Page 1

Content 06

July | August 2017

Apropos of Nothing | Jamie Beckett Car shopping for the car of one’s dreams should be fun. But reality can quickly set in that maybe that car doesn’t exist.


Staying Alive | Elizabeth Morrisey Administering CPR quickly is key in an emergency situation and Citizen CPR in Lakeland is training as many as possible.


Postive words go far in helping both the giver and receiver raise their spirits. Constructive advice is best given privately.



Cover: Useful Yards | Meredith Jean Morris

A Winter Haven couple has taken self-sustainability to their backyard, complete with fruits, vegetables, and animals.

Break Through Your Threshold | Jai Maa


Lake Wales Little Theatre | Donna Kelly

A look back on its grassroots growth over the years makes the upcoming 40th season at LWLT more rewarding.


Non-profit Spotlight | PACE Center for Girls

Young women deemed at-risk are given opportunities for better futures through education, counseling, and advocacy.


Public Art Downtown Winter Haven | Sergio Cruz It’s artsy yet again in the Chain of Lakes City with delicious art installations that dot the downtown park blocks.

14 12


The 863 Magazine

Editor | Publisher Note


ello and welcome to our anniversary issue. The 863 Magazine is now officially four years old and is entering its fifth year of publishing. We would like to thank our readers and advertisers for all their support, kind words of appreciation, and testimonials. And a big shout out to our writers, contributors, and staff, who absolutely rock. They are the best and we are lucky to have them on our team. We’ve given the layout a makeover in honor of our anniversary and plan to have a different editor / publisher photo in each issue this year to celebrate. Because why not? You’ll find an explanation of each photo below. Our cover story this issue is about how a Winter Haven couple has become nearly self-sustaining, having turned their

single acre backyard into an oasis of a garden, complete with animals that provide the only fertilizer used. It’s a goal of many to grow a few veggies in their yard and this local couple is proof that, with a little patience, knowledge, and a lot of elbow grease, this growing goal can be achieved. Turn to page 12 for that story. Elbow grease by volunteers is a large part of how the Lake Wales Little Theatre has grown over the past 39 successful years — that and donations. Now going into their 40th season, those who’ve been there during the growing pains take a look back on it all and reminisce about how they’ve kept the dream alive and the opportunities on cue. That story page 14.

our third article. Citizen CPR in Lakeland is making it their mission to train as many people as possible in the life saving technique. Story page 8. The Non-profit spotlight this issue is PACE Center for Girls, which helps at-risk girls in the county through education, counseling, training, and advocacy. Have a spectacular summer, 863’ers!

Staying alive thanks to the efforts of someone trained in CPR is the topic of

Sergio & Andrea Cruz Publisher | Editor



Sergio Cruz |

Alejandro F. Cruz |

Jamie Beckett Andrea Cruz Sergio Cruz Christie Henderson Donna Kelly Jai Maa Meredith Jean Morris Elizabeth Morrisey

Cover Designer

On the cover

Deborah Coker

Self-sustainability is the theme of one Winter Haven couple’s backyard. Growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even raising animals on a single acre — it’s a microfarm in a residential area. Story page 12. Photo by Andrea Cruz.

Editor Andrea Cruz |

Art Director

Ad Sales Bob Edmondson |

Editor | Publisher photo Sergio and Andrea’s first selfie before ‘selfies’ were a thing. The date was June 23, 1996, and they had just met the day before at a bus stop about a block away from where this picture was taken, at Pioneer Square in the center of downtown Portland, Oregon.

The 863 Magazine is a product of Polk Media, Inc. For more info visit us online: or

Visit us online at or!


