| January, 2016


Posted on 21 January 2016 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach

Jan. 4: A man reported being the victim of battery by his roommate. Incident occurred at 352 NW 43 St.

Jan. 5: A woman reported that her boyfriend punched her at 785 Tivoli Cir.

Jan. 5: Suspect was caught on video breaking into Good Clean Vapes at 3656 W. Hillsboro Blvd. and stealing $200 from cash register.

Jan 5: An $800 pressure washer was stolen from an unlocked warehouse at 790 NW 1 Ave.

Jan. 11: Loss prevention at Marshall’s, 3852 W. Hillsboro Blvd., reported subject suspected of stealing.

Jan. 12: A 2001 Dodge Caravan was stolen from 407 Lock Rd.

Jan. 12: An employee of All Shoes store at 3206 W. Hillsboro Blvd. was struck by a customer in an altercation over a wallet found on the ground that was given to the wrong person. The wallet was recovered by the owner.

Jan. 13: A pit bulldog bit a neighbor’s dog at 2299 Deer Creek Tr.

Jan 13: A dog being walked by the owner at 1105 SW 44 Wy. bit a child on the left arm leaving puncture wounds during a soccer game. Fire Rescue checked the child and advised the mother to visit a doctor, as the dog’s shots were not up-to-date.

Jan. 14: Subject purchased a new $799 iPhone 6S at 3616 W. Hillsboro Blvd. with a stolen credit card.

Lighthouse Point

Dec. 27: Someone entered an unlocked vehicle at 3315 NE 27 Terr. and rummaged through the interior. Nothing appeared to be taken.

Dec. 27: Victim said he was having problems with the door locks of his vehicle and was unable to lock the car. Someone entered the vehicle while it was parked at 3231 NE 27 Terr., and it is unknown if anything was missing.

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Posted on 21 January 2016 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach Island Community Association Meeting

Thursday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.

Community Presbyterian Church

Briggs Hall, 1920 SE 5 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Featured speaker: Arilton Pavan from Dixie Divers. For info., e-mail debbyhoffman@comcast.net.

Talk to the School District

Thursday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.

Deerfield Beach High School

910 SW 15 St.

Deerfield Beach, 33441

Broward County Public Schools is holding its annual Conversation with the District, a town hall-style meeting to gaining input and feedback from parents, students, staff and community members. For info., call 754-321-2300.

Murder Mystery Dinner

Friday, Jan. 22, 6 to 10:30 p.m.

Royal Fiesta Caterers

1680 SE 3 Ct.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Last chance to buy your tickets for this fun interactive murder mystery dinner, which features three-course meal, colorful characters and a lot of fun! Presented by Bobby Rodriguez Productions and the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce. $50 for Chamber members; $65 for non-members. Register in advance at www.deerfieldchamber.com under Upcoming Events.

26th Annual Nautical Flea Market

Saturday, Jan. 23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 24, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pompano Beach Community Park

2001 NE 10 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Find all things nautical — clothing, anchors, moorings, arts and crafts, food, a kid zone and more. $5 per person, children under 12 free. For info., call 954-786-4111.

Model Railroad Swap Meet and Flea Market

Saturday, Jan. 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex

445 SW 2 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

South Florida Railway Museum swap meet and flea market with model trains and track, books, scenery and railroad memorabilia. $2 adults; $1 child. For info., call 561-441-6952.

Family Fun Pirate Day

Saturday, Jan. 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pompano Citi Centre

1955 N. Federal Hwy.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Jump aboard a “real pirate ship”, join a scavenger hunt and meet Ariel, the Little Mermaid. Costumes encouraged. Children’s activities include arts and crafts, music, $1 carousel rides, and more. Visit www.pompanociticentre.com.

2016 Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon

Saturday, Jan. 23, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Galuppi’s Restaurant

1103 N. Federal Hwy.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church hosts their annual fashion show, including raffle of gift baskets. Hosted by Patchington Resort Wear. $30 donation includes lunch and gratuity. For tickets, call 954-784-0414 .

