Tornadoes reach the postseason, fall in Class 5A regional semifinal

Posted on 16 May 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Pompano Beach High School girls softball team made a return to the postseason with a dramatic 5-0 win over Cardinal Gibbons in the district semifinals that pushed the team into the postseason.

The Tornadoes finished the season 13-7 after it lost to Coral Springs Charter in the Class 5A regional semifinals. Coral Springs Charter (26-1), ranked No. 4 in the state by MaxPreps and No. 8 in the nation by Xcellent 25, won for the 25th straight game. The lone blemish was a 5-4 loss to Western in the second game of the season.

“They are a great hitting team,” said Pompano Beach coach John McGuire, whose team downed Lincoln Park Academy, 10-3, in the regional quarters to advance. “Coral Springs Charter are nationally ranked, so the bloop hits were even harder to defend and it was deflating. You just try to work through it.”

With the game out of reach in the second inning, McGuire called time and emptied his bench replacing his six seniors on the diamond for one last curtain call for their families.

“I wanted to give one last hurrah,” McGuire said. “It has been four long years and they deserve it. I try and do it every year if the game allows it for the parents to say goodbye.”

McGuire said the win over Cardinal Gibbons was the highlight of the season since it helped them reach their goal of the postseason.

“Every year, we seem to finish second in the district and our challenging game is Cardinal Gibbons,” McGuire said. “We win that game and we make it back to here (regional competition). It was a good feeling. It was 0-0 for a long time and then we scored one in the fifth and four in the sixth inning to win.”

“I am going to miss this quite a bit,” said Jeritza Montero, 18, of Ft. Lauderdale, who played all four seasons for the Tornadoes and was one of six seniors on the squad. “They are my family. They grew up being my family and friends.”

“Beating Cardinal Gibbons this year was probably the highlight of my career at the school,” added Montero, who is headed to the College of Central Florida.

“They are our rival and we wound up coming out on top. Last year, they knocked us out of the district tournament, and we came back for revenge and we got it.”

Teammate Sophia Akrouk, 18, of Coral Springs will miss the camaraderie of her friends.

“When I was 8, I started playing with Jeritza and now we are graduating together,” said Akrouk, who was taken back when McGuire emptied the bench. “I really didn’t think I would be so emotional, but it was a thing to remember. It was shocking, but I felt great giving the baton down to the next generation of players.”

Deerfield Beach’s Claire Finzel, 18, will continue her career at Keiser University and said she will always remember the emotion of beating Cardinal Gibbons to qualify for the postseason.

“I have never seen us act like that before after we won,” Finzel said. “This was probably my best year because there was never any drama this year. Usually, there is a little bit of drama each year; but, this year, we were all best friends and we have all just come together. This is my life basically, every day.

“I will miss the friendships I guess,” she continued. “These are my best friends. These are the people I hang out with. It is my softball family.”

McGuire said the team enjoyed being around each other.

“They played hard,” McGuire said. “Attitude and effort is what I preach. We are not a state champion caliber team. In those four years, we only have two going to college to play softball. We want them to have fun and enjoy high school ball.

“Our school only produces a couple of college players a year, but our GPA is probably higher than anyone else’s,” he said. “We have a 100 percent graduation rate. We will outsmart anybody. We are student-athletes in the truest sense.”

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Calvet in a ‘league of her own’

Posted on 09 May 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach’s Janelle Calvet could be considered a Swiss army knife for the Somerset Keys High School baseball team. The 14-year-old freshman, who plays in the Deerfield Beach Little League Senior League team, recently completed her first year on the high school program as one of their bright spots. She played shortstop, catcher and even pitched some games to help the Lions finish 4-5 in their inaugural season.

“It was fun,” Calvet said. “I was very accepted (by the boys). Everybody treated me the same and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed playing.”

She said there wasn’t much of an adjustment because she played with players that also play Little League with her. There were a couple of girls that we played against.

“It was everything I expected and I am definitely going to do it again,” added Calvet, who also plays for the GTB (Girls Travel Baseball) program that plays in tournaments throughout the country. Their last event was an International Tournament in West Palm Beach last November.

