| December, 2017

CLERGY CORNER: A performance worthy of a king

Posted on 21 December 2017 by LeslieM

And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:40 NRSV

I am not one to brag, but I was a part of a choir that performed for a king, King Olav V. I also had the privilege of performing for the crown prince and princess who are now the King and Queen of Norway.

My mother’s family is Norwegian and I attended a college in Minnesota, Concordia College, which was founded by my Norwegian immigrants. Because the Church of Norway is Lutheran, so is my alma mater. And there are still strong links between my college and the Kingdom of Norway. That is why, periodically, my college performs in Norway for the Norwegian royal family. And you can imagine that one may be humbled by an experience like this.

The performance for the king was simply a song we sang at the Ascension Day worship service in the Oslo Cathedral. He was a gracious old man who waved to us on his way out during the procession.

Crown Prince Harald and Princess Sonja attended a concert we performed for in a church near their residence outside of Oslo. Since then he has been crowned King Harald V. This event was far more memorable. And we were all starstruck by the fact that we were performing for a man who would be king.

The crown prince and princess sat in throne-like chairs in the center aisle right behind our conductor. They had the best seats in the house, naturally, and the others in attendance paid dearly for admission. We could see his facial expressions throughout the whole concert; and, as starstruck American kids, we paid close attention to those expressions almost as if they were the only thing that mattered.

The crown prince looked bored. It looked like he was doing us a giant favor by showing up at our concert. At times, he even looked inconvenienced. His wife smiled and was delightful, but we didn’t seem to be affecting the prince.

At intermission, we all commented on the prince’s demeanor. One of the choir members said: “Wait a minute, we are Americans. We don’t have kings. The crowd loves us. Let us sing to the crowd.”

One of our more faithful members said: “Better yet, let us give glory to God.”

Our focus shifted from the prince, who seemed bored and inconvenienced, to the actual people who came to hear the choir, the people who paid dearly to sit in the uncomfortable pews. Our focus shifted from the crown prince, who sat in front of us, to God, the true master of the house.

When I look back, I think our second half was better. I think the choir sounded better. The crowd was even more enthusiastic. And then something else happened, the prince began to smile.

It would be easy to dismiss the prince as a spoiled brat. After all, there are privileges that come with royalty. However, I give him the benefit of the doubt. I sincerely believe that a good prince understands that he is beholden to both his God and his subjects. I believe a good prince isn’t focused upon himself but upon those things that are bigger than him. And my relatives who live in Norway assure me that King Harald is a good king who truly does care for his people.

What does this have to do with Christmas? A King was born on Christmas. He wasn’t born in a palace but a stable. He wasn’t laid in a golden crib, but a manger. His birth wasn’t announced with trumpets outside of a palace, but by singing angels in the midst of shepherds. God went out of his way to shift our focus away from all of the things we associate with royalty to the very things that truly matter, God and the people God serves.

Had the Christmas story happened any differently, we could have been like a bunch of starstruck college kids caught up in tabloid hype. Rather, from the beginning, God shifted our focus to a place where it always should have been.

One of my favorite Christmas songs was written in Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. It was called “The Carol of the Drum” and was first performed by the Trapp Family singers in 1951. (Yes, the Sound of Music family). Its title has been changed to “The Little Drummer Boy.” And when the drummer boy plays his best, baby Jesus smiles.

How do we make the King of King’s smile? Matthew 25 tells us to shift our focus. Clearly, focusing on God’s people has always been a part of the story of Jesus. If we really want to make our King smile on Christmas, let us give our best to the least. Let us focus on the poor, the needy, those who are forgotten on Christmas. If we really want to make Jesus smile, honor God and all of God’s people.

Pastor Gross is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, located at 959 SE 6 Ave., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-421-3146 or visit www.zion-lutheran.org.

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The Therapy Room: Winter Holiday Survival Tips for Anxiety and Depression

Posted on 21 December 2017 by LeslieM

The Therapy Room: Winter Holiday Survival Tips for Anxiety and Depression

The winter holidays cause many to experience unwanted stress, anxiety and depression. Many factors trigger such reactions and include unrealistic expectations of self and others, financial pressures, making too many commitments to family, co-workers and friends, and, sometimes, even focusing on the inability to be with those you believe you would prefer to be with.

Certain individuals feel anxious or depressed around the winter holidays due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is also referred to as seasonal depression. SAD is a kind of depression that tends to occur as daylight grows shorter in the fall and winter months and, therefore, is a result of inadequate exposure to sunlight.

