Junior volleyball players “dig” the beach

Posted on 18 August 2016 by LeslieM

sports081816By Gary Curreri

In the past five years, there has been an explosion of collegiate opportunities for playing beach volleyball.

Two sisters from Deerfield Beach – Alanna and Audrey Hodge – recently placed third in the AVPFirst Girls 14-Under volleyball championship on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Alanna, age 14, is a freshman at Monarch High School and has played beach volleyball for five years.

I like beach volleyball more than indoor because you get more touches on the ball and it is fun to play with new partners to see how you do with other people,” she said.

Audrey, age 12, a seventh-grader at Boca Christian, also played beach volleyball for five years.

There is a lot of pressure because I am playing in a higher division than I normally would,” Audrey said. “I like it because it is mostly all on you. You are responsible for half of the court.”

Shawn Taylor, of the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) and the coach at Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, said with more juniors playing the game, more and more schools are offering scholarships.

For years it was just the pro beach tour and there was no avenue to get there, and with colleges coming in as a player, it gave juniors something to shoot for,” Taylor said. “Now with more juniors playing the game, it has provided us with an avenue to create a pipeline and a clear path for them to go from playing junior recreational to, hopefully, playing at the collegiate level and then carrying on past that to the professional level.”

Taylor said there are schools adding the sport “everyday” and estimated there were about 65 schools offering beach volleyball.

They anticipate being at 100 (schools) in a year or two,” Taylor said. “They were at zero (schools) five years ago. It was a pipe dream and a myth. It was like crazy talk going around.”

Florida Beach Volleyball Tour tournament director Gino Ferraro is in his 27th year and hosted eight events this year – including stops in Pompano Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Siesta Key, Hollywood, and plans to hold one in Delray Beach next year.

The season starts at the beginning of May and runs through the second week of August,” Ferraro said. “Because of the size of the field, it is hard to find beaches that will hold us anymore.”

Jeudy commits to Alabama

Deerfield Beach High School senior wideout Jerry Jeudy is taking his talents to the University of Alabama next season.

Ranked the fourth-best receiver in the nation by ESPN, Jeudy earned a spot on the all-offense team in July at Nike’s The Opening, one of the top camps in the country in Beaverton, OR It helped parlay him into a good spot to choose his next destination.

I’m excited,” said Jeudy, who chose the Crimson Tide over Florida, Miami, Florida State University and Tennessee. The four-star recruit had offers from more than 20 different schools. “It was the best fit for me. It’s a great program with great coaches, great players and that’s a winning team. I feel like I can go there and do what I have to do and step on the field and make plays.”

It was a very hard decision for me,” added Jeudy, who caught 41 passes for 496 yards and 10 scores last season for the Bucks. “I prayed a lot and felt that Alabama was more of a home.”

Deerfield teammate Daewood Davis, who transferred from Stranahan in the spring, previously announced he was committing to the University of South Florida.

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FLICKS: Pete’s Dragon

Posted on 18 August 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


During Christmas break of my freshman year at Deerfield Beach High School, Jan Herma invited me to go see Pete’s Dragon at the Deerfield Beach Ultra Vision. This G-rated half-animated musical held no appeal for me, as a 14-year-old. I declined the invitation and I’ve always felt a sense of guilt about not going, so I made myself watch the DVD.

The original Pete’s Dragon featured top-billed Helen Reddy, whose song Candle on the Water was getting constant airplay on FM radio. Mickey Rooney, “Red” Buttons and Jim Dale (the future narrator for the Harry Potter audiobooks) attempted to upstage each other, but still took second fiddle to the animated dragon named Elliott. After many unmemorable musical numbers and stilted family sentimentality, the film finally ends.

The new Pete’s Dragon is a far superior motion picture. The emphasis is on story, character development and realistic visualization of a fantastic subject matter. The film opens with pre-school aged Pete learning how to read in the backseat of a car. After his mother and father proclaim Pete as a brave boy, the car crashes into the forest. After shedding a few tears, Pete encounters a dragon and names him Elliott, after a character in his easy reader.

