Pompano reaches state for first time in school history

Posted on 25 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

First, came the final out on a strikeout by Pompano Beach High School junior Trevor Kniskern. Then there was the perfectly executed back flip by the 5 ft., 11 in., 170-pounder off the mound, followed by the dog pile and pure pandemonium.

Kniskern, a Pepperdine University commit, helped the Tornadoes (24-3) to their 11th consecutive victory and its first appearance at the Class 5A state tournament in school history as he tossed a 3-hit, complete game 9-0 Region 4-5A finals win over host Monsignor Pace (24-6) on Tuesday night.

Kniskern struck out six and improved to 11-0 on the season, and avenged a regional final loss to Pace last season.

Pompano Beach coach Joe Giummule said the victory was huge for the program.

Last year was the first time in 55 years, since the school won a district championship, and Pace dog piled on our field after they won the regional final, and today we got to return the favor,” Giummule said. “I don’t think it matters who you are or what team, the wins are all huge when you get to go to states.”

Monsignor Pace, winners of five state titles, lost in the Class 5A state championship game last season, 1-0 in nine innings to Jacksonville Bolles, Pompano’s next opponent. The Tornadoes will play play Bolles in the state semifinals on May 31 at 10 a.m. at Centurylink Sports Complex in Fort Myers.

After four scoreless innings, Pompano Beach junior Christopher Ajello doubled with one out, Kniskern followed with a single and junior Chase Costello pounced on a 0-1 pitch from Pace starter Manuel Rodriguez for a three-run home run to center to stake the Tornadoes to a 3-0 lead.

Pompano Beach extended the lead to 4-0 on a bases-loaded walk to Costello and then padded the lead to 7-0 on a three-run fielding error on senior Austin Carney’s fly ball to center-left in the sixth and junior Michael Schuler added an exclamation point, with a two-run single. Ajello led the way by going 2-for-2 with two runs, while junior Matt Stephenson was 2-for-4.

We made the plays and they didn’t,” Giummule added. “We have relied on pitching and defense and from 1 to 20 the kids have all bought in. This may not be the most talented team I have ever coached, but it has the best chemistry.”

The win was the first in four regional games as a coach for Giummule, who lost last year as a head coach and also fell in 2002 as an assistant coach with Deerfield Beach and in 2001 as an assistant at Taravella. He reached the state tournament in 1994 with Coconut Creek, but lost to Sarasota.

If we can continue to get pitching and defense I think we have a shot,” Giummule said, “that’s what wins championships.”

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FLICKS: Alien: Covenant & PBS Memorial Day Concert

Posted on 25 May 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Prometheus opened five years ago to good box office, but mixed reviews. One of the complaints about the film was that it was teased as an Alien film, but Ridley Scott chose to make a more cerebral science fiction motion picture. Released last weekend, Alien: Covenant is a direct sequel and is at least one or two prequels away from the original 1979 Alien motion picture that starred Sigourney Weaver.

Ironically, Alien: Covenant opens before the events of Prometheus. We see the android David (Michael Fassbender) discussing the meaning of life with his creator, Peter Weyland, (Guy Pearce). The film fast forwards a decade past the events of Prometheus, in which the space ship “Covenant” is journeying to a distant planet for human colonization. Midway through the odyssey, the spaceship is diverted by a distress signal from an unknown planet.

Among the Covenant crewmates is Daniels (Katherine Waterston), a widow with leadership potential and Walter (Fassbender again), a new model android who is new and improved from the old David model. Upon landing on the uncharted tropical planet, two crew members inhale bad spores and begin breeding aliens.

Whereas Prometheus is science-fiction based, Alien: Covenant follows the narrative of doomed horror. When things go from bad to worse, one can count on familiar clichés to kick in. In a 1930s murder mystery, you could count on an electrical storm wiping out a bridge or preventing telephones from working. With modern CGI special effects, the storm prevents spaceships from landing on the planet for a rescue mission.

One special effect worth noting is a simple dialogue scene between David and Walter. Given that the two characters are being played by one actor, Michael Fassbender, this entertaining scene features an interesting discussion about creativity and following programmed orders. Making this scene appear simple, Fassbender deserves award consideration for his hard work. 

