| December, 2015

Disch gets first ace

Posted on 30 December 2015 by LeslieM

sports123115By Gary Curreri

George Disch recently picked up his first career hole-in-one when he aced the Par-3, 125-yard 7th hole at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

I had no idea it was going in,” Disch said. “I hit a nice high shot straight at the cup and knew it was going to stop. It hit the hill and the hole was back in the green that day.”

Disch used an 8-iron to get the hole-in-one during a four-man scramble event for the Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association at the Greg Norman Signature Pines Course.

There was a very strong wind, so I used my 8 iron,” said Disch, 67, of Pompano Beach, who has been playing golf for 35 years and is a 17-handicap. “It bounced once, hit an upslope and went right into the cup.”

Disch said he normally would hit a wedge on the hole, but went with the 8-iron because of the wind and pin placement.

It is my first one, I was really excited,” Disch said. “Hopefully, I’ll get another one. It was great that we won (the tournament).”

Disch and his partners, Paul Murphy and George Torres, won the tournament by two strokes with a 63. Since they were a threesome, they played alternate shots.

Cote pockets $2,250 with win

Charles Cote of Pompano Beach, birdied three of his last nine holes to pull out a one-shot win on the Florida Professional Golf Tour (FPGT) Tuesday at Wekiva Golf Club in Longwood, FL.

Cote outdueled Patrick Sheehan of nearby Oviedo 133 to 134. They were tied for the first round lead at seven under par 65. Sheehan led by two after 27 holes but parred the back nine as Cote birdied Nos. 10, 15 and 16.

In regulation, Cote made 12 birdies and a bogey, at the par-4 seventh hole the final round, for a closing 68. Sheehan also had seven birdies Monday but just three on the front nine Tuesday, on the first two holes and at the 9th for 69.

Scoring his first FPGT win, Cote earned $2,250 from the $13,150 purse. Sheehan, second among 62 entries, collected $1,520. Sheehan has five FPGT victories over the past five seasons.

After a short Christmas break, the FPGT resumes its 10th season Jan. 4-5 in the New Years Open at Black Bear GC in Eustis. For information and entry, go to www.floridaprofessionalgolftour.org.

Local skater takes 12th at Championship

Pompano Beach’s Lara Annunziata, 12, recently placed 12th in the Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships in Simsbury, CT with a score of 87.10.

Annunziata, who represents the Skating Club of Florida out of the Palm Beach Iceworks in West Palm Beach, qualified for the Sectional competition when she won the Novice Ladies Group B session en route to a 3rd place finish overall in the South Atlantic Championships in Aston, PA one month earlier. She was second after the short skate.

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FLICKS: Backstage reflections for 2015

Posted on 30 December 2015 by LeslieM

flick123115By Dave Montalbono

Compared to the previous year, 2015 has been a consistent year for the box office. As predicted, Disney dominated with their Marvel and Star Wars franchises. While not the Disney Juggernaut, Universal Pictures scored big with 50 Shades of Grey, Furious 7 and Jurassic World. However, 2015 low budget independent fare like Ex Machina produced a high profit margin for investors.

In April 2003, The Observer covered the Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) for the first time. Recent Oscar winner Adrien Brody, producer Robert Evans, musician Michael Jackson and the legendary Fay Wray were in attendance at an elegant gala held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

Concurrently in Houston, director/writer Richard Linklater had completed filming the first year of Boyhood, a film that took 12 years to complete. At 2015’s PBIFF, Ellar Coltrane, one of the stars of this ambitious independent film attended.

The film, which was well received at the Academy Awards, also featured Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.

Tired of being on the sidelines, I invested in a student short subject, Give Me Trouble starring local Blues Legend Joey Gilmore and featuring Robert “Hi Hat” Carter as the bass player. This film details a blues man’s last concert and will hopefully be entered in either the Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale Film Festivals. Gilmore and his band frequently perform in our neighborhood, so check ‘em out!