The 863 Magazine

Apropos of Nothing By Jamie Beckett Shopping for and buying a concept car is his right. He’s earned it. But sometimes reality plays hard to get.


y first car was a 1963 Ford Falcon. It was white, had two doors, plastic seat covers, a three-speed manual transmission, and a cracked exhaust manifold. When it went down the highway it made approximately the same amount of noise as a rocket being launched from the Cape. I bought it from my roommate, Rich. He charged me $25. I was 17 years old. Back then I was dumb enough that I didn’t realize there was paperwork involved in the sale of a vehicle. Somehow, I thought it was a simple exchange of cash from one party to another. I was wrong, of course. Which is how I woke up one morning to find my car gone. My roommate had sold it to someone else, only a few days after he’d sold it to me. Rich is a successful stock broker now. Selling the same item repeatedly to different clients comes naturally to him. Well done, old friend. Well done, indeed. Recently, I’ve been car shopping again. My current mode of transportation is more than a decade old, well worn, and showing signs that it might, it just might, opt for a side-of-the-road retirement package in the very near future. In an attempt to avoid a very unpleasant “Uh, oh” moment in the coming days — I’ve started looking at my new car options. Armed with significantly more brain power, life experience, and an improved credit rating, I set off on my mission to buy. Immediately, I realized there was a problem. A big one. I’m too old and short on time to want a practical car anymore. Forget the cost,

fuel economy, automotive press reviews, or what the pros at J.D. Power think about it — I want something cool and eye-catching. I want a car so astounding it makes me look like Steve McQueen just because I’m sitting in it. I want — a concept car. Let’s face it, nobody is going to get excited to see a bald, bearded, wide-bellied, old dude walking up to their table at the local al fresco eatery. That’s me. And yes, the truth hurts. A little bit, anyway. Now imagine if I were to drive up in a sleek, new-fangled concept car. Something bright and colorful that glowed like one of George Lucas’ light sabers. It would be sleek and low, but with amazing wrap around windows and a moonroof that ran from the front bumper to the back. It’s revolutionary suspension system would grip the road as if it were nailed down, and the powerplant would emit exhaust fumes that smell like cotton candy. Yeah, that’s the car I want. I’ve seen what I’m looking for. On paper, anyway. Or as full-scale clay models on a raised platform at the big car shows. I fell in love when them when I was a wee lad. In the 1960s the concept cars were all sharp and angular. Power and visual appeal were what it was all about. The idea was to create the illusion that a man could look upon these cars and envision himself sitting in the drivers seat. A fellow would be instantly transformed into James Bond if he could sit in that car, even if he was a plumber from New Jersey in real life.

Today concept cars are rounded and aerodynamic. They’re light and powerful, but run on clean power sources like electricity, or fuel cell technology, or compressed air. The windows are heavily tinted. Blacked out, almost. And the ergonomically perfect seating cradles the driver like a baby in his (or her) mother’s arms. They’re perfect. Exactly what I want. What I need. What I’m searching high and low to find and take home with me as my new daily driver. There are only two problems. Just two. And they are these... Problem one is, concept cars don’t really exist. They’re just ideas on paper, or high-res graphic representations of a designers weirdest idea, or a plastic shell with no engine. Problem two is, my wife won’t let me buy one. I share all this with you so you’ll know, if you see me driving a mini van, or a small SUV that looks about as exciting as dry white toast; in my head, I’m piloting a sleek, modern, concept car made of plastic, chromium alloy, and my wildest dreams. I am headed out on an amazing adventure that will astound friends and fans alike. I just have to make a quick stop at Publix on the way, and maybe pick up my wife at the hairdresser. But after that...

Jamie Beckett appears to be an average, everyday guy who just happens to hail from Arizona, Connecticut, New York City, and Central Florida. He wears many hats — pilot, mechanic, writer, politician, musician, stay-at-home dad — often an odd combination of all those things. Frankly, we don’t care. At The 863 Magazine we just keep him around because we think he’s funny. That’s that.

July | August 2017


53. Same as eon 55. *Poison ____ 57. *Lawn pastime 61. Become undone 65. Nonsense 66. “Dancing in the Rain” dance 68. Window treatment 69. Plural of atrium 70. Id’s partner 71. Brickowski of “The LEGO Movie” 72. *Pick berries, e.g. 73. Movie director Howard 74. Back of the neck, pl.

