Local skaters compete in South Atlantic Regionals

Posted on 19 October 2016 by LeslieM

sports102016By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Arianna Varvoutis and Deerfield Beach’s Lucas Altieri recently returned home after competing in the South Atlantic Regional Figure Skating Championships at the Ashburn Ice House in Ashburn, VA.

Varvoutis, 13, a 7th grader at Pine Crest in Fort Lauderdale, has skated since she was 7. Her friend had a birthday party and Varvoutis was hooked. She was one of 30 members of the Panthers Figure Skating Club based at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs that competed in the event.

I immediately fell in love with (figure skating),” she said. “It was so much fun. I kept going to practices and group classes and started competing.

It is really fun now,” added Varvoutis, who finished 11th in the Juvenile Girls Group E Division at the competition with a 41.97 score. “I am competitive, so when I go to compete I get nervous, but once I get on the ice I think in my head, ‘put on a show and the judges will give you as many points as they can.’”

Skating is a special place for Varvoutis.

It is a feeling of happiness,” she said. “You get away from school, your parents telling you to do your homework and other family members (a younger brother, two turtles and a cat). I am the one that has to take care of them (pets).”

It is the greatest thing,” Varvoutis continued. “It is my calm zone where I can get away and be happy.”

This was her second trip to regionals. Her goal was to get above 43 and make it to the final round. This is her second straight trip to compete in the Juvenile Division.

Last year, I wasn’t the best,” but this year I have accomplished so much more,” she said. “My double Lutz, my double flip, and my double-double. I think I am going to do great.”

Altieri and fellow Panthers Figure Skating Club member Sophia Chouinard recently returned from the 2016 Novice and Junior Challenge Skate, which took place in Salt Lake City, Utah. The invitation-only competition was based on the International scoring system.

It was huge for them to get the exposure and go,” said Nancy Mariani, the Director of Skating Development at the IceDen. Altieri skated to a fourth place finish with a 39.87 short program and 77.06 long that resulted in a 117.69 total. Chouinard was 11th overall with a 33.13 short; 63.46 long, and 96.59 total.

Altieri, 15, a freshman at North Broward Prep, is in his fifth year skating. He said the trip to Utah wasn’t really different from most competitions.

The altitude made it harder to skate,” he said. “I got to experience that. I did okay at that competition by finishing fourth with my new program.”

It was a good year for Altieri last year and he is hoping for bigger and better things this year.

It was pretty good, but what I get nervous about is that I won’t improve as much as last year,” he said. “Last year, I got like two or three new jumps and this year I have one or two, but I am trying a triple-triple, which is a really hard combination.

After a previous best finish of fifth at regionals, Altieri won a Pewter medal at the nationals in the Intermediate Division. This year he is competing in the Novice Division. Not only has he grown on the ice, he also experienced a growth spurt adding five inches to his now, 5-foot, 8-inch frame.

Not much has changed for him as his goal is to return to nationals this year. He placed second at the regional event in the Novice Men with a 94.03 score.

I want to try and do the same as last year and win a medal at nationals,” Altieri said. “I would rather do well at nationals than at a smaller competition. The difference this year is there are new competitors and the judging is a little bit different in Novice. I have to focus more on my edges and my footwork. I want to compete in the Olympics, but that is far away.

Lucas is one of those skaters that just appears to be even,” Mariani said. “Some kids might be doing things that might be harder, but when you put all of his stuff together, it equals magic and that is why he does so well.”

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Tabz 4 Charity: LHP’s Lexi Masciarella gives back

Posted on 14 October 2016 by LeslieM

tabz101316By Rachel Galvin

Lexi Masciarella first started collecting pop tabs in 2nd grade when students at her school were collecting them to donate proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House. In 5th grade, this North Broward Preparatory student became the head of collection of pop tabs from her class and proceeded to ask her neighbors, grandmother’s bowling team, anyone who could collect them to help her in her quest to get the most pop tabs. She ended up filling a 50 gallon drum with what she had collected.

I wheeled the drum into the auditorium and spoke at the assembly. I was interviewed by Channel 7. It was great.”

