Dr. Julia Breur

Posted on 28 April 2016 by LeslieM

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Sleuthfest 2016

Posted on 06 March 2016 by LeslieM

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Author C.J. Box signs autographed books.

By Karen Newcombe

The Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (MWA) held their annual conference “Sleuthfest” in Deerfield Beach last week, at the Doubletree by Hilton, from Thursday through Sunday.

The MWA is the leading association for professional writers of crime fiction and non-fiction. The conference focuses on technical topics for writers, and brings national A-list authors, editors and literary agents to speak and work with participants. Professionals in the criminal justice field conduct workshops on procedures and technical aspects of crime solving, the law and other factors important to the crime writer.

This year, New York Times best-selling author C.J. Box, whose 18 books include the popular Joe Pickett series, was the keynote speaker at the Saturday luncheon. Box spoke about his life in Wyoming and the growth of his writing career. His experience as the owner of a marketing firm and as a journalist “working every aspect of a small, community newspaper” helped him develop the skills needed to become a successful author. Box is known for combining authentic details of Western life into his masterfully-plotted novels. Box’s newest Joe Pickett mystery, Off the Grid, will be available on March 8.

Other keynote speakers included P.J. Parrish – the pen name of sisters and co-authors Kristy Montee (a Ft. Lauderdale resident) and Kelly Nichols – former CIA operative Valerie Plame, and John Hartnett of Jack Farrell and Associates, a talent recruiting agency for the publishing and media industry.

Mystery Writers of America

Victoria Landis, the co-chair of Sleuthfest, told The Observer that about 250 attendees were at the conference from all over the United States, Canada, and even from Ireland and Spain.

The Florida Chapter of MWA is one of the most active in the country,” Landis said. “The MWA has 11 regions. Membership is $115 per year, and is open to professional writers who are paid by an approved publisher for their work.”

The MWA board reviews all applications and writers must meet other criteria as well; for example, self-publication does not qualify. An Associate Membership category is open to publishing agents, journalists, filmmakers and others in related fields.

Our focus at the conference is to offer support to writers at all career levels. We have workshops for new writers, those in mid-career and those who are already successful but want to learn how to move up to the next level.”

Writers attending the conference could schedule time to meet with literary agents and editors, including Neil Nyren, the well-known editor-in-chief of G.P. Putnam’s Sons division of Penguin Random House; Anne Speyer, editor at Ballentine Books; Kirsten Carleton, literary agent at The Prospect Agency, and many others.

For information about joining the MWA, visit www.mysterywriters.org, or for upcoming meetings of the Florida chapter, www.mwaflorida.org.

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JAWorld Uncorked

Posted on 05 February 2016 by LeslieM

collage1By Rachel Galvin

Lines of food options and a bevy of spirit selections awaited those who attended JA World Uncorked! Jan. 23. The event takes over the JA World Huizenga Center on the Broward College campus yearly to benefit Junior Achievement of South Florida, which teaches students of all levels about business, economics and about issues they will face in the workforce in an interactive way. This year’s event featured models , live entertainment by the EDGE band, raffles and prizes. People could even commemorate the occasion at Stache’s photo booth.

The event was chaired by Circle of Wise Women members Lynne McGrath and Taylor McGrath with honorary chairs Bob & Susan Drinon and Renée Korbel Quinn. Breakthru Beverage Florida returned as presenting sponsor.c2

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Watch the Boat Parade LIVE on ObserverTV

Posted on 11 December 2015 by LeslieM

Tune in this Sunday evening, December 13th to watch the Pompano Beach Boat Parade LIVE on ObserverTV!

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Digging STOPPED – on old burial ground

Posted on 17 September 2015 by JLusk

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By Diane Emeott

Evidence of 20 more coffins or graves has been found during the month of August on the Old Burial Ground property in Deerfield, according to Archaeologist Bob Carr of Archaeological and Historical Conservancy (AHC) on Monday.

“We didn’t find any additional human remains because we were not digging deep enough to uncover human remains.

“When we would see evidence of graves or coffins, we would stop and record the site, then move on to another location,” he explained.

