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The Wellington Community Foundation Awards Inaugural Arle And Ken Adams Scholarships

The Wellington Community Foundation Awards Inaugural Arle And Ken Adams Scholarships

Some of the best opportunities in life exist in your own backyard. That is especially the case when it comes to high school students and their parents who are searching for college scholarship opportunities. One of those scholarships with roots in Wellington is the new Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship, which is administered by the Wellington Community Foundation.

The Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship, which was distributed for the first time this year, was created to serve those in need who can benefit from a helping hand in order to become one of tomorrow’s leaders.

According to Wellington Community Foundation Chair Tom Wenham, the scholarship will be awarded annually to two students from Wellington who have a proven track record of supporting the Village of Wellington and its residents.

The scholarship was named in honor of former Palm Beach County Commissioner Ken Adams and his late wife, Arle Adams. Longtime Wellington residents, Arle and Ken Adams made great contributions to the growth and development of the Village of Wellington, dating back to the late 1970s.

Key figures in getting Wellington incorporated as a municipality in the 1990s, there are very few aspects of Wellington’s growth that cannot be attributed to some kind of involvement or assistance from Arle and Ken Adams.

A scholarship committee led by Wellington Community Foundation board members James Seder and Joanna Boynton was given the task of recommending the inaugural recipients of the Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship.

According to Wenham, there were 18 applicants, and making a decision was difficult.

“Our selection committee recommended two out of 18, and it was not easy,” Wenham said. “They all had great GPAs and résumés.”

Seder agreed that there was a wealth of qualified candidates who submitted applications this inaugural year.

“I am very proud of all of these young men and women,” he said. “We received 18 applications in our first year, which is an incredible number.”

The scholarship committee put the word out about the new scholarship by reaching out to local high schools.

“We relied on guidance counselors to put the word out there,” Seder said. “We also believed that the higher award amount of $2,500 could help a lot of people with expenses. Once the applications were received, the scholarship committee reviewed each application. I can assure you that we spent many hours and days reviewing these applications. Each one had its own merits. Committee members submitted their top candidates to the foundation’s board of directors, and votes were cast to award the scholarships.”

The first recipients are Wellington residents Sebastian Suarez, a 2019 graduate of Palm Beach Central High School, and Francesca Herman, a 2019 graduate of Wellington High School.

“We strived to make our scholarship different from the others by trying to focus on the values and qualities that Arle and Ken Adams exemplified over the years,” Seder said. “This includes an emphasis on public service, leadership and community involvement. We also considered academic achievement and overcoming adversity in making the award decision.”

Suarez will attend the University of Florida in Gainesville. As part of his commitment to Wellington, Suarez has rebuilt homes, painted houses and raised money for the Children’s Miracle Network. The scholarship money will help Suarez and his family pay the college bills when he enrolls at UF, where he will pursue a degree in architecture. Suarez added that that he had help in searching for college scholarships, which led him to apply for the Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship.

“I found a lot of information on the bulletin board of my school’s web site,” he said. “The Palm Beach County School Board also has listed a number of scholarships for local students to apply for and pursue.”

Suarez, who had a 3.95 GPA and a 5.13 HPA at Palm Beach Central, noted that it just takes basic verbal communication skills to find out the existence of many scholarships.

“It’s important to ask advice from other people who have recently gone through the college scholarship process,” Suarez suggested. “Ask your friends about their experiences and speak with your school’s guidance counselor. I have an older sister who just recently went to college, so I learned a lot from her experiences, as well.”

At Palm Beach Central, Suarez was a member of the Math Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society and Interact Club. Those extracurricular affiliations helped, not only in his application for this scholarship, but for others as well, such as one he received from the Rotary Club of Wellington.

Even though he has graduated, he’s still hoping that he will receive another scholarship before he heads to Gainesville. “I’ve also applied for the Charles R. O’Melia Scholarship, which supports students who want to pursue a career in architecture,” Suarez said. “In the essay part of the application, you had to tell your story about how important architecture is to you.”

Herman, who eventually wants to graduate from medical school, earned great grades at Wellington High School — a 3.98 GPA and 5.36 HPA. She will be headed to Tulane University in August.

Herman feels that many scholarship organizations are more interested in a candidate’s level of community service than their grade point average — but it doesn’t hurt to have strong grades.

Herman founded a club at Wellington High School that helped the less fortunate. It’s called the Seed Those in Need Club. She also traveled to Gainesville last summer where she conducted research on how restriction enzymes can attack Type 1 diabetes.

Both Suarez and Herman agree that half the battle in winning college scholarships is taking the time to apply for them. Being able to put your thoughts in writing — featuring properly written declarative sentences — is often the biggest hurdle in earning a college scholarship, they both agreed.

That is something they both accomplished in their scholarship applications.

“Sebastian and Francesca were both strong academic performers and involved in the community,” Seder said. “What spoke to me was how they overcame personal adversity in their lives and were still able to find the time to help others.”

Also important is for applicants to point out how the scholarship will help them achieve their goals

“I would like to see future scholarship applications place an additional emphasis on financial need,” Seder said. “With education costs always rising, sometimes these scholarships make the difference in whether a student attends college or not. If our scholarship helps someone get to college, I believe it’s money well spent and a great investment in the future.”

