| October, 2016

Get ready for Halloween at Costume World

Posted on 20 October 2016 by LeslieM

costume102016By Rachel Galvin

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it is time to get a costume. Wondering which one to choose? You may want to take a peek into Deerfield’s Costume World. Begun originally more than 40 years ago, this entity not only has costumes to sell, but also to rent. In fact, they are the largest distributor of costumes in the United States. If you have seen a theatrical performance, there is a good chance that the costumes within it came from Costume World. Owner Marilyn Wick also runs the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton so is using many of the costumes for her own actors and actresses.

As far as the retail store, they have a large selection of theatrical makeup, wigs, costumes for adults and kids and more.

When asked what is popular this year, Jadeane Deems, who is in charge of the theatrical division, said “Being that it is an election year, Trump and Hillary masks are popular. People follow what’s hot in movies and TV. Suicide Squad is a big deal. It is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek [so character costumes are popular]. Pikachu is huge again [thanks to Pokemon Go]. Star Wars is big. Pirates never go out of style. Pirates of the Caribbean brought it to the forefront.”

Ready to get your costume? Costume World is located at 950 S. Federal Hwy. in Deerfield Beach. They are open seven days a week from 10 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. They may be extending their hours until 9 p.m. soon. For more information, call 954-418-0308 or visit www.costumeworld.com. In addition to the store here, they also have retail stores in Pittsburgh and Dallas.

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Local skaters compete in South Atlantic Regionals

Posted on 19 October 2016 by LeslieM

sports102016By Gary Curreri

Lighthouse Point’s Arianna Varvoutis and Deerfield Beach’s Lucas Altieri recently returned home after competing in the South Atlantic Regional Figure Skating Championships at the Ashburn Ice House in Ashburn, VA.

Varvoutis, 13, a 7th grader at Pine Crest in Fort Lauderdale, has skated since she was 7. Her friend had a birthday party and Varvoutis was hooked. She was one of 30 members of the Panthers Figure Skating Club based at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs that competed in the event.

I immediately fell in love with (figure skating),” she said. “It was so much fun. I kept going to practices and group classes and started competing.

It is really fun now,” added Varvoutis, who finished 11th in the Juvenile Girls Group E Division at the competition with a 41.97 score. “I am competitive, so when I go to compete I get nervous, but once I get on the ice I think in my head, ‘put on a show and the judges will give you as many points as they can.’”

Skating is a special place for Varvoutis.

It is a feeling of happiness,” she said. “You get away from school, your parents telling you to do your homework and other family members (a younger brother, two turtles and a cat). I am the one that has to take care of them (pets).”

It is the greatest thing,” Varvoutis continued. “It is my calm zone where I can get away and be happy.”

This was her second trip to regionals. Her goal was to get above 43 and make it to the final round. This is her second straight trip to compete in the Juvenile Division.

Last year, I wasn’t the best,” but this year I have accomplished so much more,” she said. “My double Lutz, my double flip, and my double-double. I think I am going to do great.”

Altieri and fellow Panthers Figure Skating Club member Sophia Chouinard recently returned from the 2016 Novice and Junior Challenge Skate, which took place in Salt Lake City, Utah. The invitation-only competition was based on the International scoring system.

It was huge for them to get the exposure and go,” said Nancy Mariani, the Director of Skating Development at the IceDen. Altieri skated to a fourth place finish with a 39.87 short program and 77.06 long that resulted in a 117.69 total. Chouinard was 11th overall with a 33.13 short; 63.46 long, and 96.59 total.

Altieri, 15, a freshman at North Broward Prep, is in his fifth year skating. He said the trip to Utah wasn’t really different from most competitions.

The altitude made it harder to skate,” he said. “I got to experience that. I did okay at that competition by finishing fourth with my new program.”

It was a good year for Altieri last year and he is hoping for bigger and better things this year.

It was pretty good, but what I get nervous about is that I won’t improve as much as last year,” he said. “Last year, I got like two or three new jumps and this year I have one or two, but I am trying a triple-triple, which is a really hard combination.

