National Signing Day — DBHS

Posted on 11 February 2016 by LeslieM

sportsfb021116Photo by Bryan Hursh

National Signing Day is in the books. On Wednesday, Feb. 3 the top prospects from Deerfield Beach High School signed their letters of intent to play college football at their respective universities. Congratulations to the class of 2016!


Aaron Robinson (DB): University of Alabama

Cavin Ridley (WR):University of Georgia

James Pierre (SS):University of North Carolina

Simeon Brown (FS): Bethune Cookman University

Jefferson Souza (K): Alcorn State University

Michael Arthur Jr. (DE): ASA New York

Jefftey Joseph (WR):Virginia Union University

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Gnarly Charley’s Grom Surf Series hits Deerfield’s beach

Posted on 11 February 2016 by LeslieM

sportssurf021116By Rachel Galvin

On Feb. 7, little surfers hit Deerfield’s beach for the Gnarly Charley’s Grom Surf Series competition. Eighty-one kids aged 15 and under competed. The event was put on by Charley Hajek, who lives in New Smyrna Beach but holds competitions up and down the east coast.

Hajek, who is the nine-time East Coast Champion and is getting ready to go to regionals himself, said, “This keeps kids off the streets and in the water. I teach them strategies and good sportsmanship.”

His surf series includes nine divisions. This is his second time in Deerfield. One of his next competitions is in Jupiter on Feb. 27 and Ft. Pierce after that in March.

Island Water Sports and Billabong sponsored the event.

For more information, visit


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FLICKS: Where to Invade Next, Dough

Posted on 11 February 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

With full Michael Moore mass media pomp and circumstance, Where to Invade Next opens tomorrow in neighborhood theaters. Moore “invades” European countries in a quest to solve the problems of the United States of America. It has been said this documentary will present Moore in a kinder and gentler light.

Also opening this weekend is Dough, an independent comedy that tackles serious themes of racism and capitalism. The situations are painful, but director John Goldschmidt sets a lighthearted tone that does not alienate the ticket buyer.

Nat (Jonathan Pryce) is an old Jewish baker who is trying to maintain his business in a financially depressed London neighborhood. With Sam Cotton (Phillip Davis) attempting to use Eminent Domain tactics upon Nat, the old man stubbornly maintains his discipline and focus.

Enter Ayyash (Jerome Holder), a Muslim refugee from Darfur who lives with his mother. Ayyash hangs with a bad crowd who sells drugs. When caught with his pants down, Ayyash comes under his mother’s wrath.

She works for Nat and convinces him to hire her son. Ayyash and Nat find similarities through their differences – both adhere to their respective faiths with disciplined prayer. However, they discover they have generational differences, too; Ayyash ends up using his drug connections to increase the sales revenue for Nat.

Unlike a Cheech & Chong comedy, Dough takes a sophisticated approach to the effects of narcotic usage, much more in line with the Craig Ferguson comedy from 16 years ago, Saving Grace, starring Brenda Blethyn. Jonathan Price and Jerome Holder forge a unique comedy team, and I would love to see these two actors work together again on a future project.

As football withdrawal weekend takes effect, Oscar season comes into full force. Brooklyn, The Revenant, Spotlight and Carol are on the local big screen this President’s Day, weekend.

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CLERGY CORNER: Dear God of the Universe

Posted on 11 February 2016 by LeslieM

Before rising to fame on NBC’s hit show The Voice, or opening for country super-star Toby Keith, or even headlining the Folds of Honor concert series, Corey Kent White, 21, sought a reasonable plan B.

I met Corey in 2011, following a presentation I made to his school about leadership and career exploration. After my talk, Corey found his way back to tap me on my shoulder. He had enjoyed my aviator stories and was eager to ask aviation-related questions. The airline pilot in me was happy to oblige.

That evening we connected via Facebook, where he shared his concern as a 16-year-old searching for direction:

Pretty much, I am all over the place. I have a few connections in the music biz (and that’s my first love), but I also realize that it’s very difficult to make a living through music and a lot of it has to do with luck. So I am searching for a reasonable plan B.”

Instantly, I knew there was something special about this young man; while most teens are pushing the boundaries of adolescence, Corey was searching for a reasonable plan B.