To learn more about the Arle and Ken Adams Scholarship, call the Wellington Community Foundation at (561) 333-9843.


Somerset Academy Of The Arts Opening Soon In Wellington

Somerset Academy Of The Arts Opening Soon In Wellington

A new tuition-free educational choice for families is opening in Wellington this fall. Somerset Academy of the Arts is now accepting applications for kindergarten through eighth grade.

Located at 1000 Wellington Trace, Somerset Academy will occupy the 13-acre former Eagle Arts Academy campus. It is currently being renovated, and the school will host weekly open houses each Tuesday starting June 4.

Somerset Academy will be the sixth Somerset Academy school in Palm Beach County. Since 1997, Somerset Academy Inc. has offered high-quality K-12 educational programs in Florida, Nevada and Texas that continue to achieve academic success.

Although all Somerset Academy schools share a vision, each campus has a unique and enriching educational program that is tailored to its community. This formula, along with strong support from parents, has made Somerset Academy a nationally recognized, award-winning family of high-quality public charter schools. As a network, the schools are fully accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In addition to the core curriculum, Somerset Academy will provide an elective track for music, dance, visual and performing arts. The arts will also be integrated throughout the curriculum, and a highly qualified faculty will use research-based techniques and methods to engage students at all learning levels.

Principal Elizabeth Sauri will lead Somerset Academy in Wellington. Formerly the assistant principal at Mater Academy of International Studies in Miami, Sauri has multiple degrees, including a bachelor’s degree in special education with varying exceptionalities, a master’s degree in international business administration and a second master’s degree in educational leadership. She is excited to share her educational and leadership experiences with the Wellington community.

“Somerset Academy of the Arts will distinguish itself by providing every student with a rigorous learning environment enhanced by creativity and personal artistic development within the visual and performing arts,” Sauri said. “Unique educators facilitate our students’ learning experiences with creative lessons that not only academically challenge the students but empower their creativity and self-expression.”

Students can apply to Somerset Academy regardless of their zip code or community. Enrollment is based on a lottery process. Once the school has reached capacity, additional applicants will be placed on a waitlist and notified when vacancies occur. Sauri hopes that parents will take advantage of the summer tours and register for the lottery early.

“Students enrolling before the summer registration have the best chance to be admitted in the first lottery, since all of the seats are open,” she said. “Students enrolling now will be invited to tour the school with their parents to see where they will create years of memories, which will shape their future educational endeavors.”

Because this is a new school, families have a chance to be part of something special — the first class. “As an extra bonus, any student registering before July 15 will have two votes in selecting the school mascot,” Sauri said.

In addition to the core curriculum and arts electives, students will have opportunities to participate in learning experiences outside the classroom through field trips and partnerships within Palm Beach county’s diverse arts community. School-sponsored art showcases and afterschool activities will round out the robust offerings.

“We will develop extracurricular activities throughout the school year to meet student visual and performing art needs. Students will also participate in school shows, exhibiting art, music, dance and theater,” Sauri said. “We’re also looking at afterschool enrichment clubs based specifically on student demand and needs.”

As the renovations on the campus continue, Sauri is excited to meet families and show off the progress. Somerset Academy plans to be not only an exciting and welcoming learning environment, but a safe and secure place for students and teachers alike.

“Student safety is of the utmost importance to me and my fellow educators,” she said. “We are building in several safety features, from a state-of-the-art camera system, to fencing and on-campus security guards.”

Charter schools are public schools that are publicly funded based on enrollment like other public schools and are held accountable to the same state and federal academic standards. Teachers are certified, and students take the same mandated tests that other Florida students take, and schools receive grades from the Florida Department of Education. A national survey revealed that 78 percent of parents with school-age children support having a public charter school open in their neighborhood.

Somerset Academy of the Arts is on Facebook and Instagram at @somersetartspb, and parents can apply online by visiting Open houses are held every Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. starting June 4, although the campus will be closed the week of July 4. Tours can also be arranged by calling (561) 421-5510.


Mountaineer’s School Of Autism Serves The Student And The Entire Family

Mountaineer’s School Of Autism  Serves The Student And The Entire Family

Mary Jo Walsh-Watson spent 20 years as a pediatric ER nurse and the past 17 as the mother of a son who is deaf and severely autistic. Between home-schooling, doctors’ visits, frequent trips to therapy and other responsibilities, “happy” was taking a backseat.

“And ‘happy’ is really important,” said Walsh-Watson, who founded the Mountaineer’s School of Autism in 2014. “As an educator and a mom and a nurse in the community, I wanted to create a school that served not only the student, but the family as well.”

Parents of children with special needs, such as autism, are often being pulled in multiple directions at once.

“One of the first things we did was to open a therapy center on site so students could get speech, occupational and ADA therapy while they’re at school,” Walsh-Watson explained. “That frees up the parent, so they no longer have to drive all over for these services. We provide a loving, safe and quality environment where the students can get their education while we strengthen the community by strengthening families to have a happier life.”