Theme: Fun in the Sun ACROSS 1. Fastening device 6. Computer-generated imagery, acr. 9. Savannah College of Art and Design 13. Of the kidneys 14. Not decaf. 15. Flourishing 16. “The ____ of defeat” 17. Tide alternative 18. “PokÈmon,” e.g. 19. *Hitting the water 21. *In the open air 23. RNs’ org.

24. Not happening 25. Eastern title 28. Open-mouthed astonishment 30. Muslim woman’s headscarf 34. Foul substance 36. *Hang out till these come home 38. *July 4th and Labor Day events 40. Novice 41. Addressable locker 43. Calf at a grocery store 44. Biased perspective 46. Ore deposit 47. Home to Sacramento Kings 48. “Live and ____” 50. Telephoned 52. Definite article

1. Underwater hermit 2. Toy brick 3. Dwarf buffalo 4. ____ ray 5. Applying oneself diligently 6. Rugged rock 7. Hair raiser 8. Meltable home 9. *Volleyball turf 10. The Muse of history 11. Shells in a magazine 12. Textile worker 15. Jamaican vernacular 20. Civil rights org. 22. “Gross!” 24. Neonatology patient 25. Play parts 26. *Fired up for BBQ 27. Same as auras 29. *Alternative to #33 Down 31. Indonesian island 32. Weather advisory, e.g. 33. *Cooling off spot 35. Spanish lady 37. Scotch accompaniment 39. Kind of gin 42. Xe 45. Cause for an ER visit 49. Clinton ____ Rodham 51. *Horticulturist’s patch 54. Weasel’s aquatic cousin 56. Stealing is bad ____ 57. Burn to charcoal 58. Traditional learning method 59. Edible pod 60. Witty remark 61. 2nd word in many fairytales 62. Femme fatale 63. D’Artagnan’s sword 64. TV classic “____ Make a Deal” 67. Gone by

Crossword solution on page 17



The 863 Magazine



By Elizabeth Morrisey

Citizen CPR in Lakeland is on a mission to make sure as many people as possible are trained and certified in the life saving technique.


hen Vanessa Clayton’s fourweek-old grandson started turning blue, she knew that cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, had to be administered — and fast. She tried to start CPR and soon a neighbor took over until paramedics arrived. “CPR saved him,” says Clayton, adding that the baby has Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves. “He was blue and limp as spaghetti. The hardest thing is to perform CPR on

a loved one.” Clayton is grateful to her neighbor who helped get the baby’s color back before the ambulance arrived. Clayton had CPR training through her job and feels it should be a requirement for everyone. “If you do something, a life can be saved.” Her grandson, Jeremiah, is now four months old and doing fine. CPR can also help cardiac arrest victims. More than 70 percent of cardiac incidents happen at or near the home, says Cauney Bamberg, interim director of Citizen CPR (CCPR), a local non-profit training organization. “We want the survival rate up to at least 40 percent and the only way to

do that is with bystander training.” Sixty-seven percent of CPR is started by a bystander, Bamberg says. When there’s a time gap before first responders arrive, someone who is trained can help the victim’s survival rate. “The more we can have trained can make a tremendous difference for the individual,” she says. Last year, Citizen CPR trained or retrained 7,000 people in Polk County. CCPR has about 200 instructors and many are active nurses, paramedics and firefighters. As a Winter Haven firefighter, Roy Leath

Performing CPR on an infant is vastly different than the technique used when performing it on an adult. Citizen CPR of Lakeland holds ongoing classes on both techniques in various locations throughout the county.

