Watching the storm?

Posted on 23 January 2017 by JLusk

If you are up late at night tonight (well, actually early Jan. 23 morning), you are seeing the storm hitting our area. Beware of the weather as it is set to get worse for our area. There is a Tornado Watch under effect. Check out WPTV on Facebook. They have a live feed of weather… Also look on The Observer’s Facebook for how to activate emergency alerts. Make sure to LIKE our page. Be safe!

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Pompano teams shine in youth football

Posted on 19 January 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

When Pompano Cowboys Mitey Mites coach Ronnie McDougle began their inaugural season in the Gold Coast Pop Warner Conference, he had a vision. McDougle said the season started off with many new players, and the coaches put together a staff that helped players that needed guidance and new goal setting.

The goal was to teach the kids to play for more than just themselves,” said McDougle, a Recreation Supervisor with the city of Pompano Beach. “We played for Collier City, our neighborhood. When the Super Bowl game arrived, the kids already had a full season of lesson, and domination was the only thing they had on their mind.”

“‘We’ve come too far to let up now,’ was the chant the entire week of practice,” said McDougle, whose team rolled to a 42-14 win over the Pompano Eagles in the Pop Warner Super Bowl game.

Ja’cari Barnes and Antonio Nuwry combined for five scores, while Terrell Loray added the final TD. “So for the biggest game of the year, the kids put on the biggest show for the fans.”

McDougle led his team to a perfect 11-0 season, which also included a win in the Miami Dolphins Championship Series (DCS). The Pompano Cowboys Mitey Mites 9U team recorded a 6-0 championship win in overtime over the Northwest Boys & Girls Club Falcons at the Miramar Asin Center. Barnes scored on a fourth down, 10-yard run for the win.

Gary Hadley scored as the Pompano Eagles 8U team also topped the Northwest Boys & Girls Club Falcons, 6-0.

The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs featured the league champions of six South Florida youth football organizations as part of the Dolphins Championship Series (DCS). Kids ages 5-15 years old from the American Youth Football League, Gold Coast Pop Warner, Greater Miami Pop Warner, Miami Xtreme, National Youth Football League and Youth Academic Sports League participated in the competition.

The Dolphins Champion game was just one for the old bragging rights book,” McDougle said. “Anytime a Broward team plays against a Dade team is always guaranteed to be a good one.

Northwest Boys Club is a very well-respected program,” he continued. “Both teams were missing players and played in the worst weather condition of that day. Our coaches watched and made great adjustments as the game went on and our kids, like they did all year, responded well to the match-up that we put them in to get the win in overtime.”

It’s an honor for the Miami Dolphins to celebrate youth football in South Florida by hosting the Dolphins Championship Series,” said Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Youth Programs Twan Russell. “The DCS games provide another opportunity for student-athletes to compete and showcase their skills after another remarkable season of play.”

Two Pompano Chiefs’ squads also went far in the Pop Warner postseason playoffs as the JV team lost in the regionals to the Riviera Beach Chargers, 26-20, in double overtime, and the Varsity made it all the way to Nationals where they fell, 33-8, to the Harvey Colts (Chicago, IL.)

Jerold Smith, president of Football Operations for the City of Pompano, said he was proud of what his teams were able to accomplish this season. The Pompano squads broke away from the Miami Chapter of Pop Warner and joined with other teams from Broward County to form their own Pop Warner Chapter called Gold Coast Pop Warner.

The Pompano Eagles had two teams – 75-lb. and 85-lb. teams – that won the Superbowl in their division; Pompano Cowboys (100-lb. championship); Pompano Chiefs (155-lb. and 180-lb.) Superbowl championships.

We had five teams from Pompano Beach win the Gold Coast Pop Warner Superbowl this year,” Smith said. “That was a great feat to do in our first year in Gold Coast as a founding member.

The season went off without any problems and in our first year we had a team make it to the National Championship in Disney World, Wide World of Sports,” Smith added. “Our kids got to play two games on ESPN on National TV. It was a great experience for our kids and coaches as well.”