The Reagans” are coming

Saturday, Jan. 23, 2 p.m.

Percy White Library

837 E. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

William and Sue Wills return with their series, Presidents and Their First Ladies, dramatically speaking, offering a dramatic presentation of former President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy. Kicks off a series of library programs, Celebrating 240 Years of Freedom. For more information about the Wills’ performances, visit www.parpro.zweb.com.

Jeeps, Beats and Eats

Saturday, Jan. 23, 6 p.m. to midnight

Corner of Military Trail and Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Gourmet Truck Expo food trucks, live music, craft beers from Funky Buddha, Accomplice Brewery, Saltwater Brewery and Hollywood Brewing Co. For info., visit www.gourmetruckexpo.com.

JA World Uncorked

Saturday, Jan. 23, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.

JA World Huizenga Center at Broward College

1130 Coconut Creek Blvd.

Coconut Creek, FL 33066

Top Florida chefs will present samples for guests to enjoy. Listen to swanky ultra lounge sounds, bid on auction items, sip craft cocktails and wines. Benefits Junior Achievement. Sponsored by Circle of Wise Women. Complimentary valet. $150 per person; must be 21 and over. For more information, visit www.jaworlduncorked.com.

Doc Talk: Knee Pain Relief

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 5:30 p.m.

Broward Health North Conference Center

201 E. Sample Rd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33064

Free. Dr. Bruce Janke, Orthopedic Surgeon and director of the Joint Replacement Center will discuss state-of-the-art Robot Assisted Surgery. Light refreshments served. Call 954-759-7400 to RSVP or visit www.browardhealth.org/events.

18th Annual Fashion Show Luncheon

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 11:30 a.m.

Lighthouse Point Yacht and Racquet Club

2701 NE 42 St.

Lighthouse Point, FL 33064

Benefits NE Focal Point. Fashions are by Sondro at The Cove Shopping Center. $50 per person. Seating limited. Call 954-480-4460 for tickets.

Save the Date!

6th Annual Festival of the Arts

Saturday, Jan. 30 & Sunday, Jan. 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Along Ocean Way (NE 21 Ave.)

on Deerfield’s beach, south of pier

Free family event. Stroll through artist’s booths, purchase food and drinks from local vendors and enjoy live music. Parking limited. Free trolley service 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. to and from The Cove Shopping Center. Call 954-480-4429.

Mardi Gras Casino bus trip

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 10 a.m. sharp

St. Ambrose Men’s Club trip to casino leaves from St. Ambrose (380 S Federal Hwy, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441) and is only $15, which includes bus transportation, $5 free play, $3 food coupon. If you do not have a Mardi Gras Player’s Card, they need a copy of your Driver’s License or passport. Checks payable to St. Ambrose Men’s Club. Get a seat now! Call 954-856-6062 for info.

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CLERGY CORNER: The miracle of matchmaking

Posted on 21 January 2016 by LeslieM

This week’s Torah portion Beshalach (Exodus 14:26 – 15:26) relates that dramatic moment when at the brink of being captured by the mighty Egyptian forces, the Red Sea parted before the Hebrews. The newly-born nation of Israel crossed to the other side and embarked on its journey to freedom.

Do we have anything in our lives today that could even remotely reflect that unparalleled and stupendous miracle? Yes, says the Talmud, and it is the miracle of a marriage that works. “To match couples together is as difficult as the splitting of the sea,” states this ancient Jewish text written around 1700 years ago. What is the meaning behind these words? Everybody knows that the process of finding a life’s partner and maintaining the relationship may at times be excruciatingly difficult. But why, from all extraordinary miracles described in the Bible, does the Talmud choose specifically the miracle of the splitting of the sea to depict marriage?

Do you remember your groom?

Before each of us was born, say the Kabbalists, we were shown, in heaven, the souls of our respective grooms and brides. Now, when you saw the soul of your future husband in the spiritual realms, you were ecstatic. You were witness to an extraordinary spirit, a towering beacon of light, a great personality. You thought to yourself: “For such a husband, I will do anything. I will be there for him in the deepest possible way. I am ready to ‘split’ for him any day.”

