Tigers reach state; finish 4th in semifinals

Posted on 15 February 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely senior cheerleader Makya Harvard couldn’t have been happier with her team’s performance this season as they reached the FHSAA Class 2A state semifinals.

Harvard, 17, of Pompano Beach, finished her fourth year on varsity and third year on the competition team. Even though the team doesn’t have captains, Harvard is one of the leaders on the squad.

I have to make sure everyone is okay physically and emotionally,” said Harvard, who has been a cheerleader since age 4. “I also make sure everyone is on time and able to do what they are supposed to do. The best part for me? When I hit the mat and do what I do.”

More than 50 teams and 800 athletes from Broward, Palm and Miami-Dade counties competed in the Region 4 competition at Coral Springs High School. The top two teams in each division with a raw score of 70 or better earned an automatic entry into the state finals. A qualifying score of 60 or better earned the team a spot in the state semifinals at the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on the campus of the University of Florida.

The Tigers finished ninth in the Large Non-Tumbling division and qualified for the state semifinals. They finished fourth at the state competition during those semifinals and failed to reach the finals at state.

There is an excitement knowing what I am doing, that people want to participate and I am making others happy…” Harvard said. “That’s what cheerleading is about, cheering people up.”

She said the hardest part about the sport is getting fans excited when a team is losing. She said the football season was very difficult.

That happened a lot this year; but, being a leader, you can’t let your emotions get the best of you,” she said. “I have to show my teammates and cheer everyone else up.”

How will that help down the road?

I think knowing that I can put my emotions aside in things that are important to me, and being a leader and taking charge, will help me when I get out in the real world and [with] a real job,” she said. “When I first came in my freshman year, we weren’t too good, and each and every year, we have progressed … We have unity and we go out together now. We have become one big family.”

Harvard said she was relieved that the team qualified for state this season.

It just shows that all of those long nights paid off,” she said. “Even though there were times when our fliers had injuries, we just pushed through.”

Deerfield Beach placed 10th at the regional competition in the Small Non-Tumbling Division and Pompano Beach finished ninth in the Medium Non-Tumbling Division as both squads failed to advance to state.

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FLIFF: 1945 and Black Panther opens, MIFF announces iconic guests

Posted on 15 February 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Two new films open this weekend, one full of sound and fury from the Walt Disney marketing machine, the other quietly garnering awards on the film festival circuit. There will be no contest as to who the box office champion will be this weekend. Through contrasting filmmaking, there is no mistaking the variety of good films opening this weekend.

1945 opens when a train drops off an Orthodox Jew and his full grown son at a Hungarian village in August in 1945. The United States has dropped the atomic bomb in Japan and battles of World War II have subsided. It is the wedding day for the town clerk, but his focus seems distracted by the two visitors. Could these two men be heirs to the Jews who were deported during the Holocaust?

In the Hungarian language with English subtitles and clocking in at 90 minutes, 1945 is the most unique epic on the big screen. Shot in black & white film stock, 1945 echoes many great American Westerns, most notably 3:10 to Yuma and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. It is a story about the Holocaust, but with an emphasis upon living with the consequences of surviving this horrible time.

Black Panther is the 18th film in the Marvel Comic Universe, the penultimate film before Avengers: Infinity War opens this May 4. While this information provides subtext and an appreciation for the vast tapestry of these Marvel movies, Black Panther is a stand-alone movie whose lead character was introduced two years ago in Captain America: Civil War.

With the demise of his father and king, Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the heir to the throne of Wakanda, a legendary country in the hidden jungles of Africa. Isolated for thousands of years, Wakanda is considered a third-world country. In fact, it is a country with hidden technical and medical superiority. Through ritual and tradition, Prince T’Challa is proclaimed King and is given the additional title of “Black Panther” — protector of the kingdom.

As the Black Panther, King T’Challa’s first job is to bring Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) to justice. Besides being implicated with the death of Black Panther’s father, Klaue has been selling Wakanda weapons to terrorist organizations throughout the world. One customer — Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) — has had a grudge with the Wakanda leadership since the Rodney King riots of 1992. This conflict leads to a satisfying climax that works as a big comic book epic, while focusing on a human story about two men who qualify as the modern day version of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper.