July | August 2017

has saved about 100 -120 lives using CPR. He has also been a CCPR instructor for 15 years and has trained 3,000 people. “Arming people with this skill might just help them save someone’s life,” says Leath, a firefighter for 30 years. “There is no class that has the potential to be more important than a CPR class.” He not only teaches classes, but he also trains other instructors. The initial goal of CCPR was to train 100,000 people, which they met, says Harvey Craven, president of the board. “Early CPR and early use of AEDs (automatic external defibrillator) - within a minute – that’s what is going to save lives. Any form of CPR is important.” CCPR, which began in 1985, holds a national license with the American Heart Association and the American Safety and Health Institute. The organization offers classes to individuals and groups. “We support the heart association,” says Bamberg. “We get guidance and materials from them. It gives us credibility. “Our training is high quality,” she explains. “We take it very seriously.” Bamberg is passionate about CPR training because she wasn’t familiar with it and had to watch her father die of a heart attack when she was a teenager. “I don’t want anyone (else) to know the feeling of not being able to do anything.”

Another initiative of CCPR is drowning prevention. The group has a program where low income families can get trained in CPR and then take swimming lessons for free. “There are so many people that can’t afford it,” she says. “The cities love it, so working together helps address the issue.” According to the Florida Department of Health, drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children ages 1-4 in the state. Sylvia Rodriguez never thought she would have to perform CPR on her 11-month-old nephew. Before she knew it, he was in the pool and blue when they pulled him out. “I was hoping I could remember infant CPR,” she says. “I tried it and started remembering.” The first thing she recommends is try not to panic. “If I would have panicked, he would not be alive.” After CPR, he became conscious and his color came back. Rodriguez says anyone with a child and/or a pool should learn CPR. She was trained six years ago. “You think you’ll never use it, but CPR is what saved (my nephew).” Citizen CPR teaches CPR classes in


various locations around Polk at a cost of roughly $35. A calendar on the website lists times and locations. For more info visit


The 863 Magazine

Break Through Your Threshold By Jai Maa Giving positive reinforcement not only benefits the receiver, but the giver as well. Self-esteem on both sides is elevated.


y sister and I rented a lovely mom-n-pop hotel room on the beach to celebrate our birthdays. I mentioned to the receptionist the reason for our visit, and when we walked into our hotel suite overlooking the ocean, there was a gourmet cupcake dressed with birthday ribbon waiting for us on the counter. The staff did everything they could to make our stay enjoyable, so we booked another night. I jumped online and wrote a positive review for the hotel, and immediately my self-esteem increased as a result. I then became curious about writing reviews for businesses in general. I read reviews from various Air B&B and hotel listings, and observed the impact the negative reviews had on business owners. Naturally, negative reviews inspired a defense from the owners. Sometimes a business owner would apologize in almost a needy-like way, and other times they would point out that certain amenities were clearly communicated on the website as unavailable. I noticed what happened to my enthusiasm about a business when something negative was shared. The negative review could be followed by ten positive reviews, and yet, I felt mildly distracted by the single negative review. Even if the negative review was venting about the lack of an amenity that was indeed stated on the host’s website as unavailable, I still felt affected by the complaint. As a business owner, I reflected on how I would like to be treated by someone who was not happy with my service. It’s the same with personal, non-business relationships; you can’t please all the people all the time. I would hope someone unsatisfied with me as a person or business owner would give me grace and share their feedback privately in person rather than publically complaining. Why is it that we seem quick to vent and complain when we are unsatisfied, yet tend to withhold positive feedback when we are happy? What would it look like if we withheld our public shaming, and only praised our delightful experiences instead? How would changing the stories we share help