 

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Biondo’s Pizza Plus: The Plus means more variety

Posted on 12 January 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

For five decades, Joe Biondo has been creating his pizza creations. In 2015, he moved from his location in The Cove Shopping Center, where he had been for five years, and moved to his current location in the Deerfield Square Shopping Center (606 S. Federal Hwy.) He credits the move as his best decision yet, citing his increased visibility and easy access to parking as the reason for his increase in customers.

As his business has grown, he has also expanded his menu, and that is where the Pizza Plus comes in, including deli different sandwiches – reubens, pastrami and more; wings; burgers; chicken fingers, calzones; strombolis and salads.

Our Philly Cheese Steak is filled with 12 oz. of meat and cheese,” said Biondo, who added, “Nobody uses Italian cold cuts like we do. We use Black Angus beef. We make our own pizza dough, sauce, everything is homemade and hands-on.”

They have plenty of sides to add, such as French fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, garlic knots, meatballs and Italian sausage.

Their pizza remains a staple. It comes in various sizes, including a 10 in. personal pizza, a 12 in. and a 17 in. All the pizzas come with grande cheese.

The regular pizza is called Napoleton, which in Florida is called New York style. We also have double dough, which is like a pan pizza – thick, and our Sicilian is a tomato pie, with lots of herbs and Romano and Mozzarella cheeses, virgin olive oil and fresh basil,” he said, adding, “We have gourmet pizzas, including chicken pesto, Florentine, Hawaiian Chicken and pineapple and white pizza (with Ricotta, Romano and Mozzarella) and Margarita (with fresh tomato and fresh basil). Our signature pizza is the Biondo Supreme.”

The secret ingredient is tradition. He uses his family’s longtime recipes. They hail from Cinisi, Sicily. Today, the business is run not only by Joe, but also his wife, Janet, and her son, David.

In addition to a wide variety of Italian specialties, they also have beer and wines available, including some selections from Italy, as well as soda.

Don’t forget dessert! They have cannolis, NY Style Cheesecake and zeppolis.

Biondo’s has always been known as a take-out and delivery locale, but they are really hoping people sit within their seating area, get away from the grind for awhile and enjoy. They even have a flat-screen TV to watch. Their prices are so affordable it makes it easy to feed the whole family.

They deliver within a 3-mile radius ($10 min. delivery). For more information, call 954-427-7754 or visit www.Biondo’s pizza.com.

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Laura Duksta Envisioning success

Posted on 09 January 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

With 2017 upon us, many are ready to declare their intentions for the new year. But announcing your goals and making them happen are two different things. There are so many ways to set goals and make good things happen in your life. Many have watched the popular film The Secret (or read the book) and learned about the Law of Attraction but were left feeling that a step was missing. Why did they spend time visualizing but nothing came to fruition? Those who really study these types of self-help practices know that to really transform themselves they can’t just think about things to make them happen, they have to take action. But a first step is not only thinking about something, but also putting it on paper, or creating a “vision board.”

Author Laura Duksta knows all about creating something from nothing and utilizing a vision board to focus her intentions. Today, she is the best-selling author of three books, has traveled around the country promoting her book and travels back and forth between Ft. Lauderdale and Nashville.

But she didn’t always have this life. At age 11, she lost all her hair to Alopecia Areata, which caused her to wear a wig, hiding herself from the world. She withdrew and thought she would never be able to do the things she wanted in life. It wasn’t until her 30th birthday when she decided to give up the wigs and come out as “the bald chick,” a hip moniker that would help in her new life.

Her first book came about when she was praying for her sister, but something told her to pray for her nephew instead. From that experience came the idea for her first book, I Love Your More, an illustrated flip book for kids that focuses on the relationship between mother and son. She self-published it. At the time, she was a bartender in South Beach so becoming an author certainly was a departure and the first step on her journey to finding herself and spreading the message of love around the world, something she had in her heart deep inside when she was a young girl.