Despite usurping Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 from the weekend box office champion perch, don’t expect Alien Covenant to have much legs beyond the July 4th holiday weekend. For the most part, it is an interesting movie. It just feels like déjà vu.

With Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Baywatch opening this weekend, it will be an entertaining weekend at the box office. However, take the time to watch the PBS Memorial Day Concert Sunday evening. The local television news will refer to this weekend as “urban beach weekend,” but most of our neighbors still remember this weekend as Memorial Day weekend. Make sure you thank a veteran this weekend.

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CLERGY CORNER: A new day, a new thing!

Posted on 25 May 2017 by LeslieM

Our modern world has grown accustomed to newness, originality, innovation and fresh ideas. Consider that the 20th century was the apex of the Industrial Revolution, which dramatically transformed the way in which we live. The television, air conditioning, antibiotics, lasers, aircraft, computers and the Internet — things we cannot imagine living without today — were the products of the previous century. The 21st century advances have given rise to 3D printing, nanotechnology, the bitcoin, tablets, stem-cell treatments, Smartphones and social media.

The speed with which today’s generation adapts to new things has caused some to hail this as the century of advancement. No longer do people spend their entire lives trying to figure out formulas and strategies for improvement. The ink is scarcely dry on the latest press announcement when another more impressive achievement occurs. In the past, individuals would invest huge amounts of time to create. Their whole lives were spent working on inventions. [Some say] Thomas Edison tried 10,000 times before creating the light bulb; Henry Ford spent years before he created the affordable car and Ford Motor company.

Today’s pace is much quicker. Someone remarked that today “we want everything yesterday and technology makes it happen.” In an article in Virgin’s online magazine Disruptors, Alison Coleman wrote, “Unlike the great inventions of the Industrial Revolution that have stayed the course, today’s next big thing is superseded at an alarming speed by the next, next big thing.”

If the 20th century was the century of big innovation, this century is about innovation improvement. Every day brings the possibility that some ‘better thing or process’ is being introduced to society. And more people are moving away from the old toward what is new.

In Isaiah 43:18-19, the prophet declared hope to a people distressed by their captivity. It included an admonition against lingering on memories of the past — “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” A generation had come and gone, and they saw no sign of change on the horizon. They longed for release and a return to the life of the past. But he stirred their expectation by proclaiming that God was preparing to do something different, remarkable, unconventional and new!

Change, progress and advancement are part of the human experience. Some changes we embrace and others we lament, while longing for ‘better,’ simpler times. As believers, we ought to welcome newness and freshness. If improvement and convenience are the result of change, then we benefit. Even setback and loss can teach invaluable lessons. God’s word gives ample indication that our lives and experiences with Him are to lead us to progress, growth and spiritual maturity. Life does not have to be monotonous, stagnant and dull. Change that is promised and initiated by Him is always good. And every day brings the experience of new mercies. In this season of commencement, summer travels and family reunions, let’s be determined to expect and embrace something new!

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302

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Tornadoes march on with 8-4 win

Posted on 18 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

When the Pompano Beach High School baseball team kicked off the season, coach Joe Giummule believed his team was good enough to return to the Class 3A regional championship.

The team was ousted 9-3 by Monsignor Pace last year in the Regional championship game, and Giummuli is hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself. With an 8-4 win over Cardinal Gibbons in the Region 4-5A semifinal game on Tuesday, Pompano and Pace are on a collision course set for Tuesday in Miami.

They are really a talented team,” said Pompano Beach coach Joe Giummule, who is chasing his first regional title in four tries. This is his second attempt at Pompano. He was an assistant at Deerfield Beach (2002) and Taravella (2001) when those squads reached the regional finals.

 Starting pitcher Trevor Kniskern got the win for the Tornadoes against Cardinal Gibbons as he went six innings and gave up just one walk and two hits while fanning 10 Chiefs’ batters.

The right-handed junior also helped his own cause with a two-out double and scored on a Chase Costello single. Costello, who ended the day 2 for 3 with three RBIs, came around to score on an Austin Carney base hit.

 Pompano Beach added a pair of runs in the third, fourth and sixth. Costello, Mike Schuler and Chris Ajello had two hits each. Ajello also scored three times.