us to feel better about ourselves? Sending out a positive vibe, showing gratitude, focusing on the positive aspects of others, does wonders in helping our own selves shift our perspectives to a greener side of the grass. And you can say, “No, we really need to know ‘the bad’ that’s out there. That person in my life or business owner should be embarrassed because it will make them be better.” But I ask you, do you like being manipulated with shame as an attempt to force you to change? Imagine being at dinner with a group of people you want to like you and someone shouts out, “Hey! You have food in your teeth!” and everyone at the table looks at you. Sharing this feedback could have been just as easily delivered and easier to receive if the person had the courtesy to pull you aside. Then, it is your right to continue your life with food in your teeth, and eventually it will create a less than desirable effect in the way you connect with others. Give people grace and the benefit of the doubt. Give them the courtesy of pulling them aside and pointing out where they “have food in their teeth.” Look for the signs a person is giving their best or a business is making an effort. Say thank you to the staff personally, and write positive reviews to encourage their excellence. It takes intelligence and finesse to use your power correctly in this way. It takes wisdom to offer grace and inspire the world through positive reinforcement. Enlightenment Challenge: Think of the last time you had a satisfying experience at a business, or with someone you know. Jump online right now and right a positive review to the business, or give that person a quick note of kind words (and watch what happens to your self-esteem as a result). The next time you have constructive feedback for anyone, give them the courtesy of sharing your experience privately.

Jai Maa is a touring author and enlightenment facilitator who inspires others to create their visions with no compromise. An interfaith minister and native of Polk County, she travels with her cat companions teaching others how to co-create with God and live their own version of Heaven on Earth. Jai Maa is a regular instructor at THE SELF Center in Winter Haven. For more info visit


The 863 Magazine

Useful Yards

Sustainability by Microfarming

Samantha Longster and Scott Naugler of Winter Haven have created a microfarm in their backyard, complete with fruits, vegetables, and animals.

By Meredith Jean Morris Photos by Andrea Cruz


The 863 Magazine


s you cruise along the curves of Lake Elbert Drive in Winter Haven, the homes you pass seem like those in any typical residential area. The homes have front doors facing the lake, circular driveways and well-kept front yards. Presumably, these homes also have the usual backyard, with perhaps room for a family dog or cat to roam freely. However, Scott Naugler and Samantha Longster’s backyard is anything but typical.

for 19 years, moved into their home on Lake Elbert Drive in 2013, after spending several years looking for a home on 10 acres of land to accommodate their dream of farming. They fell in love with the lakefront home, and scaled down their vision to the lot’s single acre.

The couple, who have been together

While many homeowners work tirelessly for lush grass, the couple removed the grass to make way for their backyard farm.

“When we moved in, the backyard had pristine St. Augustine grass,” Longster says.

Naugler and Longster have a passion for eating healthy, and envisioned farming as a way to eat fresh, as well. Thus, began the S & S Microfarm in their backyard. “We saw this as our practice farm,” says Longster, who is the vice president of business development for a vacation home company in Davenport. “Scott is a chef, and at the time, I was doing Iron Mans.” Naugler, who operates a food truck in the Lake Nona/Orlando area, found that it was best for Longster’s training health to cook for her. The goal of the farm is sustainability. Occasionally, items must be purchased from local stores to round out meals, but for the most part, all food items come from the backyard farm. “We grow everything ourselves and the animals are free range,” Naugler says. “There are no pesticides and no fertilizers used, except for what we get naturally from the animals.” Stepping into the fenced-in backyard from the house’s back door, one first notices the use of space. Nearly all space is utilized in some way for the garden. Large, reinforced concrete planters overflow with many varieties of fruits and vegetables. Two lush moringa trees cast shade with their

Because the chickens pick on them, the three turkeys in the Winter Haven backyard of Samantha Longster and Scott Naugler live separated by a fence.

nutrient-dense leaves and branches. Three young turkeys wander among the planters. “They were with the rest of the animals, but the chickens were picking on them,” Naugler says of the turkeys, gesturing to a gate past the planters, where 31 chickens, 10 rabbits, one guinea fowl and two goats live free range. With the exception of the goats, both Nigerian Dwarf goats, all the animals are intended for food. “Since they may be food, we don’t name them,” Longster says. “But, the goats are Cupcake and Rowdy, and they are dairy goats and not to eat.” A fence protects the plants from the animals’ nibbling on what’s growing. Such a barnyard menagerie may seem surprising within Winter Haven’s city limits, but Naugler says their farm abides by the three rules regarding farm animals: They are not for profit, the animals aren’t at large, and there are no complaints from neighbors. Continued on page 17