When she asked her mom how much money that was raised from them, she was told $80. “That’s not enough,” she thought, only $80 for all of her efforts. She knew she had to find a way to make more money for the cause.

I became enthralled with collecting them and how you could help someone so easily,” she said.

A couple of months later, she came up with the idea of the bracelets, which she sold at a 6th grade charity fair. She made $100 and was sold out within the hour. Seeing that making $100 an hour was much better than her earlier endeavor, she figured out she was onto something.

The bracelets at first were unable to be adjusted and were sharp and could cut people so she proceeded to make some modifications. She began getting demands for certain colors and types, and added charms and beads, completely transforming them into something new.

Now, five years later, this now 16-year-old has raised $10,000 so far. She has worked with organizations like Deerfield Beach’s Zonta International, which gave her a Rising Star Award, as well as Brandeis University and the JCC in Boca Raton.

She recently was at Zonta’s Festi-Fall at St. Ambrose Catholic Church. Next, she will be at Westminster Academy in Ft. Lauderdale on Nov. 4-5 for their Christmas Boutique.

During Hurricane Matthew, I was making pop tab bracelets,” said Masciarella, who started a non-profit organization for her cause called Tabz 4 Charity.

It takes me about 30 minutes to make, including cleaning the tabs, filing them down, putting them together with charms. It is like second nature now,” she said.

She not only gives to Ronald McDonald House, which provides a “home away from home” for families of sick children so they can stay together during the illness, but also other charities who approach her. She may give 60 percent to Ronald McDonald House and 40 percent to the other charity, like to help Susan G. Komen, for example.

The Ronald McDonald House is important to me,” she said. “In 5th grade, I went to the house [to see how the money was used] and I met a little boy named Rahiem. He was 5 years old and had Leukemia but you would never have guessed. He had the biggest smile and the most energy. He was the sweetest boy. I was probably 10. He was always there with his mom and brother. We became super close. He changed my life.”

She learned a lot more about strength from witnessing it firsthand as she watched his mom and brother. Unfortunately, after being in remission and moving back home, he ended up passing away recently, but she will carry on his story forever and remains close with his family.

Talk about having a different point of view on the world. Through knowing him and his family, I got to know strength and compassion,” she said.

Masciarella is president of the Ronald McDonald House at her school and continues to sell bracelets for the charity. She currently has 150 made and ready to sell. Her mom says they are all over the house, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

I think it’s great. I am inspired by her. When she came and showed me the bracelet at first, I thought this is great. The more she kept doing and creating, she was thinking outside the box. I thought, ‘How smart.’ She has come so far. If we all did our little thing [to give back], how great things would be in the world. Lexi was inspired to do for someone else. It has become bigger than she even anticipated.”

For more information, visit www.tabz4charity.com.

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Cancer Grads Share their stories

Posted on 14 October 2016 by LeslieM

grads101316By Rachel Galvin

Cancer comrades Aniela McGuinness and Nora McMahon didn’t resonate with the idea of being a “survivor” of Cancer. In an effort to find a term that better fit how they felt, they chose Cancer Grad and their website www.CancerGrad.org was born. Aniela, who made it through Breast Cancer, and Nora, who went through Ovarian Cancer share their stories and give important information on their site.


Before this, Aniela recorded the entire process of her Cancer from the very beginning on her YouTube site – MyBreastChoice. Her mother had Breast Cancer at age 46, and at 63 she died from Ovarian Cancer. She had the BRCA1 gene mutation so Aniela decided to get tested too and, at 25, found out that she also had it. With that knowledge, she got checked every six months with a Mammogram and then a breast MRI with the plan of getting her breasts and ovaries removed by 35 (much like Angelina Jolie).

Being a model and actress, and always wanting to educate people, she decided to document her journey as she planned to have her operations performed. While filming one of her episodes of My Breast Choice, she discovered “live” on camera that she actually had Breast Cancer (Stage 1). That was two years ago on Sept. 30. She was 31 years old. The raw video is heartbreaking to watch.