At Mountaineer’s School of Autism (MSA), there are athletics, iPads, music and Spanish classes, sign language, playground time, and endless amounts of patience and love. Students learn academics and social skills alongside speech therapy, occupational therapy, independent living skills and social skills.

While students may think they’re only playing, the educators at MSA know that students are better able to focus and perform academically after “playing” on a crash pad, carrying a weighted ball, pulling on a rope or crawling through a fabric tunnel. All of these activities are fun, engaging and provide the necessary input to help the student become more regulated.

Walsh-Watson explained that self-regulation is a cognitive process and a necessary ingredient to making learning meaningful. It is in charge of executive functioning and is intertwined with both emotional development and social development. When a person is “dysregulated,” their ability to function in a meaningful way is disrupted. It becomes difficult to learn new information, make or keep relationships and build social skills. That is why occupational therapy is such an important part of the MSA program. The necessary tools are in each classroom. Every classroom has swings, crash pads, balance boards, trampolines and a host of other equipment to help the students function at their best.

Another challenge for teachers is dyspraxia — a student’s difficulty in planning, sequencing and carrying out unfamiliar actions. To help, MSA has planned activities, goals and objectives that address this need in a challenging and playful way.

A day at the school starts with smiles in a classroom featuring modified lighting and relaxing music. Students begin with sensory activities and social skill-building conversation, then continue their day with academics, playground time, sports, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Independent living skills are worked on daily — things like tying shoes, brushing teeth and cleaning up as a team. This sense of community and teamwork builds self-confidence and trust in others.

“At Mountaineer’s, we are a family, and a family works together for the success of everyone,” Walsh-Watson explained. “We listen and guide conversations, so respect and character-building takes place. This is a place where a multitude of a child’s growth takes place. It is so much more than simply academics.”

The primary purpose of the school is to recognize the unique characteristics of each student and to apply a curriculum specifically designed to meet their individual needs. Every student’s educational portfolio is individually tailored and executed utilizing a continuous multidisciplinary approach implemented by highly trained staff and therapists. This program determines that student’s educational format, daily routine and interventions implemented to maximize educational goals.

MSA utilizes a wide variety of resources throughout the course of a day. Depending on the developmental level of the student, any number of tools may be utilized, including manipulatives, kinetic sand/theraputty, iPads, computers, textbooks, workbooks and more. MSA utilizes Abeka, Attainment and Acellus curriculums based on ability.

The school has also partnered with HCI Nursing School and Cambridge Nursing School to train the next generation of nurses on how to best interact with autistic patients.

“It’s two days a week for eight weeks, and I’m the professor,” Walsh-Watson said. “It’s wonderful to see how these future nurses engage with our students.”

Educators at the Mountaineer’s School of Autism believe that recognizing and promoting each child’s strengths will build self-confidence and allow them to flourish both academically and socially. The small student-teacher ratio, together with educators and support staff with expertise in Applied Behavior Analysis and the various principles applied in the classroom, provides each family with a wide array of choices to meet the individual needs of each student.

Another problem that families of children with autism encounter is that whenever a traditional school is having a difficult time with an autistic child, they will call the parent to come pick them up.

“They lose income and, sometimes, their jobs,” Walsh-Watson said. “It creates an economic hardship.”

Because MSA in the business of serving families and creating happiness, the school has helped three of these parents obtain their GEDs and five to become registered behavior technicians, giving them the tools that they need to provide income for their families — and jobs at Mountaineer’s.

A nonprofit organization, the school serves grades K through 12 year-round. It also offers before care, aftercare and even a summer camp.

“We’re also open on Saturdays for babysitting and therapy to give the family time to nurture relationships with other siblings or significant others,” Walsh-Watson said. “Another difficulty we noted was healthcare. Children with autism are not able to have something as simple as blood work done. So, beginning next month, we will have a Saturday lab for onsite visits.”

Mountaineer’s also offers a program for students not on the autism spectrum.

“We also understand the strain of having one child with special needs at one school and another, neurotypical, child at another. So, this past September, we opened Mountaineer’s Academy for neurotypical siblings,” Walsh-Watson said. “The children at our academy have true compassion.”

There are currently 10 children enrolled at Mountaineer’s Academy and 48 at Mountaineer’s School of Autism.

Walsh-Watson’s goals for the school are to expand the school’s current space in West Palm Beach, find a location in Boca Raton and purchase another van for transportation, particularly from the Wellington area. One hundred percent of donations stay within Palm Beach County.

“There’s no quitting,” Walsh-Watson said. “I have so much respect for families who have kids with autism. It’s one of most difficult and amazing jobs you’ll ever have. It’s both wonderful and hard at the same time. We want them to be kids and be happy. We can’t do it on our own. If everyone is to have accessibility for all the services and support they need, for both themselves and their children, we have to share resources. Everyone’s good at something, and everyone deserves to live their most happy life.”

To learn more about Mountaineer’s School of Autism, visit To support the school, contact Walsh-Watson at (561) 932-3938.