I invited Corey to meet. We talked about God and what it would look like to scratch plan B and wholeheartedly seek God’s call. He was on board. Still hanging on my refrigerator is the list he wrote of his priorities, with God in the No. 1 spot.

Flash forward: Today, Corey has more than just a “few” connections in the “music biz.” He is making a living pursuing his love of music. He didn’t need luck, and attributes all his success to God. The millions who have bought his music are surely glad he didn’t pursue a “reasonable” plan B.

While it would be easy for him to drop God from the No. 1 spot, as he rides the momentum of his success, it’s Romans 12:1-21 that encapsulates his heart. He understands and applies what it means to give of his body to “be a living and holy sacrifice,” which Romans asserts is the true “way to worship [God].” Corey seeks accountability to keep himself from “[copying] the behavior and customs of this world,” by allowing “God [to] transform [him] into a new person by changing the way [he thinks].” It is this that allows him to confidently know God’s will for him, “which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Corey is humble, honest in his evaluation of self so as to give credit to God over taking it for himself, recognizing that “we are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” for the glory of God. He knows he’s been given a “special function” (as we all have), and by God’s grace “[He] has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.”

With this understanding, Corey uses his gifts to share the Gospel. He uses his platform to boldly profess the love of Christ to millions. His fruits reveal the passionate pursuit (ironically) not of music, but his call.

How does one with such a fandom and seemingly crowded schedule enthusiastically serve the Lord? Corey begins each day growing closer to God by trading in plan B for a reading plan—Scripture reading. This has allowed his prayer life to evolve from a formal “Dear God of the universe” prayer intro to “Good morning, Father.” Intimately knowing His Father allows him to pray without ceasing during the day, keeping him on track in pursuit of holiness as he seeks to align his life with the Truth found in the Word of God.

In the business of music, much is at stake; but, for Corey, and for each of us in our own right, growing closer to God and knowing who He has called us to become will ensure that we don’t need a reasonable plan B. We can rest in the assurance that the God of the universe is not some far off cosmic ruler, and, as Chris Tomlin sings, “God is a good, good father” and you can trust Him with your future. Just ask Corey Kent White.

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

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: LOVE Again — 2016

Posted on 11 February 2016 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

It’s “Love-Time” again, so get your pen and paper and prepare to take a short, simple quiz.

Here it goes: Finish the following sentence: “Love is ….”

Expand on your answer as you see fit and e-mail your response to me (See email address above). With your permission, I will include it in my next column, or in next year’s LOVE column, depending on how many responses I get.

And, yes, there are all kinds of love, and infinite degrees of intensity that the feeling engenders, and that’s what makes the subject an intriguing study, as well as a great dinner-party go-around at the table.

The big secret is that “real love” needs to begin with self – non narcissistic, “whole- self” – love. If that does not exist, I know some “shrinks” I could recommend. You cannot love someone else if you don’t truly love yourself.

I am always fascinated by the variety of ideas people express on the subject, all of them, no doubt, reflections of their personal experiences. Those of us who are engaged in pursuing self-awareness (or mindfulness, or a high level of consciousness) agree that the experience of “love” – all kinds – is the ultimate goal of human achievement, a concept which is the root thesis of most religions.

Love: Follow it and see the patterns change. It is like a piece of dough that begins with one ingredient and gets added to, reduced, blended, rolled, flattened and shaped. It is wiggling, bouncy, euphoric and constrained. It reaches out and pulls back. It is gentle and it is violent, giving and demanding. It is lustful and phlegmatic. It is the sustenance of the world and yet its chemistry can be venomous. It is a spot of mercury, darting, volatile, fusing and breaking into bits and pieces. It is open and closed, a release and a prison. It is agony and glory, darkness and sunlight, distance and touch … and, mostly, joyous.

As one who has experienced the entire range of love-feelings – and as one who has advanced in chronological years – it is pure happiness to report on “love” in the senior years. Some people call it “cute,” condescending to the belief of youth that those feelings experienced during the teenaged and early 20s and 30s cannot be duplicated many decades hence. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! (I joyously report.) And thus – another celebration of Happy Valentine’s Day.

Here are two of several legends about Valentine’s Day: Valentine, a Roman priest, was killed because he attempted to help Christians escape from a Roman prison as they were being tortured and beaten there. Yet another popular version of the legend states that while in prison Valentine, or Valentinius, fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him during confinement. Before his death, Valentine wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart from the jail and signed “From your Valentine.” The expression became quite popular amongst the love struck and is still very much in vogue.