Two years ago, she was among a group of girls from South Florida who were flown out to California to compete in the inaugural ‘Trailblazer Series,’ a first-of-its-kind girls baseball tournament.

The event at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, CA took place in conjunction with Jackie Robinson Day. It attracted a total of approximately 100 girls, ages 16 and under, representing 20 states across the country as well as Washington D.C. and Canada.

Calvet still has aspirations of playing Major League Baseball. In March, she was a part of MLB Grit, an inaugural high school invitational event designed specifically for 60 girls who play baseball.

It was held in Dallas, Texas. Calvert said she was able to meet members of the United States Women’s National Baseball Team and some professional players.”

“I absolutely want to play in the MLB,” she said. “It is going to take a lot of hard work.”

Calvet, who is the lone girl playing in the Senior Division of the Deerfield Beach Little League, said the ‘A League of Their Own’ movie inspired her to play baseball. When she went to California, two of the original members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (1949-51) were in attendance and Calvet got to meet them.

“The most memorable thing going out there was meeting Maybelle Blair and Shirley Burkovich because it all started with them,” said Calvet following her trip at the time.

“I had her pitching and playing shortstop for us,” said Somerset Keys baseball coach Joe Silvia. “She was a force to be reckoned with. I’ll be honest. I had her batting second and she would get on (base), steal second and third and score.”

“She was one of my heavy hitters,” he added. “It’s great having her on the team. It’s different having a girl on the team. You worry about her not hurting her arm. We do long toss, quick hands, and all of these drills.”

Calvet finished the season with a batting average of .444 and Silvia said she averaged at least two walks per game this season. She had 10 RBIs to go along with her 8 runs scored. She pitched, played shortstop and also caught the last few games of the season. Every practice, he would talk to her.

“I always went up to her and said, ‘how’s the arm? Are you good?’” Silvia said. “I pitched her in some of our games. She is the real deal. We started to practice, and she was running with the guys…taking batting practice and throwing and I was like, ‘ok, what’s going on here?’” If I had nine of her, we’d be undefeated.”

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Planned mobility in Boca Raton

Posted on 02 May 2019 by LeslieM

By Karen Lustgarten

The Separation model

The suburbs were for residential; the urban core for commercial/industrial. Historically, urban planning was based on this separation of functions model. It became a great model for commuter traffic. As the suburbs grew, so did clogging main roads and highways, and the rise of “rush hour” that increased in time by number of vehicles on the road.

The City of Boca Raton was no exception to the separate functions planning model. For example, the once forward-looking Arvida Park of Commerce built in the 1970s was based on an industrial and business park model, no residential. One-third is office space and two-thirds warehouses. The model was to provide minimal impact of traffic on surrounding roadways.

“If you’re warehousing a lot, you don’t have many employees,” said Palm Beach County Commissioner Robert Weinroth.

The original IBM/T-Rex campus (now Boca Raton Innovation Campus), also fits the old model.

The Planned Mobility model

With the additional pressures on commuting and land development, Boca Raton approved the model for urban planning called “planned mobility” in 2010. It is based on the premise of rather than two separate areas — one developed for a business district (industry and retail) and the other for residential — they are merged into a single area zoned for mixed-use.

“The Boca Raton City Council made the decision several years ago to infill the all-business Arvida Park of Commerce with residential units now under construction,” said Commissioner Weinroth.

It is being developed and re-branded by the Crocker Group as The Park at Broken Sound, a 700-acre planned mobility commercial/residential hub optimized to fulfill the popular work/live/play concept.

“Planned mobility has been in place for 10-15 years but hadn’t been implemented until 2012 because of the financial downturn,” the commissioner explained. “Housing values dropped dramatically so the tax base went down and the influx of dollars dropped. It was a painful time for the city. When the CRA originally planned out the downtown, they envisioned it as mostly businesses. With the financial downturn in the early 2000s, all that stopped.”

Downtown Redevelopment

The redevelopment of downtown Boca Raton was originally contemplated as a business concentric urban core.

“But government officials decided they needed to change that dynamic,” said Weinroth. “Our downtown is a redevelopment area now. When the CRA was created, they set up a matrix with so many square feet of office and they had equivalents — hotels, condos, apartments — based on impact on the area such as traffic, sewage, miles of lanes.”

