Tag Archive | "miami"

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FLICKS: From Miami nice to Miami Vice, The Last Resort

Posted on 14 February 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


The Last Resort opens this weekend.  This documentary presents the Miami culture that I witnessed when my parents and I moved to South Florida over 45 years ago.  While Miami today looks like any theme park in Orlando or Las Vegas, The Last Resort features a bygone people and culture. 

When World War II ended, my dad was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army Air Corp. He and his brother Paul celebrated by taking a trip to South Florida. While attending the Tropics Nightclub featuring the Tony Pastor orchestra, my dad met my mom and the rest is history. 

The Last Resort begins its history discussing the advent of air conditioning and how it led to the real estate boom during the post World War II years. Many of the urban dwellers were European Jews who were transplanting from New York, some retirees from garment districts. There was a vivid night life which featured Big Band dances that led comedian Jackie Gleason to relocate his Saturday Night variety show from New York to Miami Beach. By the 1970s, many retirees moved into the hotels and became known as the “porch sitting generation.”

The buildings aged as the population aged. Once glamorous hotels became hovels of smelly incontinence. In 1980, the community became known for the Mariel boatlift and the McDuffie riots, which changed the character of Miami; it was no longer “Mollie Goldberg.” It was now Scarface. 

The visuals of this narrative are provided by the photography of Gary Monroe and Andy Sweet, who tragically become a symbol of the rise and fall of Miami Beach. Andy Sweet captured the glamour of The Last Resort culture, yet saw the seeds of corruption infiltrate his beloved community. On Oct. 6, 1982, Sweet was brutally murdered in an unsolved mystery.

While lacking tact in 1982, Gary Monroe and Florida historians eventually resurrected the photographs to create The Last Resort.  By waiting to tell this story, The Last Resort is a better cinematic experience and the story is more solid. This film works as a piece of nostalgia for an older generation, but an important social studies lesson for young people, who can witness how much a culture changes in a short period of time.

As the Oscar nominees quickly make their way to home video market, it has been announced that this year’s Oscar ceremony will have no host and now will present television commercials instead of the technical achievement awards like art direction and cinematography. Beyond a good story and interesting characters, it is the visual technical component that draws ticket buyers to the big cave known as Cinema. When a creative organization loses sight of its own technical details, how much longer will it be for the consumer to lose interest in a creative organization’s product?   

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Two locals receive Dolphins’ playfootball awards

Posted on 25 October 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Two local residents recently were among the recipients of the Miami Dolphins’ weekly PlayFootball awards.

Deerfield Beach High School junior running back Jaylan Knighton was recognized as the High School Player of the Week after the University of Oklahoma commit rushed a school-record 26 times for 348 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bucks to a 44-8 victory over Taravella.

Consuelo Lewis, of the Pompano Chiefs from the Florida YouthFootball League, was recognized as the Team Mom of the Week.Lewis has been a dedicated parent and volunteer for the Pompano Chiefs for many years. She is always at practices and games, and makes sure the boys have everything they need. Lewis’ presence in the park has been evident since she became a team mom and even overcame her bout with cancer.

The program is designed to celebrate youth football in South Florida. For each home game, the Dolphins will identify a high school coach of the week, high school player of the week, youth player of the week and team mom of the week.

The other winners were Santaluces coach Brian Coe (High School Coach of the Week) and Termain Sherman from the Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes Super Peewees of the Florida Youth Football League (Youth Player of the Week). They received their awards at the Miami Dolphins’ overtime win over the Chicago Bears.

Award recipients will receive tickets to a Dolphins home game and were presented with a plaque on the field at Hard Rock Stadium. They also receive acknowledgment of their accomplishment in the game program and through the Dolphins’ social media platforms. The Dolphins also recognize a team of the week, who will be on field during the national anthem.

The program concludes at the Dolphins-Jaguars game where the Dolphins will honor yearly award winners in all categories with the exception of the team of the year.

Christensen wins BCAA golf title

Pompano Beach High School’s Thomas Christensen posted the lowest round of the day at 3-over 75 at the Palm Aire Country Club to help his school win the Damian Huttenhoff Golf Championship.

The tournament, which featured golfers from all of the county’s schools who are members of the Broward County Athletic Association, was played in blustery conditions that led to high scores from its participants.

I felt comfortable this year after playing well a year-a-go here,” Christensen said. “As a team, we played pretty well, so it’s a good direction for us going into the next few weeks.