The 863 Magazine

By Donna Kelly Photos by Christie Henderson

Lake Wales Little Theatre A theatre of opportunity


Although a little theatre, we are very proud and work hard to provide quality entertainment to our patrons. We have been a strong staple in the community for almost 40 years and we have great people helping and support. - Leslie Grondin, LWLT president

July | August 2017

I remember when we didn’t have these walls,” says Terry Loyd, glancing at the one separating the lobby from the auditorium inside Lake Wales Little Theatre. “I’ve probably painted a lot of it.” With no paid staff and a budget funded through ticket sales and donations, the volunteers – largely those who comprise the cast and crew of stage productions — also contribute sweat equity when the building requires maintenance. And they have from the very beginning. The theatre is now entering its 40th season and has a full line up of productions, including Stories Under the Big Top; Law & Disorder; The Dixie Swim Club; Over the Tavern; and Beautiful, Crazy. Founded in 1978, Lake Wales Little Theatre held performances in a variety of local venues until Oct. 2, 1992, when it held the opening performance in its permanent home: the former band room of the old Lake Wales High School, 411 N. Third St. The theater leases the building from the City of Lake Wales, which took ownership after receiving the deed from the Polk County School Board in the mid-1980s. “When we moved into this building it didn’t have a sprinkler system or

air conditioning,” says Loyd, a retired stock broker who joined the theater in 1986. “We needed $23,000 for the new system.” According to Loyd, to pay for these necessities, theater volunteers took shows on the road to surrounding areas including Indian Lake Estates, Mountain Lake, and Saddlebag Lake. “We’d set up, do the show, and tear down. We’d make $1,000.” Loyd smiles at the memory. “In three years we raised $21,000. It happened.” By 1992, approximately $60,000 in renovations had been funded by donations, grants, and efforts by theater volunteers. The theater is in the process of installing new lighting with the capability of special effects. “Things are going to be fantastic,” says Loyd. Lake Wales Little Theatre offers theater experiences for all ages with programs tailored for children, teenagers, and adults. More than a few thespians caught the acting bug in the youth programs and continue to volunteer at the theater today. The children’s program runs through August with performances


in September. Leslie Grondin, the theater’s president, discovered her passion for theater at 6 years old. She participated in the children’s, teen productions, and a few adult productions until she was 18. Grondin, a 37-year-old bookkeeper, returned to the theater six years ago. “I learned a lot about myself and was able to build my self confidence,” says Grondin, who devotes approximately 100 hours to LWLT monthly. “Kids can channel their imagination, learn to find their confidence and most of all enjoy just being a part of a great group of other kids that are accepting and enjoy what you enjoy.” The teen program, she explains, has evolved since she was a teenager. These days teens learn about from lights, sound, stage managing, directing, script perusal, costume, acting, set construction, and painting. “We strive to have each teen learn something new to gain a better appreciation of what it takes to put on a great production,” Grondin says. Robby Hartley, a professional dog groomer, began working backstage when he was 16 and stepped onstage three or four years later. While he Continued on page 16

The teen production of “Diary of a Wallflower” starred Kiana Perkins, right, as Charlotte Walden, a high school junior who is convinced that she’s invisible, even to her only friend, Gabby, played by Hope Potteiger. The summer production ran June 16-25 and had a cast of 13 teens.


The 863 Magazine Theatre, from page 15

continues to participate in adult productions, these days his heart is in running the teen program.

onstage. We do a lot of no-name shows, so you can be ‘that guy’ instead of one of 20 who have played that part.”

His goal is for teens to understand what it means to be a theater professional.

