis was a dream come true because it made his four years of hard work pay off. “It was an awesome experience to go to the regional for the first time. It was a special day even though it didn’t end up the way we wanted to,” he said.

Walker also won the Golden Helmet Award this year for football for his community service.

This year he excelled, as he was named for

Cody Walker, shown with Assistant Football Coach Chris Hall.

college football. He will study criminal The son of Alicia and Edward Walker of justice and psychology and intends to Okeechobee, Cody also announced this become an FBI agent. month that he will attend Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C., to play He was also president of the Drama Club, vice president of the OHS National Honor Society, and a member of the Brahman Band, the Beta Club, Poetry Club and Show Choir.

come join the fun at

okeechobee KOA! Pool and Golf Memberships Daily and Senior Golf Rates April 1 – Nov. 1, 2014 Shanty Lounge Open Daily Live Weekend Entertainment

863-763-0231 4276 US Hwy 441 So.


Walker was praised for his work ethic, his positive attitude and his treatment of teammates during his high school career by his various coaches. Cody’s younger sister, Chelsea, a freshman, also was on the tennis team this year. He said he tries to help her whenever he can. “She likes to work hard, and I like to give her pointers. I’m really proud of everything she has done, and I have great hopes for her.” Walker said he always was focused and concentrated on all the fundamentals during football practice, adding that he also always tried to give 100 percent effort. He said he will take a lot of great memories away from his time on the gridiron for Okeechobee High School. “I’ll just think of the camaraderie and the teamwork that we had on the team. It was definitely something special to be a Brahman football player,” he added. O

102 | Summer 2014


Okeechobee’s ONLY Hometown Radio Stations The Staff

Front row (L-R): Viridiana Allen, Wayne Cunningham and Taylor Marie. Back row: Charles Murphy, Merrilee Berglund, Francisco “Paco” Sangabriel, Billy Dean and Ken Keller. 863-467-1570

Fax 888-875-1570

Summer 2014 | 103

IRSC Nursing Program in Okeechobee Graduates First Class The first 18 graduates of the new Indian River State College Nursing Program in Okeechobee are ready for careers as registered nurses at local hospitals and healthcare facilities. IRSC recognized the students at a March 18 Board of Trustees meeting on the Okeechobee campus. They were awarded their Associate of Science Degrees in Nursing at IRSC’s May 2 commencement ceremony.

Chamber of Commerce of Okeechobee County

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremonies

Abney Building and Consulting

Ingrid’s This and That

In back (from left) are Jane Proffitt, Kathleen Clark, Robert Rodriguez, Haley Orr, Savannah Callaway, Lindsey Burke, Whitney Smith and Lora Gomez; front row, Tiffany Peters, Sherry Douglas, Kelly Anderson, Rachael Laskey, Marisol Gedwed and Tabitha Vonderau. Three students were absent: Casandra Almazan, Raquel Torres and Michaela Bowling.

Dr. Joe Water Treatment

2014 Miss Speckle Perch Royalty The 2014 Speckled Perch Queens and King were crowned on March 1 at the Okeechobee High School.

Top Row (from left): Jr. Miss Aubrey Pearce, Miss Speckled Perch Kaylen Fulford, and Little Miss Bailey Medrano Front Row: Princess Mackenzie Ayala. Tiny Mister Zachary Nielsen and Tiny Miss Patricia Entry.

Gilbert Ford

Penrod Construction 104 | Summer 2014


Okeechobee Main Street Mixers

March of Dimes March for Babies 400 Help March for Babies Raise Thousands for Research March for Babies, the premier fundraising event for the March of Dimes, took place Saturday, March 8, in Flagler Park. More than 400 participants came out in support of the March of Dimes’ mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality, and raised $35,000-plus to finance research so that all babies can be born healthy.

Photo by Sandra Pearce

Okeechobee Main Street members held mixers at their businesses: (top) Florida Outdoor RV (middle) Harbor Federal and (bottom) CPA Tax Solutions.