Best known for playing “Marcy Darcy” on Married with Children, Amanda Bearse found her niche behind the scenes as a television director. A Winter Park native, Ms. Bearse also appears on the soap opera All My Children and the movie Fright Night. Of the many celebrities that I have met this year, Amanda Bearse was a true class act; she asked every individual their name and was generous with her time.

I briefly met Burt Reynolds on the red carpet at PBIFF six years ago. Having just recovered from open heart surgery, Reynolds seemed timid among the paparazzi. Despite walking with a cane, Reynolds appeared “born again” at the Spooky Empire convention. He was chatting with his diverse fan base, fans of films like Deliverance or the Smokey and the Bandit movies.

Reynolds has done much for the film culture in South Florida. The Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theater in Jupiter has provided a valuable stepping stone for local talent. At the peak of his stardom, Reynolds was generous to Palm Beach culture and his alma mater, Florida State University.

The film business is a forward-focused culture; however, it would be wise to reflect upon those Florida pioneers who paved the way for our future. Happy New Year!

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Posted on 30 December 2015 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach

Dec. 13: Someone entered a car parked at 220 NW 38 Pl. and stole credit cards and gift cards.

Dec. 14: A woman reported that she believes her roommate’s boyfriend stole her car from 433 SE 13 Ct.

Dec. 15: A man reported that a man stole two checks from his checkbook and cashed one of them for $2,100.

Dec. 16: A man reported his motorcycle stolen from 4373 SW 10 Pl.

Dec. 21: Unknown person knocked over victim’s mailbox at 3315 SW 2 St. Damages estimated at $100.

Dec. 22: A boat trailer was stolen from 2571 W. Hillsboro Blvd.

Dec. 22: BSO recovered a stolen vehicle abandoned in a shopping mall parking lot at 2571 W. Hillsboro Blvd.

Dec. 22: Victim reported car window smashed and purse stolen from under driver’s seat. Victim removed her wallet from the purse prior to the theft.

Dec 22: Victim left his wallet on the counter at 3580 W. Hillsboro Blvd. and, when he returned for it an hour later, it was gone.

Dec. 25: Victim reported that an unknown suspect cut the locked screen door to the carport area of his mobile home at 1817 Valencia Dr., and entered the residence while victim was sleeping. The sliding door was open all night. Suspect stole $120 from victim’s wallet then left wallet in the carport area. Nothing else was stolen.

Lighthouse Point

Dec. 1: An officer observed a 2006 Toyota Corolla parked in a closed bank parking lot at 2850 N. Federal Hwy. It was only occupied by one driver. Police approached and the driver was found with two pills in a blank bag. It field tested for Xanax and the driver did not have a prescription.

Dec. 1: The bank at 3800 N. Federal Hwy. received a forged check made out for $4,637.16.

Dec. 2: The victim was shopping at a store at 3780 N. Federal Hwy. when someone stole a decal off her 2008 Honda.

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Posted on 30 December 2015 by LeslieM

RE: Panhandlers

Dear Editor:

I moved to Deerfield Beach near Military Road and Sample Road a few years ago. I commute that route or on Sample Road by I-95. I see too many panhandlers [at] both corners. They [create] trash [and] litter. I see the regular panhandlers are not really homeless. [They] just make money rather than find a job. [It is] time to stop panhandlers in Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach.

Mark Sikora

Deerfield Beach

Kudos to Kathy Richards

Dear Editor:

Kudos to Kathy Richards for her column in the Observer entitled “My View, subtitle “What’s this?” [Dec. 17, p. 13]. She was right-on when she said the Reporter (C.V.E. newspaper) seems to print only what they want and what they feel is correct for the paper.

Some months ago, one of their columnists wrote an article about the senseless shooting of Michael Brown and the treatment of Freddie Gray in a police vehicle. It was quite evident the writer had no idea what police work is all about. I was a police officer for 25 years in a city, county and state police organization. I experienced many, many situations where I had to make an instant decision. Fortunately, I never had to use my weapon. Many times, I had my hands on my weapon and I was definitely ready to use it.

