Highlands hopes for regional title

Posted on 28 April 2016 by LeslieM

SPORTS042816By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy head track coach Jarod Ebenhack laughs at the notion that the school should invest in a track.

With the success the boys and girls varsity teams have had the past several years, at the very least, it makes for some lighthearted discussion.

It’s a matter of funding,” said Ebenhack, who has been at the school the past four years and guided the team to three boys district championships in the past four years (2014 they were second) and district titles for the girls in 2013 and 2015. The team was runner-up in 2014 and this year. The girls’ squad this year is composed mostly of middle schoolers, while the boys are made up of mostly upper classmen. “To build a basic track would cost around $300,000.

If we wanted a really good track, it would run about $700,000,” Ebenhack added. “We have everything else – shot put, pole vault and high jump pits, along with long jump and triple jump pits. We practice on various fields around campus and I actually paint a 400-meter track with all of the marks for hurdles and exchange zones around the football field. I think it makes it easier for us because we train in the grass and on the sand, that we go even faster on a track because we are running on a faster surface.”

The boys’ team suffered a tough blow this weekend as soccer standout Elijah Kerr, who runs the leadoff leg for the region’s second ranked 4×100 relay and is the anchor leg for the top-ranked 4×800 relay, broke his foot playing soccer and is out.

We have good replacements, but it definitely affects the certainty of our performance when you are putting two guys in there who haven’t practiced it regularly,” Ebenhack said. Until 2013, the boys had never won a district championship in track before.

Sophomore Ryan Szklany is the school’s top distance runner with school records in both the 1,600-meter run (4:28) and the 3,200-meter run (9:44). Senior Hunter Walton just eclipsed the school record in the 800-meter dash (2:03).

Senior Chris Julien, the school record holder in the 100-meter dash (11.07) who finished seventh at state last year after winning the regional title in the 100, could win both the 100 and 200-meter dashes at the regional meet.

Junior Justin Ebenhack is on three relays that have school records and is the district champion in the 400-meter dash; Senior Kenny Armstrong won the district titles in both shot put and discus.

Junior Sara Carroll qualified in four events for states the past two years and is hoping to do the same this year. She is also the school record holder in those events – 100-meter hurdles (15.9), 300-meter hurdles (47.99), triple jump (35-10) and high jump (5-4).

I think the future is really bright for the girls and they can really be dominant for years to come if they stick together,” said Ebenhack, who had started an elementary school track program a couple of years ago. “The majority of our girls team is middle schoolers.

We have a lot of really good young athletes. We are just going to get better.”

The boys were the top-ranked team headed in the regional. The other teams expected to contend for a regional title are Westminster Academy and the South Florida Heat. The girls were expected to finish in the top 5.

It’s awesome to see them perform,” said Ebenhack, whose boys cross country team has won four consecutive district titles. “They have caught the vision of what kind of work ethic it takes to do it.

Originally, I really had to push them,” Ebenhack said. “In the past I really had to push them. I am at the point now where I just give them a workout for the day and they will push each other. They will be cheering on each other. It is exciting to see.”

The team has about 70 athletes in the overall program, including middle school and high schools. They are taking 26 to the regionals. Last year the team took 14 to state, which represented about 10 percent of the student body. There are about 160 students at the school this year.

I’d like to take most everybody to state this year,” Ebenhack said. “Everything will have to fall into place.”


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Cohn wins inaugural triathlon event

Posted on 21 April 2016 by LeslieM

sports042116By Gary Curreri

When Gus Cohn tells his friends that he competes in triathlons, he gets strange looks.

First,” said the freshman at Pompano Beach High School, “they ask me what it is. Then, I guess they dismiss the idea. “I prefer to be on my bike. I guess they find it strange, a little bit.”

Cohn recently placed first in the Boys 15-17 Division of the inaugural Boca Raton Youth Triathlon with a time of 19:29. The event featured 123 athletes ranging in age from 5 to15 and took place at the Peter Blum Family YMCA in Boca Raton. Cohn used to play basketball and football and eventually turned to triathlons.