So here’s to the good St. Valentine, may his love-aura be spread – and may you live in lovingness all the days up to and beyond the 14th.

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Altieri finishes 4th in the country

Posted on 04 February 2016 by LeslieM

sports020416By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach’s Lucas Altieri had hoped for a top-5 finish at the recent U.S. Figure Skating National Championships at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.

Mission accomplished. The 14-year-old Altieri, who skates for the Florida Panthers Figure Skating Club, won a pewter medal (fourth place) in the Intermediate Mens Division. It was quite a rise for the North Broward eighth-grader who failed to get past the sectional competition when he placed fifth, one spot out of qualifying.

Last year, I wanted to make it to sectionals, but I messed up something easy (a spin) and I didn’t make it,” Altieri said. “This year, I was hoping to make it to nationals and just do well.”

Other locals from the Panthers Figure Skating Club who competed at nationals included Coral Springs’ Sophia Chouinard, who captured the silver medal in the Intermediate Ladies Division, Weston’s Alexa Binder (9th in the Juvenile Girls Division), Bonita Springs’ Paxton James (11th in the Intermediate Ladies Division) and the Intermediate Pairs duo of Zoe Larson and Jim Garbutt, both of Coral Springs, who narrowly missed a medal by placing 5th in the Intermediate Pair Division.

Competing in the highest division in the country (Senior Ladies), Coral Springs’ Franchesca Chiera finished 12th in the country. She finished 17th and 16th the previous two years at nationals.

Highlands to host hoops class

Highlands Christian Academy will host the South Florida Basketball Coaches Social on Saturday, March 5.

The speakers include the following:

Reg Cook — (’74 Bryan University) the former Boys Varsity Basketball Coach at Highlands Christian for 28 years (Overall Record: 518-265) will have a session topic on Relationships.

Mike Blanc — (’10 Auburn University), who played on Auburn’s National Championship Team; played in NFL (Chargers & Steelers) and is the Broward Director for Fellowship of Christian Athletes, will cover Personal Testimony/Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

John Zeller — (’75 Tennessee Temple University; ’95 United States Sports Academy, M.A.) the Executive Director of Score International will cover Score International.

Chad Keller — (’97 Flagler College; ’06 United States Sports Academy, M.A.), the former Boys Varsity Basketball Coach at Leesburg High School for 7 years (Overall Record: 155-47) and in his 12th season as Assistant Coach at Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, will cover ERAU Philosophy/Team Camp.

Mike Jarvis — (‘68 Northeastern University) compiled a career record of 364-201 as a Men’s Basketball Coach at Boston University (‘85-’90), George Washington (’90-’98), St. John’s (’98-’03) and FAU (’08-’14). He will discuss Everyone Needs a Head Coach.

The cost is $35 for each coach prior to March 1, $45 after. Coaches can register early and receive a discount and, if three coaches from a school register, the fourth coach is free. To register, visit For more information, call Jim Good at 954-421-1747, ext. 1301 or e-mail

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FLICKS: Revenant

Posted on 04 February 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

Revenant: “one that returns after death or a long absence.” – Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

With a title like The Revenant, one would expect a ghost story along the lines of Oscar-nominated films like The Sixth Sense and The Exorcist. There are definitely scenes in The Revenant that rival horror movies, but this film is an epic equally filled with scenic beauty.

In the American Frontier during 1823, fur trapper Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) has joined Captain Andrew Henry’s (Domhnall Gleeson) party. Glass mentors his son, a Native American named Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), much to the dismay of John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), a trapper who was scalped by an Indian tribe some years before.

After some quick character introductions, the party is attacked by an Indian tribe. When retreating by boat down the river, Glass and Captain Henry rationalize that the boat is more of a target than an escape. The party set off walking to find a safe haven in Fort Kiowa.

While on foot, Glass is viciously attacked by a bear. In an immobile state, Glass witnesses Fitzgerald’s cruelty and cowardice as he is left for dead. Glass, however, rises from his wounds to seek revenge upon his enemy.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) won the Best Picture Oscar and was directed by The Revenant’s director, Alejandro González Iñárritu. Both films are a study between contrasts – Birdman features urban self absorption, while The Revenant features rugged individualism in wide open spaces. Both stories are strongly told and Iñárritu deserves his accolades this awards season.