International Dressage Ride Micah Deligdish Calls Wellington Home

International Dressage Ride Micah Deligdish Calls Wellington Home

As a lifelong Floridian and horse enthusiast, the decision to move to Wellington was an easy one for 28-year-old Grand Prix dressage rider Micah Deligdish. Sunshine and palm trees were only an additional perk to the equestrian community that has become Deligdish’s year-round home.

With a vast amount of educational opportunities to expand her professional riding career, while maintaining a balanced social life within the community, Wellington has played a key role in the strides Deligdish has made toward her future in and out of the equestrian world.

Growing up riding in Central Florida, Deligdish and her family were somewhat familiar with the Wellington area. Frequenting the community for occasional activities, the one thing Deligdish never had the opportunity to do was compete in one of the many prestigious Wellington shows. However, it was a dream she would one day accomplish.

After studying political and broadcast journalism at American University in Washington, D.C., Deligdish worked in a corporate environment in the nation’s capital, but ultimately, the equestrian industry is where she felt she belonged. She gained experience as a working student before realizing that she would need to have year-round access to the best in the sport if she wanted to excel in dressage.

Trading the historic buildings and cherry blossom trees for outdoor arenas and ocean breeze, she made the move to Wellington to open her own business, Gemini Dressage, in 2014.

“I chose Wellington as my home because I wanted to pursue my professional career, and if I was going to be fully committed, I wanted to be surrounded by the best in the sport,” Deligdish explained. “From year-round training opportunities to the proximity to high-quality international shows — Wellington is perfect for me.”

It is no secret that Wellington is a mecca for all things horse related. With several of the largest competitions in the world set on its local stage, Wellington attracts the best riders in the world, with many athletes basing their businesses year-round instead of the typical seasonal stay.

This mecca for equestrians has created unlimited opportunities to learn and grow within the industry due to the access to top professionals and competitions. Wellington would be difficult to pass up when choosing a location for an equine-related business.

Today, Deligdish is celebrating four years of calling Wellington home. The USDF bronze, silver and gold medalist runs her training operation year-round from Wellington, where she sells horses and trains students of all levels of experience.

Deligdish made her international competition debut representing the country of Israel at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in the small tour on her horse Santos and has goals of competing in the European Championships later this year on her Grand Prix mount Destiny.

Although the equine focus is a large draw for Deligdish, she also enjoys other aspects of living in South Florida. “It’s nice to be living in a community where you can enjoy equestrian as a sport and lifestyle without losing opportunities outside the industry. I’m a Florida girl! I love being by the pool or at the beach, and being outdoors as much as I can be,” Deligdish said.

When she isn’t riding or working in her barn, you can find Deligdish watching polo at the International Polo Club Palm Beach on Sundays, spending time near the water and attending events to benefit various organizations.

“The USPRE week is one of my favorite events of season. As a rider who trains many Spanish horses, I always support this exciting event focused on promoting the breed with amazing performances and live entertainment,” Deligdish explained. “The equestrian community is very supportive, and I enjoy attending as many fundraising events as I can, like the Lucchese 40-Goal Polo Challenge, and my favorite, which is the Buck Off, benefiting the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center.”

Not only does Deligdish enjoy supporting the Vinceremos event for its fundraising efforts, but the event holds a special place in her heart, since she met her fiancé, Shahmir Quraeshi, at the charity event. Quraeshi, a polo player for Escue Polo, grew up in Wellington. In November 2018, at the International Polo Club, Quraeshi proposed to Deligdish by writing “Will You Marry Me?” on Field One and flying her over in his airplane.

“Shah and I have been able to support each other in our equestrian lifestyles, whether I’m grooming for him at a polo game, or he’s videoing one of my tests at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, we are there for each other,” Deligdish said.

Looking down the line, Deligdish is excited to continue her life in Wellington. As her business expands with her goals of high-performance international competition, she is proud to call this small slice of equestrian heaven her home and where she plans on starting her family.

Down the road, her sights are set on making it to the 2019 European Championships and in future international championships, where she is sure to represent Wellington well.

Learn more about Micah Deligdish at   


American Heritage School Is Committed To Scientific Excellence

American Heritage School Is Committed To Scientific Excellence

The American Heritage School-Delray Beach, the number-one private school in Palm Beach County for the highest number of National Merit Scholars, is expanding its academic footprint and looking to improve its already high-level commitment to scientific learning.

On April 10, the school hosted the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new $8 million STEM-based building and science program that will promote science research, engineering and robotics.

To add to the prestige of the grand opening, Bill Nye, “The Science Guy,” was invited to attend, and he accepted the invitation. The presence of this TV star and noted science expert added some star-power and notoriety to the occasion. In addition to participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Nye delivered the keynote address.

The student body at American Heritage School rolled out the red carpet for “The Science Guy,” whose arrival was marked by hundreds of hand-waving students, many with “Welcome Bill Nye” signs, and a spirited ovation from all those in attendance. In honor of Nye’s trademark bowtie wardrobe, many of the young students were wearing their own Bill Nye-like bowties, which generated a smile and nod of approval from the special guest.