One of the manifestations from her vision board had to do with a number — 11 million, which she had put on her board as an intention of how many lives she hopes to touch, how many books would be eventually out in the world. When she switched her publishing to Sourcebooks, at the first meeting, the owner, to the surprise of everyone in the room, said that the vision for the book was 11 million copies sold, a number for which seemed way too large for a first-time writer. But, to Duksta, the number was no surprise; after all, she had it on her vision board.

I love vision boards, because I am a visual person. I have become a big fan of visioning,” she said, adding, “The power of a vision board is connecting your goals and dreams to what it actually looks like in life. One of the key ingredients to achieving your goals and dreams is being able to see it as already so — feel and believe it in your mind and heart, to the point that it draws a tear of inspiration when possible.”

What is a vision board? Usually, it is a poster board with cutout images and words from a magazine or newspaper that you hope to manifest.

Duksta said, “Put that photo-shopped picture of you accepting that Oscar on your vision board, and take five to 10 minutes every day to imagine yourself accepting your Oscar and reciting your speech. What does it feel, sound, look, taste and smell like? Making this real is why Einstein said ‘Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.’

Our mind cannot discern between reality and virtual reality; so placing ourselves into the scenes of our life we wish to manifest puts the Universal Laws of Attraction, Appreciation and Vibration into motion and we draw to ourselves what we think, and thank, about, and resonate with.”

Duksta went on to write two other books: You are a Gift to the World and now I’ll Hug You More. She goes around the country doing book talks and motivational speeches, especially for children.

For more information on this dynamic and inspirational author, visit www.lauraduksta.com.

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Pre-planning a funeral? Kraeer-Becker Funeral Home can help

Posted on 09 January 2017 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

When a loved one dies, there is often shock, disbelief, denial, anger, profound sadness. When the person who has passed has not left their loved ones with their final wishes, conflict can ensue between family members, making the situation even worse. That is why, although it is difficult to think or talk about, doing pre-planning for a funeral is the best and most loving thing a person can do for those left behind, according to Annie O’Mara and Jeff Marsman of Kraeer-Becker Funeral Home in Deerfield Beach.

Planning a funeral after someone has passed is not easy.

O’Mara, the Funeral Director, said, “Putting together a funeral is like planning a wedding in three days.”

She explained that besides picking whether the person will be buried or cremated, there is the selection of the casket, the clothing, the music, whether there will be a luncheon after, etc. There is always the question for those left to do the memorial if they are doing what their loved one who has passed would have wanted.

Having the discussion before it is necessary alleviates that wondering ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ It also allows for a more rational conversation. They get exactly what they want. When a death happens, the family members are in such a state of shock, it heightens the emotions and makes it more difficult. It is a loving gesture [on the part of the person who makes the pre-planning for themselves. It [eliminates] the burden,” she said.

Marsman, the Director of Family Services, said, “No two services are the same. Every family is unique.”

O’Mara added, “We can accommodate everyone’s religion, cultural beliefs and personalities. If it is possible, I can make it happen. There is no right or wrong way. I can make sure it is as special and individual as the person was.”

She has seen it all. She has been at Kraeer for the last 1 ½ years but was funeral director for 11 years elsewhere on the west coast.

She said, “I have cried with a few people. We sometimes laugh. I cannot change what has happened, but I can make the process the best it can be, make the experience easier.”

One of the other reasons, she said, to do pre-planning is to lock in the price.

The last 50 years, the average cost of a funeral has doubled every 10 years…,” she said.

Rates for funerals can run over $7000 said Annie and that is just for a service and economical casket. When you add clergy, an obit, escorts for the funeral procession, a luncheon, etc., it can add up. Kraeer-Becker handles A to Z, including clergy, florist, caterer, cemetery and more. Each cemetery, she explained, has different requirements, which she navigates and explains to the customer.