The symptoms of SAD include tiredness, fatigue, sadness, irritability, poor concentration, muscular pain, insomnia, appetite changes, excessive alcohol consumption, social isolation and loneliness. Lifestyle changes that are proven to decrease SAD symptoms include spending more time outdoors, exercising and maintaining healthy eating habits. Psychotherapy, light therapy, acupuncture and medications are additional options to consider to decrease SAD symptoms.

Organizing and balancing the demands of holiday gifts and food shopping, family obligations, social gathering events and even house guests contribute to feelings of stress, anxiety, being overwhelmed and increased tension.

If someone dismisses depression, they may actually develop stress responses and experience physical and emotional symptoms, such as headaches, over-eating, insomnia or excessive alcohol consumption. Some individuals also experience anxiety and depression after the New Year due to high expectations leading to extreme disappointments.

Many of us think about loved ones who have passed away during the winter holidays. Love does not end in death and it is important that we keep such loved ones alive by the way we live. Include memories of them during your holiday gatherings and celebration by decorating a wreath with items that remind you of them, display happy memory pictures, make their favorite dish for your family and friends to enjoy, or light a candle and reflect on the light they continue to bring to your life.

For those suffering from winter holiday anxiety or depression, benefits may be realized by increasing social support, asking for help and sharing family holiday responsibilities, such as food shopping and preparation, maintaining a budget for gift purchases and making, and taking, time to relax. Psychotherapy and support groups can help you gain insight into your holiday blues, relieve stress and bring a layer of needed social support.

Tips to prevent stress, anxiety and depression during the winter holidays:

Set realistic goals and make realistic expectations

Do not take on more responsibilities than you can manage — delegate!

Do not set yourself up for disappointment and sadness

Volunteer and help others — you will be helping yourself as well!

Limit or do not drink alcohol — excessive alcohol consumption increases feelings of depression

Reach out and make new friends — spend time with supportive people

Winter holidays bring anxiety and depression into many lives and can be managed by implementing the above tips. Also consider seeking individual psychotherapy or group support if these symptoms become overwhelming and too much of a burden. This winter holiday season make time for yourself and consider doing something new — change is possible!

Dr. Julia Breur, Ph. D., LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton, Florida. Further information available at www.drjuliabreur.com.

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Spirito shines on the links

Posted on 21 December 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

At 86 years of age, Pompano Beach’s Carlo Spirito is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, like a fine wine, he seems to be getting better with age.

Earlier this year, Spirito was the 2017 Club Masters Champion for the Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association and he followed that up by picking up his fourth career hole-in-one recently on the third hole of the Greg Norman Signature Pines Course at the Pompano Beach Municipal Golf Course.

It ran about 145-yards,” said Spirito, who captured the C Flight championship that day in the individual class play, odd holes minus ½ handicap, with a 24.5 total. “It is a tricky little hole with water on the left and the pin was in the back. I hit a 6-iron with a nice draw on the ball and it was coming in towards the hole. I saw it hit the green and roll up towards the pin, but I never saw it go in.”

The guys I was playing with said, ‘it’s in, it’s in the hole,” he continued. “I couldn’t believe it. It is always exciting when you get a hole-in-one.”

The first hole-in-one for Spirito came in 1985 at the Cape Cod Country Club in Massachusetts where he aced the Par-3, 150-yard fifth hole. The second one came in 1988 at the White Mountain Country Club in New Hampshire where he negotiated the Par-3, 5th-hole, 175-yard distance with a 5-wood. His third ace was in 2002 where he needed just one shot on the 125-yard, third hole at the Oriole Golf and Tennis Club in Margate.

Spirito was proud of winning the Master’s title at the club.

I was really excited to win the men’s championship,” Spirito said. “You play and you play, and you play, and you never expect it to happen. I just happened to have a couple of good weeks. The putts were falling and you wind up with a low score, and you end up winning. I was surprised. I never expected to do it. There are a lot of good golfers.”

Spirito said he has won tournaments throughout his career, but it was nice to win one as he approaches 90 years of age. He started playing golf at the age of 25, so six decades longer and he is still at it.

I have never won one alone,” he continued. “It was always with a foursome or a twosome or something like that.”

Since turning 86 in October, he has shot his age or better eight times.

It is very exciting because when I do it, I call my son (Steven) in Rhode Island and say, ‘guess what? I shot my age today,’” Spirito said with a laugh. “He will ask me what tees am I playing from and I say, what’s the difference?”