By the time the economy picked up, the move was toward residential and mixed-use development.

“That’s why now we are seeing Tower 155 and Alina luxury condos, and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Residences,” said the commissioner. “So it has evolved into a more residential downtown verses a business downtown.”

This is good for traffic, he said, explaining, “When we look at traffic, we look at not only how many trips per day; we look at peak trips — how many in the a.m. and p.m. commute — because that’s where you get the most pressure.”

Peak trips tend to be reduced when an area includes residential properties.

At the time Weinroth became a county commissioner, projects that had been moth balled were finally being constructed.

“The Hyatt Place downtown, developed by the Kolter Group, went back and forth about being commercial or residential before making the hotel decision. The same indecision was about the property on Military and Spanish River, which became apartments. So you see a lot of movement toward residential and much-needed hotel space,” he said. “With the Hyatt and Mandarin Oriental, they are going to have enough of a synergy to attract bigger groups and give West Palm Beach a run for its money.”

The residential development under planned mobility had a cap of 2500 units, which has now been met. Zoning attorney Bonnie Miskel secured city approval of approximately 65 percent of those residential units, either free standing or added into office parks.

“When the City of Boca Raton approved the planned mobility land use in 2010, the intention was to bring employment and housing closer in order to change the direction and type of traffic on the roads,” she said. “And it has worked.”

In addition, residential infill has revitalized dormant parts of the city.

“You see a lot of foot traffic, biking and life in corporate parks that were once dead when people left each night and weekends,” she said.

Another advantage, notes Miskel, is the interest in businesses wanting to open near the revitalized office parks, such as Fresh Market that opened next to the Park at Broken Sound.

“Planned mobility encourages commercial building as well,” she notes.

Live/Work/Play

“At the Boca Raton Innovation Campus, you see some residential on the periphery right now, and you’ll see more as they develop that property recently purchased by the Crocker Partners,” said the commissioner. The developer will be going before the City Council seeking permission for additional residential rights.

Planned mobility is something people are demanding, as well as demanding smaller units says Commissioner Weinroth. The 88-acre University Park was the last large parcel of undeveloped land in Boca Raton. The developer, Penn-Florida, will be creating a self-contained city of sorts, similar to Mizner Park only bigger, he added. “The hope is that traffic will be alleviated. People will stay close to home and live/work/play in the community rather than commute on Spanish River Boulevard and other major arterials.”

The plan is to have smaller residential units for people not looking for 3,000 sq. ft.

“They may be satisfied with 1,000 sq. ft. with the idea that they will go to a Starbucks, or to a business environment with an open workspace where they can meet and work on computers,” he said.

“You’re not going to live in your house anymore,” he continued. “They’ll live downstairs in the city. That’s the new model — walkable. We want walkable cities. If you can walk somewhere rather than getting into a car, that’s the way to go. Walkability is a companion to this concept. Urban planning and transportation planning are going in the same direction.”

“There’s still an interest and demand for added mixed-use and residential units, but the city needs to re-allocate them,” said Miskel. Ultimately, the Boca Raton City Council will have to make a decision whether the planned mobility model is successful, to continue it by adding in more residential areas which were heretofore only commercial.

Karen Lustgarten is president of Multi-Media Works, a multiple award-winning media company specializing in video, PR, print and social media with offices in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. She founded a newspaper in Washington, DC, was a syndicated columnist and a bestselling author. www.multi-mediaworks.com.

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Deerfield 50/70 team holds on for 8-5 win

Posted on 02 May 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Christian Osornio and Daniel Silveria collected multiple hits to lead the offensive charge, while Roman Odiernia blasted a two run home run to deep left field in the third inning as the Deerfield Beach Little League’s 50/70 team jumped out to an early lead and then held on for an 8-5 win over host Federal recently.

Osornio started on the mound for Deerfield Beach and tossed two innings of one-hit, one-run ball. He also struck out three and walked one as the local squad built an early 6-1 lead in the interleague contest.