The story of her diagnosis, the procedures that followed and her rollercoaster of emotions was written down and transformed (with the help of co-director/ director Tony Rivera) into a one woman show called I Don’t Have Cancer, which she performed in several locations, including Boca Raton.

She shared every step of the process through her videos, including waking up after surgery, discovering fashions that are more comfortable after surgery and how to make her own drain bag holder. She talks straight about the process, the ups and downs, what worked and didn’t work for her, and how she conquered Cancer with laughter and love.

Aniela had a skin-sparing double mastectomy and 12 sessions of chemotherapy (four sessions of Adriamycin/Cytoxan and nine session of Taxol). She didn’t have to do radiation because she chose to give up her nipples. Afterward, she decided to get a complete hysterectomy as well, just in case.

My doctors and I chose a very extreme course of action. Most people would do much less, but with my age and family history I didn’t want to risk it,” she said.

You might recognize Aniela. She is in the Autonation, Think Pink, commercial, which is currently running on TV.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now is the time to go get a mammogram!


Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Nora was very active. She was a three-time marathon finisher and raised money for organizations like the American Cancer Society, Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s oncology department. She was a semi-professional dancer, held a green cord in capoeira, and participated in sports like track and field, volleyball, swimming, softball and basketball, and others.

Then, at 39, she started noticing symptoms. She was tired all the time. She blamed it on her new job. Her lower abdomen felt bloated with pressure and she was constantly running to the bathroom. Eventually, she got it checked out and the doctor noticed something was wrong. She had two ultrasounds – a regular and a vaginal ultrasound and found she had two large masses. One was the size of a grapefruit. The other was the size of a volleyball. When she had major surgery to have them removed, they discovered she had Stage 1C3 Ovarian Cancer. Luckily, it was still confined to the ovaries. She underwent four months of chemotherapy.

Pap Smears do not detect Ovarian Cancer,” she said, encouraging people to get a CA-125 blood test, which is part of the process toward diagnosis.

She lists some of the risk factors for getting Ovarian Cancer as women who have never had children, never have used oral contraception, have had children after the age of 30, have the BRCA1 gene, or have had certain other types of cancer and medical issues. Nora thinks her risk factor may have been from her having Endometriosis. Her mother also dealt with Cancer in her eye. She knows there is always a chance the Cancer could come back.

She suggests visiting www.ovariancancer.org for additional information, as well as looking at www.Gilda’sClubSouthFlorida.org. Gilda Radner, an actress and comedienne known from Saturday Night Live, lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer in 1989. September was Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Check out Cancer Grad to see more about these two inspiring and strong women and find out more information about their journies. Visit www.CancerGrad.org or email them with any questions at info@cancergrad.org.

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Caro scores TD, lifts Panthers

Posted on 05 October 2016 by LeslieM

sports100616By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Sofia Caro can cross one thing off her sports bucket list.

The 17-year-old senior at Pine Crest scored her first varsity touchdown as the Panthers defeated visiting St. Andrew’s School, 28-8, in front of a raucous homecoming crowd at Best Field in Fort Lauderdale.

I can’t really describe how I’m feeling,” said Caro, who scored on a fourth quarter, 2-yard run to seal the game. “All I can say is that I haven’t stopped smiling since … There’s nothing like it!”

Taking the handoff, Caro followed senior fullback Arjun Sandhu and junior offensive guard Robbie Fatovic 2 yards into the end zone.

It was an amazing feeling,” Caro said. “My teammates, Arjun and Robbie (and others), cleared the way on the right side of the line. I spotted grass and hit the hole.”

Caro, who sports a 4.72 GPA in the classroom, also won the Clara Coleman Prize at her school last year which goes out to the rising senior who demonstrates versatility and merit as a scholar and student at Pine Crest School. Caro is a three-sport star at Pine Crest where she also excels in lacrosse and weightlifting.

As a sophomore, she was the only Broward competitor to make it to states in girls’ weightlifting placing 17th in her 139-pound weight class and last spring she was an all-county selection in lacrosse.