Similarly, when you encountered your future bride there in the sublime plane, you were just blown away. What a profound heart! Will I truly have the privilege of building a home with this human being? How will I ever be able to show enough gratitude for the joy of having a relationship with this woman?

Then, you were born. Twenty, 25, 30, 35, 45 years later, you feel an attraction to your spouse, to that soul that once so overwhelmed you. You take a look … But you do not recognize him or her.

Him? You want me to respect him?” many a woman says. “He is an obnoxious, egotistical, self-centered man.”

Her?” many a man exclaims. “You expect me to appreciate and honor her? A world-renowned needy and insecure kvetch?”

Many of us fail to recognize in the face and personality of our spouses what we once-upon-a-time saw in their souls. Marriage is the ability to recognize your true spouse, beneath the layers of “rubble” that may eclipse his or her true dignity and beauty. A good relationship stems from the understanding that life is a battlefield in which we often stumble and fail and that the beauty and profundity of human life consists not of a continuous stream of light and perfection, but rather of the light that emerges from amidst darkness, of the serenity that emerges from turmoil, and of the harmony that sprouts forth from strife.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the Director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches located at

4081 N. Federal Hwy., #100A, Pompano Beach, FL 33064. For all upcoming events please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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FLICKS: Mustang, Closed Season & Brooklyn

Posted on 14 January 2016 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


The awards season is peaking today with the Oscar nominations announcement. While films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens dominate the box office, this awards season provides unique opportunities to view eclectic movies.

Besides being a Golden Globe nominee, Mustang, which opens tomorrow in select theaters, is France’s submission to the Oscar’s Best Foreign Language motion picture nomination. Set in Turkey, Mustang follows the misadventures of five teenage sisters.

Trouble begins when the girls are seen frolicking on the beach with some boys. While the play seems innocent enough, the incident causes a scandal in the neighborhood. Things go from bad to worse as the family elders take Draconian measures to keep the girls in line.

[The girls seek to escape their repressive household where they are expected to stay virginal and spend time preparing to be good wives. Traditions seen in this film mirror everyday reality for many in that region.]

In a strange way, Mustang made me think about two Clint Eastwood movies. In Unforgiven, a personal incident is mishandled and eventually explodes into a full scale civil war. In Mustang, the girls’ claustrophobic relationship echoes that in The Beguiled. Even though it is presented as tragedy, there are moments of joy in Mustang that recall the innocence of films from France’s legendary director, Francois Truffaut.

One of Truffaut’s contemporaries was Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman, whose dramas confronted family secrets. Opening tomorrow, Closed Season, directed by Franziska Schlotterer, shares DNA with the Bergman universe. Set in the Black Forest of Germany, a childless couple hides a Jewish refugee on their farm, circa 1942. One day, the infertile husband suggests that his wife conceive a child with the refugee. Things get complicated after conception occurs.

On a lighter note, Brooklyn recently left the big screen and will soon be available on DVD. Saoirse Ronan portrays an Irish immigrant who comes to America to live a better life. This delightful film features a fine ensemble cast and was screened at the recent Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. If Brooklyn is recognized by the Academy, expect a return to the big screen.

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Posted on 14 January 2016 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach

Dec. 28: A man was arrested and charged with burglary of an occupied residence, breaking into a car and attempting to break into two cars. The man ran from police and was found hiding in a fenced in backyard at 4111 NE 2 Way.

Dec. 28: A golf cart was reported stolen from Freedom Marine at 790 NW 1 Ave.

Dec. 28: A man reported being the victim of armed robbery by three men at 5311 NE 10 Ave. One man brandished an ice pick.

Dec. 28: A man’s ATM card became stuck in an ATM machine. He went into the bank to report the problem and while he was inside an unknown person stole $300 using the card. The incident was reported at 3668 W. Hillsboro Blvd.