Nye was joined at the grand opening of the new Scientific Research, Engineering, Robotics and Prototyping building by other scientists, industry leaders and dignitaries, including representatives from Florida Atlantic University, the Scripps Research Institute, the City of Boca Raton, the City of Delray Beach, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County and the office of U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch.

The new 12,000-square-foot facility is a scientific utopia that will house an electron microscope, university-level science research labs, robotics and prototyping labs, engineering classrooms, physics classrooms and a pre-engineering program with classes taught daily by top engineers.

This new facility will directly impact the academic lives of the school’s 1,500-plus students.

“Our school strives for excellence and helping students find their passion,” American Heritage School President Dr. Douglas Laurie said. “This new building will be home for generations to the thinkers, creators and dreamers of the future, and may one day provide the spark, inspiration or thought that will change the world for the better.”

It’s fair to say that the American Heritage School is committed to dramatically improving the “knowledge” part of the school’s three-word motto: “Knowledge, Integrity, Compassion.”

“Our goal is to continually innovate and create the best academic facilities in the country in all areas of academics and the arts,” Laurie said. “This is a big step forward in our STEM-based curriculum, and with our new science and prototyping labs comparable to what you would find on college campuses, we look forward to watching our nationally recognized students reach their highest potential as the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

Nye was delighted to attend this event and was impressed by the commitment to scientific excellence by the leadership of American Heritage School. He presided over a unique toast to recognize the groundbreaking moment.

“Normally, we would never drink from a test tube, but we will today,” Nye said. “Here’s to the future. Congratulations everyone. It’s a beautiful day and a beautiful building.”

Nye said that American Heritage School is now poised to be a national cradle of creativity. “Everybody who is going to be the next innovator has to get excited about it in high school,” said Nye, who is also the CEO of the Planetary Society. “That’s why this building is part of the big picture.”

Laurie agreed with Nye’s assessment. “Anything that we can do to spark creativity and imagination and combine that with academics is one of our goals here at American Heritage,” he said.

Right now, American Heritage has nationally ranked programs in robotics, science research and mathematics. At American Heritage, you will also see six banners hanging from the rafters of the Robotic Practice Field that recognize the school’s past achievements in robotics. According to Tai Donovan, American Heritage’s head of robotics, there’s no reason why the school won’t continue the trend of robotics excellence in the immediate and long-term future.

Laurie stressed that the new facility is “giving students a chance to use both sides of their brains.”

“In the words of our esteemed guest, Bill Nye, science is the key to our future, and if you don’t believe that, you are holding everyone back,” Laurie said.

During Nye’s remarks, he emphasized that when students attend a school like American Heritage, they will now be able to pursue their dreams and change the world.

Aside from a host of academic success areas, the American Heritage School-Delray Beach has also established itself as a statewide powerhouse in high school athletics, from touchdown-making football players, slam-dunking basketball players, goal-scoring soccer players, and grand-slam hitting baseball and softball players.

The campus at 6200 Linton Blvd. is affiliated with its sister school in Plantation. While the Broward campus dates back to 1965, the Delray Beach campus was established in 1999 with a mission “to graduate students who are prepared in mind, body and spirit to meet the requirements of the colleges of their choice.” To this end, the private school offers a challenging college preparatory curriculum, integrated technology, exceptional guidance, leadership opportunities, and superior programs in the arts and athletics.

In the Lower School, advanced courses are offered in all subjects. In the Upper School, a selection of more than 200 different courses are offered, including 95 honors courses, 22 Advanced Placement courses and 60 fine arts courses.

The 40-acre Delray Beach campus resembles a small college in size and design, from state-of-the-art labs and classrooms to fine arts facilities, an Olympic-sized pool, sports fields and quiet courtyard areas. The school is known in the Wellington area for its strong program catering to equestrian students.

The American Heritage School is located at 6200 Linton Blvd., just east of Jog Road, in Delray Beach. For more information, call (561) 495-7272 or visit


Tree’s Wings Has Kept Locals Satisfied With Its Famous Recipes For 25 Years

Tree’s Wings Has Kept Locals Satisfied With Its Famous Recipes For 25 Years

For nearly 25 years, Tree’s Wings & Ribs has been catering to the taste buds of traditional down-home food lovers. With its signature neighborhood feel, it’s no wonder this family-owned restaurant has been going strong since opening in 1995 at the south end of Royal Palm Beach Blvd.

Owners Andy and Linda Maynard strive to appeal to every guest who walks through their doors. In charge of day-to-day operations is General Manager Erin Townsend.

“We like to be just as down-home as we can be,” Townsend said. “We’ve got killer ribs. Our sauce is homemade with our secret recipe, every day. We only do baby back ribs. We find them to be the absolute best, and we don’t mess around with anything but that. We have perfected the recipe to where they’re fall-off-the-bone. I’ve never seen anyone disappointed with our ribs.”

While wings and ribs have made Tree’s locally famous, there’s much more to this popular restaurant.

“We’ve got ridiculously good burgers for being a wing joint,” Townsend noted.

The Treemongous burger, for example, boasts a full pound of beef with all fresh ingredients for $16.49. All burgers are Angus beef and handmade, cooked to order over an open flame. All produce is brought in daily.