Tom McCance, an 83-year-old retired professional fundraiser with public speaking experience, learned that truth first hand. He saw a theater sign on the street in 2012, walked in to audition, and landed a bit part in the comedy, “Red Velvet Cake Wars,” before leaving for a trip to Cairo, Egypt. “The director said, ‘You don’t have to practice until you come back from Cairo.’” McCance says, chuckling. “I’d never been on a stage before.”

Hartley rattles skills they develop through the program: Confidence, responsibility, team work, the ability to turn a mistake a “meant to be,” and the art of knowing when to say things — and when not to say them. “We’re the theater of opportunity,” says Hartley. And that goes for adults, too. “We do two auditions each time, so you have an opportunity to go back to audition. I’m an awful auditioner,” he grins. “It’s an opportunity to be backstage, be

Neither had Dorinda Morrison-Garrand when she auditioned for — and was cast in — the same show. She’s been a staple in the theater ever since. “I love comedy,” she says. “I love people’s reaction. I love to make people laugh.” She also enjoys theater camaraderie. “The best thing is when you get up there and everything

meshes.” Morrison-Garrand offers this advice for those who dream of giving theater a try. “They can come; it’s all volunteer. People are very helpful. Don’t be afraid to audition.” McCance agrees. He describes the theater group as helpful, fun, and totally committed. “The degree of enthusiasm and desire to achieve are better than any other not-for-profit group I’ve worked with.” Loyd, who at age 70 focuses mainly on manning the lights, attributes the theater’s success to small groups of people who “have a vision.” “You find people who love theater and they get involved. Over the years we’ve built up a group of actors, directors, and technical people. When we need somebody, someone shows up.” “Divine providence,” Morrison-Garrand quips. “It feels like home.” For more info on the theatre and its upcoming 40th season, visit

Kiana Perkins as Charlotte Walden in “Diary of a Wallflower” at Lake Wales Little Theatre.

Useful Yards, from page 13 In fact, the neighbors are quite supportive of the farm. Jay and Melissa Onheiser live next door and often trade meat and produce with Longster and Naugler. “We love it,” Jay Onheiser says. “The fresh food tastes better, first of all. A lot of people are under the impression you can’t do this in the city, but the only time you have a problem is if the neighbors don’t like it. I think everyone should do it.” In fact, the Onheisers do have their own farm – just not in their backyard. They have farm land in Kentucky, where they raise pigs, cows and grow produce. The produce Longster and Naugler grow varies by season, but at any given time, they have upwards of 30 different fruits and vegetables available for their table. “In the beginning, it was pretty time consuming,” Longster says. “Now that we’ve got it all going, it isn’t as much work.” They both work full time, but enjoy spending time working on the farm in the evenings. “I’ll come out, grab a beer and putz around,” Naugler says. “We’ll invite people over and tell them we have something cooking. It’s a passion to share this with other people. We love to give stuff away.” Continued on page 22

Crossword on page 7


The 863 Magazine

Non-Profit Spotlight PACE Center for Girls

Helping at-risk girls in Polk County change their stories.


n the heart of downtown Lakeland there is a hidden gem of which not many people are aware. This gem is an organization devoted to ensuring that at-risk girls are given a fair chance at life. The staff has devoted their lives to providing girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. This organization, Pace Center for Girls, values all girls and young women, believing each one deserves an opportunity to find her voice, achieve her potential and celebrate a life defined by responsibility, dignity, serenity and grace.  The mission of PACE is to take in the girls that society deems at-risk and provide them with a chance to change their stories. Pace works alongside these girls to meet them where they are in life socially, emotionally, and academically. Pace is a strength based, gender responsive and trauma informed program. As such, PACE is more focused on identifying strengths in the girls and using these as the foundation to build strong, confident and productive future members of the world. But don’t take it from us… Hear it in the words of one of our success stories: “How can you be so young and hate yourself so much? When do you decide to start doing drugs and drinking alcohol at such a young age? When is the exact moment that you realize you feel that you are no longer worth living? I’m not sure when I made these decisions, but