After a previous best finish of fifth at regionals, Altieri won a Pewter medal at the nationals in the Intermediate Division. This year he is competing in the Novice Division. Not only has he grown on the ice, he also experienced a growth spurt adding five inches to his now, 5-foot, 8-inch frame.

Not much has changed for him as his goal is to return to nationals this year. He placed second at the regional event in the Novice Men with a 94.03 score.

I want to try and do the same as last year and win a medal at nationals,” Altieri said. “I would rather do well at nationals than at a smaller competition. The difference this year is there are new competitors and the judging is a little bit different in Novice. I have to focus more on my edges and my footwork. I want to compete in the Olympics, but that is far away.

Lucas is one of those skaters that just appears to be even,” Mariani said. “Some kids might be doing things that might be harder, but when you put all of his stuff together, it equals magic and that is why he does so well.”

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FLICKS: Once in a Lifetime & The Girl on the Train

Posted on 19 October 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


It has been 21 years since I produced A Tribute to the Men and Women of the World War II Generation with 133 6th graders at Loggers’ Run Community Middle School. The presentation featured big band numbers, a chorus inspired by the Andrew Sisters and testimonials that induced a few tears from some very hardened middle-aged teachers and 12-year-olds. I’m proud of this program and the fact that some of my former students have remained in touch with me via Facebook. A French film with English subtitles, Once in a Lifetime took me back to my experiences from two decades ago.

Based on a true story and filmed at the actual high school where the movie was originally filmed, Once in a Lifetime introduces us to Anne Gueguen (Ariane Ascaride), a history teacher. Talking to her diverse student body, Ms. Gueguen informs her jaded students that she is entering them into a contest. The subject is the Holocaust and students balk about learning “ancient history.”

Co-written by Ahmed Dramé (who portrays one of the students), the French high school looks and sounds like an American classroom. There is multiple rivalry between the diverse cultures that create tension. Gueguen allows her students their moments to speak, but she carefully crafts their arguments into understanding. Once the boundaries of mutual respect are established, Gueguen brings in a guest speaker, Léon Zyguel, a Holocaust survivor.

In an age when educational socialization is emphasizing pressing the buttons on the latest technology (that may be obsolete in five years), Once in a Lifetime is a reminder of the importance of classroom debate and discussion. This is a riveting motion picture for nearly two hours.

Last week, I mentioned Haley Bennett’s earthy performance in The Magnificent Seven. Proving to be a chameleon, the actress portrays an opposite role as Megan in The Girl on the Train, based on the best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins.

Emily Blunt portrays Rachel as the girl in The Girl on the Train. She is an alcoholic who suffers from blackouts. As she commutes to the city via railroad, she spies a suburban couple living Rachel’s ideal life. With a pang of jealousy, Rachel finds relief in drinking vodka from her water bottle.

The Girl on the Train is an interesting thriller until it reaches its climax, which stumbles into unintentional humor. However, this film will be remembered for Blunt’s vulnerable performance, which has received some Oscar buzz.

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Posted on 19 October 2016 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach

Oct. 3: Someone entered a car parked at 840 NW 47 St. and stole a gun.

Oct. 4: Someone entered a vehicle parked at 4550 NE 1 Ave. and stole a wallet with a driver’s license, green card and a social security card.

Oct. 4: A woman reported her cell phone stolen at 3300 SW 15 St.

Oct. 7: Someone stole $105.16 worth of beer from a 7/11 at 900 SW 10 St.

Oct. 8: Someone used a forklift to open a rear door at Tecta American South Florida, Inc. and stole computer monitors, checks, air compressor and a welder.

Lighthouse Point

Sept. 22: A subject ordered food at a drive-thru at 4830 N. Federal Hwy. and paid with a counterfeit $20 bill. He was given back $15 in change. The subject left and Secret Service and police were notified.

Sept. 22: The victim said two 10 ft. paddleboards were stolen from a dock at the rear of a residence at 3264 NE 31 Ave. Because of their proximity to the Intracoastal Waterway, it is believed they were taken on a boat. The loss was $6,000.