Six years later, Jack (Wes Bentley) and Gavin (Karl Urban) are lumberjacks who notice unusual occurrences in the forest. The lumberjack brothers consult with Forest Ranger Grace Meacham, whose father (Robert Redford) tells folktales about the time he met a dragon. Myth becomes reality.

While there are echoes of Lassie Come Home, ET the Extraterrestrial and King Kong, Pete’s Dragon stands on its own modern achievement. There is a freshness to this motion picture that makes it unpredictable. There is message about the importance of conserving the environment; however, it is not heavy-handed.

Besides providing the opening and closing narration, Redford plays a character that echoes his best work, most notably The Horse Whisperer and Urban Cowboy. With a gift for gab and wood carving, Redford’s Meacham reminded me of my father.

Having battled dinosaurs as a corporate executive in Jurassic World, Bryce Dallas Howard plays a much more appealing role. Currently on the big screen as Dr. McCoy in Star Trek Beyond, Urban takes on the most villainous role, but he is really not much of a bad guy.

The box office for Pete’s Dragon has been disappointing. I hope word-of-mouth drives this motion picture to pick up. This is a pure family motion picture that is both sweet and simple. While there is no profanity and scenes that will embarrass grandparents, Pete’s Dragon is filled will plenty of action, adventure and good acoustic music.

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CLERGY CORNER: Accepting a bribe

Posted on 18 August 2016 by LeslieM

A government official was arrested for accepting a bribe from a contractor. A friend who went to visit him in the lock-up asked, “How are you going to get out of this mess?”

The official replied calmly, “I got into trouble for accepting a bribe; I will get out of it by giving it.”

Five daughters petition

It is a puzzling story—the tale of the five daughters of Tzelafchad, recorded in the portion of Pinchas.

Tzelafchad was a Jewish man, of the generation born in Egyptian slavery, liberated by the Exodus, and granted the Land of Canaan as Israel’s heritage. Although that generation did not merit to take possession of the land themselves, when their children crossed the Jordan River to conquer it, they did so as their fathers’ heirs. Each family received its share in the land in accordance with its apportionment among the 600,000 members of the generation of the Exodus.

Tzelafchad had five daughters but no sons. The laws of inheritance as they were initially given in the Torah, which recognized only male heirs, in which sons inherit from their fathers and they are responsible to fully support the widow and daughters as long as they do not marry. In this case, there were no sons to inherit Tzelafchad’s portion in the Land. The daughters refused to reconcile themselves to this situation, and approached Moses with the petition.

They stood before Moses and before Eleazar the Kohen and before the chieftains and the entire congregation at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, saying, “Our father died in the desert, but he was not in the assembly that banded together against G-d in Korah’s assembly, but he died for his own sin, and he had no sons.”

Why should our father’s name be eliminated from his family because he had no son? Give us a portion along with our father’s brothers.”

So Moses brought their case before G-d.

God spoke to Moses, saying: “The daughters of Tzelafchad have a just claim. Give them a hereditary portion of land alongside their father’s brothers. Let their father’s hereditary property thus pass over to them.”

The correct decision for this question requires no more than simple logic. What else should be done with the piece of land belonging to Tzelafchad? Should it be transferred to someone who is not related to him? It would not make sense to have his brothers receive it, because, as mentioned according to Torah law, orphaned daughters need to be supported by the brothers until they marry, during which time they live in their father’s estate now inherited by the brothers. In our case, when there were no brothers, and all of the women were single, where would they live? Who would support them? If they do not inherit any part of the land or their father’s possessions, they will remain homeless and destitute. That is senseless. Logic dictates that the daughters should inherit their father’s piece of land — and logic is the way we deduce the intricacies of Torah law. Why then did Moses feel it necessary to bring this seemingly obvious ruling directly to G-d and not even begin to seek an answer?

Moses’ Integrity

If we are to look at how they presented their case, they prefaced, “Our father died in the desert. He was not among the members of Korach’s party who protested against G-d, but he died because of his own sin without leaving any sons.”