I think it’s fun,” he said. “It’s three sports in one and you don’t get bored too much. Seeing yourself get faster is probably the most fun out of everything.”

There are simple goals when he competes, and considering he has only been racing for 2-1/2 years, he has been pleased with his progress. Cohn said he is not surprised at his success because he trains a lot and gets faster each time he goes out.

First, I am trying to beat everyone on the team,” said Cohn, who is a member of the South Florida Lightning Youth and Junior Triathlon Team, which trains locally. “I just give it all that I’ve got and see what my time is.

I think I am going to do this as a side hobby and an amateur sport,” Cohn said. “I am not looking to do this as a living. If I really, really enjoy it, maybe I will go to Ironman. I think the best part of the sport is that it builds character, and I like the biking.”

Youth and Juniors Triathlon is a rapid growing sport,” said South Florida Lightning Youth and Junior Triathlon Team coach Racheal Wood, of Deerfield Beach, who started the program in 2011. “It is perfect for young athletes, providing them with the chance to be well-rounded and develop a high level of physical fitness.”

Athletes on both teams are expected to attend practices on a regular basis. If you are interested in being a part of the team, contact Wood at rachealwood@gmail.com or 954-263-4588. You can also visit the website at www.sflightning.com.

Pompano hosts day at Marlins game

The City of Pompano Beach Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department has planned an event to see the Miami Marlins Baseball Team take on the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, June 21.

The all-inclusive event includes a pre-game BBQ party beginning at 4 p.m., tickets, and transportation to and from the game. The bus will depart from the Herb Skolnick Community Center at 5 p.m. All ages are welcome and an adult must accompany children.

Tickets are only $50 per person and include the food party, round trip transportation and a home plate box seat (handicapped accessible).

Tickets can be purchased at the Herb Skolnick Community Center located at 800 SW 36 Ave., Pompano Beach, FL 33069. Tickets must be purchased by May 13. For more information, call 954-786-4590.

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37th Annual LHP Library Volunteer’s Luncheon

Posted on 15 April 2016 by JLusk

By Rachel Galvin


Luncheon was held at the LHP Yacht & Racquet Club April 7.

Usually, they are the ones giving to others. On April 7, volunteers at the Doreen Gauthier Lighthouse Point Library had a chance to receive. They were honored at a special luncheon held at the Lighthouse Point Yacht & Racquet Club. Library director Christy Keyes summed up the theme of the day with a Cicero quote: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” On each table sat a centerpiece made from individual flower-filled vases the guests could take home. And the library, well, it is not just about the books, but really about the people who take the time to care for those who come in and read them, the people who were honored this day.



Doreen Gauthier and Christy Keyes.

The event began with a prayer from Rev. Mark Andrews. Mayor Glenn Troast also spoke, saying that the library, which now celebrates its 50th year, has offered something for everybody, but the most important part of the library is the volunteers.



“As we say over and over again, we couldn’t run the library without you,” he said, noting some of the great events the library has held year-long, and commenting that they are in the process of installing a new air-conditioning system.

In addition to Christy speaking, Doreen Gauthier got up and said a few words. They both outlined some of the accomplishments, including the money raised through events and book sales.

Christy said, “We raised $10,000 from two book sales. This helps pay for events like this and goes to special programming at the library.”

3 (3)

Christy Keyes honors Nicholas Louis for his service.

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Susie Gordon is recognized for her work with Friends of the Library by Christy Keyes,

She added, “We always need books. We go through the donations and if we can, we add it to the collection. If it is the same as something we have, but in better condition, we swap it out. If it is something we can’t add, it will go to the book sale. The volunteers run the whole thing. We have a sale twice a year.”

Nicholas Louis was honored for being 15 years on the board and Susie Gordon was recognized for serving for 20 years at Friends of the Library.

Christy also recognized the teen volunteers, who were able to get out of school and attend for the first time at this event. There were a few in attendance this day, but 18 teens volunteer overall. They created bookmarks for all the guests to keep and recycled old children’s books by creating cut outs for a special wreath and other décor.

The volunteers work at the library because they love it.