Spirito said the longevity on the course comes from being in good shape. He carries a 22-handicap from the senior tees at the course.

Up until they put the Pines course in about three years ago, I would walk every time I played,” said Spirito, who plays three times a week. “My son will come down next month for a week or so and we will play everyday. He is a really good golfer.”

How long does he plan to keep at it?

Until I am in the 100s or so,” Spirito said. “I like it because it is good exercise and something to do.

There is good camaraderie and it is challenging. Of course, you always have a little side bet here and there.”

I think getting a hole-in-one is always more exciting,” Spirito said. “I’ve been playing for 60 years and I only have four of them. Winning a tournament, or something like that, I have done many times…shooting my age will be exciting. The older I get the easier it will be. When I am down in the 80s like that, I feel good about it.”

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FLICKS: Lady Bird

Posted on 14 December 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

cinemadave.livejournal.com

Tis awards season in the motion picture world, a time when Hollywood will release serious flicks about important life themes. Oscar and Golden Globes often acknowledge small-budgeted independent films like Breaking Away and Brooklyn, produced by a new generation of young talent both behind and in front of the camera. Breaking Away started Dennis Quaid’s four-decade career while Brooklyn introduced Saoirse Ronan as a future competitor to Meryl Streep.

Whereas Ronan gave a mature performance with a strong transitional arc, she is unrecognizably bland in Lady Bird. Actors often portray older characters with ease, but it is virtually impossible to perform the reverse. If one did not see Brooklyn, one would think the actress portraying Lady Bird is simply another bratty actress. Ronan does the impossible.

Actually Lady Bird is Christine McPherson’s (Ronan) self-given nickname. She is a senior going to Catholic High School. Despite being a rebel without a clue, Lady Bird shares her confidences with Julie (Beanie Feldstein). The two students share the same jokes with each other about hallway gossip, the drama club and family matters.

Lady Bird does have an antagonistic relationship with her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), who works two shifts a day at a psychic hospital because her husband (writer – Tracy Letts) is unemployed. Feeling constrained by living in California, Lady Bird wishes for a more exotic life on the east coast, preferably a university in New York. This, of course, raises a bigger rift between daughter and mother.

As Blackboard Jungle was a film to be remembered for high school students in the 1950s, with Dead Poets Society marking the rites of passage for high school students in the late 1980s, Lady Bird may always be remembered by the 2018 graduates. The story is simple, but the theme is universal.

Introduced to the independent film circles with the release of Francis Ha five years ago, writer/director Greta Gerwig stays behind the camera with Lady Bird. Both films detail a self-centered female protagonist’s growth and maturity, yet with much humor.

Besides Saoirse Ronin’s fine performance, Laurie Metcalf also shines as the mother. With Gerwig’s succinct script, Metcalf creates a character who is deeply suffering, but with stubborn strength that keeps the family together with a roof over their head.

Lady Bird is a winner, which has already been given a Golden Globes nomination as Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy and Best Screenplay. Saoirse Ronin and Laurie Metcalf have also been nominated as Best Actress and Supporting Actress, respectively.

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CRIME WATCH

Posted on 14 December 2017 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach

Dec. 1: A man reported that someone stole his ATM cash withdrawal from the ATM dispenser while he was distracted. The incident was reported at 1031 S. Military Tr.

Dec. 1: A victim reported that a man he knows as Greg stole his car. The incident was reported at 1421 NW 45 St.

Dec. 3: A person entered an open garage door at 832 SE 13 Ave. and stole a mountain bike.

Dec. 4: Someone stole a trailer with two motorcycles inside from the Extended Stay motel parking lot at 1200 SW 11 Way.

Dec. 4: A loss prevention officer reported that a former employee of Target at 3599 W. Hillsboro Blvd. stole $5,759 worth of cell phones.

Lighthouse Point

Nov. 17: A victim was going to perform painting services for a subject and placed his cell phone on an irrigation station outside the residence at 3111 NE 27 Ave. When he went to retrieve it, it was missing.

Nov. 17: A subject was trespassed from a property at 3780 NE 27 Ave.

Nov. 18: Witnesses said they saw a subject throw three pieces of an alligator out of a vehicle and there were also small packages that appeared to be ice in a canal near 4920 NE 25 Ave.

(This is a partial list. For Deerfield Beach Crime Watch in full, visit www.DFB.City and click on “Sign Me Up” to receive the city wide report.)