This detail is the key to it all. Korach staged a ferocious rebellion against Moses. He saw Moses as his arch-enemy and attempted to rally up the entire nation against Moses. Korach claimed that Moses was a power-hungry demagogue who craved nothing but absolute control and authority. The moment Moses heard the daughters say that their father was not part of Korach’s mutiny he felt that his psyche has just become bias toward them and their father. This was a verbal bribe, subtle as it may be, and he might not be fully objective in his decision.

The Lesson

This is the level of self-awareness G-d asks of us. Don’t be perfect, but be accountable. Don’t be flawless, but be honest with yourself. Realize how subjective and bias you may be on any given issue, perhaps beyond realizing it. Thus, always retain your humility, allow yourself to be challenged, listen to another perspective, and be open to the truth that you may really be wrong.

If Moses at the peak of his life felt that no matter his standing, a small compliment from five sisters can alter his objectivity and distort his sense of truth. Certainly you and I must ask ourselves, “Maybe there is another perspective?” “Maybe my wife has a point?” “Maybe my mother-in-law is in the right?” Okay, let’s not push it… but “maybe my husband has a point?” “Maybe I need an outside opinion?”

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the Director of Chabad of the North Broward Beaches. New location coming soon. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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FLICKS: Suicide Squad

Posted on 11 August 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


After screening Suicide Squad in the afternoon, I happened to catch an old favorite, The War Wagon with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, who lead a team of renegades in this heist/Western hybrid. The War Wagon was a typical movie released (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen) at the time. It featured a disparate group of individuals who seek to solve a violent problem. There are many similarities between these 1960 classics and Suicide Squad.

Once king of motion picture box office comic book movies, DC Comics has taken second fiddle to Marvel Comics for the past decade. With the Spring release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, DC is trying to follow Marvel’s lead by creating a series of movies based on their ensemble universe. Instead of focusing on the heroes of DC Comics, Suicide Squad focuses on the Rogue Gallery often found in the Arkham Asylum.

After the chaos caused by the Batman/Superman battle, Secret Security Administrator Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) recruits a gang of criminals to combat potential interstellar terrorists. These bad guys have individual skills and talents with one common denominator; they do not play well with others.

Deadshot (Will Smith) is a single father who is a paid assassin who can hit any target that he aims at. Boomerang (Jai Courtney) is an expert at throwing things and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ) has a leathery skin condition and dines on raw flesh. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is a circus pixie with a baseball bat. She was once a prominent psychiatrist who treated a patient that seduced her. Her patient was the notorious Joker (Jared Leto).

Anyway, something supernatural happens in a city. Waller presses a button and unleashes her Suicide Squad upon an ancient evil. There is a lot of shooting with automatic rifles, explosions and many special effects.

Much like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad is an interesting movie until the action sequences begin. Even with 3-D glasses, one loses interest in the blurry visuals. Besides the character introductions in the beginning of the film, the best part of the film is a scene in the bar. This quiet scene is one in which these extreme characters share their twisted dreams of personal redemption.

This film will not be remembered as a classic like The War Wagon or The Dirty Dozen, yet Suicide Squad features some fine ensemble performances. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn steals the spotlight. With charming unpredictability, Quinn should get her own movie someday, minus the computer-enhanced special effects.

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CLERGY CORNER: Confessions of a regional pilot

Posted on 11 August 2016 by LeslieM

At the time of writing this article, the population of the United States is 324,192,360. Of those, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 130,000 of them are employed as a commercial or airline pilot. That means only .0004 percent of the U.S. population fly cargo or people professionally. If you were to attend a sold-out Yankees game, of the 54,251 spectators, statistically there are only 22 pilots in the stands. That’s three less people than one team’s active roster! It’s a prestigious career with few completing the extensive training, unrelenting testing and demands that professional pilots experience. I know this because I was one — a captain by age 24, even.

Six years after my departure from the airline industry people still ask, “What kind of plane did you fly?” And when I reply that I operated the CRJ-200, a 50-seat regional jet, forget what I wrote above. I might as well have said that I pulled a Radio Flyer wagon behind my Big Wheel and, yet, some would still consider that the more prestigious.