1945 and Black Panther create contrasting forms of escapism this weekend.

After the Olympics, South Florida’s longest standing film festival, The Miami International Film Festival, kicks off its 35th year. Writer/Director Jason Reitman will be presenting Tully, starring Charlize Theron, and Isabelle Huppert will be receiving the Precious Gem – Icon Award for her body of work. For a list of films and times, visit www.miamifilmfestival.com.

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CLERGY CORNER: Joy in discipline

Posted on 15 February 2018 by LeslieM

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 1He was in the wilderness for 40 days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”

(Mark 1:12-13 NRSV)

The 40 days of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter. This is a season when we are encouraged either to give up something decadent or start something healthy. I have always found Lent to be a joyous time even during the struggle. In our resistance, we are reminded why … it is because of God. And when I crave something decadent, I am forced to think about God. And let’s say, during Lent, I think about God a lot.

My son and daughter came back from Youth Group with a burning question. While Lent is 40 days, from Ash Wednesday to Easter, Sundays are not factored into the 40 days. Therefore, do Sundays count?

And, if Sundays don’t count, would it be OK for us to break our pledge? My kids deducted that there is a loophole in Lent. My daughter gave up chocolate during Lent, but if the Lenten Loophole allows, maybe she could have a candy bar on Sundays. My son gave up pizza during Lent, but maybe Sunday would be a day where he could enjoy a cheesy slice of heaven.

I don’t think I had a great answer. But I did ask them the question: “What does your conscience tell you?” They both seemed disappointed. They made the right choice. Maybe my answer wasn’t that bad after all. But that wasn’t the only time I was confronted with the “Lenten Loophole.”

A choir director who served in a church I once served did not like Lent because she found it to be, in her words, depressing. We omitted the word “alleluia” from worship during Lent and would bring it out during Easter really giving that word a new and special meaning.

In the meantime, in an effort to find happy and uplifting music without the word alleluia, she found music that was a little quieter and more contemplative and, in her words, she found that music depressing.

Can we sing this song?” she asked as she handed me a piece of music riddled with the word “alleluia.” I told her no, for obvious reasons. She said “But, Sundays don’t count during Lent.”

Truthfully, this started a great conversation. We talked about the value of being quiet and contemplative. We talked about the traditions that most people brought with them to Florida, namely, observing Sunday as a part of Lent. And we found some music that was happy and uplifting that didn’t include the specific word “alleluia.” I think we both grew from this conversation.

Before I go any further I want to make it clear, Sundays do count during Lent. Easter is a moveable feast but always lands on a Sunday. Ash Wednesday is a moveable feast but always lands on a Wednesday. Omitting Sundays from the 40 days is a matter of Math, not a matter of Faith.

But I think the bigger issue is loopholes. What do we gain by looking for an escape clause? What benefit do we receive when we are given permission to cheat? And, ultimately, who are we cheating? Who are we kidding?

There is joy in discipline. When we resist temptation, we find ourselves stopping, pausing and reflecting on why. The why is God and the moment of contemplation is a moment of joy. I look at Lent less as an obligation and more as an opportunity. And, when I confront a day or more over and above the 40, I embrace this as yet one more opportunity.

What do we find in a loophole? We find empty space. At best, we experience a delicious moment that disappears and leaves us unsatisfied. We may even find disappointment. But we will not find joy.

Joy is hard to come by. But Lent is God’s gift to those of us who seek joy. Have a blessed and joyous Lent.

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: Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

Posted on 07 February 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

www.cinemadave.livejournal.com

As much as I was boycotting the NFL last season, the professional football league did much to redeem themselves with Superbowl LII. Perhaps it was pandering to veterans, but having Medal of Honor winners (lead by Cpl. Hershel “Woody” Williams) open the game with the ceremonial coin flip was a step in the right direction. Despite battling the flu, Pink sang a beautiful National Anthem in under two minutes, while Leslie Odom Jr. lead an inspiring chorus of “America the Beautiful.” The actual game was a thriller for people who normally do not enjoy the sport. Beyond the respect given the Christian faith in victory, Miami Dolphins fans enjoyed the fact that Don Shula’s former third-string quarterback Doug Pederson, coached the Philadelphia Eagles’ first Superbowl title.