Christensen carded a two-day total of 11-over, 155 at last year’s Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A state championship tournament at Mission Inn Resort & Club at Howey-in-the-Hills.

I actually struck the ball poorly today hitting only seven greens,” he added, “but my putting and chipping were solid.”

He helped the Tornadoes win the tournament with a 316 total. Douglas was second with a 325 total. Teammate Deon Riley was one stroke back with a 76, while Dennis Murphy also broke 80 with a 79.

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Brightline hosts Tasting Train event

Posted on 12 October 2018 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

If you have never ridden on Brightline’s high speed train before, you are in for a treat. From the beautiful architecture of its train station to its well-lit large parking structure, Brightline begins to impress before you even get aboard its train. The inside of the station is spotless with a modern seating area complete with a place to charge your phone and access to a cafe where you can buy something to eat or drink, and other items, before hopping on board. (Check out the bathroom with a high tech faucet that has water, soap and a dryer within it).

Brightline began serving passengers from Ft. Lauderdale (101 NW 2 Ave.) to West Palm Beach on Jan. 13 and from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami (600 Miami Central Ave.) on May 19, so now it is taking passengers daily tri-county. Next expansion will be from West Palm Beach to Orlando, and then extend beyond that. It is the only privately owned and maintained passenger rail system in the country.

They certainly have taken great care to maintain their trains. The inside is spotless with some seats facing each other with tables, to make it easier to do work with their onboard WiFi or eat snacks that are available for purchase. The staff is very friendly and accommodating.

They are going out of their way to come up with unique ideas to attract passengers. On Oct. 5, they had their second Tasting Train event. Passengers were greeted on board in either West Palm or Ft. Lauderdale. On the train, they were offered their choice of Antinori wines.

Family-owned, Antinori Wines is the oldest wine producer in the world. They control everything from seed to fermentation and beyond.

This reporter’s selection was the Villa Antinori Toscana Bianco 2016, which was a light and refreshing perfect first choice. They offered up a plastic container of snacks to pair with the wine consisting of crackers, cheese, brie, cheddar and walnuts. There wasn’t too much time for chit chat with fellow passengers as the train made it to Miami in about a quick half hour; time sped by and the ride was so smooth.

Once there, everyone left their seats and headed into the Miami station with a similar feel and setting, but with vibrant artistic murals by Typoe that screamed Miami with its color palette and design. Everything here was carefully thought out, down to the barely noticeable scent pumped in, which was vanilla with a hint of citrus. Guests were treated to a musical performance by Mr. Trombone and a DJ from My Party My Way while they mingled and snacked on more cheese, crackers and the like, as well as a cup with burrata topping chopped tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, passed hors d’ oeuvres like rice balls, stuffed mushrooms, meatballs and more.

We are focusing on creating a unique experience and re-imagining the way people think about trains. Where else can you have wine tasting with the oldest family-owned wines?” said Ali Soule, director of Public Affairs and Media Relations, who said the next Tasting Train will be scheduled sometime in December, but may not necessarily be centered around wines. Stay tuned…

On the way back to Ft. Lauderdale, another plastic box of treats awaited passengers, including dried fruits and nuts, and pretzels, and a bottle of water.

To find out more about Brightline, visit www.gobrightline.com.

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Miami Dolphins host Pompano High School at practice

Posted on 23 August 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

All summer long, the Miami Dolphins have hosted high school and youth teams from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties at the team’s training camp practices.

The Pompano Beach High School football team was the latest program to take part in the team visits, along with the Miami Beach Junior Hi-Tides of the Youth Academic Sports League (YASL) football teams.

Both teams were given a tour of the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie and heard about the importance of proper fuel and nutrition from Food Group Management Director of Dining Services Meghan Kelly.

The athletes also had the opportunity to watch the Dolphins practice and meet with current players on the field. Following practice, the athletes had lunch provided by Publix.

This is a great opportunity for kids that normally don’t get this opportunity to be here,” said Pompano Beach High School head football coach Melvin Jones. “We’ve been very blessed by the Dolphins organization and we’re very appreciative to come out and enjoy practice.

The kids learned a lot,” Jones added. “They learned to definitely put fuel in their bodies. To hear it from the professionals and guys that do it at the highest level, now it’s sinking in that taking care of your body is very important.”

Earlier this summer, the Miami Dolphins surprised the Tornadoes with new football equipment for its program.

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Vincent Taylor was on-hand for the surprise. They donated equipment included Dolphins branded shirts, Gatorade coolers, blocking shields, medicine balls and cleats.