We just wanted to put the pressure on their defense,” said head coach Joe Giummuli, in his third year at Pompano. “We wanted to get things moving.”

Now, his team sets its sights on its second straight regional final game, against host Miami Pace next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Pompano Beach (26-3) has outscored the opposition 193-69 this season and takes on a Spartans (26-5-1) team equally as dangerous as they have outscored its opponents 314-116. Pace knocked Highlands Christian out of the regional finals last season.

Highlands Christian falls

Daniel Malay led Highlands Christian Academy with a two-run home run in the Region 4-3A final contest, while going 1-2 at the plate for the Knights in a 6-5 loss to Archbishop Carroll.

The Knights, which led 5-0 in the game, allowed six runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings, ended the season at 10-13. Archbishop Carroll improved to 26-2 with the won.

 

PBMGA seeks members

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association welcomes new members of all playing levels to their Wednesday tournaments. Dues are $35 per year. Wednesday tournament greens fees are discounted. They alternate playing the Pines and Palms Courses.  There is a prize pool fee of $5 when you participate in the weekly tournament.  Additional information may be found on the website at http://www.pbmga.com.

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FLICKS: Opening: Chuck, The Wedding Plan & Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent

Posted on 18 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

As predicted, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 dominated the big screen box office. As much as the film is a visual treat on the big screen, it is the 1970s soundtrack that has enhanced the big screen experience. For those that want to continue strolling down Amnesia Lane, Chuck opens tomorrow and features songs frequently played on AM Pop radio.

Liev Schreiber plays Chuck Wepner, a heavyweight fighter who fought Muhammad Ali and lasted 15 rounds. The fight inspired an unknown writer/actor Sylvester Stallone, who wrote his screenplay Rocky in three days.  While he promoted himself as “the real Rocky,” Chuck Wepner’s private life was not as noble as Rocky Balboa’s fictional life.

An old school brawler like Tony Galento, and Jake La Motta, a New Jersey journeyman whose nickname was “the Bayonne Bleeder,” Galento is also a husband with a wandering eye, despite loving his daughter. As his fame grows, so does the temptations of sex, drugs and disco music.

The story of an athlete succumbing to temptation is common. What makes Chuck special is the nostalgia. Growing up, Chuck’s favorite movie was Rod Serling’s Requiem for a Heavyweight, which starred Anthony Quinn as a fighter who was “…almost the heavyweight champion of the world.” Throughout Chuck, scenes from Requiem are used to accent the similarity between Wepner and Anthony Quinn’s character, Mountain Rivera. There is also a subtle nod to On the Waterfront in which Chuck meets with his brother, John (Michael Rappaport), which echoes the famous scene between Marlon Brando and Rod Stieger. The fine line between fantasy and reality is examined throughout this film.

This theme is never more apparent when Wepner has an audition for Rocky II, which is a disaster. Fortunately, he gets a dose of realty when he takes solace with a bartender named Linda (Naomi Watts), who has both street smarts and can quote Requiem for a Heavyweight verbatim.  Chuck is a worthy diversion.

An Israeli film with English subtitles, The Wedding Plan opens tomorrow.  With only a month’s notice, a groom calls off their marriage plans. Feeling like an old maid at age 32, the bride saves the date and goes on a series of blind dates so she can have a groom on the wedding date. A romantic comedy on one hand, this nearly two-hour movie examines the concept of faith and religious values.  

Last but not least, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent opens tomorrow. Co-produced by CNN, this documentary is about the celebrity chef who created/promoted California cuisine. From his privileged childhood to his Ivy League education, Tower forms alliances with California chefs. It is worth seeing for the visuals alone.

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CLERGY CORNER: Luke 10:25–37

Posted on 18 May 2017 by LeslieM

You shall love your neighbor as yourself

(Leviticus 19:18 and Mark 12:31 NRSV)

In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

Is civility enough? I ask this provocative question in light of a society where civility is lacking and, that being said, it is still not enough, not if we want to change the world for the better.

I was in conversation with a Rabbi in the community where I previously served. We talked about a Coexistence Festival in Sarasota and the topic of tolerance came up. We agreed that interfaith dialogue was an important step in the right direction because we are neighbors coexisting in the same community. Finding common ground in faith is a great way for religious leaders to lead the charge, ecumenically. By the way, “ecumenical” means “community minded.”