Ron Lavergne, who volunteers for many groups in the area, said, “No other place has had so many volunteers. I love going there, doing research and enjoying the quiet.”

Janice Larit said, “The library is a wonderful resource for the Lighthouse Point people.  I decided to become a volunteer. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet the neighbors. It is run so great. Christy does a fabulous job. I can’t say enough about it.”


Kyle Van Buskirk and Earl Maucker attended from the commission, along with their wives.

4 (2)

Betty Hammond and Laura Verde run the library’s Italian Club.





IMG_9863IMG_9857Teen and Special Project volunteers.IMG_9855IMG_9856group 1IMG_9858



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Posted on 14 April 2016 by LeslieM

Everything must go!

313 SE 15th Terr.

Deerfield Beach. (Cove Shopping Ctr.)

Thurs., Apr. 14-Sat. Apr. 16, 9 am to 3 pm.


Portrait of a Bride at Sample McDougald House

Posted on 07 April 2016 by JLusk


Leigh Anne Brown shows off a dress from 1872.

Historic wedding gowns reveal the history of women

By Rachel Galvin

On April 2, the Lighthouse Point chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored a unique event highlighting the changing silhouette of women’s wedding gowns through the years. Besides offering a buffet lunch, the event included a tour of the dresses with speaker Leigh Anne Brown, who has been doing this wedding dress tour for 14 years, 50 presentations per year.

Brown, who came down from Lakeland, FL for the event, said she gets asked three questions every event: 1) How many does she have, 2) Where does she keep them and 3) How did she get started.1899 (2)

She answered, “I have 160, but brought 27 here. I keep them in a special closet. I store them flat and stack them. They have spent the majority of their lives lying in trunks, storage units… They deserve to be seen. I never intended to do a show. Initially, I collected them for myself, only up until 1930.”

It wasn’t until she was asked to display them at an event that she realized she should begin showing them to people.

“I am a traveling wedding gown road show. Have gown, will travel,” added Brown, who tells about the societal changes for women in America through the stories of the women who once wore the dresses.

She shows off one dress from 1872. The woman who wore it went to college at a time when women were getting higher education for1890 and 1908 (2) the first time, when women began to understand that they could be more. Yet, this woman still was trapped beneath a steel cage corset and nine layers of clothing surrounding her 19 inch waist. It showcases the rigid rules women were made to follow.

“Women were mad they didn’t have a voice. There was talk about the black man having the right to vote, but not women. After the Civil War, they were left behind, untrained and unprepared. They wanted to make sure their daughters never had to go through what they went through,” she added.

The 1872 dress is not the rarest in her collection, surprisingly. It is actually her dress from 1918. During World War I, she explained, the fewest weddings occurred. People waited until after the war. Unfortunately, many of those men did not come back. So, again, mothers did not want their daughters to go through what they went through, so when World War II came around, women were encouraged to marry and get pregnant before the man went to the war, which led to a spike in 1943 for weddings, and the baby boom when they returned. Weddings became an industry at that time and well-known bridal companies emerged.

One dress’s skirt is actually made from a parachute from the 1920's (2)war. The girl was only 15 when her boyfriend went to the war, so her father would not allow her to marry, but they wrote to each other dutifully throughout. When he dropped on D-Day, he kept his parachute. On meeting her at the train station when he returned, he gave her the parachute and said, “Here is the fabric for the dress. We are getting married in two weeks.”

“It shows that even in the middle of destruction and death, love wins,” said Brown.

She added, “When I tell [each bride’s] story, I am telling our story and the story of America. People who listen realize this is their story. It becomes personal.”

“[At] every show, 10 women offer me their wedding dresses,” said Brown, who added that those wanting to donate can e-mail her at lelu22@juno.com.

This event was part of the centennial year events at the Sample McDougald House.

“All of our events are included as part of our Centennial, culminating with a celebration party May 14,” said Museum Manager Lee Waldo. (Look for more info. in The Observer soon).

Brown is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Those interested in joining the Lighthouse Point branch can get more information at https://lighthousepointdar.wordpress.com. Members work to educate people about history, engage in activities that help servicemen and women, veterans and more. They even have scholarships for students and collect books. They meet the first Saturday of every month from September through May.