I wrote a Letter to the Editor and defended the police and the actions they took. Not one word was printed. I wrote a second letter to the editor complaining [that] nothing was published. I then wrote to the president of the Reporter explaining about my displeasure with [them]. I did not receive an answer from anyone.

Robert J. Zukas

Deerfield Beach

Collapse of an empire

Dear Editor:

I never thought I’d live to see the collapse of an empire.

In 476, the great Roman Empire was no more. It had taken the nosedive that all empires, before and after, had taken. And for basically the same reasons. It took the Roman Empire literally hundreds of years to collapse and many generations can share in the responsibility for its downfall. But collapse it did.

You can, however, read about it, because the downfall is in history books. It is long reading, but it is worth it, because, as I read it, I began to sense something familiar about it. To recap, many things contributed to the Roman Empire’s demise. Here, if you’re interested, are the main causes:

Barbarians—from surrounding territories—got inside the Empire’s border and the people were too busy living high on the hog to notice, or even care.

The Empire was contributing to wars outside their boundaries, and they were overspending just to keep it up.

The Empire let its infrastructure fall into disrepair and never bothered to maintain or repair it.

The Empire (under the emperors, of course) was rampant in corruption and totally helpless against political instability.

The Empire’s military force, which was substantial, was being replaced with mercenaries who had no tie to the Empire.

Whatever, “traditional values” the Empire had were gradually aborted and replaced with obscene literature, sexual misconduct, dishonest dealings and character chaos.

You may wonder why I am telling you all this. It’s because — as I said — I sense something familiar about it. And I feel I must share it with you.

What is gradually happening to the American Empire today (yes, we are an empire) is frighteningly [similar to] what happened to the Roman Empire. And if you fail to see the similarities you either aren’t paying attention, never read about the Roman Empire, or simply don’t care either way.

Think about what’s happening today in America. There are “barbarians” inside our borders, or trying to get in. And we’re not stopping them. In fact, our administration is letting many of them in.

America has a military presence in at least 130 foreign countries and we’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars to keep them there.

The infrastructure in most American cities is desperately in need of repair or rebuilding, but our money is being spent on “small” wars and foreign entanglements, which has put us $18 trillion in debt, and counting.

The American administration is wasteful and corrupt and most of our politicians are more committed to building personal wealth than they are doing the will of the people.

All this, I believe, is precisely what contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire. Only, this time, we’re talking about the American Empire — the United States of America. We are, today, doing exactly what the population of the Roman Empire did 2000 years ago; and, unless we change, and fast, America is destined to wind up the same way: a collapsed nation.

Are we going to let this happen? Right now we’re doing nothing to stop it.

Jim Moore

Tallahassee, FL



Posted on 30 December 2015 by LeslieM

Dedication of Fish & Wildlife Signs

Saturday, Jan. 2, 10 a.m.

Deerfield Beach Arboretum

2841 W. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Boy Scout Troup 199 and the Deerfield Beach Arboretum will dedicate the new fish and wildlife sign created by Boy Scout Tyler Kruger for his Eagle project. The sign depicts the various types of freshwater fish found in the waters of the Arboretum.

Movies in the Park: Planes: Fire & Rescue

Friday, Jan. 8, 7 p.m.

Villages of Hillsboro Park

4111 NW 6 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Free. Bring a blanket and lawn chairs, and enjoy a night at the movies. Snacks and glow items available for purchase.

3rd Annual Brandon’s Run for Autism

Saturday, Jan. 9, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Quiet Waters Park

401 S. Powerline Rd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

5K event. Top 3 in each division receive medals. Event benefits the International Society for Autism, which fund re-search, scholarships and job training for those affected by Autism. Entry fee: $25 in advance, $35 at door. Call 305-305-0540.

Hillsboro Lighthouse New Year tour

Saturday, Jan. 9 at 8:30, 9:15, 10 and 11 a.m.