“I think there were 20 coffin or grave stains – in addition to the other two – for a total of 22,” he said.

On June 5, skull fragments and coffin hardware were discovered while testing the 63rd anomaly. On July 15, leg bone fragments were also found at the site.

Carr said it will take at least a couple of weeks to compile a report that will be sent to State about the findings.

He said he expects the report to be sent by mid October.

FROM COMMISSION MTG.

Attorney Dwayne Dickerson, on behalf of property owner Rob Kassab, announced Sept. 9 that archaeological digging was being suspended on 3.1 acres of a 5.85-gross-acre parcel of land — slated for development by D.R. Horton into 69 high quality, two-story town homes to be called Village Park.

The owner voluntarily and temporarily suspended the archaeological survey on Sept. 10 in order to work with the City of Deerfield Beach to explore options for the State to purchase the land and turn it back over to the City — which could than provide an opportunity for creation of a park or memorial, according to Todd Templin of Boardroom P.R. on Tuesday.

At the commission meeting, District 2 City Commissioner Gloria Battle requested an item to be added to the agenda regarding what she called the “Old Minority Cemetery” at SE 2 Avenue and SE 5 Court.

“Most of you know I was very much against building on that property, and I still am against it,” Battle said.

Development can still occur outside the 3.1 acres where the Old Burial Ground was located.

“Development will move forward on the remaining 2.7 acres of Mr. Kassab’s land,” said Templin.

“If the State agrees to buy the 3 acres, it’s not going to be developed,” said Mayor Jean Robb. “Could they also give it to the city, as well as the funds to maintain it?” she asked.

“We are doing this with the support of the city, the county and even members of the State Legislature,” said Dickerson.

“What if the State doesn’t see things our way? What then?” asked District 3 City Commissioner Richard Rosenzweig.

“Mr.Kassab is still the owner of the property. He has the right to develop it, if he chooses. However, we think this is an opportunity to make everyone as happy as possible,” said Dickerson.

Vice Mayor Bill Ganz said, “In my opinion, Mr. Kassab should donate this property to the city without seeking any money for it. “You shouldn’t develop it. I don’t want any taxpayer dollars going to recompense what was a bad business decision,” he said.

“Two faulty studies have come forward that have turned out to be ridiculous,” Ganz added — referring to a January 1986 study by Florida Atlantic University before Kassab purchased the property in March 1986, and a 2004-05 study by Archaeological and Historical Conservancy (AHC) for Deerfield Beach Historical Society.

AHC has also been conducting the 2015 archaeological survey, using the latest Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Since May 19, Advanced Archaeology, an independent firm hired by the city to oversee the project, has been monitoring the work of AHC.

Battle said, “I totally am in support of what the Vice Mayor said, but I am of a differing opinion. You all have been very forthright with the community,” she said to Dickerson. “I request that my fellow commissioners vote with me to direct the City Manager to explore funding to purchase the property.”

“We may not get this funding [funding from the State],” she added.

“Shouldn’t we wait for a decision from State before taking any action?” asked the Mayor.

“I feel they have a very valid case for going to State to give the city the money to purchase it and for maintenance,” she added later.

City Attorney Andy Maurodis reminded the commission, “Basically, we authorized a site plan for that property, which basically takes away our right to restrict development on it.”

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Bridging the Gap Cedric King inspires youth at Teen Center

Posted on 16 July 2015 by LeslieM

schools071615By Rachel Galvin

With a big smile, determined spirit and contagious sense of humor, Master Sergeant Cedric King told stories of his personal battles and how he has taken each challenge head-on and come out victorious. This recipient of a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal and other military accolades had his life come to a halt in 2012 when, during his second tour in Afghanistan, he was severely injured by an IED. This blast caused permanent loss to part of his right arm and hand and the amputation of both legs. This crushing blow could have been the end of his illustrious career, but he was determined to make a new path.

Just 21 months later, he completed the Boston marathon, running on prosthetic blades. He has gone on to compete in other marathons, Ironman Triathalons and more.

His inspirational dedication to success has led to him speaking to everyone from Fortune 500 company leaders to spending time with President Obama and the First Lady.