Football withdrawal weekend is real and, fortunately there are a variety of opportunities for entertainment in South Florida residents with numerous art fairs and festivals. For those more interested in science and nature activities for family fun, the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery & Science (at 401 SW 2 St.) features a Sunday afternoon visit from literary icon, Curious George, the monkey who encourages reading.

In addition, besides screening mainstream movies like Marvel’s Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time, the IMAX theater there hosts a fine series of documentaries. With an emphasis upon knowledge, visualization and entertainment, Island of Lemurs: Madagascar 3-D is no exception. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the film opens with both a paleontology and historical hypothesis. The meteors that killed dinosaurs on the African section of Pangaea scared the lemurs, who hid in the trees on a land form that separated from the major continent. As island dwellers, the lemurs rebuilt their habitat and lived their life in relative obscurity.

Despite adapting through millions of years of evolution, the lemurs of Madagascar are on the endangered species list in the 21st Century. The growth of tourism and housing development harms these indigenous creatures. Fortunately for the lemurs, they have an advocate for their cause, Professor Patricia C. Wright .

For more information, visit https://mods.org/films/island-lemurs-3d.

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CLERGY CORNER: Why ‘never quit’ may be the worst advice

Posted on 07 February 2018 by LeslieM

When I was a 20-something, I knew there were two things that must not be named: Voldemort and the phrase “I quit” — because conventional wisdom commanded we follow the perseverance of Navy SEALs, who during training never “ring the bell” — never quit — because in the words of one commencement speaker, if “you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”

What if that’s the worst advice. What if the only way to live a life worthy of your God-given calling is to quit? If you’re experiencing frustration, burnout and hopelessness, may I suggest ringing the bell in these seven ways?

1. Quit worrying about what people think of you. Lecrae, a Christian rapper, recently tweeted, “If you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection.” You can’t make everyone happy, so quit trying to please everyone and live a life worthy of your calling.

2. Quit investing in bad habits. I hate jogging, but I do it regularly — mostly so I can continue to eat all the Chipotle I want. I know that if I come home after a busy day and hit the couch, the only marathon I’m participating in is binge-watching The Office on Netflix. However, the advice Rory Vaden, author of Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, which is posted on my front door, reminds me daily that success requires doing the necessary things even if I don’t feel like doing them. It’s not a quick fix, but a lifestyle change.

3. Quit taking yourself so seriously. A general aviation magazine wisely noted that professionalism has less to do with a paycheck and more to do with your attitude. Flying passengers was definitely a serious job, but that didn’t stop me from having fun — I once threw a party for my passengers while sitting on a taxiway awaiting departure clearance to LaGuardia.

4. Quit asking the easy questions. Adam Grant, in his recently released book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, shares how corporate cultures that welcome individuals with dissenting opinions are more creative and make the greatest impact on society. Quit asking the easy questions like “What makes me happy?” and start asking “How do I quit being a comfortable consumer and become a risk-taking producer?”

5. Quit being so easily offended. David McCullough Jr., in his 2012 commencement speech to Wellesley High School, tells graduates that contrary to what little league trophies, exceptional middle school report cards, or even doting family members suggest, “You are not special … even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion, there are nearly 7000 people just like you.” Same is true for you and me: We aren’t any more special than the next, and that’s okay.

6. Quit taking pride in being busy. Senior pastor of Life.Church, Craig Groeschel, writes in his book Chazown: Discover and Pursue God’s Purpose for Your Life, “Everyone ends up somewhere, but few people end up somewhere on purpose.” Why? Because it’s easier to say, “I’m busy” — which sounds like we’re important, than it is to discipline yourself and live your values and priorities consistently. Schedule time this week to reflect on what matters most to you. Remember Andy Stanley’s advice that a “yes” is a “no” to something, which conversely is true.

7. Quit living your dream. Mark Batterson, author of Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small, talks about how our dreams are tied into the dreams of those before us, up-line, and the dreams of those that come after us, down-line. His point: to honor both those before and after us we must quit our wimpy personal dreams and act upon the desires God has placed deep within our hearts — dreams that require divine intervention to be accomplished.