The plans are guaranteed by the state. If something happens to the funeral home or insurance company, the state will make sure it is still honored. If the funeral home goes out of business, another sister home or associated facility will take it over, she added.

Like the banking industry, we are insured,” she explained. “We [Dignity Memorial] are the largest provider of family services within the country. If you move to California, Texas, Nebraska, [etc., we can transfer the plans]. You don’t have to worry about redoing it.”

Dignity Memorial has over 2000 locations in North America. The Kraeer-Becker Funeral Home in Deerfield Beach is located at 217 E. Hillsboro Blvd. For more information, call 954-427-5544 or visit www.kraeerdeerfieldbeach.com.

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Bucks hoping for good news

Posted on 05 January 2017 by LeslieM

sports010517By Gary Curreri

What started out as a promising season for the Deerfield Beach High School girls basketball team could have turned sour following an injury to a key player.

Sophomore 5-ft., 6-in. shooting guard DenAsia Mitchell came down wrong on her knee during practice last week and Bucks coach Portia Williams fears the worst.

The Bucks got out of the gate at 14-2 with losses coming to Flanagan, 38-31, and South Broward, 56-44, and owned a 65-57 victory over district rival Douglas. The team also won all three of their games in a tournament in Atlanta.

After opening its own Deerfield Blitz Holiday tournament with wins over Piper and Cooper City, disaster struck in the practice leading up to the title game against Douglas.

At this time we don’t know,” Williams said. “It was just a freak accident at practice. She was going up for a loose ball and just came down wrong on it. She has to get some tests run. She is getting an MRI (this week).

We have the capabilities and that shouldn’t have stopped us from what we need to do,” Williams said after the Eagles (18-1) jumped out to a 30-10 halftime lead and coasted to a 63-42 victory over the host Bucks in the championship game.

We have to regroup and go over some things that were a problem.”

Williams said the team needed to do several things better, including rebounding, boxing out better on defense and running their offense. It hurt not having Mitchell, who was averaging nearly 20 points per game. The team also gave up a lot of baskets on fast breaks and in transition and allowed 22 offensive rebounds to Douglas.

We knew she was out, but we didn’t execute,” Williams said. “We didn’t come out to play and that was the bottom line. We talked to the girls and told them we have to get back to the basics and regroup from there.

We have to get ready for the second half of the season,” added Williams, who has been coaching for nearly two decades at Deerfield Beach. “We have some things to fix and we have to continue to work hard.”

Williams said the team is more of a family this year and has survived the “tough times.”

We may get down on one another, but then we pick each other up,” she said. “I think there are some things that we can do. Even though it is a Christmas tournament, we did well on the road in Atlanta, and now we just have to regroup.”

Williams wasn’t surprised with the start to the season and also cited sophomore guard Kayla Burrows and senior guard G’Torria Swinton for their play this season.

We saw them play really well at a camp this summer and they haven’t played their best yet this season,” Williams said. “We have to learn to stay focused. Some of them still have maturity problems, and we need to be able to take toughness and that will have to start with our seniors.”

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Bucks off to a quick start

Posted on 29 December 2016 by LeslieM

sports122916By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach coach Kenny Brown is a firm believer that his team can make it past the first round of the district tournament this season.

The Bucks finished 12-13 last year including a first round exit in the District 11-9A tournament. Deerfield Beach has gotten off to a 10-5 start this season with four losses coming in the Kreul Showcase and Kreul Classic tournaments. The Bucks also suffered a 61-57 loss to Dillard in the regular season.

Brown entered the season with a 258-121 record with more than 100 players who have gone off and played in college, including Terrence Johnson (South Alabama) and Josh Huntley (Stephen F. Austin). He returns six players from last year’s squad.

Toughness will be the team’s mantra this season and Brown cited junior point guard Corey Carpenter, along with senior guards Marcus Brave and Calvin Davis to take the team to the next level.

(Senior) Edwin Louis is a talented point guard with D1 ability,” Brown said. “(Junior) Hansley Senatus is a wing player that will bring versatility and has the ability to stretch the floor with shooting.