The Miami Dolphins organization has made it their mission to introduce the game to the grassroots of South Florida as part of its commitment to the development of high school and youth football. The Dolphins will host 27 high school and youth teams from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties at the team’s training camp practices.

The team visits, initiated by Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, are a targeted effort to recognize, inspire and increase football participation through personal connections centered on the positive character building aspects of playing the game.

The Junior Dolphins program encourages youth players and coaches to teach, learn and play football in a fun and safe environment.

The Junior Dolphins program is designed to give kids access to learn the fundamentals of football using the NFL’s top resources. To grow the game, the Junior Dolphins program will work to educate coaches, parents, and youth on the health and safety of football with a strong emphasis on character development. Junior Dolphins is building the next generation of Dolphins fans.

Blanche Ely High School was also among the teams that participated in a visit to the Dolphins training facility.

Trio wins golf tournament

The team of Al DiBenedetto, Roy Wilhoite and Don Worrell won the Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association’s One Best Ball of a Threesome tournament on the Pines Course at Pompano Municipal Golf Course on Aug. 15.

Winning a tiebreaker for second place was Jim Blake, Bob Mascatello and Dennis Sejda, who shot a 56 and won by a match of cards.

Jim DeCicco won the closest to the pin contest on the third hole when he hit within 10 ft., 5 in.

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Deerfield Beach Bison kickoff

Posted on 12 May 2016 by LeslieM

sports051216By Rachel Galvin

May 7 was the kickoff for the Deerfield Beach Bison football team’s registration. Over 100 kids came out to run drills, featuring hurdles, knock-away dummies, ladders and halfback pads, during the Miami Dolphins Jr. Training Camp. The first 50 kids to sign up received free registration. Former players were on-hand, as well as current player Lousaka Polite. Cheerleaders Paige and Kristan taught Bison cheerleaders a cheer and gave them an opportunity to do a dance. Former Florida Atlantic University Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger even made an appearance to speak to the kids.

Following the festivities, kids could pick up information from Beauty Anatomy Institute (a cosmetology and wellness school) and get a pair of free sunglasses. FAU gave out some goodies and each child got a Deerfield Beach Bison bag.

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Jersey retired for Deerfield native

Posted on 25 February 2016 by LeslieM

sports022516By Gary Curreri

Being named to the University of Miami’s Hall of Fame in 2008 was one thing, but Octavia Blue was humbled on Sunday when her #10 jersey was retired by the school prior to the team’s 67-56 overtime victory over Virginia Tech at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables.

It was an awesome day,” Blue said. “It was really special.”

The University of Miami retired assistant coach Blue’s jersey before the game. She is the fourth player in program history to receive the honor, joining Maria Rivera, Frances Savage and Tamara James.

Blue’s 2008 Hall of Fame class included President’s Cup golfer Woody Austin, basketball stars Octavia Blue and Mike Wittman, football’s Jeff Feagles, Randal “Thrill” Hill and K.C. Jones, Golden Spikes winner Pat Burrell and Olympic diving medalist Wendy Williams.

The Hall of Fame was awesome,” Blue said. “There is a 10-year gap after you finish playing before you can be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Right at my 10th year, they put me in. That was an unbelievable honor. I got in with a great class. I was surprised and honored to be inducted with them.”

(Sunday) was crazy,” Blue added. “It felt like 10 times more special. I don’t like to compare the two because they are both great honors, but when you go into the Hall of Fame there are basically eight to 10 of you going in and when you get your jersey retired, they are singling you out. It makes you look back and reflect over your whole career with all of the people who have been involved in your development and helped, had a hand in your success as an individual. It all came together and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a really proud moment for me.”

Blue played with the Hurricanes from 1994-98 and still sits in seventh place on Miami’s all-time scoring list with 1,724 career points. She also ranks seventh in career field goals made with 671.

After her Miami career ended, Blue was the 15th overall draft pick by the Los Angeles Sparks in the 1998 WNBA Draft.

Blue went on to play with the Sparks and the Houston Comets, as well as playing professionally overseas with stops in Turkey, Greece, Israel, Poland, and France before beginning her coaching career.

Coaching took her to St. Thomas, St. John’s and Georgia Tech universities before she returned to Miami and joined coach Katie Meier’s staff in 2012.

Admittedly, Blue was a “late bloomer.” She was an eighth-grader at Nova Middle School when the girls’ basketball coach saw her shooting baskets in a PE class and convinced her to give the sport a try. She went on to star during her high school career at Nova High School and earned a scholarship at the University of Miami.