Robert Odiernia and Alex Riveria pitched the middle of the game and gave way to closer Ryan Jarrett, who sealed the deal as he yielded no hits and no walks while striking out four and allowed 0 runs in 2.1 innings of work. 

Others contributing to the 10 hits for DBLL were Caleb Wahlers, Jarrett, both Odiernia boys, Donovan Campbell and Anthony Fronte. Federal was only able to manage three hits in the game.

Golf Course closes for reconstruction of new greens

The city of Pompano Beach has temporarily closed the Greg Norman Signature Golf Course for the renovation of their putting greens.

The Pines Course, located at 1101 N. Federal Hwy., is one of two courses located at the city’s public golf course. The second course, the Palms Course, will remain open during the reconstruction.

The re-grassing of the Pines Golf Course putting greens will provide a much-improved turf surface. Platinum Paspalm turf has been chosen based on the conditions at this facility. The city has been testing the Paspalm turf on four greens over the past year which has proven to be highly successful.

The process of re-grassing involves many steps, including applying herbicide in order to aid in the removal of the existing turf, applying soil amendments, frequent rolling of surfaces to develop a consistent turf stand, aerification, installation of the premium sod, etc.

The Greg Norman Design Pines Golf Course is tentatively scheduled to re-open by the end of June weather permitting.

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball of a Foursome tournament at the Pines Course and the group of Henry Lesburt, Bill O’Brien, Robert Raser and Tom Breur (blind draw) carded a 51 to win top honors.

Tom Breur, Bob Mascatello, Lance Naiman and Dave Hall (blind draw) shot a 53 and won on a match of cards with the third place team of Richard Anderson, George Duarte, Carlo Spirito and Bart Valerio. Finishing in fourth was Jim DeCicco, Jim Dunn (blind draw), Gary Gill and Richard Plasky with a 55. Frank Cutrone, Bill McCormick, Paul Murphy and Gene Stoller shot a 56 to finish fifth.  The closest to the pin winner on the third hole was Pat McClain.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association followed that tournament up with another contest – Two Best Ball of Foursome at the Pines Course.

Paul Berning, Joe Patchen, Richard Plasky and Bob VanZandt carded a 117 to take first place. Placing second after a match of cards was Jim Blake, Frank Cutrone, Lee Hammer and Bill Sincavage, who shot 118. Andy Burt, Jim Dunn, Dave Hall and Harlan Tyler (blind draw) finished third with a 118.

Henry Lesburt, Bob Mascatello, Jay Thorn and Tom Joyce (blind draw) were fourth after shooting 120 and won on a match of cards. Jim Foster, Bill Hadersbeck, Mike Katawczik and Tim O’Brien finished fifth. Winning the closest to the pin contest on the seventh hole was Jerry Goodman.

Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball Even Holes, Two Best Balls Odd Holes tournament and the team of Sue Bardhi, Vonnie Okeefe, Nancy Oshea and Patti Matera (blind draw) won with an 86. Finishing second, just three shots back with an 89, was the team of Abby Ages, Deanne Baumann, Dianne Levanti and Anita Macmichael.

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Special Olympics Torch Run-May 1

Posted on 30 April 2019 by JLusk

The 2019 Special Olympics athletes and hundreds of law enforcement officers from South Florida will lace up their running shoes to raise funds for Special Olympics at the 36th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run. The 32-mile run will take place May 1st from 8 a.m. to 1:35 p.m. (See timeline below). This event is sure to affect traffic.

During the event, officers have the joy of bonding with the Special Olympic athletes and with every step they help raise awareness and support for the mission of Special Olympics Florida, which is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Special Olympians will carry the Olympic torch at the beginning and at the end of the run and will celebrate the completion of the run with a picnic at Dan Witt Park located at 4521 NE 22 Ave. in Lighthouse Point.

The Broward Law Enforcement Torch Run is part of a 1,400-mile statewide relay that culminates at the opening ceremonies of the Florida Special Olympics Summer Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista. Anyone interested in making a charitable donation is asked to contact Ms. Michelle Leonardo at Special Olympics Broward at 954- 262-2150.

For additional information concerning the run, please call Broward County Torch Run Coordinator, BSO Lt. Steve Feeley, at (954) 553-6147.