Caro, who played on JV for two seasons and took last year off to concentrate on lacrosse, is happy to be back. The 5-ft., 6 in., 140 lb. tailback said she had two goals. One was to score a touchdown, and the second was to win a championship with the football team. She can cross one of those off her list.

Pine Crest coach Troy Harrison said it was a special moment.

She did a great job of following her lead blocker, finding the hole and crossing the goal line,” Harrison said. “The crowd went crazy, the team went crazy.”

Hearing the announcer call her name on Friday nights gets her pumped. The cheers from the crowd are reminiscent of the 1993 movie, Rudy, about a walk-on player at the University of Notre Dame.

I’m on top of the world,” said Caro, who also plays linebacker in defense. “Hearing your name called is something special and it is something I haven’t really experienced in any other sport that I have played.”

Caro is the second female football player to play varsity football at Pine Crest. The other, Anna Lakovitch, was a placekicker and soccer star at the school from 1995-98 and attended Harvard University. South Plantation’s Erin DiMeglio became the first female quarterback in Florida high school history to play in a game in 2012.

Pine Crest, which won for the fourth consecutive week and improved to 4-1, faces King’s Academy in West Palm Beach this week.

Bucks roll again; top Taravella, 61-0

Deerfield Beach must enjoy the turf at Coral Springs High School as for the second consecutive week it rolled to a shutout victory over a District 11-8A foe.

Deerfield, which improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in District 11-8A, scored nine touchdowns and wrapped up the game in the first half as it cruised past Taravella, 61-0, last Thursday night. The team defeated Coral Springs at James Caldwell Field the previous week, 30-0.

Bucks senior quarterback Nick Holm returned from a concussion after sitting out the win over the Colts and threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns, including a 65-yard pass to junior receiver Cornelius McCoy on the game’s first play from scrimmage.

Holm also completed a 14-yard scoring pass to senior Jerry Jeudy and a 6-yarder to senior Leroy Henley. Backup QB Alec Brown, who threw for three TDs in the victory over Coral Springs filling in for Holm, picked up where he left off and passed for 146 yards and two TDs.

Junior tailback Jakari Norwood rushed for 87 yards on eight carries and three TDs, while senior Lafleur Limprevil tacked on 95 yards rushing.

The point total was two short of the team record for Deerfield, which leads in the season series between the two teams, 23-6.

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South Florida under Hurricane Warning

Posted on 03 October 2016 by JLusk

034341w5_nl_smBy Rachel Galvin

We’ve all been watching Hurricane Matthew as it barrels down on areas like Haiti and Cuba but now it has headed toward South Florida. The question is will it make impact as a Hurricane in the Sunshine State? At first there was some uncertainty. The percentages slowly increased but nothing was set in stone. But now we are under a Hurricane Warning, which means that wind speeds of 74 mph or higher are possible. It is a Category 4 storm at this time, which could change, which on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale equals 130-156 mph winds. This means that “well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.” However, the storm is still at sea and, at this time, is not hitting us directly, so we may have wind closer to a tropical storm or possibly with Hurricane force gusts. But the storm has kept inching west. Will it come closer to the shoreline? We don’t know yet.

People have been rushing out to stock up on water and do other things to complete their Hurricane Preparedness check list. With memories of Hurricanes like Wilma on their mind, they wanted to make sure they were as prepared as possible. In that vein, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Florida. He said that the hurricane must be taken seriously and if it directly impacts the state, we could see massive destruction unseen since Hurricane Andrew.

Deerfield Beach is also getting ready, adding information on their website (www.deerfield-beach.com), including important numbers to call and encouraging people to sign up for Code Red (under Residents, under Register For) and stay close to social media. They also have a Hurricane Guide online.

As of press time, Rebecca Medina-Stewart, who does Public Relations for the city, said, “We are taking this storm seriously and prepping as if it’s coming our way. We expect flooding and plenty of debris to be cleaned up once Matthew is gone. Our staff is on alert and ready to respond if and when the call comes.  We cannot stress enough that everyone should prepare for this.”