From this day forward, quit the status quo — the safe and predictable life — while chasing the purpose God has for your life (which is anything but safe and predictable). Begin to pray and seek wise counsel so that you’ll be able to quit the “right” wrong pursuits and behaviors limiting your God-given capacity as a person and leader. Then ring the bell.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at The Church at Deerfield Beach. Before being able to accept his God-given calling, C.J. had to completely trust God and quit being a commercial airline pilot. He loves to mentor the next generation of leaders and considers himself a fast food connoisseur. For questions or comments he can be reached at cj@dfb.church.

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Weber wins club championship

Posted on 31 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Marianne Weber fired a three-day total of 249 to win the Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association Club Championship. Weber won the 3-day Low Gross tournament that was played Jan. 23, 25 and 26 defeating last year’s club champion, Mimi Denoma, by 13 strokes.

Nancy Rack won the B Flight with a 264 total, while Janet Tomchik shot 270 to finish as runner-up. In the C Flight, Vonnie O’Keefe (279) edged runner-up Kathy Dunn (289) for top honors. Alberta Bove carded a 316 to win the D Flight over Roseanna Nixon, who finished with a 321.

Charity beach volleyball event set

The Embrace Life Children’s Foundation has teamed up with Dig the Beach Volleyball to host a charity beach volleyball Pro/Am Tournament slated for next weekend on Deerfield Beach. Proceeds are going to the Salah Children’s Hospital at Broward Health.

The event, to be held on Feb. 10-11, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. will feature two days of competition. Saturday will include Men’s/Women’s Doubles for both professional and amateur players, while Sunday will include Junior Boys/Girls 12-18 and Co-Ed Doubles. The event will be held at 310 N. Ocean Blvd.

Several community sponsors have already joined, including Jersey Mike’s Subs and Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, who will feed and hydrate the players on Saturday. Other local businesses supporting the event are Rox Volleyball as a Title Sponsor, Pediatrix, Island Water Sports, Hypower Electric and International Union of Police Associations. Registration deadline is Feb. 9.

For player and sponsor information, visit www.embracelifechildrensfoundation.com or call Ben Koos at 954-608-2779.

Dillard tops Ely in 4-0 thriller

Dillard’s Bryce Oliver scored a game-high 25 points, including a key free throw down the stretch to help the Panthers escape with a 78-72 victory in four overtimes over visiting Blanche Ely.

Oliver scored all of his points in the second half and overtime as the Panthers improved to 9-7.

Deshawn Bartley had two free throws with 2:39 remaining in the final overtime to give the Panthers a 73-70 lead that it never relinquished. Bartley, who had seven points in the four overtimes, finished with 22 points, while teammate Seth Coddington chipped in with 11 points.

Blanche Ely guard Michael Forrest buried a 3-pointer at buzzer for a 39-36 lead heading into what was expected in the fourth and final quarter of the game. He scored 16 of his team’s final 18 points in regulation and finished with 22 points after going scoreless in the first half.

The Tigers (15-7) also got strong performances from Joshua Scott (20 points) and Calvin McCutcheon had 19 points.

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FLICKS: The Shape of Water is on a high tide

Posted on 31 January 2018 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

www.cinemadave.livejournal.com

As a Monster Maven, it has taken me a few weeks to wrap my head around The Shape of Water, which has been nominated for 13 Academy Awards and earned multiple awards from the Golden Globes, the American Film Institute and the African-American Film Critics Association. The Shape of Water is easily the most unique movie to receive such prestigious praise.

We are introduced to the daily clockwork routine of Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins), a mute woman who lives with a closeted gay illustrator named Giles (Richard Jenkins) and resides in Baltimore, circa 1962. She is a Custodian Engineer for a secret government laboratory and is best friends with Zelda Fuller (Octavia Spencer). Under the guidance of Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), a huge water tank arrives, which cages an amphibian man (Doug Jones) from South America.

Because Strickland antagonizes the man and is mean to him, the mute woman develops a relationship with him. She cooks him hard boiled eggs and they communicate with each other through sign language. When Strickland’s supervisor orders the dissection of her new friend, Elisa recruits Giles and Zelda to hatch a rescue plan.