TIMELINE:

8:00 A.M. A1A & County Line

8:30 A.M. A1A & Hollywood Boulevard

9:10 A.M. A1A & Dania Beach Boulevard

9:50 A.M. Federal Hwy. & north side of Eller Drive overpass

10:20 a.m. 17th Street Causeway west of Bridge

10:50 a.m. A1A & Terramar 11:20 a.m. A1A & Oakland Park Boulevard

11:35 a.m. A1A & Commercial Boulevard

12:10 p.m. A1A & Atlantic Boulevard

12:45 p.m. Federal Highway & N.E. 24th Street

1:00 p.m. Federal Highway & N.E. 39th Street

1:20 p.m. Federal Highway & S.E. 10th Street

1:35 p.m. County Line (TOTAL MILES FOR RUN – 29.02 miles)

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Boca Bash causes closures & enforcement

Posted on 26 April 2019 by JLusk


The Pioneer Park Boat dock will be closed in Deerfield for Boca Bash. In the meantime, people will be heading elsewhere to get on the water for this year’s event, to be held on Sunday, April 28. The Broward Sheriff’s Office promises to have extra enforcement on the water and land at Alsdorf Park, 2901 NE 14 St. in Pompano.

 

Pompano Beach deputies will work with “Boca Bash” event supervisors to monitor and control traffic for boaters and motorists using the park. BSO’s marine unit will also patrol the waterways.
Park visitors and “Boca Bash” attendees are encouraged to follow all laws and ordinances while at the park or on the waterways. Motorists will not be permitted to wait or park along Northeast 14th Street. Once the park is full, all boaters will be asked to find another boat ramp to use.
The public is reminded that the City of Pompano Beach prohibits the consumption of alcohol in its parks. Also, Florida law prohibits the operation of a vehicle, including boats, when the driver has a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.

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FLICKS: The importance of the written word in poetry and motion pictures

Posted on 25 April 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

When Steven Spielberg won his first Oscar for Schindler’s List, he encouraged his motion picture colleagues to return to the written word. Deerfield Beach Percy White Library will feature the written word at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 25, with “Poetry 101 with Mrs. Powers.” In dedication of the National Poetry Month, Pam Powers, a Deerfield Beach Middle School Teacher with 37 years experience, comes out of retirement to teach a fun class on poetry. If the program is a success, we hope to have it again next year!

Spielberg created two motion pictures that broke records for the biggest box office records for all time, Jurassic Park and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The fact that these two motion pictures play on regular television rotation is a testament to the importance of the written word when creating big screen spectacular.

At the recent Spooky Empire Retro Convention [March 22 to 24 in Orlando], Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Robert MacNaughton and Robert Demeritt held an E.T. Reunion and reminisced about the production of this blockbuster champion. It was during the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark, that Spielberg discussed his feelings of loneliness to Harrison Ford’s girlfriend, Melissa Mathison, a screenwriter. From this discussion, the two forged the story of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

Thirty-eight years after the production of ET, one can tell the cast still genuinely enjoy each other’s company and spoke fondly of their absentee actress, Drew Barrymore. Barrymore introduced MacNaughton to his wife. Since she was the youngest child on the set (aged 6), Barrymore was mentored by Wallace on the set. Wallace was concerned that the child actress could not differentiate the differences between fantasy and reality.

The boys were a different story. Being the leading man, the success of E.T. rested on 10 year-old Henry Thomas, who found escape through playing video games in Spielberg’s office. Being 14 years old, MacNaughton admitted that he and his peers (among them, C. Thomas Howell) had a crush on Dee Wallace, especially when she wore the “cat suit” during the Halloween sequence. Dee Wallace blushed in amazement as she heard some of these stories for the first time.

Despite the cynicism of the Hollywood mentality, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial has endured as a cultural icon. One modestly produced film has endured for almost four decades.

After “Poetry 101 with Mrs. Powers” this afternoon, Avengers: Endgame opens to many sold-out movie theaters [official release date is Friday]. Besides being the conclusion of a 21 motion picture film cycle, this new film is the culmination of 80 years of comic book myth inspired by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. These are good years for good stories, but it is extremely important to remember that it begins with the written word.

