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Understanding Uber

Posted on 23 October 2015 by JimLusk

1)ChipbyUbercarDSC07823Taking a ride on Uber

By Diane Emeott

Tami Livnat Ruddy arrived at an event celebrating the first day back in business for Uber — transported by none other than an Uber driver.

After being shut down in Broward County since July 31, Uber resumed operations locally on Oct. 15. Two days earlier, on Oct. 13, Broward County Commission passed an ordinance expanding transportation options and protecting the public, 6-2. (County Commissioners Lois Wexler and Dale Holness voted against.)The ordinance represents a combination of different ideas by County Commissioners Mark Bogen and Chip LaMarca.

“Eight out of 9 commissioners voted on it. (Commissioner Barbara) Shareif was absent, so did not vote. The majority were in favor of it. We needed 5 votes to win,” LaMarca said at an event at Yolo last Thursday night.

LaMarca described it as “a long process, getting to this point.” He called the controversy surrounding Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) “a small speed bump in the road.”

The new ordinance now requires background checks of drivers by a third party that is subject to a county audit and inspection of records. It also requires inspection of any vehicle used for transporting the public to be done by a state-approved, ASE-certified mechanic.

“This is not about me. Not about the county commission. This is just about common sense, the free market, and people having an option to get a ride,” said LaMarca. “The bottom line is: People are safe. This is an efficient mode of transportation,” he continued, noting that there were no significant issues before, with Uber giving rides to the airport and seaport, while operating in Broward from August 2014 to July 2015.

“They [Uber] pulled out because of a legal injunction. They didn’t want to get into a lawsuit with the county,” LaMarca said.

Uber facts and statistics

There are more than a few thousand Uber driver-partners in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

The vast majority of these partners drive part-time (sometimes just a few hours a week), earning good money while scheduling around other work, family and life responsibilities.

To-date, Uber partners have provided well over 1 million safe, reliable rides in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

An Uber rider explains

Livnat Ruddy explained that Uber riders have their choice of three categories of cars for pick-up. Uber X is a standard car. Uber XL is an SUV, and Uber Select is a luxury vehicle or sports car.

Those wanting to use Uber for transport must first download an app onto their smartphone.

“They keep your credit card on file [for payment],” she explained.

On your phone, you set the pick-up location and request the type of Uber service you wish to use. Using GPS tracking, they send a signal to whichever drivers are in the area. Small cartoon-like bubbles appear on a map showing you how many drivers are nearby. When a driver picks up the call, a picture of the driver, their license number, and how many minutes away they are appears on your phone. You can either say “yes” to this driver, or wait for another one.

At 7:10 p.m. on Uber’s first night back in service, there were 10 cars near Yolo for each of 3 Uber categories – a total of about 30 cars.

“We are just really grateful that Uber is back! We’ve been active Uber users,” enthused Livnat Ruddy.

The taxi driver’s perspective

Professional taxi driver Wayne Correa, who drives for Metro Taxi, is less thrilled with the resurgence of TNCs.Asked what he thought about Uber being back in business in Broward, he just shook his head.

“Taxi drivers must get a background check by the FBI, and a special license from the county – a taxi-limousine license,” said the taxi driver with 10 years’ experience driving in New York City and Boca Raton.

“They just send in an application,” he said of Uber drivers. “And they charge only half-price, maybe one-third [of normal cab fares].

Correa said TNCs like Uber should get the same treatment as taxicab companies.

“They should get the same license, pay the same fees. They don’t pay anything!” he said.

Uber has continued to operate in Palm Beach County during the shutdown in Broward.


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Pumpkin Patch is open

Posted on 16 October 2015 by JimLusk

Kyleigh and Matthew Kelly pose for their yearly shoot.

By Rachel Galvin

St. Ambrose Catholic Church, at 380 S. Federal Hwy. in Deerfield Beach, has their pumpkins out, under the tent, just waiting to be purchased for the holiday. Whether you want to care a Jack-O-Lantern or simply bake a pumpkin pie, they have plenty of orange and white orbs to choose from.