Easily disregarded by the public is the fact that regional aircraft and crew are held to the same certification and reliability standards as the mainline carriers, which is proven by the regional airlines’ exceedingly unprecedented safety and reliability record. Also ignored, regional pilots — one could argue — possess surpassing “stick-and-rudder” skills as a direct result of the increased amount of operations in what is statistically considered the most dangerous part of the flight which is the take-off and landing (or terminal) environment. Finally, consider how the regional jet has positively impacted the market for the customer by expanding to service smaller cities and providing greater schedule flexibility. Yet, no one wants to fly on the “tiny” jets — the scourge of the industry. Vacation, yes; via a regional jet, no.

As a pastor, the size game continues. How many people go to your church? How many youth went on the summer trip? How many students attend the Wednesday night experience? Numbers, numbers, numbers! In aviation, you’re not a real pilot until you’ve flown a plane with 100 seats or more. And in ministry, you’re not a real pastor until your weekly attendance exceeds 2000 with the additional “pastor street credential” bonus for being multi-site.

Please hear me; I believe God has, and will, use varying church styles and sizes. But what’s being increasingly neglected by church-goers is the focus of what’s most important in the ministry — Christ. Somewhere we’ve come to measure the health and success of a church solely by two metrics: attendance and giving. Can these two be indicators of health or deficiency either way? Yes, they can. But should they be the sole qualifiers? I say absolutely not! As recorded in Matthew 7:20, Jesus says, “[Just] as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”

Timothy Keller, in Shaped By the Gospel, writes, “The most important [action taken] is that a ministry be faithful to the Word and sound in doctrine,” with Christ at the center. We must resist the temptation to be ensnared by shallow number-crunching and instead hold fast to the promise of what God desires to accomplish through a handful of people fully surrendered to His will.

It is we, who call ourselves Christians, that have been commissioned to gather as the body, the Church, and to be known by our actions. We are people with a “passion for His presence, a deep craving to reach the lost, sincere integrity, Spirit-led faith, down-to-earth humility,” and a recognition of our own “brokenness” (It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It, Craig Groeschel).

When we act in such a way, we’ll see rebellious hearts turn toward God and He will “add to the Church” because we abandoned seat-counting and returned to devoting ourselves “to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayerActs 2:38-47.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments he can be reached at cj@deerfieldfirst.com.

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Tornadoes hope for successful season

Posted on 04 August 2016 by LeslieM

sports080416By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach High School’s Jalal Jean-Charles exchanged his sneakers for football cleats.

I used to play basketball and this is more physical,” said Charles, 15, who will be a junior at Pompano this fall. This is his first year playing football. “The biggest adjustment I had was getting into a big team. In basketball, there are only 15 players and in football there could be anywhere from 30 to 50 players playing with you and it is more of a brotherhood.”

The Tornadoes were among 50 teams from the tri-county area (Broward, Palm and Miami-Dade) that played in the 9th annual Dolphins Academy Youth and High School 7-on-7 tournament at Plantation Central Park.

I like playing with pads,” he said. “I like to be physical. We had a lot of good competition, but we were hoping to win. Tournaments like this helps us get better as a team. We run routes and it lets the quarterback adjust to our play style and we adjust to the quarterback’s play style.”

The high school football tournament consisted of round robin play and then moved into a single elimination format. The high school teams competed in the championship round with Carol City defending its title with a 35-31 victory over Miami Northwestern. Pompano lost both of its games in the tournament (Miami Northwestern, 35-17, and Spanish River, 24-10, but it was good competition for coach Rick Nagy, who was missing several of his top players, including John Padgett Jr. who was on vacation.

Pompano Beach capped the 2015 season with a 28-12 victory over St. Andrew’s School in the Southeastern Football Conference and will move to the Gold Coast Football Conference this upcoming season.

It’s a grind,” said Nagy, who is in his fourth year as coach. “We coach from February through November so there is not much down time. This is an important part of football because it gives those young kids an opportunity to show their skills. We are a small school and we don’t have those tremendous athletes. We are missing like three or four starters today. It’s the summer and they are out and away on vacation.”

