| December, 2014

Pompano finishes 10th in Winter swim championships

Posted on 25 December 2014 by LeslieM

sports122414By Gary Curreri

Since Pompano Beach Piranhas head swim coach Jesse Vassallo arrived three years ago, the USA Swim program has shown steady progress in major swim meets.

Vassallo, who brought 25 athletes to the recent 24th annual Speedo Winter Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex, was pleased as his program finally reached the Top 10.

We wanted to get in the top 10 this year,” said Vassallo, of the meet that hosted a record 1,382 competitors representing 75 teams from around the country, as well as internationally and from South Florida. “The kids all swam and we got about 70 percent of the kids into the finals.”

The Pompano Beach Piranhas placed 10th overall in the combined standings with 522.20 points. It was eighth in the men’s team standings with 303.50 points and 12th in the women’s standings with 219 points.

This is the fourth year that Pompano Beach has been a USA swim program, and it was Vassallo’s third year heading the program.

We went from 33rd to 19th to 13th before this year,” Vassallo said. “We didn’t bring any bonuses. These are guys who made their cuts. I am excited because it has taken time.”

Vassallo said development of the program has been noticeable.

This is a lot more competitive than the rec swimming they had before I got there,” Vassallo said. “This is more serious swimming than where they were with recreational. You would come and go as you please and, to be here, you are pretty much swimming every day. Here, it is a big commitment. It is a pretty tough level. I have a very solid core group of swimmers.”

Oakland Park’s Raphael Santos, 12, a Sunrise Middle 6th grader, trains twice a day for four hours.

It’s pretty fun,” Santos said. “I am good at it and my friends are here. This is pretty important because you get to show how good you are. I want to go pretty far, maybe the Olympics. It is going to take hard training … I don’t get nervous because I know I am going to score (in my event).”

The South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO) won its second consecutive Winter Championships with a combined total of 2,097 points to easily outdistance runner-up Azura Florida Aquatics (1,412 points) and the Pine Crest Swim Team (1,240 points). They were the only teams to top the 1,000-point mark.

Top finishers for the Pompano Beach Piranhas included: No. 5 — Victoria Miyamoto (14-year-old women); No. 8 — Sloan Sizemore (14-yearold women); No. 8 — Fatimah Westbrook (15-16 year-old women); No. 15 — Jake Schulte (10-Under men); No. 13 — Emilio Barrantes (11-year-old men); No. 13 — Raphael Santos (12-yearold men); No. 7 — Mattheus Santos (13-year-old men); No. 5 — (tie) Tyler Zuyus (14-year-old men) and No. 21 — Victor Vassallo (17 & Over men)

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Posted on 25 December 2014 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


In my 15 years of writing movie reviews, I’ve always felt a stronger sense of obligation to my readers during the holidays. When I reviewed Oscar potential motion pictures in the past (No Country for Old Men, Brokeback Mountain), I felt the need to warn my readers that a film might be technically good, but the effect could be “Anti- Christmas” and depressing. During the opening scene of Wild, I felt the need to warn my readers.

Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) sits upon a mountain top and removes her boots and socks. Her big toenail is falling off, so she painfully removes it. Her shoe suddenly slips and falls down the mountain. Cheryl lets loose a string of expletive derivatives and throws the other shoe down the mountain.

Within the first two minutes of Wild, you can observe the self-destructive behavior of our protagonist. The question is do we really want to spend two hours of our time watching this woman? The answer is a definitive yes!

Cheryl sets off on a quest to hike the 1000 mile Pacific Coast Trail, from California through Oregon to Washington state. The hike is mostly a solitary one, with plenty of time for Cheryl to reflect upon her relationship with her mother (Laura Dern), her exhusband (Thomas Sadoski) and heroin. Yet, with such darkness in her life, the protagonist discovers the beauty in nature, animals and finds grace in an unsuspecting way.

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, Wild is a simple film about the complications of living. Cheryl’s dramatic flashbacks intrude upon the early narrative. Yet, Vallee uses these intrusions to enhance the emotional content of Cheryl’s life spiral. As the film progresses, the pace slows down, which gives Wild an epic quality. Despite the 115 minute running time, the film feels longer, but in a good way.

It has been nine years since Witherspoon’s Oscar winning performance as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. Given her recent public relations debacle with the police, Wild is a definite career redemption for Witherspoon. She provides a truthful and naked performance and she is likely to be Oscar-nominated.