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HAPPENINGS

Posted on 14 December 2017 by LeslieM

Friends of The Deerfield Beach Arboretum meets

Thursday Dec. 14, 7 p.m.

Constitution Park

2841 W. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Guest speaker will be Dr. Monica Elliott, professor of Plant Pathology University Of Florida/IFAS. Dr. Elliott’s areas of expertise include field diagnosis and management of palm problems. So, if your palms are having problems, talk to the doctor about it. Plant giveaway. Light refreshments served. Free and open to the public.

Pompano Pier Food Truck Round Up

Friday, Dec. 15, 6 to 10 p.m.

Pompano Beach Fishing Pier

222 N. Pompano Beach Blvd.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Food Trucks, music and fun! Bring blankets and folding chairs since seating is limited. Great entertainment and full bar! For more information, call 954-786-7824.

Exercise Classes

Tuesday, Dec. 19, 9 to 9:45 a.m.

Steeple on the Beach (Briggs Hall)

1920 SE 5 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Strength & Balance Classes: Improve your flexibility, focus & overall movement. Sitting & standing with a chair. The goal is for you to move up to their cardio Zumba Gold class. Silver Sneakers welcome! Walk-ins: $7 a class! Classes continue every Tuesday and Thursday, same time. For more information and to sign up, call Angel at 954-224-0886.

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HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

Posted on 14 December 2017 by LeslieM

A Civil War Christmas:
An American Musical Celebration

Friday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m.

Pompano Beach Cultural Center

50 W. Atlantic Blvd

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

A Civil War Christmas” (known as the American version of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”) weaves a tapestry of fictional and historical characters, such as President and Mrs. Lincoln – together with holiday music, marches, hymns and spirituals of the period – to tell a story of companionship and communal hope arising from one of our nation’s darkest hours. This is a delight for people of all ages and contains many of the classic Christmas songs that we all know and love. The show will continue to Sat. Dec. 23. Students, $15, adults, $35.To purchase tickets, visit ccpompano.org/event/a-civil-war-christmas.

21st Annual Holiday in the Park

Saturday, Dec. 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mitchell Moore Park

901 NW 10 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Free family holiday event. Lots of entertainment and games for kids. Free toys and food for registered families. For more information, e-mail passtheblessings@bellsouth.net.

Celebrate Children’s Christmas”

Saturday Dec. 16, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Community Presbyterian Church

Briggs Hall

1920 SE 4 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Visit from their Santa Claus (arrives at 12:30 p.m.) delivering gifts for the children, photo opportunity and much more attractions for the family. Includes a delicious snack and lunch! For more information, call the office at 954-427-0222, Katia at 561-674-4864 or e-mail communitych1920@gmail.com.

Winter Frost Festival

Saturday, Dec. 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Highlands Community Center

511 NE 44 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Join the City of Deerfield for an afternoon full of wintery fun! Their annual celebration of the season features food, games, music, refreshments and holiday treats. Event is free. For more information, call 954-429-1847.

Cookies & Milk with Santa

Saturday, Dec. 16, 3 to 5 p.m.

Pompano Citi Centre

SW corner of Federal Highway & Copans Road

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Santa will read kids a story and eat cookies with them. Holiday activities and giveaways too. Don’t miss Paws & Claus on Dec. 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a chance for your precious pets to get a photo with Santa too.

Free Chanukah Concert

Saturday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.

Sanborn Square, Downtown Boca Raton

72 N. Federal Hwy,

Boca Raton, FL 33432

The community is invited to a free Chanukah Concert starring Yoel Sharabi. The event will feature a Menorah Lighting Ceremony with local dignitaries and free hot latkes. The event is co-sponsored by Boca Beach Chabad and the Boca Raton Bowl. For more information, call 561-394-9770.

Christmas Lights Tour

Monday, Dec. 18, 6 to 9 p.m.

Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex

445 SW 2 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Get into the Glow of the Holiday. Join as they cruise through Tradewinds Park Christmas Light Exhibit and tour local neighborhoods. Adults: $5, Children 12 & under: $2. For more information, call 954-480-4481.