I did. I was failing school, sneaking around doing drugs and alcohol, and I tried so hard to cover the cuts on my arm. After a while, I stopped trying. I told myself I was meant to be this way. The saddest part of my story was that I was happy to be in the dark. I didn’t have to meet anyone’s expectations, and I felt that death would be so much easier if everyone knew my life was a waste. Between November of 2012 and March of 2013, I really lost myself. I overdosed twice and almost lost my life. The last overdose, I’m not sure what changed, but that day, something came through to me. I wasn’t able to return to high school after I left the hospital. Thankfully, though, I became aware of Pace Center for Girls. It was there that I met the women and men who would change my life forever. I was very open about how badly I wanted to change and that I was willing to do anything. I had these great people who supported me all the way through. They never doubted me, and never gave up on me. PACE was not only involved with me, but they also helped my family and me to build our relationship back to where it once was. The hardest part about becoming this new person was the guilt that seemed to slam into me. For a long time, I had shut everything off and had no remorse; but, as this new girl, I had to open up and let my emotions out in order to help others understand me. It was the most physical and mental pain I’ve ever experienced.

Slowly but surely, I was able to forgive myself. That was the most important step. I started to love myself again, and I was able to let my family love me, too. As of 2015, I have been clean for two years. Now, I am 18, and I am a full time student at Lakeland Senior High School. I attend Polk State College for dual enrollment, and I also take online classes. To add more to the list, I am also doing online training to become a shift leader for my job at Dunkin Donuts. The girl from two years ago no longer exists. There isn’t a trace of her remaining. The only thing that remains is the courage and determination I had to change my life around. My family, my church, and, of course, PACE are my biggest supporters. I am honored to share with the world what they have helped me conquer. Once a Pace girl ALWAYS a PACE girl. “ Since writing her story, this young lady has graduated from high school and is attending college. This is just one of the many success stories to come out of PACE Center for Girls, Polk. To learn more about the program, visit, call executive director Ellen Katzman, or program director Margaret Connelly at 863-688-5596.


The 863 Magazine Useful Yards, from page 17

Friends and neighbors often go home with a dozen farm-fresh, cage-free eggs, or a basket filled with a variety of vegetables and herbs, he says. “It’s a great way to get to know a lot of people,” Naugler says. “Some neighbors come over when their grandkids are visiting to see the animals.” During the past four years, Longster

says they have learned a lot about farming. “It’s been a learning curve. First of all, you have to fertilize,” she says of lessons they’ve learned. “Also, don’t get a rooster, just hens. The females are quieter. With chickens, the breed matters, too. You want eggers. For the produce, grow for the weather and the area.”

For anyone interested in creating their own backyard microfarm, Longster suggested seeking out advice from someone who has experience. “When we got started, we didn’t envision the size we have now,” she says. “It’s really a labor of love. I’ll have a little space, and ask myself, ‘What can I grow here?’ This is the best way to come home from work.”

From top left, clockwise: Several large raised gardens line the Winter Haven backyard of self-sustaining microfarmers Samantha Longster and Scott Naugler; Longster pulls carrots from her garden that are from the seeds of an organic rainbow mix; a summer spinach vine, Malabar spinach, is just one of the many veggies growing; Naugler feeds pineapple skins to Cupcake while Rowdy, the other resident pet goat, looks on.

July | August 2017

Public Art in the Parks: Downtown Winter Haven


Photos by Sergio Cruz

Works by Craig BerubeGray of Key West are on display in downtown Winter Haven’s park blocks as part of the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition. From top left, clockwise: Watermelon Picnic; Donuts!!; Slices of Heaven; and Popsicles.

The 863 Magazine - July & August 2017  
The 863 Magazine - July & August 2017  

Useful Yards: Sustainability in a Backyard; Lake Wales Little Theatre: Looking ahead at its 40th Season; CPR: Life Saving technique taught t...