Alsdorf Park Dock

2974 NE 14 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Transportation by boat. Must wear flat, closed shoes. Children must be 4 ft. tall to climb the tower. No pets. $25, free to HLPS members. Visit www.hillsborolighthouse.org/tours.

Pet CPR Course

Saturday, Jan. 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Florida Humane Society

3870 N. Powerline Rd.

Pompano Beach, FL 33073

Save your pet in an emergency with CPR and first aid techniques. Please bring an item to donate to Florida Humane Society such as paper towels, bleach, cat litter. Space limited; register in advance at www.PetTech.net. Call 954-974-6152. For info. on Pet CPR or human CPR classes, please call CPR Training 2 Go, 954-461-8203.

Save the Date!

Oshogatsu Festival

Sunday, Jan. 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

4000 Morikami Park Rd.

Delray Beach, FL 33446

Celebrate the Year of the Monkey at the Morikami’s 38th Annual Oshogatsu New Year’s Festival. Experience the tastes, sights and sounds that define the Japanese New Year. Ticket prices: Ages 11 and up: $12 advance, $15 at gate; ages 4 – 10: $6 advance, $10 at gate; museum members and under 3: free. Tasting rooms 21 and over: $30 members, $35 non-members. (includes general admission.) Tickets online at http://morikami.org/cultural-programs/oshogatsu.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Birthday Celebration

Friday, Jan. 15 to Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 (Times TBA)

Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex

445 SW 2 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

This four-day event features a weekend carnival, games and live entertainment, before drawing to a close on Monday, Jan. 18 with a two-mile long parade and awards ceremony. Sponsorships available. Contact the Community Events and Outreach Division at 954-480-4429.

Cool Wheels Car Show

Sunday, Jan. 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Quiet Waters Park, Shelter #10

401 S. Powerline Rd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Benefitting the Youth Automotive Training Center. Best in show wins $1,000. Gift bags to first 300 cars. Music, food trucks, raffle, prizes and more. Kustom Kulture artist Ben Mitchell. $20 advance; $25 at gate. For more information, visit www.yatc.com.

Wings of Freedom Historical Airplanes

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2 p.m. to Sunday, Jan. 31, 4:30 p.m.

Boca Raton Airport

903 NW 35 St.

Boca Raton, FL 33431

WWII veterans free. Discounts for school groups. Tour working WWII aircraft, learn about history and even book a flight. Aircraft include the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber, the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber and the P-51 Mustang fighter. Flights available in B-17 or B-24 for $450 per person. Pilots can fly in the P-51 for $2,200 for a half hour, $3,200 for an hour. Tickets: $12 adults and $6 children under 12. Call 800-568-8924.

Watercolor Painting Classes

Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon, Jan. through April

Emma Lou Olson Civic Center

1801 NE 6 Ave.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Henriette “Kitte” Arnold’s watercolor classes for all skill levels are back. $20 per session. Call 954-920-4574.

new year’s events

Thursday, Dec. 31

First Night 2016

City of Delray Beach

(Activities located in downtown district)

5 p.m. to midnight

Offers fun and games, music, food and entertainment for the whole family from toddlers to teens. Wristbands are $10 in advance at the Delray Beach City Hall and Public Library, $15 on Dec. 31. Children under 3 free. Visit www.visitdelraybeach.org/firstnight for details.

New Year’s Eve Dinner

Two Georges at The Cove

1645 SE 3 Court

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Two Georges is offering a special New Year’s Eve menu, which includes Stuffed Lobster Tails, Prime Rib of Beef, Lobster Risotto, Grilled Sea Bass and Chicken Chesapeake Béarnaise. Call 954-421-9272.

Friday, Jan. 1

New Year’s Day Buffet

Friday, Jan. 1, Noon to 5 p.m.