But despite his accolades, this North Carolina native remains humble at heart and took his time to travel here to Deerfield Beach on Friday to talk to kids at the local Teen Center, after being invited by John DiPrato.

The teens are part of a special program called Early Prevention Intervention, which started June 8 and runs through Aug. 7. The group meets daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and helps teach kids (ages 16 to 18) about possible job opportunities and career skills they will need. They mentor and train the kids, as well as take them on fun field trips.

Deputy Harold Morrison, who is a Community Liasion and started the program, said, “A few years ago, I came up with this [after seeing programs done by the state and thinking ‘why not do it here’]. Kids give up their summer to do this. We mentor them, teach them life skills. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, they have made a decision what they want to do for a career. We give them snacks, lunch, pick them up from their house and drop them off. We take them to Westside Park to play ball, go bowling, have cookouts with parents. Some parents want me to address certain things with the kids and I do.”

He interviews perspective participants thoroughly to make sure they are dedicated.

This is not about babysitting kids for the summer.” he said.

We meet with businesses, anywhere kids can get a job. We discuss what the difference is between working at a corporation vs. being self-employed. We go with them to tour colleges,” said DiPrato, Co-founder of Driver’s Alert, who helps to fund the program.

Students receive community service hours at high school for attending.

I think Deputy Morrison is amazing,” said Stephen Greenberger, Special Projects, BSO. “What he does to make a difference in kids’ lives … this program is huge. He should be commended. I came out to support this phenomenal program.”

King said speaking to these kids was the best time he has had in a long time.

This is what I live for. You are giving me a chance to be a kid again with my friends,” he said. “These kids are just like me. I was born in a poor part of North Carolina with the same disadvantages financially and mentally as they have. They could have been me. This could have been my community center.”

King added, “I wanted them to know the things I wish I would have known at 17. I bought into false pretenses, ideals. At 37, I can pick out where the false things were and share it with these guys.

I grew up in a trailer that is so far away from the Fountainbleu where I am staying now, the nicest hotel I have ever stayed in. I speak at conferences in front of rooms full of millionaires and don’t feel intimidated. [My] story bridges the gap. Everybody has had adversities rich,poor; black,white.”

He told the kids, “In America, what we consider as problems are blessings. In America, we are born with freedoms at day one. [Immigrants] are risking their lives to get into this place.

Be good at what you do and do that passionately. It will lead you to what you are supposed to do in life. Whatever you believe in, do that, believe in it. When you believe in something, the power becomes larger than the mountain in front of you. Maybe not on day one or day two, but consistently over time, you will dominate.

The mountain makes us humans look small as big as it is. You will not be able to stop it from being tall and long, but inside of you, you can generate the power to walk over it. More than anything, just be you. There is no other you on the planet. People can tell if you are not authentic. When you are the authentic version of yourself, those who really like you like you more and those who don’t will move to the side.”

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The Highwaymen

Posted on 28 March 2015 by JLusk

Story about the Highwaymen coming soon! Look in this week’s printed paper for now.

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Putting on the Ritz

Posted on 26 March 2015 by JLusk

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La Mystique dancers showed their moves.

Photos by Rachel Galvin

The Deerfield Chamber of Commerce transformed the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel for their Gatsby-themed gala March 21 — the biggest fundraiser of the year.

 Guests dressed to the nines. La Mystique dancers shimmied and shook on the dance floor, posing for pics. A cigarette girl strolled with candy. A long line of auction items were up for silent bid and a live auction was commandeered by Pompano Mayor Lamar Fisher ($25,000 worth of auction items in all).

Honey Bunch Florist, which created the feathered centerpieces, was one of the Big Shots honored, along with Seawood Builders, Bartell Chiropractic, Broward Health, Oceans 234, Bicycle Generation, Awards by Academy and JP Miller & Sons. Key Club students assisted.                  

Guests dined on three-course meal and danced the night away.

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Kiwanis Club enjoyed the evening.

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Jim “Chiefy” Mathie, author, columnist, host and lover of nautical views, and Danielle Williams, of Oceans 234.

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Commissioner Joe Miller and his wife Carolyn.

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Broward Health was among the honorees.