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All-STAR Buddies hold basketball event

Posted on 25 April 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The City of Deerfield Beach Parks & Recreation Department’s All-STAR Buddies program in partnership with the Special Olympics recently hosted the inaugural “Choose to Include” Basketball Event at the Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex.

Kenny Lawrence, who runs the special needs All-STAR Buddies programs for the City of Deerfield Beach, said the one-day event empowered athletes of all ages and abilities to engage in a fun, safe environment with an emphasis on sportsmanship. Approximately 150 people throughout the county attended the event.

Throughout the day, special needs athletes were helped by Buddies in the games and, at the conclusion, every special player received a Special Olympics Florida T-shirt and a medal.

With the central theme of breaking down social barriers for individuals with special needs, the event included basketball games, a family festival, along with a dance.

“The concept of unified programming allows for individuals who don’t have a disability compete alongside those who do,” Lawrence pointed out. “This concept helps promote unity and acceptance which is what the city’s program, All-STAR Buddies, was based around.”

The city also presented Buddy Benches at this event. The Buddy Benches were created as a part of an anti-bully movement the city has adopted. 

“Children from each of the city’s aftercare programs decorated these benches,” Lawrence said. “The benches will eventually be installed throughout the city and neighboring schools, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The bench being installed at Stoneman Douglas was created as a memorial bench in honor of the 17 who lost their lives last year.” 

“I created the idea of this event as a way to share with the community a program that I fell in love with while working with the Special Olympics over the last 12 years,” Lawrence said. “Outside of being a head coach for the Special Olympics, I am also a unified player on a basketball and volleyball team. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity over the years to work side by side by my idols and wanted to share this experience with everyone.”

Among those who attended the event was Lawrence’s close friend, Kevin Sutton, host of the Kevin Sutton Show for ESPN sports talk radio out of Orlando. Sutton and his family made the trip down from Orlando to spend the day with the kids and announce the basketball games.

Lawrence said the program known as All-STAR Buddies started August 2018.

“The program was created to be an all inclusive program designed to promote inclusion and acceptance for all participants,” he said. “The program allows for everyone to join regardless of having a disability or not and provides a safe non-judgmental environment that encourages socialization and understanding.”

Here’s a list of the programs All-STAR Buddies currently offers and their locations: basketball (Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex), soccer (Middle School Athletics Complex), track (Middle School Athletics Complex), kickball (Oveta McKeithen Recreational Complex), photography (Hillsboro Community Center), fishing (Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier), art (Highlands Community Center), music (Teen Center), bowling (Strikes in Boca) and clay animation (Hillsboro Community Center).

Clay Animation is a class that brings clay to life using older cartoon techniques in creating videos out of individual still frames using cameras.

The city also offers S.T.R.E.A.M. (Constitution Park). This class offers a different themed project each week based off of the class’s abbreviated name. Week 1 – Science, Week 2 – Technology, Week 3 – Recreation, Week 4 – Engineering, Week 5 – Art, Week 6 – Math.

“These are six-week programs that run throughout the year,” Lawrence said. “Each class is based out of a different location throughout the city. It was designed this way to provide the All-STAR Buddy programming throughout the city.”

Currently, the city is working on its summer camp programs which start June 10 and will run through Aug. 2. This summer’s All-STAR Buddy summer camp program will run Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“This will be the first time the city has offered a full camp for individuals with special needs,” Lawrence added. “As for future programming, we are planning on adding several new programs to the year as well, including future ‘Choose To Include’ events.”

For more information on the Buddies programs, contact Lawrence via e-mail at klawrence@deerfield-beach.com.

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Boca Bacchanal

Posted on 22 April 2019 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

The Boca Bacchanal Grand Tasting was the culmination of a weekend of events that foodies and wine lovers had looked forward to all year long. The fun began on Thursday, April 4 with Bubbles & Burgers, held at the beautiful ocean-side location of Boca Beach Club featuring different samples of burgers and wines. Everyone had the opportunity to mingle and enjoy the view. It was followed on Friday night with the vitner dinners at people’s private homes, in which a chef and vitner paired up to create something spectacular. But the Grand Tasting is where everyone came out, over 1000 were estimated to be in attendance. This year, it was held at Boca Raton Resort & Club. There was a dockside VIP party with hors d’ oeuvres, wine and a saxophone player for an hour before the party began. Media and certain VIP guests were able to tour the Kimberlee boat by Worth Avenue Yachts docked there. (The 127 ft. yacht is currently for sale, but they have charter boats as well.)