This year, they had to go to a different place since the last farmer retired. This year’s crop came from Sexton Farms in North Carolina. Something else new this year is Heirloom Pumpkins. They still have the mini pumpkins along with the huge ones too. Pumpkins run 80 cents per pound. The white ones are $7.

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St. Ambrose Pre-K and VPK students sittin’ in the pumpkin patch

The fun thing about their options is they not only have pumpkins, but also great items to decorate for any party, such as corn stalks (for $10) and haystacks ($8 or $20, depending on size). Prices on all items could vary.

“I am thankful for all the volunteers and all the time they give to the school,” said Principal Lisa Dodge.

Get your pumpkins soon because they go fast! It is great for the kids to come out and stroll through the variety available and it makes a perfect holiday photo opp. The tent is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information, call 954-427-2225.


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Aniela McGuinness: Conquered Cancer with Laughter & Love

Posted on 16 October 2015 by JimLusk


Aniela McGuinness shows strength as Rosie the Riveter for promo photos for one woman show.

By Rachel Galvin

Watching Aniela McGuiness’ “Doctor’s Office Dance Party” videos is enough to make anyone chuckle. It is hard to believe that she is in the office because she is getting Chemo for Cancer. When she started treatments, she invited her friends to come with her to engage in the fun. Can “fun” and “Cancer” be in the same sentence? They can if you are Aniela. This fearless female has redefined what it means to be a warrior, using laughter and love to conquer Cancer.

Aniela already knew what Cancer could do long before she was diagnosed. Her mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 46 and went through a lumpectomy and radiation. But, it wasn’t over. Ten years later, Cancer came back … this time Ovarian Cancer, and she died at 63.

Her mother had the BRCA1 gene mutation. Aniela thinks it actually originated with her French Canadian grandmother’s side, but her grandmother never got Breast or Ovarian Cancer. Aniela speculates that maybe it is because she had a hysterectomy in her 30s.

It is only natural that Aniela would get tested for the gene. She did, through a mouth swab. She found out at 25 she had the gene mutation. 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 a year ago on September 30. She was (and still is) 31 years old. The raw video is heartbreaking to watch.

After finding out the news, she ran to the neighbors and they called her husband, Jordan. 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 has performed in several locations, including Boca Raton, and filmed for a possible documentary later.

“[The show] helped push me forward and gave me an extraordinary amount of energy while letting me purge all of the fears, guilt, anger and plain emotional baggage that can come with a serious illness,” said Aniela.

She took a series of photos to accompany the ongoing videos documenting her process, including shaving off her hair before Cancer could take it, and showing off her topless body on the beach before her breasts were removed. Her friends gave her crazy creative hats, which she loved to wear to her chemo sessions, perfect for selfies. 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 and what worked and didn’t work for her.
“I let people in, opened my heart fully and allowed myself to be completely vulnerable and held in the love of those around me,” she said.

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.

Aniela suggests those who have Cancer use their “Cancer Card” as much as possible.

“I found that during this experience normal social rules didn’t apply to me, so I enjoyed the freedom to be fully myself,” she said.

Aniela, who currently lives in Hollywood, FL, has become a bit of an advocate for the cause (she recently talked to college kids about Cancer and uploaded her story in video-form to the Young Survival Coalition), but she is also returning to life as an actress and model, as well as working with the Sick Puppies Comedy Troupe.

You can watch Aniela’s journey at www.youtube.com/MyBreastChoice.


Aniela added “fun” to her Chemo sessions by wearing crazy hats and engaging in “Doctor’s office dance parties.”

“What is left when you strip away the flimsy things you once put so much value in?” — Aniela McGuiness.


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“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at Wick Theatre

Posted on 13 October 2015 by JimLusk

Christopher Brand, Whitney Winfield and Ken Jennings

Christopher Brand, Whitney Winfield and Ken Jennings. Photo by Amy Pasquantonio.

By Rachel Galvin

Offering plenty of fast-paced frivolity, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opened Oct.1 at The Wick Theatre. The musical, which runs until Nov. 1, stars Broadway actor Ken Jennings, who keeps the action going with his antics, sometimes breaking the fourth wall with some Improv.