Deer Creek Grille

2801 Deer Creek Country Club Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Options of pork loin, mahi mahi, chicken or penne a la vodka with sides, or choose the salad bar, clam chowder or breakfast from the omelet and egg station. Many options available. See ad on Pg. 14 for more details. $23.95 adults; $11.95 children, plus 20 percent gratuity. Reservations required: 954-421-5553.

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CLERGY CORNER: “Behold, I make all things new”

Posted on 30 December 2015 by LeslieM

The words God spoke near the end of the book of The Revelation of Saint John the Divine are among the greatest words of hope in the Bible. He spoke these words as he sat upon a throne: “Behold, I make all things new.” [Rev. 21:5] His words get our attention because, most of us, at least some time in our lives, have wished we could have the opportunity to start all over again, and perhaps do it differently, do it better the second time around. These thoughts can enter our minds at any time; but, somehow, they seem to make an annual appearance around New Year’s Day, when we’re thinking about resolutions and the things we could, and should, do to make our lives better next year than last year.

During the next few weeks, there will be no shortage of suggestions about what we can do to redress our lot in life during the coming year. None of us need to be reminded of the importance of taking better care of our bodies, enhancing our finances, strengthening our relationships and finding new ways to explore, and enjoy, our wonderful world.

We all know how important these things are to our well-being. These are things that we have the power, if not to change, at least to address. But what we may need to be reminded of is how important it is to have a mindset that allows us to turn over to our Lord the things we can’t control, so that, in the New Year, He can “make all things new.”

Let’s think of several things that can help us develop a positive mindset. First, a successful day is often defined by how we are able to deal with interruptions. Michael Ramsey, the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, dealt with this challenge in The Christian Priest Today. He reminds us that we often meticulously plan our days only to have our plans turned upside down by interruptions so that “what we planned as order is turned to chaos.” Now here is where a positive mindset takes over. If we think of interruptions as God’s will, then our days have an entirely different purpose. Interruptions may be seen as God giving us an opportunity to redraft our plans to better serve Him, and to come closer to Him. This mindset allows us to see a day we might have seen as disordered as a day expressing God’s will, and “where that will is obeyed there is pattern, peace and harmony” – and a positive mindset.

Second, having a positive mindset is much easier when we remember not only whose will is behind the unfolding of our days, but also, who is the designer of our days. The Bible is packed with passages that tell us who is in charge and who has our backs when the going gets tough. The passage I turn to most often is Psalm 36, especially verses 7 and 10: “How precious is your loving kindness, O God! Therefore, the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings … Oh, continue your loving kindness to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright in heart.” This is a psalm meant to be prayed by a true believer, someone who knows God and believes He can “make all things new.”

And finally, T. S. Eliot adds another facet to our ability to cope with bumps in the road, such as interruptions in our daily life and our forgetfulness about who is really in charge. He reminds us, in Four Quartets, that God’s ability to “make all things new” is not one of man’s futile hopes. Why? Because not only does God love us, but He will relentlessly pursue us until we give our lives over to Him, and then He will lead us where He wants us to go.

So, my dear readers, thoughtfully make your resolutions for the New Year, and honestly try to stick to them, but don’t be surprised if God reaches down and gently nudges you in a different direction. And, always keep in mind, what someone a lot smarter than me once said: “The Will of God will never takes you, where the Grace of God will not protect you.”

Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, is Rector of the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, 1416 SE 2 Terr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-695-0336. Wednesday: Morning Prayer at 10 a.m., Sunday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m.

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Record rebirth

Posted on 28 December 2015 by JLusk

TOPCrown TV talks about the resurgence of Vinyl

By Rachel Galvin

First, it was the 8-track then the cassette tape and CD, and later, the digital era that seemed to wipe the vinyl record out of popularity. But the times they are a changin’. Vinyl records are back and in a big way. Stores are selling albums like hotcakes to the millennials. It seems the hipsters enjoy a little blast from the past. According to Billboard.com, the growth in vinyl records sales was up 52 percent in 2014 alone.

So, besides nostalgic reasons, what accounts for this resurgence?