Books & Toys and Ice Cream Social

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Oveta McKeithen Recreational Center

445 SW 2 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Please join Commissioner Gloria Battle and the City of Deerfield Beach in a Book and Toy drive for children less fortunate in our community. A book and toy will be handed out at the event, which includes ice cream. Collection bins will be available at City Hall located at 150 NE 2 Ave. and Constitution Park, located at 2841 W. Hillsboro Blvd., in Deerfield Beach. All residents and local organizations are encouraged to help in this effort by donating new, unwrapped books and toys. The city will be collecting the items until Friday, Dec. 15. For more information, contact the City of Deerfield Beach at 954-480-4263.

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CLERGY CORNER: Give your kids and teens what they really want this Christmas

Posted on 14 December 2017 by LeslieM

In 2015, IKEA, the Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture and home furnishings retailer, asked “Why do we insist on not giving our children the gifts they really want for Christmas?”

To answer this question, IKEA created an experiment in which children from 10 different families were asked to write two separate letters: one to Santa Claus and the other to their parents.

As expected, to Santa Claus, kids requested everything from the latest tech to a unicorn. The other letter; however, the one to their parents, kids wrote, “I want you to spend more time with me”… “that we do more experiments at home”… “I’d like it [if] you paid a little bit more attention to us”… “have dinner with us more often.” Other children asked to be tickled more, have a story read to them, or simply spend the whole day together.

By the conclusion of the experiment, the parents discovered the best they could give their children is the giving of themselves, and this lesson is every bit applicable to those parents with teens — minus the tickling.

In light of the IKEA experiment results, consider the following gift ideas that honor God while creating a memorable Christmas for your children and teens:

Gift an experience. Whether it’s a family ski trip or simply watching Elf together for the billionth time, beginning a family tradition elevates presence over presents. Stuff eventually wears out, but a positive experience gets better with each time the story is told.

Gift items that speak your child’s or teen’s love language. If this is the first you have heard of “love languages,” schedule time to read Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively. Chapman writes, “Modern technology is exposing our teens to the best and worst of all human cultures.” As such, he believes there has never been a greater need for parents to “assume their role as loving leaders in the home.” Giving gifts that speak your child’s or teen’s love language is the most effective manner in which to refill a teen’s emotional “love tank.”

Gift a better story. Dr. Tim Elmore, in his book Habitudes for Communicators: Images That Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes, shares of a father “grieving” his daughter’s choices that did not align with “any of the family’s values.” The solution came when the father realized “everyone wants to be a part of a story that is interesting and compelling” — a life that is a part of the solution to a problem. The daughter eventually, on her own accord, chose to abandon her old lifestyle when “she found a better story at home.”

Gift without strings attached. Attaching emotional strings to giving is a hidden manifestation of control; it can morph into manipulation that increases the risk of damaging the relationship between the giver and receiver by establishing an unfair burden of reciprocity upon the receiver. Mindy Crary writes in Forbes, “Some people think they’ll disappoint their children if they don’t lavish them with gifts. But I’ve found that with kids [and teens], gift satisfaction is usually very short term. And even early on, [they] intuitively know whether the gift you are giving is for them, or for you.”

Gift worshipping together. Given the business of the holidays, from visiting friends and family to the excitement of unwrapping gifts, the temptation exists to “neglect meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25). In Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, Francis Chan writes, “It’s easy to fill ourselves up with other things and then give God whatever is left,” citing Hosea 13:6, “When I fed them, they were satisfied when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot Me.” Chan asserts that “God wants our best, deserves our best, and demands our best.” Avoid setting the dangerous precedent of offering God merely “leftovers.” Gift the example of putting God first.

While your child or teen may plead that they are not able to live without the new iPhone X (or a unicorn), give them what they really want: the present of your presence.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at The Church at Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. He loves to mentor the next generation of leaders and considers himself a fast food connoisseur. For questions or comments, connect with him on social media: @thecjwetzler.

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Highlands starts off 2-2

Posted on 07 December 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

After opening the season with wins over Sheridan Hills and Boca Raton Christian, the Highlands Christian Academy boys’ basketball team found the going rough in its own holiday tournament.

The Knights began the regular season as it topped Sheridan Hills, 83-67, and then downed District 7-3A rival Boca Raton Christian, 53-40, in the opener of the 40th annual event that was started by former AD and basketball coach Reg Cook.

Sophomore guard Alex Villas led the team in scoring with 16 points, including going 6 for 6 from the field with 2, three-pointers in the win over the Blazers.

The Knights (2-2) dropped its final two games in the tournament, falling to the eventual tournament champion, Pine Crest, 57-44, and to King’s Academy, 57-56, in the third place game. Highlands trailed Pine Crest by 14 points and were able to draw within four before the Panthers pulled away for the win.