Pompano plays in five 7-on-7s this summer. They finished fourth out of 20 teams in a BCAA event, and said the Dolphins event helps them with their skill positions and he liked what he saw.

I think we will be okay this year,” Nagy said. “The top four teams make the playoffs and I think we will make the playoffs. I am not much into predicting. I am a coach who doesn’t even go week by week. I like to go play by play. I don’t try to think too far ahead. I think we will be okay in the new conference.”

Pompano Beach senior quarterback Logan Good said his team benefitted from the competition. The 17-year-old said it helped him work on his timing with his receivers.

You learn that not every play matters,” Good said. “It’s pretty cool to have the Dolphins do something like this. We are running the same offense as last year so we came into this hoping to get better. I am kind of trying to find the open man and get it to him.”

Tornadoes’ 6-foot, 4-inch junior receiver Andre Francis also enjoyed the experience.

This was pretty fun and it is good competition,” Francis said. “We learned a lot about each other in this. This is the most organized 7-on-7 I have been a part of.”

Our mission is to be the stewards of the game of football in South Florida and we were excited to host athletes and coaches at our symposium and tournament,” Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Community Affairs Twan Russell said. “We were able to engage students not only on the field, but had the opportunity to develop their character beyond sports, which is equally important.”

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FLICKS: Indignation, The Bride & Star Trek Beyond

Posted on 04 August 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


As history has revealed with the opening of the two-week miniseries known as The Olympics, the motion picture box office is anticipated to suffer. Forty summers ago, America listened to Jim McKay host the Montreal Olympics on the ABC Network that featured Nadia Comaneci, Sugar Ray Leonard, the Spinks brothers and Bruce Jenner, when John Wayne’s last movie, The Shootist was released. Cinematic History has also shown that classic gems seem to get lost during these international games.

Based on the novel written by Phillip Roth, Indignation opens tomorrow. The author of Goodbye Columbus, Portnoy’s Complaint and The Human Stain, Indignation offers another perspective of Roth’s familiar themes: Jewish-American culture, conformity and alienation. With the Korean War as a backdrop, we meet a New Jersey working-class student who transfers to a small Ohio college.

Having screened at the Miami International Film Festival last Spring, The Bride opens tomorrow in neighborhood cinemas. A Spanish film with English subtitles, The Bride is based on the play Bodas de sangre by Federico García Lorca. This melodrama opens with a wedding being interrupted by a man on a white horse. The Bride follows the destructive course of a love triangle between two men and one woman.

For good old Saturday matinee popcorn-eating fun, Star Trek Beyond will fit your bill. While acknowledging the 50 year anniversary of the television show, this new Star Trek is a stand-alone movie about the Starship Enterprise’s fabled five year mission.

On day 966 (yes, this day is a significant “Easter egg”), the Enterprise crew is planning shore leave. The crew is suffering from boredom of routine. While Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is seeking promotion, Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Uhura’s (Zoe Saldana) relationship has reached a standstill. When a distress call is heard, the Enterprise crew cancel shore leave.

Buckle your seat belts, because this adventure takes on a bumpy ride as the Enterprise is decimated by a new enemy named Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like villain with a deep hatred for Captain Kirk’s employer, the Federation. As the Enterprise crew faces disaster after disaster, the individuals unite to fight a powerful enemy.

Co-written by Simon Pegg (who plays Chief Engineer “Scotty”), this 12th big screen Star Trek is filled with humor and fantastic visual action, whether epic space battles, vicious fist fights or cliffhanging escapes. Star Trek Beyond will also be remembered for quiet scenes involving the stoic Spock grieving over a lost mentor.

There is no denying the spectacle of the Olympics opening. However, for those seeking an alternative distraction from the outside heat, Star Trek Beyond provides summer shade. For those seeking more serious fare, The Bride or Indignation may be the film for you.

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CLERGY CORNER: The Light of Redemption

Posted on 04 August 2016 by LeslieM

A friend recently shared with me the following personal story: My business had run so successfully for the last 10 years, I thought I was headed for an early retirement. But the last six months have completely shattered that hope. My business went down big time. I went from being CEO of a large company to searching for part-time work in the classifieds online. Almost overnight, my fortunes made a 180 degree turn and I can no longer enjoy the luxurious lifestyle I once had. I no longer own a holiday home. I sold my yacht and am struggling to be able to hold on to the family home.