We expect to improve everyday and peak at right time,” Brown said. “We are looking to play faster and use our depth on wings. I think our depth will be key to our style, which will be to wear teams down and pressure for 32 minutes.”

The team’s most lopsided defeat came against Class 5A power St. Andrew’s School, 86-65 in the Kreul Classic. The Scots (12-0) won the tournament and are undefeated on the season.

In that game, we got into a little foul trouble and a few loose balls that we normally get, we didn’t get,” Brown said. “Usually, we play with a lot of energy and we play with our feet a lot better.

That game was a wakeup call,” Brown added. “There was some point where the guys started to believe that they were better than they really were and a good old- fashioned butt whipping is always a good teacher. We will bottle that up and remember that feeling and we won’t have that feeling too many more times.

Coming into the season, Brown was confident that his team had put in the work during the offseason.

I work these kids really hard,” Brown said. “I know that, with the energy and how hard these kids play and how hard they worked in practice, we would have a tough team.

I thought we would have a harder time with rebounding, but so far, so good. We are right in their battling.

I am okay with our start,” he continued. “Our experience has really helped. I have four kids who are in their third year of varsity basketball. Experience is the best teacher as you know.”

Brown believes they can make a deep run in the playoffs.

As long as we trust each other, believe in each other, play off each other and share the ball,” Brown said, “we have a chance. We can go out and fight and hustle and give it all we got and we can always shuffle kids in and out…with this start, the confidence came and now the expectations come.”

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FLICKS: 2016 in review

Posted on 29 December 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.comflicks122916

This column completes my 17th year in which my picture has been associated with Flicks, which is as long as Dan Marino’s career with the Miami Dolphins. Since 1999, I have written through five presidential elections, covered over 30 film festivals in Broward, Palm Beach and Dade counties and reviewed closed to a 1000 films for The Observer. I am very thankful that people still have an interest in my opinion about the movies.

2016 has been an interesting year for the business. The biggest blockbusters (Finding Dory. Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book, Deadpool) were released in the first half of the year. With the exception of Sully and Rogue One, the second half of the year suffered from a disappointing box office performance.

There can be many factors that have caused cinema’s deflating box office: riveting news coverage of the election and terrorism attacks, sports drama featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Cubs and even the Miami Dolphins having their first winning season in eight years. The common denominator is that television programming has done much to erode the cinema box office.

In November 2016, the Ft. Lauderdale International film Festival promoted the motion picture industry in our community. Gregory Von Hausch, Jan Mitchell, Erin Fontes, Melissa Fresita, Lenny Wong and a crew of hundreds efficiently screened films from all over the world and hosted informative interviews from Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Arlene Dahl to a young talent like Bailee Madison.

Currently on the big screen is Lion, which earned the FLIFF “best in the fest” award. This film is truly representative of international filmmaking for it was produced in both Australia and India, featuring Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman in an important supporting role.

Sixteen years ago, Kenneth Lonergan’s You Can Count On Me was an independent motion picture that shocked the Hollywood mainstream by earning multiple Oscar nominations. This year’s Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea has earned honors on the cinema awards circuit. It is a drama about grief, but features some satisfying realistic humor.

My goal is to continue to write this column for at least another two years. However, I am concerned that I may be as extinct as the dinosaur. Stay tuned, I will do my best to keep stories interesting in 2017. Happy New Year!

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Piranhas compete in meet

Posted on 24 December 2016 by LeslieM

sports122216By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach Piranhas swim coach Jesse Vassallo is looking forward to the future of his program.

Vassallo, a member of the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team, is a former World Record holder in the 200 and 400 meter individual medleys. He points to the success of Raphael Santos and Tyler Zuyus at the 26th annual Florida Gold Coast Speedo Winter Championships recently at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

Santos, 14, was third in the high point standings in the boys 13-14 division, while teammate Tyler Zuyus, 16, was second in the high point standings in the 15-16 boys division.