Despite some beautiful cinematography, this film touches upon the darkness of one’s soul. Critics are debating that Cheryl’s odyssey is one of either self acceptance or redemption. Either philosophy, Wild is likely to be on my top 10 list next year.

Merry Christmas!

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Posted on 25 December 2014 by LeslieM

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

Dear Editor:

The holiday season is finally here!

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you in District 4 for helping me make Deerfield Beach such a great place to call home.

It has been a busy year and we’ve tackled numerous issues. One thing is certain, I am committed to doing what is in the best interest of our City and our District.

I hope all of you get to make some wonderful new memories this holiday with those you love and I look forward to seeing many of you in Commission Chambers after the holiday.

I wish you and your families a blessed Holiday & Happy New Year!

Bill Ganz

District 4 Commissioner

Kudos to City and CRA

Dear Editor:

Kudos and thanks to the City of Deerfield Beach and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

You have done a super job of bringing extra holiday joy to our great city with the lights and silhouette displays (Brandano & Company) on the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier and all along the beach walkway.

How exciting to see many, many people and families walking the beach at nighttime and taking photos of the displays, along with checking out all the great food establishments by the pier.

Thank you, too, for the new displays by the Deerfield Beach Fire Dept. at Hillsboro & Federal Highway, and the beautiful tree and menorah in The Cove Shopping Plaza.

What a wonderful city and beach to call “home”…. you have made the holidays extra special this year!

Happy Day!

Emily Lilly



Posted on 25 December 2014 by LeslieM

Remember, if you see anything suspicious, call 911 immediately.


Dec. 8 A woman reported her home at 5161 N. 11 Lane broken into and 38 watches stolen

Dec. 9 A man wearing dark clothing entered Wendy’s at 355 W. Hillsboro Blvd. and stole $266 in cash. He was carrying a gun.

Dec. 9 Someone broke into a home at 104 SE 14 St. and stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and electronics from the home.

Dec. 9 Someone attempted to break into a home at 214 SE 11 Street.

Dec. 10 A theft of several boxes was reported from the delivery area of CVS Pharmacy at 1829 W. Hillsboro Blvd.


Nov. 25 A subject took body wash, deodorant and lotion from a store at 3580 N. Federal Hwy. without paying for it. Loss was $140.70.

Nov. 28 Someone entered an open garage at the 2850 block of NE 40 Street and stole a chop saw and blower valued at $750.

Nov. 28 Someone stole pool supplies and beach equipment from a patio located at 3810 NE 24 Ave. Loss was $50.

Nov. 28 Victim returned home at 2306 Vintage Circle to fi nd that someone had taken dishes, towels, basket ornament, an iPhone power cord and a DVD player from a the townhome he rented. Loss was $233.

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Posted on 25 December 2014 by LeslieM

The Spirit of Giving

Friday, Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m.

Emma Lou Olson Center 1801 NE 6 St. Pompano Beach, FL 33064

South Florida Chamber Ensemble program. Pianist Sheng- Yuan Kuan returns to the SFCE for world premiere of a new piano trio version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony along with other iconic works like Ravel’s Bolero and Grieg’s Peer Gynt. $20 for general admission, $15 for students and seniors. Free wine and cheese during intermission. Tickets available at the Emma Lou Olson box office or by calling 954-803-3762.

Railway museum & model train open house

Saturday, Dec. 27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

1300 W. Hillsboro Blvd. Deerfield Beach FL 33442

South Florida Railway Museum of Deerfield Beach at the historic AMTRAK/TRIRAIL Station shows off its three operating model train layouts and museum displays of railroad memorabilia. For directions or info, call 954-448-8935 or 561-441-6952.

Concert, dance, ball drop

Dec. 31, 9 p.m. until …

CEIZS Florida 2205 W. Hillsboro Blvd. Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Lively, FREE indoor concert with worship and dance. Countdown to midnight with LIVE TV feed from Brazil, concert at 9 p.m. and midnight buffet. (Across the street from Century Village in the old movie theatre building.) For more information, call 954-421-7737 or e-mail info@ceizsflorida.com.

Christmas Eve Ball

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m,. to 1 a.m.

Jazziz Nightlife 201 Plaza Real Boca Raton, FL 33432

Holiday party with music for singles & non-singles, 21 and up. Hosted by Living FLA. Chloe Dolandis performs. FREE but must RSVP – www.theeveball.com.