Yet, the Rabbi in his wisdom questioned the word “tolerance.” And he asked me a question, which I found to be enlightening: “How would you like it if you heard me say ‘Jeff, I tolerate you?’ Would you feel good inside?” He made a good point. Civility is not enough.

Yet, civility is still lacking. Drive in any grocery parking lot on Saturday. Hesitate one tenth of a second at a green light. Go shopping at the mall in December. Stand in front of somebody in a parade. We have a hard time coexisting in public and we haven’t even got to religion or politics. We literally haven’t even left the parking lot.

While we struggle for civility, a golden rule is shared, shared by many faiths. In our faith it is found in Matthew 7: 12 In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” (NRSV) Treat people the way you want to be treated. This is a good start, but it only takes us to civility. In fact this golden rule is bronze, at best. It isn’t enough. We have gotten to tolerance but we haven’t gotten to love.

Engaged in dialogue, Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment. Aside from the first, to love God, he mentioned the second and he replied: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18 and Mark 12:31 NRSV). Now we are getting somewhere. Now we are starting to move the dial of progress in society. Now THIS rule IS golden.

But who is our neighbor? This was another question that was asked of Jesus. I think the person who asked him wanted to hear the answer: “the people I like.” Liking the likeable, loving the loveable, what is remarkable about that? Then Jesus responded to his question not with a short answer but a parable, the parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable was all about liking the unlikeable and loving the unlovable, and finding value in a person from a culture and religion that was despised. Jesus’ answer was anything but comfortable. “Love my neighbor? I don’t even LIKE him.”

Upon further self examination as well as life experience, I have come to a thought. We don’t have to tackle civility before we address the need to love. In fact, if we aspire to love one another as we love ourselves, civility will fall into place.

Tolerance and coexistence are fine, but they are, at best, mediocre aspirations. I don’t want to merely coexist with my neighbor in mutual tolerance. I want to love my neighbor. Love is what moves the dial in the right direction.

Now that we have left the parking lot, we can move into the direction of a mutual existence that is grounded in love. In love, we can dialogue and build ecumenical bridges with people of different faiths. In love, we can engage in political conversations with friends with whom we disagree. In love, we can think twice before we honk at the person who pulls out of his or her parking spot without looking, or cuts us off, or hesitates for more than a second at a green light. Let all that you do be done in love.” (I Corinthians 16:14)

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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FLICKS: A Quiet Passion & One Week and a Day

Posted on 11 May 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Even with the releases of King Arthur Legend of the Sword, starring Charlie Hunam, and Snatched, featuring Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer, expect Marvel’s Guardian of the Galaxy Vol.2 to dominate the box office this weekend. In the following weeks, Alien Covenant and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales will seek the box office bonanza, but there are still quieter movies opening this weekend.

A Quiet Passion is a two-hour biography about poet Emily Dickinson and her pastoral New England influences. This was a passion project of actress Cynthia Nixon (who plays Dickinson) with Terence Davies’ confident direction. A Quiet Passion is a worthy afternoon watching an episode of PBS’s Masterpiece Theater.

The film opens with young Emily being defiant in a girl’s boarding school. She graduates and returns home to live with her family. Her financially secure father, Edward (Robert Carradine), is a stern character, but supports Emily’s point of view. As America becomes divided by the Civil War, Emily writes poetry about battlefield bloodshed without ever leaving her Massachusetts mansion.

A Quiet Passion enters theatrical art house territory during these sequences. Matthew Brady’s famous photograph about the Gettysburg Battle is seen, with Emily Dickinson’s words providing color commentary. Later in the movie, a prone Dickinson lays in her sick bed near death. The cinematography from realism to Brady’s inspired sepia tone, makes the case that Emily Dickinson belongs to the ages.

An Israeli film with English subtitles, One Week and a Day opens this weekend. Despite being a foreign movie, the film feels like a contemporary American drama. It explores the aftermath of grief and the path of letting go through forgiveness.