She added that they should know by 11 a.m. Wednesday whether the Emergency Operation Center locally will be activated. If there are evacuations, systems like Code Red would be a good way to stay informed – she is encouraging residents to sign up.

Florida Power & Light has also been preparing for possible outages. Their phone number to report an outage is 1-800-468-8243 (1-800-4-outage).

As of now, Broward County Schools are closed on Thursday and Friday, but this could change.

For tips on dealing with a hurricane, also check out The Observer’s Hurricane section online at www.observernewspaperonline.com. We also will be posting updates as we get them on our website homepage.

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Authors and Autographs

Posted on 01 October 2016 by LeslieM

authorsBy Rachel Galvin

Although the Butler House’s book event on Sept. 25 was cut short by the morning downpour, authors had the chance to mingle with each other, and trade books and stories. The Woman’s Club and Deerfield Historical Society volunteers sold hot dogs and hamburgers, and tours of the Butler House were given.

Delores M. Walters had the chance to chat with some of those who had gathered about her book Gendered Resistance: Women, Slavery and the Legacy of Margaret Garner, which follows the life of Margaret Garner, a pre-Civil War slave who killed her 2-year-old daughter rather than having her subjected to slavery. Her story was turned into an opera and also a novel called Beloved by Toni Morrison, and later a film by the same name starring Oprah Winfrey. www.deloresmwalters.net.

M.C.V. Egan spent 20 years researching for her book Bridge of Deaths (www.thebridgeofdeaths.com) about a 1939 plane crash before Hitler invaded Poland. She has a personal connection to the story. Her grandfather was on that plane. Besides historical details, she obtained insight through a seemingly accurate psychic and the story is told from 2010 looking back at details through past-life regression. This was just one book she had available.

I wrote the book in 2011,” said Egan. “I have been writing since I was a kid. I am originally from Mexico City, Mexico and wrote to my friends from Mexico about the United States. I honed my letter writing skills [which later led to writing the book]. I also studied in France and wrote letters from there.”

Carol White showed off certificates of various awards she has received, as well as her three books of contemporary fiction.

Like the other mentioned authors, she also traveled from Delray Beach www.AlexandraGoodwin.com. She sat with Alexandra Goodwin, who penned Exchange at the Boarder and another title. Both women are members of the National League of American Pen Women.

Deerfield Beach resident Andrew Jennings Dickerson was here for his third year. Besides his book Magnificent Questions, he is still looking for a producer for his Broadway musical www.TheMagnificentCompany.com.

Lisa Eva Gold came all the way from Palm Beach Gardens with a diverse array of books, including one on a teenager aging out of foster care, which focuses on mentorship and the importance of healthy relationships, books about chronic fatigue and mental breakdown, and books about learning to play the piano. www.justplayproduction.org.

She said of the event, “This is a wonderful approach to welcoming in the fall season in historical Deerfield Beach, and it brings together a collective diverse group of local Florida authors. ”

These are just a few of the authors at this event. There was also a used book sale and many people came inside the Kester Cottage to escape the rain and look at the historical items, or went into the Butler House for a tour.

Since it rained, the Historical Society is offering a chance for authors to get exposure by scheduling a time to be at the house during one of their Saturday Butler House tours, with two to three authors in each time slot. Look for those to be advertised before each event.

For more on the Butler House and its events, visit www.deerfieldbeachhistoricalsociety.com.

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Cafe Med

Posted on 29 September 2016 by LeslieM

cafemed092916By Rachel Galvin

Walk toward Deerfield’s ocean breezes, head down near the pier and into Cafe Med, a ristorante that is both elegant and welcoming.

We are an extension of your dining room,” said General Manager Diego Oppo, whose goal is to make the atmosphere classy but not stuffy.

The staff, from the managers to the waiter, is very hands-on and goes out of their way to make you feel at home.

Giving good service doesn’t cost any more,” added Diego, who makes sure the staff is well-trained. “The only thing we don’t change is the personality of the server.”

Personality abounds here as everyone is like one big family, most hailing from Italy to add an air of authenticity.