Jan. 4: Victim’s vehicle was broken into via the window while parked at Planet Air, 1401 Green Rd. An iPod and a bag containing sunglasses, visible on the center console, were taken. Loss was $560.

Jan. 5: Unknown suspect broke front glass door to enter business at 2245 W. Hillsboro Blvd. Merchandise and cash register were stolen. Loss was $490.

Jan. 6: Victim parked and secured vehicle at 6 p.m. behind Ruby Tuesday at 3887 W. Hillsboro Blvd. On returning to vehicle at midnight, victim discovered front passenger window smashed and gym bag missing. Bag contained clothing and wallet.

Jan. 6: Three unknown suspects entered Target at 3599 W. Hillsboro Blvd. and concealed electronics and toys in a bag, then exited without paying for merchandise. Suspects fled the scene in a red, 2016 Jeep Compass. Loss valued at $671.95.

Jan. 7: Suspect removed items from Target at 3599 W. Hillsboro Blvd. without payment. Loss valued at $44.90.

Jan. 8: Fraudulent/counterfeit check reported by a business owner at 3660 W. Hillsboro Blvd.

Jan. 9: A neighbor reported a disturbance at 1801 Sable Dr. Subject admitted to entering victim’s trailer unannounced, without permission, as victim slept. Subject was charged with trespassing.

Jan. 9: Five subjects got out of a car parked in front of a park at 1459 SW 28 Ave. and robbed the victim, taking his cell phone.

Lighthouse Point

Dec. 17: An older male subject grabbed a drone off a shelf and fled the store at 5200 N. Federal Hwy. The employee was unable to catch him before he left. The loss was $99.

Dec. 17: The victim said she was unable to locate her safety deposit box key or the key to the master safe in the home at 4103 NE 22 Ave. Victim is unsure if the keys were lost or stolen.

Dec. 20: Someone entered a vehicle at 3311 NE 27 Terr. and stole a GPS, purse and $10 in cash. The total loss was $435.

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Posted on 14 January 2016 by LeslieM

RE: Code Enforcement

Dear Editor:

Regarding the recent letter [Jan. 7 issue] regarding Code Enforcement, I agree with the assessment. I have talked to many small businesses over 30 years and they are frightened of Code Enforcement. Some women have been nearly brought to tears who own businesses because Code Enforcement treats them so badly, rather than trying to help them. Small business has a hard enough time to survive as it is with all the massive regulations, taxes, rules and undue outside interference. They work long hard hours just to make a minimal living. Some members of Code Enforcement use their power tactics to make life miserable for many small business owners. In some cases, when a business tries to open, even though they try to comply with everything, Code Enforcement makes it difficult for them by delaying their permit, rather than trying to help them open up. I feel for all these business owners in Deerfield Beach, but the Commissioners care less and they know the little business owners have little or no power to help themselves.

This is America and this has to STOP!

Charles Laser

Deerfield Beach



Posted on 14 January 2016 by LeslieM

Friends of the Arboretum

Thursday, Jan. 14, 7 p.m.

Deerfield Beach Arboretum

Constitution Park

2841 W. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Free. Gene Dempsey, Urban Forester for the City of Ft. Lauderdale and Adrienne Ehle, Environmental Analyst for the City of Ft. Lauderdale, discuss impacts of weather changes and flooding on our area. Plant giveaway. Call 954-480-4495 or visit www.treezoo.com.

Car Wash and Historical Tours

Saturday, Jan. 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Historic Butler House

380 E. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Car wash sponsored by Junior Historical Society. Tours of the historic Butler House.

Sea of Jazz Fest

Saturday, Jan. 16, 7 to 11 p.m.

Pompano Beach Amphitheater

1801 NE 6 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Jazz lovers rejoice! Acts this evening include: Terrel Stafford, Dick Oattes, Randy Brecker Quintet with Ada Rovatti, Shelly Berg, Ken Peplowski, David Finck, Ernie Adams and Tim Horner. $23 to $53 at www.Ticketmaster.com, call 954-519-5500 or visit www.pompanobeacharts.org.