First Night

Wednesday, Dec. 31, 4 p.m. to midnight

Old School Square park 50 NW 1 Ave. Delray Beach, FL 33444

Live entertainment, “ice” skating, inflatables, campfire, carousel & more. Activities going on elsewhere in Delray, including retro video games at Delray Beach Center for the Arts! Buy First Night button for $10 in advance ($15 on 31st) at 100 ft. Christmas tree or City Hall (credit cards accepted) or Delray Beach Library, Crest Theatre, Delray News Stand and Chamber of Commerce (cash only). For info. on Delray holiday activities, call 561-278-0424 or visit http://100ftchristmastree.com.

Constitution Park offers kids’ events

Ballet & Jazz Dance For Children

Held at Constitution Park, 2841 W Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442, Jan. 10 through Feb. 28 on Saturdays from 1 to 3:45 p.m., this program is for 6- to 15-year-olds to learn the basics of ballet and jazz dance. While participating, children will engage in cooperative learning, socialization, auditory and kinesthetic memory, and gross motor skills. The program is $90 with a $30 one-time registration fee. Required registration ends Wednesday, Jan. 7. To register, visit www.deerfield-beach.com/register or any City of Deerfield Beach Parks and Recreation facility.

Mommy/Daddy & Me Creative Movement

Held at Constitution Park, 2841 W Hillsboro Blvd., on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 11 to 11:45 a.m., beginning Jan. 13 through March 5, 2015. This program is for children 2 to 4 years old and their caregivers. The series of classes will help promote language skills, encourage literacy and provide exposure to books. The program is $90 with a $30 one-time registration fee. Required registration ends Wednesday, Jan. 7. To register, visit www.deerfield-beach.com/register or visit any of the City of Deerfield Beach Parks and Recreation facilities.

For further information. contact Constitution Park at 954- 480-4494.

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CLERGY CORNER: The most wonderful time of the year

Posted on 25 December 2014 by LeslieM

A popular song heard regularly over radio during Christmas is Andy Williams’ classic rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The song celebrates the traditional activities that accompany Christmas, including gathering with our families, feasting, enjoying fellowship and having fun. Thoughtful lyrics and a memorable melody capture the joy and excitement that we first discovered as children anticipating Dec. 25. Although numerous other artists have recorded the song, it is Andy Williams’ golden-voiced version that has helped to solidify it as a perennial Christmas favorite.

The idea of jingle belling and swapping scary ghost stories may be foreign to modern observations of the season. Singing carols and hymns, having holiday parties and remembering past Christmases is much more in line with what we are accustomed to. Crowded shopping malls, colorful light displays, giving and receiving gifts, enjoying fruitcake and eggnog, are experiences that characterize the festive nature of the season. Though there are some who do not celebrate Christmas, there is an undeniable sense of wonder and joy among those who observe its traditions.

Beyond the sights, sounds and anticipation of gifts, however, what really makes Christmas memorable and wonderful is the reason it exists in the fi rst place. Christians celebrate the birth of the Savior at Christmas: God’s Son given to redeem mankind from slavery to sin. The Bible teaches that sin entered the human experience when Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Their act of rebellion made them sinners and imputed their sin upon all of their descendants. Even when given specifi c instructions as to how to honor God and treat fellow human beings, mankind was unable to live according to the Creator’s intentions.

God could and should have visited humanity with righteous judgment, but He decided to take the penalty of man’s disobedience upon Himself by sending His Son. The incarnation refers to God becoming like man in order to save mankind. In Galatians 4:4-5, we are told “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (NIV). It was His love for His creation that moved Him to demonstrate mercy and grace towards us. John 3:16 indicates, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (NKJV).” This undeserved favor is accepted by believers, and motivates them to serve and to honor God by living for His pleasure.

It is very easy to be caught up with the colorful lights and the lure of sales discounts at your favorite store. Santa Claus, Frosty the snowman and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer are now established seasonal characters. And while we ought to enjoy the traditions that help to make this season memorable for us, we should never overlook the reason why there is a Christmas. The essence of the Christmas story is the Creator’s willingness to provide the remedy for our sinfulness: the life of His dear Son. The remembrance of God’s great love demonstrated in this awesome act is what truly makes this the most wonderful time of the year.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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Highlands wins four titles in elementary, junior high divisions

Posted on 18 December 2014 by LeslieM

sports121814By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy (HCA) showed there is reason to be optimistic as two elementary school and two junior high programs finished on top in their respective leagues.