There are also traditional dishes, like salmon, filet mignon, several salad choices, along with the “fall-off-the-bone” ribs to go with those award-winning wings, which are served up with another secret recipe.

“We have several secret recipes, and we guard them very closely,” Townsend said. “Our house dressing is probably what we’re most popular for. Instead of ranch or bleu cheese with your wings, we offer our house dressing. I get bribed weekly with people asking me what’s in it.”

That super-secret recipe will soon be flying with the Tree’s team to Buffalo, N.Y., for the 17th annual Buffalo Wing Festival, where they’ve been invited to compete in the National Buffalo Wing Contest. Tree’s is taking a lucky winner and a guest on an all-expenses-paid trip to the three-day event over Labor Day weekend.

It’s just one way the restaurant shows appreciation for its customers. Sign up, for free, to be a VIP member. Each time you dine, you get to spin the prize wheel for a deal to be used the next visit. Anywhere from $5 off to a free dessert or drink, to Wing’s bucks. Also, enjoy a free rib and wing dinner on your birthday — and a first round free with a choice of beer, wine or any soft drink for you and your guests.

Great prices on drinks are up for grabs every day.

“We’ve got a twice daily happy hour. Half off between 3 and 6 p.m. on any drink. And again from 10 p.m. until midnight. It’s any drink, whatever you want,” Townsend said. “The only thing we don’t do it on is pitchers, because we’ve got $6 pitchers all day, every day.”

They restaurant recently redid its flooring, with a deep dark wood, making for a warm feeling.

There are two bars. One is separated from the main dining area, where it’s family friendly. For those 21 and over, who are looking to hang out, there’s the adult-only lounge, oozing with a rock vibe as framed pictures of legends adorn the walls. With a feel all its own, this neighborhood hangout area is complete with a jukebox and a retro Kiss pinball machine. There’s also live music on Thursdays featuring artist Rick Nelson playing classic rock and Jimmy Buffett tunes starting at 7 p.m.

“We’re family friendly with space for adults to also have their time,” Townsend said.

If it’s time you want to spend with your family dog, bring him to dine with you. They can even order off their own canine menu. From a bowl of kibble, to add-ons, like bacon.

Each day of the week, there’s a different homemade soup, from split pea to Florida conch chowder. Also, a daily special is offered, like Mondays is half off any Angus burger, to Sundays all-day $4 bloody marys.

Whether you want to pop in, pick up or get it delivered, Tree’s Wings offers all the options — including a vast delivery area with their own five-vehicle fleet. Online ordering is coming soon.

Serving the community over the past 24 years, the owners plan to continue with what’s now tradition.

“We’ve got the best regulars in the world, and we try to treat everyone like our next regular,” Townsend said.

Tree’s Wings & Ribs is located at 603 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. in the Royal Plaza. It is open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily. For more info., call (561) 791-1535 or visit


Village Engineer Tom Lundeen Is Working To Engineer A Stronger Wellington

Village Engineer Tom Lundeen Is Working To Engineer A Stronger Wellington

As the Village of Wellington works to build a stronger, more resilient community that works for residents today and well into the future, understanding the big picture is an important character trait for leaders like Village Engineer Tom Lundeen.

Lundeen joined the Wellington team in 2016 and is looking forward to a long future supporting Wellington and its residents.

“I’m here to help protect the residents and their property,” explained Lundeen, who leads a dedicated crew of professionals. “I oversee the Engineering Department and the Public Works Department, which means I manage more than 100 employees.”

Lundeen grew up on a farm in Minnesota. After completing a degree in civil engineering, he moved to Florida in 1985 to find new challenges and career options.

“A friend lived down here and said, ‘Come on down, there’s plenty of jobs.’ Within three days, I had three job offers,” Lundeen recalled.

Over time, he gained a great deal of experience in both the public and private sectors, always looking for new ways to improve both his own knowledge and the infrastructure around him. Lundeen was involved in massive projects ranging from new bridges and roadways in Brevard County to raising U.S. Highway 1.

Before coming to Wellington, Lundeen was the engineer and deputy director for the Port of Palm Beach for many years.

“Working for the Port of Palm Beach was one of those jobs where you wake up every morning because you want to see what’s going to happen next,” Lundeen said. “I was working with electrical and structural engineers, building sea walls and bulkheads, managing paving and drainage.”

An avid scuba diver, Lundeen integrated his skills at work by completing more than 300 inspections underwater.

After a time, Lundeen was ready for something new, since he believes that change is not only inevitable, but also a good thing. He has known Village Manager Paul Schofield and Assistant Village Manager Jim Barnes since his time with Palm Beach County, and the shift to Wellington has been a good fit.

“I’ve been in government for more than 29 years now, and it is a lot different,” Lundeen said. “I get excited when we get into a project. The system works, but it can always be improved.”

He gives most of the credit, though, to his teams in engineering and public works. Lundeen is proud to have a group of people who see the big picture, just like he does.

“There are some fabulous people who work here. I don’t think I could have hand-picked them any better,” Lundeen said. “Right now, everything is in place and working well in both departments. Public Works is filled with jacks of all trades, and masters of most of them. If an issue comes up, like a traffic problem, we can fix a road, put in a turn lane or design a traffic circle.”