Jennings plays a cunning and creative slave, Pseudolus, who attempts to please his young master, Hero, in exchange for his freedom. Hero has fallen for the dim-witted courtesan next door, Philia, and hopes his loyal slave will secure her for him. But Philia has been sold to another. Meanwhile, Hero’s father has returned from a trip alone without his nagging mother and has an eye for Philia, too. There are many conflicts, many disguises and plenty of deceit in this madcap comedy. No set changes were needed as all the action took place between three well-crafted houses. The wardrobe helped add to the production value.

While Jennings was the focus, Michael Ursua, as Hysterium, had some great moments, as well as the rest of the ensemble cast. One of the highlights of the show is the great choreography of the “dancing” courtesans. Scantily clad, these ‘long, tall drinks of water’ show off their flexibility much to the delight of Pseudolus. Chris Brand, as Hero, and Whitney Winfield, as Philia, are perfectly adorable and make a perfect couple. The three Proteans, Wesley Slade, Brian DiRito, and Ronen Bay, were great comic relief in their various renditions, although it was Erronius’ (Troy Stanley) appearances that brought some of the biggest laughs. Michael Scott, as Senex, held his own subtlety, while actors like Jim Ballard (Miles Gloriosus), Dennis Setteducati (Lycus) and Erika Amato (Domina) gave more robust performances.

This was the kickoff to the Wick’s Season 3. They are already selling tickets also for the next show, which is “Hello Dolly,” opening Nov. 5, starring Broadway’s Lee Roy Reams, as Dolly Levi, and Lewis J. Stadlen as Horace Vandergelder.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.thewick.org. Check out their five-star restaurant too!


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Bridges on lockdown due to Erika

Posted on 29 August 2015 by JimLusk

20700763The City of Deerfield Beach has received important storm update information from the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. At approximately 8 p.m. on Aug. 29, ALL bridges on the New River, Miami River and Intracoastal in Dade and Broward counties will be on lockdown based on the current track of Tropical Storm Erika.

For updates, go to http://homeport.uscg.mil/miami and look under “Port Conditions.” Vessels are advised not to go up the river if they do not have a destination.




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Crash on I-95 shut down northbound lanes

Posted on 16 August 2015 by JimLusk

The BSO Public Information Office is currently working a developing incident regarding  six injured in a crash located just north of Sample Road in the northbound lanes of I-95.

Just after 3:30 p.m. August 16, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue (BSFR) Deerfield Beach units were dispatched to the above location for a multi-vehicle crash on the highway.

BSFR airlifted a 3-year-old male who was ejected from one of the vehicles in critical condition via BSO Air Rescue to Broward Health Medical Center.

An 11-year-old girl was also airlifted to the same hospital with less serious injuries.

A 65-year-old man was transported to Broward Health North by BSFR ground rescue with critical injuries.

Three adult females were also ground transports to Broward Health North with non-life threatening injuries. Florida Highway Patrol is handling the crash investigation.

Stay tuned for additional details.


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House fire; woman pulled from back bedroom

Posted on 22 July 2015 by JimLusk

CKjEkXYUYAA5OeZ (2)Photo by Mike Jachles, PIO/ BSFR

Around 2 p.m. yesterday, a fire was reported to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue (BSFR) in the 5300 block of NE 8 Avenue in Deerfield Beach. When units arrived, heavy smoke was showing. A search of the house produced a 80-year-old woman from the back bedroom that was removed by fire fighters.  The woman is in good shape.

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Farm Heritage Days

Posted on 12 March 2015 by JimLusk


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.”


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.


Cherryl Cook and Laura Salerno.


Petting zoo.


Old quilts on display.


Old Time Jammers play.


Pony rides.


Fresh vegetables for sale.


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32nd Annual MS Gala Luncheon

Posted on 05 February 2015 by JimLusk

5-MS Society held its 32nd annual luncheon Jan. 23.

MS Society held its 32nd annual luncheon Jan. 23.

By Rachel Galvin

Long tables filled with auction items awaited guests at the Broward County Convention Center Jan. 23. The occasion was the annual MS Gala benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Honored at the event was David Schulman, who received the Society’s highest volunteer award, the MS Hope Award. At the event, guests learned the personal reason behind his dedication to finding a cure for the disease, his wife of 45 years, Carrie, who has been battling through it with David by her side. His children and grandchildren were among the many presenters who stood and/ or spoke in his honor.