Deerfield Farmers Market – Grow Deerfield

Sunday, Jan. 17, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pioneer Park

217 NE 5 Ave.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Free. Buy fresh vegetables, homemade foods, jellies, honey, pickles, dog treats, soaps, flowers and more!

Cool Wheels Car Show

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

Quiet Waters Park, Shelter #10

401 S. Powerline Road

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

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

Author Talk: Rose Doherty

Sunday, Jan. 17, 3 p.m.

Spanish River Library

1501 Spanish River Blvd.

Boca Raton, FL 33431

Free. Author Rose Doherty speaks about her book Katherine Gibbs: Beyond White Gloves. Doherty recounts her experiences at the Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School and the influence of Gibbs on generations of businesswomen who began careers there. Call 561-807-7141.

Zonta Meeting and Lunch

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 11:45 networking, noon lunch

Duffy’s Sports Grill

401 N. Federal Hwy.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Guests welcome. Guest speaker Jayne Morrison will discuss serving in the military. RSVP to Ellen Vacirca, 561-368-2653 or ellenv806@bellsouth.net.

Relay for Life Fiesta

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 5:30 p.m. to closing

Baja Cafe

1310 S. Federal Hwy.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Sponsored by Relay for Life Team Hillsboro. Come out and enjoy fun, raffles, prizes and great food and drinks. 15 percent of proceeds to benefit Relay for Life. Contact Lana Hazou, lhazou@gmail.com.

Taste of Lighthouse Point

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 6 to 9 p.m.

Lighthouse Point Yacht & Racquet Club

2701 NE 42 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33064

It’s that time again! The Taste of Lighthouse Point is here. Gather for an evening of wine, food and raffles to support the Lighthouse Point Chamber and the local community. Enjoy a wide variety of samples from over 25 local restaurants. Tickets are $50 in advance; $60 at door. Visit www.lhpchamber.com for information.

Deerfield Beach Island

Community Association Meeting

Thursday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.

Community Presbyterian Church

Briggs Hall

1920 SE 5 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Featured speaker: Arilton Pavan from Dixie Divers. For information, contact Debby Hoffman at debbyhoffman@comcast.net.

Talk to the School District

Thursday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.

Deerfield Beach High School

910 SW 15 St.

Deerfield Beach, 33441

Broward County Public Schools is holding its annual Conversation with the District, a town hall-style meeting to gain input and feedback from parents, students, staff and community members. Call Nadine Drew, 754-321-2300.

Murder Mystery Dinner

Friday, Jan. 22, 6 to 10:30 p.m.

Royal Fiesta Caterers

1680 SE 3 Ct.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Bobby Rodriguez Productions and the Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce present “Death of a Blackheart”, a dinner murder mystery! Menu includes hors d’oeuvres, field greens, Chicken Francaise and Roast Sirloin Marsala, with green beans and potatoes, Red Velvet Cake. Cash bar. Register in advance at www.deerfieldchamber.com under Upcoming Events. $50 for Chamber members; $65 for non-members.

Save the Date!

26th Annual Nautical Flea Market

Saturday, Jan. 23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 24, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pompano Beach Community Park

2001 NE 10 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Find hundreds of vendors with items both new and old for boating and diving. Clothing, marine surplus, anchors, moorings, arts and crafts, food at the Knotty Lounge, a kid zone and more. $5 per person, children under 12 free. Call 954-786-4111.

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CLERGY CORNER: Braking OCD Christianity

Posted on 14 January 2016 by LeslieM

Ray Romano once said, “As a comedian, you don’t want to upset someone with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). They’ll write you a letter … and another one … and another one … and another one.”

We may laugh, but the reality is that OCD is crippling. People suffering from this condition develop compulsive behaviors in which they become obsessed with performing certain rituals repeatedly to only temporarily find relief from the plaguing anxiety. Simply put: Someone obsessing over their safety may lock and re-lock a door again and again. For many, this is a neurotic condition; they know the repetition is for naught. They understand that they are no safer whether they lock the same lock once or four times over.