He is especially proud of the work done by his fellow staff engineers. “Jonathan Reinsvold and Alyssa Dalloo are doing a fabulous job designing in house, saving us time and money,” Lundeen said.

The engineering department stays busy with a wide array of projects ranging from drainage improvements to permitting, and even altering the layout of congested intersections like South Shore Blvd. and Pierson Road.

“It’s one of those projects that you would feel good about,” Lundeen said.

The department has the plans in place for more than traffic concerns. There is another project meant to improve drainage in Wellington by removing some of the aging pipes and replacing them with two instead, to avoid choke points that get clogged by debris — especially after large storms.

“It’s not glamorous work, but if it’s not done, and we get a big storm, you are sure to hear about it,” Lundeen said. “For every project, no matter the size, I feel better because it’s done. We are doing our best to protect the community, one step at a time.”

Lundeen works hard, but he embraces that there is more to life than his career. He is still in close contact with the same friend who first convinced him to move to Florida. They work together on volunteer service projects of a very special nature.

“My friend got me into a project called Special Spaces. We fix up rooms for kids, and some of them are pretty intense,” Lundeen said. “I’ve worked on maybe five or six projects, the most recent being a three-year-old boy in Wellington battling leukemia.”

But when not helping in the community, Lundeen and his wife Michele would rather be outside adventuring, including riding motorcycles, kayaking and, of course, diving. “We take about one dive vacation a year,” Lundeen said. “My all-time favorites are Australia and Grand Turk Island.”

His appreciation for man-made structures sits well alongside his passion for nature. Lundeen’s family at home includes several rescued animals, and he even adopted a bird swept into his yard after Hurricane Frances.


Jennifer Drahan Of Keller Williams Brings Clients A Unique Equestrian Background

Jennifer Drahan Of Keller Williams Brings Clients A Unique Equestrian Background

Riding and real estate: an activity and a profession that both loom large in Wellington. It’s no wonder, then, that Jennifer Drahan of Keller Williams, who’s passionate about both, should happily settle in the community.

Drahan grew up in the Lone Star State and graduated from Texas A&M in 1995.

“My grandfather was a builder, my mom an interior designer and retailer, and my dad was in marketing and owned rental properties as a side business,” she recalled. “When I wasn’t riding, I was driving around to different build and design projects with them.”

She once dreamed of representing her country as a show jumper at the Olympics.

“I went right into life as a professional equestrian after college, traveling the world following my passion for horses,” Drahan said.

That didn’t come to pass, but another career came calling.

“I am obsessed with real estate,” Drahan said. “I used to drive around and walk around abandoned properties before I got my license. Now I am more careful.”

Still, it was her love of the equestrian lifestyle that brought her to Wellington. When she finally arrived in 2002, it was love at first sight. “I will never forget thinking to myself, after driving for 24 hours to get here, ‘I never want to leave this place, it is so beautiful,’” she said.

Drahan bought a condo in Wellington in 2004 while still working in Connecticut. Two years later, her business relocated here. She got her real estate license in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2012 that she ended her professional riding and training career and turned full-time to real estate.

“I have several friends in the business who are able to juggle another career with real estate, and while I admire their ability to multi-task, I am at my best when I do not spread myself too thin,” she said.

Drahan specializes in equestrian, luxury and investment properties. She feels these areas are a natural fit considering her background. Another natural fit for Drahan is working with Keller Williams.

“At KW, we have an awesome culture of helping others, sharing, being learning-based, and always growing and thinking bigger,” she said. “I personally have streamlined communication for buyers and sellers, a major focus on staging and property preparation prior to listing, and I use cutting-edge tech to get my listings in front of the right people.”

Whether you’re looking for your dream home or putting your current residence on the market, Drahan believes that she has the talent and tools to get you the best deal possible.

“We are able to offer our buyers Keller Mortgage, saving them thousands of dollars, plus we are rolling out our iBuyer program, so sellers are able to sell their property immediately, without marketing, showing and waiting for the right buyer,” she said.

Drahan has a very positive view of Wellington’s real estate market.

“The current local market has stabilized a bit, which is great, while farms and luxury properties continue to sell at an encouraging rate,” she said. “Overall, the Wellington market was up slightly the first quarter of 2019, with average days on market coming down from 125 to 100. I expect to see a continued stable market over the rest of the year, with a slight pickup in the luxury market toward the fall.”

To contact Jennifer Drahan, e-mail, call (281) 851-7248 or visit


Grace Family Medicine Brings Direct Primary Healthcare Model To Wellington

Grace Family Medicine Brings Direct Primary Healthcare Model To Wellington

A new healthcare model eliminating the middleman between providers and patients is sweeping the country, and Grace Family Medicine Direct Primary Care of Wellington, the first example of the subscription service providing medical care with a nurse practitioner and a physician, opened recently in the community.