Sept. 24: The victim said a ladies 18k Rolex was either lost or stolen at a residence at 5111 NE 30 Ave. The loss was $4,933.

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Halloween Happenings & Fall Festivities

Posted on 19 October 2016 by LeslieM

Haunted House

Fridays & Saturdays, Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29, 7 to 11 p.m.

Sample McDougald House

450 NE 10 St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Children 18 and under-$10, Adults-$20. Proceeds go to scholarships for local students and charities. For more information, visit www.Rotary-Haunted-House.com. ($15 for adults when purchased online).

12th Annual Shriek Week

Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.,

Special “Lite Nite,” Thursday, Oct. 27, 5 to 9 p.m.

Sugar Sand Park

300 S. Military Tr.

Boca Raton, FL 33486

Appropriate for ages 7-12. “Lite Nite” for ages 5-12 (less intense version of the haunted house). Tickets: $8 per person. Reservations required can be booked in person, online, or by calling 561-347-3948. For information, visit www.Sugar-SandPark.org or call the Community Center at 561-347-3900.

8th Annual Halloween Fair & Horse Show

Saturday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sand & Spurs Equestrian Park

1600 NE 5 Ave.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Pony rides, carnival games, bounce house, face painting, pumpkin patch, hay rides, fire trucks, arts & crafts, hand-crafted jewelry, “Pet Communicator” (bring your pet or a picture) and more. Pets must be on a leash. 12:30 p.m. costume contest on horseback. 1:30 p.m. public costume parade on foot. All ages. No registration needed. Meet at bleachers. For more information, visit www.pompanobeachfl.gov.

Annual Trunk or Treat

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 6:30 to 8 p.m

Trinity United Methodist Church.

3901 NE 22 Ave.

Lighthouse Point, FL 33064

Free. Children should dress in non-scary costumes and must be accompanied by an adult. Hot dogs, snacks and drinks avail-able for purchase (proceeds benefit the church and its ministries.) Those who would like to decorate their trunks and pass out treats to the kids should call 954-941-8033.

Magician Michael Winters performs

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 10:30 a.m.

Percy White Library

837 E. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Halloween family fun for children of all ages (especially preschool aged and their parents/guardians).

Annual Halloween Hoe-Down

Thursday, Oct. 27, 6 to 9 p.m.

Villages of Hillsboro Park

4111 NW 6 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Creepy costume contests, pie eating and pumpkin carving contests and petting zoo. Free entry. Enjoy hayrides and a pumpkin patch. Refreshments available for purchase. For more information, call 954-480-4494.

Boo Bash

Friday, Oct. 28, 6 to 9 p.m.

Community Park

820 NE 18 Ave.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Carnival games, stage performers, DJ music and dancing, haunted bus, amazing inflatables, ghostly games and more. Dress in your best costume for pumpkin patch costume contest. Free, family-friendly event. For more information, call 954-786-4111.

Annual Fall Festival

Friday, Oct. 28, 5:30 to 9 p.m.

First Baptist Church

701 NE 2 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Hayride, bounce house, petting zoo, face painting, dunk tank, rock wall, candy bags for kids, popcorn, hotdogs, ice cream floats and much more. Free event. Call 954-427-1216 or visit www.deerfieldfirst.com.


Friday, Oct. 28, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Quiet Waters Park

Shelter #10 Parking Lot

401 S. Powerline Rd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Participants are invited to dress up their cars and themselves. $2 fee for reserved parking spot, car costume contest, bounce house, candy giveaway and Halloween-themed movie. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Call 954-357-5100.

Halloween Festivities

Saturday, Oct. 29, 6 to 8 p.m.

Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex  

445 SW 2 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Activities will include the Silly Magic Stage Show, balloon twisters, bounce houses, a costume contest, haystack candy find, arts & crafts, Halloween games and music by Extra, Extra Entertainment. Free entry. For more information, call 954-480-4481.