March for Babies Committee members at the March of Dimes event March 8: (from left) Jim Vensel, Betty Williams, co-chairman Ken Kenworthy, chairwoman Laura McCall, co-chairwoman Johanna Kenworthy, Magi Cable and John Rhoden. Members Sharon Johnson, Kresta King, Pat O’Connor, Ronnie White and Sharon Vinson weren’t present.

Good Spirits Has Second Annual Big Lake Comedy Splash

Okeechobee’s own Cris Rodriguez hosted a night of comedy at Good Spirits Restaurant and Lounge on Friday, March 14. Along with Cris, comedians Charlie Bowie, Vic Clevinger and Myke Herlihy performed great stand-up routines that had the crowd laughing all night. The Big Lake Comedy Splash participants were (from left) Myke Herlihy, Vic Clevinger, Charlie Bowie and Cris Rodriguez. Visit for video interviews from the event.

Summer 2014 | 105

List of Advertisers 14K Gold Store ............................. 61 211 Helpline ................................. 30 1 Stop Party Shop ............................. 68 A & D Pool Supplies ......................... 52 A & G Concrete Pools ....................... 97 Abney Building & Consulting .......... 85 Alan Jay Toyota ............................... 60 American Drilling Services............. 52 Anderson Realty ............................. 91 Applebees ........................................ 89 Badcock Furniture........................... 28 Bass Electric ..................................... 48 Berger Clinic .................................... 53 Big Lake Eye Care .......................... 3, 65 Bobby Bennett Campaign .............. 80 Brennan Eye Care ............................. 51 Bridgette Waldau Studio of Art ....... 79 Brown Cow Sweetery..................... 50 Bruce Homer Insurance .................... 52 Buxton & Bass Funeral Homes ..... 49

Get Okeechobee The Magazine Mailed Directly to you!

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Get 4 issues of Okeechobee The Magazine mailed directly to your home or office for just $11.95 and keep up with “your community.” Please Print Neatly

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Enclose a check for $11.95 made out to Okeechobee The Magazine and mail with this form to: Okeechobee The Magazine 316 NW 5th Street Okeechobee, Florida 34972

106 | Summer 2014


Carpenter Insurance ........................ 68 Cary Pigman ................................... 66 CenterState Bank ............................ 69 Chico’s Burrito Shack ...................... 69 Clear Title & Legal Services . ............ 51 Coldwell Banker/Berger Real Estate 50 Cowtown Café ............................. 83 CPA Tax Solutions ............................ 81 Crossroads ....................................... 46 CruiseOne ...................................... 87 Custom Sights and Sounds .............. 81 Custom Window Treatments ....... 19 D4 Powersports ............................. 95 Doctors Clinic Family Health Care .... 71 Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center .... 19 Domer’s .......................................... 15 Dr. Joe Water Treatment ................101 Duran Jewelry ............................... 39