“This is like a health movement that is new with the public, and it’s gaining a lot of steam across the U.S.,” said Carlos Poveda a seasoned healthcare administrator, who operates the practice with his wife Jessica Poveda, a nurse practitioner, and his father Dr. Leon Poveda, a family medicine and internal medicine physician. “Our families have been in healthcare for a long time,” Jessica added.

Carlos explained that healthcare providers want to take back control of healthcare and put it into the hands of the patients and the providers.

“We have seen changes that we don’t really like because the landscape is creating a lot of barriers for patients as far as obtaining quality, affordable healthcare,” he said. “And for the provider side, barriers to actually providing that kind of personalized care.”

That is when they decided as a family to find out what we they could do to actually practice medicine in a better way.

The approach of direct primary care, known as DPC, offers subscriptions to a medical practice with primary care covered by the subscription and other services available at a reduced rate from insurance co-pays and deductibles.

“The membership-based model is pretty straight forward,” Carlos said. “It removes the middleman, so we don’t bill insurance, and that’s good. We contract directly with the patient to deliver comprehensive primary care with discounts on labs, imaging services and a growing network of specialists. But most importantly, what they get is our time, the opportunity to build a relationship with us, and the providers have time to really dig into the patient’s conditions and goals.”

He was quick to explain the difference between DPC and what is known as “concierge medicine.”

“Distinct from concierge medicine, which is more expensive, charges a retainer and bills insurance, DPC allows us to have that relationship with our patients, and it’s affordable. Our plans start at $50 a month, and $100 a month is the maximum for 65 and up,” Carlos said. “We have families with two teenagers and subscription rates of $200 a month.”

The goal is to keep the service affordable. “Because our pricing is just right, it’s accessible to most people, who want personalized care with 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week access to their medical provider, same or next day appointments, extended visits of 30 minutes to an hour, and the ability to talk, text, video chat or message the doctor,” Jessica said. “Insurance is not required, although 90 percent of our patients have a high-deductible, more affordable or a catastrophic plan if they have to go to the hospital. It just makes financial sense for so many people.”

What they don’t want to see are patients delaying care because they can’t meet their deductible.

“American families are getting priced out with so many health insurance plans,” Carlos said. “I always say health insurance does not equal healthcare.”

The Povedas are proud residents of Wellington. “We are growing our family here. We live in Wellington. We are here for the long-term to establish a family-owned and operated business that brings quality and value to our fellow residents,” Carlos said. “We’re very much involved in the community.”

“Our kids are going to school here, we’re part of nonprofit boards, we coach our kids’ basketball teams,” Jessica noted.

Establishing a new type of medical practice does have its challenges.

“It has been a challenging journey because it’s the first time many people are hearing about DPC,” Carlos said. “Education is a big aspect of our marketing.”

He also added a little background on the name Grace Family Medicine.

“Our faith does not affect how we treat any patient,” Carlos said. “Grace, to us, is an unmerited gift from God. That’s why we started this business here in Wellington because we know it’s going to bring a lot of value to everyone.”

Grace Family Medicine Direct Primary Care of Wellington is located in the Wellington Plaza at 12785 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 8E. For more information, call (561) 331-5155 or visit


Spacious, Well-Appointed Home In Wellington’s Meadowland Cove

Spacious, Well-Appointed Home In Wellington’s Meadowland Cove

This sophisticated and well-appointed home is in Wellington’s centrally located Meadowland Cove neighborhood. It features more than 2,500 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and two newly renovated bathrooms. The open floor plan lets plenty of natural light into the home, which boasts a formal dining room and a spacious living room. The home has a split floor plan, along with a two-car garage. The property features great curb appeal and a newly fenced, spacious yard perfect for entertaining.


Front Elevation: The single-story home in the heart of Wellington features great curb appeal with colorful and well-maintained landscaping, a two-car garage and a bright, colorful door ready to welcome visitors.

Open Concept: The spacious living area offers easy access to the shaded, screened-in patio connected to the home by oversized sliders. The convenient space offers easy access to the kitchen.

Living Room: High vaulted and volume ceilings in the living area define the spacious home. Aside from plenty of natural light, bright and energy-efficient LED lights are used throughout the house.

Dining Room: The formal dining room offers plenty of space for entertaining. Lit by gorgeous pendant lights, the space is defined, yet remains part of the open concept plan.

Kitchen: The kitchen is spacious and functional, featuring a sunlit breakfast area for intimate family dining. The bright space features stainless-steel appliances, and plenty of modern touches, such as a motion sensor kitchen faucet.

Bedroom: The home features three bedrooms in a split floor plan offering plenty of privacy. The rooms are well-appointed and tastefully decorated.

Master Bedroom: The spacious master bedroom is an open space with high, vaulted ceilings, recessed lighting and a ceiling fan.


Master Bathroom: The nicely sized master bathroom is one of two newly decorated bathrooms in the home. This one features double vanities, a six-jet Jacuzzi-style tub, a shower area and a private toilet space.


Guest Room/Study: Like the other parts of the home, the guest room/study area is a bright space that is well-maintained and tastefully decorated.


Spacious Yard: The property features a spacious, newly fenced and private back yard with easy access from the screened-in patio area. It’s a perfect space for entertaining.