Halloween Harvest

Sunday, Oct. 30, 10 am to 2 p.m.

Butler House

380 E. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Candy, costumes and cornstalks. Fee: donation. 954-429-0378 or visit www.deerfield-history.org.

Annual Halloween Monster Concert

Sunday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church of Pompano Beach

2331 NE 26 Ave.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Listen to terrifying toccatas and haunting harmonies on the great pipe organ accompanied by spectacular lumonics/laser display and featuring the Fabulous Follies Florida Show girls. Audience costumes encouraged. $10 suggested donation/kids free. 954-941-2308.

Halloween Bash

Monday, Oct. 31, 5 to 7 p.m.

Pompano Citi Centre

1955 N. Federal Hwy.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Children 10 and under are invited to come dressed in their best costumes to enjoy Trick-or-Treating at participating stores at 5 pm. and enjoy a magical Wizard Show at 6 pm. The first 1,500 Trick-or-Treaters will receive complimentary candy bags handed out at the Pompano Citi Centre table. Adult supervision required. Admission is free. Ride the carousel during event for $1. For more information, visit www.pompanociticentre.com or call 954-943-4683.

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Posted on 19 October 2016 by LeslieM

Beach Sounds

Friday, Oct. 21, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Main Beach Parking Lot

149 SE 21 Ave.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

The Free Rads” play family friendly concert. Bring chairs and blankets. Free event. For more information, call 954-480-4429.

6th Annual Daytime Radness

Friday, Oct. 21, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., VIP-5 a.m.

Island Water Sports

1985 NE 2 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Fighting Cancer with the Hager Family & Grind For Life. Enjoy the biggest sale of the year, plus ramp jam, waterslide, meet the pros and more. For more information or VIP passes, visit www.DaytimeRadness.com. See more, Pg. 10.

Movies on the Lawn — Goosebumps

Friday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m.

Great Lawn

Intersection of Atlantic Blvd. and Pompano Beach Blvd.

Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Free family event. Bring chairs, blankets and picnics. For more information, call 954-786-4111 or visit the city’s website at www.pompanobeachfl.gov.

Family Hayride & Campfire

Friday, Oct. 21, 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Quiet Waters Park

401 S. Powerline Rd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

Bring the whole family and enjoy a fun hayride and bonfire, complete with s’mores. $3.50+ tax per person ages 3+ (includes one hayride and 1 bag of fixings for s’mores.) Pre-registration and pre-payment are required by calling or visiting the park. Also Nov. 18, Dec. 9 and Jan. 20, 2017.

For more information, call 954-357-5100.

16th Annual Health & Wellness Expo

Saturday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 12:30 pm

NE Focal Point Senior Center

227 NW 2 St.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Free health education and information, health screenings, including balance, body mass index, carotid artery, glucose, cholesterol, skin cancer and blood pressure; massage; Operation Medicine Cabinet (prescription drug disposal); Walgreens will be administering flu shots (bring your insurance card); door prizes and entertainment. Breakfast and lunch available for purchase. For more information, call 954-480-4446.

Green Market

Saturday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In front of Bailey Contemporary Arts

41 NE 1st St.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Locally-produced open air market featuring local fruits and vegetables, baked goods, fresh seafood, gourmet teas and coffee, specialty food items, homemade crafts, health-related products and live music. Season opens in October and continues every Saturday through April. Free entrance. For more information, call 954-786-7824 or visit www.pompanobeachgreenmarket.com.

5th Annual Brazilian Festival

Saturday, Oct 22, 10 a.m.

Community Park

820 NE 18 Ave.

Pompano Beach, FL 33060

Brazilian local bands, kid’s zone, 150 vendors/exhibitors, food & beverage, many attractions and dancers. “Flora and Fauna” to show support for environmental protection. Free admission. Line-up includes Cidade Negra, Brazil’s all times BEST reggae band and Grammy “nominee,” Sambalá, School of Samba with more than 100 members parading in the festival; Cravo e Canela, Florida’s own and only Forró Band; Thathi, critically acclaimed from Salvador, Bahia, Thathi, and paying tribute to one of the best Brazilian female singers, Cássia Eller; Macaxeira, winner of the International Brazilian Press Awards for Best Brailian Band in U.S. Samba Reggae.