Flower Petals ................................. 97 Penrod Construction ..................... 33 Pier II Resort ................................. 81 Gilbert Chevrolet .......................... 107 Platinum Performance Builders .... 59 Gilbert Collision Center.................. 77 Pritchards & Assoc. ...................... 61 Gilbert Ford ................................... 17 Pueblo Viejo VI Restaurant .............. 19 Gilbert Mowers & Golf Cars ........ 43, 83 Glades AC ....................................... 95 Quail Creek Plantation ................... 9 Golden Corral .................................. 93 Quality Air Conditioning ................. 88 Quality Lawn Care ......................... 50 Hampton Inn .................................. 53 Heartland Discount Pharmacy......... 26 Raulerson Hospital ........................... 2 Highland Pest Control ..................... 92 Raulerson Hospital ..................... 54, 55 Home Front Electric ....................... 46 Raulerson Hospital ............ Back Cover Rosato Plastic Surgery Center .......... 29 ICS Computers ............................... 87 Royals Furniture ............................ 39 Indian River State College ............... 37 Rustic Now Furniture & Emporium 70 Inkwell Tattoos ............................... 81 Salon Safari .................................. 91 Jeanette’s Interiors ......................... 47 Sanders Dermatology ..................... 11 Jill Holcomb Campaign................. 87 Sandra Pearce Photography ............ 97 Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser & Zoeller 42 KOA ........................................... 102 Skull Hill Steel ................................ 93 Slide On By Party Supply .................. 50 Lake Okeechobee Digestive Disease Center 57 Sprint Commmunications ............... 6 Lakeshore Marine .......................... 100 St. Lucie Batteries & Tires .............. 86 Lakeshore Medical .......................... 52 Staffords Salon .............................. 68 Law Office of Gerald Lefebvre ........... 48 State Farm Insurance ....................... 37 Law Office of Glenn J. Sneider ........... 83 TD Bank ........................................... 47 Marcum & Associates .................... 7 Tammy Platt ................................... 61 Mary Kay ......................................... 81 Teez 2 Pleez ................................... 97 MidFlorida Credit Union ................... 27 Tin Fish Restaurant .......................... 81 Mims Veterinary............................... 95 Tire Zone ...................................... 96 Mixon Real Estate Group ............. 100 Toni’s Chic Boutique ........................ 72 Morgan Stanley ............................... 32 Total Roadside Services ...................84 Murray Insurance ........................... 30 Trinidad Garcia, M.D. ....................... 79 UBS Financial .................................. 13 New Vision Eye Center ...................... 57 USA Mobile Drug Testing ................ 21 nutmeg’s café ................................. 61 Visiting Nursing Association ........ 73

Echols Plumbing & A/ C .................... 49 Edward Jones Investments ........... 106 Entegra Roof Tile ........................... 10 Everglades Farm Equipment .......... 5 Everglades Pediatric Dentistry ........ 67 Evie’s More Than Hair ...................... 28

Okeechobee Charters ...................... 61 Okeechobee Dodge Chrysler Jeep ..... 31 Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters 99 Okeechobee Health Care ................ 94 Okeechobee Medical Reserve Corp. 15 Okeechobee Realty ........................ 61 Okeechobee Texaco ......................... 98 Okeechobee The Magazine ........... 89

Fawn’s Studio ................................. 68 Florida Eye Institute ...................... 85

Peace Lutheran School ................... 52 Yetti Outfitters, Inc. ....................... 101

Waste Management ..................... 75 Wemmer Family Orthodontics ........ 64 Williamson Cattle Company ......... 33 WOKC 100.9 FM ............................. 103 Wolfgang Jewelers ....................... 103 Women’s Health ............................ 16 Worley Construction ........................43

Do you have an old family recipe with a great story? We want to know. Email us at




that’s the

Protect Your Vehicle. Protect Your inVestment.

Gilbert 110% Guarantee! We are so sure we offer the best pricing, if you find the same vehicle for less we will refund 110% of the difference.

Each new vehicle purchased at Gilbert Chevrolet comes with: • One Free Year of Unlimited Dent and Ding Removal • One Free Year of Interior and Exterior Paint Protection • One Free Year of Key Replacement

See dealer for details.

We are proud to announce that Gilbert Chevrolet has earned the 2014 GM Mark of Excellence Award

(863) 763-3154 Mon-Fri Saturday

SALES 8:30 AM-7:00 PM 9:00 AM-5:00 PM

3550 Highway 441 South • Okeechobee View on your computer, mobile phone, or tablet!

Mon-Fri 7:30 AM-5:30 PM

SERVICE & PARTS Mon-Fri 7:30 AM-5:30 PM Saturday 8:00 AM-4:00 PM

Family Owned & Operated Since 1924 Oil Company

Mowers & Golf Cars

Summer 2014 | 107

Crawl out of bed. Ouch.

Get dressed. Ow.

Walk the dog. Argh!

Pick up the paper. Ugh!

Get in the car. YOW!

When pain starts your day, it’s tough to recover. If your schedule is dominated by joint pain,

Advanced orthopedic solutions.

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• Leading-edge surgical technology

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• Total Knee and Hip replacement programs

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• Dedicated rehabilitation program

activities you love.

Learn more about your options today. Call 863.763.9228 or visit

Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute Raulerson Hospital St. Lucie Medical Center

Okeechobee The Magazine Summer 2014  
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