But with all this going on, something weird has happened. Everyone around me expected me to fall apart. I had been a workaholic. My business was my life and seeing that go down should have meant that I go down with it. But I didn’t. In fact, just the opposite happened. With less work on my plate, I now have more time to spend with my family. And guess what? I enjoy it. I have gotten to know my 8-year-old daughter better than ever, because I have the space to listen to her. I used to be at the office until 10 or 11 p.m., but now I am home to put the kids to bed, read them a story and give them a goodnight kiss. I used to eat Chinese takeout at my computer every night, but now I sit and eat with my family, hearing about their day and sharing mine with them. I have even started taking walks with my wife like we did when we were newlyweds.

I have come to realize what is really important and where my time and energy should really be spent. Thank G-d I went broke. Otherwise I’d be so rich, and yet so poor. I might have had everything, but I would have had nothing…

This is the white cheese that sometimes comes from the black goat, and the white egg that the black hen lays. We have all seen it, in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. The illness that brings us a deeper perspective in life, the relationship breakdown that allows us to find true love and humility, the passing of a loved one that gives us new appreciation of our short time in this world and the spirituality of life. What the soul understands is that there are two forms of light – light that appears as light and light that appears as darkness. The good times are good. The tough times are there for us to make them good. “Problems are only opportunities with thorns.”

Henny Youngman said: “You know why Jews don’t drink? It interferes with their suffering.” But he was wrong — on two counts. First, many Jews do drink… Second, we don’t want pain. We would rather not have to go through the tough times. We don’t seek out suffering, even if it will make us stronger. We would rather learn the lessons and gain the inspiration we need through pleasant and comfortable means, not through pain. It would be wonderful if all eggs could be born from white hens. But the reality of life is that we all have our share of challenges, difficulties and trials. And as long as that is the case, the human response to life’s challenges is to make them a springboard for positive change.

It is during this time of year, the three weeks of mourning for the Jewish Temples, that we focus on this powerful idea. Destruction is a step toward rebuilding and failure is a chance to regroup and get our strength back. We all go through black times. We all get knocked over and we all fall. But “failure is not falling down, it is staying down.” As Jews, we know that we must get back up, shake off the dust and keep on “laying eggs.”

The Three Weeks, from a Jewish perspective, are like the Black Hole in modern physics, which is filled with endless light, but does not allow it to escape its pull. (A black hole is a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing, including light, can escape its pull.) Our job is to penetrate the black hole and reveal its inner light, the light of Messiah.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the Director of Chabad of the North Broward Beaches. New location coming soon. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Time for ‘voter’ school

Posted on 04 August 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



I received the big envelope today — the one with a bunch of names, some of which ring a bell, others of which pull a blank – my “test” of citizenship. It’s my ballot for the local primary elections on Aug. 30 and my instinct is to put it aside and pray for the gods to fill it out judiciously for me. (Call your Supervisor of Elections if you haven’t received yours – Broward County : 954-712-1903, Palm Beach County: 561-276-1226)

Unless you’re a “party regular” or actually pay attention to the junk mail ads you get, how would you know what to believe? These people are a sea of faces with important jobs. But are, nonetheless, mostly invisible to the majority of us, including me – a political junkie – who is still faced with the dilemma of executing good choices.

Unless you make primary voting the focus of your life or you are an integral part of the inner circle of the party of your choice, you will be hard pressed to find the resources required to make informed decisions. You can tap a friend or an acquaintance, a person “who knows,” whose judgment is in alignment with your own, and copycat his or her choices, or you can follow the editorial lead of a newspaper of choice [The Observer Election issue is Aug. 25]. You can Google individual names and make judgments based on their experience, background and the position they take on issues, or you can go down the list, guessing and marking names as you used to do with multiple-choice tests in school.

www.vote411.org is a good source sponsored by the non-partisan League of Women Voters, providing information on candidates and the election process. In preparation for the Aug. 30 primary, the league has contacted each local candidate requesting that they complete questionnaires with biographical information and their positions on issues. Voters who go to this website enter their address and it shows only candidates who will be on their ballot. They can compare candidate information and even print out a ballot with their choices.