Daniel Copeland Del Toro and David Jesus each scored a goal as the Knights Elementary School soccer team defeated defending league champion St. Paul Lutheran, 2-0, in the Elementary Soccer League (ESL) championship game to finish the season at 7-1-1. Cameron Brooks earned the shutout.

The 2014 Elementary Soccer League consisted of Abundant Life, Highlands Christian, Sagemont, St. Paul and Trinity.

The Knights of Highlands Christian defeated all the schools during the season except their long-time rival, the Falcons of St. Paul. The first meeting between the two teams ended in an exciting 4-4 tie. The second meeting was for the League Shield and for home field advantage in the playoffs. The two teams battled throughout the regular time with a score of 1-1. After the overtime play, the result was the same, and St. Paul eventually prevailed in penalty kicks.

The Knights defeated the Falcons with a score of 2-0 earning the Champions for the second time of the Elementary Soccer League.

The Junior High School volleyball team ended the year at 11-5 and swept Westminster Academy (WA), 25-20; 25-20 in the finals to take the South Atlantic Coast Conference (SACC) title.

The Junior High volleyball team of Highlands Christian Academy had a great season,” said Coach Shannon Ratzlaff. “With some big wins over Boca Christian and The King’s Academy, the girls improved significantly throughout the course of the season. It was nice to play WA in the championship game this year as they defeated us for last year’s SACC Championship.”

Knights’ eighth-grader Aiyana Garcia had 12 service points in the second game of the championship to seal the win.

The Junior High School football team completed a perfect season by winning all six of its games, while the HCA Elementary School volleyball team downed Sheridan Hills to win the SACC Championship. The team finished 6-2.

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FLICKS: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 &The Grand Budapest

Posted on 18 December 2014 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games literary trilogy has been stretched out to four separate stories on the cinematic big screen. This practice of stretching out the final book began with the Harry Potter series (worthy) and continued with the Twilight series (unworthy). Mockingjay is a 400 page young adult novel, which means that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay –Part 1 is full of exposition that should lead to an epic big screen grand finale.

In the previous motion picture, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) challenged the federal status quo with an act of public defiance. Mockingjay opens with Katniss adjusting to her new role as a rebellious public symbol – the Mockingjay. Her new title is a creation of rebel leader Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and her agent Plutarch (the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Katniss, Alma and Plutarch are in direct conflict with ongoing villain President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

In her previous act of defiance, Katniss lost track of her beloved Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), her ally (and possible love interest?) from the government sanctioned Hunger Games. Now, President Snow uses Peeta as a government propaganda pawn to confront the growing rebellion. Katniss is put in an emotional vice as she tries to separate her public obligations with her personal needs.

Director Francis Lawrence does an excellent job presenting this conflict for Katniss. It helps that Jennifer Lawrence is the perfect conduit for audience empathy, for much of this story is told through her eyes. We have watched young Katniss age in the past two years; the stress and betrayals are revealed on her face. With this type of emotional connection, the well-directed action scenes take on more depth and one eagerly awaits the grand finale with part two next year.

As we wrap up 2014, mainstream critics are presenting their top films of the year, with The Grand Budapest Hotel being consistently nominated. By the end of the month, this film will be on cable. Much like his previous motion pictures Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tennenbaums, The Grand Budapest Hotel is another peak into the vision of Wes Anderson. With high brow cinematography and low brow comedy, this film tells the tale of M.Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge with contacts everywhere. Art theft, international intrigue and the onset of a world war … this film has something for everyone.

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Posted on 18 December 2014 by LeslieM


Dec. 1 Four women attacked a woman while she was walking home. The attack occurred at 40 NE 44 St.

Dec. 2 Two women were arrested and charged with shoplifting at Target at 3599 W. Hillsboro Blvd. The women stole clothing items. Both women were on probation.

Dec. 2 A burglary was reported at a condominium at 616 S. Ocean Dr.

Dec. 3 A woman hired Moving Squad to move her items. After the move had been completed, she noticed that her diamond rings were missing from a box. Report was made at 1204 S. Military Trail.


Nov. 20 A subject was trespassed after shoplifting at a store at 3700 N. Federal Hwy.

Nov. 20 Someone entered a 2013 Range Rover while it was parked at 3280 NE 31 Ave. and ransacked the center console. Nothing appeared to be taken.