1939 (2)1943 (2)1959 (2)

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Women in Distress tourney nets $16K

Posted on 07 April 2016 by LeslieM

sports040716By Gary Curreri

Like many of the other players in the tournament, Deerfield Beach’s Marilyn Guisti played for a cause and the competition.

It is very important to support women who are being battered and hopefully this will give them a lot of confidence to do what they have to do,” said Guisti, who was one of 128 golfers in the sold-out field for the 4th annual Women’s Invitational Golf Tournament to Benefit Women In Distress-Broward at Colony West Country Club in Tamarac. “It is very special to be with friends and help women who are being battered.”

Delray Beach’s Tina Ostrowski agreed. After she hit her tee shot into the rough at Colony West Country Club, she looked at her teammates and shrugged her shoulders.

That was a bad one, but the practice swing was good,” she said with a laugh. “I am a new golfer, so this is only my third tournament, but I am here with dear friends and we are here to support a wonderful cause. It’s great to be a part of it and I look forward to supporting it [for] many years to come.”

Nancy Hersey, Kathy Constantine, Mechelle Brown, and Shauna Federico won Low Gross honors in the tournament with a 63, while Cheryl Johnston, Pat Reid, Lora Hoffman, and Jen Gallaudet captured Low Net honors with a 43.2.

Pompano Beach’s Jan Parke, who chaired the event with Alberta Bove and Penny Eppy, said the fourth annual event has raised more than $37,000 during its history, including a record amount of $16,417.68 this year. That total easily surpassed last year’s previous total of nearly $6,000.

It’s grown by the number of players and the amount of money we are donating to Women in Distress,” Park said. The Colony West Women’s Golf Group hosted the event. “I feel it is an important tournament. It is a tournament by women to help women and Women in Distress is a really important charity.”

The first year, the tournament drew 84 players and raised a little more than $4,000. The tournament sold out for the second consecutive year with 128 players and has been held at Colony West Country Club all four years.

Parke said men have approached her suggesting a coed tournament.

We haven’t gotten to that point,” Parke said. “I know there is another tournament in the fall for Women in Distress that is a coed tournament, so ours is a spring, women’s only tournament.”

Parke said one of the things that stood out this year is the support of the community and the sponsors.

She said there were more auction items and drawing prizes. There were awards for low gross and 1-6 for low net. They received gift certificates. The Low Gross and Low Net winners each won a foursome at the course.

Events Coordinator for Women in Distress Eileen Trower said there are 3 to 4 main events and then smaller “third party” events such as the Colony West tournament. There are more than a dozen third party events annually.

This isn’t considered a main event; however, it is gradually getting closer to that,” Trower said. “The money covers everything…the organization offers [to] the women in the shelter, women in the outreach program…just any of the women, men or children that live in our facilities. It helps in so many ways.”

The shelter consists of 132 beds and there is an outreach program. Both operate at capacity.

As soon as someone leaves, there is someone else who comes right into the facility,” Trower said. “It is very gratifying to know that there are people out there willing to support the organization. It is just amazing. Just the work that goes into organizing something like this is just incredible and we are so thankful for that.”

It does bring awareness to domestic violence,” Trower added. “Events like these, the ultimate goal is to stop domestic violence. With everyone doing events like this, the awareness and the monies brought in to help the individuals we serve, will help us end domestic violence for everyone.”

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Mawi’s Café: New Italian Bistro open in The Cove

Posted on 31 March 2016 by LeslieM

restmawi033116By Rachel Galvin

A large crowd attended the ribbon cutting at Mawi’s Café on March 25. The Italian bistro has been opened since the end of December in the location where Cove Bagel used to be. Owners Ilaria Romano and Danilo Salatino just moved here from Rome, Italy with two daughters, ages 6 and 4, to create better opportunities for their family.

Their café serves up American breakfast and lunch specialties with Italian flavors, including omelets; egg sandwiches and platters; bagels; pancakes; French toast; waffles; paninis and salads at very reasonable prices. They also have bakery and dessert items, and beverages like espresso and cappuccino. Ask for their special Kuoppos, or pizza cones, and take them to go.