The restaurant, which was revamped in 2012, has a new chef, Lillo Teodosi, who was at Boca Raton’s Caruso Ristorante before this and worked in Chicago for 30 years before that. Teodosi is originally from Rome, Italy. He also lived in England for five years working on a cruise ship so he has learned international flavors.

When you hear these guys saying ‘I learned how to cook from my mama, don’t believe it. My mama kicked me out of the kitchen. Boys weren’t allowed. But I worked in restaurants since I was 9 years old. My mom wanted me out of the house,” he said.

What he brings to Cafe Med is not only authentic flavors but simple, light recipes. He loves seafood and has a wide array of steaks available. The meal begins with crispy bread and a choice of three sauces – an olive tapenade, a red bell pepper sauce and a chimichurri sauce. Then, have one of their appetizers, everything from fried calamari to grilled octopus. As for entrees, one of their most popular items is their hog snapper. Lighter than a mahi mahi, it comes with mashed potatoes, asparagus and lemon caper berries. The hog snapper is so popular that a restriction has been placed on fishing for them, making them even rarer. Here you can find fresh seafood salad or figs and prosciutto with goat cheese – both light entries perfect for a hot day. For something more filling, try the Farrotto al Tartufo, farro made risotto style with black truffles, Porcini mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and Parmigiano. It is rich, wonderful and satisfying. Farro is an ancient grain, similar to barley, and is packed with protein.

All of his dishes leave you not feeling super full. His fettuccine Alfredo is so light with more cheese and less cream,” said Oppo, who said many of the chef’s dishes take him back to his own childhood.

Pair whatever selection you choose with one of their many varietals of wine, like their light but dry Savu rosé, or get a mixed drink whipped up by the mixologist using fresh herbs. Make sure to end the evening with one of the chef’s homemade desserts, including a melt-in-your-mouth tiramisu, as well as crème brulee, key lime cake, ricotta cheesecake and more.

They also have breakfast available from 7 to 11 a.m. (12 p.m. on weekends). They have everything from omelettes and Eggs Benedict to waffles, pancakes, French toast, Monte Cristo, smoked salmon on a bagel and more. One of their most popular is the lobster omelette or lobster wrap. When breakfast is through, they close for four hours and re-open for dinner.

Listen to live music every night and sit inside or outside on the patio. They also host private events like rehearsal dinners, holiday parties, corporate dinners and more.

Café Med is located at 2096 NE 2 St. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-596-5840 or visit www.CafeMedDeerfield.com.

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Bucks roll to 30-0 district win

Posted on 29 September 2016 by LeslieM

sports092916By Gary Curreri

It is hard to believe after a 30-0 victory over a district foe that Deerfield Beach head football coach Jevon Glenn would be unhappy, but he was.

This wasn’t a good showing at all,” said Glenn, whose Bucks evened their record at 2-2 and opened District 11-8A play with a 1-0 record. Host Coral Springs, which entered the game undefeated in three games, fell to 3-1 and 0-1 in the district. “After our showing last week in Georgia and not [having] excitement and enthusiasm and be dominant tonight, it was really disappointing for me.”

The Bucks were coming off a 39-14 defeat against nationally-ranked Grayson (Georgia) last week. Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn said his team needed the win. Starting quarterback Nick Holm suffered a concussion in that game and was cleared to play; however, Glenn held him out as a precaution.

Backup quarterback Alec Brown filled in nicely as he threw three touchdown passes – two to Jerry Jeudy covering 4 and 57 yards and a 5-yarder to Leroy Henley. Broward had 160 yards passing for the evening.

Jakari Norwood, who finished the contest with 103 yards, added a 55-yard TD run and Ledin Rivera added a 34-yard field goal in the win for the Bucks.

We won the game,” Glenn said. “Alec did manage the game. The guys didn’t play well around him and he (Brown) did have to fight through some things. He didn’t get the support that really enabled him to show his skills.”

We are a work in progress and I think we are nowhere as good as we will be at the end of the year,” Glenn continued. “People say it is better to win ugly, than lose pretty, but I am disappointed. It wasn’t a good showing.”