Playing these three games really sets the tone for our season and gives me a good indication of what our strengths and weaknesses are,” said Knights coach and Athletic Director Jim Good. “Although we ended up losing two out of the three games, I was very encouraged and pleased with our effort. Unfortunately, we found ourselves too deep in a hole versus Pine Crest and King’s trying to overcome double digits.”

Highlands and King’s are quite familiar with each other as they faced off the previous two tournaments. Highlands defeated King’s for third place last year and in double overtime the previous year for the championship game. The Knights were down 12 in the third quarter before senior point guard Sawyer Lawhon hit 3, threes to draw them close. Lawhon was named to the All-Tournament team.

We, unfortunately, did not shoot the ball well from the free throw line that night,” Good said. “I guess King’s was finally due to pick up a win against us. It’s always a great week as we host the Classic right after Thanksgiving.”

Pine Crest, the defending champion, won the title with a 72-55 victory over North Broward Prep as Brian Anderson was named tournament MVP. The Knights had won its own tournament nine times – 1978, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2009, 2010 and in 2015.

Santos Sweep helps Piranhas finish 15th in Winter Champs

Pompano Beach’s Mattheus Santos, 16, and his 15-year-old brother Raphael went 1-2 in the 15-16 boys high point standings to help the Pompano Beach Piranhas swim team to a 15th place overall finish at the 27th annual Speedo Winter Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex recently.

Mattheus had 64 points, while Raphael added 60.50 as the pair combined to score 124.50 of the swim club’s points for the four-day meet and led the boys’ team to an 11th place finish with 219.50 points. The girls’ team finished 28th with 26 points as the program ended up with 245.50 total points.

The meet featured nearly 1,100 swimmers and more than 50 teams from the Florida Gold Coast (South Florida teams) organization, in addition to teams from out of state and international squads. Swimmers ages 9-16 were involved in the competition.

Hosted by the Plantation Swim Team, the Winter Championships is the state’s largest age group meet and one of the nation’s largest LSC (Local Swimming Committees) meets.

Other top finishes for Pompano included Emilio Barrantes, 14, who was sixth with 46 points; Summer Schulte, 14, who finished 18th in the Girls 13-14 high points with 17 points; Alex Marquez, 15, (7 points) and Shane Schulte, 16, (5 points) placed 30th and 35th, respectively, in the meet.

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FLICKS: Justice League

Posted on 07 December 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

According to box office reports, DC Comics’ Wonder Woman is the most popular comic book movie of 2017, followed by Marvel Comics Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok. But, for the most part, Marvel Comics movies have dominated the DC Comic Universe in both critical acclaim and box office.

For the most part, the Marvel Comic Book movies contain stand-alone stories. If one goes to see Black Panther next February, there is not a need to see the character’s introduction from Captain America: Civil War. However, it would enhance one’s viewing pleasure. Based on who the protagonist is, each film is uniquely different. Tony Stark’s Iron Man lives in our world, while the Guardians of the Galaxy live outside the far reaches of our solar system.

The problem with Justice League is that this DC flick looks the same as its predecessors: Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman. There are many fights, chases and explosions that were created from the fevered mind of a computer special effects specialist. There is a battle between good and evil, but the visuals are not concise enough to determine who is fighting who.

[Spoilers follow regarding Batman v Superman]. Justice League opens with a video featuring Superman (Henry Cavill) talking to a kid. Superman is asked what he likes about Planet Earth, but the video cuts out. As the credits roll, we learn that the world is grieving the death of Superman, based on the ending of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Batman (Ben Affleck) perceives a threat from outer space. He contacts Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to help him uncover the mystery of the three boxes. One box can be found in Wonder Woman’s hometown, while another box may be found under the sea in the ruins of Atlantis. While investigating the missing box of Atlantis, Batman meets Aquaman (Jason Momoa).

Kind of like Professor Xavier from the X-Men series (oops … that’s Marvel), Batman recruits two young people with mutant abilities. Cyborg/Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) is a half teen/half machine whose father (Joe Morton) tried to save his son’s life with Krypton machine scraps. Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) can run very fast, so he is called The Flash.

The character interaction is the best thing about Justice League, but unfortunately the formulaic plot and dull visuals mar emotional empathy. The account executives with Warner Brothers Studios need to fathom why their own Wonder Woman and Kong: Skull Island are just so much more fun to watch than Justice League.

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