If you’ve read this far, you’re either my mom or you’re curious to see what this has to do with Christianity. Allow me to explain.

While not true OCD, I believe many of us have what I like to call OCD Christianity. We’ve latched on to certain obsessions within our faith and have created rituals that help us feel more Christian. And, as with OCD, we recognize these behaviors and still perform them even though we know they do not draw us closer to God. If anything, they weigh us down and distract us from strengthening our personal relationship with Him.

To grasp my abstract thought, track with me through three things we obsess about. One, we obsess about condemnation. We see the world living in sin and think, “Turn or burn.” We use guilt and shame to bring people into the faith. Unfortunately, this approach makes God’s plan small and boring — uninviting and unexciting.

And, naturally, if we begin to obsess over condemnation for others, it’s not long before, two, we obsess about self-preservation — Are we saved? Are we good, God? Check out Luke 3:7, when John the Baptist addressed the Pharisees and Sadducees: “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath?” He pointed out that, just as snakes flee a brush fire to save themselves, these guys were only concerned about self-preservation, believing their rituals would save them. As much as it may pain us to admit, in this case, we probably relate more to the Pharisees and Sadducees than to the recent converts.

Three, we obsess over comfort — doing everything in our power to avoid being uncomfortable. Yet, nowhere in Scripture do we find a call to safe and comfortable living. Quite the opposite, right? This obsession blinds us from the realization that Heavenly comfort is facilitated by earthly discomfort.

So, there they are. I had to put them out there to say this: From these obsessions, we’ve created rituals that ransack our understanding of Matthew 7:22-23: “On judgment day many will say to me ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’” To put it in modern context: “Without leaving our comfort zone, we started a small group in your name and read our Bibles, and attended Sunday school, in your name, and even had a really cool event that grew our attendance … in your name, of course.” Yet comprehend carefully Christ’s response in Matthew 7:23: “But I will reply, ‘I never KNEW you. Get away from me…’” [emphasis added].

Wait, what? So there are people who do Christian-ey things and they won’t enter Heaven?


God isn’t asking us to do things because they make us feel like Christians. He’s inviting us into an authentic relationship with Him. But, if we obsess about condemnation, self-preservation and discomfort, we’ll read our Bibles, pray, give of our time and resources, etc., because doing so will make us feel like “we’re good” instead of an effort to actually deepen our relationship with Him. We’ll miss the point completely — be His disciple; go and make disciples. It’ll all be, as with OCD, for naught.

But, be filled with hope! John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ, who would, once and for all, atone for our sins. Find joy in that we are free from having to lock and re-lock the door, metaphorically speaking. We can brake — put a stop to our obsessions — by fully surrendering to His will, by trusting Him at His Word, by accepting that He is our assurance of salvation. And then, out of our overflow, we will freely live the two most important commands: Love God and love your neighbor — without the crippling fruitless rituals which bring us no closer to being known by Him.

C.J. Wetzler is the NextGen pastor at First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. For questions or comments, he can be reached at cj@deerfieldfirst.com.

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Ely hoops looking for identity, leadership

Posted on 07 January 2016 by LeslieM

sports010716By Gary Curreri

Since the 2012 season, Blanche Ely’s boys’ basketball team has won three state titles (2012, 2013 and 2015) in addition to forging a 106-11 record during that span.

The team lost five times in 2014 when it dropped four games to Boyd Anderson and one to Cardinal Gibbons, the last time it lost more than three times in a year. In fact, not since 2008, the year after Blanche Ely won the Class 6A state title, have the Tigers lost more than six games in a single year. They finished 18-8 that season.

Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall is in his 23rd year, including the past 15 with the Tigers, and has an overall record of 514-153 including, by his standards, a pedestrian 9-7 mark this season following the team’s 69-47 loss to Dacula (GA) in the Kingdom of the Sun Tournament in Ocala on New Year’s Eve. The team has suffered five losses in the past seven games.