Nov. 22 An officer initiated a traffic stop at 1951 NE 39 St. and, during a search, discovered two rock cocaine and four .22 caliber rounds of ammunition.

Sheriff Scott Israel and the men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office wish you a safe and happy holiday.

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Posted on 18 December 2014 by LeslieM

Menorah lighting

Wednesday, Dec. 17, 5:30 p.m.

Pompano Citi Centre (near carousel) 1955 N. Federal Hwy. Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Brought to you by Chabad of N Broward Beaches free. Lighting of 9 ft. menorah with Mayor Lamar Fisher. Doughnuts, latkes, free carousel ride, crafts for the kids! www.JewishLHP.com or 347-410-1106.

Winter Wonderland

Thursday, Dec. 18, 3 to 5 p.m.

Villages of Hillsboro Park 4111 NW 6 St. Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Enjoy holiday activities, such as horse-drawn hayrides, photos with Santa, a real SNOW field; make your own “Frosty the Snowman.” Kids activities, holiday treats and the thrilling Polar Express ride. Small fee for refreshments and some activities. For more information, call 954-480-4494.

Chanukah event

Thursday, Dec. 18, 5:30 p.m.

Town Hall of Hillsboro Beach 1210 Hillsboro Mile Hillsboro Beach, FL 33062

FREE. Menorah Lighting with local dignitaries and Chanukah refreshments. Brought to you by Chabad of N. Broward Beaches. For more information, call 347- 410-1106 or visit www.JewishLHP.com.

Children’s holiday performance

Friday, Dec. 19, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Steeple on the Beach Montessori School, Briggs Hall 1920 SE 4 St. Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Free. For more info., call 954-427-0222 or visit www.communitych.org.

The Matchmaker

Friday, Dec. 19, 6 p.m. (show), 7:30 p.m. (dinner) Sunday, Dec. 2, 2 p.m. (show only)

Skolnick Community Center 800 SW 36 Ave. Pompano Beach, FL 33069

The Matchmaker!” presented by Curtain Call Playhouse is a comedy about a local merchant who hires a lively widow matchmaker; mayhem ensues. $30 Friday, $20 Sunday. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Herb Skolnick Community Center or online at www.Eventbright.com. For more information, call 954-786-4590.

Annual Christmas Dinner

Saturday, Dec. 20, noon

159 SW 1 Terrace Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Presented by Delta Lodge #519. Free food, family & fun.

Book talk

Saturday, Dec. 20, 1:30 p.m.

The Event Center 6101 NW 31 St. Margate, FL 33063

Local radio talk show host Anna Stephenson of WWNN Radio AM 1470 is holding a special free book talk event with six authors. For more information, call 786-376- 6118 or 305-274-0638

4th Annual Piles of Smiles “Snow Day

Saturday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sugar Sand Park 300 S. Military Tr. Boca Raton, FL 33486

Children ages 3 to 12 will enjoy playing in 25 tons of real snow. Features Zippy Pet rides, bumper cars, a Polar Ice slide, DJ, costumed characters, winter sport activities, a handmade craft show and more. Advance reservations are $12 ($15 day of event). For more info., call 561-347-2900 or visit www.SugarSandPark.org

Chanukah Festival

Sunday, Dec. 21, 4 p.m.

Sanborn Square 72 N. Federal Hwy. Boca Raton, FL 33432

Sponsored by Chabad of East Boca. Rides, food, concert starring Eduardo, menorah lighting with dignitaries, and more. Nominal fee for food and rides. For more information, call 561-417-7797 or visit www.Chabad-BocaBeaches.com.

Milo’s Dog Rescue Adoption and Donation Drive

Sunday, Dec. 21, 11 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.

Anuttara Yoga Shala 620 SE 10 St. Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Come take an exhilarating yoga class and visit with the volunteers at Milo’s Dog Rescue who will have adoptable animals available just in time for the holidays. They will also be accepting donations such as pet food, treats, blankets, sheets, toys, cleaning supplies, kennels, etc. For info., call 954-322-YOGA (9642) or visit www. anuttarayoga.com.

Menorah lighting

On Sunday, Dec. 21, 5 p.m. on Deerfield beach, join the Chabad of the N. Broward Beaches as they light their menorah, offer up latkes and doughnuts and supply plenty of opportunities for fun, including face painting, sand art for the kids and more.

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