Worth the drive: Miss Broward County Scholorship Pageant meeting

Saturday, Oct. 22, 12:30 p.m.

Broward County Dan Pearl Library

10500 W. Oakland Park, Blvd.

Sunrise, FL 33351

Learn about Miss Broward Co., Outstanding Teen and Sunshine Princess Pageants. Call or text Ms. Brenda, 954-609-3334 with questions and to R.S.V.P.rn learn about

Kiwanis Club East Meet & Greet Halloween Party

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m.

Duffy’s Restaurant

401 N. Federal Hwy.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

Meet and greet Halloween party membership drive. Costumes optional. For information, call 954-428-1537.

Green Market

Sunday, Oct. 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Butler House

380 E. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

They offer fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables, soaps & lotions, plants, fresh baked goods, prepared foods, doggie treats and more. On select Sundays: also Nov. 27, Dec. 18, Jan. 29, Feb. 26, March 26, April 30. For more information, call 954-429-0378.

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CLERGY CORNER: Does being human mean being different?

Posted on 19 October 2016 by LeslieM

We have different names, different colors, different shapes and different sizes. We eat different foods and enjoy different sports. We have different houses of prayer and we have different books of prayers.

Are we really that different? There seems to be a never-ending cycle of hate and war throughout the world based on these differences. There also seems to be an ever-growing divisiveness within our own communities. How do we change that? Are humans really just different, separate beings that will always clash? Does being human mean being different? What is it that divides us and what is it that can unite us?

I propose we go back to the beginning …

When G-d created the first human being, the Bible describes it like this: “And the Lord, G-d formed man of dust from the ground, and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life, and man became a living soul.” [Genesis 2:7]

So what divides us is the physical body. We are different people with different histories. Let me explain what unites us with a story: The story is told of an opera singer who was known for his readings and recitations from the Classics. He always ended his performance with a dramatic recital of Psalm 23. Each night, without exception, as the actor began his recitation, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” The crowd would listen attentively and then rise with thunderous applause, in appreciation of the actor’s ability to bring the psalm to life.

One night, just before the singer was to offer his customary recital of Psalm 23, an old man from the audience spoke up. “Sir, would you mind, if tonight, I recite Psalm 23?”

The actor was surprised by this unusual request. However, he invited the old man to come onto the stage to recite the psalm, curious to see how the ability of this man weighed against his own talent.

Softly, the old man began to recite the words of the psalm. His voice was parched and weak, and his tune pretty lousy.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want … Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff-they will comfort me. Only goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for many long years.”

When he was finished, there was no applause. There was no standing ovation as on other nights. All that could be heard was the sound of weeping. The audience had been so moved by the man’s recitation that every eye was tearful.

Amazed by what he had experienced, the opera star queried, “I don’t understand. I have been performing Psalm 23 for years. I have a lifetime of experience and training —but I have never been able to move an audience as you have tonight. And frankly, you have a horrible voice and can barely carry a tune. Tell me, what is your secret?”

The old man humbly replied, “Well, sir, you know the psalm … but I know the Shepherd.”

My dear friends, get to know the Shepherd within each and every one of us!

What unites us is our Creator, our Shepherd, our G-d. Get to know the shepherd and you will get to know the song of life. When we sing the Psalm, it will bring unity — peace, love and tolerance!

We humans were created with a body and a soul. The soul was given in order to bring unity, not to divide us! So, if we see another human, we must realize his uniqueness, which is his soul, is a part of G-d, our G-d, and that’s exactly what unites us!

So, next time you want to hate or divide, just stop and think that what makes us human is not the body, but the soul!

[Malachi 2:10]Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why should we betray, each one his brother, to profane the covenant of our forefathers?