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Guests were all smiles as they enjoyed the evening, which included a three-course meal.

 

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Farm Heritage Days

Posted on 12 March 2015 by JLusk

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Antique tractors on display.

Farm Heritage

By Rachel Galvin

The historic Sample McDougald House in Pompano Beach was the perfect setting for a Farm Heritage event March 7 & 8 since the house was originally on a pineapple farm. Antique tractors from the ‘40s to ‘60s were on display. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo provided pony rides and a petting zoo. Inside was a thorough display showcasing Pompano’s rich farming roots, as well as old quilts, from as early as a century past. The Old Time Jammers also served up music “Hee Haw” style. Artist Pat Anderson was on-hand to demo her artwork. Guests could sit down with some BBQ or shaved ice.

Executive Director Dan Hobby said, “We started talking to some of the farm families and it turned into celebrating agriculture with exhibits showing farming history. Local produce brokers donated vegetables so we could sell them and raise money for the house. [This event] has a nice feel. Kids are out. It is starting out as a manageable event and we will allow it to grow.”

Fred Segal, of the Broward County Farm Bureau, continued, “Sample McDougald farm is an ideal location. I am hoping in future years it will continue.”

Wes Baker brought a tractor that belonged to his father, which was used to farm an orange grove.

He said, “It is amazing how few people really know farming in the area.”

“I think this is a great event. It’s nice to know about history of Pompano. We put several months into planning, borrowed pictures from the historical society, etc. It took about 12 hours to put it together,” said docent Laura Salerno about the indoor displays.

Board member Shirley Farris, whose father, R.V. Jones, was one of the farming pioneers pictured and written about on the display, said the quilts on display were donated. One was from as early as 1850. Many quilts were made from flour sacks.

“This is the first time we are doing this event,” she said. “This is a great start.”

Cherryl Cook, once a McDougald who grew up in the house, said, “I hope they make this an annual event so young people can celebrate farm life. So many families are going back to healthy eating, going to healthy stores, like Whole Foods. Farming has come full circle.”

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Rob Whitsett holds up a tiny pair of overalls that he wore as a child. They have been passed through his farming family through the years.

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Cherryl Cook and Laura Salerno.

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Petting zoo.

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Old quilts on display.

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Old Time Jammers play.

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Pony rides.

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Fresh vegetables for sale.

 

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Chazz Palminteri at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek Feb. 26

Posted on 19 February 2015 by JLusk

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By Rachel Galvin

Actor/ playwright Chazz Palminteri will be bringing stories from his own life to the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek Pavilion stage in his one man show “A Bronx Tale” on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. You may have seen the 1993 movie directed by Robert De Niro telling a tale of a father who becomes worried when a local gangster, Sonny, befriends his son Cologero in the Bronx in the 1960s. Palminteri, born Cologero, who plays Sonny in the movie, plays all 18 characters without props or a costume change in the show.

Palminteri wanted to be an actor since he was 10 or 11 years old and has found huge success, being seen in TV shows, as well as films like “Bullets Over Broadway,” “The Usual Suspects” and “A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints,” which he lists as some of his favorites, among others. But since 2007, he has also been touring with his show.

“In Broadway, there was a line of people waiting to see it again,” said Palminteri, who says it is a huge hit everywhere it goes.

He added, “My show is a great show. The characters are all archetypes. Alfred Hitchcock once said, ‘…a movie can make you laugh, make you cry, scare you … if you do two out of three, you are doing really good. [With the show], I do all three. If you loved the movie, you will love the show even more.”

Asked what he hopes people will walk away with after seeing the show, he said, “I hope they go home and hug their kids [and learn] don’t waste your life. Seize the day. My father said the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”

He added, “A lot of times, [the media] talks about the mafia. This is not about the mafia. This is about the butcher, the baker, about the working man, people like my dad, who was a bus driver, the fabric of the Italian American community.”

Palminteri was offered $1 million to step away from his script and he refused. He knew he had to be the one to do it.

“A lot of people talk about success,” he said. “You just have to do it.”

To find out more about his performance at the Seminole Casino, visit www.seminolecoconutcreekcasino.com/entertainment.

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