Santos won the Boys 13-14 100-free; the 100-IM; the 400-IM, the 200-free; and placed third in the 500-free; the 200-IM; the 1,650-free and fourth in the 50-free.

Zuyus captured the Boys 15-16 50-free; the 50-fly; 50-back; the 100-free; the 100-fly; and was second in the 100-back and third in the 500-free.

Tyler and Raphael swam really well,” Vassallo said. “We brought 21 swimmers to the Winter Champs. Our team is a little bit smaller. We have some younger kids coming up.”

We are doing well,” added Vassallo, who has nearly 180 swimmers in the program. “I am very proud of them. They sacrifice a lot and the commitment is huge. I would still like more (swimmers to come out).

Azura Florida Aquatics successfully defended its Winter Champs team titles in combined (1,390 points) and men’s (908.5 points), while Pine Crest defended its girls’ title (701.5 points). The Pompano Beach Piranhas placed 11th overall with 306 points and eighth in the men’s competition with 237 points.

Other top performers for Pompano included Lilia Blanco (6th in the Girls 10-Under 200-free; 5th in the 200-IM; 6th in the 100-free) and Marcus Sazbo (10th in the 10-Under 50-free; 8th in the 200-IM; 9th in the 50-fly; 9th in the 100-free).

Emilio Barrantes, 13, was ninth in the Boys 13-14 500-free; 7th in the 1,650-free; sixth in the 13-14 100-fly; ninth in the 200-free; Alex Marquez, 14, was 10th in the Boys 13-14 500-free; 10th in the 1,650-free; fifth in the 200-back; eighth in the 100-back; Jake Schulte, 12, was fifth in the Boys 11-12 500-free; sixth in the 200-IM; third in the 200-fly; third in the 400-IM; Shane Schulte, 15, was 10th in the Boys 15-16 100-breast; Summer Schulte, 13, was seventh in the Girls 13-14 50-free, 10th in the 50-back; 10th in the 100-back; Kelly Gest, 17, was 10th in the Women’s 50-breast; was sixth in the 200-free; and Alicja Zielinski, 16, was sixth in the Girls 15-16 50-breast.

Pompano Beach had several teams in the top 10 in the relays, including the Women’s 200-free relay (Summer Schulte, Adriana Rodriguez, Alicja Zielinski, Kelly Gest), which placed seventh; the same group made up the 200-medley relay that placed sixth; the Women’s 400-free relay (composed of Alicja Zielinski, Summer Schulte, Brooke Gest, Kelly Gest) was seventh; the Women’s 400-medley relay (composed of Summer Schulte, Mia Marquez, Alicja Zielinski, Kelly Gest) placed sixth.

The Boys 13-14 200-free relay (Emilio Barrantes, Paul Spada, Alex Marquez, Raphael Santos) placed fifth; and the same group made up the eighth place team in the 13-14 200-medley relay.

The men’s 200-medley relay composed of Tyler Zuyus, Alejandro Quinones, Kelly Schulte and Taylor Barton took ninth; the Men’s 400-free relay composed of Kelly Schulte, Shane Schulte, Taylor Barton and Tyler Zuyus took seventh; and the men’s 400-medley team (Tyler Zuyus, Raphael Santos, Kelly Schulte, Taylor Barton took ninth.

Meet Director Jimmy Parmenter, who is also the head coach of the host Plantation Swim team, said there were a little more than 1,100 competitors in the meet.

This has probably been the best one yet,” Parmenter said. “We are trying to put on a good show for the kids. That’s what it is all about.”

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Railroad construction extended on Hillsboro Blvd.

Posted on 20 December 2016 by JLusk

The construction that has closed down Hillsboro Blvd. in front of the railroad tracks near Dixie was supposed to end on Dec. 21 but now has been extended until Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. They are working on the tracks for the Brightline passenger rail service.

For more information on the future road closures and a map of traffic detours in the area, please visit http://allaboardflorida.com/construction/grade-crossings.

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