It’s a whole new group,” Randall said. “It is a young, young, young, young, young team. The seniors that we have are not stepping up. They are still hiding behind the eight ball waiting for those players that graduated to pop on the court, and that is frustrating.”

We just don’t have any leadership,” added Randall, who won state titles in 1997 with Deerfield (Class 5A) and his win with the Bucks in 1999 (Class 6A) came at the expense of his current school Ely, 77-69. After moving over to Ely, Randall won state titles in 2007 (Class 6A), 2012 (Class 7A), 2013 (Class 7A) and 2015 (7A). “I just have to raise these young boys and go from there.”

Randall, whose team moved over to District 14-7A with the likes of St. Thomas Aquinas and Fort Lauderdale, said the team is still searching for its identity.

We just have to play ball,” Randall said. “We just have not really bought into Tiger basketball.

It goes back to missing the summer, of [not] playing during the summer,” Randall said. “They decided to go and do other things. We’ve got injuries, but my thing is I am very, very competitive and I don’t like to pose excuses. If we have five players to get out on the court, we need those five players to play.”

Randall is counting on senior Mark Houston (SG, PG) and injured senior Trevor Goodrum (SF, PF) in addition to junior Geremy Taylor (SF, SG).

They are the main ones because they have been there,” Randall said. “Not only on the local level, but on the state and national level as well. These are the ones who should really be catering to these young guys and raising them, and we’re not doing a good job of that. Because, if we are not doing our jobs, how can we teach it to those young kids? That’s where the problem is right there.”

Randall said it is a different feeling to be taking so many losses this early in the season. The Tigers suffered two losses by one point – Pebblebrook (GA), 64-63, and Sagemont, 58-57. The team also has a 74-73 win over Northeast and a 73-71 win over Fort Lauderdale.

Yeah, you get a little spoiled,” Randall said. “It’s not a great feeling to be on that other end after not being there for a while. We were blessed. It is something that we learn from. The one-point losses that we lost, and the buzzer beaters that we won – we will learn from all of those. These babies have to grow up quick.”

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FLICKS: 2015 in review & looking toward 2016

Posted on 07 January 2016 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


2014 was such a disappointing year that last year I could only name seven movies for my annual Top 10 list. A few weeks later, Hollywood released their Academy Award considerations and I would have balanced the list with the following motion pictures: American Sniper, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.

The movies for 2015 provided escapist entertainment. Beyond my own enjoyment, I could consistently hear people laughing, crying and applauding the images on the big screen. With good stories, interesting characters and clear visualization, movies were simply more fun in 2015. The included Top 10 list sidebar is presented in reverse alphabetical order.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens just dethroned Avatar as the biggest grossing motion picture of all time. Given the fragmentation of movies between television and Internet, the record breaking box office figures reveal that people still want to see big screen epic entertainment. Jurassic World allowed ticket buyers to see the actual size of a Tyrannosaurus rex on the Museum of Discovery’s 5-story IMAX screen.

2016 will feature a big screen box office battle between a Star Wars spin off (titled Rogue One) and Star Trek Beyond. Given the success of the Marvel Comics Expanded Universe, arch rival DC Comics plans to expand their universe with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which will be followed up with Suicide Squad, featuring the Rogue’s Gallery of Villainy.

Despite a sense of diminishing returns from last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel is predicted to regain the box office championship throne with Captain America: Civil War. While Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) are expected to fight on the big screen, Civil Wars is a political movie that will examine the fine line between security and liberty on May 6, 2016.

Change is in the air locally. The Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) is under new management. Given that the base of operations is in Manalapan, it remains to be seen if PBIFF will have relevance for our Observer readers this April. Stay tuned, we always have the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival in November.

2016 will mark my 17th year writing this column in which we have witnessed the home video evolution from VHS to DVD to direct streaming through businesses like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Yet, for all of these technical innovations, nothing beats seeing a flick on the big screen for popcorn-eating Saturday Matinee fun.

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