When I got to high school, I was really good at it, but I was really raw,” said the 39-year-old Blue. “I didn’t have skill. I just had natural ability and that actually landed me at the University of Miami.

When you start off so young, it could probably get stale because you have played so long, but it was still very new and fresh to me and I was excited about the game and that is how I played,” she continued. “All of that passion enabled me to get a college scholarship and, from then on, the successes just kept piling up. The opportunities kept presenting themselves.”

When the WNBA was founded in 1997, Blue knew it was something she wanted to pursue. After an Achilles tendon injury cut short her professional playing career, Blue had no aspirations of coaching. Her former college coach convinced her to coach the post players at St. Thomas University and that led to her Division 1 stints.

For the players I coach now, it is something I tell them to strive and try to be the best in anything you put your hands in,” said Blue, Hurricanes’ recruiting coordinator and is responsible for the development of Miami’s post players. “There is so much more to accomplish.

For me, I want to continue to inspire young people and that’s why we coach,” said Blue, who hopes to be a Division 1 head coach someday. “When you are 18 to 22, those are the years you are in college and those are the most impressionable years of their lives. That’s what coaches and teachers, and educators, do. We help mold young people. I want to continue to do that and be a role model and a model citizen, and good things will come.”

Her recognition on Sunday will last a while.

(Sunday) had to be at the top of the list of anything of anything that ever happened to me,” she said. “Obviously, I love the University of Miami. I had so much support from family and friends. I had people come from Deerfield Beach. People that I have known since I was 6 years old all the way up to my agent who managed my professional career – she flew down from New York. So many people who have helped me along the way were all there to celebrate that special moment with me – my family, my mother … it was just really special and a nice honor.”

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FLICKS: Grudge Match, Keir Dullea & Miami Intl. Science Fiction Film Festival

Posted on 16 January 2014 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


The Steve Martin/Eddie Murphy film Bowfinger was my first Observer movie review 15 years ago. It was a positive review, but I noted the tepid box office and how this film would have been a bigger hit a few years prior when the duo were stronger in the box office. The same could be said about Grudge Match, the Robert DeNiro & Sylvester Stallone boxing comedy.

Despite a shaky beginning, Grudge Match is an entertaining motion picture and both actors spoof their iconic images with gravitas. The story has some depth; the ensemble cast consisting of Kevin Hart, Kim Basinger & Alan Arkin give Grudge Match a warm heart. As time has been good to Bowfinger, when it plays on TV, time will also be a friend to Grudge Match.

This weekend, the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival and Cinema Paradiso (Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood) begin 2014 with a tribute to Keir Dullea, the actor best known as astronaut Dave Bowman from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dullea made his film debut as a juvenile delinquent in Hoodlum Priest in 1961. Through the ‘60s, he drew critical notice for his performances in Bunny Lake is Missing and David and Lisa. In later years, Dullea could be found in motion pictures with a distinctive cult following, most notably Black Christmas, DeSade and The Good Shepherd directed by Robert DeNiro. He and his wife, Mia Dillion, often perform on the New York stage.

This Saturday, film historian Foster Hirsch will host a Q & A with Dullea, who will also receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. It is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., but double check as the times have fluctuated … 954-525- FILM or www.fliff.com.

The inaugural Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival begins Friday at the Hyatt Regency Miami with an awards ceremony held on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Oscar-winning special effects producer Dean Lyon (Lord of the Rings) will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Of the many films being shown this weekend, NI-28 Strate-1 is one to mark on the calendar. Filmed in the Pacific Island nation of New Caledonia, NI-28 Strate-1 is independent filmmaking at its best, basically a “chase” film with a dark message about the zombie apocalypse. For schedule and pricing, visit http://miscifi.com.

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Complete lane closures on I-95 throughout South Florida on Friday, Sep. 23

Posted on 23 September 2011 by LeslieM

All northbound lanes of I-95 throughout Broward County will be closed tomorrow morning (Friday, Sept. 23) beginning at 7:15 a.m. for an unspecified length of time.
All southbound lanes of I-95 will be closed throughout Broward County tomorrow beginning at 11:15 a.m. for an unspecified length of time.
The closures will affect all interchanges from approximately the Miami International Airport in north Miami-Dade County to Yamato Road in south Palm Beach County.
Both closures are to allow FHP to escort a high level dignitary.
Plan your travel accordingly – Expect heavy traffic & delays on all roads in Broward during these closures.

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