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the Director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches located at 2025 E Sample Rd in Lighthouse Point.For all upcoming events, visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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Tabz 4 Charity: LHP’s Lexi Masciarella gives back

Posted on 14 October 2016 by LeslieM

tabz101316By Rachel Galvin

Lexi Masciarella first started collecting pop tabs in 2nd grade when students at her school were collecting them to donate proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House. In 5th grade, this North Broward Preparatory student became the head of collection of pop tabs from her class and proceeded to ask her neighbors, grandmother’s bowling team, anyone who could collect them to help her in her quest to get the most pop tabs. She ended up filling a 50 gallon drum with what she had collected.

I wheeled the drum into the auditorium and spoke at the assembly. I was interviewed by Channel 7. It was great.”

When she asked her mom how much money that was raised from them, she was told $80. “That’s not enough,” she thought, only $80 for all of her efforts. She knew she had to find a way to make more money for the cause.

I became enthralled with collecting them and how you could help someone so easily,” she said.

A couple of months later, she came up with the idea of the bracelets, which she sold at a 6th grade charity fair. She made $100 and was sold out within the hour. Seeing that making $100 an hour was much better than her earlier endeavor, she figured out she was onto something.

The bracelets at first were unable to be adjusted and were sharp and could cut people so she proceeded to make some modifications. She began getting demands for certain colors and types, and added charms and beads, completely transforming them into something new.

Now, five years later, this now 16-year-old has raised $10,000 so far. She has worked with organizations like Deerfield Beach’s Zonta International, which gave her a Rising Star Award, as well as Brandeis University and the JCC in Boca Raton.

She recently was at Zonta’s Festi-Fall at St. Ambrose Catholic Church. Next, she will be at Westminster Academy in Ft. Lauderdale on Nov. 4-5 for their Christmas Boutique.

During Hurricane Matthew, I was making pop tab bracelets,” said Masciarella, who started a non-profit organization for her cause called Tabz 4 Charity.

It takes me about 30 minutes to make, including cleaning the tabs, filing them down, putting them together with charms. It is like second nature now,” she said.

She not only gives to Ronald McDonald House, which provides a “home away from home” for families of sick children so they can stay together during the illness, but also other charities who approach her. She may give 60 percent to Ronald McDonald House and 40 percent to the other charity, like to help Susan G. Komen, for example.

The Ronald McDonald House is important to me,” she said. “In 5th grade, I went to the house [to see how the money was used] and I met a little boy named Rahiem. He was 5 years old and had Leukemia but you would never have guessed. He had the biggest smile and the most energy. He was the sweetest boy. I was probably 10. He was always there with his mom and brother. We became super close. He changed my life.”

She learned a lot more about strength from witnessing it firsthand as she watched his mom and brother. Unfortunately, after being in remission and moving back home, he ended up passing away recently, but she will carry on his story forever and remains close with his family.

Talk about having a different point of view on the world. Through knowing him and his family, I got to know strength and compassion,” she said.

Masciarella is president of the Ronald McDonald House at her school and continues to sell bracelets for the charity. She currently has 150 made and ready to sell. Her mom says they are all over the house, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

I think it’s great. I am inspired by her. When she came and showed me the bracelet at first, I thought this is great. The more she kept doing and creating, she was thinking outside the box. I thought, ‘How smart.’ She has come so far. If we all did our little thing [to give back], how great things would be in the world. Lexi was inspired to do for someone else. It has become bigger than she even anticipated.”

For more information, visit www.tabz4charity.com.

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Cancer Grads Share their stories

Posted on 14 October 2016 by LeslieM

grads101316By Rachel Galvin

Cancer comrades Aniela McGuinness and Nora McMahon didn’t resonate with the idea of being a “survivor” of Cancer. In an effort to find a term that better fit how they felt, they chose Cancer Grad and their website www.CancerGrad.org was born. Aniela, who made it through Breast Cancer, and Nora, who went through Ovarian Cancer share their stories and give important information on their site.