They are currently open every day but Tuesday and will be open for dinner soon. Their hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. They offer free delivery. Call 954-481-8600.

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Baseball School expanding

Posted on 31 March 2016 by LeslieM

sports033116By Gary Curreri

When it comes to the expansion of the South Florida Baseball School, Bruce Charlebois said his prayers have been answered – literally.

We have wanted to run a home school division, which is something that we have been praying for a long time and God has answered that prayer with Marc (Carpiniello) and his family,” said Charlebois, owner of the school and head baseball coach at Highlands Christian Academy, where the school is located. “We have also started a softball division this year and that has been another desire of ours for years.

That is ridiculously great!” Charlebois added. “People believe in our system and we have been able to help in the area of character and baseball training throughout the years and people are investing in us. Again, it is a miracle that we get to do this and people love us enough to invest in what we are doing.”

Charlebois, 49, of Deerfield Beach, said the school is celebrating its 20th anniversary and adding a home school division was just a natural progression.

Carpiniello, 45, also of Deerfield Beach, said the home school division for children ages 6 to 13 began a few months ago with a Tuesday camp and just three players. It has since grown to 14.

I think it is more of a want, than a need,” said Carpiniello, who home schools his children, Vince, 7, and Jami and Justin, twin 6-year-olds. He coaches his children in several leagues and about 30 games each, however, there are not many practices.

Even though my kids adapt quickly and make friends fast they are still not in the same circles as most of the other boys since they are home schooled,” Carpiniello said. “With our program, we do a little skill training with them and then break into a wiffle ball or tennis ball game. We will then do some speed and agility, and then some baseball. We will also focus on the pitchers and catchers a little bit. I think it is huge for the kids to be able to play with their friends. They like that they have a league of their own.”

The South Florida Baseball School recently broke ground on a brand new state-of-the-art, 6,000-sq. ft. indoor hitting and pitching facility, currently being built with completion expected by June. They have also added “Rookie Ball” for kids ages 2-5, a softball division, clinics for little league players and coaches.

The hitting and pitching facility is a game-changer for us as far as the academy goes,” Charlebois said. “It will be built where the exiting hitting area and bullpen area is. It is down the left field line.”

Charlebois said the schedule varies depending on the time of the season.

We have home school stuff available at any time during the day – from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and our prime time schedule is available from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. during the week,” said Charlebois, who also offers private lessons, small groups and team workouts. “We have Saturdays all day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. We also have winter and summer camps. We had a three-day power camp during winter break.”

Looking back over the 20 years, is there one thing that stands out?

For the baseball academy, the best memory would, honestly. be God bringing Marc and his family into our lives,” Charlebois said. “His excellent wife Janis has built our website and is doing administrative work for us.

We have done a lot over the years,” he added. “We have guys in the big leagues with Mike Fiers (Houston Astros) and Michael Taylor (Washington Nationals), both guys who trained in our academy. We also have a number of guys who are in pro ball or Division 1 in college.”

For more information, visit southfloridabaseballschool.com, or call 954-326-2373.

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Ely goes back-to-back

Posted on 24 March 2016 by LeslieM

sports032416By Gary Curreri

When it comes to boys’ basketball at Blanche Ely High School, Coach Melvin Randall doesn’t rebuild. He doesn’t reload. He just finds a way to repeat.

Despite early struggles this season, the Tigers (20-13) found a way to roll off five wins in a row at the end of the season to win its second consecutive Class 7A state championship with an 84-70 victory over St. Petersburg at the Lakeland Center.

St. Petersburg (27-7) had won 12 in a row and 18 of 19 – the only loss was a 62-61 defeat to Wellington. Blanche Ely’s victory was the sixth overall for the school and fourth in the past five years, and fifth since 2007.

It was all a setup,” Ely coach Melvin Randall joked following the contest. “We took all the losses we could so we could come in the back door and do this again. Seriously, though, this team could have laid down, but they worked extremely hard, and, as a result, we’re state champions. This is sweeter even than 28-0.”