If the previous award presentations are any indicator, DiCaprio is due to receive his Best Actor Oscar. In all of his previous Oscar nominations, there was something “Movie Star” about his performances, like a manufactured Oscar nominee. In spite of grisly scenes of violence, DiCaprio gives an understated performance that is character appropriate. A bug-eyed brute with the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old, Tom Hardy steals the movie with a complete performance.

With 12 Oscar nominations, The Revenant is worth seeing on the big screen. Clocking in over two-and-a-half hours, the film feels longer in a good way. With natural lighting and minimal production techniques, this film is good storytelling based on snippets of history. When the film concludes, it is breathtakingly exhausting, which was the filmmaker’s intention, for the first line of dialogue is “If you can grab breath, you can keep fighting.”

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CLERGY CORNER: Is guilt hijacking your life?

Posted on 04 February 2016 by LeslieM

Dear Rabbi, I used to think my entire life was run by my feelings of guilt. Everything I did or thought seemed to be governed by how guilty I felt that day. It also didn’t seem to matter what ‘it’ was. I’d be feeling guilty about everything and anything … either that I hadn’t done enough or that I’d upset people when I hadn’t meant to or even that I ‘should’ have done something differently. I’d feel guilty about so many things and my life really did seem to be just reacting to one feeling of guilt after another”.

Dear friends, we all suffer from guilt, some more than others. The question is what we do with it …

After his wife died, an old religious man received a parrot from his sons to keep him company. After a time, he discovered that the parrot had heard him pray so often that it learned to say the prayers. The old man was so thrilled he decided to take his parrot to the synagogue on the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah.

The rabbi protested when he entered with the bird, but when told the parrot could pray, the rabbi, though still skeptical, showed interest. People started betting on whether the parrot would pray, and the old man happily took bets that eventually totaled $50,000.

The prayers began but the bird was silent. As the prayers continued there was still not a word from the bird.

When the prayers ended, the old man was not only crestfallen, but also $50,000 in debt. On the way home he thundered at his parrot, “Why did you do this to me? I know you can pray, you know you can pray. Why did you keep your mouth shut? Do you know how much money I owe people now?”

To which the parrot replied: “A little business imagination would help you, dear friend. You must look ahead: Can you imagine what the stakes will be like on Yom Kippur?” Double compensation.

Exodus 22:7 “If a man shall give money or vessels to his fellow to safeguard, and it is stolen from the house of the man, if the thief is found, he shall pay double.” Go out, suggests the Torah, and find the thief. Then you will actually receive double of what you possessed originally!

Here we are introduced, in subtle fashion, to the exquisite dynamic known in Judaism as teshuvah – repentance, or psychological and moral recovery. Instead of wallowing in your guilt and despair, and instead of surrendering to apathy and cynicism, you ought to identify and confront your “thief”, those forces within your life that keep derailing you. You need to reclaim ownership over your schedules, behaviors and patterns.

Then, you will receive from the thief double the amount he took in the first place. What this means psychologically is that the experience of falling and rebounding will allow you to deepen your spirituality and dignity in a fashion double of what it might have been without the thievery.

The Talmud puts it thus: “Great is repentance, for as a result of it, willful sins are transformed into virtues.”

When you fail and allow your life to fall into a shambles, but then confront the thief and reclaim your life as your own, those previous failures bestow on you a perspective, an appreciation, a depth and a determination that otherwise would not have been possible. By engaging in the remarkable endeavor of repentance, the sin itself is redefined as a mitzvah – a good deed. Why? Because the very failure and its resulting frustration generate a profound and authentic passion and appreciation for the good and the holy.

The next time your inner thief hijacks your moral life, see it as a reclamation opportunity: Reclaim your life with a double dose of light and purity.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the Director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches. (Moving to new location… coming soon!) For all upcoming events please visit

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Allianz Golf Championship returns Feb. 1 – 7

Posted on 28 January 2016 by LeslieM

sports012816By Sandy Johnson

The Allianz Champions Golf Tournament is returning to the Old Course at Broken Sound Country Club from Feb. 1 to 7.

Imagine people all over the world, shivering in the winter cold, tuning in to the Golf Channel and watching beautiful, sunny, warm South Florida!