After the VIP party, everyone wandered back to the grand hall to experience the fun. The food this year was top notch and many commented that they preferred the layout as well to previous years. Saks Fifth Avenue had a quaint pop up area with a picket fence and street sign and Taittinger champagnes. Some of this reporter’s favorite bites included a shortrib and creamy polenta by Boca Raton Resort & Club, the Banging Shrimp from Bonefish Grill, the Kobe beef dumpling with maple glaze by Chops Lobster Bar and the chicken with Forbidden Black Rice, and tomatoes and cilantro, by Bolay. But there was not a disappointing dish in the selections! The wine was pouring freely, including international and domestic selections. Guests could also bid in the silent auction while listening to the DJ’s jams.

Proceeds benefited the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum (www.bocahistory.org).

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Somerset Key wins first game on the diamond

Posted on 18 April 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Somerset Key Academy [which is where Zion Lutheran used to be in Deerfield] recently won its first baseball game in school history.

Somerset Key picked up an 18-4 win over Donna Klein for the first victory in school history. Shaq Rolle clubbed a home run, while Paul Rolle had an inside-the-park home run for the Lions. The winning pitcher was Paul Rolle.

“It was very cool to pick up that win against Donna Klein,” said Silvia, a fixture with the Deerfield Beach Little League program, who has also coached high school baseball throughout the county. He has coached high school and travel baseball for 31 years.

“We put the schedule together late and had like three weeks to practice before our first game. It was a really big deal. It was a huge win. You can only practice so much,” Silvia added. “It is a different experience when the umpires say, ‘play ball.’ As a coach, practice is my time and when the umpires are there, it is the players’ time. They show us what they learned. It was a lot of fun.”

The Lions are currently 2-2 this season with a game scheduled for Thursday against Atlantic Christian at 4 p.m. They also beat Somerset Miramar and lost to Highlands Christian, and dropped a 5-4 decision against Sheridan Hills.

“We were leading in the last inning and gave it away,” Silvia said. “My closer couldn’t throw strikes and we lost it. We could easily be 3-1 right now. It’s okay because we are learning.”

Silvia had to be prodded to take over the program. He was an assistant coach at Northeast High School last season and was planning on taking the year off — until six members of Somerset Keys came to his house and sat in his living room and convinced him to coach because they didn’t have a coach.

“After the AD and a couple of dads called, they asked me to help out,” Silvia said. “I couldn’t say no. The kids said they would do all of the work. I just wanted them to learn the game of baseball, have fun and grow the program. They are having fun and have won games. With our loss to Highlands Christian, I told the boys that was a good, established program and we hope to be there in a few years.”

Silvia hoped to have a middle school team too, but there weren’t enough players to form a middle school team, so several of those players are on the varsity. They have just three seniors on the team and the rest are underclassmen and middle schoolers.

“I didn’t really know what to expect because I am used to coaching the bigger schools and the travel teams,” he said. “We had tryouts and I had kids coming out in shorts and sneakers and didn’t know what to expect.

We had kids falling off at the beginning of the year because they couldn’t handle the conditioning. These kids are ball players. We have 10 games left and I am hoping to win out.”

Because they are a first-year, independent team, they will not compete in the playoffs this year.

“We have some really good younger players, so I am really encouraged,” Silvia said. “Since they never had a program there before, they would lose players to the neighboring schools and we wanted to keep them there. We want to put the baseball program on the map.”

The team is composed of Shaq Rolle, Zack Johnson, Paul Rolle, Kobe Rolle, Rogelio Vargas, Janelle Calvet, Sergio De Armas, Armari Santana, Marcus Febuzzi, Seidel De Armas, Jeb Yanto, Matt DeOlivera, Jesus Garcia, David Davila, Trent Hussy and Nate Reid.

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