Presented by the company Schulman is a general agent for, Mass Mutual/ DBS Financial Group, the event included a fashion show by Mayda Cisneros, a sit-down three course meal served family style and a video presentation, including introduction of several guests with MS and how the society has benefited them.

Among them was Joanne Postis, a Mental Health Counselor diagnosed in 2010.

Postis said, “[The MS symptoms] started with a limp and tingling in my arms and legs. My right side was weak. I was not able to write as fast. The tiredness was the most debilitating. It took them two years to figure out what it was. It took me falling and getting a concussion to finally be able to see a neurologist. I had to stop working in 2011. The scariest thing is that you have to be able to have someone take care of you.”

She added, “The MS Society has been amazing, [offering] counseling, when I was first diagnosed, financial assistance, a support group, women’s retreats, day meetings, education …”

Postis, working to “transform her purpose,” has ridden in an MS bike ride the last two years in addition to participating in walks. She said any funding toward the society helps and is hopeful about finding a cure.

Tareeq Pupani also struggled to be diagnosed. For him, the symptoms were different with cramps, burning eyes, headaches and tremors. It turned out he not only had MS, but also Lupus, which made the diagnosis more complex.

“It took them 18 months to figure out,” said Pupani, a Certified Project Manager who was diagnosed in 2004. “one of the biggest things is the fatigue.”

He also has biked, walked and more to help the society, who he said has been there for him.

“It made me feel I was doing something, not just complaining,” he said.

The society, he added, “has helped me to understand things I could do day to day to make life easier, the medicines out there and the research going on. I don’t think I could have done it without support.”

Doug Bonds, whose life partner was diagnosed with MS, said, “The National MS society was there to guide us on everything from where to buy ramps to finding the best doctors.”

Among the sponsors for this event was JR Dunn Jewelers, from Lighthouse Point, who donated a live auction item, a Rolex worth $10,000, and offered a 25 percent discount on purchases, giving a portion back to the charity.

“We have been doing this for about nine years,” said owner Jim Dunn. “It is one of the easiest charity organizations to work with. It is a wonderful cause.”

Approximately $550,000 was raised this day for the Society, according to the MS Society President of the South Florida Chapter Karen Dresbach. About 1200 people attended.

TOP-David Schulman and family--crop out empty space.

Hope Award recipient David Schulman and family.


4-Mayda Cisneros launched her new collection.

Mayda Cisneros launched her new collection.

2-JR Dunn Jewelers was one of the event sponsors. Pictured-owner Jim Dunn.

JR Dunn Jewelers was one of the event sponsors. Pictured-owner Jim Dunn.

3-Guests could bid on auction items electronically through bid pal.

Guests could bid on auction items electronically through bid pal.

6-IF ROOM-About 1200 guests attended.

About 1200 guests attended.


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Apple launches iPhone 6, Apple Watch & more

Posted on 09 September 2014 by JimLusk


Apple iPhone 6By Rachel Galvin


Timothy D. Cook, chief executive of Apple, announced the release of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch Tuesday at the Flint Center in Cupertino, CA, where Apple co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh 30 years ago. People will line up around the country at Apple stores anxious to buy the newest technology; but if they line up now, they may be waiting awhile (release begins Sept. 19, pre-order starts Sept. 12).

The benefit of the iPhone 6 is two larger size options (a 4.7-inch version and a 5.5-inch version (iPhone 6 Plus), instead of the current 4 inch). Plus there is increased resolution, faster speed and a better camera.

In addition, they launched Apple Watch, a wearable computer that includes fitness and health tracking. It will be available early next year.

Apple Pay, available in October, hopes to eliminate the need for a wallet by offering an easy digital way to make payments.

At the end of the Keynote speech, the band U2 performed and announced the free immediate release of their new album “Songs of Innocence” to iTunes and Beats Music customers, available through Oct. 13.

For more information, visit www.apple.com.

(Pics of iPhone, iPhone Plus & Apple Watch not available as of press time)

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