Highlands picks up first win

After opening the season with a 14-0 loss to Jupiter Christian, Highlands Christian Academy recorded a 26-12 win over Scheck Hillel Community School. The team dropped a 43-6 decision to St. John Paul II Academy last week.

Knights first-year head coach Josh Harris, who will lead the Knights on Friday in a game against at Palmer Trinity at 4 p.m., has drawn praise from HCA Athletic Director Jim Good. The team is 1-2 overall, but 1-0 in the IFC (Independent Football Conference).

The IFC consists of Highlands Christian, Hillel, Palmer Trinity, Pine Crest Prep and Palm Glades. The Knights finished 2-6 last year and made the playoffs as the No. 4 seed. However, the goal this year is to be competing for the championship title.

Coach Harris is the right man for the job,” Good said. “I’m so grateful and thankful for him, his testimony for the Lord, and his time and commitment. Josh is a full time teacher at Somerset Canyons up in Boynton Beach and sacrifices a lot of time to be here for practices and games. He brings energy, passion and excitement along with organization, structure and discipline. “

In the win over Scheck Hillel, eighth grader running back Christian Opalaky led the team in rushing and had three touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Justin Corn found fellow sophomore Titus Baags, a tight end, for an 18-yard scoring pass in the fourth quarter that sealed the win for the Knights.

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Nilsson brings home JGA’s biggest prize

Posted on 22 September 2016 by LeslieM

sports092216By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach’s Isak Nilsson called playing on some of the top courses in Broward County every Monday “marvelous.”

He was “marvelous” himself as he finished off his junior golf career with the Junior Golf Association (JGA) of Broward County by winning the prestigious Julius Boros Trophy for having the lowest stroke average for boys for the year.

The 18-year-old freshman at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) averaged 74.6 for the summer competition and was recently presented with the trophy, a large silver bowl donated to the Junior Golf Association of Broward by the late golfing great, Julius Boros.

It was really cool because I am really close with the whole Boros family,” said Nilsson, who also won a four-year grant (McKinney Scholarship) from the JGA. He is majoring in biology.

Ever since I started playing in the JGA when I was 12 as a little kid, I always saw the big trophy being awarded to the big kids and that was something I always wanted to get.”

Being paired with friends every week and being able to play on such a great course was also something I will always remember,” Nilsson added. “It was such a close-knit group.”

Nilsson averaged in the 80s last year; however, he honed his game this year and brought home the coveted prize. He started in Boys D and moved to the Championship Flight three years ago. After the final round of the three-day tournament, Julius Boros III approached Nilsson and asked what he shot.

He had it all calculated and said, ‘Oh, you got me by two strokes,’” Nilsson said. “Winning the trophy makes me want to strive for more obviously. It’s a good feeling and it makes me want to keep practicing and keep playing. It makes me want to try and go to the next step.”

He is sitting out this season at FAU, but hopes to play for the golf team next season. Nilsson said his game really took off last year.

It all started with high school last year,” said Nilsson, a 2016 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School. “I was medalist at regionals and then in the summer in the JGA, I put in a lot of practice and effort … I practiced day and night and I had a really good season and it carried over to this summer.”

What will he remember most?

There are a lot of good players that are good friends, and it is always fun to get paired up in the final group and go head-to-head … it is a good atmosphere,” he said. “The bad thing about it now is I am not a junior (golfer) anymore and can’t play all of these great tournaments for such a low price. Junior golf is a great deal.”

Nilsson said the quality of golf in South Florida is high.

South Florida (golf), even at the amateur level, is pretty difficult because that’s where the top golfers are,” Nilsson said. “I have a lot of friends that play in events in the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) up north because the fields are smaller. They don’t play in Florida because the tournaments are immensely challenging.”