With the loss of their son, Eyal and his wife Vicky attempt to continue their life as before. Something does not feel right to Eyal, so he returns to the classroom too soon, causing bureaucratic discomfort. In their new environment, both Eyal and Vicky learn the value of living life in the moment, by playing with kitty cats and performing pantomime with air guitars and medical aid. The film invites conversation. Fortunately for our community, director Asaph Polonsky will be at theaters May 13 & 14 for Q&As. Check theaters and Q&A times at http://bit.ly/AsaphInFlorida. One Week and A Day does not feature space battles and dancing Groots, but this weekend’s screening will be an enriching experience.

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CLERGY CORNER: A gracious boss and even more gracious God

Posted on 11 May 2017 by LeslieM

When I was a first officer, one of my responsibilities included the preflight inspection. This proverbial “kicking the tires” began with checking pressure gauges and the plane’s structural integrity, and usually ended with me searching for a ramp agent for the code to get back into the jet-bridge.

On one particular flight from Greensboro, North Carolina to Memphis, Tennessee, I made a small mistake. While opening the panel that revealed the gauge for the crew oxygen level, I noticed the power wasn’t established to the aircraft yet, which was needed for the check. I decided I would continue the rest of the preflight and then circle back to this particular panel, which I left open.

By the time I had scuttled around the entire plane — having crawled under the wheel wells to check the fire detection loops and poked my head in the aft avionics bay, etc. — my brain had jettisoned the whole open panel thing.

As we departed toward Memphis, immediately after we raised the gear, a loud whooshing sound filled the flight deck. Having completely forgotten about the panel being open, we both assumed there might be a structural issue with the plane and prepped for a return to Greensboro.

Since we had yet to burn off the enroute fuel, we would have to do what’s called an “overweight landing.” It’s nothing unsafe; but, prior to a subsequent departure, a mechanic must review the aircraft to ensure no damage was incurred due to landing heavier than designed.

We landed and radioed for a contract mechanic, which meant a serious delay. The captain was cool with my mistake and we chilled on the ramp, knowing it’d be best to steer clear of the angry people inside. While we waited, the local firemen stopped by with their new shiny truck and offered to give us a ride and demonstration of its capabilities — though I wasn’t sure they could provide the fire protection I needed.

I was raised to take responsibility for my actions so, upon our return to Memphis, I headed for my boss’ office for the “carpet dance.” I confessed my error, which undoubtedly caused havoc for most of the passengers and cost the company thousands of dollars — probably more than my first officer’s yearly salary at the time.

Though this incident occurred in my early 20s, I still remember how gracious my chief pilot was as he asked whether I had learned something from the experience. I had. From that day forward, no matter what … never leave a panel open.

My point? Imagine that you lent $20 to one friend and $2,000 dollars to another. After an unexpected bonus from your employer, with this new income you decide to forgive both debts. Which of your two friends will have a greater thankfulness and joy? As we know in similar stories recorded in scripture, the one who had the greater debt forgiven.

Speaking from experience, I’ve had to ask others for forgiveness many times; but, it’s the moments similar to those above that move me the most. The greater the debt the greater is the thankfulness.

So I have to ask, why aren’t we living everyday in the awareness of what God has done for us —the sin He’s blotted out for our sake through His sacrifice on the cross? Why do we neglect to meditate upon the depth of this grace in a way that moves us to respond in some capacity?

My concern is that too many of us are living a lukewarm and complacent faith, unaware how big our mistakes are and how awesome (how deep!) His grace is. Litmus test: If you’re not talking about Jesus (and what He’s done personally for you) I’m not sure you fully comprehend His grace and forgiveness.

If this is you, perfect! Put down the paper and get alone with God in His Word and remind your soul that “Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for u,” and that “victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” Romans 8:34; 37.

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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Anderson takes first in regional all-around

Posted on 04 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Taylor Anderson is showing Michigan State University that they made a good choice in offering her a full gymnastics scholarship.

The problem is that the Spartans still have to wait two years for her services. Anderson, a Level 10 gymnast at American Twisters in Coconut Creek, had a good showing in three of her four events at the Region 8 Level 10 championships where she finished first in the All-Around (37.275).

The 16-year-old was first in the bars (9.600), tied for first in the beam (9.400) and tied for third in the floor (9.350) at the Regional competition at the Kidsport Gymnastics Academy in Burlington, North Carolina that featured 495 gymnasts in both Level 9 and Level 10.