Gene Tamburri, owner of Crown TV and Records (1140 E. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach), says records have a more natural, full range of sound than other types of music.

“Kids learned about [records] from their parents,” he said.

He started adding records to his shop three years ago. The store has been a mainstay in Deerfield, opening in 1967, focused on repairs of televisions and electronics. Tamburri took it over in 1998.

He has a wide range of retro records, including a first pressing of a Rolling Stones record from 1967 and from the Beatles in 1966.There is a master recording of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” albums from Metallica, Jethro Tull and many others. Besides records, he also sells record players and turntables of various types.

He started adding collectibles, which are placed around the store, including The Three Stooges, Star Wars and Star Trek, The Forbidden Planet, Marvel and DC Comics toys, etc., T-shirts and posters, including fabric posters of Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles and more. In addition, he carries VHS tapes and DVDs.

Looking for something they don’t have? Write it down and he will try to track it down, let the customer know the price and bring it in.

They still service televisions, sound systems and guitar amps, and they have speakers, receivers and other equipment. The head technician, Lou Medaglia, has worked in his field for 40 years.

“We get people from all over the world coming in – from Canada, Argentina, Germany …” said Tamburri, who added, “Anyone who mentions this article will get 10 percent off!”

1For more information, call 954-427-2594 or visit www.crowntvonline.com.

  • Vinyl enthusiasts will also enjoy Vinyl Lives On: Profiles of Musician Collectors and Record Store Owners by local writer James. P. Goss and David Hamsley’s To Disco With Love: The Records That Defined an Era, filled with pictures of disco-era album covers. Both can be found through com.



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Highlands hoopsters finding identity

Posted on 24 December 2015 by LeslieM

sports122415By Gary Curreri

After starting off the season 0-3, the Highlands Christian Academy boys basketball team has started to hit its stride.

Each game we were improving and still trying to establish our identity,” said Knights coach Jim Good, who is in his 19th year at the school and also serves as the school’s athletic director. The team recently won its own, 38th annual Holiday Classic with a dramatic, double overtime, 89-81 victory over King’s Academy. “Early on, I tried to stay positive and encourage the guys. Looking back, we didn’t play a complete game and it was usually one quarter where we would break down.”

The boys are really starting to buy into the system and it all came together in that championship game,” said Good, whose team last reached the title game when, in 2010, it defeated St. Andrew’s School. “It was by far, our best win of the season!”

The Knights team has now won six of its past seven games and has improved to 6-4 on the season. Reg Cook, former AD and boys varsity basketball coach at Highlands Christian started the Holiday Classic in 1978 in which Highlands won the first of its nine championships.

Knights’ junior point guard Herman Robinson was named the tournament’s MVP as he recorded his first triple-double of his career with 25 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in the championship game.

Robinson also hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds in regulation to send the game to its first OT.

HCA junior forward Kyle Lassen was named to the All-Tournament team as he scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while sophomore shooting guard Matt Veynovich chipped in with 18 points going 5 for 6 from the 3-point line. He had a total of 12 three pointers in the 3-day tournament.

Beating King’s Academy in double overtime was a special moment for Good and the team.

I’m extremely proud of the guys and their commitment to work, learn and improve,” Good said. “We have a special group this year. Once a week, we have been meeting for team devotions and emphasizing: being unselfish, love your teammate, display self-control, persevere, have a positive attitude. It’s very rewarding to see the guys ‘buy in.’”

Good started coaching the elementary school team in 1997 and is now in his eleventh year with the varsity squad. Robinson and Steven Ludwig are the team’s two captains and have provided excellent leadership, according to Good.

Herman is leading the team in scoring with 15 points per game, and 6.9 assists,” Good said. “He started playing varsity in the 7th grade. Kyle Lassen has been doing a great job for us in the post and is averaging right around 12 points per game. Sophomore Matt Veynovich, who moved up from JV, has added some much needed scoring to our offense and leads the team in 3s made with a total 22.”