Before this, Aniela recorded the entire process of her Cancer from the very beginning on her YouTube site – MyBreastChoice. Her mother had Breast Cancer at age 46, and at 63 she died from Ovarian Cancer. She had the BRCA1 gene mutation so Aniela decided to get tested too and, at 25, found out that she also had it. 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 two years ago on Sept. 30. She was 31 years old. The raw video is heartbreaking to watch.

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 performed in several locations, including Boca Raton.

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, what worked and didn’t work for her, and how she conquered Cancer with laughter and love.

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.

You might recognize Aniela. She is in the Autonation, Think Pink, commercial, which is currently running on TV.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now is the time to go get a mammogram!


Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Nora was very active. She was a three-time marathon finisher and raised money for organizations like the American Cancer Society, Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s oncology department. She was a semi-professional dancer, held a green cord in capoeira, and participated in sports like track and field, volleyball, swimming, softball and basketball, and others.

Then, at 39, she started noticing symptoms. She was tired all the time. She blamed it on her new job. Her lower abdomen felt bloated with pressure and she was constantly running to the bathroom. Eventually, she got it checked out and the doctor noticed something was wrong. She had two ultrasounds – a regular and a vaginal ultrasound and found she had two large masses. One was the size of a grapefruit. The other was the size of a volleyball. When she had major surgery to have them removed, they discovered she had Stage 1C3 Ovarian Cancer. Luckily, it was still confined to the ovaries. She underwent four months of chemotherapy.

Pap Smears do not detect Ovarian Cancer,” she said, encouraging people to get a CA-125 blood test, which is part of the process toward diagnosis.

She lists some of the risk factors for getting Ovarian Cancer as women who have never had children, never have used oral contraception, have had children after the age of 30, have the BRCA1 gene, or have had certain other types of cancer and medical issues. Nora thinks her risk factor may have been from her having Endometriosis. Her mother also dealt with Cancer in her eye. She knows there is always a chance the Cancer could come back.

She suggests visiting www.ovariancancer.org for additional information, as well as looking at www.Gilda’sClubSouthFlorida.org. Gilda Radner, an actress and comedienne known from Saturday Night Live, lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer in 1989. September was Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Check out Cancer Grad to see more about these two inspiring and strong women and find out more information about their journies. Visit www.CancerGrad.org or email them with any questions at info@cancergrad.org.

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FLICKS: The Magnificent Seven

Posted on 12 October 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


When The Hateful Eight was released last year, one hoped for a revival for the wide open spaces of the Western genre. Instead, we were given a claustrophobic drama with eight people screaming tedious Quentin Tarantino dialogue at each other.

Whereas the story of The Hateful Eight was weak, the story of The Magnificent Seven is as strong as ever. The current version of The Magnificent Seven is the second interpretation of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, the Japanese movie that inspired the American Western starring Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach and Steve McQueen.

The 1960 American version features a classic musical score composed by Elmer Bernstein. The late James Horner and Simon Franglen composed current version of The Magnificent Seven theme song, which features a few notes from Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti westerns. These aural elements enhance the viewing experience on the big screen.

All three movies share a similar narrative, but all three movies provide a fresh perspective of seven gunfighters who unite for a common principle. This current version of The Magnificent Seven opens with a town hall meeting inside a church. Robber Baron Bart Boque (Peter Sarsgaard) tells the community to get off of his land. The community rebels and Bogue’s henchmen kill the townfolk, making Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) a widow.

Seeking justice, Mrs. Cullen rides into a neighboring town and catches the eye of Chisolm (Denzel Washington), a certified bounty hunter. Hearing Mrs. Cullen’s story and being offered a modest stipend, Chisolm starts recruiting fellow gunfighters to defend the town.

Gambler and amateur magician Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt) is the first recruit. Chilsom reunites with an old friend, Goodnight (Ethan Hawke) who brings along a new partner, Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), a knife-wielding prodigy. While on the trail, Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia Rulfo) and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) join the merry band and become The Magnificent Seven.

Full of great one-liners and cowboy proverbs, The Magnificent Seven deserves a better fate at the box office. Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Tears of the Sun) knows how to direct action movies with human empathy. This film touches everybody’s nobler side.

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