Anderson also tied for 18th in the vault (8.925). Her efforts on bars and beam tied her personal bests for the events.

Gymnastics means a lot to me because I do it so much and I have done it my whole life,” said Anderson, a sophomore at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale.

I love doing all of the flips and having fun…just being able to do what gymnastics is,” Anderson added. “It is just a crazy feeling knowing what to do and how do it.”

Anderson, who gave her verbal commitment to Michigan State University, earlier in the school year, also had a strong showing at the prestigious Tim Rand Invitational competition at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. The meet attracted 1,300 competitors.

In placing second in the all-around (37.525), Anderson won the bars (9.675); placed second in the beam (9.400); tied for fifth on the floor (9.300) and was seventh in the vault (9.150).

Admittedly, it is like a job with a 6-day, 30+ hours a week commitment.

It is really tough, but it pays off,” Anderson said. “You have to think about the outcome of it and what is going to happen in the future.”

Taylor comes in the gym everyday and works really hard for her goals and their aspirations,” said American Twisters coach Christina Ramirez.

Highlands advances 11 to state track meet

Highlands Christian Academy Sydney Blackburn won the shot put (35-08) and placed second in the discus with a throw of 120-08.00 at the Region 4-1A competition at Westminster Academy last week.

Freshman Ciara Huntley was second in the triple jump (30-07.50) and junior Sasha Graham placed third in the 400-meter dash (1:02.25) to qualify for the girls state championships. Highlands Academy was sixth in the meet with 48.25 points.

After placing fourth in the 1,600-meter run (4:44.16), junior Ryan Szklany battled back to win the boys 3,200-meter run (10:09.64).

Highlands Christian senior Josiah Ritzer was second in the boys discus (121-11), and third in the shot put (42-10.25) and senior Jake Peterson was third in the boys 110-meter hurdles (16.47). Senior Herman Robinson was fourth in the shot put (41-07.75) and freshman Alex Villas was fourth in the triple jump (38-10.50).

The Knights qualified three athletes in the pole vault taking second, third and fourth: Sophomores Chanz Miller (12-00), Kyle Coulson (11-06.25) and junior Scott Bush (10-11.75). The boys were fourth in the meet with 67 points.

The state championships are this weekend at IMG Academy Stadium in Bradenton.

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FLICKS: In Search of Israel Cuisine & Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

Posted on 04 May 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

With The Dinner opening this weekend, this weekend’s movies feature an emphasis upon family and food also with two new releases, In Search of Israeli Cuisine and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2.

In Search of Israeli Cuisine is a documentary that explores the Israeli culture through food. While the emphasis features geographic and anthropological lessons, this documentary is entertainingly told. James Beard award-winning Chef Michael Solomonov serves as the film’s guide. Besides being a chef, Solomonov was born in Israel, but was raised in Pittsburgh. Despite being embarrassed in his youth by his grandmother’s ways, Solomonov develops an appreciation for his Israeli Heritage.

Given that the State of Israel is only seven decades old, Israeli cuisine is not as respected when compared to Italian or French food. Through interviews, it is disclosed that Israel is still a nation of immigrants and people who, like Solomonov’s grandmother, were European Holocaust survivors who brought their culture to a young state. With the tradition of Shabbat in place, this weekly family ritual sustains the Israel culture though turmoil and war. In Search of Israeli Cusine presents a comfortable and appetizing human story.

For all of its psychedelic weirdness, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 feels familiar. The film opens with an epic battle with a giant space slug that likes to eat batteries. The Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) easily defeat the monster, but run afoul the people who hired them.

After a perilous escape through an astro field, Peter Quill meets Ego (Kurt Russell), a man who claims to be Peter’s father. The Guardians separate when Peter, Drax and Gamora visit Ego’s planet. While making repairs on their damaged spaceship, Rocket Racoon and Groot come under the influence of Yondu (Michael Rooker), a blue headed alien who abducted Peter Quill from Planet Earth.

Much like the original Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2 features a marvelous soundtrack that is pure nostalgia for people who lived in the 1970s. The film opens with the ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) classic “Mr. Blue Sky” and features a dancing Baby Groot. The sequence is so much fun; why not join in the fun this weekend?

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