This annual event is enjoyed by many and has a major impact on our local area. Last year alone, they contributed over $600,000 to local charities, including Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Junior Achievement and many others. The estimated effect on our local economy is $29 million for the week’s events.

The activities begin on Monday, Feb. 1 with a women’s event hosted by PGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam. The actual tournament runs from Friday at 10 a.m. through Sunday starting at 9 a.m. (Earlier Sunday start so that everything will be buttoned up by 3 or 4 o’clock in time for the Super Bowl!) Admission is free Monday through Thursday for practice rounds and Pro-Am and is free for the entire weekend for those under 17 and over 70.

Last year’s champion, Paul Goydos, returned last week for media day and talked at length about his win. It was his first tournament as a senior, as he had just turned 50. He said that he was here for just one week, but the tournament organizers and the Broken Sound people worked the other 51 weeks to make everything so perfect for players and spectators.

The PGA Tour, both the regular and the championship, has contributed over $120 million to charity! Think about the fact that there are no team owners to take a lion’s share of the profits. The money goes to the golfers with a huge amount going right back to the community charities in all the local venues!

For more information and full schedule of events, go to

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Locals fare well in Deerfield tourney

Posted on 28 January 2016 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

When it comes to competition, Lighthouse Point’s Simone Babb is right at home on the tennis court. The 18-year-old North Broward Prep High School senior has played tennis for 10 years and has aspirations of someday playing college tennis.

I like the competition and playing in matches and tournaments,” Babb said. “I won a couple of matches in a Level 5 state designated tournament near Orlando and that was really fun because it was near Universal, and I beat some top players in the state.”

Playing for the Eagles, Babb has also had success in the FHSAA District tournaments in her previous three years.

My doubles partner and I got to the district finals and I also reached the district semifinals a couple of times as a singles competitor,” Babb said. “This year, I would love to make it to state.”

Babb fell to Margate’s Samantha Fine, 6-4; 6-3 in the round of 16 in the Girls’ 18 Singles at the recent Deer Creek Holiday Classic Level 6 at the Deer Creek Tennis Resort in Deerfield Beach. A total of 106 players took part in the tournament that featured age divisions from 12s to 18s.

The sport is super important to me because it teaches you how to compete in athletics and it keeps your brain stimulated,” Babb said. “The competition is what makes it fun.”

The different challenges that a player faces is what Babb likes the most about the sport. She said playing in a tournament like the Holiday Classic was good for her confidence and it keeps her match tough. She plays in a tournament every other weekend.

Anybody can beat anybody on a given day, so you can’t think [about] whether or not they have beaten you before,” said Babb, who is ranked 95th in the state in Girls 18s. “It is like every day is a different day.”

Every time you play someone it is always different,” she continued. “The court is going to be different. The weather is going to be different. You are going to be feeling different so it really doesn’t matter. You have to take every match as a new situation. You just keep playing. You know it is for fun and you keep playing and enjoy it because it makes you feel better.”

Deerfield Beach’s Daria Drobotova, 8, also played in the Holiday Classic; however, her goals are obviously slightly different that Babb’s. The third grader at Del Prado Elementary School in Boca Raton has played tennis four years, but mostly against girls three and four years older.

It is hard to play with an older girl, but I still keep trying to beat her,” Drobotova said. “But if I lose to her, it is okay because she is older. If I am playing someone who is older, I sometimes get nervous, but then I feel like it is okay. It doesn’t matter. If I lose, I lose and if I win, I win.”

Drobotova, who entered the tournament as the top seed, fell in the Girls 12 Singles Semifinal to Delray Beach’s Sabira Mohamed, 7-6(3); 6-2 and advanced to the Girls’ 12 Singles Consolation final where she dropped a 6-3; 6-4 decision to Melbourne, Australia’s Lara Tovich.

I have played a lot of matches in the 12 & Unders,” Drobotova said. “I lost to them, but I kept trying and trying and one of them I won.”

Drobotova said it is important when she wins her matches because it shows her that she is playing better.

It shows that I am playing better than the other girls and that I am trying harder,” Drobotova said. “It is really a fun sport. When you try it, and you get it, it is really easy.”

Deerfield Beach’s Adelya Mukhutdinova won her Girls’ 14 Singles Consolation Final as she swept Allison Isaacs (Dana Point, CA) 6-0; 6-1.

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