If you have seen Splash and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, you can easily figure out the rest of the narrative of The Shape of Water. Writer/Director Guillermo del Toro knows this and he takes many of these cliches and adds his own spin to audience expectations. Being a fellow Monster Maven, del Toro acknowledges the debt from the original King Kong, The Bride of Frankenstein and the Creature From the Black Lagoon trilogy, the latter being the most obvious homage.

With the financial success of Marvel Comics and Legendary Pictures, Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla, Universal Productions has sought to reboot their Universal Monsters franchise. A part of a proposed series of movies, The Mummy was released and crashed at the box office. While Universal spent millions of dollars on celebrity salaries (Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp), less money was spent on script writing.

One wonders how good the Universal Monster franchise would have been if Guillermo del Toro had taken over.

Given his filmography with films like The Devil’s Backbone, the two Hellboy movies and Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro understands that character motivation trumps a scriptwriting formula that pieces together scenes emphasizing computer-generated special effects. For all of its fantastic elements, an award-winning musical score and beautiful cinematography, The Shape of Water succeeds as a movie about humanity.

Given my high expectations, The Shape of Water was a disappointment. Yet, as I was given time to reflect about the visual imagery combined with Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones’ empathetic performances, I can say that the film is a movie that stays with you. Given his love of Lon Chaney movies from the silent era, I cannot wait to see what del Toro does next on the big screen!

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CLERGY CORNER: A bus of politicians

Posted on 31 January 2018 by LeslieM

A busload of politicians were driving down a country road, when suddenly the bus ran off the road and crashed into an old farmer’s barn. The old farmer got off his tractor and went to investigate. Soon, he dug a hole and buried the politicians. A few days later, the local sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus and asked the old farmer where all the politicians had gone. The old farmer told him he had buried them.

The sheriff asked the old farmer, “Lordy, were they ALL dead?”

The old farmer said, “Well, some of them said they weren’t, but you know how the crooked politicians lie.”

Einstein Lost His Ticket

Albert Einstein, the greatest scientist of the last generation who was also somewhat absent minded, was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.

The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.”

Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”

Friends, it is hard to trust politicians. And today many of us wonder, like Professor Einstein, where we are heading.

Splitting the Atom

The Lubavitcher Rebbe argued that discovery of atomic power must change the way we think—about ourselves, our potential and our responsibility toward our environment.

Atoms — those particles that make up the core of all matter, making up everything we see, touch, smell, and taste — are beyond tiny. A single human hair is about as thick as 500,000 carbon atoms stacked over each other. Your fist contains trillions and trillions of atoms. If one atom was as big as a marble how big would your fist be? About the size of the earth! Or, to put it in other words, all atoms of humanity can fit into a teaspoon. Go figure!

You’d have to be crazy to speculate that as tiny a particle as an atom can have an impact, never mind one that can alter the face of earth. It would seem as foolish as one can get far more absurd than telling me that an ant crawling on my porch will transform civilization.

But that is exactly what we discovered in the 20th Century. As Einstein demonstrated in 1905, there is a huge amount of energy in an atom. When an atom is split, the energy is released, creating a “chain reaction,” splitting more and more atoms, releasing more and more energy. The Manhattan Project successfully used this energy to create nuclear bombs, which devastated Japan and ended the Second World War.

Unlocking the secrets of the atom, fundamentally changed how humans interacted with nature, and created a whole new set of challenges facing humanity. But it also uncovered a vital truth. The tiniest atom, which can’t even be seen by the eye, can generate a reaction that can literally destroy the world! And if this is true of the power to destroy, which runs contrary to the design and purpose of the universe, how much more so when the power is invested positively: Even the tiniest soul can transform the world.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Cyber-stuff

Posted on 31 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

This will meander around cyber-stuff – in some of its iterations – finally landing on love. Be patient … It comes at the end. It is, after all, February.

Decadent as this may sound, I am an e-mail person, a throwback to actual letters in an actual mailbox. Ancient people like myself have a hard time keeping up with the speed of modern written communication. And truth is, it was not very long ago — you might even remember the days — when you could be fairly certain that an e-mail you sent would be received and read within about 24 hours or even sooner.