It’s been very rewarding as a coach to watch our team these past few weeks,” Good added. “During the beginning of the year, we were still trying to find our identity and I think we’ve done that now.”

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FLICKS: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Posted on 24 December 2015 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


[Editor’s Note: Some spoilers (plot points) may be in this article for those avoiding anything Star Wars related. May the force be with you!]

After learning about a big spoiler the day before release, I attended my screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with melancholy. It has been 32 years since Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) redeemed his monstrous father Darth Vader. With help from a community of “teddy bears”, Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) defeated the evil Empire and the Star Wars universe seemed poised to live happily ever after. Did I really need to see that the heroic actions I witnessed in my youth were all for naught? Fortunately, this seventh episode brings freshness to the franchise, while honoring the core fun of the original trilogy from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

The film opens with Darth Vader wannabe Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) seeking artifacts related to the Skywalker family. After witnessing him massacre a small village, a storm trooper named Finn (John Boyega) develops a conscience. He rescues the pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and goes AWOL on the planet Jakku.

As if the pace were not fast enough, Finn meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger with natural special abilities. When Kylo Ren attempts to retrieve his deserter, Rey and Finn escape the planet and meet the legendary Han Solo and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). The four humanoids, plus droid BB-8, form an alliance to outwit their enemies.

Thus far, I have only mentioned about 25 percent of The Force Awakens storyline and to include any more would take away from the thrill of discovery. Suffice it to say, director J.J. Abrams knows how to manage a fast pace while taking little moments for character development and revelation. In terms of good old-fashioned storytelling, The Force Awakens deserves its success.

Unlike the over-reliance on special effects from the recent Star Wars prequel trilogy (Episodes I-III), Episode VII feels more grounded in reality. While partially shot in Pinewood Studios, this Star Wars film was shot in locations as diverse as Abu Dhabi, New Mexico and Scotland. Even though this film takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, these outdoor locations provide natural realism.

The performances are excellent, with the old and new generations playing off each other with ease and respect. Harrison Ford gives his best performance since his character role as Branch Rickey in the 2013 baseball flick about Jackie Robinson, 42. Daisy Ridley is adorable. Adam Driver has entered the pantheon of rogue villainy reserved for actors like Bruce Dern [for those who have seen the John Wayne movie “The Cowboys”].

Despite my initial depression at having heard a big plot spoiler, I found Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be pure escapist entertainment that is Saturday Matinee popcorn-eating fun. Despite witnessing some PG-13 darkness, I left the theater feeling better than I did when I entered. On that note, Merry Christmas!

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Posted on 24 December 2015 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach

Dec. 7: Someone entered a Dollar General store at 1377 S. Dixie Hwy. and stole two cartons of cigarettes.

Dec. 8: A woman at Broward Health North at 401 E. Sample Rd. reported that a woman hit her outside the Deerfield Beach Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Dec. 8: A woman reported that a woman pushed her way into her residence at 1428 SE 4 Ave. and hit her.

Dec. 9: A man and woman stole two bottles of Tequila from Walgreens at 1325 S. Military Tr.

Lighthouse Point

Nov. 24: The victim said he picked up a fare and drove the female subject around town to several stores. The last store he went to was Publix at 3700 N. Federal Hwy. He waited outside the store for nearly two hours and the subject never returned. He walked through the store and couldn’t find the subject. The loss was $49.30.

Nov. 25: Two subjects were observed shoplifting tuna and chicken salad at 3500 block of N. Federal Hwy. They went to the rear of store and ate it. The loss was $4.54.

Nov. 25: The subject placed six items inside a purse and left the business at 3700 block of N. Federal Hwy. She was apprehended outside the store and admitted to stealing for family members.

Nov. 28: The victim was looking for a cat in the carport and noticed pry marks and wood chips on the ground at 1900 block of NE 35 St. The French door was smashed and there were jewelry items, electronics and coins missing. The loss was $6,400.

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

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