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The Demise of the Packer Rattlers

Posted on 22 September 2016 by LeslieM

In last week’s paper, the “city” gave their side of the story on the issue of the McDougle Foundation being given the contract for football in the city over the longtime Packer Rattlers, saying that is “the end of the story.” However, at Tuesday’s commission meeting, it was referenced again (see Pg. 1 of The Observer, Sept. 22 issue) when the commission decided to vote to censure the mayor based on some things she said at the previous meeting when she had brought up the issue again on the agenda. Well, the mayor does have a response to this issue. She handed out 100 flyers at Tuesday’s commission meeting, she said, outlining the history of the issue as she sees it, as well as a response to the controversy surrounding it. Here is the flyer in its entirety. (This is Mayor Robb’s opinion on the issue).

The Demise of the Packer Rattlers

By Mayor Jean Robb

On March 24, Kara Petty, director of Parks and Recreation, presented a proposal from the McDougle Foundation to partner with the city to implement the Firstability youth sports program. This was similar to a proposal made to then Commissioner Ben Preston and rejected by him since the proposal outlined taking over the existing Packer Rattler program. When I asked the manager how the city got involved with McDougle Foundation, he said it was upon the proposal made by Commissioner Preston. Preston vigorously denies that allegation and points to the fact that it was never raised while he was a commissioner. Commissioner Preston told me that when the McDougles approached him, he was aware that they intended to absorb the Packer Rattles, and he knew that was not acceptable for the people in District 2 that he represented. So he told them he could not go along with what they proposed. Consequently, it never was brought before the commission while Preston as in office.

It was pointed out to the commission that the it would be saving $43,500 since it would no longer be providing funding for The Raiders or the Packer Rattlers. That should have raised a red flag as to the elimination of financial support in the future for the Packer Rattlers. Instead both the city manager and Commissioner Battle lied to the audience and to the commission claiming that such an arrangement would in no way affect the Packer Rattlers.

Then four of the commissioners voted to give the McDougle Foundation all of the fields in the city thereby leaving the Packer Rattlers with no place to practice or play.

Resolution 2016-061 presented to the commission and passed with the mayor dissenting claimed that the funding of $45,000 for the initial year of the contract would be utilized to jump start quality football and cheering programs and offset first year costs of equipment and uniforms. Was there ever a resolution passed by the commission claiming that all of the necessary expenses would be paid by the city? I think not.

Why then did the city expend $45,463.58 or public relations and equipment purchased for the Bison without the approval of the commission, who had been sold a bill of goods? Total cost with the $45,000 grant amounts to $90,463.58. Where is the savings for the city? I never got the total cost figures from the Parks and Recreation Department. They kept telling me there were no new expenses when I was asking for a total the city had spent on public relations and equipment from when the day the contract was signed.

I also asked who was collecting the registration fees that were being paid to join the Bison teams? No answer from them. Since the manager had told me that the money was coming out of the Aquatic’s budget, I had to get the Finance Director to run me a complete history of the monies paid out of that account. That was how I was able to ascertain at the very least the 45,463.58 in expenditures. But it would take a collection of all of the invoices paid by the city for all of the city expenditures for the Bison Team to determine the exact amount … And I still have not learned who collected the fees for the registration of the football players and the cheerleaders for the Bison Squad. How much did it amount to and where is it?

To add insult to injury, the staff made sure that anyone who the DPR [the Packer Rattlers] approached for a possible site were intimidated into saying no. The DPR finally ended up signing a contract with Zion Lutheran because they had become a charter school and they were not planning to field their own football team. After the first home Game, when it was obvious that the parking for the number of fans attending was inadequate, that’s when the mayor placed item 21 on Sept. 6 on the agenda begging for just one field for the Packer Rattlers to play their home games on. It was obvious that the commission was told not to respond or second the motion, which would have allowed the parents to speak. Those parents and children who had sat through the first two hours of the meeting were not to be heard, and the four commissioners did not care. The city retaliated by demanding a special events permit with the staff member telling them that without it, they would not be able to play football in Deerfield Beach.

This is the frustration I was faced with when I said the following: “______why don’t you ever support your constituents?” The blank is my taking the Lord’s name in vain. I apologize, but the forgiveness comes not from this commission but from a higher power. I think it is necessary to let the people know what the Packer Rattlers have had to endure but they were still able to enroll 276 football players and 100 cheerleaders. Does that sound like they are going away?

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