But, alas, today, if you want your e-mail to be read, you need to Facebook, (that’s become a verb) tweet, text, message (also a verb) or, God forbid, make an actual telephone call to remind the recipient to check her email. And, by then – why bother? Just repeat the content of the message on the phone. But which phone? Landline? Cell? WhatsApp? and the dozens more free phone call apps that I don’t know about. Is this all part of “You can’t be too thin or too rich” and now it’s too “cyber-social?” Or is this the definition of “excess?” Are we really in a contest to find out who has the most “friends” or a contest to label the person with the most cyber social outlets?

I really need to vent at people who “message” me on Facebook. Why can’t they simply e-mail the message to me directly? Once I go to Facebook — and please don’t encourage me to do that — I lose hours meandering all over the place, collecting information about people I mostly don’t much care about. It’s becoming a kind of voyeurism … and a local version of the famous gossip page 6 of the New York Post. Don’t you just love those baby pictures?

And finally, I will tackle the angst of finding love in cyberspace, as this is “love month.” I recently gave a workshop for people interested in writing a profile for a dating site — a kind of combination of getting to “know who you are” before knowing how to find the person you want as a companion. To the many of you who have infiltrated this segment of society, your stories are worthy of publication. Matches don’t come easily and the mismatches can be disappointing, but also hilarious.

And the number and variety of dating services seem to be increasing exponentially … and now available in several apps — Bumble, Tinder, Hinge. It won’t be long before someone will open a website as a “Cyber Navigator” to help those of us to come to these “newbies” way behind everyone else. But, sooner or later, we get there. It helps to have “kin” in their teens and early 20s.

So have fun in cyber space and come down to Earth every once in a while where love still abounds in massive doses – and I wish it to you all.

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Bucks looking strong under new coach

Posted on 25 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Deerfield Beach High School girls basketball team looks poised to make a deep run in the playoffs this season under new coach Tami Vaughn.

She has also coached at Boyd Anderson, Pompano Beach, Northeast and was an assistant at Florida Atlantic University (2006-07). She also played overseas in Europe (England, Spain and Ireland).

They are very disciplined and work together as a team,” said Vaughn, who still has former coach Portia Williams on the staff. Williams stepped down from her head coaching duties due to health issues.

I enjoy coaching this group of girls. We are trying to rebuild the tradition here,” said Vaughn, whose fiancé is Jevon Glenn, the varsity football coach. “We also have Shuteamia Brayboy on the staff and she won state here. She is able to tell the girls what it means to be a Lady Buck and coach Williams is still here. The tradition is big here with girls basketball and I am very honored to be a part of it.

I was an assistant for three years and this is my first year as head coach,” Vaughn said. “We have everyone back from last year.”

One of the returners is sophomore guard DenAsia Mitchell, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament at the end of the last season and has helped the team get off to an 18-2 start, including key wins over District rival Douglas High School.

Losing her last year was very tough because we had some high expectations,” Vaughn said. “With her going out with the ACL, it put a damper on things. This year, with her back, we are on a roll. We are excited.”

Vaughn said they play more as a team this year and they have been listening more.

I think we can make a run for it if everybody stays healthy and we are praying that everybody stays healthy,” Vaughn said. “We need to play in bubble wrap. Beating Douglas this year shows they are ready and they are focused. Everything we have been doing is helping us for down the road.”

Vaughn said Ashley Shell and Mitchell have been two of the catalysts this season and said a pleasant surprise has been freshman Aaliyah Reid.

She’s been a rebounding machine,” Vaughn said.

Altieri takes fourth at nationals

Deerfield Beach’s Lucas Altieri, a member of the Florida Panthers Figure Skating Club, recently took fourth in the Novice Men’s Division at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating National competition in San Jose, Calif. Altieri, 16, a North Broward Prep School sophomore, had hoped for a first place finish. He was fifth last year.

I skated my best so I am happy with it,” Altieri said. “When I first started, I wanted to be a speed skater and there is not much of that in Florida, so the coaches told me to try figure (skating) and I really liked it.

On the ice, I love it when I am skating really fast and it is fun when you are landing all of your jumps really well and you know everyone is watching you,” he said. “It is awesome. When you fall, you just get back up. I do get really frustrated, but I try and think that if I reach my goals, it will be worth it. If not, I will have other chances to do well.”

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