Randall was referring to last season’s 28-0 mark. This year’s team started off slowly, but, like most years, found a way to peak at the right time and helped Randall win a state-record seventh state championship as a coach. With the win, Randall surpassed Miami Norland coach Lawton Williams III, and Dillard’s Darryl Burrows, who each have six state titles.

Despite returning just three players from last year’s squad, Randall said it took time for the team to put things together. Injuries didn’t help either as the Tigers found itself at 12-11 at one point late in the season, including a four-game losing skid at one point – something Randall had never experienced in his illustrious 24-year career where he has amassed 555 victories.

It has been an up and down year,” Randall said. “The youngsters started peaking at the right time. I think a lot of it had to do with the schedule that I presented to them. We definitely took some beatings, but we played against the best.

I thought they had it in them,” Randall said. “They kept their composure when they had to. I am just pleased. There were times during the season where I had to grab myself and realize how young they are. We had to keep fighting and keep fighting. As a coach, I could have laid down and made excuses that I had all babies and was just going to burn this year, but the kids just fought and fought and, as a result, we finished the job.”

In the title game, junior forward William Maloney finished with a game-high 20 points, while junior guard Geremy Taylor posted a triple-double, finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Senior forward Trevor Goodrum Jr. (12 points, three steals and three rebounds); sophomore guard Michael Forrest (12 points); freshman power forward Joshua Scott (11 points) and senior guard Mark Houston (10 points) all contributed to the title.

We always felt like we had it in us to come together,” Goodrum said. “We just had to join together as a team and work hard at practice. That was the way we were going to go back to states. We had to go all out and come together as a team and, once we did that, we knew it would happen.”

Goodrum said there were doubts.

We knew we had to stay together as a team,” he added. “We were a family and we knew if we stayed together we could do whatever we wanted to accomplish. The only thing on my mind was getting another ring. I wanted two on my fingers.”

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FLICKS: With a busy weekend at the box office, Hello, My Name is Doris shines

Posted on 24 March 2016 by LeslieM

flicks032416By the time people read this column, many will know who won the Batman v. Superman fight this Easter weekend. There is no denying the marketing juggernaut that DC Comics and Warner Brothers studios have created to compete with the Marvel/Disney comic book franchise. While Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is expected to dominate the box office, it will be the execution of story, character development and visual imagery that will determine the sustainability of the DC Comic book franchise.

There are many “human” alternatives to this comic book option. Having premiered at the Palm Beach International Film Festival 14 years ago, My Big Fat Greek Wedding changed the box office paradigm for independent film distribution. Writer and lead actress Nia Vardalos and her Big Fat Greek Wedding ensemble cast return this weekend for My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.

The documentary Look at Us Now, Mother! expands this weekend at local theaters. The dysfunctional family pain is real, yet the theme of forgiveness is very appropriate this holiday weekend.

The most fun movie on the big screen this weekend is Hello, My Name is Doris. As the title character, Sally Field is getting her best notices as a leading lady since the 1980s. We have all met someone like “Doris” before, but Field adds depth to create a well-rounded character. Only an actress of Field’s caliber can balance the broad and subtle nuances of a truthful performance.

Doris is a frumpy gal who has lived too many years with her mother, who has recently departed. While taking an elevator ride to the office, she bumps up against artist John Fremont (Max Greenfield). Despite being three times John’s age, Doris feels a stirring in her womanhood. With subtle shades of Harold and Maude, My Name is Doris contains broad comedy in dream sequences.

Like a good episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, this film acknowledges pain. Screenwriters Laura Terruso and Michael Showalter (who also directed) use the pain to set up the punch line, which acts as a cathartic release. One golden moment features the nerdy Doris trying to dance to modern music. At first, she is stiff and awkward; but, by the end of the scene, Doris finds her beat and her mojo.

As I write this column, news of the Brussels terrorist attacks is unfolding. Say a prayer and find some soul refuge this Easter. There is plenty of escapism that can be found at your local movie theater this weekend. Make it a great Easter!

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