So while the kids are stocking up on their school supplies, buying new outfits and reconnecting with friends they haven’t seen all summer, it would be a good idea for you to go to “voting school” [to get informed] this month. Do you even know what district you are in? Decide on who you want for state attorney, state senator for your district, circuit judge for your judicial circuit … There are several groups on several ballots, county court judges, school board members, the office of sheriff, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, amendments to the Florida constitution and questions on local ordinances.

Boring? It may not be fun, folks – but it is the bedrock of our democracy which is the ultimate greatness of our country. If we don’t make it our business to become informed about our local governance, then we will no longer have legitimate “griping rights.” Granted — it’s not as exciting as national politics, but this is where it all begins folks.

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Pompano forms water polo program

Posted on 28 July 2016 by LeslieM

sports072816By Gary Curreri

In a little more than six months, Pompano Beach’s Samantha Finazzo has found a sport she loves.

Finazzo, 15, who will enter her sophomore year at Pompano Beach High School next month, joined the newly-formed Pompano Beach Piranhas water polo program and it has been an enjoyable experience.

This was a lot of fun,” said Finazzo, who plays goalie for the Girls 18-Under team. “It was a good experience to meet new people and get a variety of players and teams we were playing against.

I expected it to be a lot harder, but I improved my skills over the past couple of months and it came a lot easier than I thought it would be,” she said. “I just wanted to become a better overall athlete. It wasn’t anything that I expected. It was really fun and I loved it.”

The Pompano Beach Piranhas made their club water polo debut in the Sunshine State Games recently at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Both teams played in the 18-Under Division. The boys went 1-3, while the girls were winless in four games.

Teammate Christine Bergamini, 17, of Lighthouse Point, is normally a swimmer, but has found water polo to be more enjoyable.

I like water polo because it is a team sport,” said Bergamini, who will be a senior at Cardinal Gibbons. “The difference is you have to think more about how you are going to swim or who you are going to pass to. It’s been a lot of fun. Even though we lost, I learned a lot. I think we definitely improved each game.”

Pompano Beach coach Scott Moore used to coach in the 1990s and early 2000s, but took some time off. He returned to the pool deck when his son started playing water polo in high school and was looking for a team to play on.

They have been playing a month together and we had a great time,” Moore said. “We have a set of twins, Victoria and Alicja Zielinski, and triplets — Megan, Brooke and Kelly Gest — on the girls team, so that makes it interesting. The Zielinski’s attend Northeast High School, while the Guess girls attend Cardinal Gibbons.

This is new to me,” said Victoria Zielinski, 16, of Oakland Park. “I have never played club before. I have only played high school, so it is good to experience other high school people on a team together. Hopefully, we can do great things together. I knew some of the other water polo players, so I knew that if we all worked together that we would click. It was good getting new water polo players too.”

Zielinski, who will be a junior at Northeast next month, said water polo is a lot different than swimming. She’s played the sport for two years.

It is totally different than an individual sport like swimming,” she said. “There is a lot of adrenaline getting into you. It is a lot of fun. There are girls trying to attack you and you are trying to get away and shoot.”

Zielinski said playing in the Sunshine State Games was a lot of pressure.

I have never played two games in one day or four games in a weekend,” Zielinski said. “We only play once or twice a week in high school. I have only played with this team for two weeks, so there was a lot of pressure going in from not playing water polo in a month or so (since high school season ended).”

Her sister, Alicja, agreed: “The girls here are more intense than high school. I pretty much know most of the girls from high school. They are pretty friendly and it is a good team environment.”

Alicja is more of the swimmer and Victoria is the water polo player. Alicja competed in the 100-yard breaststroke at the state meet and finished 24th.

It is fun to play with her,” Alicja said. “We just have to find each other and yell, ‘twin.’ I would like to play water polo in high school and then maybe college.”

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